Tag Archives: lifestyle

Hating on Marriage

Recently I have seen a lot of articles hating on marriage. More specifically, married women. Which could lead me into an entire diatribe of why society feels that when men get married it shows that they’re committed and honorable and when women get married it shows that they’re desperate and need a man to define them. But that’s a topic for another time.

Right now I want to discuss why society is hating on marriage. I mean, there’s a huge global movement fighting for the rights for marriage. Gay marriage has been a hot button issue for my entire adult life and yet, getting married is selling out or losing yourself or giving up your freedom. If that’s what marriage is for heterosexuals, then the homosexual community should turn back now! Do not enter! This marriage place is THE WORST!Tandem Love

Except that it’s actually not. And that’s why they’re fighting for it.

Obviously the real aim of these articles is to celebrate being single which I fully support. I just don’t think you have to hate on marriage to love the single life. In fact, I think if you need to hate on marriage to love the single life then you’re really not loving your single life, but rather rationalizing why it’s better than marriage. I won’t rationalize to you why being married is better than being single because I’m not trying to convince myself that being married is better than being single. My path ultimately led me to marriage. Maybe yours won’t. Both are still good paths.

I know a lot of women. I have known a lot of women. Married, single, divorced, old, young, feminists, pro-life activists, religious, atheist, gay, straight, smart, not so smart, funny, mean. A lot of women. I am a woman. I’ve been on this planet for twenty-seven years. It was bound to happen.

Some of the women I know started looking for marriage at a ripe, young age. My freshman year of college I was introduced to the “Ring Before Spring” concept. That is, the girls that go to college simply to find a husband and fully expect to be engaged before they graduate – and maybe even forego graduation in favor of marriage. Some of those women are happily married. Some are still single. Some are maybe divorced.

I know other women, like myself, who were never going to marry. That’s right, I’m writing a blog post talking about NOT hating on marriage and yet, when I was twenty-one I could have written a post on exactly the opposite. Namely, why marriage is an unfounded institution that is the work of governments to keep better track of their citizens. But you know what? I didn’t hate on married people. In fact, I used to tell my parents – who have been happily married for over 40 years despite that they married at a young, impressionable, hardly knew themselves age of 19 and 23 – that they gave their children unrealistic expectations of marriage because theirs is so wonderful. So, despite not needing marriage to find fulfillment in my own life, I recognized that marriage could be an incredibly beautiful and powerful union.

I knew myself before I met my – now – husband. And I know myself now. And they’re not the same people. Because I have had some significant life changes. I opened myself up and let myself be vulnerable. I moved to Cartagena, Colombia without much of a plan and loved/hated every minute of it. I learned more about the immigration process than anyone should ever have to know. I have had multiple real, life-altering experiences with God. I road-tripped across the United States. I picked up my home base and moved it across state lines permanently for the first time in my entire life. Oh yeah, also, I got married.

Wedding DayAnd you know what? I love being married. Not for the title – in fact, two and half years later and it still freaks me out a little bit that I’m someone’s wife – or the security, though sometimes that is nice, but because I love my husband and we both know that our marriage took work and significant commitment before we ever said any vows or signed any papers. That sounds sappy and a little ridiculous even to my own ears and I don’t know if I would feel exactly the same if I was in a committed relationship with the same man and we never signed papers. If we were just partners instead of husband and wife – because marriage really is just paperwork in many ways. But marriage was the path for us – the best path for us and I don’t regret it for a single second.

Sure, sometimes I long to buy a plane ticket and just take off. And I can’t. And, you know what, that moment sucks. And then I think about why I can’t do that and it doesn’t suck quite as much anymore. I remember how much I really love my life now and maybe taking off to a foreign country isn’t the right path or direction for my life in this moment. And when it is again – and it will be, I assure you – then everything will fall into place and we’ll come to it on our path.

The moral of this story? Being married isn’t a bad thing. A married woman isn’t a sell out and a single woman isn’t going to be a cat lady. Being single is amazing and if you are single, enjoy every second of your single life. But don’t love being single because you think I, the married woman, am miserable. Because I’m not. And you don’t need to convince yourself that I’m miserable in order for you to be happy.

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I am afraid of you.

For most of my life I have been pretty confident about who I am. About the fact that I know myself. Sure, some of what I thought I knew was me projecting what I wanted to be. And part of it was me projecting what I thought you wanted me to be. But nonetheless, the core was pretty legitimate. The me I know now is not the same me I knew when I was eight or eighteen, but that’s because I have changed and evolved as humans are wont to do. But one fact still remains.

I am afraid of you. I was afraid of you when I was eight and when I was eighteen and now, just under twenty-eight, I’m still afraid of you. The “you” I’m referring to isn’t someone specific. I don’t have nightmares about the killers in horror movies (mostly because I haven’t watched a horror movie in years) or of someone chasing me, it’s nothing like that. The “you” I’m referring to is the general you, as in everyone. Like, you, person reading this, I am afraid of you. And the person sitting next to you in the library and your next door neighbor and your boss and the barista that made your coffee this morning.

Before you reconsider the crazy lady typing this post, hear me out. When I’m trying to make a left hand turn and there are cars behind me, I worry that I’m making them angry when my cautious nature doesn’t take the turn when they might have. I picture them pounding their fist on their steering wheel and cursing. I second guess my actions based on the theoretical anger of a person in a car behind me that I will probably never see.

So, sometimes you do see them and they’re angry. That has happened. Not to me directly, but to someone I was with. Said crazy other driver followed us into Wal-Mart and threatened to cut my friend’s throat if he ever took his parking spot again. Perhaps this experience scarred me.

Sometimes if I go through the drive-thru I wonder if the employees are judging me for being too lazy to actually walk inside. And when I have specific requests about what should go in my latte, I just generally assume that the barista hopes that I never visit during her shift again. I know very little about pop culture and haven’t seen very many movies. But if someone’s trying to talk to me about something and on reference three I still don’t understand, I just pretend I do so they won’t think I have literally been living under a rock.

I have friends with very different political and religious beliefs. They’re all mashed up on my Facebook Stalker Feed which suffers from severe bi-polar disorder. And I try to walk this line with my own Facebook posts as to not overtly offend anyone. I’m not afraid of my opinions, but I never wish to hurt the heart of someone else with intention.

I guess, what it boils down to, is that I try to figure out what you’re thinking. Why you’re thinking it. What I did to cause you to think it. Because I guess, what I’m really afraid of isn’t you, per se, but your approval or lack thereof. I think we all want approval. We want someone to acknowledge that what we’re doing, saying, wearing, thinking is okay. And I want you to think that me being cautious before I make that left hand turn is responsible rather than thinking I’m the worst driver ever.

There are some people who are extremely self-assured or extremely oblivious. And maybe you’re reading this thinking I must be extremely insecure or neurotic or paranoid or a total narcissist for thinking other people even notice me that much. Fair enough, maybe I’m all of those things. But I’m also honest and you have to take the good with the bad, right?

But if, perhaps, you’re reading this and relating a bit, you should know that I approve of you. I approve of your fear. Not that I think we shouldn’t try to conquer it. We should. Screw that driver behind you, you’re protecting your life and possibly one of the most expensive things you own – your car. That driver can wait. But know that you’re not alone thinking all those things you think. I think most of them too.

One Month of Happiness

My birthday is next week. And since I knew it wouldn’t be a particularly remarkable birthday with my husband away and only just starting to really develop close friendships here, I thought I would amp up the special-ness by doing a little something special every day of the month.

It sounds great, right? Almost lavish and extravagant. And completely narcissistic to celebrate the day of my birth for an entire thirty days. But it’s not as though I went out broadcasting my plan (until now) and I didn’t try to convince anyone to gift me anything. Some of them were simple, like taking a long, hot bath. Or leaving early enough for work to get coffee. Simple, right? And yet, not so simple.

This may sound strange, but I found that I had to force myself sometimes to do things that make me happy. Like, buying a new pair of jeans – I had to force myself to do this. Even though having jeans with a working zipper and no holes in the inner thighs would make me happy, trying jeans on in a dressing room in front of a full length mirror did not sound like a good time.

Or taking time out to write an actual blog post. Writing them makes me happy. Posting them makes me happy. But there’s the television and endless amounts of crap on-line to fill idle time. Mind you, sometimes shutting down in front of the TV or spending an hour scouring Pinterest can make me happy.

Do Fun Things!And so, I have been thinking about other things that make me happy – genuinely. But that I don’t do for one reason or another. Like, having a clean apartment makes me happy. But I don’t really like cleaning, so it’s usually messy. Buying new clothes that fit and look good and make me feel confident makes me happy. Trying things on and really, just spending money, does not. Cooking. I really enjoy it. But the grocery shopping before and the clean up after – meh.

So, in conclusion, I have all these simple things that make me happy and would improve my overall daily life, but I don’t do them. Why don’t I do them? Because they take a little bit of extra work, time, effort, money or planning. That just seems so… defeatist.

I am happy. I can be happier. And I’m going to start being it.

Early Mornings

I have a love/hate relationships with early mornings. 100_1687

On one hand, I get so much done in the mornings. I am more productive than in any other portion of my day. If I wake up early and get myself motivated, I can get more done before I go into work than I might get done in an entire day otherwise. I also like the mornings to write and reflect. Perhaps it’s because my mind feels freshest – untainted by the day’s worries just yet. Able to relax into a journal or a blog post.

On the other hand, when that alarm sounds, jarring me awake from my sweet, sweet slumber, none of those happy thoughts I have about mornings rise to the surface. Rather I think, “I don’t have to leave for work for another two and a half hours. Do I really need to get up right now?” My bed is so comfortable I could live there for days. The sun isn’t even awake before me – and this to me may be the most distressing about early mornings. It’s best if you’re going to drag yourself out of bed that you can at least open the windows and greet the world. All I can greet is darkness.

Part of my endeavor to rise early is to beat my flesh into submission, so to speak. Now, I’m not talking all angsty teenager or anything. I’ve just spent most my entire life being a slave to my flesh-driven desires. My choices haven’t been healthy for my body and sometimes I even choose to do something that I know I will regret. I’m not talking extremes here, but something as simple as getting a latte from Starbucks. My stomach, for whatever reason, does not respond well to coffee. So unless I begin flushing with water immediately after finishing a cup, I will regret any coffee-drinking decision. And yet, just the other day I found myself with a grande Earl Grey tea soy latte. And the whole day I regretted that one morning decision.

So, it’s really all a test of wills. Can my mind stand against the pull to stay in bed? Who will win out? So far, I must admit, the mind has been doing pretty well! My body is struggling, but by Friday I don’t even notice I’m waking up early. On Monday, however, I remember that I’d like to sleep another hour or so. Like today. Where I’m trying to put off my workout by writing this blog because my body is begging me not to make it start jumping and circulating extensively.

But alas, I am the master of my own destiny and how will I learn, but to obey.

Being Me Despite the Media

I received surprising responses from some girlfriends of mine after my last post. Women who agree that they don’t feel like they have a camp either, but not necessarily women who would be in my same camp. Some were single and happy – not searching for someone to complete them – and felt like society both put that notion on a pedestal and defaced it in the same sentence. Other women who are married and mothers and successful. Who don’t feel tied down by their familial responsibilities and, in many ways, live life as they always have. These women too feel like that blend of life so early in age is something that is never addressed in entertainment or media.

So, perhaps there are many types of women wandering around outside of these two base camps. In fact, could it be that these two societal standards that have been set for women in their early adulthood define just a minority? Is it just because fun, flirty, single twenty-somethings make a more interesting portrait? More exciting? Or perhaps it’s because the media is constantly trying to pound us with stories of sad, destitute people? And a happy single woman screws with the head of a certain breed of man out there wherein they feel there must be something wrong with her. Of course, a happily married wife and mother screws with certain heads as well.Disney Princess

To be honest, and I know this is harsh, but I truly believe that media is the downfall of the American society. I believe that movies and television shows and even the media depict this unrealistic everyday life. And we begin watching the propaganda of what the entertainment industry wants to mold our lives into. What’s acceptable. What’s normal. What you SHOULD be. While out the other end they’re spouting individuality and a non-conformist attitude which, ultimately, you end up dying your hair pink just like everyone else to go against the grain.

Media makes us believe that life should be something it’s not going to be. And it makes me so angry that it does that. I want to scream and throw my television out the window. I don’t have cable, so that wouldn’t accomplish much, but it might make me feel slightly justified.

I know that we, as people, have to take some responsibility. We are free-thinking individuals who can allow our minds to be brainwashed by the onslaught of programming or can rebel against it. It’s everywhere though. In the supermarket, on billboards, at the coffee shop, all over the internet. It’s hard to avoid. And it’s hard not to get sucked in sometimes.

My Facebook profile (Yes, Facebook, “Hey Pot, it’s Kettle. You’re black!”) that was written a while back sums up my personal issues with struggling to realize and accept and be who I really want to be. And be okay with who I am. To forget what society has decided I should be. So, I’ll close with that. And for those who have made it this far, thanks for letting me rant and vent.

A Calm LifeI promise I am not an exciting person. I have tried to love an exciting life, but I have failed miserably with each attempt. I don´t particularly love crowds or loud music unless it´s really good music. I prefer long walks to drunken nights and would generally choose playing board games over a night of dancing. (Though I do occasionally love to dance.)

I like quiet cafes and coffee dates. I am a creature of habit and will almost always order the same thing when returning to a restaurant. While I would love the exhilaration of bungee jumping, I am petrified of heights along with falling in love which I have done and now wrestle with a whole new assortment of phobias.

I love meeting strangers, but am most at home with close friends and family. I´m not afraid to try new things or experience new cultures which I feel makes me merely open-minded and perhaps, sometimes, slightly adventurous. I´m really a small town girl, though I like what the big city has to offer. It has taken me years to realize that this is who I am and I will not succeed at changing it. Still though, occasionally I feel like I should want to get crunk every weekend and I even feel embarrassed that I´m not into it.

But like I said – I´m not an exciting person. I am just me. And after 26 years, I´m totally okay with that (most of the time). That being said, Jenga and Sangria anyone?