Dear Thriving Bride,
I am getting married in 42 days, and I have to get this down on paper before I forget exactly what I wanted to say to you. This post is inspired by a recent conversation I had with a friend. We spent time talking over tea, and I am so thankful for the conversation I had with her. As we sat in my living room and talked about our weddings (mine is upcoming and hers happened two years ago), she shared things with me that let me know that she was also a “different kind of bride” based on challenging circumstances as well. We talked about our families, their abilities (or inabilities) to show up, if we were sad or relieved that they could not/chose not to come to our weddings, other people’s reactions to our “different kind of bride” status and the general things that people don’t talk about after a woman says yes to the “bling.”
So, let’s get it out there and into the open and let’s tell the truth about ourselves. This is what I talked about with my girlfriend and we spoke about how “excited” a bride to be is supposed to be according to cultural norms. We spoke about the fact that people don’t often talk about the heart wrenching and often heart breaking stories that we as women about to build new families with people we have chosen to love is complicated by the difficulty and trauma brought into our lives by people we did not choose. Now, that’s a mouthful! I know!
So, what’s on your mind that you want to talk about. My advice for you today is to just get it out there. If the man you love chose you and you chose him, then hopefully he knows your history and can be there with you when you get giddy about your dress, and also when you are crumpled up and bowled over crying in his arms because maybe your mother not only is not coming, but decided to remind you that your arms never looked good in a sleeveless dress. I know this is painful stuff, but it happens.
From my perspective, there are two ways in which we love the people in our lives. There are people we love from a place of grace, and there are people we love from a place of space (the space we have for them inside of ourselves). These two ways of loving are definitely not the same thing. I will always love my parents from that place of grace: that place that makes compassion, forgiveness and openness possible in the face of so many disappointments with the people who were supposed to look after you and care for you the most.
Then there is that love that comes from that place of space: That place that allows you to have the space and capacity inside yourself to give to someone and to want to keep giving to them each and every day. This is the how I love PJ. And most of all, it is that space inside you that makes you want to give the “truth” of yourself as well. There is a quote from Austrian philosopher Rudolph Steiner that I absolutely hold close to me and try not to forget. He says: “You can only truly love something that you allow to reveal itself to you.” So, when you love from a place of having the space inside you to put aside the fear, the self-doubt, the self-loathing, the disappointments of everyone who you trusted and allow yourself to reveal yourself to another person for the sake of intimacy, this is the love you have found and that you are about the embark on and carry for the rest of your life.
Give yourself credit Dear Bride. How wonderful is it that you have found the space inside you to be capable enough to have this kind of love in your life and to give it to someone else? This is what you are about to celebrate. And guess what? No one (not even your condescending mother or your mean mouthed father) can take that away. So, when you are feeling overwhelmed with emotions and you want to go to that place of self doubt and fear, find a quiet place to sit and see if you can find that space inside you where your love wells up. And if you cannot find it, see if there is something you are hiding from your fiance out of fear that if he knew this truth he would not marry you. And if there is something there, tell the truth about it and let him see you.
Note: I am not advocating that you say things that you are not ready to share, but I am saying that we all know when we are hiding ourselves out of fear of rejection and disappointment. In the end, it is up to you what you choose to share. This is just my opinion.
You are so capable Dear Bride. I just need you to trust yourself.