I can barely begin to explain the tumble of emotions I have been through over the last three weeks. There is first and foremost the utter and complete happiness of being with my fiancé and making wedding plans. Plans I thought I would never make with a man I thought I would never meet. The only certainty in my life for so many years was sadness and the belief that it wasn’t going to get any better. I can honestly say that a day does not go by where I don’t stop for a moment at some point during the day and give thanks. I waited a long time for this happiness, and so did he. I sometimes think (and worry) that all brides and grooms must feel this way at the beginning when they walk down the aisle. No one knows for sure if they will last- if they won’t make it. How do I know my situation is different? All I can worry about is the now, and the now is wonderful. And after that, I know I can’t take one second for granted.
Planning my wedding has been more than I ever bargained for. Finding the florist, the photographer, and picking a caterer…all those details are daunting enough. Add a full time job and anything else into the mix and it gets overwhelming quickly. In the past, I have helped friends plan their weddings, have worn more bridesmaid dresses than I care to count, but nothing can compare to planning your own. It is more than picking out a white dress and asking friends to stand up for you. It is more than choosing colors and selecting flowers. There is so much emotion tied to your own wedding. Not just the love and commitment, but all the family decisions and involvement can complicate (or deepen) everything to a place you never imagined.
I have struggled with the situation over whether or not to have my father walk me down the aisle. My mother has been terribly hurt and completely unable to understand why I wouldn’t want him to accompany me at the church in November. Her level of denial still astounds me. She cannot go to a place where she has to see the reality of what my father’s alcoholism has done to our family, and the lasting effect it has had on me. Since I brought up the issue and expressed what I wanted, it has caused weeks of arguing, awkward conversations and tears on both ends. It would be easier, it seems, to give in. Again, it is only 30 feet and maybe 5 minutes, right?
I keep telling myself that. And even though I know it seems to my mother and maybe to everyone else that I am trying to punish or hurt my father, I can honestly say that is far from the truth. My decision is for me. I didn't truly realize it until all the talks with my mother recently. I also believe it won’t really hurt him- except maybe his pride. Maybe no one understands my reasons, and I have a difficult time expressing them. There is bitterness from me towards him, I think that is apparent in my past blog entries. There is pain and anger. A lot of that comes from the years I have spent in therapy and trying to heal. Years I feel that I ‘lost’ in my life because of it all. Going through the pain was enough, but losing time made it all seem to last forever.
But my reason for this decision is apart from that. I made promises to myself growing up—things I would do and have—things I would be one day. The love I would find, the life I would lead. And it has taken me so long to even begin to fulfill those promises. I feel as though now I am leaving a trail of breadcrumbs for the little girl I was, leading her to where I am now. Finally, I am here. All of the pain was worth it. We made it. I made it.
I am proud of myself for getting through everything I have gotten through. I survived. Just barely. I am so thankful I did. And emotionally, I did that myself. I had friends and a therapist who helped me with the tools I needed to be able to fight, who held me up so I could walk through the door. But emotionally I had to get there myself. And I fought hard. I want to walk down that aisle knowing that in order for me to be here, to be in that church and say those vows, and find the peace and joy I have waited so long for, I did it. In spite of my father, in spite of setbacks and heartbreak. Somehow, I did it. And those steps down that aisle belong to me, each one of them.
To me, and the little girl I was, the little girl I made promises to- promises that have finally come true.