To Exist Inside The Ungraspable

Marriage today has come a long way from Neith’s time, but one aspect that hasn’t changed at all is its fantasy of certainty… Freedom is unbearable. We opt again and again for the sugarcoated confinements of matrimony, a promise that life will work out just the way we want it — without that promise, false as it may be, the institution’s many encumbrances might be impossible to bear.

I have come to think that one of the main reasons Neith married Hutch is because she suspected that her innate introversion and desire for stability and order would eclipse and distort her fierce autonomy — that, left alone, she actually would, in a sense, become a “dotty spinster,” insofar as that means turning away from the world instead of sating her curiosities by living in it; in her case, a romantic partner was an escape hatch back to reality… For her then marriage was a way towards more questions, more uncertainty…

This willingness of Neith’s to exist inside the ungraspable strikes me as the bravest stance of all.

— Kate Bolick, Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own (p 119)

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