Friday, July 26, 2013


(3:30 a.m.  Somehow seeing the balloons migrated from their initial locations to this spot in my parents' living room drove home the fact that the party was, despite my desperate reluctance for it to be so, over.)

I have three versions of this post sitting in a file, each started in a different way, each in a different frame of mind, each incomplete.  With each one, I sat down to write hoping that in the writing I would find some kind of resolution. Each time, hundreds of directionless words in, I gave up.  Resolution cannot be forced, despite my stubborn trying.

The wedding fiesta was beautiful.  The photographs and the video (I'm so glad we invested in both) show images of a party exactly as I have spent the last year imagining but better, because rather than just the tablescapes and decorations with gold bunting strung over, the loved ones are there too.  However, it's taken me two weeks to find the space to say that without it being accompanied by an arresting sense of loss and sadness at the finality of speaking in the past tense.

In the lead up to the wedding, I read that some people (mostly brides, not unexpectedly) experience depression and a feeling of a loss of direction or purpose in the period following their nuptials--for a year or more, those planning a wedding have something to focus on, to look forward to, to be excited about.  In a day it's gone.  I didn't dwell much on trying to predict whether I would experience this; I was so happy being caught up in the planning and dreaming it seemed ill fitting to think about the after.  But then, even before the party was over, I looked around and realized the flurry of hugs and good-byes meant the party (and more than that, a remarkable time in my life) was abruptly ending and I felt a deep heartache that became more acute over the following days.  For the two weeks following, my tiny house has been awash in wedding leftovers--the terra cotta pots I spray painted gold and filled with succulents last summer, faithfully watering and tending them weekly for a year; the cloth napkins purchased on a whim during a study break fall semester 2012; the expensive shoes I agonized over for months before purchasing them on flash sale not two weeks before our reception; the hundreds of tissue tassels I made by hand, a welcome contrast to writing my thesis last spring.  Disassembling something created with so much much love and attention and even more, something that gave me an unexpected and unprecedented outlet for inspiration and creativity is very strange.  Uncreating feels like going backwards.

I think the reason this has been difficult to process is I feel somehow ashamed for feeling anything other than relieved the shebang went off without a hitch and grateful to have had the opportunity to create without restriction during the last year.  There is something very special about being able to express oneself in such a free manner.  And looking at how out-of-the-norm my experiences have been for the last year--being able to work with some incredibly talented, generous and kind people; crafting and dreaming and creating and planning on such a large scale; never having a moment without anticipation or something to look forward to for 18 months; having several days where I was able to fully be with my favorite people--that's not normal.  It seems fair to assume it won't happen again. In many ways it feels greedy to want it to, as though I ought to be satiated by that concentrated dose of sweetness.

In some ways, I am.  I've watched our video more times than I can count, and being able to connect with others through that medium has been good medicine.  I've taken a pre-sleep moment most nights to look at the photos we have (more to come!), letting them sink into me and reminding me of what is possible before the day ends.

Easy as it would be, I've been careful to not wallow--I don't have a lot of patience for it, either in myself or others.  Sadness is okay (as okay as any other emotion) but just as we so often use the easier emotions to show us what we want more of in life, so I believe the more difficult emotions can be useful in teaching us how to live our lives better, how to live truer to ourselves.  Though it is sometimes necessary to just get through the rough patches, they become much richer when we avoid the temptation to numb, instead listening to the lessons therein. I believe what we feel deeply (usually) comes from the wiser part of us (assuming stable blood sugar).  Sometimes it comes as a gentle nudge, sometimes as a painful push, but more often than not toward a life with deeper meaning if we allow ourselves to be pushed along rather than wasting energy trying to fight back to the place we used to be in.

So there's that.  I certainly won't pretend to know how this phase of transition will end.  But as I digest pieces of that deep longing for more of what I did and felt during fiesta planning, I find there opens up a little more space to absorb the joy of that beautiful day.  I also find a little more bravery to chase that "more" through other channels--aside from the obvious bounty brought to us by our wedding, I got the gift of glimpsing what makes me truly happy.  Though I accept the bittersweet truth that the unique joy of the last several months may be sealed up, relived through memories but not necessarily through direct repeated experience, I suspect there is more to be had--perhaps in unexpected manifestations--through other channels.  The trick is finding them.  Onward and upward.


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