I consider myself a fairly sane person. I have a few emotional flaws, a few insecurities and a general lack in confidence that drives The Guy nuts. But my the overall scheme of mental health is pretty even-keeled.
I feel happy when I should be happy and I feel sad when I should be sad.
Until I started planning my wedding.
We are into the last stretch of planning now and I deal, on a daily basis, with a plethora of emotions ranging from sheer panic to overwhelming joy to unbridled rage.
It’s like I’m 16 all over again wondering if that boy I like likes me back and if I’ll ever get out of the house and be my own person. There was a reason we all grew out of the teenage years and don’t revisit them. They sucked.
So yes, planning my wedding is like being a moody, hormonal 16 year old all over again including the pimples that are cropping up due to stress and the random bouts of crying.
If we were to put me into a room and have no outside influence, I’d feel this range of emotions, but probably on a moderate level. I’d feel the stress of everything coming together and the excitement of all those firsts: first time we see each other, first time we kiss as husband and wife. But they wouldn’t be too extreme, they’d just be the normal, usual, ups and downs of a bride-to-be.
I think what kicks my responses into full throttle is all the outside influence of other people around me when they hear I’m getting married.
Now I’ve been pregnant and dealt with the flood of emotions from strangers and family members as they came and petted my stomach, asking me if I was excited or nervous and how I felt in general. That was hard to deal with because more often than not people come to you with their own projected feelings on the subject and instead of asking “How are you doing?” without any expectation, they come to you with descriptors in place which they project onto you and expect you to agree with.
And it’s the same with planning a wedding. People don’t ask me “How are you holding up?” and then sit back and allow me to express my true feelings. Instead they say “Aren’t you excited?” or “Are you getting nervous yet?” and even “I bet you can’t WAIT for the big day!”.
Without even trying, they’ve already filled in the blanks for me. My answer is no longer relevant because I’m either going to lie about how I feel to appease them OR I’m going to give them an answer that sounds like I’m being a bitch.
Let me give you an example of a common conversation. Now remember, I’m dealing with a wide variety of emotions all at one time so no single answer really captures how I’m actually feeling at any given moment.
Jane: Wow, the big day is almost here!!! I bet you are sooooo excited!!!!
Me: (stressed/anxious/frustrated/happy) Yeah, kinda.
Jane: Oh really? Why aren’t you super happy? A wedding is a beautiful thing! You should be really excited! There is nothing to stress about. You’ll be a beautiful bride…
There is so much wrong with this that I can’t even find a starting point. Like coming to me with an emotion in place: excitement. But what if I’m not really excited? Do I lie and say “Yeah, I’m totally excited!” And then in comes the ‘should’ and the invalidation of what I really feel followed by the glossing over of a rather large event that costs an arm and a leg by claiming that all will be well because I’ll “make a beautiful bride”.
While this conversation is paraphrasing of a few different conversations all rolled into one, this is really what I’ve been told.
In real life…
So I’m bombarded regularly with the expectations that I’m happy, excited, joyful, thrilled, all these fluffy good feelings and it’s not as acceptable to gripe, be tired, frustrated, angry or in general unhappy at planning this wedding.
Sadly, I’m a little of everything. Just like a teenager. Moody.
I’m thrilled to be 26 days away. I’m overjoyed that we write our last big check this week. I’m happy that we are turning in our headcount and no longer have to worry about RSVPs (kinda).
So yes I have positive feelings. But they are underlined (thickly) with a bold stroke of negative because this is a big event. And it’s a big life change. I mean…I have been my maiden name for 32 years! And in one day, one fell swoop, I become someone else with a new name. I’m dealing with not only the stress of throwing a big party but the natural, NORMAL grieving process many brides go through but don’t really talk about because it’s not socially acceptable to feel negative emotions when the outside world considers a wedding to be only a good thing.
Getting married is a big deal. Planning a wedding is not necessary for you to have big emotions because getting married is enough. But if you choose to plan one, expect those feelings to become amplified by 1,000,000,000 times.
If I wasn’t insane before, this whole planning situation has made me feel like I am. I’m questioning my sanity on a daily basis.
The only things that are keeping me sane when I get frustrated over vendors not responding to us or crying over an RSVP card that returns with a loving note are my two guys.
If it wasn’t for them and our day to day life, the laughs we shared and the long conservations we have each night, I’d probably fall apart right about now. But what we have built together, as a family, is keeping me grounded.
And that is why I keep going. This isn’t about the big emotions of getting married or the stress of planning a wedding that wasn’t necessarily wanted. It’s about my family and my love for them and their love for me.
It’s about us.