1. Marrying for love, not expectations.
I’m going to get married when it’s something I want to do, not because you’re supposed to. I’ve seen too many people get anxiety because they’ve been dating for three years and they don’t have a ring on it. Or, a lot of people get anxiety because they’re 27 and they don’t have “adult” things like a house and a grown-up job and a husband/wife. If you don’t feel like an adult, simply obtaining adult things won’t change that, which is why now, after the wedding, after getting a house, all the people who had that anxiety still have it.
2. Having a financially responsible ceremony.
The average wedding costs k. There are many, many things I would do with ,000, having a wedding is not one of them. It’s just not financially responsible for the vast majority of people. That’s a down payment on a house.
3. Not hiring a wedding photographer.
Wedding photos are a weird abyss of one-up-manship that no one can win and I don’t want to have competitive winning/losing feelings about my wedding. Plus, it’s ridiculously expensive to get great photos and just… not worth it when you consider that the best photos are ones you take in the moment, when you’re happy. Even if your wedding photographer takes pics where you look happy and in the moment, those aren’t the memories it will evoke. You’ll remember trying all night to make sure you get that one great shot. A decent photographer starts at ,500 — for that money you could go on a great vacation together and take a ton of candid (and genuine) shots of each other with your iPhone cameras.
4. Not having bridesmaids.
Okay, I’m going to have bridesmaids because my best friends are just too precious to me. However, they’ll wear their own dresses (they have great taste, I trust them). I won’t make them do random chores for me like picking out the groomsmen socks. They’ll just show up and toast to the happy couple in a very sincere, friendly type of way. Nothing forced, nothing fake.
5. My dogs will be my flower girl/ring bearer
Because, come on. That is freaking adorable, and my dogs deserve to be part of my wedding, they are always there for me.
6. Having a very short service.
I’m catholic, so having a wedding ceremony is special to me. However, I am inviting people who are not catholic or religious and they shouldn’t have to sit through an hour and a half ceremony they don’t understand the importance of just to wish me well. A great wedding ceremony is 20 minutes long.
7. Zero kitsch.
There will be no mustaches for people to wear. No chalkboards. No Pinterest crafts. It’s a personal preference I think from being a millennial and preferring clean, minimal design. Plus, that’s a lot of time and money that really isn’t the point of getting married or having a party, for me.
8. Not asking for gifts.
I’m already asking people to travel to me and sit through a wedding ceremony. It feels gauche to ask for presents on top of that. I’m in love, clearly, and it’s not 1950/I’m not 18 and just starting my life. I already have a blender and a toaster, it’s not like I need people to give me stuff for my life. That’s not the point. It costs, on average, 2 to go to a wedding — before you buy a gift. I just want to have fun with my friends, that is enough.
9. The dress.
Not interested. Not even a little bit. It’s not because I hate fashion or I don’t want to look nice, it’s because it doesn’t matter. I’ll wear a friend’s or my sister’s gown if they’ll allow me to borrow it. I can’t spend hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on a garment I’m going to wear one time. In no universe is that a wise decision.
10. The groom.
My mom loves to watch the show Four Weddings — where four brides go to each other’s weddings and judge each other based on four categories: dress, venue, food, and overall experience. The obvious question is, what about the groom? Isn’t that the most important part of getting married for a woman? That’s the category that matters, and the only one that carries any weight in your actual life. It’s the only category I really care to be judged on — what kind of person do I choose to spend my life with?
“It’s all over now—Jodie Foster is married,” my wife taunted me last night after learning that the 51-year-old Oscar winner had wed girlfriend Alexandra Hedison over the weekend.
My wife was making fun of the fact that I’ve had a long-time crush on Jodie Foster—ever since I can remember, actually. (I most likely first saw her on an episode of The Courtship of Eddie’s Father.) But my feelings for Foster were never really about sexual attraction or objectification the way most celebrity crushes seem to be. As a child actor in the 1970s, Foster was just a few years older than me, so I connected with her. She seemed like the wise and cool older sister an only child like myself would’ve loved to have.
I recall it was somewhat scandalous when she played a child prostitute in Taxi Driver, but I didn’t see that film until I was an adult. The movie that really registered to me at the time was her starring role in The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane. I saw that film when it came out in 1976, and Foster’s assured acting made an impression that haunts me to this day.
The plot of Little Girl involves a fiercely independent and intelligent 13-year-old girl who lives in a small town all by herself where she is constantly harassed by adults (including a pedophile played by Martin Sheen) who wonder where her parents are. It turns out her abusive mother and terminally ill father divorced years before, and her father set her up with enough money to support herself after he died. As the story unfolds we learn that the young lady later murdered her mother with poison provided by her father and that the corpse is in the cellar. All of the child’s resourcefulness is called for, though, when the bodies start to pile up.
As a seven-year-old I was enthralled with Jodie Foster’s character in this story, and it fueled my own childhood fantasies of independence. The film also scared the shit out of me. It was the first time I saw a dead body on screen. The movie’s sense of dread was unshakable for a long time afterward.
But it’s not just her acting that has gained my admiration over the years. A true Renaissance woman and overachiever who can act, direct, produce, and sing(!), Ms. Foster graduated from Yale magna cum laude and has two children. In a sleazy industry of extroverts, Jodie Foster has remained an intensely private person—and who can blame her after the whole attempted assassination of President Reagan fiasco? Her comportment impresses with quiet class. I once saw footage of her in a crowd and when some jerk handed her a photo of Travis Bickle, she calmly and quickly passed it to her bodyguard and kept going, unfazed.
In an era where every actor that comes out is heralded as a hero, Foster has let her fans speculate about her sexuality for decades. She lived a quiet life with her children and partner before finally—and sheepishly—coming out last year. Even then she noted that celebrities are now expected to reveal they’re gay “with a press conference, a fragrance and a prime-time reality show.”
And finally there is her character. Whether giving sage advice to a drug-addled Robert Downey, Jr. or being called “cowardly” in the press for waiting so long to come out, Jodie Foster has always done things her way. As far as I can tell she is the only member of the film industry that has defended Mel Gibson. She refused to throw her friend under a media-driven bus. And she was criticized for it. That shows integrity.
Yep, that Alexandra Hedison is one lucky lady.
Yes, I am the girl with junk in her trunk. I washed and cleaned out my car yesterday; I opened the trunk took a gander and shut it without removing a single item. In the back there is a Valentine’s Day card from my ex-husband, Marco. It is dated 2011. I read it. He sent it to me 3 years ago from rehab. It was filled with empty and temporary heartfelt promises. He wrote of his love for me because I stood by his side for so many years. Obligation. I am not interested in anyone’s obligation to me nor my obligations to anyone. If I do something for someone it is because I want to and not out of sense of duty. It is not coincidental that the word obligation is a synonym to the word burden. At some point in our marriage burdens were popping up like acne.
Yes, I am the girl with junk in her trunk. I felt nothing as I read every dated word. Nothing. There is no residue that Marco left behind. I have no contempt or resentment for him. I truly understand the nature of alcoholism, as best as a non-alcoholic can. I read the books; I get it. Every word said is meant wholeheartedly in the moment in which it was stated. And that is all. The moment only. Only. Words are empty, and yet I hung onto them like an addict myself. The next card, the next poem, the next promise, the next sweet text, the next, the next, always the next, never the now. I found a sick fulfillment in vacant words. They propelled me through an evening, a day, or a week. I thrived upon them, and quickly they appeared when my heart was broken.
Yes, I am the girl with junk in her trunk. And it is MY junk. I have no blame to lay. I have no names to curse. I have no god to blaspheme. My junk is with me. I do not blame, curse, or blaspheme myself, but I am wise enough to realize that until I look at me, my part, and my hand, I will never heal. I disappointed myself. I would lie awake in the dark of the night wondering how and when I would make an exit. And I woke everyday with a renewed sense of false hope. Everyday was a Resurrection and a Last Judgment, torturous when you are not being true to yourself. My love for Marco overshadowed my wants and desires. Obligation. When I point a finger, it is at myself, painful but necessary.
Yes, I am the girl with junk in her trunk. When I was preparing to go on a date a while back, my friend told me to take a tiny purse. Evidently purse size is indicative of emotional baggage and a turn off to guys. I can see how that translates, but the truth is, I may always have baggage. But I do not carry the cloak of victim hood. I do not carry the cloak of freak circumstance. I take full responsibility for my decisions and choices, even when I felt my inner voice was stifled.
Yes, I am the girl with junk in her trunk. Somehow, I managed to get a guy to fall in love with me in a matter of days. I sent no signals, gave off no sexual energy. He is a great guy and perhaps the most sincere person I have met outside of my close circle of friends and family. I could easily be his “one.” And yet, I am not ready. I enjoy living alone and having no expectations put upon me. I need to deal with the myriad of ways that I have let myself down before I can have a real connection with a partner, or maybe I just wasn’t interested.
Truly, it is not junk hidden in the back of a car or baggage in an over sized purse if I am working it out. I am content and peaceful with my process of facing reality, and what more could I ask for? Until I clean it all out, yes, I am the girl with junk in her trunk.
It’s called “comfort” for a reason, and if it means that we’re already comfortable with the way things are, why step away from it? I mean, if we’re going to continue to live in a world that changes in every aspect in every second, there has to be something constant to keep us… normal. These constants can take form in certain things that we are so used to doing, that we become comfortable making it a part of our routine, that they can give us consolation in times of uncertainty since they help re-establish our identity and reasons for doing such things.
Or they can take form in people that we’re so used to seeing and hanging out with, that can become the same people we turn to for safety and comfort, and reliability and strength.
These constants serve to keep us from going insane, help steer us in the right direction, and occasionally nudge us forward when we are so caught up in change that we forget where we’re supposed to go.
But what happens when the things that you’re comfortable doing become pointless? What if the people that you’re so comfortable being around, are suddenly unable to continue walking with you in this journey you’re taking which everyone calls life?
Life is about change. Things change, objects fade. People change, and our very emotions are subject to change as well. One day, we might not feel as close or as strongly for a certain person as we did before and vice versa. But what’s keeping us from letting that thing or that person go is the knowledge that whatever happens, that thing or that person will always be there, no matter what the circumstance; and that’s a powerful thing, for their presence, as well as yours, provides the much needed constancy that everybody craves. This and the fear of going out there without having a safety net or something to go back to is so strong that it keeps people together even when it is no longer beneficial to a person’s well-being and growth. Women in abusive relationships are afraid that by leaving the relationship, they will be subject to a much more terrible kind of pain than what they are already experiencing. The fear of the unknown is what’s holding most people back.
Given the choice, I’d rather stay in the comfort zone than subject myself to all kinds of fear and uncertainty that comes with leaving the zone. But there are certain instances where I don’t get a say at all. There are situations that force the people who I am so close to, out of my life, and it seems that I can no longer continue to walk down this path without them. But I can’t stop now. I’ve gone so far already. It’s hard to have to let go. The fear of uncertainty rushes inside these veins. And given the choice, I’d rather not leave all things which were so comfortable to me. And now I shall be exposed to the change which I see so often, except now, I will have no safety net to fall on, no safety house to go back to. I am totally and completely and utterly alone at this point.
But after a while I find that that feeling only lasts for a short period of time.
The fear lives, but it dies as soon as the person is willing to trust the Maker of the universe that everything happens for a purpose. You could say that it probably was meant to be that we were forced out of our comfort zones because in the end, we may get something much better in return. After everything that would have happened, more often than not, it would have been all worth the fears and the actual stepping past of the comfort zone. And we realize, that nothing is forever, but that’s okay because change doesn’t always mean bad, and having a safety net does not always get a person as far as he would’ve liked. Many times, we may make unnecessary sacrifices and compromises just to keep that feeling of safety with us. And there may be times when the safety net will imprison us unknowingly, and prevent us from doing what we think, needs to be done. But we have it in our power to let go of such things, however vulnerable we may feel without it, and the end will justify the means in this circumstance.
I was scrolling down my Twitter timeline the other day and I read someone’s repost from Thought Catalog saying something along the lines of knowing better than to post shit from this site, but he couldn’t resist that particular article. This guy is a journalist and is proud to be one, and he thinks that other writers (bloggers, per se) aren’t “real writers” because they don’t write about the news, sports, business, or some other incredibly important thing that the public needs to read. And because they don’t have that much-coveted black-and-white byline.
Now wait a minute. Who ever said that writing for a newspaper is the only valid form of writing?
I took Journalism in college but I don’t have the patience (or understanding) to write about current events or similar topics. But I don’t think that means I’m not a writer. I don’t think that anyone who writes online is less of a writer than those who get published in newspapers or magazines.
Personally, I don’t agree with all the articles on Thought Catalog. In fact, I sort of loathe listicles (even when I’m guilty of writing some of my own) and how people repost them as if they were excerpts from the Bible. I find it funny how articles like “10 Boyfriends You Meet In Your Life” or “27 Best Tips For Twenty-Somethings” are quoted as if they were official lists that are completely fool-proof and have been researched for the past century. I don’t agree with some satires here that are entirely too offensive or outrageous to be effective.
I’ve read hundreds of comments about how Thought Catalog is on the decline and I understand where some of these readers are coming from. But nonetheless I appreciate Thought Catalog for its variety. There is something in it for almost everyone, from opinions on current events to the odd listicles to emotional pieces on life and love. People are encouraged to write, no matter which culture they grew up in or if they’re “real writers.”
Thought Catalog isn’t a Bible or an award-winning entity like Time, and I highly discourage anyone to date someone who thrives on and lives their lives by what they read on here. But I don’t think writers from here or any other online publication deserve to be bashed for having an online byline. I don’t say this because I’m a blogger or because I’ve had other work published here. In fact, I am no more than an amateur blogger who insists on writing about what little life experience I’ve had. But I am still a writer. Even when my work is no longer published anywhere other than my ratty journal, I still believe I am a writer.
I’m tired of being afraid to write because I’m scared to be judged on my intelligence for not writing about “more important things.” I’m tired of not writing because I’m not a “real writer” if I’m not a journalist. Or a novelist. Or a highly successful blogger.
I mind when I see articles on here that, in my opinion, are utter bullshit. I mind when I read comments about how this website has deteriorated and also when I read reposts about how Thought Catalog is the best damn thing on the planet and we should all bow down to it and live our lives by its awesome code. I don’t mind when I hear about how some writers are better than others, but I mind most of all when people start ranting about who, about what and where people can and cannot write.
It’s okay if you’re a renowned journalist or a second-rate wannabe blogger. But never tell anyone that they cannot or should not write.
If you don’t like it, then don’t read it. Nobody forced you to click on that link or open that newspaper.
Write, and let write. That’s the way it should be.