Betrothed to Myself
“I have always felt incomplete and it’s when you entered my life that I was able to get away from the emptiness that consumed me. You are my better half, my soulmate, the one who makes me feel whole and may our life together be infused with faith, love, understanding and respect forever and ever. ”
The newly wedded couple made their eternally binding vows to one another at the centre of the hall, lost in each other’s arms, staring longingly into each other’s eyes, making even the stone-hearted widowed aunt sparingly shed a tear. Today was their day, their day of celebration; celebration of their unconditional love and celebration of the beginning of a new venture that they would now embark on together. They were the once lost souls who were fortunate enough to have found each other to be each other’s companion in the maze of life. A major milestone in life that hundreds of people stood witness to in adoration, including myself, the silent spectator who has been to countless weddings to know the order of the usual songs on the DJ’s playlist like the back of my hand. The brand ambassador of singlehood touted to have insane and unrealistic expectations. The one whose friends are always desperately setting up blind dates for, in the hopes of not having a third wheeler for theirs. The one with a reserved spot at the wedding bar while the others dance with their partners to the sappy old slow songs. The one who tries to keep a low profile at weddings, yet still is at the receiving end of an assortment of intrusive comments like:
‘You’re next dear!’ (wink wink)
- A distant uncle looking for another excuse to get drunk.
‘You are already 28, you should find yourself someone before it’s too late…or you’ll live life in regret.’ (pitiful looks)
-School classmate, married at 21, now divorced.
‘People have started talking about you...better get hitched soon.’ (feigns concern)
- The neighbourhood aunty who started said ‘talks’ and wants to set me up with her 40 year old son.
Miserable. Pathetic. Doomed to endless torment. This must be how all those people perceived my life to be when the reality was that I couldn’t be happier with my life than what it was at present. Dream job. Check. Travelled to all the famous cities. Check. Published a book. Check. Gave a TedTalk at my alma mater. Check. At peace with myself. Check. Check. Check. I was on the path to accomplishing all the things on my bucket list, a list which simply did not call for a lifelong companion. Never thought of it to be a need nor a priority yet, each time I attended another joyous occasion of matrimony, I couldn’t help but think of the possibility of experiencing such a day myself. A day of pomp and splendour, where I could be appreciated and acknowledged, not for being with someone else, but for being with myself. A day I could always cherish for all the achievements that I had made and that being significant enough to call for a celebration. A day where I could openly declare to the world how much I felt loved and committed to myself. The ultimate truth was, I wanted to get married...to myself!
The practice of self-marriage or sologamy dates back to 1993 when Linda Baker decided to say ‘I do’ to herself on her 40th birthday. Her reasoning behind the same was rather simple, “It’s about doing things for yourself and not waiting around for someone else to make it happen.” A 2003 episode of Sex and The City had also brushed upon the idea when the protagonist wanted her girlfriends to join her in celebrating her decision to be single. With time, the practice has become more mainstream, with more individuals choosing to marry themselves, especially women. Nevertheless, even in today’s ‘woke’ times, this non-traditional marriage still raises a lot of eyebrows and questions.
The most common question is why. Is it a trend? A feminist propaganda? A delusion created to escape reality? Or just another spectacle people create to make the headlines? While there are no definite answers to the aforementioned questions, sologamy can be considered as a movement of sorts against an age-old convention; that we are all born as halves and are not ‘enough’ unless we are completed by another. It serves to prove the point that being alone and enjoying such a lifestyle is nothing to condemn but to be commemorated. Afterall, who better to marry than someone who has been with you from the beginning and is guaranteed to stay till your last breath?
While sologamy isn’t a legitimate practice, there aren’t any laws that prohibit anyone from doing so. It’s an opportunity where you truly ‘make or break the rules’. With no legal aspects involved, one can freely undertake the nuptial ceremonies and rituals as they wish, be it within the comforts of their bedroom or in the grand ambience of a banquet hall. The practice also doesn’t necessarily dictate that you have to be alone/faithful to yourself after marriage. Being alone is not the endgame of all those who marry themselves and hence it’s possible that further along the way they find a partner whom they want to spend time with. However, this partner would only be considered as a cherry on top rather than an incessant need, to conform to the expectations of society.
Having a day entirely devoted to oneself is seen to be over the top and viewed as a form of deep-rooted perversion by some. Often considered to be a narcissistic practice and of misleading human nature, there is also a misogynistic hatred against it as the majority of the individuals who practice sologamy are women. Mostly due to the fact that even today, most people cannot digest the concept of a happy independent woman and they fear that men could become irrelevant. However, we live in the times, where we realize the importance of self-love and acceptance and for many, sologamy is just another way to reaffirm that much needed faith in themselves and what might empower those who seek to be free from the pressure of complying with those crude norms that are dictated and only rewarded by society. It would be a reason to give my eagerly awaiting distant uncle one hell of a celebration, where this time around he would only raise toasts to me. I could finally relieve my friends of the duty of having to find me an individual suiting my ‘high standards’ and let the neighbourhood aunty who had been behind me with such passion, know that I finally tied the knot, just not with her son (sorry not sorry). It would be an act of rebellion, a rebellion of self love, of self compassion and of self reliance, a rebellion that provides a beacon of hope to many of us, who are the silent spectators and the lone wolves. Cause when you make your own ‘Main Tera’ edits and occasionally treat yourself to well- deserved spa days, why should a line be drawn when it comes to indulging in festivities of marriage to yourself?
- Archana Vipin Nair