Love, Weddings, and Harry Potter

This is my first free weekend in awhile.  Yes, believe it or not, I’ve been a bit busy as of late!  The week before the 4th of July weekend, I didn’t have to work – to my surprise.  Not enough kids had signed up for camp that week, so it was cancelled.  I was very happy to receive a week off and immediately made exciting plans!  I spent the week in Ames, Iowa with my friend Dave.  Dave’s in grad school studying statistics at Iowa State University, and he happened to have the same week off from summer classes.  So the week was full of heart-to-hearts, wine/gin/beer, photo hunt, letterboxing, basket weaving, and conversations about relationships.  Over the last year or so, I’ve gone back and forth between wanting to get married and start that next chapter of my life, and feeling like I’ll never be ready.  As of late, I’ve swayed towards the latter, grimmer end of the spectrum.  I’m not sure I believe in love anymore…at least not in my own life.

An interesting complement to these recent feelings, I’ve photographed five weddings in the past year.  And in the last two weeks, I’ve attended two weddings (photographed one of them).  I suppose I’m just that age.  There’s something about going to these weddings that is really exciting and gets me all worked up.  I cry at almost every one!  Two weeks ago, I photographed my friends Jesse and Andrew getting married in Decorah, IA.  It was the first gay wedding I’ve ever been to, and there was such an energy of pride and support from those who attended.  What an overwhelming feeling of love in the room!  Last weekend, I traveled to Sioux Falls, SD to watch my friends Sara and Jon get married.  It has been clear to me for years that these two are meant to be together.  When I left their reception at the end of the evening, I told them it was one of the happiest days of my life.  Ridiculous, I know, but few things are better than seeing two people love each other so unconditionally!

I keep trying to think of what I’ve learned in photographing all of these weddings, but I just don’t know.  One thing’s for sure – this is a frightening age to be.  I’m trying not to be the typical girl that freaks out about never finding someone and growing up to be a single cat lady, but I must admit that my mind has gone there on more than one occasion.  This is the metaphor that’s in my head (it’s a weird one, but just go with me on this): There’s a bowl, filled with a finite number of pennies.  Each penny represents a wonderful man.  Slowly, one by one, people are taking pennies out of the bowl, and every time this happens, I freak out just a little bit more.  It’s similar to the game Sardines (opposite of Hide and Seek – someone else hides, and when you find them, you hide with them…the last person to find everyone is the loser).  If you’ve ever played this game, you understand the “oh shit” feeling when you realize that people are disappearing and you still haven’t found the one who’s It!  Welp, every other day, I hear about more friends who are engaged, and all I can think is, Oh shit, that’s one more penny out of my bowl of potential partners!

One of my nights in Ames, Dave and I went out to dinner with his friend Nick, and we answered 23 questions from Chuck Klosterman’s Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs.  These are the 23 questions the author claims to ask in order to see if he loves a person.  They are strange, hilarious, and fascinating questions…a fun thing to do on a roadtrip.  I’m not sure what my answers said about me, but I’d venture to say I’m pretty lovable!  All in all, Ames was not lames (as it is nicknamed), and I enjoyed my trip very much.

Other than weddings keeping me busy lately, there’s Harry Potter.  I read all of the books as soon as they each came out, and I’ve done my best to watch the movies over the years.  I wouldn’t call myself a CRAZY fan, but then again, I am a Gryffindor Prefect according to the Sorting Hat, which sorted all of the counselors at camp several summers ago.  Anyway, I decided it was important to get excited about this last movie – less because it was going to be awesome, and more because it’s the end of a 14-year part of our lives and culture.  So, the last two weeks have been spent with my roommate Kristen watching all 7 of the Harry Potter movies back-to-back.  Talk about having a busy schedule!  We finally finished the 7th movie yesterday afternoon, just in time to go to an evening showing of the 8th and final movie.  Wow.  I might as well have attended a wedding, for the overwhelming message of unconditional love in the Harry Potter series is basically on par with what Jesus tells us in the New Testament.  I cried at the end, sad that this weird magical piece of my life is finally over.  I wonder if future generations will ever understand this cultural phenomenon.

I must say that I wanted Harry and Hermione to end up together.  I felt that way in 1997 after reading the first book, and I still feel that way 14 years later, after watching the last movie.  I know that would be predictable and boring, but there’s something about loving your best friend as much as they do.

Now that Harry Potter and all those weddings are over, it’s time to focus on something other than love (phew!).  Only 3 more weeks left in the Twin Cities, then I’m off to new adventures!

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