Divorce

Divorce is a hot topic. From conscious uncouplings to trial separations, celebrity divorces dominate headlines. As a happily married late 20-something, I’m fascinated by how love, marriage and the dissolution of marriage have evolved over time.

I caught wind of HBO’s new series Divorce because of one of its Executive Producers, Sharon Horgan. Her work on Pulling and Catastrophe perfectly reflect my sense of humor. She’s tackled love and marriage, so perhaps divorce was the natural next step. It also didn’t hurt that Sarah Jessica Parker (SJP) was billed as the show’s star.

I found time on a Sunday to watch the early premiere of the series on HBO Go, and was really pleased. SJP broke free from her mold as Carrie Bradshaw, introducing viewers to an equally complicated lead named Frances.

The show is charming and rugged — kind of like 90s grunge — set cozily in the swanky suburb of Hastings-on-Hudson. The first episode established a lot of foundation while confronting major issues. Viewers were also treated to a darkly comedic side of Molly Shannon, whose character is both wildly dysfunctional and likable at first glance. She’s the friend whose safety and sanity you fear for, all while fiercely protecting her.

I’m excited to see how each character evolves. Thomas Haden Church and Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement add just the right amount of complementary quirk to the rest of the ensemble. 

While SJP’s celebrity friends helped raise awareness for the show’s early premiere — her interview with Eva Chen was a favorite of mine — I also happened upon an unrelated installment from The Guardian called “The Moment Our Marriage Was Over” that really struck a chord with me. Couples shared sincerely touching essays about the vulnerable moments when they knew their marriages were over.

We focus so much on the romantic part of love and marriage, but there’s a functional component — almost like how leadership factors into management — that doesn’t get the same level of limelight, perhaps because it’s the most painfully relatable element.

I love my husband dearly, but the highs and lows captured even in the first episode of Divorce will surely resonate with every couple, and inspire at least a little bit of sympathy and quite a few laughs.

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Love, Marriage and Politics

Working in public relations, especially on the digital end of the spectrum, I’m no stranger to keeping my politics private. Most people who know my husband and me, know that we have wildly opposing political views, and wonder how in the world we make our marriage work.

Early on in our relationship, I dedicated lots of time to polishing Adam’s rough edges. Don’t get me wrong; he’s brilliant. Really and truly. But he’s strong-willed. Deciding to get married on the heels of an election year, I never thought I’d have so many, “Shit Republicans Say” reactions to his political commentary.

Love is funny, though. I’ve kept him up until the wee hours of the morning following debates to extend my soapbox, and he’s engaged me, exhausting his talking points in hopes of tuckering me out. He’s not often successful.

We make it work for two reasons. The first, and perhaps most important is that at the foundation of our marriage is a mutual respect. We respect each other’s opinions, because they’re not sound bites. Second, and still important, is that our political positioning, though inherently opposite, overlaps and aligns on issues that have the potential to directly impact us as a unit.

I sometimes wonder if our marriage is actually stronger because our views differ. Either way, it certainly keeps conversations interesting.

We’re Not Best Friends

Relationships are weird. We’re fed so many different fairytale scenarios about courting and falling in love from movies and TV shows, that when our respective stars don’t quite align as such, we begin to question everything about our bond with our beloved.

I remember when I told Adam he wasn’t my best friend. He was devastated. He replied with some textbook line about how couples are supposed to be best friends. I think my retort was less based in rhetoric, and more in hysterical laughter.

My best friend’s name is Emily. I’ve known her since she was born, and she was the maid of honor in our wedding. She’s the only person on the planet who I can unconditionally confide in, and who I know will always tell me the truth, regardless of whether it will hurt.

Adam is my partner. I used to find it odd when friends or colleagues would refer to their significant other in this way, but I’ve since changed my mind. I’m all about the partnership. (Ironically, the concept of partnership in the vein of collaboration is a key mantra at the company I work for and love).

To be partners in life is to accept, together, anything that you encounter — to explore and to navigate the world together, and most importantly, to build a life together on equal footing.

When I think about my partnership with Adam, I reflect on the vows we wrote jointly, and exchanged on our wedding day:

  1. Do you promise to be a loving friend and partner in marriage?
  2. Do you promise to treat each other with kindness, respect and appreciation?
  3. Do you promise to make laughter an integral part of your family?
  4. Do you promise to listen and learn from each other, support each other, and accept each other’s support?
  5. Do you promise to bear together whatever trouble and sorrow life may lay upon you both, and share together whatever good and joyful things life may bring you?

Partnership and togetherness were at the heart of each question. Adam’s not my best friend. He’s my partner. He’s the person I never want to say goodbye to – only good morning and good night.

Engagement Gifts

When we announced our engagement, we received so many thoughtful gifts. Most were picture frames, a few were books. But today, I received my absolute favorite gift of all. I know I shouldn’t pick favorites, but in this case, I’m ignoring the etiquette and naming names.

The other day, I asked my friend Janet to do a reading at my wedding. I love her, and our friendship really has grown stronger and stronger as the years have gone by. She suggested a Pablo Neruda poem, and I felt like she was reading my mind. I never bookmark things anymore; most of what I wish to revisit, I simply pin on Pinterest. That said, my Chrome bookmarks have been full of Neruda poems for years.

Some of his work is a bit too graphic, but I found a poem in the book she sent me this week called “Your Laughter” and it hit me instantly that this is what Janet must absolutely read at my wedding.

The thoughtfulness of this gift, which came with an adorable “I Love You to the Moon and Back” wooden chalkboard-style sign, really made my day.

From Pinterest to Proposal

I work in social media, and so, it’s reasonable to assume that in addition to cataloguing my every move religiously on Foursquare and documenting my life through Facebook and Twitter, I plan my future with equal attention to detail on Pinterest.

My boards are appropriately segmented from recipes and home-goods, to beauty tips and generic lifehacks. And then, of course, there’s my wish list. This particular board has been so specially curated; I’ve dedicated several blocks of minutes — maybe even hours — to ensure that each pin reflects my taste, and things I’d actually use.

There’s a point to this prose, I swear.

You see, I got engaged on Saturday.

My boyfriend fiancee and I have been together for just about a year, and marriage had been a looming topic. We moved in together quickly, and so marriage felt like the logical next step.

That said, it seemed a proposal would only happen if Adam — said fiancee — had full creative control.

Had he met me? I’m controlling, type-A+, neurotic…the list goes on.

As the one year mark drew closer, I suspected he was up to something. Since when was he in a rush to do yard work in the suburbs on a Friday?

Hint: he was buying a ring.

What role does Pinterest play in the whole scheme of things, you ask? It all goes back to my wish list.

When my friend Janet got engaged, she mentioned to me BlueNile.com. And while Adam didn’t get my ring from BlueNile.com, I spent countless lunch hours and late nights perusing their selection of loose diamonds and settings, dreaming up what my sparkler would look like.

I settled on a simple, pave setting with an emerald-cut center stone. And it was from that pin, that had been sitting there stale for months, that Adam drew inspiration to have my ring designed.

The ring, however, was only half of the proposal.

We had dinner at Piccola Venezia in Astoria. He started with a caesar salad, and I had the minestrone soup. For his main course, he had a veal parmesan-type dish, while I opted for fresh pappardelle in olive oil with roasted garlic and eggplant. (HELLO DELICIOUS!)

After dinner, there was this lull of time where I wondered if a proposal was on the horizon. And, at the cusp of my wonder, the waiter placed a dish in front of me. I remarked that we didn’t order dessert, and then I looked down to see that “Will you marry me?” was etched onto the plate in chocolate.

Cue hysterical tears.

In the midst of my emotional eruption, Adam kneeled on one knee, and asked me formally to marry him. The entire restaurant was our audience, and the moment I said yes, the entire room trumped my tears with applause, and the waiter announced proudly, “SHE SAID YES!”

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I am so glad I gave up snooping, as now I enter into Thanksgiving with something even more special to be thankful for.

The Next Chapter

Love does funny things to you. Sure, I’ve been in love in the past. And each time I thought I had it figured out, I was wrong. We broke up, and I moved on.

I’m in this position now where things keep changing, and I am perhaps the happiest I’ve been in a long time.

When I first moved to New York, I struggled. I’ve worked too hard for what I have to not brag that I’ve since earned four promotions in less than three years. I’ve had two apartments (one for one year, one for two), many friends — some good, and some bad with whom I’ve parted ways — and a whirlwind of experiences in between.

I leave this apartment behind next week, all in the name of love.

I never imagined that in less than 6 months after we first met in December, and had our first date at the MET, we’d be moving in together. But we are, and we picked up our keys today.

I’m not sure about a lot of things, and if history is any evidence, I’m wrong about almost everything, but I’m pretty certain in this case that things are different. His family is wonderful, his intentions are the best, and 97% of the time (save the 3% when he’s in former frat boy mode) I’m having the best of times.

He’s been my right-hand for a series of firsts: first time at the MET, first time in several states (Rhode Island, Massachusetts, California), first time trying sole (and I liked it, kind of), first time in a Manhattan ER my own injury (I hurt my neck on the drive back from MA).

This post wasn’t supposed to be about love, but instead about moving. And maybe it still is, because I love New York, and moving within one of its boroughs  When I moved here, what I knew of apartment living came mostly from sit-coms like Friends, Mad About You, Seinfeld, Sex and the City, Will & Grace, etc. Unreasonably priced, unrealistically beautiful Manhattan apartments that were coveted.

The same is not entirely true for Queens. Some people have found places to covet, but others are drifters. From pre-war, to luxury low-rise, new things pop up that stir curiosity in long-time Astoria residents and newbies alike.

When I found this place, it seemed perfect. I was moving in with a friend and it seemed much more stable than where I had lived when I first moved. We’ve had our ups and downs here, but it hasn’t been half-bad.

I always thought my next move would mark the beginning of the chapter of me. A studio or a one bedroom of my own. But, fate changed, and I’m really excited for the next chapter, and a new corner of Astoria to explore and call home with the man that I love.

Sustaining a Memory

I very rarely take the time to stop, and look how far I’ve come in just one year. Last January was the hardest, perhaps most painful, start to a new year that I’ve had . . . ever. In just one year, I lost a dear family friend and my grandmother, and my father suffered a massive heart attack. Naturally for me, most of these moments were catalogued through various social mediums (mostly Facebook and Twitter), and today was one of those days where I stopped to look back.

I feel fortunate to have the role models and inspirational people in my life that I currently do. I feel lucky to enjoy all of the people — especially my co-workers and clients whom I’ve encountered in New York — who are regular fixtures in my life. That being said, a part of me remains empty, awaiting to be filled as I attempt to sustain the memories of my grandmother and my family friend.

While this has definitely been the hardest year, especially in the absence of the loved ones I’ve lost, it’s been an educational year full of new beginnings. A cousin out West welcomed a beautiful baby boy into this world. My sister and her husband celebrated their first anniversary. My best friend’s brother is getting married next week. My sister and I relocated for job opportunities and promising futures. My grandfather joined Facebook and downloaded Skype. My mother started yoga. My dad started relaxing more and working less. All good things have to start somewhere.

I had all of these thoughts, and began looking through the files on my hard drive to find the eulogy I wrote and recited at my Bubby Cyrille’s funeral. I was able to deliver it tearlessly on the day of her funeral (in front of hundreds upon hundreds of people — there was barely standing room), but now, almost a year later, I cannot get through it in the privacy of my home without breaking down in tears after the first paragraph. I shared it on Facebook shortly after the funeral, but would like to share it here so you can understand why I will spend my entire life trying to, and hopefully succeeding in, to some degree, sustaining her memory by living in her loving, well-meaning footsteps.

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