Thursday, September 24, 2009

Shiny Happy Bride-to-be! Yeah Right

Ah, the new bride; joyful, radiant, filled with complete bliss! Single women envy them, and want to be them. Nothing more weighing on their minds that the mission to find the perfect dress, and how to make their day the ‘bestest’ ever!

But there’s a dark underbelly to this time for some newly engaged brides (and grooms to be). Conflicts wrought with emotion, anger, fear or even misery and it has nothing to do with wanting to lose weight to fit into that dress.

How many brides out there have found yourselves stuck in this situation? Your significant other of however long proposes, you accept and it’s all bubbly and shiny joy. Oh happy day, you’re getting married! You tell your parents, your friends, your loved ones and can’t wait to have them celebrate with you, only to have the cold cynicism wash over you.

“He’s not good enough”, “you’re too young”, “you’re just settling”, “he’s not/ she’s not (insert your parents religion here)”, and you find yourself arguing or defending your choice of a future mate.

You might find yourself in a plight like mine. I’m 31 years old and my boyfriend of 4 years proposes and I joyfully accept. My parents are not exactly flowing on the happiness for me, but joyful to anyone else they tell. We start the wedding planning, and fiancĂ© and I tell them our vision of getting married in a garden or outdoor setting and my dear sweet very catholic mother flips out. Suddenly instead of joyful new bride to be, I’m the shameful, family embarrassment; the one tearing out my poor parents hearts and stomping on everything that they worship when all I want to do is to celebrate what I believe.

When did this become so hard? When did emotional bloodletting become the new norm in family wedding celebrations and how come I missed the memo?!

I’m not sure exactly why my mother is so surprised. This non- catholic me has been around for a very long time; more than 15 years, but my mother hasn’t wanted to see it. I haven’t gone to church in years, except when attending a funeral or a wedding, and even then I remain respectfully quiet and non participatory. I don’t have a new religion that I wish to turn towards, I’m simply choosing not to continue in the one that my parents have chosen for me. I think that she would rather have heard that I’d dabbled in prostitution or was a heroin addict with no intention of getting clean.

Well maybe not, but my beliefs, my wishes weren’t being considered, just the age old reason for doing anything- “What would the neighbors/family/world think?!”

Heaven forbid that anything is done for personal pleasure, or for our own wishes. That is too selfish. Instead we should do things to please others, and walk the road that they choose for us, because who wants to be the lone person swimming against the crowd.

I do. (There look I’m already practicing my lines for getting married.) I was raised, I thought, to believe in myself. I want to walk the path of my own choosing and I want to do it in a white dress (of my own choosing). The question is how to get there without carrying years and years of guilt, while still keeping family ties. How unfortunate that the SAT’s prepared me to expect analogies and multiple choice. Looks like I’ll have to hope to make up points on my essay and hope against hope that there won’t be too much math involved.

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