Last week I started to talk about the word should.
I also want to preface this whole post with a slight warning about my advice and perhaps it should be a warning on all my posts? For the most part I like to think I give good advice. I honestly care about you. Really, those of you you take the time to email me, I think hard about every word I respond with. It breaks my heart to see so many people in pain (I also love the happy emails!). So full disclosure, and something I have only realised recently. Perhaps it’s because I am seeing how much better I could be or perhaps I see terrible advice being doled out and agreed upon unanimously? I imagine, with my own self esteem, that it is the former. I am no expert in anything. I know lots of things but nothing at the same time. I rarely take my own advice, even when I know I should. I want this space to be about honesty. Honesty is an increasingly rare “commodity.” Please know you will always find it here. I may not always give the best answer, but I will answer honestly. I hope this little community which will are fostering together can help when I am wrong.
So back to the evil, all encompassing word.
I spent months thinking about my wedding before we actually said our vows. I thought and thought and thought. (Perchance could this be why I am a little blue about my wedding for there was no actual action? But that’s another post for another time!) When I think about the things I should have done, they mostly turn out to be a list of things I wish I’d been brave enough to do. In medicine when talking with colleagues there is oft talk of the magical retroscope and yes whilst hindsight is a breath of clarity.* Things that seem so important at that moment seem like nothing once you are wed but why do people still fuss? I would like to say it’s because there are in fact relatively important. Perhaps it’s our desire to put other’s feelings first or to bow to social convention. Obviously, I’m not talking about whether you should have white or cream napkins.
Here, I list but a couple of my “shoulds.” Some feel flippant but I think I can explain why I’m not sure they are.
I should feel beautiful
I shouldn’t be too daring
I should let my father walk me down the aisle and he should make a speech.
I shouldn’t wear a long veil
I shouldn’t wear red lipstick
I should, I should, I should..
Families are like Schrodinger’s cat. Everyone’s got one and they can either be happy or sad but most likely both at the same time. Families become incredibly difficult to predict around weddings. For me, I’m not sure my father wanted to escort me down the aisle and I’m certain he didn’t want to give a speech. I realise now what I was meant to have done yet social convention and the awkwardness of not conforming is a powerful catalyst.
Then the daring issue. I would combine this with all the other should relating to me. Me and no self esteem. I despise the way I look in my wedding photos and that’s no-one’s fault but my own. Yet at the same time I feel our wedding was a little too tame. Why did I not “make it happen.” I know an aspect of this is because I’ve now seen far too many “perfect” weddings that I feel incredibly inadequate but I do wish I had tried harder.
It is easy to become a victim of a should. Whilst my shoulds relate to me. I know there is a whole gamut of brides and grooms who feel they should do certain nuptial based activities.
So my advice.
1. Where is this should coming from? Is it from you, do you feel a certain pressure to conform or are you overwhelmed? Is the should an actual problem? Or is it coming from someone else?
Weddings rake up old wounds as families come together. They uncover our shame. They can make us feel acutely vulnerable.
2. Do you agree with the should?
Take you time and think about it. Is it a real issue or just your intepretation?
3. What does your future husband or wife think?
There is a reason there are two of you. Embrace that delicious feeling, where it is just you two against the world.
4. Learn to say no.
What is the worst that can happen if you don’t decide to do something. No-one will die. It’s “just” a wedding. The people you should care about, care about you, not whether you chose to serve Champagne or not.
5. Accept you may not get your way every time.
Weddings are about the two of you but at the same time many families really think that it is only about them. There is no right or wrong. I’m certainly not saying that it’s not about family. You are starting a new family and (hopefully) being welcomed into another. Some families pile more pressure upon you, especially when money is controversial topic of conversation. Sometimes there is no pleasing anyone. Weigh up your choices, buy pretty stationery upon which to do so, but decide as a couple, alone.
6. Remember, whilst your decisions about your wedding are important. They aren’t the soul root of your future happiness.
There is a voice inside me (hello delicious negative self thoughts) that tells me I am ridiculous for caring about these “shoulds” two years later and perhaps you agree? Yet I like to think that I am still thinking about the not so happy moments to be your guide. I certainly haven’t experienced everything but I have been through situations and can offer a friendly thought or two.
“Come what come may, Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.”
I finally think I am over my slight catastrophe of a wedding and may be able to talk about. Would you listen?
*Do I mix my metaphors too much?