September 13, 2012

Let's Be Honest

Funny how sometimes a week turns into two, which turns into just-a-few-more-days, which turns into Hey, didn't I used to have this place on the internet where I wrote sometimes? The past few weeks have picked me up, spun me around enough that my head is a swirly mess and I'm a little sick to my stomach, and deposited me here, three weeks before this major event that I am simultaneously supposed to enjoy every minute of but also ensure runs perfectly. At times, I get faint glimpses of that light at the end of the tunnel -- when I put yet another check in the mail and realize that I don't have to be in touch with that vendor again until the actual week of the wedding, when I press "confirm purchase" on Etsy and realize that I can stop worrying about that particular item until it shows up on my doorstep, when I close my eyes and imagine how sad but wonderful it is going to be to wake up on September 29th and know that I'm not behind on responding to wedding emails anymore. I have finally reached the point where I know, basically, the event will go well. All the major essentials are in place -- there will be a cake, there will be flowers, I will be wearing a dress (and a recently finished veil -- hurray!), and there will be food and hopefully enough wine that everyone will enjoy themselves and overlook any mistakes on my part. Now, we're down to the little things... except that in my perfectionist, detail-oriented obsessed brain, they are all big things too. The sign that goes by the guestbook to point guests toward the ushers? The order of the toasts? The color of one of the bridesmaids' gifts? No topic is too small to cause me undue amounts of stress and anxiety. In many ways, all these tiny details are the hardest -- I can pay a photographer, florist, and chef, but I can't pay anyone to figure out what shoes I want to wear, count and re-count the candle holders, or create an invitation to the bridesmaids' brunch. (Actually, to be fair, I'm sure there are people out there who I could pay to do these things. It's more a question of being willing to pay for all the things that I should be able to get done myself.)
The past week or so, I've thought about this blog every single day. Some days, I've wanted to come back and write. Some days, my thoughts were so tangled that I knew if I tried, all you'd get would be a glorified word web, with little random thoughts poking out here and there, vying for full attention. Some days, I've been worried that if I did write a post, then I'd feel obligated to write again tomorrow, and then the next day, and then the day after that, and just considering how much time and energy that would take sent me into a little bit of a tailspin. So I've stayed away, for your sakes and for mine, using the time to accomplish things and mostly enjoying a little break. Through all this, though, I've been keeping up with my Google Reader (because reading about the lives of others provides me a few minutes of calm every day), and today the fabulous Brittany wrote a super honest post that left me just itching to get back here and be super honest myself. It was just the kick in the pants that I needed to open Blogger for the first time in weeks and (finally) start typing... honestly.

Honestly, I'm exhausted. Honestly, the planning has been very fun and horribly not-fun all at once. Honestly, it feels bigger and more stressful than any paper I wrote in college, any exam I took, any presentation I gave. Honestly, I finally understand my friend when she told me at the beginning of this process "You have to do it once, but you'll never want to do it again." And yet honestly, the toughest part about all of this has not been the rush to get things done, the stress of making choices, or the overwhelming amount of work it has proven to be. The most stressful part has been the doubt.
It started before the first wedding, the tiny wedding, when a small handful of people told me "You're not going to want to do it again. You say you will now, but you won't end up ever having 'the big wedding' you're dreaming of." Those were the words that came out of their mouths, and yet the underlying message said more: you're asking for too much. You don't deserve this. I knew that these few people thought I was selfish for wanting the big wedding of my dreams. They thought I was spoiled, demanding, or just downright crazy. Despite the fact that most people in my life were absolutely supportive and excited for us and completely understood the whole situation, there were just a few people who were able to get under my skin with their own doubts. And for months, these few people kept asking about it: Are you still going to have another one when he gets home? They just knew it was only a matter of time until I gave up the pipe dream. After my dad died, the questions changed tone: You're not going to have another wedding after all that's happened, are you? As if it would be wrong to go through with it, despite the fact that my dad never once questioned my wish to have a "real" wedding.
To combat these doubts, I made an extraordinary effort to make our first wedding memorable but plain, happy but basic. Anything that could be scaled back, was. We stayed far away from all of the typical wedding stuff: no big wedding party, no big wedding cake, no big wedding dress... the list goes on. I was insistent that our small day wouldn't give anyone ammunition to say that I was asking for -- or getting -- too much. In the end, it was a wonderful day in which I got married to my very best friend, but it definitely didn't fulfill those childhood dreams of a big, beautiful wedding with family and friends and lots of celebration.
Despite that effort, the guilt that was sparked by a few people's judgments still manages to find me often these days. I find myself collecting RSVPs and doubting that anyone really wants to come, since we're already married. I go back and forth between thinking that we should go super simple, since technically it's not even a real wedding, and wanting lots of tiny details and everything to be intricate and well-planned and perfect in hopes of impressing people so much that they forget it's not even a real wedding. I feel guilty asking anyone for help, because part of me thinks I really don't deserve this, and if I'm going to be stubborn and do it anyway, I certainly don't deserve any help in making it happen. On the day we drove two hours to Crate and Barrel to do our registry, I sat in the parking lot and cried, telling Dan, "We shouldn't even be doing this! No one wants to buy presents for people who got married over a year ago!" (To the amazing people who have fulfilled so many things on our registry already... thanks for proving me wrong on this one.) I am torn between my intense determination that the day be perfect from start to finish and this nagging little voice in my head that says when other people get married, they say that the day is perfect no matter what because at the end, you're married. You already got the good part... all this other stuff is just filler. And I wonder... will I fall into bed that night exhausted and grinning from ear to ear? Or will I feel like there was a big black hole in the middle of a decent party, where the "point" of the celebration (the actual marriage) should have been?
So there you have it... a little dose of honesty. Just what your Wednesday needed, right?



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