Weddings

I went to my cousin’s wedding this past weekend. Not to my surprise, nor to the surprise of others, I managed to forgot the last hour of the night. Champagne is my kryptonite – what can I say? I’m a spoilt, light-weight cheap drunk. Nevertheless, prior to this wonderful bubbly induced oblivion. I realized a lot, although it was clouded over by a haze of joyous banter and unrestrained dancing to Billy Jean (who is most certainly not my lover).

I was surrounded by couples; genuinely a maze of relationships, all of which, ridiculously enough, had lasted longer than 6 years. Even my 21 year old cousin had been seeing his girlfriend since he was 14 – I never realized it before this weekend, but my family has a tendency for long relationships. My parents have been married for 23 years now (their anniversary was on the first of this month, strangely enough), and before that, my mum was in a 10 year relationship. 

Despite the obvious fact I had a boyfriend, my aunts and uncles joked around (I hope!) and offered to set me up with a rather good looking friend of our entire extended family. I may be as committed as any girlfriend could be, but let’s be honest, I can appreciate a fine specimen when I see them. It was funny – I bummed a cig off of him behind by relatives backs, we stole ice-cream from the children’s’ room and downed the last two glasses of white wine (yes, a little variety in my alcoholic diet).

Nevertheless, the only person on my mind was Joe. I called him, from Malaysia, to the USA. I hardly remember it, but even when considering how bloody expensive that call is going to be, I regret nothing. I’m quite sure that I was happiest when listening to the sound of his voice – obviously my first realization of the night was how much I missed him. I missed him while I dressed up, while I made my way through ten courses, when I was foolishly dancing. I had no one there that meant enough to me for me to want to impress them, nobody to laugh at my food baby, no one to give me kisses when I stumbled back into my hotel room.

When people weren’t trying to set me up, they were asking me when I was going to get married. Would the wedding be in Hong Kong? Singapore? Malaysia? Canada? Ridiculous questions to ask a seventeen year old, who hasn’t even been to university yet. A little strange, and very stifling. The next realization that I came to was about my family – they didn’t expect fleeting relationships, and they didn’t see this as a fleeting relationship at all. I’m a little bit scared now.

But most of all, I suppose I’m a little bit happy. I love weddings – I want a big one, white gown, church, getting walked down the aisle, a full banquet and all the people I love in the world around me. This weekend just emphasized that. I don’t care if you can get a divorce readily these days, I don’t care if people think weddings are social constructs that mean nothing. I love weddings because you won’t find more love anywhere else in the world. I love weddings because everyone there, divorced, widowed, single, engaged – no matter what they are, is recognizing the presence of love. Maybe this doesn’t apply to arranged marriages, but let’s assume that those aren’t included here. The main reasons I love weddings is because, in a world that can be so cold, weddings are like a brick framed fireplace, a mug of hot chocolate, an electric blanket or a snuggie. I wrap myself up in weddings – I wrap myself up in the idealistic fantasy that I too will one day experience a day of which its purpose is simply love. 

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You wish you hadn’t said it. Looking back, it probably meant nothing. A flimsy exclamation in a brief moment of passion, two drinks in and vast distances away from any form of rationality. The result? Glowing smiles and a gossamer promise, wrapped around our ankles.

Do you regret it? You definitely thought it at the time. Maybe if you hadn’t have said it, it wouldn’t be true now. But it was so weak, so lacking in the conviction that now exists. Did you need to say it without meaning for it to develop meaning at all?

And now you speak it everyday. An over-saturation of emotion, so much so you can hardly recognize its strength at all, yet the it remains. What was once gossamer has turned to diamond chains, its prefect edges slicing into the bones of your angle. They wind their way up your legs and you feel the grip tightening around your chest. All of a sudden, breath stops, time stops. You’re frozen. You couldn’t get out of them if you tried.

The chains still glitter, maybe more than they did before. 24 carat diamonds that imprison you. You long for that submission, you feel like it empowers you. You craft a spell for yourself, a wave of your own wand to forget the pain of the stones digging into your skin. Pray that ignorance remains – hope that you’ll be numbed from it forever. The chains are the most painful of burdens.

And then you realise, maybe the words were better off said without meaning. Meaning is weight, meaning results in hooks, digging into your skin. You’re now sinking.

A veil of gossamer has never seemed so appealing.

Souvenirs and Calendars

Reminders of memories past, reminders of memories to be.

I have shelves of souvenirs above my desk in my study, next to my bed in my room and scattered in various locations all over my house. I pick up a teddy from Hawaii and I’m reminded of the boy I met during the summer of ’09 who I always wished I had gotten to kiss on the cheek, just because he seemed so sweet. There’s the incense from Hanoi still on the chest of drawers which smells like the store I bought it at, where there were filthy floors and spotless windows. Souvenirs mark where we have been, a trail of achievements and memories that are physicalized into tacky keychains and fridge magnets. They help us to remember the beautiful without being beautiful themselves.

Calendars are opportunities. Write in everything you want to do – write down a time, a place, the people. Stick to what you write, you’ll do so much. You have memories coming in packages; human packages, travel packages, food packages. Calendars help to ensure you can look back and cross out achievements in your life: went to the dentist on the twelfth, check! Hung out with my best friend, check! They’re more satisfying to look back on than to write on, but you can’t have one without the other.

But if calendars are of the future and souvenirs are of the past, what is of the now? Do we have a shelf in our mind where we start stacking our experience? Is it in a glass box in a pedestal perched in our brain? What if we haven’t planned for the now in our calendars? What if we forget to buy a souvenir to take home? So you have now and it’s glowing in your hand, but it’ll dim soon. You have an energy supply but only for a while. Write it down, take a photo or tell a friend. Keep the energy surging, but don’t blow a fuse – too much energy and the meaning is lost. 

You lose souvenirs, you neglect calendars and pretty soon now ceases to be “now”. Clear out your house, throw away the empty boxes. Uncluttered memories are memories that last. 

Process of Elimination

When it comes down to it, that’s all anyone’s life ever is. it’s all any decision ever is. In choosing to do something you have to eliminate the possibility to do something else.

You know that weekend, when you chose to spend both nights inebriated thinking Sunday would be more than enough time to finish the stacks of work awaiting you? Yeah, that weekend. Those multiple weekends. You eliminated your opportunities to maybe do what you should’ve, in the form of what was due first thing monday.

That decision you made to go to the gym? You eliminated the possibility of you staying home and watching Bridget Jones while throwing chocolates at the T.V., crying about your failed relationship when, let’s be honest, half the time there isn’t a relationship to begin with. Good choice, by the way, you eliminated correctly.

And that time you kissed that random thirty year old whose face has become a blur and whose name was never even brought up. You chose not to stay with your friends and dance, but to veer away from your original plans. You eliminated the possibility of going home alone because you were in too much of a need for affection it didn’t seem like it was going to happen.

You never really know what the right choice is in life though. This isn’t the SATs, where there’s a fixed answer. There is only one way to know if anything is 100%, and that’s when there isn’t another choice at all.

When you question whether you should be with someone, you have to consider the possibility that you cease being with them. Is that worth it? I guess you could say that, quite simply, you love them. But how do you know that? You know that when you can’t imagine not loving them, or not being with them. You know they’re the right person when there isn’t another choice to eliminate.

And in situations like this, you’re the only person who will ever know if what you did is the right thing to do. That’s what makes it so difficult – knowing that you’re putting all of your faith into yourself, hoping that you didn’t overlook what could change your day, your year, or maybe your life.

When You Miss Someone

When you miss someone, miss them with all of your being. Miss the smell that you attach to them, miss the pleasant expression they wear when they’re sleeping, the sleep in their eyes when you accidentally wake them up before it’s time because the crook in their arm is just too tempting to resist. Miss the kisses you get whenever you see them and the hugs that you get from behind when you least expect it. Hold onto your memories, and hold on tight. Remind yourself of how much you love them, remind yourself of the times you’ve spent together. Never give them up, because they’re the only part of humans that grow more beautiful over time.

Don’t let this beauty dictate your life. Don’t live in the inevitable longing that comes with missing someone like a skin. Wear it like a thin silver bracelet, and wear it with pride. Most people won’t realize it, but for those who do, explain its meaning. Don’t be an exhibitionist; don’t wear it like a diamond necklace or a tattoo across your upper arm.  When you miss someone, know that you miss them, and know that that should be enough. Don’t expect everyone else to understand; unless you’re extremely lucky, they wouldn’t have been in the same situation. They’ll try to understand, but there’s only so much that can be done. Help them to help you, try your hardest to be happy, if you wear a smile long enough, I’m not saying you’ll stop missing them, but you sure as hell will feel better. It just takes a while is all.

Don’t stop missing someone. As I said, hold onto it tight. But don’t think there has to be an exchange between missing someone and living for yourself, you can do both. It took me a while to realize that, but it’s probably the most valuable lesson I have learnt. It’s not like you’ll miss them any less, but maybe it makes you appreciate what you live a little more, and you’ll probably love the people around you, or even far away from you, a whole lot more.