Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Why I Still Watch Chick Flicks

When I was single I wrote a very empowering piece, or so I thought, titled Why I Don't Watch Chick Flicks basically explaining why they are bad for women. I expressed how they were hurting society by portraying relationships in a  totally unrealistic way. They also caused me to go into a serious chocolate chip cookie binge late at night under the covers crying myself into a chocolate coma then drifting off to sleep only to dream of the leading man in the movie. When I was single, and pushing the dreaded age 30, I just couldn't find any reason to hope my life would turn out like Julia or Reese or worse yet Rene in the ever popular Bridget Jones movie! My heart goes out to women everywhere who watch these movies - where the girl always gets the guy.  Why? Why ? Why do we do this ourselves? Real life never works itself out in 90 minutes and I myself have never been picked up by a guy in a horse drawn carriage, limousine or private jet.

However, I did fall in love with a guy who offered me chocolate chip cookies and had no car! I did get married and walk down the aisle in a rented pretty white dress. And to top it all off we had a little girl named Lucy join the crew last year. No it didn't take 90 minutes, it took 32 years!

But tonight after another long exhausting day of chasing my one year old, playing 15 games of don't eat that and folding 343 loads of laundry, I found myself engrossed in a rerun of You've Got Mail on Lifetime with my all time favorite Chick Flick actors Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Yeah, I'm old school. Meg was the ultimate romantic and you just can't help but love her. At the end of the movie Tom and Meg find out that they really are meant to be together and when they embrace, I'm a goner. I can't help but notice I've got the same goose bumps I had the first time I saw this cheesy film and the same tear rolling down my left cheek. I'm just so darn happy for Meg because she was lonely and then she found her true love. She even used the dreaded internet. God bless her! We've all been there! I got rejected by E Harmony!

My point is that these movies can't be taken from the shelves because like it or not we need them. Yes I said it! We live in a bitter sarcastic world full of sickness, financial crisis and war. But some of us still want to believe in happy endings. Is that so wrong to admit? I grew up with fantasies of what would truly make my dreams come true. I marvel tonight at what true contentment really is. 

 I've just recently gone through a very tough time where the love of my life, my husband was battling an illness. I didn't have my cuddling time, my movie buddy, my best friend in my home for a while and it's brought new perspective to the term Happy Ending.

My  life may look different than a Lifetime movie and instead of sound track music mine might have Hickory Dickory Dock and Itsy Bitsy Spider. And instead of passionate sex scenes my scenes may involve me, my husband, an entire season of Lost on DVD, popcorn and triple chocolate ice cream, cuddled up for hours on our big fluffy red couch. It's my realization that I don't want Tom Hanks or Tom Cruise. I'm truly content with the man God gave me. I'm truly happy with our little world as corny as it may seem to other people. It works for us.
So instead of watching Meg with bitterness in my heart I can enjoy her journey and realize I wouldn't trade places with her or any other woman for anything in the world. I have my own fairy tale right here every day of my life. So I'm wondering about you out there reading this? No matter what season you're in can you look around and be thankful for all the blessings in your life right now? A mom/dad/friend who loves you? A great job? A roommate who cooks? New shoes you got on sale that go with the skinny jeans you can actually fit into? A child that needs you to hug them goodnight? No matter what trials you're facing I'm challenging you to find some happy endings in your life right now. They make the Chick Flicks more enjoyable because the movies are imaginary and your joy is the real thing.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Black Monday?

Here is an article I wrote several years ago, and decided to share in light of the impending holiday:

OK, OK, I KNOW I SAID in my last “Confession” that I’ve always thought New Year’s Eve was the worst day of the year. Well, that is only until February comes around, and it is time for my second worst day of the year—St. Valentine’s Day, or as I’ll affectionately call it this year, “Black Monday.” Traditionally, Feb. 14 has not been a day of celebration for me and my single friends. We never looked forward to it, and I haven’t changed my mind since.
In college I did a moving presentation in speech class about why we should abolish Valentine’s Day on college campuses. I said it was corporate America’s way of messing with the pocketbooks and self-esteem of young people everywhere. I remember getting a standing ovation when I compared the triple-marked-up price of a dozen roses to “24 pizza slices or 28 beef burritos at Taco Bell.” You make the choice, I said triumphantly. I got an A+!
My view on this holiday hasn’t changed much over the years because so many Feb. 14ths were spent alone avoiding calls from my mother saying, “You’re another year older, dear, and I’m just concerned.” That would only justify the chocolate binge I had been on for the last four hours. Or better yet, I’d dive into another online chatroom with my newest Glamour Shot for my profile as I looked for Mr. Right only to find other lost, depressed souls. It never worked out for me even though I think I was on every single site. Am I the only one who failed the eHarmony quiz? I don’t think so!
This entire holiday was conceived to draw attention to those who have supposedly found happiness in “coupledom” and even more attention to those who haven’t. How sick is that? Even when I had a boyfriend, he was recovering from Christmas presents and would use the line “I don’t need one day to show you I care, do I?” (Translation: “I’m broke! You’re not getting anything unless you plan it or buy it!”)
As I think back on some of my loneliest times, I have to recall that my heavenly Father was right there with me. I remember one February I actually broke up with this guy right before V-Day, and I cried all the way home. I knew this guy wasn’t right for me. He thought the word boundaries was for sports, not dating.
I lay in my bed at 4:30 a.m. questioning what I had just done. I threw open my Bible randomly, wanting a personal message from God. It opened directly to Song of Solomon, chapter 1, a love sonnet. And the verse that jumped off the page at me through my tears was, “How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful!” (Song of Songs 1:15, TNIV). I lost it.
The God of the universe was telling me how much He loved me. I felt it. I knew it, and somehow I fell asleep. He had felt my pain that night. He was proud of me and assured me that He was going to get me through this. And He did. I lived to see another day!
So whatever life throws at you, whether it’s another lousy Black Monday, bad exam, screaming co-worker or concerned phone call from your mother, the God who created the whole world has something to say about it if you just give Him a chance. Try talking to Him about it ... He will always be available to listen.
Now if I could only take my own advice ... my mother is on the phone right now. Pray for me!