Most of my identity is defined by feminism. I was raised by two feminists, concentrated in gender studies at school and spent a year writing my thesis on how and why college-aged women define themselves as feminists.
While I’m of the mindset that a feminist can be a stay-at-home-mom or a high-powered executive, I’ve always fallen into the category of “independent woman who isn’t sure if she wants to get married.” I despise engagement rings, preach about the sexism in romantic comedies and will occasionally blame “men” as if a penis defines fifty percent of our population.
Yet I’m also a Twihard. Dated one guy for seven years and have been with another for (sort of) three. I want lots and lots of babies. I like the occasional bouquet and cried like a baby during The Notebook. Deep down, the feminist in me is a romantic.
Looking back over the past year of my QLC, love has been the turning point of my life. Regardless of my “hardcore” feminist tendencies or inability to fuse those two sides of my personality, love is the entire reason I am where I am and I do what I do.
I’m not saying a feminist can’t move across the world for love – far from it. I think – I know – a feminist can do whatever the hell she wants. It’s her attitude towards women that matters (read this amazing post by my friend J. Maureen of Gen Meh). Still though, I guess I never thought I’d be the kind of girl who would do what I did. Drop everything. Fly across the Atlantic. Move in with a guy I hadn’t spent any real time with in over a year.
Needless to say, it was a big change. One I don’t regret for a single second.
I know everyone says this, but when we’re on our deathbeds are we going to remember the major career accomplishments or the relationships we made? The people we loved?
Love taught me what the Quarter Life Crisis is all about. What being authentic is all about. It also taught me “what really matters.”
What really mattered wasn’t my job or my geographical location or money or what everyone else was doing. What mattered was Sam. Realizing I was allowed to pick up and go simply because I was happier with him was the hardest realization of my life, but also the easiest decision to make.
While it’s always been a bit of a struggle to make peace between The Feminist in me and The Romantic, I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that I can be both. If I ever get married (Big “If”), I can do it without selling my soul. I don’t have to ever change my name. I can raise my sons and daughters in the way my parents raised me. There is no either or. No one or the other. The feminist in me is a romantic, and it’s finally okay by me.