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Archive for the ‘Love & Relationships’ Category

On Friendship, Pain and Other Cheerful Topics

In Love & Relationships on May 2, 2013 at 4:54 pm

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I take friendship pretty seriously. To me, “friend” is not a synonym for “casual acquaintance.” When I decide I’m friends with someone, it means three things: 1) I love the person, 2) I could talk to him or her about almost anything, and 3) I care about the person’s happiness as much as my own. I realize that everyone isn’t so conservative in their application of the term, but I do know that most of us have people in our lives who fit these criteria, and that’s beautiful. I think platonic intimacy is one of the best parts of life.

However, there is a sort of responsibility attached to becoming so close to another person. This responsibility is obvious in romantic relationships because people butcher it so often. Cheating, lying, playing with emotions and so forth are all ways to shirk your responsibility to your partner. Duh. But in friendship, betrayal (for lack of a less melodramatic word) isn’t always so blatant. Maybe that’s because there is less passion associated with it. How often are you jealous of how much time a friend is spending with someone else? Friendship is assumed to be a steady arrangement; it’s not this tumultuous relationship that could bend or break with each disagreement. At the outset, we expect it to last, whereas we expect most of our romantic relationships to have an expiration date. BFF, LYLAS, and all that.

But the very fact that friendship is supposed to be a more solid bond makes the pain friends cause each other all the more poignant. We don’t steel ourselves for the blow of hurt inflicted from friendship as we do for romantic relationships, and that leaves us all the more vulnerable. Because, yes, we don’t usually “break up” with friends, but that certainly doesn’t mean that we don’t hurt one another.

Last year, I was administered a healthy dose of this friend-style pain, and it was a rather unpleasant experience. I find it a little tragic that the people with whom we are closest are the ones who have the ability to cut us the deepest. I guess it makes perfect sense; you can only “betray” someone if he or she trusted you in the first place, and the greater the trust the worse the pain. I’m not trying to cast a shadow over the concept of friends, but I think it’s important to remember that just because friendship is sturdy doesn’t mean it’s invincible. With great friendship comes great responsibility, so don’t fuck it up.

Fondly,

Leah Morris

 

[Image Source: P14501098.jpg]

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With Love from John, Paul, George and Ringo

In Love & Relationships on April 29, 2013 at 1:12 pm

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I’m not a huge fan of the list-style blog post, but I was inspired to temporarily jump on the bandwagon today while listening to the Beatles. As a devoted fan of the foursome, I appreciate their entire body of work (God, this sounds pretentious), but I usually prefer their social message themed stuff, à la “Come Together” or “Revolution.” However, I hate to neglect the romantic side of John, Paul, George and Ringo because those Brits really knew how to make a girl swoon. In that spirit, here are my top five favorite Beatles love songs, hyperlinked for your listening pleasure:

1. Here, There and Everywhere

“Knowing that love is to share, each one believing that love never dies.”

In the episode of “Friends” where Phoebe marries Paul Rudd, she walks down the aisle to the melody of this song performed on steel drums. I was never one to dream much about my future nuptials, but if I ever do get married, I’d love to rip off this idea (preferably with a string quartet in place of the steel drums since I’m not a quirky sitcom character). “Here, There and Everywhere” is such a tender, beautiful song that speaks to the enduring love celebrated by marriage.

2. In My Life

“But of all these friends and lovers, there is no one compares with you.”

“In My Life” actually makes me think of my love for one of my very best friends and not any romantic feelings. During college, we used to text lyrics to one another when we were particularly missing each other, and this song was in heavy circulation. She and I have been through more than a decade of friendship together, and “In My Life” is a reminder of her importance, well… in my life.

3. Two of Us

“You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.”

The ideal type of love, in my opinion at least, is the kind where the two people are best friends, having adventures and enjoying each other’s presence in any capacity. Listening to “Two of Us” reminds me of this version of romance and always puts a smile on my face.

4. I Will 

“Will I wait a lonely lifetime? If you want me to, I will.” 

I think everyone hopes that their “true love” would sacrifice a lot to be with them, even if they hope it never comes to that. “I Will” is a short little ditty that tells of a love that just won’t quit. 

5. I Want to Hold Your Hand

“It’s such a feeling that my love, I can’t hide.” 

I felt it fitting to end my top five with a song that talks about the beginnings of love. “I Want to Hold Your Hand” is a simple, but powerful piece of music. Dating and romance can feel so complicated at times, and they often make people jaded. To counter these feelings, I like to turn this on and be enveloped in the adoring innocence of that first touch.

Here’s hoping that our relationships, both romantic and platonic, will be as deep and meaningful as these sweet tracks.

<3

LM

 

[Image Source: Beatles1.jpg]

Why My Parents’ Relationship Makes Me Scared of Marriage

In Love & Relationships on April 11, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Blogging about this topic makes me feel slightly guilty. I want to start off by saying that I love my parents. They are good people who did their very best to raise me right, and I don’t take that for granted (anymore).

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With that being said, I can’t deny that the dynamics of their relationship have really done a number on me. My parents’ marriage is unorthodox, in my eyes, in that it is so traditional for this day and age. Father as breadwinner and head of household; mother as the caring, deferential homemaker. Although this set up makes for an excellent Norman Rockwell painting, it is the antithesis of everything I want out of holy matrimony.

While this is nowhere near a new revelation for me, it is only recently that I’ve realized just how deeply I’ve been affected by the (un)balance of power and division of labor I witnessed in my childhood home. Being in a serious relationship and considering what the future could bring have made my resulting marriage reservations more relevant and concrete. Particularly, I’ve been thinking a lot about whether I would take my husband’s last name were I ever to tie the knot, and picturing myself doing so certainly forms a knot – in my stomach, that is.

I completely understand why this gesture of unity is benign to many women, but for me, it represents the first step in sacrificing my autonomy and my identity in order to enhance someone else’s. I have been a Morris for 23 years, and I don’t see how giving up a crucial part of myself could be the start of some “equal” bond. My boyfriend, Jared, and I had a frank discussion about this recently, and he was rather incredulous after hearing my view and subsequent explanations. As we talked further, I realized that this dedication to my birth certificate is less burn-my-bra and more a strong fear of becoming my mother and marrying my father. (No need to point out that that last sentence screams “Greek tragedy”; I am well aware. Welcome to my own special version of familial dysfunction.)

Later on, I relayed these complicated emotions to my co-blogger, Jane Black. As the child of a less than ideal divorce, Jane told me she couldn’t wait to leave Black behind in favor of a new beginning. We may have been in disagreement over the value of our last names, but, judging by our equally vehement opinions on the subject, we both agreed that “our parents had fucked us up good.”

After talking to Jared and Jane, I curled up on my couch and took a long, hard look at my childhood, my parents, and marriage itself. In my 18 years at home, I can’t remember a single time that my mother stood up for herself when my father took out his frustrations on her in the form of snide remarks and unwarranted chidings. I always vowed to myself that I would never let a man talk to me that way, that I would rather die alone than be in an unequal relationship. I was mad at my dad for yelling at my mom, but somehow, I was also mad at her for not yelling back, for setting a bad example for my sister and me. Their marriage is largely a happy one, but this unsightly aspect has left an indelible mark on me.

Maybe my father’s verbal abuse and my apprehension to change my last name seem unrelated, but to me, they could not be more intimately intertwined. For better or worse, I am a product of my parents’ relationship. By that, I certainly don’t mean that we are all bound to repeat the mistakes of our mothers and fathers, only that my thoughts and opinions on marriage have been profoundly shaped by what I saw growing up.

I guess all we can do is work to avoid the missteps of our parents, replicate their triumphs, and pray that we don’t do too much psychological damage to our children with our own unique mistakes.

‘Til death,

Leah Morris

 

[Image Source: runaway_bride_doubts.jpg]

How to Build a Good Relationship Out of Shame and Embarrassment

In Love & Relationships on February 5, 2013 at 12:11 pm

“Why is there puke all over the floor?” I asked groggily.

The players: my future boyfriend, Jared, and me.                                                                     The scene: Jared’s dorm room on a bleak Saturday morning.                                             The puke: my own.

What followed was both the most mortifying experience of my life and the unofficial start of the world’s healthiest relationship.

A combination of factors had led me to this moment, that is, standing naked in my own vomit the morning after a particularly questionable frat party. I was a college freshman and sexually inexperienced. As a responsible drinker, I always made sure to keep tally of the night’s red cups on my fingers. My system usually fell through by my second thumb, when I was too drunk to be concerned with things like alcohol consumption or consciousness. This mix of naivety and unscrupulous drinking created the perfect storm for a sloppy hook-up that fateful weekend.

The night before the incident, there were all the usual suspects – shots of half-proof vodka in the dorm, kegs at the party, rude frat boys galore. I remember slyly pulling Jared onto “the dance floor” with seductive (read: squinty) eyes. We ended up making out in the shameless way characteristic of two very drunk people. The next thing I knew, the “OH, FUCK” alarm in my head was going off so loud it was even drowning out my monster hangover. Jared awoke to find me running to the floor bathroom with only his jacket wrapped around me, trying to mop up the mess with a few flimsy paper towels. He was all class, cleaning it up, while I crouched in the fetal position, hands over my eyes. When I retreated from his room in the ultimate walk of shame, I thought our friendship had ended before it had even really begun.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. Jared became one of my closest friends in college, and somehow, I never cared much that he had seen me crying naked over his ruined backpack. By the time we openly admitted to our mutual feelings a year later, we had been there for one another in scores of other unflattering situations. He carried me home, passed out over his shoulder; I was his human crutch when he could barely put one foot in front of the other. But we shared more than just a penchant for out-of-control partying – rather, we shared our rawest of moments, we’d seen each other at our worst and laughed about it the next day over waffles. Some girls worry about farting in front of their boyfriend. Mine has held my hair back for me as I emptied the contents of my stomach over his front porch.

I don’t put much stock in mystification. I’m a straight shooter, and it’s not in me to tiptoe around the unattractive parts of getting close to someone. With Jared, I never had a choice, and, honestly, I wouldn’t want it any other way.  Puking in his dorm room was the best thing I could have ever done for our relationship. If you can’t share the gross stuff with your significant other, then what’s the point? I think an SO should be your partner in crime, a person you laugh raucously with, who, by the by, you also want to bone exclusively. There’s more magic in that than any trumped up fairy tale. Maybe you would disagree, but with college drinking behind us, I’m still having too much fun with Jared to care. And that just proves my point.

<3

Leah Morris

5 Relationship Lessons Inspired by Songs

In Love & Relationships on February 1, 2013 at 6:52 pm
  1. “Forever In Blue Jeans” – Neil Diamond. Money is what it is; you need it to live. Be with the person who makes you happy not the one who buys you stuff.  At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is finding someone you love spending time with.  *I would like to propose a minor adjustment to this song “Forever in Jeggings”. Done, I will marry the person who lets me live “Forever in Jeggings”.
  2. “Smoke Without Fire” – Duffy. Guard your heart.  Be discerning about the relationships that you enter into. Pay attention to red flags at the beginning of a relationship.
  3. “I Got You Babe” – Sonny & Cher. Being in a relationship means that you have someone in your corner. Support and encourage the person you are with.  Never get in the habit of saying disparaging things about your significant other.
  4.  “I Walk the Line” – Johnny Cash. Be fair in relationships. Be fair to your significant other and to yourself.
  5. “You Make Lovin’ Fun” – Fleetwood Mac. Life is too short to not have fun with the person you love.

Love always,

Jane Black