On Marriage …

by Sandra

And other topics I don’t know anything about.

1. I think I have the wrong idea about marriage. Maybe it’s the way evangelicals talk about marriage; that before one decides to get married, they have to make absolutely sure that their potential future spouse embodies any number of essential character traits and that those character traits be checked off a list and checked twice, naturally. In turn, I carry around this opinion that marriage is rewarded only to people who are good. Only for people who have all of their addictions under control, who have crossed all their “tees” and dotted all their “eyes,” or those who of upstanding moral character and are spiritually mature. Those with the eloquence of Abe Lincoln and the compassion of Mother Theresa and the physique of Angelia Jolie.  Those who have their sh*t together, in other words. Naturally then, I see myself as none of those things: too sinful, too selfish, definitely not thin enough; I suffer from too much road rage and I lack anything more than a modicum of discipline; I rarely listen to voice messages. I don’t like conflict. I can be passive-aggressive. Essentially, there’s no way that brass ring will be mine, or so I am led to believe. But then, I realize that’s not true. None of that’s true. Certainly, some of these traits are good to have, ne, essential—for mature, respectable, caring people are found to be generally more attractive. But I don’t think that necessarily means that every duck has to be in a row before a ring can be slipped on one’s finger. After all, I think of friends who are married, and to be honest, I wonder how a few of them got their spouses to marry them in the first place. Money? Coercion? Extortion? Yeah, I’m just kidding, but you get my drift: I don’t think the learning stops once marriage happens, and yes very burdened and imperfect people get married, and stay married, happily.

Which leads to:

On writing …

2. I heard a quote of a quote the other day, which is like the literary equivilant of second-hand news, and it was about writing. Actually I reheard it, which might mean it’s like third-hand, but whatever. I’ve become a fierce procrastinator lately and the other day, as I tried to find anything to do besides write, I remembered a podcast that I’d heard by Don Miller, and in it I remembered him talking about how when he first felt called to be a writer, he wasted months, maybe even years avoiding writing. I wanted to find that quote again. Find it and prove to myself that yes, I too could become a brilliant, successful writer one day and that it’s okay that I don’t like doing it because someone like Don did the exact same thing at one time—probably when he was young and foolish. I wanted validation. I wanted commiseration. So I shuttled through the four or five podcasts I have saved from Don, all to no avail. For the life of me, I could not find the quote I was looking for, but I did hear another one, the aforementioned one, one that ultimately served the same purpose. He quoted another writer who at one time said that a writer loves to have written, but hates to write. Or something like that, you get the gist. As the semester winds down and a flurry of assigments are due, I find myself in that position. What exquisit torture it is, to sit down, free myself of all distraction, “colonize [my] interior wildernesses,” as Brighde Mullins would say, and write; and create. I cannot tell you how important, how essential, it has become to check the Facebook status updates of my friends, or to watch the latest movie trailers on Apple’s website, or to read the headlines of every major news site I can think of: New York Times, New York Magazine, Slate, the Boston Globe, the BBC, LAist, Salon.com, Internet Movie Database, the list goes on. It has gotten so bad that I need to remove the wireless card from my laptop in order to keep myself from checking the contents of the Internet with near-obsessive frequency. Yet, despite the lack of discipline, I no longer believe that it somehow means I’m not meant to be a writer. Writing is difficult and arduous and meant to be that way. The fact that I don’t like doing it does not mean I should find another line of creative expression, it simply means that I will live with an unhealthy lack of sun exposure, that the letters will rub off the keys of my laptop keyboard more quickly that others’ computers, that I will torture myself with my willing yet unwanted procrastination. But afterall, this struggle is not for my benefit but for yours, the reader. I must think of it that way, I must, otherwise I’d be prone to think that I should give it up—’cause who’d want to marry someone who lacked such discipline and posessed such raging neurosis?