Thursday, July 7, 2016

THE TICKING CLOCK; “Still a Virgin?” “Not Married Yet?” “Don’t Want Kids?” Tick Tock – Is Your Time Really Running Out? By Elisabeth McGowan

Elisabeth McGowan
Wow, you haven’t slept with anyone yet? How do you live with yourself? What? You’re 30 years old and you’re not married, and you don’t want kids? You should be with a man, not on your own…Do these questions sound familiar? Obviously, we all know they’re implied by some people in this society, but I hope that you haven’t been the victim of these horrendous questions because that could only mean one thing: that the questionnaire had nothing better to do than to taunt you. So here’s some advice from someone who literally goes against all of the societal stereotypes people my age should have already experienced – forget about them. What they’re saying to you is useless.   
I’m sure many others are on my side with this. I mean, come on, why would anyone have the audacity to ask something so personal, then even make it inappropriate as the questions seethe with the speaker’s own venomous, judgmental tongue?Even at age 19, I have been asked from people   my age why I don’t dream about growing old and raising three cute little kids while working at a clerical job. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of this as long as you wanted it…but I’m here to say that I’m sorry; I don’t want any of this. At least for right now. 
I have my own career aspirations, my own dreams, and all the hard work that I’m putting into my life at this young age. Why do I have to listen to any of you that want to judge me? Yes, I’m talking to those of you that decided to ask me some questions similar to the ones above. “Why did you do this?” “Why are you studying that at school? That won’t get you anywhere,” and of course, “You should be exploring things now, drugs, more boys, other majors, etc.” Boy, did that make me sick. Congratulations, you’ve accomplished questioning my motives behind my personal and career-wise decisions. But you did not succeed in affecting me. Ahem, sorry not sorry.
Trust me, I really understand what it feels like to have people suddenly get on your back about what you’re doing with your life. But here’s the thing…it’s your life. Not theirs. Then again, the argument sometimes is that the inquisitive ones were “just trying to help you.” Okay fine, but why did you try to “help” with such a condescending tone and facial expression? Don’t worry, I picked up on that. We all picked up on that – us who have been constantly challenged about our life decisions. The whole notion that life is short does hold meaning. You should do what you want to do, go on your own adventures that you yourself decided, not anyone else. However, this little philosophy unfortunately gets thrown away, and you go along with what others want for you, all because they were just looking out for you, and trying to help you, right? 

I can honestly tell you that you’re not the only one who has had to put up with people, even those that are close to you, practically biting you with these questions. The Ticking Clock is such a profound and realistic play because of how easy it is to make a connection with its characters. Its writers, Faina Vitebsky, Juliana Forsberg-Lary, Sophia Mahmud, and Katie Skiff portray four characters who struggle with societal presentations of women. The play examines these four women of different age gaps that have faced the above inquiries; each woman similarly deals with the typical “polite” interrogations from family and/or friends about their life choices. The topic differs between each character, whether if it involves reasons for virginity, not getting married, or not bearing children.
Now I’m not trying to just be a promoter here, I promise you…this play depicted a very real and empathetic connection with reality. Each tick of the background clock just adds more intensity to every line from each character. I felt like I was looking at four people that mirrored what everyone like me who undergoes this impending, doomsday “20 Questions” game. Clearly, you don’t know me and I don’t know you, but I’m telling you….if this play spoke to me, a person who does not want to hear suggestions from people, then it would definitely speak to you too.
So have you faced these little, yet largely insulting questions? Have you actually asked yourself why you hadn’t achieved what other people had already done at your age? Do you feel like your life is just a clock, ticking and pushing you to go out and do the “normal,” societal things that others do? Please comment below! 
And come see The Ticking Clock at the Riant Theatre for the Strawberry One-Act Festival at the Theatre at St. Clement’s, 423 West 46th Street. Show dates are July 20th at 5:30 pm, July 22nd at 10:30 pm, and July 24th at 5:30 pm.

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