The 2009 Christmas shall go down in my history as my best ever. I’m doubting it’ll hold a candle to 2010, but this one definitely raised the standard. And it wasn’t just the presents, though they were ridiculously plentiful and amazing.

It was this epiphany: that despite the differing mix of personalities and drama in both my families, I really do love my life.

It’s weird. I feel out of place with my family. When my parents and brother pick black, I think white mixed with some streaks of gray looks much better. They say church; I find the divine everywhere I go. Except church. And then, my great aunt read one of my recipes as she helped core pears, and she chuckled and smiled over every whimsical verb.

“Drizzle!”…”Nestle!”…”Dot!”

And that moment sparkles in my memory, because I saw my word lust in action. I saw where it came from, and I felt happy to watch her delight in something that fascinates me, too. I found a common ground within my family, just being myself.

And yes, I have been with a man for seven, almost eight years. We’re not married. We don’t live together. We make about the same amount of money, and it’s not brag-worthy. We don’t give each other big presents … we like to switch off, opening small presents that we painstakingly picked out for each other and kissing after each one. We’re kinda nerdy with how much we love each other.

Spending those happy days with him, without hearing people ask (criticize) What did you get him? What’s he getting you? Think you’ll get a ring? Don’t you ever want something BIG? We’re going to get you married this year, but I don’t know if it’s to him …..I realized how content and safe and nestled I feel with him. And you know? My life felt a lot brighter, happier, without someone nagging me about what’s NOT in my life on a daily basis. I had a long stretch of time to appreciate what I do have in my beautiful life.

But, I am detached enough to admit that all the thinking I’ve done after those WTF conversations has made me stronger in knowing what I want from a relationship. I’ve cried over it, I’ve asked myself if this is what I really want, and I’ve tried to unravel what a happy marriage looks like to me. And I’m sure I’ll keep asking that, because I’m sort of addicted to philosophizing about my life. And I think that’s healthy.

Sometimes, I want to turn the situation on the criticiser, and ask what fixing my life will help them feel better about. Or, why married people think they’re part of an elite group who can shame single people into thinking they’re missing out, or their relationship isn’t as valid. Or, ban those in love who aren’t all yay, heterosexual from being allowed to marry. Since it’s such an elite, cool group and all.

I believe the point is in knowing that I wouldn’t pick their life if I could. My life works for me, and that’s what matters. Not, knowing that my life works for everyone else who has an opinion.

And now that I’ve said it here, my challenge is to say it when those irritations flare again.

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