Sometimes, while being young and engaged in 2016, you look for things to make you feel a little less weird. Perusing Instagram for acquaintances who are also engaged seems like a great idea to make one feel a bit less out of the ordinary.
It’s apparent that what first seems to be a genius idea rapidly digresses into a crappy one.
It’s a funny thing- as soon as a girl gets a ring on her finger, all of her social media accounts start to look the same as every other engaged female. “Very very thankful.” “99 days until man and wife!” “Glad I get to adventure with this cutie for life.” I think that I missed some kind of textbook named “How To Prove It’s Real: Insta Edition.” Scrolling through these Instagram accounts, I also notice that engagement seems to be dangerously catchy- every engaged female is also planning on being the bridesmaid for her 4 best friends that same summer. I seem to have caught a very tame form of engagement, as none of my friends are remotely close to this point and have shown no signs of catching my particular strain. Curious.
Scrolling through these happy love posts, I felt a little odd. I flip back to own feed, and notice how I’ve managed to fill it with photos of various tea mugs from around town and angsty poems that are probably trying too hard. (It’s my feed, allow me to release my leftover teenage gloom in peace.) I have plenty of photos of Caleb, but they aren’t us registering for wedding gifts or cuddling before a perfect sunrise. The last photo with both of us in it? Caleb is sitting in a throne and I’m next to him, both moodily staring at the camera. Mmm, romantic.
Before I go much further, let me clarify: There is nothing inherently wrong with positing sappy photos and countdowns to your wedding. There is nothing wrong to be excited and a little love-struck on Instagram. In fact, something may be a little odd if you don’t have at least a few photos together. I don’t think these women are being inauthentic. I really think they want to share their joy with the world, and Instagram is the perfect platform for that. I’m not an advocate of anyone apologizing for what they like to share, no matter who they are or what they’re posting. So long as it isn’t harmful or intensely offensive- fire away. Overwhelm me with registry photos and perfect proposals. You go, babe.
But honestly… Looking at these photos doesn’t sit well with me. They never have. As a single female, I looked at them and rolled my eyes. Let’s be real- one can only handle so many kissing photos set to a glorious landscape. If that floats your boat, that’s fine. But good grief. That’s not quite my style. I feel like yes, it can make others look forward to marriage and making a covenant with the one they love the most. But it can also encourage this idea that as a female, marriage is the pinnacle of early perfection. When every post is perfectly filtered and sounds like an excerpt from Romeo and Juliet, it can make others feel like their lives have to be that squeaky-clean. I understand that social media has a purpose. And that EVERYTHING on the internet looks better than it is. I get that, and I don’t have a problem with that.
I also think you don’t NEED to make everything look perfect. Let’s be real: even if you’re over the moon in love, not every day is a walk on the beach together. Love is glorious and life-changing and delicate. Love is beautiful and pure and true. Love is making tea for yourself and then deciding to give it to your lover instead. Love is writing notes just because. Love is sitting in a room without talking, and understanding everything left unsaid. Love is looking forward to a covenant together, while still living in today. Love is melding your individuality together.
Love is not matching monogrammed mugs. And for me, to post that cheapens everything.
Frankly, most people who are getting married young have a similar path they have chosen to follow. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that! But Caleb is not going to be an engineer, and I am not going to be an elementary teacher. Dear God. I would be so awful at that.
Most creatives wait a long time. We don’t really fit into a mould of people who are at a similar life stage we are, and that’s okay. In fact, that may be a positive. There’s no one place we “fit in,” and that means there’s not a whole lot of place we don’t fit in either. It’s a mental thing: telling yourself that you belong can make you belong. The only thing holding me back from where I want to be is often my own over-analysis and quick judgement. Honestly, that’s wrong. Just live where you are and own it.
I’m so in love with my future husband. I’m so happy. And I’m so excited for August. So so so much. Countdowns written in my planner kind of much.
It’s okay to publicize that, and it’s okay not to. What’s not okay is to feel like your love has less validity because you don’t have perfect couple photos and extravagant dates written about for all to see.
Let’s be real: all of those love-y posts are annoying as hell to read, anyway.