Weddings push families apart as much as they bring them together.
I know this because, I recently got married! And honestly, it was an amazing day. I was so nervous and scared in the build up to my wedding. I was worried about my health (please see previous posts) and I was more than a little concerned regarding the behaviour of my family. Namely, my mother and father.
I’m not going to bore everyone with the details of my parents’ very volatile split. As it’s a long, complicated story that could easily fill a novel the size of War and Peace. I’ll leave it at this; they split when I was ten and have only shared a room that was not a courtroom once in that time since.
Between my Dad, my Mum, their respective other halves, the various demands they all had for the big day and the amount of arguments that occurred in the week leading up to the wedding, I was 110% certain that at least one of them was going to kick off.
To my unending happiness, it all went very smoothly. My mother and father did not speak to each other. Not even once. (I’m not kidding, I don’t think they even made eye contact with one another at any point.) There was one skirmish toward the very end of the evening at the reception. There were also a couple of awkward encounters but, all things considered, when you put 100 plus something people in one large room with a bar and unlimited alcohol there’s a good chance someone’s gonna get nutty with somebody.
All of this aside. Our wedding was amazing and I was completely taken aback by the sheer amount of raw emotion I felt during our vows as I made this huge commitment to the man that I love in front of our close family and friends. It was overwhelming to be surrounded by all the people we love in one place and sharing the day with each other and each of them.
It was a perfect day.
But yeah, weddings bring people together just not without some friction first. It’s stressful and complicated, but for me it was undoubtedly worth it. (I can say that now that it’s done. Two weeks ago I was physically tearing my hair out.)
And now I’m married. I’ve taken on this new identity, I have stepped into a new role and I’m still coming to terms with it. As a feminist I struggle with the idea of shedding my own name completely, yet I also want to acknowledge the marriage itself and what it signifies; a new family that my husband and I get to create together. So I’m toying with either hyphenating my name or keeping my surname but as a middle name instead. This is a decision that will be officially made when I fill out my new passport application and place it in the big scary red letterbox.
The word “wife” still tastes strange on my tongue.
And I think I know why.
It all sounds so adult, so “grown up.” Like I’m this put-together person that has a direction and knows what she is doing with her life. I’m a MARRIED FRICKIN’ LADY yet I struggle every damn day to find a matching pair of socks.
Now that the wedding has happened, this stress has been lifted from my shoulders and I’m looking to the future and finding new things to worry about. My infusions and my crohns and my health being top of my list, closely followed by; when shall we move, when shall we start a family, how easy will it be to start a family, am I ever going to be successful as a writer, what path am I going down career-wise and when will the list of never-ending improvements and goals ever be completed?
When will I be the finished product?
And I have come to this startling, terrifying conclusion.
There is no such thing as the finished product. Adults are, simply, very tall children. Each of us fumbling about in the dark, pretending that we know what we’re doing, scared shitless that we’re getting it all wrong but ploughing ahead anyway because, hey, what’s the worst that can happen?
As people we are constantly growing, constantly moving and constantly dreaming new dreams. We will never be “finished” because as soon as we complete one goal or task another one will almost certainly take it’s place. We can’t ever just be still, because that would be boring.
So I’m adjusting. I’m adjusting to being a wife and what that means to me. Chances are that by the time I have got used to that some new change will come barrelling into my life and I’ll just have to get used to that too.
I will never be finished because there’s simply so much that I want to do and be. As a slightly neurotic and perpetually anxious person with a long term chronic condition, I can’t express just how much that well and truly scares me. But you know what? It’s thrilling and exciting and magical too.
As people we are never finished, and that’s okay.
In fact, it’s better than okay – it’s frickin’ awesome.
And on that note I leave you.
G’night and best wishes interweb.