When S and I were planning our wedding, we couldn’t decide on a first dance. We didn’t have a song that represented us, or signified a special moment or memory (well, we did have some, but they weren’t exactly slow songs). So, the music lover he is, S made me a mix CD of songs he thought would work, and I chose from them.

One of the songs was “Challengers” by The New Pornographers. He chose it specifically because of the following line:

“Whatever the mess you are, you’re mine, okay.”

This line was for me. I’m kind of a mess sometimes. Apparently I look really fine on the outside, but believe me, balancing a job and writing and, well, life, has its moments. I get frazzled. I talk to myself. I obsess over the smallest insignificant things. I’m moody. And I daydream constantly.

But here’s the thing – I’ve come to realize that this mess I am is perfect for writing. These things I daydream become scenes. These moments I obsess over become scenarios (loosely). These conversations I have in my head become dialogue. I’ve learned to channel my craziness into something. Granted, I’m still a mess often. I still forget to do the dishes. I still have random mood swings. But most of the idiosyncrasies S has become accustomed to I’ve learned to deal with.

Because in my head there are voices and there are characters just dying to come out. So I put my fingers on the keyboard and write them. I let their stories flow in ways they want. And sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t, and sometimes I Just end up with rubbish. But I guess, at least in the case of TNWSY, sometimes they become characters other people want to read about, too. My mess became something real and tangible. And the coolest, weirdest, most exciting thing is that one day you’ll get to meet these characters, too. They’ll be real to you, too.

We didn’t end up going with “Challengers;” despite the line, it just wasn’t right. We, instead, used R.E.M.’s “At My Most Beautiful” which really is quite beautiful and perfect for us. But it’s not that moment – that first dance – that I think best showcases our marriage. It’s every day. It’s him accepting me for the mess I am. Like the song says, it’s finding ways to make one another smile. Even at our worst. Even at our best.

4 thoughts on “Challengers

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