From the Basement

June 4, 2010

It’s Wedding Season! (break out the Xanax)

I have four – count them, four – friends getting married in the next 15 days. I can only attend one of the weddings, which breaks my heart, but as a result of this nuptial frenzy, weddings are on the mind. I was discussing them today with a good friend and once again was faced with the fact that I am quite possibly the only woman in the world who does not like weddings.

Don’t get me wrong – I am thrilled for my friends who are getting married. All four of them are with good men, and I don’t say that flippantly. And marriage itself, the institution at its heart, is something to be celebrated. But for reasons unknown to me, I find wedding ceremonies to be voyeuristic and rather awkward. I don’t know why. I feel like I’m – snooping? – into someone else’s intimate moment. I know that guests are meant to be witnesses to one of the most beautiful moments in someone else’s life, but still …

Strange though this predilection is, I’ve come a long way, baby, over the last two years. I used to be anti-marriage as well as anti-wedding, but a good man (and a savior with a great sense of humor) helped (is helping?) cure me of that … phase. I’d still rather elope than face a crowd of 200 loved ones in an embarrassingly tight white dress, but my boyfriend is stubborn. I figure that if I have to go through relationship Purgatory, it may as well be walking down an aisle.

This propensity may be why I enjoy movies such as Wedding Crashers. Don’t click that back button – stay with me. Notwithstanding Bride Friend #1’s amazing commentary for this movie, I truly enjoy the way the film pokes fun at weddings. The premise of the film is that two guys go to weddings to get laid by women who are supposedly floating on a sexual high (clearly, they never met me). Sleazy though that premise may be, the film does an excellent job of showing how predictable, commercialized, and non-personal weddings can be. They integrate themselves into the wedding experience, making toasts and dancing with flower girls.

In short, they show how overdone and predictable weddings can be in our culture. How focused on the tradition, on the ceremony, rather than on the couple. And this may be my issue at its core: is it necessary to have a bridal party? To have 200 guests? To have a champagne toast, a DJ, an ungodly enormous cake, ridiculous floral arrangements – is all of that necessary? Weddings, and the marriages that lie beneath them, have been turned into commercial affairs when, really, all they need to be are simple vows between a man and a woman, with the witness of an officiate and perhaps a few friends.

This is not meant to insult anyone, and it’s certainly not meant to upset my friends who are getting married over the next few weeks. I’m simply questioning the necessity of the ceremony, of the pomp and circumstance. Not of marriage, not of love, and certainly not of a couple’s genuine desire to share their day with their loved ones (however many hundreds there may be). After all, why should any two weddings be identical? Shouldn’t they be as unique as the people who are getting married?

I’ll end my thoughts here, because this is starting to venture off into rambling, but I just want to say: I think that weddings are awkward and at times over-commercialized, but love is supercalifragalisticexpialidocious (or however Mary Poppins said it) and marriage is something our culture has forgotten how to value. And beneath everything, buried under all that pomp that I can’t seem to ignore, marriage is what weddings are about. And I need to remember that. I think we all do.

June 1, 2010

On Graduation & Hope

Filed under: Graduating — jeannablue @ 2:20 pm
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I am a college graduate. Four years of study, thirty-three courses, and endless pots of coffee all boiled down to one finite moment that lasted maybe six seconds as I walked across a stage and accepted my diploma from the college President.

The build up to that moment had been great: a night before spent with my friends and all of our families, packing, laughter, cards, tears, a frantic morning full of showers and my nagging “When are we leaving for Baccalaureate?”, the actual Baccalaureate ceremony, several receptions, and then … Commencement.

(I have, by the way, decided that all graduating seniors – as well as faculty, given their medieval robes – should be provided not only with a Commencement program but also a bottle of water. Or, alternately, one of those airplane drink carts.)

That very busy Saturday was followed by an equally busy Sunday. I attended a college scarcely thirty minutes from my mother’s hometown, and as such I spent my four years in near-monthly contact with aunts, uncles, and grandparents. Since since one of my cousins graduated from high school this weekend, an aunt decided to throw us a joint graduation party (despite my many protests). The party was lovely, frantic, and full of delicious veggie pizza.

Last night, upon our return home, my mother asked me if I had the blues, coming down after such a high weekend, as it were. I told her no, I didn’t – it’s nice to settle back into the quiet, back into routine, after a high-stress, obscenely hot weekend.

Truth be told, I’ve had two months to acclimate myself to living at home, waiting on job applications. I was relieved to be back, to settle into a subdued productivity full of blogging, writing, job hunting, waiting, reading, and occasionally seeing the friends who are still in the area. Graduation was the official mark of the end of an era, but it’s a mark I had already felt (keenly felt, actually) over the last few weeks.

During the Baccalaureate ceremony, and again during Commencement, the college chaplain sought to “anoint [the graduating seniors] with hope.” Hope. That is something to cling to in the quiet days ahead. While ceremonies mark our lives, to be sure, hope is the constant that sustains us throughout our days.

That message of hope is the most precious take-away from this weekend, even perhaps greater than my diploma, for without hope, what is the joy in a diploma? Over the last few days, hope and encouraging exhortations have come from, well, everyone, as well as through hugs, graduation cards, and, yes, the Baccalaureate sermon. Continue to hope. Stay hopeful. Nurture it. Protect it. And pray for it.

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