I realize that I still haven't posted about the beautiful wedding that I went to over New Year's. I'm not sure why that is; maybe I did all my gushing verbally and in photos and their captions on Facebook (if we're not friends, we should be ;-)). Suffice it to say: it was the most beautiful wedding I've ever been to (the first in a long time that I truly enjoyed) and it made me rethink my thoughts on weddings.
Allow me to divert a little by saying, I am extraordinarily stubborn. If I get my mind set to do something or act a certain way, you will be proven wrong if you think I won't make it happen (all the more reason I should be able to lose 50 pounds, right?). I have been that way since I can remember. The problem is that I often don't back down, even if I've lost faith in my reason for the initial decision. Easy Example: I might say "Men should never wear skinny jeans." And then someone might show me a never-before-seen photo of Chris Brown or Idris Elba or Lupe Fiasco (guys I think are very hot) in a pair of skinny jeans that completely pull together his outfit. In my mind I might think, "I was wrong; he looks hot in those," but I will not say it aloud. I would probably cover with something like, "Well, anything looks better than awful on CBreezy."
In my defense, once I've seen three or four hot guys look hot in skinny jeans I might say, "Okay, fine. Men can wear skinny jeans IF they are as fine as Lupe."
I mentioned my stubbornness because this post is one of those I-renege-on-this-condition statements.
Up until the wedding of my best friend, I was what my sorority sisters called a "wedding hater." Not a marriage hater, because I'm definitely a fan of marriage, but not so much a fan of the flowers, lace, invitations, dresses, and color combinations that make up a wedding. I don't need to make my case about weddings and their pomp and pagentry; most people who will read this already know my position too well.
What I re-opened my computer in the middle of the night when I have a headache to say is: I now know how weddings can be done tastefully. I also now see where some of my distaste for them was unfounded. I projected the bad behavior of certain people, especially women, especially women with lots of money, onto all people. I projected the nonsense of some weddings onto all of them. And worst of all, I projected the brokenness of some relationships onto many, varied relationships. I am glad I was able to see in person what happens when a woman who I would never call spoiled or vapid or superficial marries a man who is not passive or emasculate or archaic because they are truly, madly, deeply in love and committed to making their situation work, not because it was just that time, or because their biological clock was ticking, or to combine their incomes. I saw class and beauty and spirituality and diversity and love come together to show several of us what it can look like when done right.
I realized through the beauty (some have said "perfection" and I like that word too) of my dear friend, the bride, that a wedding can symbolize a relationship, that a perfect bride can symbolize a lovely woman. And I am now able to admit that part of the reason I was loathe to see myself walking down an aisle of adoring onlookers on a cloud of bridal bliss and poise and grace and class is because I don't consider myself to be someone to be adored, someone who possesses poise or grace or an abundance of class. I never have seen my life - present or future - as entitled to bliss or perfection or awe-inspiration.
On one level, I aim to be a bit more graceful, a bit classier in future. The world could use more of that. On another level, I appreciate some of my "rough edges" some of the things that will never look perfect in lace accessorized by something borrowed and something blue.
So I have outlined some things symbolic of myself as a woman to whom a man would promise: "forever and ever, amen."
I have an idea for a dress (likely tailor-made): white, strapless, T-length, with a cherry blossom tree growing up from the bottom hem in full bloom and color (shades of pink and green). This dress is accessorized mainly by the quarter-sleeve tattoo I'm getting on my left shoulder, pink pumps, pink nail polish. Simple, pretty, but never traditional.
I have an idea for a ceremony that is much less formal than the usual wedding ceremony and consists of several people (generally bridesmaids and groomsmen) speaking to or on behalf of the bride and groom. I think I'd like a non-pastorly-type to officiate; someone with a license but not someone who I know as Pastor So-and-So. I'd like them to be someone who speaks into my life on a more casual and likely more regular basis. I want to enter (walk down the aisle) to something like Anthony Hamilton's "Dear Life."
I have an idea for a reception that lasts until we're all finished dancing, not just until my husband and I are ready to start the baby-making. And a day-after brunch to gush and look at photos and spend more time being blissfully happy.
I am now inspired to become more like the beautiful friend whose man liked it so much he put a ring on it this past new year's eve, but to do so in a way that makes me, Najah, a better version of myself, not another version of her.
I hereby renege my angry statements about weddings being stupid and a waste of time and money (Oh my goodness. I actually felt a piece of my ego being severed from the whole - and it was a good thing). I maintain, as a point of contention, and because I still believe it, that weddings should never become a competition, a pageant, a ruse, an obligation, a burden, or a misrepresentation of the bride and groom. Make your wedding yours and your spouse's. Make it say your names. Make it exemplify who you are as a couple. Don't ever ask it to scream, "I'm better than So-and-So's wedding!" Your wedding attire should make you look like the best version of yourself, and that may not be a candidate for the cover of Martha Stewart Weddings. And that's okay.
Wow. That's what you call a come-to-Jesus. Thanks, Bestie.
Also, don't worry that I've let out too many of my wedding secrets. By the time it actually goes down (5 years, 10 years, 15 years?) this post will be so far back in the archives that it won't be remembered.