Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Twilight, The Host, bitterness, and real life love.

Okay, yes, I finished The Host in less than 2 days. I read. Fast.

I enjoyed this rather a lot more than Twilight.

First, in Twilight, the vampire/human thing has no acceptable outcome. DisGrace pointed this out to me long ago when I was reading another vampire/human love story and reminded me of it recently, and it's so true. Edward is not going to turn Bella, his love, into a vampire voluntarily, even though she is completely willing to become one (and leave behind her family and real life) to be with him. And he's going to exist forever, but can never truly be alive again.

Second, the whole teenager "he's more important than anything" angst is completely romanticized in Twilight. I *remember* having a boyfriend at that age. And I married my ex-husband when I wasn't much older. Drama and angst and giving up everything to be with someone? Yeah. Not cool. I remember what it's like. The angst and all the torment ... isn't healthy. Maybe it's a stage of life that most of us have to go through and mine just carried out too long, but if Bella does succeed in forcing Edward (or any of his vampire family) into making her a vampire, she'll be in that *stage* for ... ever. This really bothered me.

To be fair, I have not read New Moon or Eclipse. Maybe she grows out of it? But then where would the story be. Because of how my brain works (wants to know the end of the story), I will probably read them and Breaking Dawn as well. *sigh*

Also be fair, I would do just about anything to stay with my husband. We've been through couples therapy, counseling from our bishop, and a whole heck of a lot of crap to stay together. We're both committed to making our marriage work. But we're both human and we're married and I'm not a teenager anymore. IF my family was toxic (and they're not, mostly. :P) I'd stick with him over them. But abandoning your family for a man/woman? It's not healthy. True, once you're married and in a good marital relationship you probably won't spend as much time with your family of origin/birth as you do your family you are creating, but that's to be expected. It is not expected that you disappear off the face of the earth in their eyes.

UNlike Twilight, The Host has an acceptable solution for an alien love interest. I'm not going to spoil it for those who haven't read it, but there was none of that teen crap in this book. Granted, The Host was written for adults while Twilight was written for teens in the midst of all of that, but I don't think it shows them anything healthy at all.

ANYWAY. In The Host, I loved the descriptions of other planets Wanderer had been on. Loved how being human was different and more difficult for her (and other aliens) than any other race/species they'd occupied. Loved how she learned about relationships and interacting and healthy love. I rather enjoyed it, even the creepiness of an alien race occupying not just our planet but our BODIES, so if you have any inclination, I'd recommend the Host.

Because of these sci-fi love stories and some interesting conversations I've had of late ... there's a real-life problem I'm going to discuss: Bitterness and finding your eternal companion.

I'll admit to my fair share of "Bitter, party of one," after my divorce. For years. And then I couldn't understand what my problem was, why I couldn't find a man who would treat me well and love me through and through in spite of my flaws. Why I had a lot of "one date wonders" or why some of these men who claimed to be righteous Priesthood holders thought "divorcee = easy lay." I dated a lot for about a year and then gave up. I didn't get LESS bitter while trying to date. I got more. I'd said things like, "I'm just looking for someone I can stand to spend more than an hour at a time with." Or, "Just hook me up with Keanu Reeves: Mildy cute, not too bright, and loaded with money." Yes, the last was a joke, but only partly. I'd been mean and rude and snotty to men, and yet still kissed them or made out with them (and they had no respect for me or themselves either), then whined to my girlfriends about my singleness. Finally, I realized I needed to be a better me.

Over the next couple of years, I worked on my relationships with God, my daughter, my family, and my friends, on my career, and on becoming the best me I could be. Several months after I bought my condo, I decided I was okay and doing fine, and could live with or without a husband but wanted to find a good man to share my life with. So I started exploring options and going places where single men were. And then I found out about my heart surgery. I completely shut down. I wasn't going to burden any man with that drama.

It is part of the natural grief process when you learn something like that about your body to shut down to some extent -- it failed me and I needed major surgery to fix it, so I needed time to process that. It really bothered me on some level that I hadn't met my husband yet and he would never know my body UN-scarred. I have the best scars now though ... lol.

While going through that grief process and realizing I would be okay but needed to have that surgery to stay okay, I kept working on me and those relationships and doing things I loved, and spent a lot of time with my family. So when DisGrace called to see if I'd be interested in going on a blind date with a friend of her husband, I thought, "What the heck. A date isn't going to kill me. It could even be fun." I knew my BIL wouldn't set me up with just anyone. The guy had to be pretty great for him to even consider introducing us. I didn't expect it to turn into an eternal relationship, nor was that what I was looking for that night. I just wanted to go out and have some fun, meet a nice guy who wouldn't try and grab my boobs or get into my pants, thinking if a spark wasn't there, I'd have a great guy to hang with. He, on the other hand, knew we'd get married the first night we met ... lol.

My point is, I wasn't bitter anymore. I knew marriage would be work, but I'd learned that any good relationship takes effort from both parties, whether it's a dating relationship or a friendship or what have you. Someone is going to annoy another person at some point, but if you care about the person and your relationship, you work on it. And marriage requires MORE work than any other earthly relationship. When I did meet Mr. Right, I was willing and ready and equipped to put forth the effort it would take to make a marriage work because I'd spent the time working on relationships the previous years -- family, friends, God, and my relationship with myself.

Neither of us is perfect. I am still a work in progress. So is he. Our life together has not been perfect. We've been through things together that I wouldn't wish on any of my loved ones. But we did it together and are committed to each other, even when one of us cries all the time (me, pregnant) or one of us gets worked up over computers (him). At the end of the day, even when we've been arguing, we hug, we kiss, we have a prayer, and he goes to work. And in the morning, he comes home to me. We've learned that no matter what happens, as long as we face it together and keep God in the picture and bitterness out of it, we'll be okay.


oh just ehu. said...

Thanks for that. I really appreciated it! I think I'm at that stage where I just need to work on ME before I become a WE again. I miss it at times (being in a relationship) but I think as soon as I get all my ducks in a row, all will be well again in the love department.

I'm so grateful I went on a mission because I learned A LOT about relationships. The best thing my mission taught me was that relationships work when there's communication and compromise---that in itself (for me) is A LOT of work!!

Thanks again for your post, it really made me ponder about a lot in my life.

stewbert said...

"best thing my mission taught me was that relationships work when there's communication and compromise"

I think that's a lot of work for EVERYONE. lol. You're welcome Ehu. :D