Progressive Views

I got to thinking about progressive views. Why are these sometimes considered controversial? Why are people around us afraid to think differently? Why are people scared to see the world in another lens?

I have a lot of progressive views. One of these views is looking at veganism in a positive and moral light. One of these is not changing my name after marriage. I have others, but let’s just start there. Why am I looked at differently for thinking differently? Shouldn’t we be celebrating differences? Maybe these differences will help you change your tune? Maybe these differences can create real change.

I find that people are scared of progressive views and unwilling to change. It breaks my heart. Life isn’t about what happened years ago. Things change. Life changes. And that is okay. While we don’t have to feed into all progressive views, it doesn’t hurt to give them a chance. Think about it. Ponder it. And maybe your entire world would change for the better, open up.

And wouldn’t that be quite nice? So maybe do this… give things a chance.

Wedding Planning

I have been gone awhile. Sorry! I have been busy wedding planning! Well, my mom has been doing the bulk of the work, but I have offered lots of opinions. Maybe too many opinions? Anyway, wedding planning is a lot of work! Lots of girls have told me that it is the most exciting time in my life. Meh. I would disagree. It has been quite stressful. I think it will come together. I think it will be beautiful. That said, I am ready for the wedding. I am ready to be married to my love and go on a honeymoon. Speaking of the honeymoon… that has been a fun planning process! We’re almost done with that.

Anyone have any tips to keep us sane while wedding planning? Maybe on the little things? It’s always those little details that get you! Any advice is appreciated. Tweet me @carolineadejong

Do some have it all?

I got to thinking about having it all. Do some have it all? Do some have nothing? What about the in-between? Are there some of us who have something, but not everything? I am not sure. I think I have a lot; I am lucky. I am happy most days. But do I have it all? I don’t think so. But I have something. And maybe that’s what matters at the end of the day. We don’t have to have it all. We have something, each of us. Don’t we? Maybe that’s naive to think. But I surely hope all of us have something.

Do you run?

He dropped to one of crooked, screwed-up-from-basketball knees. I could hear his knee come crashing down like an elephant running away from a safari tour. He’s such a bull in a china shop. Always hitting things. His pants instantly wrinkled at the abrupt change of level. He wore those dress pants you see on sale racks at Macys. Not too nice, not too ugly. Just the right amount of blah for a CPA.

It was at that moment that I noticed how much gel was in his hair. Why would he use so much gel for hair that was so unevenly cut and starting to bald? Does he think he needs to look like Ross Geller, circa 1996? Tragic, I tell you. And why was his collar undone? What kind of person leaves their collar undone to propose? Is this really happening?

Then he pulled out a box. A velvet box. A red velvet box. Those kind of tacky boxes you see at  places like Zales and think, “Well, I hope I never get one of those.” And then you do. It’s right in front of you, piercing your thoughts and crippling your relationship like weeks-old flowers. Your under-dressed, too-gelled boyfriend looks like a lame loser with a Zales box. And this is your life.

So do you run?

He opened the box to reveal a plain diamond on a plain band. Well, just what I wanted. Blah, you know, like my CPA boyfriend. But it’s not what I want. It’s lack of interesting detail makes me sneeze. Or maybe it’s the gel. The sparkle is nonexistent. The band seems scratched, even from my distance. I have taken several steps back. The whiff of gel is too much to take. I cannot even hold his clammy hands anymore. It’s too much.

This is not my engagement ring. This is not my life. I turn my Converse sneakers around on the concrete floor. I look at the window, the drapes covering too much of the top. It needs to be fixed and not be so blah.

So do you run?

I run.

Holly

Another piece from my MFA course… 🙂

Curlers in her hair, Holly picked up the phone. And then slammed it back down. She refused to use her cell phone for this. That would waste too many of her precious, not-unlimited minutes.

Holly stood. Paced. Sat. Stood. And paced some more. Her worn boots skirted across the linoleum her husband installed just weeks ago. She wanted tile, but what could she do? He lost his job days after they ripped out the rotting wood, and she was just a store manager. They weren’t allowed luxuries. And that bugged her. If she had known what a cheapskate he was going to be, she wouldn’t have married him. Didn’t she deserve more? Didn’t she work hard, too? Didn’t she deserve some stupid tile?

Holly sat again. Her husband was the problem. He always had been. He was always more interested in creating budgets and stupid Excel spreadsheets than her. He barely even kissed her anymore. Didn’t she deserve that? But above all of that… he’s the one who brought that awful woman into her life.

Biting her fingernails down even further and chipping away at the last of the fire engine red nail polish she painted just yesterday, she scowled. This was just a full-blown, outrageous nightmare. How could she do this? How could she confront her? The woman she was supposed to love, but just couldn’t? She loathed her. She wasn’t going to change her tune.

Holly picked up the phone again. This time, she dialed. Voicemail. She frowned. This could not be resolved by voicemail. Her mother-in-law could not call her a vile name at Christmas dinner and then only be called out via voicemail. Nope. Not going to happen this way.

So Holly hung up the phone. She wouldn’t deal with this further. She was done with this mother-in-law. She was done with this marriage and especially done with this ugly, ridiculous linoleum floor.

Nordstrom

Following the overzealous signs for “Sale,” Zoe walks into a crowded Nordstrom on Black Friday. She takes a whiff of the espresso bar on her left. At just 6 o’clock in the morning, there is already coffee spilled on the floor. An older male customer steps into the coffee without noticing. His deeply troubled eyes say that he has to deliver the coffee in his hands as soon as possible. He rushes out at the speed of light, opening up the pathway to the coffee bar itself. Sugar packets are all over the bar. You can also see a faint trail of white leading up to the bar. All of the sugar packets are gone for use. The sugar packets are empty, on the floor, on the bar, and starting to create the look of a drug den of white powder surrounding everything. The place is sheer chaos, a rampant pigsty in need of a serious Roomba clean.

Zoe, tall and gangly, wearing her dated but comfortable Juicy Couture tracksuit, moves into the overrun shoe section. Manolo Blahniks are looking decrepit and certainly not worth full price on the stained, linty floor. Shoes thrown here and there. A harried store employee closes her eyes for just a moment. She opens them again, smiling as if she has never smiled before. Her eyes are piercingly blue like the scene you see upon landing on warm islands. But not the blue you see after you have been spoiled by the luxury of blue oceans. It is the initial blue. The perfect blue.

A petite customer with an unforgiving smile hits Zoe from behind. Zoe must move on from this zoo-like maze that is clothes and shoes and a hint of coffee. Moving upstairs, customers are tearing through sale racks. The non-sale racks are pristine. Clothes hang like bats in the night. There is no disturbance and no trace of lint or even a sole wrinkle. At the sale racks, customers move around each other quickly, snatching each item without a care for who might be nearby, seeking that perfect shirt for another day in just another life. One blonde woman throws a nasty glance that could kill to another blonde woman. They exchange a look of anger and move on. Their wrinkles around their eyes are pronounced, as if neither of them have smiled in years.

Zoe goes down the escalator. A mother is yelling at her daughter for jumping. The daughter, small and silly, keeps jumping. Zoe finally beelines for the nearest door after being hit by another unforgiving woman. She is now outside. And the sun has set. It is lighter out here than in Nordstrom, somehow.

I get the spaghetti

This is it.

This is when I get the dog. The best dog ever. The best dog ever with the cutest, little ears that spring up whenever his name is called. Or whenever something is said. Or whenever he is hungry. Whenever, whenever.

I gotta have it. I gotta have the dog. This is for my sanity, you know?

My dad comes in. Disrupting my thoughts. He wants me to make dinner. Why do I have to make dinner? He says it’s because I am not the child anymore. Am I not the child anymore? How old do you have to be to ‘not be the child anymore?’

“You must make dinner.” He says again. “Can you do that?”

“I can do that,” I tell him.

I am 20. I am free as a bird. I live with my parents. You know, to escape the rent. To escape the world around me. That’s where the dog comes in, you know. But I like birds, too. Maybe I should get a bird? What are birds like? Do they fly high? Do they jump at all? Will they give me big hugs when I cry? Will they force me to get outside, get walking? See the world? I don’t know. Maybe I want the dog. That’s what I always said I wanted. So that’s what I will keep with.

Oh no. I do have to make dinner. So I get the spaghetti. And the sauce. And I stir it in a pan. I try to get the clumps out. Why are there clumps?

I eat the food. It is bland. Too red. Keeps my eyes open too long. So I decide to leave. I don’t need to eat. I need to sleep. This is why I need the dog.

My brain goes off. It is night. I go to sleep. I dream of my future dog. This is gonna be when I get the dog. The best dog ever.

Please. Please.

“I can do that.”

Faces? Names?

I got to thinking about faces versus names. Are you good at recognizing faces? Or do you recall names easily? I am the latter. I tend to have a hard time distinguishing people’s looks. But names… I will remember your name forever. What is your strength? And are you working toward the other?

Maggie May

Maggie looked around the apartment. It was finally empty. After filling overpriced Home Depot box after box, she was ready to leave.

Forever.

Turning around again, one last time, that’s when she saw it. The picture of them on the fridge. How could she have been so careless to forget this? It was the picture of all pictures. The picture of them at the Yankees game on a frigid May night in 2005. Their smiles radiated clearly from the picture. Her hair was still blonde then, flowing and curly, with just the right amount of bounce. Her mousse worked that day. Some days, mousse just did not create the perfect effect. It was crunchy and stilted or frizzy. But that day Maggie got it right. Like her hair, Maggie thought she had got life right that day.

Peter was Maggie’s first boyfriend out of college. He was one of those captivating Wall Street guys. Not the assholes one usually met in bars, prowling for their next lay. Peter was a gentleman, kindhearted. He called her Maggie May. May, not being more than a middle name, was a cute addition to her name, she thought. She had always wanted a nickname. She had always wanted someone as special as Peter to give her one. And here he was: her knight in shining armor: kind, rich, handsome, and a giver of nicknames.

And he still destroyed her.

Maggie knew that she had to take the picture off the fridge. She could keep it just for a few weeks. What was the harm in that, after all? It was a wonderful moment in her life with a wonderful man. And she couldn’t get rid of it. Right?

Maggie tucked the picture in her pocket, knowing full well that it was a mistake. But she had to take it. Peter was the love of her life. And maybe, just maybe, he would come back for her. He didn’t need that other woman he didn’t bother to give a nickname. No. He needed his Maggie May. And this picture would be a reminder of their struggle, and their triumph. It symbolized everything for them.

She would always be Maggie May to him. And in her own mind.