I have stopped telling strangers I’m getting my MFA in fiction writing.
“Your MFA in fiction writing?” they say, “What can you do with that?”
“Write books,” I tell them, “Maybe a novel?”
“A novel!” they say, “So you’re going to be famous?”
I kick the dirt and mumble, “Um, well, sure.”
When it comes to ambition, Jack and I are kindred spirits. I remember on our first date, sitting on a hill together in Saxapahaw, NC and drinking wine out of plastic cups, we told each other about our dreams. We each had a vision for how we wanted our lives to go. We told each other about our passions--music, writing, art. We ate mediterranean food, talked and talked. We found each other fascinating, electric. We were equally matched in our aspirations. We both wanted to be great. We liked this about each other.
They say that people are at their most attractive when they do something they love--something they’re good at. We’re our best selves when we live out our passions. Before we met, this was what Jack and I did, fiercely.
And now, I worry that our passions are bringing out the worst in us.
From the moment I could date women, I’d date them. I'd date them, and then the relationship would eventually burst into flames. Call it bad luck, call it immaturity, call it me being a bad romantic partner. However you say it, you’re probably not wrong and I own that.
Ex-partners have had an affect on me for a long time. After a relationship failed, I would be back on the market ASAP to find someone else. I never took time to process the loss or think about what I could do better. I was just interested in finding “the one” and I wouldn’t allow myself to waste any time. #TedMosby
Title: “Will You Still Text And Drive When We Have Kids?”
Abstract: I see you, what you’re doing there. Just a quick one. Just a quick text. The light turns green and you’re searching for the peace sign emoji. We’re on the highway and your football thread is exploding. It’s Fantasy Draft Day. We’re just trying to get home. Once, you tried to watch a basketball game while driving home from work. I made you pull the car over and let me drive. I know I should not read into this about how much you value my life. But sometimes I do.
Concerns: It’s not as funny as I think it is / Puts us on too much of a binary / I’ve done it too / I’m not trying to pick a fight / This makes you sound more reckless than you are / And when you start having blog posts that mention offspring in the title, too many folks start pondering the contents of my uterus.
Before Annie and I got married, I had a dream about us moving in together. In the dream, she arrived at our apartment with a few bags and a rolling suitcase. I, on the other hand, showed up with an entire moving truck of stuff. And as she opened up the back of the moving truck, she gave me a disconcerted look and said, “I don’t know if I can live with all of this.” I still think about this dream to this day.
I entered into my relationship and marriage with a lot of baggage. The more I process my feelings, the more baggage I find. It often feels infinite. Anxiety, depression, vices, anger, past relationship woes, you name it. I never used to talk about it with my significant others, mostly because I never thought I could. How could they be with me if they really knew everything about me? It seemed so much easier to live a partitioned life.
The minute after Jack and I got married, we left our town, our family, and our support system behind. Starting new jobs in new places, we felt uprooted in so many ways. But really, this was what I had always dreamed about doing.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted the adventure of moving somewhere far away. When I was in college, I spent a summer interning in the Bay Area. I traipsed around San Francisco and marveled at all things happening around me. I remember watching a one-man band performing in the street. I remember eating the best Pad Thai of my life. It was so different from home. I loved it.
I fantasized about moving there for real. There was part of me that wanted to leave my whole life in North Carolina behind and start over. It would be so exciting. I imagined myself in the future, worldly and grey, reflecting on how I started with nothing--and now look.
Last year, I got my wish. I started grad school at Arizona State--2,000 miles from home. I knew it was going to be great. Finally...the adventure I had been craving for so long. And it has been great, but it has also been really painful.
Members and Allies of The Millennial Marriage Movement,
Jack here. This week, I’m being honest as hell. You’ll learn some things about me today that I’ve never been public about, so buckle up. Make sure you don’t have any small children with you and prepare yourself for the darker side of #ANNIEGOESJACK.
I’ll start off by saying that I find it really ironic that as the co-founder of a millennial marriage blog, I haven’t always truly believed in marriage. I always knew that marriage was something that I’d inevitably do, but mostly because it was a status symbol that I needed for my own personal security. If I’m really being honest with you, I didn’t (and to some extent, still don’t) quite understand how lifelong partnership works. How can two people stay together forever? When I think about my favorite foods, movies, music, [insert anything I really love], it’s tough to picture myself doing those things forever without getting bored.
“Jack, you’re right. You’re absolutely right. If this were a court of law, I would side with you every time. But life isn’t a court of law. And from what I see, your need to be right is killing your partner’s spirit. So it really doesn’t matter how right you are because it’s not serving the best interest of your relationship.”
I remember hearing those words during a therapy session some time ago. When I first heard this, I was ambivalent. Half of me thought: “But I’m entitled to justice! People have to follow me if I’m on the right side of things!” Though the other (more convincing) half thought: "What good is being right when you're alone?"
Hey Friends, Annie here.
Jack and I watch a lot of television. Name a TV show, and it’s more than likely that we’ve seen at least a few episodes. Probably more. Jokes from How I Met Your Mother were one of the first things that brought us together. Even on our honeymoon, we spent a few nights bingeing The OA on Netflix.
As they say on Master of None, we really are living in the golden age of television. But, balancing our Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and HBO subscriptions can be a dangerous game. There are times when we’ll spend an entire night watching episode after episode, eyes glazed, barely grunting to acknowledge each other. As my mom used to say, too much time in front of the tube will melt your brain (and maybe your relationship, I might add).
I, Annie Vitalsey, don’t want to talk about money. I want to watch The Great British Baking Show. I want to read a book about robots. I want to go for a walk. I want to have a cocktail. I don’t want to talk about money.
But I do talk about money. A lot. In this first year of being married to Jack, I have thought, talked, and worried about money, probably more times than all the other years of my life combined. Why is that?
Annie & Jack
Love. Marriage. Teamwork. Art. Offsetting the patriarchal footprint. These are some of the things we're thinking about.