I Really Dislike...
I keep seeing this poem in lots of places. And I really dislike it.
I'm sure a lot of you are familiar with this photo. That, in fact, is me, Jonny, and Ariana inside my belly. Our family. As whole in the living flesh as it would ever get.
So, some clever soul grabbed my picture (yeah, I know it's the interwebs, I guess anything is fair game right? grrr) and threw this crappy poem at the bottom of it.
Okay, So. It certainly appears that it's supposed to be like a memorial and a way to honor a fallen Marine but there are just a lot of things about the words that I just do not like. I'm going to take a moment to tell you exactly why I don't like the poem so maybe people will understand why the meme offends me.
First, I didn't write this poem. It's not about me and Jonny, our relationship, or our family. Someone just attached it to the photo and thought it fit. Number one thing that I didn't like. Of course, it didn't have to be written by me, but if you're going to attach it to our photo at least let the damn thing be about us. It's a very powerful and personal photo to me (yes, once again, I know, I chose to share it with the word via the interwebs but it doesn't mean I have to agree with what was done to it) and I just wish it were treated as such by others.
Not sure if the text on the photo is big enough so here it is:
Remember The Day
I borrowed your brand new car and dented it?
I thought you'd kill me, but you didn't
Remember the day I dragged you to the beach
And you said it would rain, and it did
I thought you'd say "I told you so" but you didn't
Remember the time I flirted with all those guys
To make you jealous, and you were
I thought you'd leave me but you didn't
There were a lot of things you didn't do, but you
Put up with me, loved me, and protected me
There were lots of things I wanted to make up,
To you when you returned from Iraq
But you didn't.
Many of you are probably thinking "That's not so bad, it shows that he was good to her" or something like that. Trust me, I see that side, and I see the author's attempt at making it sweet or whatever, but being the person in the photo I see the side that irritates me, too.
Number one, it kind of makes the "she" of the poem - or ME in the photo - look kind of dumb. She was always wrong and I did things to piss him off. It makes the "he" of the poem - or JONNY in the photo - look nice but almost like a pushover. I don't know. I know I should probably take it as an honest attempt at a tribute but it rubs me the wrong way.
I actually did dent his truck when we first moved to NC. Funny thing, actually, that that is in the poem. A guy backed into me in a parking lot. I was barely pregnant and super hormonal. Thank God my mom was with me and a crazy and determined-to-help gal happened to be watching from across the parking lot. That crazy gal is now one of my best friends, Ria. Between Ria and my mom, they made sure to take care of everything so we knew who the guy was and how to get in touch with him to get it fixed. Don't think the poor guy knew what hit him that day! I was too busy freaking out because it was Jonny's new truck and he was gone on training. Jonny wasn't mad at me, he was totally mad at the dude. Especially when he got home and the dude tried to be a douche. Don't worry - Jonny took care of it and got the money and fixed it. And I made a BFF out of it. Def wasn't all bad. Funny the poem knew about it.
We lived at the beach as much as we could, and we loved dancing in the rain. Being in the warm summer rains of NC. I have many stories about Jonny and I and the rain. Irrelevant stanza, but I guess I get the point. He didn't poke at her, he just dealt with her. I like to think Jonny more than "just dealt" with me.
Ummm... I didn't flirt with guys in front of Jonathan. I guess this is the stanza that pisses me off the most. Implying I was some kind of juvenile playing games. Or at least poem girl was. Could I be a bitch? Oh yeah. But I didn't have to play mind-EFF games to do that. Jonathan, actually, was never the jealous type. I think that's part of the reason we got along so well. I'm super social and some people might have seen my friendliness as flirty but it never was and thank God Jonathan never saw it that way, either. He let me live my life. He trusted me. He loved me just the way I was, social butterfly-ness and all. It was kind of definitely amazing and I miss it. He had a level head. He used to tell me basically that he knew I was his and he had nothing to worry about. He was sooo right. Man, that man was sexy. Even if I were a flirt I doubt I would have. There was no straying from him. Insert chills and moment alone... ;)
And then it says you put up with me, loved me, protected me. That is spot on. He did all those things. I know I'm not the easiest person to love, but he did anyway. He put up with my bullshit and my bitchiness (or pregosaurus as he deemed it - I was not a nice pregnant person) and he still loved me all the same, even if his nostrils were flaring worse than a bull's and the vein in the side of his head was throbbing like it was trying to escape his skin, he still loved me. He wouldn't let me go to sleep without telling me he loved me, we were never allowed to go to bed mad with each other, that was one thing he was a stickler about and I am so thankful for He protected me always. He might not have been the jealous type but he certainly didn't stand for anyone being mean to me, looking at me even semi-wrong. I used to call him my puffer fish because he'd puff all up whenever he saw a "threat." Oh gosh, I miss that. It was adorable. I was his princess and his world, his words.
And then the poem screws up again by saying Iraq. Two different wars, two different places. I think that's just disrespectful to him. At least be accurate about where he was when he gave his life, ya know?
Okay. okay. After further analyzing the poem isn't that bad. There are certain parts I take more personally than I should. And when I really think about I do think it was done with good intentions.
I guess the worst part are comments I've seen in places it was posted. Comments putting the poem and the photo too much together and people making judgements on me and/or Jonathan because of the words in the poem. That just pisses me off. It's not a poem about us. You don't know us. So shut up and just be grateful he gave his life for our country. Just say, "Thank you for your service" instead of something ignorant about me "taking his car without permission" or "flirting with every guy in sight looking for a meal ticket" (yeah I've seen comments along those lines and those are what make me livid). The meaning behind the poem and the meme is that be grateful for even the silly things or the things you didn't think you should be grateful for because you never know when you will lose them (even I will admit, it's a good general meaning) so the commenters should keep that in mind instead of being judgy buttheads. Yes, I said buttheads.
I guess after seeing it enough times I just wanted to set the record straight. Just wanted my voice heard.
So, take it for what it is, a not-so-brilliant attempt at a memorial with an unrelated and poorly written poem (just my opinion, sorry)
I do thank everyone who memorializes Jonathan and keeps his memory and legacy alive. It's certainly something I strive to do and one of the many reasons I write here. I don't want to come across as ungrateful and I'm afraid that's what I've done. I know I don't get to choose what every memorial says and I am not the end-all be-all of memorializing and remembering him, and the general message of the poem of basically "Don't take life or loved ones for granted" is a great one, I just think there are some things that should be handled with a little bit more care. And this photo, one of my very most favorite photos, is one of them, at least in my world.