I am not dead.
Thank you, Le Clown, for confirming this fact earlier today through email. Next time, please keep pictures of your painted white butt cheeks to yourself.
The other day, I had a conversation with a coworker about weddings.
She’s pretty freaking liberal, even more so than I am, and we were having a lot of fun trading opinions.
Me (complaining about all the work it takes to plan a wedding): I just want my life back!
Her: You should just go to the courthouse.
Me: …Is that what you did?
Her: Hell yes!
Me: Did you get any complaining from family members?
Her: Actually, my family doesn’t know I’m married. It’s none of their business, really, and I’m an adult.
Holy frick, what a different take on things. I have to admit, there is a part of me that really wishes Brian and I had just gone to the courthouse. I actually turned to Brian the other day and said, “I hope this day (our wedding day) turns out to be worth it.” And in all honesty, I think we’re both unsure of the answer.
And then she (my coworker) said: Please tell me you haven’t registered for one of those huge gravy boats you’ll never use.
I totally got the question. What she meant was, I hope you aren’t blindly following a tradition *just* because it’s a tradition. Because we’re both therapists and are doomed to over analyze everything, this led to a conversation unpacking traditions and customs around modern day weddings. I’m the kinda person who needs to know why we do things the way we do. Rarely do I just take things for granted as “the way things are.”
So I am very glad that my coworker reminded me that I am also an adult (at least I pass for one on legal documents), and that at the end of the day, I get to make my own decisions. I don’t have to register for a gravy boat just because the salesperson at Bed Bath and Beyond tells me to.
YOU KNOW WHAT, LADY?! IF YOU LOVE GRAVY SO MUCH, GO BATHE IN IT. HERE – USE THIS BOAT!
It’s easy to notice when our preferences land outside the norm, and for that reason I am pretty good at weighing how important something is to me versus the backlash I may get for not conforming in that way. But the other question is, what happens when what I want actually coincides with the norm and the dominant culture’s expectations? Because I do want the white dress, I do want a medium-sized party with nice things. I enjoy flowers! But do I enjoy these things just because it’s the dominant culture, or is my enjoyment genuinely personal? I’m not sure anyone can ever separate out these two things, nor should we be able to, but the answers are still important to me. So, I’ve also reminded myself that it’s okay to like things because they are “normal.” Hell, there’s a reason why they became “normal” in the first place and that reason is not always oppressive or malicious, regardless of what I might have been taught in my college sociology class.
I am reminded of a quote from a book written by one of my favorite musicians, Jewel Kilcher: It’s okay to want.
It’s okay to want what everyone else wants – for the very reason that everyone else wants it. This is big for me.
You know what else I am learning? With the help of reading things like The Waiting, this process is really forcing me to let go. It’s okay to want…and it’s okay to go without. I am increasingly able to let things roll off my back when they aren’t going perfectly, because if I cared about every aspect of wedding planning like I care about making good poop jokes, then I would go stark raving mad.
More so than I already am.