I am a journalist. Spent about a decade working for the Tampa Bay Times before I quit and moved to Virginia, where I freelance write full-time for Virginia’s largest paper.
Last week, I pursued four or five stories. Conducted interviews. Took pictures. Didn’t sleep enough.
Business as usual.
But multiple times in a few days, the subjects of stories I’d planned to write asked a question that grinds my gears: “Can I read what you write before it prints?”
In a recent blog post, Tommy McGrady wrote that “marriage isn’t just hard. It’s sneaky hard.” But a friend of mine read it, and then she responded.
“When you learn to communicate, love your spouse more than yourself, learn to compromise and accept that not everything in life is going to be the way you want, marriage is not hard at all,” she wrote.
So which is it?
Is marriage hard, or not hard? If it is hard, should it be? And what about dating? If that’s hard, should we call it quits?
I vented to a friend today about my disdain for social media. (That’s right, folks — my disdain.)
I shared a couple of examples of the posts I have found in my social media feeds that frankly have disturbed me (think “newborn babies in costumes”). And then I asked what has weighed heavily on me lately:
“Why? Why do people think that this will enrich my life?”
But the more I thought about my own questions, the clearer an important truth became: people do not care if what they post enriches my life.
They do not care.
As a Catholic, I believe that dating is for discerning marriage — for discovering the truth about each other. For deciding whether to choose to love each other until death.
Sometimes, dating is fun. You can go to aquariums together and stuff. There are otters at aquariums. Need I say more? Dating is good. If you pay attention, you learn about God and each other and yourself. Sometimes dating is easy — when you’re laughing, or at Adoration, or noticing a new reason to appreciate him or her.
But sometimes, dating is hard, like when there is conflict. Miscommunication. Insecurity. Distance (all the kinds). Inconsiderate decisions. Resistance to vulnerability.
I don’t miss Snapchat. At all. And for lots of reasons. But one of them is the same reason that a Verily editor who recently wrote about Snapchat is sick of the app: some of its filters “Photoshop” your dang face.
In one swipe, my face was transformed to standards that the fashion and beauty industry has been pushing for decades: wide eyes, a petite nose, a thinner face, and a crystal clear complexion. I felt, in a word, ugly.
The filters she decries can be defended as “for fun.” But they are also disguises that reinforce the lies that the shapes of our faces and eyes, the tones and types of our skin, should align with a set of standards that human bodies don’t naturally meet.