Look back Lesson #9
OK, I don’t really have 63 Hindsight Regrets. At least I don’t think I do. Or, if I do, I haven’t enumerated them in such a way that would lead to complete pathological over-analysis. But after three years of looking at weddings, and three years of thinking of all those “personal details” that “make a wedding special,” the Hindsight Regrets have mounted.
Which is stupid. I know. I’ve been recently reminded of my photographer friend’s advice: “Promise yourself you won’t look back on your wedding and pick it apart.” By his calculation there shouldn’t be ANY Hindsight regrets. He’s probably right.
But the other day, while making my blogger rounds and checking in to see how Rogue was doing, I saw the loveliest wedding video of a bride and groom fox-trotting to “The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra.
And I felt such a pang of envy and regret.
Why didn’t WE foxtrot? Or Swing dance? Or at least take a few basic dance lessons? (Hindsight Groom can dance; I can’t.) Why didn’t we care enough to cobble together something lovely, and romantic, and sweet, and meaningful for our first dance. What were we thinking when we decided it would be good enough to sway back and forth like a couple of lame-assed high schoolers? Oh GOD, our wedding sucked!
OK, histrionics aside, there were meaningful parts to-be-sure: Hindsight Mom-in-law picked our first dance song and all the parents got up mid-song and danced with us. And there were other moments—meaningful, private moments. Two days before the wedding Hindsight Groom tried to give me dance lessons. What fun to dance and laugh and hold each other, just the two of us, in the middle of the living room, with the stereo cranked up and me stumbling over both his feet and my own. We laughed and laughed. Now that was fun. Fun for us but maybe not so fun in front of 100 or so wedding guests. That evening we made the decision to make it easy for me and my two left feet and just sway to the music.
OK, you got me. The back story behind that decision is surely not a hindsight regret.
But now, looking at this lovely wedding video, and thinking of how lovely Rogue will look swinging with her groom or foxtrotting with her dad, I desperately want to go back and give my wedding a little more pomp and circumstance. Now I want choreography. Now I want glamor and elegance. Now I want someone else’s wedding!
Ooooh, dirty, dirty!
I shouldn’t feel like that. I’m a Practical Bride, a Rogue Bride, A Broke-ass Bride. That bad-ass women’s college in the Bay Area that granted me my degree is surely coming to take it away for capitulating to such evil heterosexist consumerism; for caring about what others think; for wanting what others have; and for not honoring my own individuality.
Because now, having written that, I’m in deep emotional shit. Why do I feel this way? I shouldn’t. I know I shouldn’t. I’m smart and confident. I should know better than to be swallowed whole by the expectations of the wedding media and WIC. (And, yes, I’m fully aware of the fact that I AM part of the wedding media. That’s how complex I am. Booya!)
But it happens. That wedding mania that dictates that I need the best cake/bouquet/wedding favors/dance routine/the best EVERYTHING is lurking everywhere, even after the wedding is over. There it is. Throw in the I-want-my-wedding-to-be-published attitude, and you’re dealing with a real bitch of a wedding Hydra. In the project-management world it’s called scope creep. You know, when you keep adding details to your project until it becomes completely unmanageable. You keep saying, “Oh, you know what else we should do?”, until you’re destined for overload and failure.
For brides (and I’m assuming other bloggers) who are constantly and voraciously consuming wedding magazines, wedding blogs, wedding-centric pinterest boards, who are listening to expert advice, parental advice, and even advice from random acquaintances and office workers who feel obliged to give you their opinion on weddings as soon as they see that diamond solitaire sitting on your ring finger, it’s easy to feel burdened. The pressure to please and perform mounts. It becomes difficult to remember who you are and what you represent — to remember what’s meaningful to YOU for your wedding or for anything else.
And if you’re like me, you feel like you should be that you able to rise above it. That it shouldn’t bother you. Because you’re smarter than that. And you should be more confident in your decisions, more confident in yourself.
Personally — after three years of marriage — I still need to forcefully remind myself that the most amazing moments in my life are the tiny day-to-day things, like waking up together and chatting about nothing important. Or giggling and tickling and teasing almost every night before bed. After three years of marriage, it’s still like a big, silly slumber party. The first dance happened once, having fun with Hindsight groom happens every day!
Still, I think we need to be gentle with ourselves. It’s OK to go down that road of envy and feel those feelings. Note them and move on. Don’t wallow in them for too long in it. Don’t make the envy and pressure real.
But don’t swing in the opposite direction and berate your smart, independent-minded, lovely self for having those thoughts in the first place. They happen. It’s OK. It’s normal.
OK. Right? Duly-noted; now moving on…