The Maiden of Honor Speech

My cousin is getting married at the end of this month and his lovely bride asked me to be one of her bridesmaids. I would be lying if I told you I wasn't excited. I was freaking ecstatic! Although I haven't been to a wedding in 14 years or so, I have always adored the romanticism that surrounds it. The champagne. The family gathering. The rose petals. The music. The decor. And of course, the celebration of love. But what do I really know about these things anywho? Most of what I've seen or learned is through chick flicks and overly photoshopped images on Tumblr. Anyway,  despite of the glitz and glamor that comes with the celebratory event, I've been told that at the end of the day it is the toast that fills the day with heart. This year. Correction, in two weeks, I will be delivering that toast.

As a public speaker, I've dreamt of this day for a very long time now. I imagined it to be a graceful kind of endeavor where I stand up, call for everyone's attention, begin with my all time favorite quote from my man Shakespeare, and then pray to Buddha that I don't end up crying like a little baby before the bride does.

What took me by surprise, however, was that I did not expected the unenviable task to be this hard. Now I'm no stranger to eloquent speeches or wide audiences, but this is a whole other ballpark. My entire extended family is going to be there. Even my cousins booked their tickets and are flying from all away from across the world just to be here. The pressure is on and the only thing on my mind is, "Khanh. Don't fuck this up." On top of that, I'm not really sure if I'm in the right position to talk about something that has been absent from my life for quite some time now. And yes, I am talking about the romantic kind of love.

To be completely frank here, I have been meeting a lot of people this past year, but every new encounter is as fleeting as the one that came before it. Though I try to not be a part of the new millennials' hookup culture, I found myself guilty of charge whenever I find someone that does catch my attention. Similar to many of my girlfriends, the initial attraction is extremely imperative. For me, I like a person with a nice smile, good bone structure, broad shoulders, defined arms, and a tight behind. Okay, I know what you're thinking. 'Khanh, this isn't a runway.' Whether you believe it or not, every guy that I have been interested in have all of these qualities and while they're extremely easy on the eyes, I quickly learned that those attributes does little to nothing in regards to solidifying a potential friendship or relationship. If anything, what I am looking for is a good sense of humor (go figure), passion (for his career, for his hobbies, for life), intelligence, and compassion. I want someone who inhale success and can enjoy the present. I want someone who can talk to me about serious issues such as human trafficking, gun violence, and climate change. I want someone who can teach me about the latest technologies and how to rock climb. I want a person who listens and is open to new ideas. While typing all of this out, I've learned that I am doing this all wrong. I shouldn't have to look for this person. It's not a mystery puzzle and race to the finish line. Though the clock is ticking, the only deadlines that I have to deal with are the ones placed by myself.  And even then, my friend ECC told me that, "It's a completely different environment where people aren't concerned about all the pleasantries--their vices are already outed to the public. Vice meets vice, and that's it." By meeting so many different people, I have also learned that not one encounter went beyond immediate gratification. Most guys these days want something temporary and that's not what I'm about. It's not to say that I should completely shut myself out from dating and its entirety, however, I couldn't help but to be overwhelmed so I found myself confiding in ECC as I naturally do. What's problematic was that, "as much faith as you give to other people, it's still eye-opening and jarring to realize that there exist undisclosed darkness in everyone" so everything just hits home a little harder. She further said that as human, I have chosen what I want to see and what I want to believe in. Despite knowing everything that I know now about 'the game' and the opposite gender, I still like to believe that a part of me will always try to see the good in people. I'd rather give them benefit of the doubt than forever live my life with the glass half empty. It has been difficult to say the least, but then I'd look at my cousin and his future bride-to-be and it sparked something that has been dying for a while now: hope. My goal right now is to be someone who makes me happy rather than focusing on being with someone who makes me happy. Even then, it brings me so much joy to know that these two awesome people have found each other in an era that threatens the validity of commitment and true love.

So while I still have no idea what I'm going to say on their wedding day, I can guarantee you that it will be something from the heart. And it will be good. It will be my best one to date.