callistahogan: (Default)
The dress is silk, clinging gently to my breasts and waist before cascading down to my feet. The hem swishes against the floor as I walk, my shoes clipping against the floor. The barest wisp of a curl escapes from my elaborate updo, brushing against the back of my neck like the touch of my lover. I make my way down the hall and slip inside a room, shutting the heavy door behind me.

A pair of strong arms wrap around my waist and I smile.

“It's about time,” the man whispers in my ear.

I laugh and turn, staring into my love's deep brown eyes. “Sorry,” I whisper, wrapping my arms around his neck. “Wedding plans.”

He laughs too, reaching down to plant a quick kiss against my lips. “Let me guess,” he says. “The queen's deciding whether or not to go with pink or red flowers on the table during the dinner.”

“Close enough,” I say. “She's deciding what color the flowers in my bouquet should be.”

I smile as he laughs again, leading me to the seats in the middle of the room. We settle into a loveseat, me snuggling against his side, his arm around my shoulders.

“To think that a year ago, we couldn't even be together,” he says softly. “And now, we're a month away from being wed.”

“I know,” I say. “It's hard to believe.” I glance up at him, a smile spreading across my face. “We're a month away from living happily ever after.”



The fairytale dissolves, leaving me blinking in the darkness of my bedroom. I stare around my room, at the messy desk and floor, at the computer resting on my bed's comforter, right beside my hip. It seemed real, I reflected, so very real. The fairytale atmosphere, the pressure of my lover's arms around my waist, the way he pressed his lips to mine with all the passion and love in the entire world.

But it was all fake. All a lie.

I knew that fairytales did not exist. I suppose I realized that when I was young and my family began dissolving. It was hard to see people talk about their families falling apart, or see your own get ripped apart at the seams, without being rather cynical in regards to the “happily ever after.” The idea of the perfect soulmate, the one person who would do whatever it took to be with you—did that exist? Or the castle on the hill, overlooking the city, with the perfect king and queen ascending to the throne—was that real?

No, of course not.

There might be someone out there for everyone, just one “fish in the sea,” so to speak. My sister's relationship with her husband proves that. Though their relationship had starts and stops, arguments and tears, they are the closest couple I can point to when someone asks me if I know a pair of people who are destined to be together. I can just see them, ten, twenty, thirty years in the future, still bickering, still arguing, still running the youth group, and still as madly in love then as they are now. I can see their children being proud that their parents are still together, after so many of their peers have single parents.

Yet, as perfect as they might seem, they are not. They have arguments—more arguments that I could count. They have disagreements. They do not have the fairytale or the “happily ever after.” They are not characters in a story book, where they get over their conflicts and then ride into the sunset. “The End” did not scroll over their story once they got married.

Their story continues on. There is excitement—my sister's second surprise pregnancy, for one—mingled in with the happiness. Events in their lives don't always work out the way they planned, like when they had to move in with my brother-in-law's mother for a period of time until they could find a place of their own, but they don't mind it. They don't mind the unexpected.

I can just imagine what would happen if their journey ended with the marriage. I can just imagine what would happen if “And they lived happily ever after” scrolled across the proverbial movie screen of their lives.

It would have been awfully predictable.

They get married. They find a house, move in, and spend a year or two getting settled in. My sister finishes college and gets the job she wants. My brother-in-law gets the job he wants, and they bring in all the money they need. After a couple years, she gets pregnant. Her pregnancy is easy, and she could go to youth group every Friday night. They have their first child, and the journey continues in the same predictable, easy mold. There are no conflicts; their child grows up successful, and they grow old together, sitting on the porch and yelling at those “lousy kids” who ride past their house on bikes.

It doesn't seem like a life I would want to live, even though it is apparently the ideal. After all, a fairytale ending is the culmination of all the drama that's happened and the realization that after this point, everything is smooth sailing.

Can you say boring?

Personally, I'd rather have the sort of life that is passionate. There are constant surprises, constant turmoil, and constant obstacles that I have to work through. I don't want the typical; I don't want the “Find a guy in college, get married, have kids” ending that it seems I should aspire to. I might not even want kids; how's that for a monkey wrench in your ideals for my life?

I might get caught up in the idea of a fairytale ending, but that's only because I am a typical teenage girl in that regard, when it comes to fancy dresses and balls and a handsome prince sweeping me off my feet. But if I look deep inside, I know that a fairytale is not for me, and to be honest—it's probably not for anyone. Humans need conflict; we feed on it. A fairytale cannot be. I can't live in a fancy castle with my prince.

Passion is what I live for. Passion is what I strive for.

Although I might get caught up in fairytales, when I think about my life and what I truly want, the image dissolves faster than I might imagine. I think about the handsome prince, and I say: Well, yeah. So you might provide me with a happily-ever-after. But that's not what I want or need. And my lips quirk as I imagine the progression of my story. I imagine jumping over the hurdles put in my path in order to pursue my dream.

When I'm old and graying, I don't want to be sitting on a porch with my love, thinking back over my perfect life. I want to be telling anyone who will listen about my life and the conflicts I worked through. When I am old and can barely see, I want to tell them this simple line:

Fairytales are overrated.

--

This has been my entry for Week 14 of [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol. Once more, it was an intersection week, and my partner was [livejournal.com profile] ask_a_sup. Our votes are tallied together this week, so if you like my entry, please read [livejournal.com profile] ask_a_sup's entry as well.
callistahogan: (Default)
“Did you hear? Sharon is pregnant!”

The person next to me on the hard orange bleachers turned to face the three of us. “Really?” she asked. “Who's the father?”

My friend shrugged her shoulders. “No one knows.”

“I bet it's with someone disgusting,” the second girl next to me—my acquaintance, since it was hardly accurate calling her my friend—said. “Did you see her teeth? Disgusting. She doesn't even take care of them. She can barely even take care of herself, let alone a baby.”

“I know,” my friend responded. “And her voice is super-nasally. Remember?”

“Yeah, I remember,” the second girl said. “I can't imagine why anyone would have to have sex with her of all people.”

Taking up my backpack and my laptop, I turned away from the conversation, heading to the doors of the gym so I could run from the hell-hole as soon as possible. As I passed by a group of freshmen, I heard “God, it was so terrible, I don't even know why I agreed to having sex with him.” I kept my head down, standing near the doors as I waited for the bell to ring. As it did, I heard a group of guys crack a joke—obscene, misogynistic, typical teenage boy crap—and rolled my eyes.

It was about time the day was over.

--

“So, don't tell your sister, but I was invited to go out to eat with Kara and Amber,” one of the youth group students, Martha*, said.

“And I wasn't invited?”

“You wouldn't have wanted to come,” Martha said. “It was really awkward.”

“Awkward how?”

“Well, she asked us if... we were virgins,” Martha muttered. “It was one of the first things she said too. It was like we sat down, and then she asked 'Are you a virgin?' And she asked us if we had ever held hands with a boy before, stuff like that. It was really weird.”

I agreed, shaking my head. It seemed that there was no escaping mentions of sex; even those self-proclaimed conservative Christians ended up butting into people's personal sex lives.

--

I live in a culture absolutely saturated with sex.

It's not often that I can tune into a TV show without some sort of hot couple steaming up the screen with their sexual tension or walk down the halls at school without some obscene joke. It's not all that bothersome to me, really—I've gotten used to it—but the big deal about it goes over my head. Why do people care so much about what people do in their bedrooms? And why has it become such a prevalent part of our culture (so prevalent, in fact, that most swear words happen to be sexual in nature)?

I admit, I don't have too much sexual experience. I am a virgin, as I expect to be until my wedding day, and the Internet is my major source of information about sex. My parents never had the “Sex Talk” with me (do parents even do that anymore?) and by the time my school started teaching me about sex, I had already run across my brother's porn files.

The thing that really blows my mind (pun intended) is the way that something that should be so private—or something I think should be so private—has become a nationwide obsession. All over gossip magazines, it's the same: who is sleeping with whom? And in TV shows, the drama regarding who is sleeping with whom and who is pregnant by whom is often the biggest plot line.

This might sound old-fashioned, but I'd prefer it if what started out behind closed doors would remain behind closed doors. Personally, I don't care who had sex with whom. I don't care if someone had sex with someone of the same gender or if someone got pregnant because they had unprotected sex.

I'm not in the position to say, considering I haven't even been close to having sex, but it strikes me as intensely personal. For the first time, you're baring all to that one person you trust, the one person you trust to give you pleasure instead of pain, or love instead of heartbreak. The one person you either want to get you off or the one person you want to love you forever. The one person who sees you at your most vulnerable, naked, stripped to the bone, all imperfections laid out. Every awkwardness, every small imperfection, every hesitation: your partner is able to see it all.

And it strikes me as highly intrusive to have that act, the most private of all acts we humans do, splattered across newsstands and TV shows and our conversations like it is so much old gossip. It strikes me as an invasion of personal space to decry a person for having sex too early, or too late. I don't understand why people feel the need to decry someone having sex for the first time at forty. To call a girl a “whore” if she has sex or congratulate a guy if he “hits that hot chick”... it doesn't seem right to me. None of it does.

Sure, I might be optimistic. I might not be realistic. I might not understand the whole fascination with sex since I am so very young. I might not know everything about sex.

But you know what?

I do know what I want, and I want to wait until my wedding day. Otherwise, I don't think I'd be able to bare my whole heart and soul to someone. I wouldn't want to have sex with someone just because I felt attracted to them for one day; I'd want to build a connection, to be so in love that I would want to give that piece of my heart to that one person—and hope that they don't break it.

And if they do, then at least I would know that I did what felt right. And no one could take that peace away from me.

*Names changed.

--

This has been my entry for week 13 of [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol. This week was another intersection week, but there was a twist: we had to pick a new partner. My partner for this week was [livejournal.com profile] twistersflower. You can read her entry here. Our votes are tallied together this week, so if you like my entry, please consider voting for her as well. Thanks!
callistahogan: (Default)
Throughout the nearly two years I've been on LiveJournal, I've met many people.

In the beginning, most of my friends were people I had met through various online communities, and they were people I had known for about a year and a half. My entries were predominantly centered around my Christian faith, since at that time I had just been to one of the best lessons ever given at my youth group, and it had changed my perspective. I wrote many entries dealing with the crucifixion, creationism, and many other issues besides.

During that time, the person who commented the most on my entries* held views completely opposite to my own. While I was a devout Christian, she was a strong atheist. While I read Left Behind, she argued with me about the accuracies enclosed in the book. While I argued my cases against abortion and gay marriage, she took the opposing viewpoint. I remember clearly the anger that swept through me when I felt belittled for my beliefs, and when I wanted to end the debate but she kept going.

Nothing we could say could sway the other, and after a while, the arguments escalated to a point where I had to ban her for a period of time. The ban was lifted, but at that point, I had felt so belittled and looked down upon for my beliefs that I couldn't handle it.

Little did I know, however, that things would change. I suppose it happened when I realized just how liberal LJ was; reading other peoples' entries made me realize that LJ was a leftist community—intensely so, in fact. It was probably then that my viewpoints began to shift. I was still strong in my opinions, but reading other entries about hate crimes did not make me feel comfortable.

One other person* who came to my LJ during that period of time in which my viewpoints were still conservative was a Christian like me. At the time, she felt like a breath of fresh air, away from the pollutants and contaminants that were injected into my faith while reading liberal entries. She understood me, agreeing with my previous opinions about gay marriage and abortion.

It felt like the sun was rising. The sun was shining brightly, and it felt right and correct to be holding the views I did. Nothing compared to the feeling of waking up to a comment praising me for being so wise for my then-fourteen years of age or a comment that said that she agreed completely with me.

It was at that point that I began thinking in earnest. I questioned the opinions that had been drilled into me since birth, almost, and wondered about the entries I had read previously. I read the comments of liberals who commented on my entries, and it seemed like they did have a point. For the first time, I realized that maybe I was being prejudiced.

I paid more attention to other peoples' entries. I remember several posts about abortion, in which some people brought up good points that I haven't quite forgotten—and both my liberal and conservative friends brought up points both worthy of merit. It was around this time that I started looking at both sides of the issues, and as a teen just figuring who the hell she is, I started to grow frustrated with the liberal-conservative war, wherein both groups try to prove to the other that their views are “right” and that their views will “save America.” Blah, blah, blah—it was boring to me. Boring, and pointless.

I realized that there was no point in butting heads with people whose views were different than mine. While I don't run away from debates—not anymore—I realized that it was pointless to be so stuck in my viewpoints that I couldn't change. Who was to say that the conservative view of things is the right thing to believe? And who was to say that the liberals got it right?

No one.

My breakthrough on one issue happened when I was called a bigot on one certain entry months ago. And not just a bigot, but a “bigoted cunt.” I received anonymous bashing when I wrote an entry after Maine legalized same-sex marriage. Although the anonymity of the people responding upset me, it almost made me realize hey, look here. My pants are down. Why don't I pull them the hell up?

Slowly, I realized that when I thought the sun had risen months ago when someone else outside of my immediate family believed in the conservative values I had been born in, it had in fact not appeared. If anything, the sun had set at that point, blinding me to all of the bad in this world that occur in broad daylight. Instead, the sun rose months after that entry, when I finally couldn't say: Well, I won't deal with this right now. I'll just say what I wish would happen and ignore that my ideal situation would never happen. The sun illuminated the fact that I had to finally make a choice. No longer could I stand in the background and shrug noncommittally. I had to do something.

All of the comments over the years took a toll. I would be lying if I said that my views would have changed if I hadn't been exposed to LiveJournal. For example, if I hadn't read the entries regarding RaceFail '09, I never would have realized how prevalent racism still is in today's culture, and I wouldn't have known to pull my pants up when my ass was showing.

I owe LiveJournal many things, but to me, it's truly been a way to meet people. LiveJournal exposed me to so many different people: liberals and conservatives and independents and Christians and atheists and pagans and artists and writers and straights and gays and bisexuals and bookaholics and fandom freaks, just to name a few. And everyone, from that very first person who debated with me on LJ to my dear assless sisters (inside joke) and the people I've met here on LJ Idol, has shaped part of who I am.

And now that my views are finally something I have a measure of peace with, I felt sunny and light—like I can take on the world.

Or maybe, you know, just make some new friends.

*Names withheld, because I don't want to point the fingers at anyone in particular.

--

This has been my entry for week 12 of [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol. This week, we had to work with a partner. My partner was [livejournal.com profile] in48frames, and her entry is here. Our votes are combined for their totals this week, so if you like my entry, head over there and vote for her as well.

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callistahogan

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