Bridal TLC: Make your “Bad-Ass Bride” List

Dear Thriving Bride,

It is two days before my wedding (11/8/12), and everyone keeps asking me how I am feeling. The truth is, I am feeling very content. This is my response when I get asked, and it is true. I am feeling content because I do not feel as if I am lacking anything or as if something is missing from this experience. Yes, there are people that will not be physically present at my wedding: my blood parents, my blood twin sister, and my two deceased brothers.

As you know, my younger brother will not be there to walk me down the aisle. He is dead and I know many emotions will come up as I remember him today and on my wedding day. As you know, my brother Mike will be there to walk me down the aisle. I was not born into a family that included Mike, but after more than 15 years we have had the fortune of inheriting each other. So yes, I feel content.

I feel satisfied, full of joy and very proud of myself. So, this is the post where I encourage you Dear Bride to give yourself as much credit as you can muster. If in fact you have given yourself the ability to go through the challenging emotions connected to your family of origin, the permission to embrace your family of experience and allow others to give to you, you should be very proud of yourself. So, in honor of everything you have done to become a Thriving Bride, I’d like you to take some time before your wedding day and make a “Bad-Ass Bride” list. It sounds funny, but I am serious. It’s time to look back on everything you have experienced on this journey and give yourself (and others) permission to congratulate you.

There will be several people there to congratulate you on the day of your wedding. Some of them will understand what the journey has looked like (many of my friends and family members have been reading my blog) and others will toast to you having found the love of your life. Either way, find some time and do a different kind of toast if you can. Toast to your courage, your willingness to open yourself up to receiving support, encouragement and help along this journey and especially to your ability to make peace with whatever outcome has landed in your lap in regards to your family of origin.

My “Bad-Ass Bride” list looks something like this:

In 90 days (It is 88, but will be 90 when I get married), I ______________ (fill in your name here) have fulfilled my desire to live my life and plan my wedding as a Thriving Bride, which has meant paying attention to my emotional needs, allowing myself to feel them and making peace with any challenging past traumas connected to my family of origin. In an effort to do this, I set out to take care of myself (emotionally and physically) and have achieved that in the following ways:

1. I ran for 84 of my 90 days.
2. I got 8 hours or more of sleep for 82 of my 90 days.
3. On the days when I did not sleep for 8 hours, I at least got 6 hours of sleep.
4. I brought up issues with my partner and my family if and when they arose.
5. I allowed myself to grieve the absence of my blood relatives, to accept them for their moments of grace as well as their flaws, and to not let my happiness be attached to their decisions.
6. I asked very important people in my life to serve as my Surrogate Parents at my wedding and going forward in my life.
7. I asked my Surrogate Brother to walk me down the aisle.
8. I posted on my bridal blog, four times a week for 90 days. Woo hoo!
9. I did not eat any sugar for 45 days leading up to my wedding in order to feel better after many months of antibiotics.
10. I allowed my community to shower me with love with a Bachelorette Party, a Bridal Shower and an Engagement Party.
11.I learned how to “follow” in my “first dance” with PJ. Many thanks to our Wedding Dance Instructor!
12. I told the world my story as honestly and truthfully as I could through my blog. This, yes this, is what I am most proud of.

So, what does your “Bad-Ass Bride” list look like? What are you most proud of on this journey towards your wedding day? Think about it and ask your friends and family to help you remember the things you have achieved and write them down so you can always remember them. You deserve a lot of credit Dear Bride, so give that to yourself as much as possible in these few days leading up to your big day.