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A woman has married herself after refusing to bow to pressure to find love by 30.
Patricia Christine, 29, from Sydney, Australia, decided to throw a solo wedding in order to commit to 'self-love and growth', shunning societal expectations to 'find a man' before her next big birthday.
So, she got to work purchasing everything she needed for the big day - from flowers to a wedding ring to a dress and jewellery.
Patricia invited nine close friends to her big day, which took place in a park near her home.
They each read out what self-love meant to them, and then Patricia went on to make vows to herself in an emotional, socially distanced ceremony.
Her vows included quotes such as: "I love me despite the mistakes I have made" and "I commit to being kind to myself and trusting in myself".
She also declared: "I commit to following my dreams no matter how big or small".
After the vows, the group shared a picnic to celebrate.
Explaining why she went ahead with the big day, Patricia said that society's obsession with people having their marriage, career, home and kids sorted by the age of 30 pushed her to rebel.
"Society pressures us, particularly when we're nearing 30 to find someone and settle down," she said. "I wanted to defy societal expectations and show women that the most important relationship we have is with ourselves.
"My parents haven't pushed me to get married, but I feel society puts pressure on women especially to have everything figured out at such a young age.
"We search our whole lives to make a huge declaration to another but we don't do it for ourselves first. My self-marriage was borne out of pain and disappointment."
Explaining her decision to go it alone, she added: "I was in an abusive, loveless relationship and had the courage to leave instead of continuing on and pretending everything was fine.
"If I listened to society, I'd probably be in a loveless marriage, depressed and feeling trapped. I wanted the day to be all about self-commitment and self-worth and I wanted to show that you can be completely worthy and completely loving all by yourself.
"Society often condemns us from tooting our own horns. We are shamed for recognising our own uniqueness and shamed if we don't follow the same path or what is deemed as socially acceptable.
"I bought myself a sparkly ring, some jewellery and sunflowers to mark my special day. My friends then stood around me as my maid of honour Tan read out beautiful things about my journey to self-commitment and I couldn't help but cry."
"After I said my vows we all sat down and had a picnic together and took some beautiful photos to capture the memory.
"But my ceremony did cause quite the stir and I'm not entirely sure why, with some people commenting 'congratulations' on my social media posts in a sarcastic way.
"What got under my skin was the fact that I was shamed for loving me. When 50 per cent of marriages end in divorce, why are we so quick to judge someone who's single?
"I know that some people will find holding a ceremony as an act of love for myself weird, but what I find weird is that people will happily commit to someone who doesn't honour them."
Despite marrying herself, Patricia is still open to finding a partner in the future.
In fact, she thinks her self-love ceremony might even improve the chances of meeting The One.
"I believe that someday I will meet someone truly amazing who will be right for me, but the love I have for myself will always come first," Patricia said.
"If you don't have love for yourself, you only attract people out of desperation and a need for co-dependency.
"My vows recapped all the hardships, lessons and learnings I have had over the last ten years or so and the promises I make to myself going forward.
"I love me and I can't wait to see where this journey of self-love and commitment takes me."
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