Three Years since Virginia Tech 4/16/07

Leslie Sherman, pictured right

Today is the three year anniversary of the massacre at Virginia Tech, where a fellow classmate from my high school was fatally shot in her French class. Leslie was a friend of one of my best friends and was a friendly, unique individual who I never saw not smiling the entire two years I knew her. Nothing could have ever brought this girl down–she had the greatest attitude about life. She was an active member of the cross country team and track team in high school, which conveniently held practices on the same field as my lacrosse team. I remember her vividly cheering me on as I struggled to do sprints around the track during practice. Her enthusiasm and encouragement is something that to this day, still remains a legacy in all that knew her.

Leslie is buried in Arlington Cemetery, which to me is so symbolic of her deep love and passion for history. If she could have picked anywhere to be buried, I would guess Arlington would be the place–alongside all of her heroes. Visiting her grave two years ago was a very sobering experience. It was quite a hike to her grave site, but once we got there, it was a peaceful, closing feeling that I can’t quite describe in words. While I initially thought I’d be crying at her grave site, I took comfort in knowing that she is fine now. She is with God now,  of this I am sure.

The thought of someone pointing a gun at her with the intention to kill her is something I will never be able to comprehend in my lifetime. Not just her, but any of the other 31 students that were killed that day as well. Their lives were taken by a sick, sick individual that I cannot even bare, to this day, to see pictures of him, knowing that was the last thing Leslie saw before she died. Though today I will be praying for all of the families still in mourning over the loss of their children, there is also another family who lost their child and that is Cho’s family.

How do you even have a funeral for someone who shot and killed 32 people before shooting himself? His parents have to grieve as well and today I am praying for them too.  I hate that he took the life of Leslie and so many others. I hate that he was so mentally ill he felt the need to bring others down in the process. I hate that he worshiped Dylan and Eric from Columbine and made references to them in his video. I hate that he chose Leslie’s building to bust into and shoot everyone he could. I hate that people died trying to stop him. And I hate that only two people walked out of Leslie’s French class because of him.

But, through it all, I am convinced that Leslie’s legacy will live on in all that knew her for the rest of our lives. We will never forget.

Rest in Peace Leslie G. Sherman

April 9, 1987-April 16, 2007

All Things Wedding Freak Me Out–Part 2

Yesterday, I was privileged to attend a beautiful wedding of one of my closest friends from high school, and a guy that she met our first year of college. Their wedding day had finally arrived yesterday–after being together for five years and engaged for one year, they were married yesterday.

As I was waiting for the wedding to begin, I started to feel anxious sitting in the white plastic chair on the aisle side by the rose petals scattered about forming a “L” and “T” for their initials. I’m not sure if anyone realized what was about to happen. Sure, the wedding was beautiful, the setting was gorgeous and everything was seemingly going just as planned. But really, the second they say “I do”, literally, there is no turning back. This is it. FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES. They are bound to each other in every way possible. And there is no undoing an “I do.”

But then I remembered what she had told me one evening in the marketplace (the place where we ate our “mealplans” for dinner) in college, just three weeks after she had started him–“Taylor, I know this is crazy, but I am going to marry Tim.” I was speechless, but responded with a, “Wow, you really think so?” In my 18-year-old mind the idea of marriage seemed impossible. (Not much has changed with me, obviously) She was so sure of him–yet she had only been dating him for less than a month. I am a firm believer of the saying, “When you know, you know.” The amount of time you’ve known a person doesn’t matter–it’s what happens once you “know” that does matter.

Sure, they were married relatively young (22 is young for marriage in my eyes), but they waited a long time to get engaged, had a long engagement, and did not over-do the wedding. They had pre-marital counseling these last few weeks and have, to me, been doing almost everything right. The wedding was focused on the marriage, not on throwing some huge party that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.

My anxiety vanished as soon as I saw her come down the aisle, hands intertwined with her moms, smiling hugely, with her eyes on nothing or no one but him. The same assurance she said to me that night at the marketplace was exact same assurance she had walking down the aisle yesterday. And I’m not sure if everyone that gets married these days has that assurance along with years of experience being together and going through so much, growing as a couple and each other. Not that if you have been together for less time you’re wrong or anything like that, but few people can say they’ve been dating since they were 18 and have stayed together through it all. I thought about all the boyfriends that have come and gone through my life, people I’ve dated, people they’ve both hung out with and gotten to know because they were once “someone” to me–and yet they were constant with each other that entire time.

I also don’t know if people realize–it really is until DEATH do you part. The person you marry vows to stay by you for better, or for worse. When you’re sick and when you’re healthy. When times are tough and when times are good. I honestly think that the newlywed period is called that for a reason–that’s when it’s the best time to be married. Problems arise later, conflicts happen, and life throws so many curve balls that you’re expected to get through together, as couple, no matter what. Anxiety? Yes.

Follow up to “Sorry. I can’t. Don’t Hate Me–“

In my recent diatribe regarding the similarity between my life and a particular episode in the fifth season of Sex and the City, I spent about three seconds mourning the loss of the “fun” of the somewhat-dating-relationship in my life. I decided, like Carrie, that I would spend as much time mourning the loss of it as he did ending it. And so, I moved on.

Moving on from relationships, no matter how fun, serious, long, or short–has always involved some sort of process from me. And of course, I’m sure if I were to ask for a show of hands on this one that I’d get plenty raised, it is so much easier to move on from the person when they’re cut out of your life. I’ve never understood how people can truly move on from a relationship (no matter what capacity it was) when they do not cut the person out of their life. This means no more seeing the person, no more calling, texting, and in some extreme cases–defriending and blocking on Facebook. (Guilty, guilty, and guilty of all of the above)

So when a person is cut out of our lives in an attempt to “get over” the relationship, is that really what makes us move on? The act of removing them and having them no longer around physically, over the phone, or internet is a process that takes getting used to. Sure, you’re no longer seeing the person. You’re no longer talking. You’re no longer spending time with them at their apartment, or yours, or out at night. But what happens to the attraction? What happens to the feeling that is associated with their existance? That cannot be cut out of our lives. Why? Because it’s not an animate object that we can remove. It’s merely feelings. It’s internal. And that can keep growing, multiplying, reproducing no matter how much we try to physically remove the person.

Then, what happens when their existence crosses your existence? Where does all that attraction and feeling go? I like to think of it as being stored away somewhere that’s not so “feel-able,” such as my feet, or in cliche terms, “the back of my mind.” It’s there, it’s present, but it’s not a constant dwelling at the front of my mind. But seeing them again–that is what makes it become tangible. And it rises from my feet back into the forefront of my mind faster than vomit soaring up my esophagus. Damnit.

There it is. Attraction. Feeling. Everything associated with the person, back up right where I can see, and feel it.

Now what? I’ve spent the last month without feeling, without communicating, and I’d say I’ve done a good job at it. But that attraction–where did it go? Not only is it manifesting within my head, or feet, or wherever–it is somewhere where I can feel it. And that–is toxic.

“Maybe we just obsess over relationships that seem unfinished.”

All Things Wedding–freak. me. out.

Wedding season has officially arrived.

Actually, it’s been around for a while–and it appears to me that everyone around me is participating in this activity in one way or another. If you know me in any capacity, congratulations, you are either:

  1. Married
  2. Engaged
  3. In a serious relationship/borderline engaged
  4. A bridesmaid in someone else’s wedding

And um, where do I fit into that? I’m not married, certainly NOWHERE NEAR getting engaged (in fact at this exact second I’m not even dating anyone), and congratulations to me, I’m not in anyone’s wedding as of right now. (Which is probably better considering what I’m about to say regarding how I feel about all of this wedding riff-raff) Last weekend was one of my good friend’s bachelorette party. During the whole thing, besides having a headache (which I’m not sure is from lack of coffee, the hippie-like headband around my forehead, or from all the wedding hubbub in my very apartment), I started thinking about my wedding. Or, what could possibly be my wedding someday. (In a very very long time, I may add) Warning: this may offend a lot of people and I realize that, but again, this is my blog and your opinion is just as valid as mine!

  1. I don’t know anything about anything. Last weekend, I was literally the only person at this bachelorette party who was not one of the five statuses listed above. They were all talking about dresses, cuts, diamonds, types of princess/mermaid cuts, icing on a cake (apparently there’s more than one?), honeymoons, and I had absolutely nothing to say. One married person would say, “Oh, at MY wedding…” blah, blah. Not only am I not participating in anyone’s wedding, but I don’t know anything about any of this stuff to offer any kind of input into anyone’s conversation. And to be completely honest, I don’t really care, either.
  2. I don’t dream of my wedding day. I have honestly never really thought about it. I didn’t think about it at all until last summer, actually, when I was in a good friend’s wedding. Her wedding was on the beach and I honestly thought I would hate having it on the beach (so non-traditional), but I wound up loving it. The only thing I’ve really ever thought about my wedding is that I would like it to be outside. Preferably here, at Ellen Browning Scripps Park (in La Jolla, CA), my favorite place on earth:
  3. I don’t like the idea of planning things. I’m not a big flower girl, I don’t like centerpieces, I don’t really decorate, and what I do decorate is not wedding-ish. I like arty things in the wall in my apartment, weird sculptures, and frankly am just not very girly/planty when it comes to decorations. So what makes me think I’ll be able to decorate a whole wedding? I know there are people to hire for this type of stuff, but honestly, anyone who knows me well enough knows that flowers and wedding centerpieces are just not me. Isn’t a wedding supposed to reflect the couple?
  4. I also don’t know much about dresses. I am not a big fro-fro person. I don’t like layers in dresses. I don’t like trains. I don’t like poofs. I don’t like looking like a cupcake. The only thought I’ve ever given to my wedding dress is that I want a strapless dress that goes straight down, maybe to the floor. That’s it. I don’t want a big commotion. Preferably like this JCrew:
  5. With that being said, I don’t like attention. I don’t like the idea of an organ preluding a song that is played at everyone’s wedding and having everyone saunter down the aisle is so boring. “Right, together, left, together, right.” That is so traditional and so nondescript. I also hate the idea of everyone standing as I walk into the church or where ever it may be I have this wedding. I don’t want “all eyes on me” and I don’t like people staring at me. I realize at a wedding this is inevitable but really, that would make me so nervous.
  6. One thing that’s really getting under my skin is all this traditional stuff being done. I like to think of myself as a different person with originality. Not that there is anything wrong with tradition, but I don’t see the point in doing things at a wedding that literally everyone else does. Like removing the garter, tossing the bouquet, having a wedding shower where we play all the same games, a traditional bachelorette party with the same kind of traditional activities. Where’s the originality and specialty in that? I’d rather do something different and outrageous that no one else does on a daily basis for a wedding so it could be something that really was unique and special. Maybe that’s because I feel like that’s what I am as an individual. So is everyone else I guess, but again, shouldn’t a wedding be a reflection of the people getting married?

So, with all of this being said, I decided last weekend that the idea that seems the most fitting right now to me, considering how I feel and what I don’t know about weddings, is this: get married at city hall. It will save a lot of time, a lot of planning, a hell of a lot of my parents’ money, and a lot of stress. It seems like the sensible solution, for the time being.

Then I think about an actual wedding day–everyone only gets one (and even if you do get divorced remarried five times afterward, there is nothing like your first wedding) and it’s literally a day that is devoted to you. It is all about the bride and groom for that one day. Professional pictures are taken because it’s one day that you’ll never get back. One day where you can get the most dressed up and look amazing because it’s the most special day of your life: your wedding day. And getting married in city hall doesn’t leave room for any of that. No photographers photographing the whole day, no walking down an aisle, no reception, no cake. Just a simple saying of vows in front of other couples doing the exact same thing.

But that’s the thing about weddings–I feel like these days it’s blown so far out of proportion that it becomes so much about the wedding and less about the marriage. Isn’t the reason all this is being done? Two people making vows to each other for the rest of their lives, till DEATH do they part–together for better OR for worse. It does deserve a commotion, but I’m just not sure if I’m ready for a big one at that…