Posts tagged ‘introspection’
That’s right, people. Marriage. It’s very difficult to work in the wedding industry (I’m a wedding photographer) and not think about marriage, weddings and love.
Last weekend, I witnessed quite possibly the most beautiful love I have ever seen. I worked a wedding for a couple (we’ll call them A+A) who have been together for something like six years. And they are still mentally, emotionally, totally in love with each other. The kind of love that is not only visible, but palpable. You could feel it when they were together, and you felt happier just being in their presence. They have the kind of love that reaffirms in your mind that true love exists; the kind of love that you feel priviledged to be a witness to.
A+A chose to see each other before the ceremony. I was with him, waiting in a covered walkway for her to arrive. He got more and more excited with every passing moment. Every time he heard footsteps, he lit up. “Is that her? Is she coming?” When my answer was finally “yes”, when he knew that she was finally standing behind him… tears came to his eyes and his smile threatened to split his face. He took deep, calming breaths and blinked rapidly to stop the flow of tears. When he turned around, and saw her in her wedding gown… it was one of those moments that you swear time stands still. Both of their faces exploded into the most beautiful combination of joy and tears. They hugged for a solid five minutes; the entire time, he was whispering “I love you. You’re my best friend. You’re beautiful. I love you.” Over and over again.
For the remainder of the day, they were glowing. They were the definition of a happy, excited couple on their wedding day. Neither of them made it through their vows without having to choke out a few words around their tears.
It was pure magic.
As for me… I can’t imagine myself married. When I attempt to imagine my future, I can see a career… I can see a home… I can even see kids… but I can’t see myself being married. I don’t know why, but it’s just unfathomable to me. And it’s not as though I’ve never been in a serious relationship, so I can’t imagine that kind of love. J and I had the kind of relationship that would usually lead to marriage. People would ask me, “Do you think you’ll marry him?” I would always say, “Oh… I don’t know. We’re not really thinking about that right now.” But in my head, I was thinking, “No.” But that isn’t a response you give when someone asks you if you’re going to marry your very-serious-live-together boyfriend.
And it’s not as though I am (or was) surrounded by broken marriages. My parents have been married for almost 27 years. My sister and her husband are incredibly happily married. All of my grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins were and are happily married. I have one close girlfriend getting married soon, and three others in very serious relationships which I wouldn’t be surprised to see develop into marriages.
I simply can’t see me getting married. I can’t see myself planning a wedding, having a ceremony, and then being married. And that doesn’t really make me sad. I’ve always been equally happy being single and being in a relationship. Being single doesn’t make me lonely or depressed. I don’t spend much time wondering when I will be in a relationship again.
But every once in a while, I witness a relationship like A+A. And I can’t help but think, I want that.
Sometimes I wonder if I would be an alcoholic if I didn’t have more self-control.
Alcoholism runs in my family. My grandfather (on my father’s side) was an alcoholic until about three years ago, when his doctor basically told him to stop drinking so heavily or be prepared to die within the next year. Somehow, after a lifetime of drinking twelve or more beers a day, this got through to him, and now he drinks twelve or more NAs* a day. He was a grumpy and crabby drunk, although never angry or violent. He knew nothing about me, or his other grandchildren, as he could never be bothered to ask. My grandmother handled all presents and cards, and the caring about the grandkids.
I spent my childhood feeling as though I had only one grandfather — my mother’s dad — with whom I was very close. I never spoke to my father’s father, and he never spoke to me. The first time we ever spent time together was a few months into his sobriety. We were at our family’s annual 4th of July party, and he asked to play badminton with my sister and I. For most people, this would be a totally normal request. For my sister and I, it was completely baffling. For our entire lives, he never wanted to do anything at family gatherings outside of drinking in the garage and complaining about the meal.
But this time, he actually wanted to spend time with us. He asked us questions about school and our friends and boyfriends. We played badminton for a while, and for the first time since my mother’s father passed away — when I was 11… about twelve years ago now — I felt as though I had a grandfather. That made, and continues to make, me happy… but also sad. To know that we could have had twenty more years of this kind of grandfather-granddaughter relationship, had alcoholism not been present in his life — in our lives, really — is incredibly sad.
My father spent his high school and college days deep in the bottle. He’s never told me what made him come out of it, but I’ve heard plenty of stories — and warnings — about his adventures while inebriated. He doesn’t like to tell me stories about himself in high school or college, because they almost always start with, “My buddies and I had gone to the packie** and…”
For the most part, I have the self-control and self-awareness to know my limits when it comes to alcohol. I am definitely the drinker in the family, between my sister and I. My sister tends to stay away from alcohol almost completely, while I am what can definitely be termed as a social drinker. When I’m out with friends, I like to have a beer or two, or a cocktail or two. Sometimes that number is higher, although a lot less frequently now that I am out of college.
But every once in a while, when I’m in a particularly deep funk, I do find myself reaching for the bottle of Jack Daniels that always has a home in one of my cabinets… I do find myself reaching for that third, fourth or fifth beer… I do find myself remembering those moments in college when a few extra drinks took the edge off the anger or pain.
And when I’m thinking clearly again and the funk has lifted, I find myself wondering. If I didn’t have my grandfather as proof of how alcoholism affects and hurts so many people besides yourself, would I know my limits? Or care about them? If I didn’t have my father’s embarrassment at the fact that he doesn’t have any non-alcohol-related stories to tell his kids, would I have that self-control?
Is alcoholism a disease that is lurking under the surface of my consciousness, waiting to beat out my self-control and take over? I’d like to think that isn’t true, but then the funk sets in, and the knowledge of how to take the edge off that pain drifts to the surface, and then there’s a little less whiskey in the bottle. Knowing that my self-control can’t always win out, scares me.
For now, my self-control wins out most of the time. And I’ll do everything in my power to make sure that the day never comes that it doesn’t.
*Non-alcoholics. Mostly O’Douls.
**In Massachusetts, alcohol is sold at package stores, packies for short.
J went on a date last weekend, and it kind of ticked me off.
Not because he’s my ex-boyfriend and he’s showing interest in another girl. But because he felt like he needed to lie to me about it. We were at a party at Jersey‘s house, and I noticed he kept texting someone, and when I asked who it was… he didn’t want to tell me. He finally caved (after about twenty minutes), and said it was a mutual friend of ours who we both met through Meetup. He said he just wanted to see if she wanted to hang out the next day.
Now… he told me that he liked this girl about three months ago when we both first met her. But last weekend, he tried to lie to me about it and say that he didn’t like her and he never did. Driving back into the city, he finally admitted that he does still like her, but he didn’t want me to know because he didn’t want me to be upset that he was dating again.
And then he told me that I needed to start dating again so that I wouldn’t be lonely. That, my friends, was when the anger reared its head. I am not lonely. And I don’t want him to think that I’m so pathetically lost without him in my life romantically that I would be super upset if he started dating again, because I wouldn’t be. He is officially my good friend first, and my ex-boyfriend second. I would be happy for him if he started dating.
I, however, am totally happy being single right now. I’ve always equally enjoyed being single and being attached. And I’m also not too keen to jump into a new relationship. I’ve only been single for a few months, and I’m pretty guarded when it comes to romance. If I met someone I was interested in, I would probably date them… but I haven’t met anyone yet.
Actually… I did go on one date. We’ll call him Henry, but he won’t even get a bio on the Characters page since he was in and out of my life in about one night. Henry and I went out once, had a great time, totally hit it off, and even kissed goodnight. And then Henry told me that he had a girlfriend back in NY who would be moving out here a few weeks later to be with him.
Holy buzzkill. Needless to say, we haven’t spoken since.
Anyway, I know a lot of people are probably thinking, “Yeah right. You totally got mad because your ex wants to date someone new.” But I promise that isn’t the case. I’m genuinely over him romantically. I will be happy for him when he gets a new girlfriend.
I just don’t like being lied to. Especially by him, because I can always tell. I’ve known him for five years… I probably know him better than almost anyone. So it pisses me off when he lies to me.
End of rant.
How are you?
I’ve been feeling very blah about my life lately. I feel stuck. Stagnant, even.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had so many different things going on that people would frequently wonder how I was managing it all.
In high school, I took a full course load, played soccer four to five days a week (which included at least 45 minutes of driving each way), worked backstage for our theatre company, was Vice President of our chapter of the National Art Honor Society, worked two part-time jobs, and still had a social life.
In college, I always took a full course load, including lots of really challenging classes. I played intramural soccer. I had an extremely full social life. I went on dates, had steady boyfriends. I would spend hours and hours, sometimes days and days, in the studio to do more than was required of me in my studio classes. If we were required to show 10 prints at crit, I almost always had 30. I took a class that required three to four hours of homework every single day, and I reveled in it. I worked a part-time job all four years. I even stayed on campus my first two winters and my first summer to take more classes. There would be days at a time that my friends, even my roommates, would feel like they hadn’t seen me for more than five minutes at a time.
I have always been insanely busy, and I have always loved it.
But now, I don’t do much of anything. I work part-time* and I have what you could only call fragments of a social life. I did recently join a soccer team, so that will add two commitments a week to my life.
But those things are not adding up to the insanity of have a too-full-plate that I thrive on. I am at my most productive when I have too much going on. I can balance and prioritize and organize, and never lose my footing. But when I don’t have much going on, I flounder around like a fish on dry land. I wallow in my having-nothing-to-do-ness.
I don’t like this feeling. This feeling that I am unproductive and stagnant. I want to feel the pressure of having too much to do again.
But part of me doesn’t want to get too involved with things here. I recently made the decision to move back East once my current lease is up next spring. When I leave, I will have lived in Arizona for just under two years. My hope is to get into Grad School, or find a job at a University.
Maybe my life is stagnant right now because I know, and have partially always known, that Arizona is not where I will be for the rest of my life. Maybe I’m not making too much of an effort because I know I’m not staying. Why bother getting too attached, when there is a countdown in my head?
I’ve got to find some things to do to entertain my brain. Any ideas?
*I did just get more hours and a raise at work, which means I don’t have to keep searching for a second job in order to make enough money to pay my bills. I’ll be making enough money that I may be able to start actually saving money — something I haven’t been able to do since leaving college.