|follow along on Instagram @melinadream|
School let out last week. Since I will not be going back, I took an armful of my papers and used notebooks and dumped them into the recycle bin outside my house. "Looks like someone is all finished with exams," my neighbor called out warmly. She was standing in her yard with a trowel in her hand. "Now you can focus on wedding planning!"
I responded with something airy and positive, then I ducked back into my house. The truth is that I'd rather be locked in a classroom with the morose professor berating us about our "remarkable, unprecedented incompetence" (his words) than thinking about a big party that I decided to throw in a remote corner of the country, two years after I moved away from Seattle and lost contact with nearly everyone I knew there.
My friends like to remind me that regardless of what happens on the day itself, I'm still going to end up married to David. (David, who received their enthusiastic stamp of approval within five minutes of meeting, even from Colleen, who takes a perverse pleasure in disliking everyone; David, the most candid and kind and generally likable person I've ever met.)
That's the party line. I've said it myself over the years, to half a dozen harried girlfriends grappling with guest lists, to my best friend Lisa as she cried for hours in my shitty apartment in Ballard for reasons that I simply couldn't fathom at the time. I was single, loaded with friends, acutely aware that none of my attempts at dating were panning out, completely jealous that she was so far ahead of me in this one aspect of life. "But you're going to be married to Colt, Lisa!" I said, dabbing at her eyes with a paper towel. "MARRIED! That's what it's all about!"
And it's true. It's mostly true. But as it turns out, the wedding is also about publicly exposing, for the first time (I like to think) my most tender and top-secret insecurities, the ones that I've kept fastidiously tucked away since I was twelve. Those demons surface every year in March when I'm planning my birthday party (WHAT IF NOBODY COMES? THEN WHAT? YOU WILL BE SO SAD) but only within my own head. It's an imitate battle that nobody has to know about. Other then that, they remain very much in check. Of course, one reason for that is that I never plan anything, no type of social gathering, not even a casual backyard BBQ. (WHAT IF NOBODY COMES? THEN WHAT? YOU WIL BE SO SAD.)
And then comes the Wedding Season, and if I'm to believe the magazines, the blogs, the stories, the ubiquitous emails (how are these companies getting my address? Where did I go wrong?) tradition dictates that we are to have an engagement party, a wedding shower and the bachelor parties in addition to the actual thing. It's like asking people to show up to three birthday parties in the weeks before your big super-duper blow-out birthday party. That's four years worth of social anxiety rolled into one season.
We're not doing any of that. Thank goodness.
We are having a lovely wedding in Vermont. It's going to be beautiful. But at this moment, this temporary and evanescent moment, it does not feel lovely. It feels like a sweaty balancing act between my worst social fears and the overblown cultural expectations of this whole thing. ("Oh for crying out loud!" said Colleen, whose advice often makes you feel worse before you feel better, but to her credit it does eventually get you there. "You're having a wedding in Vermont and the tickets are expensive, don't take it so damn personally!")
I know, I know. And if you had no idea that I was this insecure, well, it came as a surprise to me too, buddy.
Somewhere inside the beige, stucco walls of the shitty apartment on 65th street, the Melina from two years ago is having a marvelous laugh.
|find me and the dog on instagram @melinadream|