Recently, I have been trying to identify what it is about this culture that has made me so violently anti-man while also trying daily for their approval. It’s like every spare second is spent imagining what it would be like to be wanted, to be in love, to be the special someone.

But I hate this.

I feel like everywhere I turn, there is some messaging about what a woman’s life is supposed to look like. Sure, we’ve progressed past the 1950’s housewife, but are we really that far past it?

As a little girl, I imagined life would stop at two points in time: my prom and my wedding. Both include the central idea of a man. Big hair and fancy dresses too, but that’s just because I wanted to be a princess. I wanted to be a princess so bad that I spent time balancing books on my head and walking with my hands clasped. I watched Beauty and the Beast every chance that I could. Screw the prince, it was royalty I was after.

But prom came and went, and I never had a man desperately in love with me. Time didn’t stop. In fact, it flew by so fast I can’t even remember what it was like to zip up that sparkly pink dress.

There is still the looming threat of a wedding. Ha! Threat! It’s because I feel like it will be the end of my life as a human. I will no longer be me, I will belong to someone else. The little girl in me wanted to see a beautiful white dress and a cake, not the day I went into marital prison.

Now, I feel like every fucking day is wedding prep. It isn’t on purpose. It is internalized misogyny that is rooted so deeply in who I am as a person. I feel like a charcuterie board constantly out for display, wondering what they’ll pick and choose from me.

“Oh! Grapes!” I let him hear about my family secrets.

“I’ve never had this kind of cheese before.” He really liked my humor.

“I love walnuts.” He hoped I was a virgin.

It’s hard to even feel like a person when all my qualities are at the disposal of what a man wants. I just want to be an equal, to be loved as whole person, but I doubt the reality of that these days.

Then, I don’t even want that. I don’t want a man to look at me at all until I’ve banished all thoughts of eternal romance and someone to take care of me from my mind forever. I just want to be me without the hope that it attracts someone. I want to be alone in a way that is different from what I am now. I want to be alone where friendship is everything to me, and my studies take up all of my time. I want to love my body because it feels good, not because it looks fuckable for a man.

I guess I just have to remind myself every day that I am not a future Mrs. I am me. Now. I am not a wife in training, I am a fucking human being. I am not being molded into the perfect woman, I’m becoming a raggedy and worn person with a soul beyond the love I share or do not share with someone else.

As women, we need to remind ourselves and each other that our value is so much more than anyone with a penis can ever determine. Living my life is a reminder every day of how I am more than what society wants me to be.

I was not born to be a wife.

I was not born to be a mother.

I was not born to be a hole for men to use at their disposal.

I was not born to be “Mrs.”

Mrs. can shut the fuck up.

College student, woman, master of sarcasm, occasional inhabitant of this brain. Nebraska. Washington.