Like any style-obsessed Millennial, I was organizing my Pinterest boards the other day when I made a surprising discovery.
I had a “wedding” board.
I checked its contents and shocked myself even more.
Pin after pin, wedding gowns and mock-up center pieces appeared. I didn’t understand why they had made their way into the sacred space of my Pinterest profile.
It dated back to December 2014.
Around this time, I was about to leave for a semester abroad to Spain. I was having problems with my then-boyfriend.
Distance and separation were certainly on my mind, so why was I building up a Pinterest board and planning a future wedding?
A few months after breaking up with him, it all made sense: I was trying to make it work.
He was in love with the idea of a family, settling down and getting married.
I, on the other hand, was enthused by traveling, writing and becoming an entrepreneur.
But as any passionate young woman, I fell in love hard, with the polar opposite of myself: a man who wanted children and stability.
Even at 20 years old, these things matter.
The problems between us had become unbearable.
I couldn’t allow myself to throw it all away. Yet, I couldn’t stand another fight that ended with “I love you, but I can’t date a girl who isn’t here."
The argument was completely understandable to outsiders, but not to me.
In the first few weeks of dating, I told him my plans. He responded, “I’m not trying to tie you down."
Desperate for answers, I tried to fall in love with the idea of marriage.
Maybe it wasn’t so bad after all.
I pinned dress after dress. Monique Lhuillier and Vera Wang were both featured in my make-believe collage.
It’s surprising to me how much I was willing to change just to earn a partner.
So, what does a girl do when she doesn’t have the bride gene? How do we ever find partners in a patriarchal society that dictates the needs and dreams of young women?
How much of ourselves do we need to lose in order to fall in love?
A few months into my study abroad semester, the ex-boyfriend visited.
We were sitting on a bench at Plaza España in Madrid when he told me he was concerned with me because I didn’t seem “as badass as before."
I believe his exact words were, “I want to see the girl I fell in love with."
That’s when I realized you can never change for someone else, regardless of the possibility of gaining something in return. It doesn't matter if it’s love.
The Pinterest board was just a mask.
It was the last strike to materialize a desire I hadn’t been programmed with.
Yes, the thought, “If only I had wanted to get married or have kids, we would be together,” still haunts me.
But as I type this essay, I look into the collage I made with memories from my travels around Europe. The cryptic thoughts go away.
There’s no Pinterest board (or relationship) that can top that.