Thursday, October 20, 2011

Token Dress Post

Okayyyyy so the tentative purpose of this blog was not to be about frilly wedding things... but I would like to gush about my dress for a moment if you don't mind.

I put it on for only the third time a couple weeks ago. The shape wasn't exactly what I wanted... well actually it was when I found it. But if you had a ballgown dress, or if you select one in the future, you will relate when I say that the poof gets smaller (in your eyes) the longer you stay in the dress. The inevitable result is layering petticoat after petticoat until you are that cloud in Super Mario Bros. where the little dude sits to throw the spiky things at Mario right as he's jumping over a ravine... you know? In order to avoid that my strategy is to put my dress on as little as possible before the wedding. This also makes me much more smiley and excited when I do put it on! Anyway, I did want it poofier, and I still needed a headpiece, so I used my lunch break to go to the bridal shop. My future in-laws were visiting that weekend, so I invited my future mother-in-law to go with me.

Self Portrait.

In-Law Posse
It was actually a really cute moment. I've seen my in-laws a lot more than I initially thought I would. In all of my past relationships I met parents once or twice, and the guy met my parents like five times. Tim has only met my parents twice, but my parents instantly adored him (with every other guy they always said "We haven't seen him enough."). I on the other hand have seen his parents about once every couple months since we started dating. Even so, I was a little weird about asking Tim's mom to go with me at first. It's nothing about her, she's a really sweet lady, but I just tend to make things like that unnecessarily awkward. I definitely wanted to ask her, but I didn't want to make her feel obligated. I thought she might like it (she had three boys, thus not a lot of girly time), but how well do you really know your in-laws? It's definitely a balancing act. My mom probably knows hers a little too well (in my opinion) whereas I know some people who still call their in-laws Mr./Mrs. Last Name... yeesh. I would hope to build a happy medium with mine. Anyway,  I asked Tim to ask her (I know I know, what is this, middle school?) and he lovingly but firmly told me that I had to talk to her myself. I manned up and asked her and she seemed really excited. With her help I was able to pick out my hairpiece and finalize my no-veil choice. Seriously how does anyone wear those? I felt like a bird was nesting on my head...

The Place

To find my petticoat and hairpiece we went to the same shop where I got my dress. Let me just tell you about the amazing people at Church Street Bridal. When you come out in THE dress they gush right along with you just like they're your girlfriends, and I love that. They are truly happy for every single bride that walks through their doors. Not only is the service awesome, but the dresses are all high end samples at extremely discounted rates. My dress is a Priscilla of Boston (2009) from Kleinfeld (yes, THAT Kleinfeld). Original price: $4400. My price? $400. I bought my hairpiece for $60, originally $375. If that's not worthy of a happy dance I don't know what is. The final spoonful of awesome is that all proceeds from the salon go to the YWCA. It's an amazing place with a great cause.

How I really know my dress is THE dress.

My dress was the sixth I tried on, but the first one I picked and tried on with serious intentions. When I walked out I hadn't seen myself in a full mirror, but I could tell from the way everyone was looking at me (both my friends and the staff) that I was in my dress. Sure enough, as soon as I saw myself I laughed and cried and bought it on the spot. Afterward, I wondered if my emotions had been a fluke. It's one thing to cry the first time you put on a dress. Just being in a wedding dress could make some people cry. So I hoped that I wouldn't change my mind. Well I put it on (for only the third time) with a big poofy petticoat, and with my mother-in-law waiting outside. When I walked out the audience reaction was exactly like the first time. My MIL and the staff stared and I knew that I was in my dress. One saleslady said "I know you bought it a while ago, but I got so excited for you just now!" and Marilyn said "You look like a princess! Oh Tim is going to pass out when he sees you!" Isn't that so sweet? I get a very specific sense of "knowing" when I see the way people look at me in my dress. It's the way I always wanted people to look at me on my wedding day, so I know it's the dress for me.

Please don't throw up, buuuuuuut it kinda sorta makes me feel like this...

I guess you could say I'm going for 80% Cinderella, 20% Mario Cloud Boy. Or maybe the other way around. I'm geeky.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Statistics outside the (bubble).

The Liberty Bubble of course.

...But let's backtrack. Yes, already.

I am currently around two months into my first job job, and it has opened me up to a new world that I sometimes have a bit of a time adjusting too. I had jobs all through high school and college of course, but those were different. I was a kid working with other kids. Our problems were simple, wholesome things, like friends showing up hungover to work, the co-worker who got in trouble for sending texts of herself naked to every male employee, the dude with cocaine in the freezer (allegedly), and maybe, occasionally, trying to text at work. Those were the days.

Any other job I had was inside the "Liberty Bubble," which is so called with affection. For all the issues I take with Liberty I have to say I appreciated most of the rules. I'm glad I never had to deal with drunken hallmates vomiting on my carpet while I was studying Shakespeare. Most R rated movies aren't worth seeing anyway. I even liked hall meetings; somehow they made the transition from home to independence easier. And my job (college store employee for t h r e e years... yeahhhhh boy) was great. I miss it. For real. But I was definitely spoiled by the Bubble.

And that is how this relates to my impending matrimony. One of the many attributes of the Bubble was and is an abundance of young love, whirlwind romances, rings by spring, and weddings weddings weddings. Jerry Falwell himself stated -only half jokingly- that brother/sister dorms were created for that very reason. Liberty loves marriage. Baptist, straight, Republican marriage (Kidding, kiddinggggg...). It's an idealized world where commitment is key, often regardless of how healthy the initial relationship is. I didn't necessarily approve of this mentality, and I've seen some pretty immature couples jump into marriage, but all I've seen is the beginning of these stories, not the end, and in general all seems to be well. Most of my close Liberty friends are either married or engaged; some have even popped out a kid or two already.

In the sea of diamonds, dresses, and diplomas (and in the midst of my college relationships or near-relationships... of which I had a few) I mostly forgot about the darker sides of marriage. Darker as in... when marriage doesn't work. I always had relatives who were divorced, and friends with divorced parents, but that was as a child and young adult. Now that I have a job and friends in "real life," divorce has become much more of something that's real and tangible. These are my peers. Some have not only been divorced, but are in the process now. Until now I've never spoken with people whose marriages are crumbling, who just a few short years ago were where I am: buying a dress, oohing and aahing over a ring, hopelessly happy about their future. Now that future is mutated and a different kind of hopeless. Even stranger than those I meet going through separation and divorce are those I meet who are married, but openly unhappy. They've written off their marriages, and seem to have accepted a life of underwhelming love, if any love.

Sometimes it's interesting to talk to them about my engagement/wedding. I've been told to my face that I'm too young to get married. Again, a huge difference from the Bubble, where you tend to feel like an old maid if you're not engaged by junior year. I also have to check myself when I start to say things like "Well I'm only getting married once," because now I've heard the response: "Well that's what I thought too." No one means anything ugly by it and no one is trying to be a Debbie Downer; they're just being honest and sharing their lives like I am. And I can't just say that Tim and I know it in our hearts that we're different; I'm sure they "knew" too when they got married. Some talk about how their spouses turned into completely different -and horrible- people overnight, and I can't imagine Tim being anything other than what he is now, which is the kindest, most caring, most accepting, most loving man I know. I'm sure they couldn't imagine a drastic change either at this stage. Honestly, how do I know it'll work forever? The brutally honest answer is I "don't," save for Tim and I's commitment to each other that no matter how hard it gets we will never lay separation or divorce on the table. I can rely on that commitment and live without any doubt in my mind... it's just not usually considered a valid explanation by those who have been divorced or betrayed. Additionally some of these people are Christians and no doubt made the same commitments, said the same things.

In other words, I can't win, ha.

But really, I can't. There is nothing I can say that will adequately satisfy their cynicism. Maybe skepticism is a nicer word. No, realism is the nicest. I think that they are in an "in this day and age" mindset, and I respect that choice. In the grand scheme of things I suppose it isn't my job to convince them that Tim and I will last. People phase in and out of each other's lives every day and I'm sure most of my new acquaintances will never know if Tim and I make it. What is really important is that we make choices now that prevent problems in the future. We have to focus on our relationship without letting the relationships of others lead us toward more pessimistic expectations. This will be hard. But I will stubbornly, optimistically, say that this is the man I will be with forever, and I will say it with total certainty. I know because I know. In the immortal words of Fanny Brice (the movie version), "Don't bring around a cloud to rain on my parade!"

...And please ignore the fact that she also gets divorced in the end. It's still a great song.

Friday, October 14, 2011

In Sickness...

I was on the couch, crying crying crying.

Not a cute princess sniffly cry either. By the time we got to my pity party for one I was going on my fourth day with an over 102 degree fever, and that was the icing on a sore throated/nauseated/headached/bed-ridden cake. I had been to the doctor, who did little more than poke and prod me just enough to tell me that I wasn't nearly as sick as I thought I was, and that I really should get off her floor (where I was clearly about to pass out, rude!). That happened Thursday; now it was Sunday, my fever hadn't broken, I could barely use my voice, and I was desperate for another doctor visit. Tim was over, and I asked him to call my mom and tell her what was happening to me. She didn't pick up the house phone. Miffed, I had him call her cell. Still nothing. House phone again. Then my dad's cell phone. Then my aunt's cell phone and house phone. No one picked up.

Maybe it's a little pathetic, but as soon as I had even an inkling of a notion that I could be dead right then and my mommy wouldn't even know, I burst into tears.

Again, unattractive tears. Like, wet, puffy, snotty, wheezy, sweaty tears. And like most of those moments, the more I cried the more my life avalanched into a miserable heap. I was a total failure at everything, and how would I get through school, and why is everything going wrong at work, and I'd never get the wedding right, and where is my family, and how can I look this hideous in front of Tim, and the horrible feelings just snowballed until I was wailing. Yes. Wailing.

Then a pretty amazing thing happened: Through all of my hacking, I felt Tim give me a great big hug. I couldn't believe that he would even touch me with the way I looked, but he was holding me, telling me that everything would be fine, that I was doing a great job at work and school, that we would figure out how to make it all better, and that I was the most beautiful girl he'd ever seen. Did I mention my nose was running? This guy loves me.

Then he said, "I'm here. I'm supposed to take care of you now."

As he got me tissues, made me hot water with lemon and honey, and turned on some funny cartoons, I learned an important premarital lesson. I tucked myself in the crook of his arm and realized that when I'm sick and upset, I'm supposed to run and cry to him now. I'm entering a new chapter where my parents are too far away to catch me and comfort me. Tim will be next to me for the rest of forever, and it's time for him to step into the role of comforter permanently. At first when he was trying to comfort me it was hard to be satisfied, because obviously my parents have known me for 23 years, and sometimes it's hard for someone who's known me for just 3 years, even if he's my future husband, to compete. It sounds kind of weird, but I had to understand that Tim is enough now. I'd never fully thought of it that way before. When that really sunk in I was overwhelmed by an unspeakable peace. My mind audibly (to me) said, This is your life now; this is who can make you happy when you're sad. But you have to let him. So I did. Almost instantly my fever broke. Maybe it's lame to think that a good cry and my fiancĂ©'s TLC "healed" me, but I'm pretty convinced that he played a big part.

Lesson learned.