I wrote this big ginormous post this weekend, shaking while I wrote it because that’s what happens when I admit to feeling in a way I wish I wasn’t feeling. When I’ve tried ignoring something and kept my mouth shut, gritted my teeth, and plastered on a smile and then finally come clean with the truth – that’s when I shake. It’s a tell and I hate it.
Kamel saw my writing it, saw me shaking, asked if I wanted lunch.
Not now, I said while pushing my fingertips on my forehead trying to find the words to explain how I feel, how I’ve felt.
We’ve almost been married a year. It’s almost June and our anniversary is in July. That’s weird. Time is so bizarre. I keep saying that but it never ceases to be true.
I say this because there’s something that I’ve been struggling with for even longer than that. And because it’s been almost a year since our wedding day saying what bothers me out loud makes me feel petty.
And instead of publishing the big post I wrote this weekend, I’m going to talk about how you shouldn’t feel shitty for caring about the circumstances around your wedding. I feel like there is a pervasive idea that says a wedding = a big grand prize.
Being single is terrible! Everyone is trying to get to that marriage finish line! You are so lucky to be getting married. Everyone is here for you. Your wedding is just a big party in your honor. You should be grateful that people even showed up for this. What more do you want?
I hate these sentiments. Marriage is not any kind of finish line. It’s the end and the beginning. It is the start of a new stage of life, but a stage that is not necessary for everyone. A wedding is not just a big party, it’s a celebration of people and love, of the people getting married, of the love they share, of the leap they’re taking, of all the family and friends who had a hand in this union, of individuals and of the We. It’s a chance to introduce family, to honor family and friends, to give thanks. For me it was the most overwhelmingly emotional day of my life.
And I am struggling with a very dark cloud that hovers over my memories of that day, and my feelings about what happened and how people acted before, during, and after. But! a lot of the attitude about these feelings from myself and from others has been: You got married, so why does it matter? Get over it.
It matters because my wedding day mattered to me. My engagement mattered to me. It wasn’t just playing dress up, it was including a new family into my life and a expecting a chance to be welcomed into there’s. Not everything went the way I wish it could have gone. We couldn’t invite everyone we wanted to invite, we couldn’t afford all of the things I wanted to be able to afford. But I worked really hard to include the culture and tradition of both families, and to honor both families. I did the best I could, even if it wasn’t perfect.
And the wedding is over. Almost a year over now. So I should be able to let it all go. I got my happy ending, right?
Except there is no ending. Life and family continue. A wedding is not a big fucking prize. And what was just one day of inconvenience, of ceremony and hand shaking and picture taking for everyone involved, was a year of me being ignored, shoved aside, treated with less respect than I treat strangers, and being told to just let it go, get over it, move on. Lauren really just needs to get over it. This is how it’s always going to be. She needs to learn that now.
And I’m writing about this because I feel really alone in these feelings. My wedding happened and everyone ate and drank and danced and posed for photos and then they all went home. And I was left with a lot of hurt and sadness (and joy and relief) that was never acknowledged. Something really great happened to me when I got married, I gained a husband and began a new chapter. Every day I am really grateful for that. But that’s not the whole story and I don’t want to feel like the inconvenient feelings aren’t just as important.
And maybe this happened to you too. Or maybe you’re single and you’re tired of everyone telling you that, one day you’ll find the right person, one day you’ll get married. Because marriage is not easier than being single. It is just as hard because it’s still life, it’s just a different kind of life, a different kind of challenge.
Every once in a while Kamel and I talk about the difference between getting married and having a baby. When you get married you make a lot of enemies. People are jealous of you, family feels obligation towards you, a lot of money is involved, some people feel like you’re getting this big goddamn celebration for what? For yourselves? Big fucking deal.
But when you’re going to have a baby suddenly everyone is your best friend. Your creating a grandbaby, a niece, a nephew, a cute snuggly thing that will carry on a certain family name, people line up to give you baby socks and to rub your belly. You can suddenly do no wrong.
This is bullshit.
Having a baby doesn’t make anyone a saint, or suddenly a good family member. And having a wedding isn’t selfish, it isn’t cause for contempt and it certainly isn’t ever alllll about the bride and groom. Life is hard, even the good things, and when we allow each other to have mixed feelings, to celebrate with just as much gusto as we apologize, to acknowledge the good and the bad – that’s when we really and truly appreciate one another. When we push it aside and pretend it isn’t there, then we fail. And I really don’t want to fail.