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Archive for the ‘Twilight’ Category

I read the entire Twilight series in about a week. The only reason it even took me this long was because it was during my Fall finals week, and some studying must be done. I came in as a skeptic. After all, I’m an English major, and I can smell a poorly written book from miles away. You’ll need more than a few cheap tricks to impress me. Needless to say, I am a bit curious, if not downright nosy by nature, so I had to read these books that everyone seemed to think were the next Harry Potter or Romeo and Juliet. I had had a guy friend of mine swear to me that I would hate it. He said he could kind of see why so many girls had the hots for Edward, but he was sure, in not so many words, I would be above that. That I would read Bella as a weak female character and unimpressedly throw them aside. I have to admit, I would have liked to have been so couth.
And I was unimpressed. At first. I read a few chapters at a friend’s house while waiting for her to get ready and shrugged and the dullness of it all. The only redeeming quality I could think of was that it took place in my beloved Pacific Northwest. But, then it happened. Thoughts of Edward Cullen and Bella Swan slipped into my normal reverie like they had always been there. They were there like the lyrics to “MmmBop,” dancing with smiles, knocking at my heart with knowledge, that soon, I’d let them in. And I remember letting them in, that in that concession, I felt like I had slightly failed my Dorothy Days, Gertrude Steins, Susan B. Anthonys, and my sisterhood as a whole. But, as I sat on my bed, and thought of all the women I loved and respected who gave in, it seemed rather harmless. I had a friend who was nothing short of a strong woman who swore that redeemed her belief in romance. My feminist best friend was to be found at the midnight book release of Breaking Dawn. I mean, it couldn’t hurt, could it?
A few days later, I found myself in a frantic depressed state. I couldn’t eat. I was listless. I was on the verge of tears at any moment. I would stop after walking halfway up my stairs and just stand there thinking, “Why?” And why? Because Edward had abandoned Bella, and suddenly like an unexpected winter storm in April, everything froze, and I (and Bella) were left alone.
And I absolutely abhorred the weight of it all. I refused to tell most people that I was reading them. Friends would call to hang out, and I would make up some lame excuse, never wanting to say, “The thing is, Bella and Edward are just more important.” I felt an enormous sense of guilt about the effect it had on me. I would spend time, sitting cross-legged on my bed trying to intellectualize my way out of the spell. I would pick fights with my other friends who loved the book, in vain hopes that I could convince them I was beyond that, my feminism was surely more developed than all that. But, every argument would end with a tiredness in bones and a mumble of defeat, because there was something there that was not in any article of Bitch: A Feminist Response to Pop Culture, or even Bust: Women With Something to Get Off Their Chest, but it wasn’t enough for me to forgo Edward and Bella. Neither was enough. I was left feeling as I often do, feeling strange and lost, and holding on by simple strings of faith and hope.
But, where did that leave me? I read articles in Bitch outraged at the characterization of Bella and the creepy relationship that now so many girls longed for, and I chuckled to myself, because I am always in this in between place of trying to figure out how to be a woman of stronger stuff than Bella without completely letting go of the hope that anyone should love me fiercely forever. And sometimes you have to chuckle at yourself because it feels awfully unfair to always be told in not so many words that you have to choose. You can be a strong woman, all of who you are, but you’ll probably be alone, because the only way you can be all of you, is if you forget ever being in a relationship, because that would put you under a man’s control. And if you want the benefits of inlovedness, you’d better be willing to sacrifice who you are. And I know this is a lie, somewhere deep inside of me. But, it’s hard to know the dishonesty of it in a large way that gives you goosebumps and makes you jump up and yell. Instead, it feels more like a small itch of a lie, that most of the time is just there and unnoticed, but every once and a while, it creeps somewhere like the bottom of your foot and you think it might be the most irritating thing in the world. And even then, who has a cure for itches? All we can do is itch is until it goes away, but then often we’re just left with red skin and the memory that we were awfully lied to and there’s nothing much to do about it.
Part of me wants to believe that the intense trust between Edward and Bella exists. Just like part of me wants to believe that I can be strong and gentle, loud and quiet all at once. But, I’m continually being told to pick one. I can’t be a strong woman in love. I am either a feminist or not. So, I’m searching for an in between, because I believe there has to be one. I believe there’s something ok in seeing something beautiful in Edward and Bella, and I think there’s something ok in seeing something wrong in Edward and Bella.
So, until then, and in the between times where it’s far too hard to face it everyday, this is what I pray for. I would like a little escape that’s far enough a way to see as many stars as my eyes can hold. A place where there’s room for trees to grow tall enough to kiss the clouds and stretch their languid branches to hug each other, hold each other, all the way. A place where the sky is so blue that it’s no longer a color, but a feeling in your soul that whispers like a grandmother, “Oh baby, we love you here; we want you here; we need you here.” And the wind laughs and tossles your hair playfully, and the only reason it’s cold at night is to bring our bodies and stories and hearts as close as we know they should be. And when I laugh, the wind carries it up to the trees and the clouds and they hold it gently, like a newborn, and speak in quiet whispers, because my laughter is so light, so beautiful, so free, so new. And if I cry, each tear is dear, and they hold the tears as tightly as they hold me, the stars, the trees, the clouds, the wind, and the lady in the moon weeps with me, her and her man. And by the end of it all, we’re breathing together, singing together, weeping, and laughing together, and it’s all one great sound that before I go, with a kiss in the forehead, they bury that sound, like a rushing river in the depth of my soul, so no matter where I go, I have it and them with me. And I would imagine, it would be enough, to give me the courage to take deep breaths and try my hardest to find my in between place.

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