What is the Path for Women Single by Choice?

Lisa Martens
5 min readAug 10, 2021
Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

When I was a girl, careerism didn’t sit right with me. But I also didn’t want to be a housewife and mom. I remember reading Sylvia Plath’s description of motherhood — basically an unending supply of whole milk in the suburbs — and dreading it.

I remember George Carlin discussing feminism, and this part in particular struck true to me:

What’s the alternative to pumping out a unit every nine months? Pointless careerism? Pointless careerism? Putting on a man-tailored suit with shoulder pads and imitating all the worst behavior of men? This is the noblest thing that women can think of? To take a job in a criminal corporation that’s poisoning the environment and robbing customers out of their money? — George Carlin

I definitely did not want to do that, and I briefly considered becoming a nun or devoting myself to religion. But I did not believe in Christianity once I became a teenager, and becoming a nun and paying lip service to a religion just because I didn’t want to have a career or a family also did not feel true to myself.

I did volunteer a lot, and while it was rewarding, it felt like I was not helping anyone gain any momentum.

Okay, so if I wasn’t going to be religious, maybe I could still volunteer. Right?

When I volunteered in Nicaragua with at-risk kids, it felt more like us volunteers were dictating to the locals what a good and meaningful life was…like we were trying to set them on this American Western path…and if they didn’t oblige, we couldn’t help them.

That doesn’t feel like real help to me. It felt like bribery, almost. I remember trying to help a child write a letter to her sponsor, and she was so afraid of saying something “wrong” that she couldn’t say a thing. No child should have to put their poverty on display and beg for money, and prove they deserve basic amenities with good grades and potential.

And I didn’t really have the tools to improve their lives — I was not a politician, or an engineer who could build better buildings, or a scientist. I was just a person who happened to be born in a more advantageous setting, and now, here I was, telling them to be like me so that they…



Lisa Martens

A remote working Latina. Storytelling is a calling. Read, support, and more here: https://linktr.ee/lisathewriter