Good For Her! Not For Me.

I am at that age and it is that time of year.  Pictures of diamond rings and white gowns are flooding my Facebook timeline.

Everyone is getting engaged or married.  And it makes me anxious.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I love Say Yes to the Dress and can marathon through a Sunday afternoon listening to Randy tell a woman that wearing a mermaid cut dress is doing nothing for her silhouette.  I live for the snickers of the bratty sister/cousin/snubbed bridesmaid that doesn’t want to be there and will put down everything the bride puts on.  And I love that moment when the consultant asks the bride about their fiance and she just gushes over how they first met, and the proposal.

Let’s be honest, I also love a good party; weddings are no exception.  The love and devotion the couple shares is palpable.  An amorous haze surrounds the day with love, laughter, cocktail hours, mashed potato bars, chocolate fountains, and bad dance moves.  It is truly an event.

And the buildup… with engagement announcements, save the dates, actual invitations, mixed with a scattering of wedding showers, bridesmaids and groomsmen selection, bachelor(ette) parties, venue selections, cake tastings, flower arrangements, guest lists, picking a photographer, limo rentals, dress/tux fittings, honeymoon bookings, hair and makeup run-throughs, the rehearsal dinner, and then the wedding… it makes sense why some people can be tense on their wedding days.

I was never a girl who put too much weight on my wedding day.  I don’t remember playing pretend wedding, or imagining what I wanted on my “special day.”  I don’t know, I guess it just never occurred to me.  Or if I did, it played such a small part in my childhood that I couldn’t care less about the memories of it (Mom and Dad, you can correct me if I am wrong here).  I can say that I married off my Barbie dolls to G.I. Joes or Ken dolls, but it was always Barbie’s day.  I couldn’t project my wants and desires onto her.  Specifically because I had no wants to project.

Although planning the perfect wedding is some people’s dream, it was never mine.  The idea of choosing the font for my invitations or who gets nixed from the guest list makes me nervous.  It also doesn’t help that I come from a large, Italian family.  Having to tell any of them they are not invited would be a bloodbath. It’s just a ball of anxiety that I would prefer not to deal with.  I commend anyone who does have a wedding — large or small — and can organize their perfect day. But honestly, it’s not for me.

I don’t want to have a wedding.  For me, the idea of getting married has less to do with the event and more to do with the end result.  That commitment you make with another person.  Promising to be with them in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, forever.  That is the magic.

I think this realization became most apparent when I was watching the 30 Rock: Mazel Tov, Dummies! episode for the first time.  Liz Lemon is a character that always spoke to me.  She is awkward and opinionated, does her best to be an independent feminist in a big city but sometimes falters.  And she has no problem shotgunning a pizza or reminiscing about her childhood weddings to Saul Rosenbear which was always a bit more realistic.

I got her, I saw myself in her, I was her.  So when Liz and Criss agreed to have a simple courthouse wedding, I thought to myself, That’s what I want.  That’s it.  I brought up to my grandma once that I wanted a small wedding and low-key reception and she said to me, “Well, there are twenty-five of the first cousins and plus ones, so that’s the smallest you get from us.”

Thank you, Grandma.  You are too sweet.  I didn’t have the heart to tell her that by small wedding, I meant a courthouse ceremony, and low-key reception probably meant a bar with arcade games and craft beers.  But I guess she (as well as the rest of my family) will be finding that out when that bridge must be crossed.

I’ve shared this thought with a few people and some have told me, “You won’t think that way when you actually do get engaged.” But I don’t think that’s the case.  I know how I am.  I have watched shows about weddings, looked at wedding pictures of friends and family, and read articles about different themes and venues.  I love talking with people about their weddings, what they did, and how they felt. But it doesn’t make me excited to go dress shopping or pick centerpieces for my own special day. Instead, it makes me think about the great Amy Poehler quote in her memoir, Yes Please: “Good for her! Not for me.”

And so what if I get married in a barn made out of burlap, a grand banquet hall, my parent’s backyard or in a tiny courthouse downtown?  My wedding day doesn’t make my marriage more or less legitimate.  And my decisions are what will make my special day special.


You should know this by now.  I love Fall.  I am majorly, totally butt crazy in love with Fall.  And I know that I went into some detail about what it is that just makes this season the best in the entirety of humanity.  And to keep the love going, I have decided to compile an even better list of why Fall is just so goddamn amazing.

Television —  With the changing of leaves comes the return of great television shows.  What television shows, you ask?  Well let me tell you:

But I will anyway.  The Mindy Project is of course the refreshingly beautiful and hilarious take of the career-driven woman living in the city, and still looking for love.  Mindy Kaling is brilliant.  She is the perfect combination of a woman who knows her shit as well as every celebrity’s.  She makes being pop-culturally sound, intelligent, witty, and feminine work.  You can be smart with a career path and still care about The Royal Baby 2: Little George is Not Impressed.  And let’s be honest, the writing is fresh, the characters are hilarious, and Danny Castellano is the best thing to happen to mankind shut up yes he is you cannot tell me differently.

Sleepy Hollow: Ichabod Crane.  In the present.  Hold the white-washed cast. THIS IS TELEVISION AT ITS FINEST.

Once Upon a Time:  Let’s be honest here.  Captain mother-effin’-Hook.  I feel like I am completely discrediting myself as a writer and observer when half of the things I have said is about how amazingly hot characters are.  But that sexy little tart isn’t the only good thing to come out of Once Upon a Time.  There is such a strong female cast in OUAT that it gives so many girls — or women — so many different idols.  Snow’s strength, Regina’s passion, Emma’s courage, Belle’s quick wit… I can go on.

Bob’s Burgers:  I can not ever give this show the justice it deserves.  I freakin’ love Bob’s Burgers.  With so many cartoon shows relying on crude humor, bad language, and offensive jokes, it is so refreshing to watch an animated show that relies on impeccable writing, terrible burger puns, and Gene’s megaphone of farts.  And Bob’s Burgers is the home of the best character on television chosen by we the people, Tina Belcher.  Tina Belcher, giving teenage awkward girls a voice and ringing true to the feminist name.

American Horror Story:  Season one of AHS  will always reign supreme and flawless while last season was a disaster.  There were so many opportunities for American Horror Story: Coven to be everything.  Women who can use witchcraft and better their lives.  Yes! feminists cheered.  But what happened?  It turned into an unnecessary race war, with woman vs woman catfights, and a competition over who the better woman was with scenes of Gabourey Sidibe having sex with a minotaur sprinkled in.  It was a shit show disaster area.  So season 4, Circus can either be really goddamn amazing, or just another wasted opportunity.

Wearing My Glasses —  I have come to notice that when summer hits, eyeglasses wearers hit a bit of a snag.  When going to the beach, you can’t wear your contacts and go into the ocean without fear of your contacts falling out by a wave, beachball to the head, what have you.  But at the same time, you can’t wear them in the water because you will lose them.  And then the ocean will swallow them up in the deep unknown.  There are probably some hipster angler fish rocking thick-rimmed specks thanks to Poseidon’s torturous ways.

It’s a double edge sword that glasses wearers have, so we usually go for the easier loss: contact lenses.  During summer, my glasses almost have to be abandoned. You can’t wear sunglasses with glasses on. Well you can, but you’ll look like a doofus. And transition lenses should be burnt at the stake as being a terrible idea because they always get stuck on that half-way transition level where your lenses are kinda tinted, but not completely. Creepfest.

But in Fall, it’s glasses’ time to shine.  They prosper in the Fall.  I don’t have to soak up sun and worry about blindness in the Fall.  Wearing my thick-rimmed glasses like a champ and loving every minute of it.

Not Having to Shave My Legs —  Men, get over it.  When women say how much they loooooove Fall and pumpkin spice lattes and Ugg boot-legging-sweater weather and apple picking, they are really thanking their lucky stars that their razors can go through hibernation until April.  because shaving in the summer sucks.

When a woman takes a shower and has to shave, you would not believe what kind of pretzel-like contortionist we transform into.  All done without falling on our asses or cutting the crap out of our knees, ankles, etc.  But with Fall, we have options.  We have tights.  We have leggings (yes, the true reason why we love them).  We have jeans.  And, we can go the lazy way and only shave our shins.

You tell ’em Linda.  You tell ’em.

Fall 2014 arrives September 22.  Prepare yourselves.  Live it.  Love it.


I’M NOT DEAD YET — Librocubicularist’s Unintentional Hiatus

I feel like taking a walk!

Hello dear readers, I apologize for this unintentional dry spell of usual updates, banned book gif-fests, and all-around holiday shenanigans and fun.  But for the past two months I have been very, very, very busy.

I am back in the United States, living with my parents, and with a temporary job.

My commute barely makes time for reading, and I am trying to read as much of Lolita and other banned books as I possibly can.  But until then, I just wanted everyone to know that Librocubicularist is still alive and well.

Just a bit banged up.

Five Birthdays Since

My brother was born on December 5, 1993.  I was three-going-on-four.  The earliest memory I have is going to the hospital for his birth.  I remember wearing my pink Minnie Mouse PJs and lining up my Aladdin Barbie dolls on the windowsill facing my mother.  When nurses asked me what I was doing I would say, “They’re waiting for my baby brother.”  I remember it being much later than I am usually allowed to be awake.  Saturday Night Live was on, and my dad was laughing at the tiny TV screen instead of feeding my mom ice chips.  I remember my uncle being with me to keep me company while Mom and Dad were doing their thing.  I remember suddenly being so tired that I passed out on the hospital bed next to my mom’s.

And when I woke up, I was a big sister.

We fought a lot.  And when we fought, we fought with words.  We would cut each other down using the biggest insecurity we knew the other person had.  My grandma used to stop the car on the side of the road whenever we were arguing and scream, “GET OUT!  If you’re going to fight, get out of my car and walk home!”  Being siblings, we would fight about the stupidest, most inconsequential things.  How a line in a movie went, what we were going to watch on TV, whether or not we were sitting too close to one another.  But when we got along, we were just as annoying.  Sometimes my parents would yell over their shoulders in the car for us to stop goofing around.  Our chatter and giggling was pointless to them, but for us, it was the most hilarious thing in the world.  The bond we shared was special.  We could tell each other how we wanted to kill the other in one moment, and then sit down and quote every word from Zoolander the next.

We did everything together.  Just like brothers and sisters should.

In June of 2009, my 15-year-old brother was diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma, a liver cancer that has an incidence of 0.7 per 1 million children in the United States.  By the middle of July 2009, he had died from it.

The loss of a family member is always difficult.  But the loss of a sibling is detrimental.  Nothing shook me harder than that drive home from the hospital after he passed.  I was in shock.  I was numb.  I sat in the backseat of our car clutching two things: his stuffed hippo and his pillow.  I didn’t care about anything else.  I didn’t want to think about anything.  When I did, I knew it was real.  I didn’t speak for the entire drive home.  When we got home, I silently walked upstairs and fell into a dreamless sleep, still clutching those two things.  I couldn’t let them go.  You suddenly begin realizing things you never thought about before.  It hit me that I would never be called “Aunt Allex,” by anyone related to me.  I went from always having someone around with me to being alone.  I was suddenly an only child.

Today is the 5th birthday our family will be celebrating without him.  He would be 20 years old today.  He would be older than I was when I first found out he was sick.  He would be in college.  I love playing this game called, What Would He Be Doing Now?  I think about where he would have chosen to go to school, what he would be studying, whether or not he would have a girlfriend, or if he would have gone Greek like our dad and me.  And when I play it, I am never sad.  I don’t know why, maybe to some people it is a morbid game to play.  But it’s nice to wonder.  If I was able to control how the world works, what would I have him be doing?  But knowing him, he could have skipped going to college and decided to get into flower arranging or party planning.  And it would have worked for him.

The thing about my brother was that he was the hugest pain in the ass.  He would always whine and complain when he didn’t get his way.  He had to be correct, and would fight you tooth and nail to prove how you are wrong.  He was condescending at times, reminding me how terrible I was at Spanish while he rrrrrolled his rrrrr’s with a smug little smile.  But he was also amazing at everything.  There was nothing that he couldn’t do.  School, sports, games, music, everything he touched he excelled at.  He was caring, grounded, and sensitive.  For a 15-year-old, he was just brilliant.

He was funny, charming, and everyone loved being around him.  Some people just radiate goodness, and that was my brother.  He shined.  He was a magnet.  It was impossible for someone to not like him.  He was goofy.  He was alive.  Everything he did was with passion.  I always admired that about him.  His ability to just put his heart and soul into everything he did.

I love my brother with every part of my being.  And I am not the only one.  After he died, his friends put together a memorial at his high school where over 100 friends and classmates came together.  His graduating class created a badminton tournament to raise funds for the foundation my family created for him.  His two best friends are still close with my family, even coming with us on family vacations.

My brother is the last person who deserved what happened to him.  But he taught me how to live.  How every moment — no matter how small — is precious.  He taught me to go after what you want.  He taught me that no matter how far away you are from your loved ones, they are still always with you.  He taught me to embrace life.

It only seems fair that the first memory I have of my brother is his birth and the last being his death.  I was rushing to the hospital while being briefed by my aunt.  His surgery had caused complications.  His cancer had spread to his small intestine.  His kidneys were failing.  But the doctors weren’t going to do anything until I made it to the hospital.

My aunt warned me that he was on a lot of pain medicine and might be loopy.  But when I walked into the ICU and saw him, he was still my baby brother.  The nurses were trying to put his oxygen mask on him, but he kept pulling it off.  “Allex is here,” he kept saying.  “I have to give Allex a kiss.”  When I looked down at him, tears were running down my cheeks.  “Why are you crying?” he asked me.

“I’m not,” I wiped the tears away quickly.

“Hey,” he said.  “Come here.”  He waved his hand to me, and I leaned in.  He gently kissed me on the cheek and then suddenly slapped me on that same cheek.  “I hate you,” he smiled.  We both laughed and the nurse then told us his breathing tube would be going in now.  He said okay, and told me goodbye.

That was the last conversation I had with my baby brother.  And I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. […] I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.
-John Green, The Fault in Our Stars