The Battle Within
October 5, 2010

You may not see the connection at first, but there are two things I’ve been thinking about for the last few days:

Zutara and Marriage.

I think most of you know what marriage is. Wikipedia defines marriage as “a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship.” It is sometimes seen (erroneously) as the end goal of a relationship, an institution, an agreement dictated by religion, or one more inequality for the LGBT community.

Zutara is a coined term for the non-canon pairing of the characters Zuko and Katara in Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Weird, that these should both be on my mind lately. And yet, I suppose it’s because I’ve been thinking about these two things that I’ve come to realize my internal conflict of interests when it comes to relationships.

Let’s start with the Zutara reference. If you haven’t seen Avatar, I would suggest skipping this paragraph. I’m definitely going to be spoiling a few bits. You can also skip this paragraph if you know nothing about the series, because you won’t understand the references anyway. I recently finished the Avatar series, and despite identifying as a lover of anime from its pure source of Japan, I absolutely loved Avatar. As the series developed, I hoped more and more that Zuko and Katara would become a canon pairing, but alas, Katara was fated to love Aang, the main character, and surely to go on after the series and have tons of air and water-bending babies. Mmm.

"Zutara" by Cynchick @ DeviantArt

Zutara is one of those pairings that would just never happen in any given series. It’s literally fire and ice. It’s the romanticized good girl falling for the bad guy syndrome, and it happens to me in almost every series I read, watch, or otherwise learn about. Take Harry Potter for example. I’m a huge Ginny/Draco shipper. Of course they were never going to be together, and for all of you who have finished the series you know exactly how things turned out. But I’ll always love the idea of the good girl falling for the bad guy despite her best efforts not to, her good nature changing him for the better, but all of it still having that air of…well, being naughty.

Now, let’s take a look at my fascination with marriage. Did I ever mentioned, I was engaged once? I don’t usually talk about it around my partner (and I’m sure he’s reading this right now), but it happened. It was stupid, I was naive, and I really wanted to have found the love of my life. Hindsight is a funny thing, though. Even so, I’ve always had a fascination with marriage. Being heterosexual, I have the privilege of marriage always being possible, being an option in my future, being something that I can look forward to one day. The problem is, I’m not very patient. And I’m a dreamer. I’ve always fallen for fairy tales, for the ‘happily ever after’. It says something about me that one of my favourite movies in the world is “Ever After”.

I’m lucky right now to know that my partner is much more practical about the idea of marriage than I am. I know that if we stay together through thick and thin, he’ll make the choice to propose (or not) when the time is right and when we’re truly ready for such a thing. Hell, I should really finish school first, at the very least. But it doesn’t keep me from bookmarking my dream wedding dresses, trying to figure out what engagement ring I want, even writing down baby names in my diary. I don’t stop being envious of my friends who are married (some even have kids already!) even though I know I’m too busy and too driven right now to be in their situation. Not to mention that I’m still growing up, still learning how to deal with myself and my own problems. I’m not ready to be dealing with all of someone else’s problems and even going close to touching the notion of a family.

Wedding Dress by Akyra @ Deviantart

But then this brings us back to Zutara. I like the bad side of things. I like the complicated and the dramatic, even though I don’t want to admit it to myself or anyone else. I think I like the challenge. And sometimes, as much as it hurts, I think I get off on the tragic. Why else would one of my other favourites of all time be “Lord of the Rings”? That story just ends up sad for almost everyone involved, and my favourite ending, that of Aragorn and Arewen, is the most tragic of all. How in the world am I supposed to stay in and work through a stable relationship when I get a high from everything that’s opposite to stable and cooperative?

I want the bad boy who makes me chase him, who challenges me to change him, but at the same time I want the nice guy I can marry and settle down with and start a family. It’s like two huge conflicting pieces of me, and I’m trying to balance them at the same time, in the same person. I certainly don’t know how he feels about all of this, but I feel…complicated. Difficult. Demanding. Idiotic. Why can’t I just have a ‘normal’ desire for all that is good and supportive?

I don’t know if this is something I’ll just have to handle for the rest of my life, or if I’m still waiting to grow up. I have a feeling it’s the first, which is going to take some extra work on my part to get this all to work out. And my partner is the perfect person to try with. I just hope I can get these two deeply-penetrating sides of me to add up, somehow.

Some days they’re just at war.