Boats Full of Gravy

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.

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46 responses

  1. It will be worth it if you stand your ground and stay true to what you want and who you are. Your family loves you and I doubt that some of the decisions you made about your day that they were not happy with will affect your relationship in the long run (if dealt with love and understanding on both parts).

    Get the gravy boat or just don’t. It all comes down to what you, and your partner, want.

    My life is so much easier since I’ve had kids because they taught me to be true to what I believe. I’ve always trusted my instinct with them, despite being sometimes told that I should our shouldn’t do this or that with my kids. I don’t care anymore about what people may or may not say. It’s been a long process but I am so much happier now than I have ever been. Don’t get me wrong, I do take people’s opinion in consideration. I am just better at analyzing what suits me or not, and to just let go of the pressure. I don’t have to fit in any mold but mine.

    FYI, as you know, we don’t fill in a gift registry list when we are about to get married in the French part of Canada (we ditched it since we all live together pre-marriage and already are settled…). Just lately, I have been shopping for…. A GRAVY BOAT! Lol! Never got one and I find it would be so useful! ;o) Just thought I’d let you know! Hehehe!

  2. Life is too short to live it the way other people want you to. If you want the gravy boat get the gravy boat. If not, don’t. As long as you’re happy that’s what matters.

  3. Speakin’ of numbers and age, I was gonna fill out an application to be the Official Bouncer at your Weddin’ but I couldn’t find one because I’m old and a techno-idiot. But I don’t bother the young ‘ens to “fix this” or “How did THIS HAPPEN?” as my screen saver morphed into an…ah….interesting pix from a gay S&M site. sigh.
    Anyway, I’d be a great Bouncer because no one would ever suspect the skinny old widow is pretty scrappy and I do ambushes well. I promise to dress appropriately which means I will not be appearing in a mini skirt aka a tube top “re-fashioned” into what never, ever should happen at any age.
    I’ll bring my nice .22 and leave the scope at home. I do believe that sight alone should work as a deterrent to any completely outrageous behavior. I promise to promptly dispatch of any one who dares to comment about a “Shot Gun Wedding.”
    If they can’t tell the difference between a .22 and a shot gun they’ve had too much of what ever the “good stuff” of their choice happens to be.
    I’ve spent my life working with Combat Vets so I do very well with crazy people. I actually like them-alot: After all these years, we have a lot in common. Obviously.
    So…..Pleeezzzeee! (insert annoying whining)
    TW
    PS: Is it too late to appeal for Sponsorship (payment) for your Big Day to the “Reality Programmers” for a show called, “Pimp My Gravy Boat?”

  4. It’s interesting because I think that no matter what side you’re on, you kind of feel a bit of pressure. I’m not big into marriage (for me, other people can do what they want) so I’ve often said that if I got married I would most likely elope. As in, we’re on a vacation and it feels right so we just get married in whatever city we’re in. Some people have really gotten on my case about that.

    The great thing nowadays is that we have choices. Big wedding, small wedding, no wedding. Kids, no kids. Gravy boat, no gravy boat. It should be about whatever the two people in love want.

    • See, it should be about that, and I agree that it seems we have more choice now than older generations, but pressure is still there to conform. I’ve felt it big time, and we’ve had to fight for aspects of this wedding that pale in comparison to something like eloping. What sucks so much is that I love my family and don’t want to hurt feelings, but this is also our day, our business, and no one else’s. tough.

  5. Oh boy, this running away to get married has been big in my circles lately. Two revealed their change in marital status via that pinnacle of social media, Facebook. You’d think they’d admitted to committing some heinous crime judging by the outcry. I’m pretty certain that if The Engineer and I ever get our act together it will be at the registration office. Also like your colleague, we’ve already decided not to tell the parents or any one else for that matter.

    Personally, it’s your marriage and your day and how you chose to start it, celebrate it and keep it going is your decision, and yours alone.

    If you really like gravy though, take the gravy boat and live like kings :)

  6. When I was planning my wedding, my husband and I sincerely wished we had gone to a drive-thru wedding chapel. It was worth going through with in the long run. At least the part of it I had planned for me. The ceremony was all for me and my husband. The reception was a nightmare and was totally for my family. Do what feels good to you, and it will be one of the greatest days of your life. One of them.

  7. So glad you’re back girlie! I just wrote a message to Emily today, to ask if I’d missed your wedding. I didn’t want to email you and bother you (that’s so clownish) but, I was hoping all was well, and you were just under that “to be expected” crush of planning and well, waiting to get married. I tell everyone: make it a very short engagement, because the waiting and planning may end the marriage! Good for you, listening to your own desires and not getting pulled down in others’ expectations. It happens to the best of us, but as little as possible is a goal to aspire to. Good to have you back!

  8. I have no problem saying that my wedding to Mr. Speaker7 was hands-down the best wedding I ever attended. It was big…over 300 attendees…I wore a white dress, but then I wore a reception dress that I could actually dance in and I danced the entire night. I did not receive a gravy boat. We just created the wedding we wanted. I don’t know if that’s helpful, but if you know what you want than just do it. Now I sound like Nike.

  9. When my late wife and I decided to get married (after five years of engagement) her mother said, “Well you can live at home and he can live with his parents!” Eventually, she made up a guest list with a ton of people even my future wife didn’t know, at the expense of our friend. So we decided to have our own wedding. My mom and aunts made a huge dinner, I bought the booze and we had just rented an apartment. It was empty (except for a bed) and we rented folding chairs and simply told everyone we liked to come on down. The church was packed, as was the apartment and we had one hell of a good time. You gotta do what you gotta do. You’ll be happier for it.

  10. I fully understand the gravy boat metaphor…and completely agree…but, when it comes to an actual gravy boat, I’m torn. I mean, I LOVE gravy. What’s better than pouring gravy onto your favorite things? Pouring graving onto your favorite things from a pimp ass gravy boat, that’s what is. I would use one, but that’s just me.

    Great post. Gives me a lot to think about…(especially gravy…mmmmm)

  11. What you are realizing is what I believe is one of the single most important things in both marriage and in life: that you can take a few things and make them your own. Wanting is good. You have to try on a lot of pants before you find the right ones.

    (Also, a billion times thank you for getting the point of my post that you linked. A lot of people seemed to think that I was hating on Elmo when in actuality I was just talking about symbols and how you have to look past them. You get me, my friend.)

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