“Why didn’t any of the guys you dated love you as much as I do?” my boyfriend asked.
The question hung in the air like foggy breath steaming up a cold windshield. It’s one of his favorite questions to ask. To him, it’s a mystery why other guys passed me over. It’s a riddle I love him for wanting to solve.
“I don’t get it,” he said.
“Me neither,” I shrugged.
These are the kinds of conversations you have four hours into a five-hour road trip, after you’ve listened to a Lorrie Moore short story on The New Yorker Fiction podcast and gossiped about people you know and stopped at an abandoned McDonald’s with one, lone carousel pony on display in the dining area. The pony looked out of place — like it was in search of its missing carousel. Keep reading »
I’ve completed my gossip cleanse and I must say, my mind feels like a once dirty carpet that’s just been steam-cleaned. On to the next quest on my journey to become a yoga teacher: practicing contentment. When I volunteered to take this on as my assignment for the month, the visual that popped into my head was me at the nail salon, flipping through the lasted issue of InStyle, while receiving a back rub. This was my image of contentment? You must have something better than that, I scolded myself.
But honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced content once in my life. So I would hardly know what to imagine. Well, maybe I felt content on my week-long jaunt to Paris, while eating oysters and sipping champagne in a famous LaBelle Epoch eatery or on my first date with my boyfriend, in that moment when our conversation became so deep that the rest of the universe receded. But maybe what I was feeling in those moments was joy. The two are different. Joy is a feeling of great pleasure and happiness and contentment is a state of satisfaction. One is feeling and one is a state. When I’m getting a pedicure, I’ll be honest, I’m never in a state of satisfaction. I’m usually consumed with worry that the shade I’ve chosen looks too black on my toes or that my nail polish won’t dry fast enough for me to get to the next place I need to be on time. Keep reading »
When it comes to romantic relationships, I’ve been very, very lucky. My boyfriend and I met when we were young and have been together for almost 10 years. Besides one breakup/get back together cycle in college (I told him I needed to go “sow my wild oats” but just spent six months crying and writing free verse poetry in my dorm room instead), our relationship has included minimal drama. Have we been through our fair share of relationship tests? Of course, but we’ve always treated each other with love and respect.
My friendship history, on the other hand, has been chock full of drama. I’ve had more than my fair share of toxic friendships, conflicts, and friend breakups. In fact, sometimes I feel like my tumultuous experiences with friends have been an inverse reaction to my blissfully boring romantic life. Maybe it’s the universe evening things out (this girl has a sweet, steady boyfriend, let’s make sure she has to deal with some craaaaazy friends!), or maybe I just have a certain amount of fucked up relationship energy that needs to go somewhere, and since I’ve been happily paired up for so long, my friendships became the outlet. Keep reading »
Relationships and experiences are a big part of what defines who we are. For many, names become guideposts or signifiers of those relationships or experiences. For a long time, I couldn’t accept my dad and so the allure of casting of the McDonell name felt like it might relieve me of some burden. Of having him in my life, of dealing with the ways I am like him, of seeing him for the fully complex person that he was. I understand the desire to change one’s last name as a marker of starting over, especially when there’s something in your past you want to close the door on.
For a while, my plan was to drop the McDonell from my name, and just be Amelia Parry. It would stay that way when I got married and then, when I had kids, my husband and I could … well, we’d cross that bridge when we came to it. Ideally, we would hyphenate our kid’s name just as my parents had done with my name, until our child grew up and made their own decision about what to do.
But so much has not gone as planned. Keep reading »
If you are a bride, you pose for a lot of photos.
You pose for photos to announce your engagement. You pose for photos at your bachelorette party. You pose for photos at your shower. You pose for photos with your groom-to-be, and with your best friends, and with your family, and with your parents, and then more with your groom. You pose for a lot of photos by yourself, looking happy.
It’s a good time to be photographed, of course. Most of the time, you won’t be able to stop smiling. You’re about to legally bind yourself to the person you love and want to have sex with forever and ever. And someone’s going to give you a really dope food processor as a wedding gift. What’s not to smile about?
It’s also a time that you, as a bride, will become very, very self-conscious of your body. Because as a bride, everything about how you look is going to be on display. Keep reading »
I never realized how much time I spent gossiping until I tried to stop. I’m not a mean-spirited person in the least. The opposite really — I go out of my way to be nice to people. But man, I can kiki (that’s what the drag queens call it) up a storm. As a friend of mine said, “It’s your bread and butter.” But I’m starting to realize that all that butter is clogging my mental arteries and draining my energy.
Last week, I started a program to get my yoga teacher certification. I’ve been practicing since I was 17 and decided it was time to take my knowledge to a higher level. In our first session, the instructors suggested a number of things for the students to strive for, for the duration of our four-month training: daily meditation, contemplating vegetarianism, making a commitment not to lie (even white lies) and doing away with all gossip. Daily meditation I can do, vegetarianism I can’t, not lying … that’s a whole other essay.
I don’t gossip that much, was my knee-jerk reaction, that should be easy. Keep reading »