I figured out this week that trying to avoid certain cultural norms is just as restricting as trying to fit in them.
Getting married at 20 is confusing, and scary, and sometimes miserably lonely. It’s also so beautiful, and exciting, and the most wonderful feeling in the world. The world likes to remind us of that first grouping of adjectives.
I’ve always rejected the “Bride” mentality. I don’t agree that it’s “my day”- it’s our day, and it’s a beautiful celebration of our future lives together… not just some day for every girl to dress up like a princess and be fawned over. That being said, it’s sometimes hard to even be that excited about a wedding surrounded by so much judgement. I care too much about being held in high esteem by others, and having some people express such blatant negativity about our engagement at the start made me even more determined to not be “the Bride.” I’d been praised by family members and friends for wanting a more conservative wedding, and I felt a sort of pride for knowing I wasn’t going to be the frivolous bride. I felt a sense of superiority over other women for not being a “wedding girl.” I said that I dreaded planning my wedding and that I hated weddings. Some of this is true. Some of it isn’t. And I was lying to myself.
I was simply sitting in my room when I realized that I didn’t just not want to deal with planning a wedding- I flat out didn’t want to even think about a wedding. I was twisting what should be a joyful planning process into a sort of public apology that I was getting married so young. My own pride of intellect was showing through in refusing to be the silly young girl who just wanted to dress up for a fantasy day. My cynicism and eye rolling at color swatches and bridesmaid dresses wasn’t about the day, or the planning, or the wedding- it was about me not allowing myself permission to be excited about a celebration of us. Instead of owning what I wanted, I was avoiding the subject altogether to avoid all of those female cliches and try to show people that I was mature and different.
Honestly, avoiding those cliches just made me sad. It’s true- I don’t LOVE a day where all the attention is on me. I’d probably rather be hosting for someone else. I’m not super comfortable telling people “no” and asserting what I really want. This is strange because I find myself very assertive in school, in work, in romantic relationships- I somehow had stunted myself against admitting my more “mushy” wants of a wedding out of wanting to be “sensible and wise.” I think so long as you’ve been sensible and wise about choosing a partner, it’s okay to admit you want colored shoes and vintage stitched handkerchiefs you don’t want a veil. It’s okay to get excited about pretty white cakes on Pinterest. And it’s okay to admit you’re really excited about the wedding. It’s okay to be a little silly. And it’s okay to admit you’re not very comfortable admitting those desires.
It’s okay to not fit in a box, and not fit outside of it either.