Dear Thriving Bride,
I am getting married in 50 days, and thinking a lot about my childhood. When I was a little girl, I dreamed of finding a one way ticket as far as I could get from my family of origin. It sucked! Actually, it more than sucked. It was a situation that meant most of my siblings lived in some form of foster care because our home was deemed “unsafe for children,” and it often was. It is days before I get married and I would like you to think about this: Whoever you are, if you are a thriving bride you have more resources than you could ever imagine.
Who dreamed up an escape plan to Berkeley because I knew education came first for my parents and was my only way out?
Who methodically researched every college handbook as well as read (over and over again) about the qualifications it would take for me to go to school in California?
Who decided early on that my life was a life worth living, full of promise and had the possibility to impact my world and community if I could just find a space to feel safe and loved for who I was.
Who understood what I needed to do to take control of my life and take it out of the hands of my parents when I was only 13 years old?
If a 13 year old girl can figure out how she is going to live a value-centered life when she does not fully understand what it means but knows that it is a necessary part of her ability to thrive in this world, then who says this 34 year old woman can’t give herself one hell of a good time in celebration of all she has achieved.
Berkeley was a great opportunity, but my graduating valedictorian or going to a really good college was not actually the most impressive thing (for me). The most impressive thing for me was to realize that I had agency: The ability to create the life that I wanted, take the steps to make it happen, and know that my life was valuable enough to keep off the streets, out of prisons or jails, out of living at home till my hair turned grey and definitely out of somebody’s idea of who I should be.
It was pretty much an equation that looked something like this:
my life as a child – the opportunity to remove myself from the situation x the negative cycle of behaviors that would afflict me for the rest of my life if I remained in that situation = my emotional and/or physical death
I know this might be hard to hear. But please bear with me. I figured out another equation:
my negative experiences as a child + the opportunity to remove myself from the situation so that i could understand who i truly was and change negative behaviors x the possibility of being loved and seen for who I truly was and could become = the possibility of my emotional and physical survival and the ability to thrive
Don’t ask me how I could comprehend or understand this equation, but I loved Math and it truly fascinated me. I thought I could apply it to my life and actually get somewhere in the process. I won’t lie to you. I schemed, kept my mouth shut, my eyes in my books, did everything to not be removed from my home so i would not miss any school, said what my parents wanted to hear and checked off items on my list. Come hell or high water, I was going to create, understand and manifest an equation that equaled life. And I did!
Ladies, Can you hear me? I said Ladies, Can you hear me? It’s the same equation for your wedding. You have agency and you can make it the day you want it to be and know that the same young woman who harnessed her power and made her life valuable to herself and others can do the same thing now.
It’s all one wonderful dream that I was blessed to figure this out early on. My life is worth so much, and I am here to live it. Don’t just plan your wedding, live it! Live the life (and marriage) you want each and every day. And when you get to the altar, it will be like the feeling I had when I was on the plane to Berkeley. I chuckled to myself, looked around to make sure I was not dreaming, and relaxed into my comfortable seat knowing that I had done something that would forever change my life.
Agency is a powerful tool to have. If you are feeling like you can’t see where your agency lies, take a walk down memory lane and see if you can remember all the times that you understood your power and used it to make your life more meaningful. That should get you going!