Just get married already!

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Did you hear?! Bachelor Nation’s darlings — Kaitlyn Bristowe and Shawn Booth have called off their three year engagement. I was really rooting for them, but I can’t stop myself from thinking things might have been different if they had gotten married.

An engagement is technically a promise of marriage. You can only talk about promises for so long before you actually DO something about it. I believe the standard length of engagement is around a year or so. Given the way Shawn and Kaitlyn met (when she was the Bachelorette), and how quickly they got engaged, I can even understand two years. But, it’s been three. And, for me — it started to feel like they were milking being part of the Bachelor franchise — sponsoring products on Instagram, starting side projects, Shawn opened a gym and they even doled out relationship advice to other Bachelors/Bachelorettes on the show. This past January, Kaitlyn was even on an episode of Hayley Ever After, in which she selected a wedding gown by designer Hayley Paige. So, I thought mayyyyybe they’re getting closer and will perhaps even air (for a price, no doubt) their wedding on a Bachelor special.

Now, I suppose you could say, well, good thing they DIDN’T get married, because they’d be going through divorce! But — my response would be: Not necessarily. When you’re married, I think you’re more likely to work on issues and less likely to give up — because breaking up isn’t as easy to do when you’ve committed yourselves before friends, family and oh, yeah — legally.

I just think three years is a long time to be in marriage’s waiting room with alllll of the components of a wedding and married life hanging over your heads. That had to have been a stressor, don’t you think?

Anyway — since they’re saying they are committed to “remaining friends and supporting each other” — may I propose (pun intended) a joint season of the Bachelor/Bachelorette in which they both seek out future partners at the same time. Maybe they’d wind up back together, who knows!

What about Mandy?

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Names are important, I think. I’ve touched on this topic before, and why I feel this way, but it really comes down to the belief that names influence personality, how we’re perceived by others and perhaps even our physical appearance.

If your name is Jennifer, Jessica or Matthew — chances are, you get called Jen, Jenny, Jess and Matt on rotation with your given name. So, you’re used to having multiple names and it’s a part of who you are.

I’ve always been Amanda. My mom has maybe called me ‘Mandy’ here and there while growing up, usually when calling up the stairs to me or something. But, I’ve never been known as Mandy to anyone in the 37 years I’ve been on this planet.

Now, for some reason I’m trying to understand — I feel as though I’ve missed out, for lack of better words, on a parallel life. I wonder how my life would have been if I was Mandy.

As Amanda, I’m an overanalyzer, a bit of a worrier, a perfectionist and, at times - hard on myself. I wonder if Mandy would be more carefree, easygoing and ‘shrug, I’m human’ about a lot of things in life. As Amanda, I like to think I have a quick wit, sharp tongue (not totally proud of it), and pretty well-rounded sense of humor. Would Mandy be funny, always ready with a sarcastic, lighthearted comeback — or would she be more of the ‘smile and laugh and keep it to yourself’ type?

What about her style? Would Mandy prefer a more bohemian look? Would she be a vegan? Would she prefer longer nails and a pixie haircut?

And, what about life goals? Would Mandy have made different choices? Would Mandy know the same people, love the same people and dislike the same people? Would the same people love her? The questions and possibilities are endless, really. And, of course, everyone is who they’re supposed to be, in the life they’re supposed to have, I think — with the power to change/reinvent whatever they wish to.

It’s just fun to think about someone else who is also yourself (and weird if you think about it too long). Also, don’t even get me started on who Mandi or Mandee would be.

Forgive and forget?

And I bury hatchets, but I keep maps of where I put ‘em...
— Taylor Swift

Yes, I just quoted Taylor Swift. It's time for me to be honest about who I am. I'm currently obsessed with Taylor Swift's latest album - mostly because she's such a great songwriter, so there are some great, thought-provoking one-liners.

As I let TS's latest album play in my earbuds while I enjoy an hour of mommy time at the pool, that line sticks out to me, and immediately reminds me of a time I was encouraged (ordered?) to "forgive and forget" by someone who had wronged me. When I saw those words - sent via text message - I felt every tiny hair on my body stand up and my blood begin to simmer. First, the obvious - who is anyone to tell anyone to forgive? Forgiveness is a personal choice, and usually done when one is ready to forgive. And, I think forgiveness is mostly beneficial to the person who was wronged, NOT the wrongdoer. Wrongdoers can ask for forgiveness, but cannot demand it.

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Secondly, what is this "forget" bullshit? Honestly. And, why should they even try?! So the wrongdoer can have a clean slate to mess up again? No way, I say. If someone is ballsy enough to tell you to 'forgive and forget' something they did - they're ballsy enough to do it (or worse) again. Does that mean you have to walk around angry with them forever? Again, no way, I say. That's the forgiveness part. But, I think what comes next is taking the necessary steps to ensure you're completely satisfied with moving forward in whatever capacity you're comfortable with. But, it does not mean you have to ever truly forget what they're capable of. You also don't have to forgive them if you don't want to, obvs. Up to you.

As I reapply my sunblock, I'm wondering if my thoughts on this topic make me sound guarded, paranoid and cold, holding everything against everyone. I'm not, and don't do, any of those things. But, I do think it's somewhat instinctual to not 100% trust someone again once they've revealed what their bad side looks like. And, that could mean limiting your relationship with them, the time you spend together, the lengths you're willing to go for them, how much you want to accommodate them, etc. How much do they deserve is a good question to ask yourself, in my opinion. It doesn't mean you have to be negative or let it/them continue to affect you. There's power in positivity.

Anyway. I'm talking too much about justifying why you don't need to forget after forgiving, when I should be focusing on the ridiculousness of why that's even a saying in the first place. I've always had the belief that no one has a right to treat anyone poorly, no matter what their relationship to you is - not even if they're family or you’ve known them for 20 years. So, while people make mistakes and words get said and yes - life goes on - if it's something big enough you need to forgive, it doesn't mean you have to try to forget it. You don't have the burden - they do. They just don't want it...

*puts sunglasses back on*

...and ain't that just too damn bad.