Biological Stopwatch (Blog) / by Shanelle Gabriel

My boy Karsten likes my rants on Twitter but won't comment on there, so I figured I'd blog about this subject.

I recently discovered that I may be an undercover feminist.

Not in the "man-hating, women are always right, men can't get it right" way. I just believe in fairness and equality for each gender's pursuit of happiness. As a woman in her mid-20s, I'm beginning to see that this belief goes against the societal norm. What led me to enlightenment? Look at your watch.

When women age, especially when we begin creeping to the "dreaded" 30, folk start talking about biological clock. Once I hit 23, my cousin (who's 2 years younger than me) made it her duty every birthday to remind me that I'm "losing eggs and need to start fertilizing them." Is she joking? I tell myself she is and ignore her.

In the last few years, I've done some pretty cool things: released an album, traveled to the majority of the US states, performed internationally, and made great friends. It's always bugged to hear someone say at the end of that conversation, "Wow...so you're too busy for love" or "So when are you gonna settle down?" It's as if my entire life has been built up to me ending it all for a husband and 3.5 kids.

I can't say that I don't desire these things. I do look forward to the day I can share my love and laughs with someone who loves me and my corny jokes. Contrary to popular belief, I am pretty domestic: cooking and cleaning are stress relievers for me, and I've been taking care of kids since I was a kid. One day I realized how many baby showers and weddings I had to go to, and I started listening to the people asking me "where my man/husband was" and reminding me (whether I asked them or not) that "he's coming." I had a period where my biological clock was deafening. Then recently, I babysat my 3 year old goddaughter. She woke me up early every morning, and I remembered that when you have a child, they become your life. It revolves around shaping his or her future and tending to their needs. The thought of not sleeping in on Sundays and looking for a babysitter when I want to take a spa day made me look at my watch again. That day my biological clock became a stopwatch. I stopped it.

As women, we are socialized to one day become mothers, not to become humans. Our first toys are baby dolls to be fed and rocked to sleep. Boys play with work toys like trucks, tools, and action figures. We're taught to love hard. Guys are taught to be strong. Guys aren't saying to each other, "Yo, brotha, when you gonna settle down, get married & have some kids?" (Unless the guy is married himself.) Instead you hear "So you still messin with that chick, the one with the Double Ds?"

Women are pressured to settle down, but men are pressured to stay on their grind, which usually means 'Don't settle down.' My friend Gia Linelle said, "Times have changed. Men used to be pressured to make money in order to provide. Now its just money." Striving for self-actualization is not a sin- for either gender. The right person will want the best for their partner and will love them for it. They'll want the other to have their own life and their own happiness both with them and outside of them.

So I'm keeping my finger on the stopwatch's pause button. As the Bible says "Occupy till I come," I'll enjoy my life and work toward my goals whether a man is in the picture or not. I know what I'm like when I'm in love, what I'm like when I'm settled & how I am with kids. I'm fine waiting for the right person to bring those elements together. Till then, I'm not waiting for a man on a horse to save me from my present life. I'm making my life one he would be happy to be a part of.

Tick tock, homies...