On one hand, I’m grateful that the worst thing I can say has happened to me personally during this pandemic is that my wedding has been postponed. On the other hand… my wedding’s been postponed by a year and it sucks.
The Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns around the world have had a lot of horrible impacts on people’s lives. From loss of income (and everything that comes with it) to loss of life and loved ones. It’s a horrendous time in world history that has touched a lot of people’s lives in unprecedented ways. While I know people who’ve caught the virus and have been affected in other ways through this time, I can say that the biggest personal cost to me has been the postponement of my wedding and everything around it.
There’s been a lot of tears, sunk funds and uncertainty. I still don’t know when I’ll be able to see my person since we live in different countries. So to cheer myself up, I’ve decided to make a list of the sappy things which have kept me relatively sane and kept the hopeless romantic in me alive.
The Brown Sisters
I read Get a life, Chloe Brown almost as soon as it came out – as is my habit with Talia Hibbert’s books. Why? Because they’re amazing. She indulges in only the best tropes, avoids all the worst and even the ‘not so bad’ ones and best of all? Every single character you come across is a well-thought out individual. No human-shaped plot devices – not even when they’re children, or villains!
It stands to reason then, that Take a hint, Dani Brown has been a source of comfort for me in these troubled times. Dani really ticked me off for some of the book. How can one woman be so willfully blind to what’s right in front of her? How is she simultaneously brilliant and obtuse? ARGH, amirite? Then it hit me, just like it hit Dani. Then something else hit me… the things I most disliked in Dani are things I’ve had to work on in myself. Oops.
Anyway, I found forgiveness in my heart for Dani, and I loved her story with Zaf. 10/10 recommend for fans of: goddess worship; doctoral students; second chances at love; cuddly bears that only the heroine thinks are cuddly; black coffee and romance novels.
Why I love it: Dani resonated with me because I saw in her a younger me, slowly shedding the pain, misinformation and self-sabotage of the past to pursue a better future, not just romantically but in her family relationships and friendships. Zaf was lovable from his beautiful facial hair to his practical shoes. He was also a big cuddly bear like my person, which was great. The goddess worship didn’t hurt, either.
The Incredible Jessica James
I can’t believe this movie passed me by for a whole three years, but things happen and every new day is an opportunity to fix the problems of the past.
Or to watch rom coms. Sometimes, these are the same thing.
Jessica James is making her way out of a break up and into a new life. The typical formulae definitely all apply with this one. Off beat best friend, coming across the ex while he’s on a date with a new girl, a younger sibling who’s living the perfect apple pie life, complete with husband and baby bump… Name a formula, this movie probably follows it, to be honest.
There’s a reason that formulae exist though, and it’s not just to torment you in high school. It’s because they work.
Jessica’s seeming disaster of a life is comforting because it’s so familiar to the millennial mind. Dreams deferred, chasing success that you can’t quite quantify but know you should have, great found family and frayed biological family relationships. It was like stepping into an alternate world where an alternate me had alternate problems.
I suppose the only atypical part of the story is the romance itself. Jessica and her new love interest are… very dissimilar. No, it’s not because he’s white. It’s because he’s a well-off divorced tech bro (if you can still be a bro at his age) who is unremarkable in appearance. Move over, Ryan Gosling.
Why I love it: Through all the chaos, fever dreams or hallucinations of her ex declaring his remorse, dying and accosting her on the street to ask why she unfollowed him on social media… Jessica James comes to the realisation that not only is she gonna be alright… she already is. In this topsy turvy time, I appreciated that message. The fact that she also has beautiful dreadlocks just comme moi definitely adds to the appeal.
Mambokadzi – Gemma Griffiths ft. Ammara Brown
When things are really hard and I’m feeling unmoored, nobody grounds me and reminds me to breathe and unclench my jaw like the fabulous ladies I call my friends. Friendship is a wonderful thing. Real friendship, the type that takes up room in your life, is a powerful force. Maintaining those friendships through crisis isn’t easy, but we’ve managed it thus far and this song always puts a smile on my face. Mambokadzi translates to ‘queen’.
So there we have it… three things that have kept be sane, occasionally smiling and generally still a hopeless romantic. They don’t quite compare to, you know, a wedding day but they’re what I’ve got and that’s enough for now.