Jasmine Guillory’s latest romance Party of Two surpassed my expectations. With more substance and maturity than her previous stories, these characters had me not only rooting for their relationship but celebrating their personal growth. Lawyer Olivia Monroe and junior senator Max Powell have more age and career experience under their belts than the leads from The Wedding Date and The Proposal, and this serves to their advantage. They have a sense of their values and goals and take the time to consider how their next steps might or might not progress them. The communication and reflection may seem like they would slow down the story, but it allows the readers to savor the romance as well as contemplate healthy relationship adjustments.
In (500) Days of Summer, a movie in my all time top 10, a story of boy meets girl begins on January 8. Hopeless romantic greeting card writer Tom sees the new assistant Summer and falls into a moody love at first sight. However, as the narrator informs us in the film’s introduction, this boy meets girl story is not a love story. The romantic comedy shows us a couple effects of falling into a Summer Daze.
- A sweet boy meets girl beginning does not always have a happy ending. Watching Tom notice and pine after Summer has its sappy appeal. It gets even better when they ride the elevator together and Summer tells Tom she also likes The Smiths when she overhears his music. Once they finally start spending more time together and Tom feels like he’s grasping his dream girl, Summer communicates her intention to not have a serious relationship. Tom agrees, holding out hope that she changes her mind. People often fall into this trap in real life. Tom has the facts and chooses to continue spending time with Summer at his own risk, knowing she does not reciprocate his intentions or desire.
- The meet cute always holds the most potential. When Summer and Tom first see each other, they do not know each other’s details yet. This time holds the most potential as they do not know of any reason not to pursue interest; the fantasy realm hasn’t shattered the hope that the other can fulfill the dream. Tom falls into a deeper level of interest in Summer once he learns that she too loves one of his favorite bands. He finds a detail that keeps his interest and increases their compatibility. This gives him reason to pursue more knowledge and to see if their values and relationship perspective might mesh as well, a more important factor to consider that he later ignores much to his detriment.
- A relationship, failed or successful, shows the individuals who they are. Summer finally opens up to love and accepts a serious relationship, and marriage, after she splits from Tom. Spending time with Tom helps her see a new possibility as she learns to trust others, beginning with her friendship with Tom. Tom experiences tremendous heartache, but he eventually channels his energy into developing his architecture skill to pursue his career field again. He chooses to select his own direction rather than stay in his current situation simply because life has unfolded that way. He too takes another chance on love as he awaits his opportunity to interview for his dream job. Hopefully this time he knows a little better how to navigate communication and intentions.
Today we see January 8 on the calendar. Maybe we don’t have a boy meets girl experience today. We can still consider the knowledge we have and use that to navigate our direction and choices, whether we understand the information the first time or after we fall. The best potential comes after the Summer Daze fades.
The girls in Mean Girls wear pink on Wednesdays. Though we think we leave drama and teenage angst behind when we graduate high school, the world continues to hand us lemons. We still struggle with maintaining a firm foundation of our values, discovering our identity, pursuing our purpose, developing relationships and more. The teenage angst lives on; therefore, we can still learn from young adults as they come of age. Let’s take a look at some ladies as they’ve forged their way into adulthood.
After a couple weightier books and movies last weekend, I reveled in an upbeat romantic comedy after painting my nails bubble gum pink Sunday night. Jane in 27 Dresses showcases a issue many women struggle to overcome long into adulthood. When she first meets Kevin Doyle, he points out how she can’t say no after questioning her about her involvement in so many weddings. Jane brushes this off at first because the next wedding has her sister saying the vows. As the ceremony plans continue, Jane feels more and more distraught over her commitments and her unspoken love for the groom, her boss and longtime crush.
Eventually, Jane speaks out to tell George the truth about her sister’s lies. Though the truth jives with the right thing to do and Jane expressing herself shows improvement, she let it come out more as revenge for so many years of unspoken disappointment and anger. We all make mistakes as we learn how to better navigate relationships, communication and goals. However, we can learn from Jane that a sudden outburst of expression to cover years of it may not match the situation at hand. Once Jane talks to her sister and they each see how they envied the other and how they handled growing up without a mother affected each differently (Jane took over mothering Tess after the death). They get a better idea of the other’s perspective as well as how to better interact with her. Their dynamics change for the better. Jane continues to open herself to possibilities when she speaks to George; she learns her crush didn’t hold all she dreamed and that she can move onto a better job.
It gets easy to stay in comfortable patterns like Jane did because we have a hard time saying no. Yet that leaves little room for growth and doesn’t allow us to open doors for new opportunities. By the end of the movie, Jane sees that having honest conversations and allowing herself to speak what she wants deepens her relationship with her sister, allows her to seek better job opportunities and opens herself up to the possibility of love with someone who respects her when she accepts Kevin’s apology. We have wants and goals placed in our hearts for a reason. Sometimes it helps us as well as others to say no and to keep pursuing opportunities. Saying a small no just might make it possible to say a big yes. Jane does get to marry the handsome Kevin after all.
This weekend I’m catching up on NBC’s hit tearjerker This Is Us, and the second episode doesn’t disappoint. Filled with touching moments, especially between characters who haven’t been as close previously, it captures the difficulty and depth of developing a family. Randall and Beth further contemplate fostering a child. Through Randall’s doubt and Beth’s persistence in their discussions, they demonstrate the uncertainty in family connections and the communication necessary to develop those connections. They show triumph over uncertainty and difficulty to connect leads to the development of strong family ties.
Randall knows firsthand what it feels like to struggle through childhood. As the adopted child of the Big Three triplets and only one of a different race, he knows how easy it can be to feel separated. He also has witnessed the effects of parents’ problems on children; his adoptive father Jack struggled with a drinking problem passed down from Jack’s father, a problem that stirs conflict within Jack and Rebecca’s marriage and family, and, his biological father struggled with drug problems and ultimately died from cancer. Randall understandably fears not feeling equipped to deal with a foster child who may have been abused in some way (Beth at first guesses he feels nervous about answering the question about his family history of alcoholism and drugs). As Beth points out, they didn’t know what they would get when they had their two daughters.
Their discussion and their potential to know beforehand whether a child would have the difficulties of healing from abuse or difficult medical histories intrigued me. As Bev points out, people generally don’t know what problems may arise related to their children or their preparedness to parent. Life, and families in particular, face a lot of uncertainty. Yet Randall’s life proves that the uncertainty and challenges can be overcome. Perhaps some of Randall’s perfectionism and hard work ethic stem from a desire to prove himself worthy. It also fuels him to work to stay connected with his family despite the difficulties. Ultimately, in this episode, we see how Beth’s insistence to continue their discussion until completion of the foster care questionnaire demonstrates how communication can further deepen and develop family connections. She does not let Randall give up, and together they progress their goal to broaden their family.
Beth’s story arc in this episode also shows how connections can develop even where they don’t have much depth already. She informs Randall that she does not find his brother Kevin funny and that she does not care to watch the recording of Kevin’s show The Manny. Kevin knows their relationship does not go deep, but he still seizes his chance to be there for her and his brother. Beth finds herself in Kevin’s room backstage and shares her frustration with Randall. Rather than remove himself to give Beth space, Kevin chooses to stay and communicate. As she divulges their plans to adopt, Kevin sees Beth’s need for understanding and connects with her through a humorous background story Beth didn’t previously realize connected them. It serves as a point for them to start deepening their friendship as well as encouragement for Beth to not get discouraged in her journey with Randall to become foster parents.
As usual, this episode makes me tear up at the touching depth to these characters and their situations. They remind me that with effort and communication we can all develop deeper connections with family. Their strength does not come without difficulty. Opportunities always exist to connect as well, whether they be with family members who have been around for years or with ones who may not have joined yet. Like Randall and Beth, we should not let fear of uncertainty steer us away from developing those ties.
allergies, alone, anaphylaxis, anxiety, cliche, communication, depression, empathy, family, friends, happiness, health, heart, help, ignorance, improvement, issues, life, long distance, mind, PTSD, reaction, sensitive, sensitivity, support, sympathy
I kid that I am sensitive in every meaning of the word and to obnoxious extents. For example, I have a long list of foods that cause allergic reactions, including several items that push my body to the extreme in anaphylaxis. My feelings don’t differ too much unfortunately despite how strong I appear or am. Just like I can’t control that certain snacks potentially could kill me, I can’t anymore control that my brain has a chemical imbalance stemming from biological factors as well as responses to past experiences. None of these things should be held against me, yet I can’t tell you how many times those reactions have been brushed off as insignificant. The added weight of all this discredit makes me want to distance myself from people right now.
I’m smart enough to know I shouldn’t take it to heart when I get asked twenty times a day why I wear gloves while working at Home Depot. No, I’m not doing forensics or surgery. No, it’s not because I have OCD (the person you asked while pointing at me can tell you that too). These people don’t mean to “poke” me as I say. It’s unusual, and they’re curious. Maybe they also missed their class on decorum. Yet when the amount of “pokes” increases, it ends up leaving a small bruise. I simply try to protect my skin from further inflammation or from an infection from exposing it raw to money, the FILTHIEST item on the planet.
Now I need to protect my heart and mind even more than usual. Unfortunately, depression has a lot of mystery and misunderstanding surrounding it. It’s easy for someone to look at a victim and accuse them of being lazy or to tell that person to “just get over it and be happy.” If it the solution or cure held such simplicity, no problem would exist. Wellmeaninged people have told me these very sentiments. Those “suggestions” do not prove fruitful. What seems to hurt most, whether aimed at a depressed or non-depressed person, is feelings getting dismissed. Even if they’re tears spilled over a dead squirrel on the road, they’re legitimate tears. Telling your loved one otherwise may result in that person creating distance between you and him or her or may lead them to guard themselves more.
Some people, like me, have to closely monitor what they eat in the interest of preserving their lives. Anaphylaxis is a serious issue, and so is depression. It sucks that something so simple can cause so much damage. Trust me; I know. I recently have visited the ER for a nice drug cocktail injected right into my veins after eating a salad. Yes, a simple healthy salad could have killed me. I don’t mean to be morbid, but depression, anxiety and PTSD symptoms kill people too. So I have to protect myself.
Life is tough. The cliche is true. We should move on and be happy. That’s true too. The so called advice people share has a good ring to it. Yet life holds no such simplicity. People eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches all the time. I’d be in incredibly serious danger if I decided to have one for my lunch. I sure hope someone wouldn’t be ignorant enough to tell me, “People eat these all the time. You shouldn’t be blocking your airwaves. Get up and continue living” if I accidentally consumed one. I hope someone doesn’t say something similar the next time I sit immobile while crying in the dark. I’d rather not make myself live life alone and make the feeling of being alone true.
I look into the mirror
After the fog clears
I can’t see you
Through all my fears
I know you’re there
After it’s said and done
A crack splits us
No reflection as one
I hold it so tight
This vision inside
You staring back
Returning with the tide
Now it’s only me
When you don’t take time
To cherish this love
Worth more than a dime
All I feel is alone
When you say nothing at all
How can you not know
Without words I fall?
I have my one request
That you’ve let slip
So I’ll stop asking
And save this service of lip