Starting Your Dreams Later In Life and Embracing the Detour

Jenee Darden speaking at Creative Mornings I know it's been a while since I've posted anything but that's because of my job. I'm working as a reporter covering Oakland and I host an arts segment on the radio where I get to interview amazing artists from around the Bay Area. Plus I'm publicizing my book  and building my speaking career!  You know what's funny? I thought this would all happen by the time I was 27-30.  Nope. That wasn't God's plan for me. I'm finally beginning to do the things I've wanted to do and I'm almost 40 years old. Some people reading this who are 40 will say 40 is still young. But some younger people reading may think 40 is nearly ancient. But I'm writing this post for those who like me, thought their career and personal dreams would come true much early in life. I'm here to tell you not to give up.  You know, death inspires life. A number of my relatives and friends have passed away, ranging in

Get Out of My Ovaries and Off My Ring Finger
Why Do Single Women Get Asked About Marriage and Kids?

Cocoa Fly giving side-eye to
people who judge single women
with no kids 
Check this out. I don’t have a job. But you know the question I get asked most at family gatherings? “When are you going to get married and have kids?” Not, “How are you keeping a roof over your head, paying for healthcare and keeping food on the table?” Not, “Do you need gas money?” No, I get asked when am I walking down the aisle and getting knocked up.

My cousin, who is a few years younger than me, announced during a New Years Day family dinner that he proposed to his girlfriend. I was so happy and excited that he found someone to spend the rest of his life with.

Not too long after the hugs and congrats the topic of discussion turned to my fertility and ring finger. My uncle, who is divorced by the way, asked me when was I having kids and getting married. I responded, “When I’m ready.” Then he asked, “Do you feel like you’re losing?”

What kind of question is that??? I know he was trying to be sincere, but ...what kind of question is that??? I replied with all of the strawberry-daiquiri fueled assurance in my body, “No I don’t feel like I’m losing.”

I am in good health, live in a great neighborhood, travel, have wonderful friends and family, working on a book, have overcome obstacles, etc. I’m BLESSED. But being a single and childless woman is equated to failure in our society. Something is wrong with her. She is not desired if a man hasn’t wifed her up. She needs to lose weight. She needs to gain weight. She doesn't know how to get a man. She doesn't know how to keep a man. She’s gay and hasn’t come out yet. Blah, blah, blah.  Single women get stigmatized for not having a man. 

My uncle isn’t the only one who asks this question. The men in my family, especially my father, ask this question the most.  I have a grandfather who is cool and charming like Pres. Obama. One day my grandfather asked if I was dating. When I told him no, he damn near threw a toddler tantrum, stomped his foot and yelled, “I want great-grandchildren!!”

I bet if I were a man, people would call me a “playa” and give me a fist bump. My singleness would be celebrated and childlessness encouraged. They would tell me to play on and use a rubber so hoes don’t get me caught up.

Credit: Byron Solomon

While schmoozing at a dinner party, a grown and married man, who didn’t know me, fired off questions at me with shock and judgment, “You came here alone?” You don’t have any kids?” “You’re not married?” "How old are you again?"

No married man should be concerned about who is fertilizing my eggs and putting a ring on it. He has a wife. He needs to be worried about her vagina, ring finger and their babies.

Folks need to stop worrying about single people. Some people need to be single. Some people choose to be single. And some people just haven’t found the right one. Having a mate doesn’t define you. I know a lot of people who are very, unhappily married. Some of them are the same people who want to know when am I walking down aisle! The hell I know?  That’s like asking when am I going to win the Lotto.

If your single family and friends want you to hook them up, then look out for them. If not, mind your own business. If they need help in the dating department, offer it. If they say yes, go for it. If not, mind your damn business. If you want to know when a single person is having kids, mind your damn business.

Do I want to get in a serious relationship? Do I want a family? Yes, but being single with no kids doesn’t diminish the BEAUTIFUL, BOLD, BRAVE and BLESSED woman I am. If I did marry just anybody and got pregnant by just anybody, people would be talking shit then.
The only person who needs to worry about my fertility
and love life is the blessed person pictured...ME! 
I could jump into a relationship with a sperm donor and have a baby. What good does that do me? I’m not going to be miserable just to please people.

No matter what you do ladies, people are going to talk shit. So do you!

As for when am I going to get married and have babies? One day. Until then, my ovaries and ring finger are nobody’s damn business.  

As for if I'm losing, well, I haven't stopped winning since I took my first breath. 


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