Monday, May 4, 2015

On Expectations

Warning: Honesty Ahead

My anniversary is coming up this month, and I've been thinking a lot lately about the culture I grew up in, which was very patriarchal: women were seen and not heard, and, if women needed to be heard, it was only in an "appropriate" way or the right context.

I've been engaged in a lot of soul-searching this year--this massive project I've undertaken to learn everything I can about the world and the people in it so that maybe I can find MYSELF and my place. I'm trying to become the very best ME, and the best ME is not aligning with the ME I was told to be growing up, and it's scary, sometimes.

I've completely torn down my foundation--it's gone, destroyed--and now I'm trying to rebuild, one brick at a time.

I find myself angry a lot, trying to rationalize the expectations that were heaped on me and how hard it was for me (pretty non-traditional and free-spirited to begin with) to cram myself into such a confining box.

And, looking back, how damaging it all was.

So I was doing some reading the other day and my thoughts drifted to my wedding. There was a lot of drama surrounding the whole event--my dad who didn't (still doesn't, really) like the guy I picked, or the date I picked. The age I picked. Drama. Drama. Drama.

Everything was a battle. (My whole life has felt like a battle. Again with the Expectations.)

And when no one liked what I was doing, I changed things up. In the biggest "eff it" I could manage at the time, I tossed out our old date and scrapped part of the guest list so we could get married at our alma mater on our own terms.

In three months.

And one person in particular--a minister relative of the family--had the nerve to ask my mother if we were rushing because I was pregnant. Like I needed some kind of shotgun wedding because there was something I was trying to hide.

Like I had been "defiled."

No white dress for me!!!

*Insert shaming here*

I found myself really, really angry at this guy the other day--because he embodies so many of the men I grew up around.

I was angry at him for assuming an unexpected pregnancy is the only reason I would ever try to pull off a wedding in three months--for assuming things that were none of his business. I was angry at myself for being embarrassed at the time, and going out of my way to assure my poor mom that no, she would not be a grandma, yet (she had two more years to wait for that). ;)

I am still angry for not calling more people out on their bullshit, especially this guy.

So I'm taking deep breaths, and reading these stories and articles and books and looking to the women who grew up in similar environments. And what I'm learning is how NOT OKAY it all was.

And those feelings I've had? I'm learning they're worth exploring. And that I'm not alone.

My anniversary is in a few weeks. Against all odds, we've made it twelve years.

We've almost not made it, so believe me when I tell you I don't take these years for granted. It hasn't always been easy. I haven't been easy.

But I love the quote that went out on my feed a few days ago:

"We fall in love by chance, we stay in love by choice."

I don't know who said it, but they were right. Every day is a choice.

Looking back on my wedding, I kind of regret getting sucked into the whole "perfect day" with the white dress and the crowd and the dinner. . . . I don't think it was ME. I think I was just going along with it because that's what "society" said I should do. What everyone else I know did (or was doing). More EXPECTATIONS.

Since we're being honest, I should've eloped. I should've had a party--danced the night away and not given a shit about what other people thought of the idea. I should've worn black because it's my favorite color. Or gray--a dark gray wedding dress would've been beautiful.  

I would've owned that dress.

So this year I'm trashing expectations. I'm making choices.

I'm learning more about myself. 

I'm building a new foundation. 

And I think I might be better for it.

YOU should just go on being Brilliant. ;)

That is all.