Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Things unexpected or otherwise learned from a day of matrimony.

In no particular order...

  1. I learned that anyone who says they were not nervous before their wedding is a LIAR. Or at least, someone I am so envious of that I would like him or her to experience even an ounce of the anxiety I went through the morning-of. No, I was not having second thoughts. Yes, I was freakishly and abnormally nervous anyway. The needed medication and hands-laying-on-Spirit-calling kind of nervous. And on that note...
  2. I learned that I will never be able to thank the people who helped me enough. It will be a guilt I'll carry for many years I'm sure, unless at some point I can afford to buy them all an outlandish vacation. There's just no way to describe how awesome the kind of people are who see you lying on the floor hyperventilating (yes, truth) and immediately rush for the Xanax and anointing oil. Or the kind of people who let you be sick the morning of your wedding and understand when you disappear for four hours (yes, also true) AND seamlessly get things done while you're away. I can't wrap my head around how I got so lucky to have the bridesmaids I had, or the army of helping hands and kind words that surrounded me as soon as I even attempted to lift a finger. Additionally...
  3. I learned that I have good taste in friends ;). Seriously though. I tried to touch on it in my "speech" (ramble, all of it), but I'll do much better here working up the bridal party line. Corinne my junior bridesmaid was ready with a cheerful smile and quick compliment. Taylor had the coolest head under pressure, and was a calming influence and steady voice. Jennifer was the first bridesmaid to arrive and the last to leave; so ready to help with anything and everything. Tiffani gives nice hugs and calls me her sister. Janet is loyal beyond belief, and traveled the farthest to be with me when I needed her, and boy did I. Mary touched every single person with her singing; people came up to me telling me how they cried and were so moved by the soul she put into her song. And Ciera, my dear maid of honor, has the biggest heart of anyone I know. As I said on Saturday, she has immense talent and dreams to match them. It's rare to find a person so talented with such dreams that also has a giving spirit to put others before herself, but she does every day. Her speech made me cry, and Jonny's speech made me cry, and the music made me cry, and basically...
  4. I learned that I am a huge crybaby. I knew I'd either be super stoic or a major sap, and as it turns out I was the latter. I cried a lot. Everyone cried a lot. People really really cried at my wedding. Maybe not Glenn Beck level tears, but it was very respectable. And on that note...
  5. I learned that it's okay to cry. I hadn't cried in weeks, and work pressure morphed into wedding pressure to the point that it was 3am on my wedding day and I was wide awake convinced that I had a brain tumor and would die before I was married. You know what made me feel better (at least in part)? Going home (I had stayed the night at the inn where we got married-- mistake) and having a good cry. Tim was very understanding and not at all freaked out by my erratic weeping the morning of our wedding. Which also reminds me...
  6. I learned that Tim is the best husband a girl could ask for. He proved this just hours before he became my actual husband. As I said before, I did in fact disappear for four hours the morning of our wedding. An hour or so into that I decided to let Tim know where I was so he didn't think I'd left him at the altar. Rather than get irritated or offended at my behavior on such an important day, he immediately asked me what I needed and, when I said what I needed most was to see him, he didn't think about traditions or anything he'd planned on doing that morning. And let me tell you, true love is your fiance lying in bed with you the morning of your wedding, letting you cry, not taking your polarizing fear of getting married personally, getting you Tums and Pepto-Bismal, and watching Star Trek with you until you're ready to go to the salon (where your bridesmaids are waiting for you-- very patiently). And THEN, when you return to the inn several hours later and are once again on the floor paralyzed with fear, he has someone tell you to walk to your second-story window where he's looking up at you, waving reassuringly. I married the perfect man. No, not really perfect (I know), but perfect for me.
Okay here's some more pithy stuff I learned...
  1. You won't talk to everyone. I won't tell you not to feel guilty, because you will anyway.
  2. You will also feel guilty when people you love stay behind to clean up when you leave for your honeymoon. Just remember, you would (and have) done the same for them. That being said, you will still feel guilty.
  3. Nothing really goes "wrong," but things don't go according to plan either.
  4. If you're nervous, get through the ceremony. Your reception will be really fun.
  5. Cool people have thunderstorms during their outdoor reception.
  6. People will only tell you nice things about your wedding, which is nice.
  7. Remember that awesome reception food and cake you tasted and hand-selected to reward yourself for all of your dieting and planning? You don't get to eat it. But it's okay because you're more thirsty than hungry.
  8. Ask for whatever you want and someone within earshot will get it for you (if you're the bride that is).
  9. Fight for the things that mean a lot to you.
  10. After literally everyone saying this to me pre-wedding, I have finally come to the conclusion that if you are married at the end of the day, then your wedding was successful. Full disclosure, I did not come to this conclusion until the end of my wedding when Tim and I had mutually decided that we had the best wedding ever, so this is probably not the purest of lessons learned. But I'll be one of those know-it-all's saying it from now on. :)
Okay I'm going back to my honeymoon now!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Being a guy-friend-aholic, and where to go from there. (Part 2)

Well, since the original installment was my most popular post, I thought I would offer the single/dating gals a few more unfortunate pearls of wisdom. Now perhaps some of you are thinking, "this is a 'wedding' blog, why are you harping about this?" Because in all loving, brutal honesty I don't think anyone is ready to get married until they STOP this destructive behavior and draw these boundaries. So once again ladies -I'm sorry- but here are the signs that you should either date the guy or distance yourself from the friendship. I will allow that having just one of these signs in your friendship might not be a glaring red flag, but start to keep an eye out for others to pop up.

And here's a little more full disclosure (or TMI?) so you know that I'm not being a self-righteous know-it-all: I have done ALL of these things. Every last one. More than once. With more than one guy. So know what I say comes from love, not judgement.

10 signs that you are playing a guy (knowingly or otherwise).

1) You hug "hello" and "goodbye."
 If you do just one or the other it's not necessarily as weird. But if you do both there is DEFINITELY no room for the Holy Spirit in this friendship.

2) You've had a conversation past midnight.
 Fact: Men like sleep. Other fact: He's sacrificing sleep for YOU. Other other fact: It's not because he really wants to hear about what your frenemy posted on Facebook.

3) You expect that he will pay, or at least try to pay, for you.
  If you expect it that means he's paid for you X number of times, which means YOU ARE GOING OUT. ALONE. A LOT. And it also means you're at risk of becoming a gold digger... incidentally even they have to commit at a certain point.

4) You hang out when it is inconvenient for one or both of you.
 Like during the summer, or when one or both of you has to skip a class. In relationship-ese that translates to "we can't bear to be apart."

5) You do something on Valentine's Day.
 Valentine's Day is for couples and kids in elementary school... so which one are you?

6) You've told him "I miss you."
 Look at your hand. Now smack yourself with it. Because explaining why this is a jerk, manipulative move would take longer.

7) He talks to you over the summer.
 Generally (if you are both in college) this means he is calling you. It is a scientific fact that guys HATE to talk on the phone. He is defying SCIENCE for you.

8) You do guy things with him and he does girl things with you.
 You know that guy who willingly went to see Titanic in 3D with you? The one who bought the tickets and let you use his shoulder as a hanky? I had a guy do that too... MY FIANCÉ. That means we're together... like together together. And even he said "no" to Titanic the first five times I asked, so take the hint already.

9) You've brought him to your "real" house.  Meaning your parents' house. Meaning he spent the night.
 Um... YOU'VE BROUGHT HIM TO YOUR PARENTS' HOUSE. HE'S MET YOUR PARENTS. HE'S SPENT THE NIGHT. I think just yelling it suffices here, so yell that to yourself a few times.

And 10) You've gone on a road trip together. Just the two of you.
 This is last because it means he has done several of the above things at once: he has talked with you about this trip for an hour or more-- probably late and probably on the phone (#2, #4, #7), you will likely be driving late at night (#2), he has made plans that cost money and he is willing to get gas (#3), he has added a significant event into his schedule and possibly taken time off work (#4), he's taking that time because he misses you or you've said you missed him (#6), it's most likely during the summer (#4, #7), AND he probably picked you up at your "real" house and may have even spent the night (#9).

Whew. You know just looking at those makes me feel like an epic jerkette. I am certainly one of the guilty. Here is the bright side: you could choose to give this guy a chance and it could be amazing. But if you absolutely don't think that's a possibility then detox, and detox now. Eventually there will be a guy you can do each and every one of these things with, and you won't just be friends. It'll be much, much better.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Being a guy-friend-aholic, and where to go from there.

Well first of all, I'm sorry I've epic failed at blogging these past couple months. Really nothing particularly wedding-related happened until about two weeks ago, during which we booked the last competent DJ in town (according to him), selected a baker (which mostly involved me eating lots of raw fondant), placed an order with a caterer (white cheddar baked mac 'n' cheese... oh yeah you better be there), received bridesmaid dresses that were the wrong color, and in general fended off my Bridezilla meltdowns like a couple'a pros. Let's just say when you watch the actual show "Bridezillas" and think to yourself "You know... she totally has a point this time," there is a big, big problem. Fortunately while the urge has been there, the dragon still sleeps. Only two and a half more months to go...

When Harry Met Sally, Property of MGM
 Now that we're up to speed, here is my current philosophical musing. It is brought on through a mixture of marriage prep exercises/discussions, television shows/movies, and yes, even plain old awkward experience. Ladies, get ready to have some sense knocked into you from someone who required an embarrassing number of knocks.

Here is the unfortunate truth I bestow on you today:

No. Guy. Wants. To. Be. Just. Friends.


I'm sorry.

Now so as not to totally devastate you, I'll go ahead and give you the exceptions and the exceptions to the exceptions.

Exception 1) He is gay (obviously).

Exception 2) He is a relative (though keep in mind the solidity of this rule varies regionally... ew).

Exception 3) He is the best friend of an ex.
Exception to the exception: Keep in mind that I'm talking about the ABSOLUTE best friend of your ex. Like, they were each others' best men best. Any less and you are still considered fair game, awkward potential be darned. (*Edit: I have been informed by a male reader that this is in fact totally untrue, and I was just lucky that my ex's best man was a nice dude. So... watch out for all of your ex's friends. Feel free to debate. ;)*)

Exception 4) He is a "through" friend. 
Meaning a friend you know "through" your committed boyfriend/a girl friend/spouse/etc. as these friends have not intentionally sought you out for companionship based on your own merits. They have to associate with you by default and you never spend one-on-one time with them.

Exception 5) He is a stringer.
As in, he will string you along to fulfill his own needs without offering commitment OR EVEN genuine friendship, in which case you should not be friends with this person in the first place.

Let's have a DTR.
So let's really REALLY define what I'm talking about. A guy that sought you out, or does not mind that you sought him out, that you spend significant time with (notice that I did not say a significant AMOUNT of time, rather ANY amount of time that WAS significant... quality over quantity), who will have discussions and do activities with you that he would otherwise do with another guy, does not want to be "just" friends.

On the other side of that coin, girls are more than happy to invest the same time and emotion into a guy friend as exactly that: a "guy" friend. The guy is usually completely interchangeable with a girl.

Only that isn't fair to guys.
Hear me, ladies?
That is. Not fair. To guys.

You dirty Jezebel!
Let me own up to a huge chunk of the blame. Until I was in a serious relationship, I was a total guy's girl. To this day I can't stand an all female workplace. If I'd had to get married in the middle of college I would have been the one with the groomsmen. I would average maybe one serious girl friend at a time, while the rest of my time went to a handful of wonderful, loyal, funny, smart, uncomplicated guy friends.

Only it was incredibly complicated and I didn't know it. Though if I'm being honest -if ALL ladies were being honest- I'd have to admit that somewhere in my not-so-subconscious subconscious, I knew. I knew what smile to smile, what laugh to laugh, when to make the inappropriately unfeminine Family Guy reference, and when to rock the sundress, paint my nails, and wear his favorite perfume. Oh yeah... I knew all of that.

Oh gosh, I even brought them home with me. More than one and more than once. I went on lengthy roadtrips with them, usually spent headbanging to Queen and all 90's music. I'm horrible, right? Really, who brings a guy friend home and expects him to not get a very specific idea about where the friendship is headed? Dumb dumb dumb me...

Now I know I've just incriminated myself probably beyond repair, but really my motives were never impure... I was simply uncouth enough to want the impossible. Any close guy friend I've had could tell you that I've beat many a dead horse trying to keep these impossible friendships going. But I was wrong: the eternally platonic guy/girl relationship DOES NOT EXIST. Because that kind of guy friend DOES NOT WANT TO BE YOUR FRIEND. He wants more. You cannot convince him to want less, nor should you. We are created to be monogamous, and there is nothing wrong with that... except that you can't be best friends with a bunch of guys. And people have TOLD us this, but why don't we listen? Well, because I truly believe a girl can become addicted to guy-friendship.

It is with extreme difficulty that I admitted all of the above ramble to myself, and began a guy friend detox when I started dating Tim (who incidentally was a guy friend who did not just want to be friends... see?). There is really no way to describe just how much that sucked. Mostly because guys are just way more fun to be around than girls (sorry). They're a consistently calming and nondramatic influence, and it's something that for a long time I couldn't live without from just one guy. I was addicted to the fun, the absolute lack of pretense, and yes, even the attention. (Total and complete honesty right now-- hope you can tell.)

My addiction was overcome in several ways, and here are a few of them:

Way 1) Have an awesome Maid of Honor.
When we first met a couple years ago, my Maid of Honor very quickly brought back to life a lot of girly interests I'd left by the wayside, like musicals, fashion, cooking, Disney movies, the Kardashians (kidding... or am I?), and finding the humor in the drama. We loooove to laugh about the drama. There is hefty value in girl talk if you have a friend who is good at it, and she's definitely one of the best.

Way 2) Admit you've been building a wall, and tear it down.
Because you've totally been building a wall between yourself and meaningful, lasting relationships the entire time. Really. I didn't realize this until my MoH and I became close. I thought I told my guy friends everything, but once I started talking to girls again I realized I was opening up an entirely new (or forgotten) side, a side of vulnerability and big, impossible dreams that girls only share with other girls. Guys simply do not know what to do with it. So while I thought the guys knew me, I kept this integral part of me a secret, which cannot work in a lasting friendship.

Way 3) Spend more time alone.
Let's continue a pattern of honesty and admit to ourselves that excessive male companionship is usually linked to unacknowledged loneliness. Again I will speak from my own experience. Perhaps due to reasons beyond your control, things have happened that caused you not to trust other girls. On top of that, perhaps a bad relationship convinced you that putting your time and trust into one man will only lead to unhappiness, so instead you seek surrogate companionship with several.

Get to know yourself again. Rediscover hobbies and secret hideaways. Volunteer. Consider moving somewhere else, if your situation permits it. A change of scenery will drastically alter the way you view yourself and others.

Way 4) Workaholism.
Self explanatory. Throw yourself into finding your career. Of course I've seen enough romantic comedies to know this can turn into a negative, so don't get carried away. Just keep yourself busy.

And if none of those work...

Way 5) Pick the one guy friend that you a b s o l u t e l y cannot live without... and marry him!
That's what I did. :) Okay there was a lot more to it than that, but there was a moment a couple of years ago when I had decided that I had to let him go because I wasn't ready to commit to anybody. Then just the thought of never speaking to him again freaked me out so much that I realized I was supposed to give him a chance. He was worth cutting back on the males in my life.

I hope this has helped you in some way. I apologize if I've said something you don't want to hear, but you need to hear it. Believe me if I had no shame whatsoever I would list the details of every best guy-friendship I've had (of which there have been... 7... and that's just off the top of my head) and you would see that my experience has revealed the truth. Think about your best buddy, and what you're doing to his feelings. Open the door or shut it. You'll be doing yourself a favor too.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New Year Ponderings

I've entered the New Year thoughtfully. You might say we did the usual thing: New Year's Rockin' Eve, my love to kiss at midnight (well 11:00 where we were), a family gathering, etc. All the same, I was in a quieter mood. Maybe 2012 bodes so much change that while I look forward to it happily, I also look forward to it seriously.

I'm ready to be a wife in the sense that I'm ready to get married. I don't consider myself ready in the sense that I'm prepared for all the facets of the task. I doubt that anyone feels entirely prepared, much in the way that no one is ever prepared for children (I'm told), but there are particular steps I would like to take in the next 5 months (5 months, 5 days, 4 hours, 19 minutes, and 17 seconds as of this sentence) to feel more prepared, even if that is a moot point. I don't want to call them "resolutions" necessarily, but since it's that time of year you might say that's the appropriate word. Coincidentally enough, some of them are also nifty tips for surviving the zombie apocalypse.

1) I resolve to be healthy.

I'm generally a healthy person, but not in the past couple of months. Life in general kicked my booty and left no time nor energy for cooking good food and working out. That's neither here nor there; now that I'm getting married I'm thinking of health as more than how I chose to eat today. When I am a wife and mother, I'll be responsible for not only my health, but the health of my husband and children. While children are a year or two away, my husband will be here sooner rather than later, and I'm committed to using these next few months to create a healthy routine for myself, so I can create that atmosphere for Tim. Unfortunately for him, this means not nearly as much pizza as he is accustomed to consuming. ;)

2) I resolve to always appreciate Tim as my best friend, my "buddy" (one of his favorite things to say to me), and eternal partner in crime or otherwise unruly shenanigans.

I hope married-people-things will never cause me to forget that we spent almost two years pre-matrimony concocting this truly fabulous friendship.

3) I resolve to finish "Lady in Waiting."
Because I've never finished working through it, and I won't be "in waiting" for much longer, ha.

4) On a related note, I resolve to question the Bible. At this moment I will ask my mother to take a deep, cleansing yoga breath, for I do not plan on questioning the actual validity of the Bible, or delving much into the inerrant v. inspired debate. By all means whoever wants to question whether Adam and Eve were literal people or a metaphor for the human condition should, but that's not me. But I desire a deeper understanding of the context and working nature of an unarguably powerful and controversial Book. Have you ever heard a sermon that even attempts to explain the Sons of God or the Nephilim? Yeah, me neither. I want to learn about that stuff. I also commit to learning doubly as I read through it by myself and with Tim.

5) I resolve to actually try/do/make/use the things I have pinned on Pinterest.

6) I resolve to appreciate the little things.
Maybe that will be a sunny day, or a mild winter. Maybe it will be a deep fried Oreo, or my favorite kind of salad. The day I really love everything about who I am. All of those moments will be great, however, here's the moment I had the night of the New Year:
Tim dancing to LMFAO with my little cousin.
Then giving him countless forms of pony rides: sitting, standing, bouncing, jumping, and only saying "no more" when he was finally too exhausted to move.

The few loud, chaotic, laughing minutes where I saw the kind of father he'll be. It'll be hard to top that one, but my hopes are high for 2012.

As of the end of this post, we're at 5 months, 5 days, 7 minutes, and 15 seconds. There's another one. :)