Young and Imperfect Love


      When spring gives way to summer and my Facebook feed is jammed packed with pictures of happy brides, excited grooms and overjoyed relatives. Fleeting moments captured by an overpriced photographer: the dress, the kiss, the garter toss, feeding each other cake. Giant photos of the couple, posed and perfect, ready to be framed. 

  I shutter to think of the stress these beautiful brides must be under. Try planning a party for two hundred plus people with a psychotic future mother-in-law, while working out an insane amount with a sadistic personal trainer just so you can fit into that "perfect"  wedding dress all the while subsisting on caffeine, starving yourself and living in this unreal world of white taffeta and gigantic, oversized flower bouquets. Yeah, no thank you. 

Why are people putting themselves through this ridiculous charade? Frazzled, hungry, self-obsessed, crazy: Is this really the ideal way to begin a new life with someone you love? After saying this I do believe there is a magical delight in the wedding ordeal. But this is a celebration of love, not a fashion show. Not a time to bankrupt yourself, recognize that you are torturing yourself, your friends, and your family.  All together, I'm trying to see this tradition and behavior as "overzealous love"; like when a toddler hugs a favored toy so hard that the head flops off. Is this what we want though, to love something so much that you drain the life right out of them?  
 
Perhaps I am just afraid of the whole concept of "marriage" In reality, I suppose I don't know what "LOVE" is. Because I see "love" between couples who are twice my age, and it's ugly, and mean. Their love is spoken in words like daggers, sharp insults and accusations that cut and tear. I can see the seams of the relationship shredding until trust leaks from the wounds and spills hot like blood onto the bedsheets. Their love is wasted skin, nights spent on the couch, or a motel room down the street with their secret lover. They love with obligated kisses and walk with pocketed hands down the street and come home to microwaved dinners eaten at opposite ends of the house. If that is "responsible love, mature love,"  Love living under the title of marriage then I will happily live without it. 

So to you, the ones who have been told that you don't know what love is, or that you are loving the wrong one or that you're getting too old and need to marry and settle down. That you are stupid for forgoing that "american" dreamy expensive wedding for a far more simple one at a courthouse or maybe choosing not to marry at all. Ignore all the naysayers, the haters. Press your palm to your chest and think of your beloved. Do you smile, now? Do you feel that they live within your very ribs, that they have wiggled their way in and buillt a home inside of your heart? Its a very special feeling. And I am learning to bask in it and enjoy the messy moments. For we have loved over miles, over oceans, over state lines. our love has been messy, irresponsible, and dangerous. But never has it been mean. Never has it been angry. Never have we fought, or threatened and hinted that we weren't happy together. 

So my dear humans, I beg you: be young, be in love, get married when and how you want to, travel the world together. Hold hands, have sex, have a family, grow old and grow grateful. There will always be the sour ones. The ones who warn that if you don't follow tradition it will be the death of your relationship. 

Prove them wrong.

FOR YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN SCULPT THE DEFINITION OF LOVE. 
joelle griswold