Words make up the bulk of my relationships. I choose mine carefully. Sometimes too much so.
Integrating my stream of consciousness blog space with where I’m attempting (and failing) to write fiction and self-help may not be a good idea. I really don’t have the energy to comb through that subject in any way right now. Fuck it. I’m gonna say whatever I want. People I love read this and then I get support because I’m not a bad person. Even if I was a shitty maid of honor.
I got fired. Well, technically, I stepped down. I was given the option to step down and took it. The other options, all of them, involved still more money. I am maybe coalition building (Sorry, HD) but I’m mostly just sad.
Why is it that we live in a world where girls are sold impossible fairy-tale dreams from infancy? No one can live up to them. For the girl, she’ll never be enough. If she’s pretty like Ariel, she won’t be smart like Belle, or one with nature like Pocahontas. A girl must find her love and get married. And of course, it doesn’t really matter. But doesn’t it? I’ve rarely seen a comedy movie, animated or family, where someone doesn’t end up happily monogafied by the end. (“Monogafied” being a word I just word scienced into existence with my powers of English degree. It means coupled off in a hetero-normative couple.) As girls, if we aren’t going to grow up and get married, what ARE we supposed to do? Well, you get a job and then be good at it and still be sexy and young and then get married and make everything go together with your vagina magic. No self-care needed.
I don’t want to diminish the Second Wave and all their dedicated work in the trenches of 1950s sexism. That being said, standing on a platform that our mothers carefully crafted for our futures, we see still another gap too big to cross. We’re still not there.
These fantasies of imaginary happily ever afters harm our boys, too. They grow up thinking they can’t feel fear or confusion or hesitation. They need to be big, strong, unfeeling heroes that charge forward and save everyone. Then they get married and….what? He works a 9-5 in a stuffy office and donates sperm to kids he’ll never see? They miscommunicate forever because he has no emotional training from growing up exclusively male and she has no ability to be honest because nailing a husband means survival.
Does anybody know what we are living for?
My sister of choice, a woman whose daughter calls me “Auntie”, is spending big money on her wedding. She can (apparently), so cool. It makes her happy and it’s her money. I don’t know why that surprised me. Steph lives in southern California. Big weddings are popular. There is big money in the industry surrounding crazy huge weddings. They happen so often in our culture that not only do we have a TV series about it, but it has a spin-off show about the couples who were already featured and now are having critical marriage problems. We condone this huge wedding nonsense on such a level in our country that we bundle it as entertainment.
How many conversations does Snow White’s prince have with her before he kisses her dead body? Or Aurora? If Belle were in a realistic situation the live action wouldn’t be starring Emma Watson; it’d be something starring Ashley Judd and listed under “thrillers”. Granted Disney has gotten better, but now we’re adults. Our basic relationship skills have been formed. Few people spend dedicated time introspecting and then changing. Change scares most people and many stay scared. We live in the age of the Internet. There are plenty of distractions from ourselves. And as we grow further and further from our own selves, we lose the ability to reach out to other human beings. We’re all living in a small cave inside our minds, walking around with the motions of what society instructs us to do.
Why? I’ve been given the word “milestone” a few times recently. According to most accepted American customs, there are a few traditional milestones: birth, graduations, marriages, babies, retirement, death. At those moments your loved ones gather to celebrate your next phase of life; your passing into a new place and a new way of experiencing the world. That seems cool phrased as such. However, in reality, it usually involves fights and drama, money and debt, travel and panic, rushed pictures and superficial performances.
Fighting with this sister is the worst. I hate fighting with either of my sisters. They are cut from the same this-is-it-and-fuck-you cloth that I am cut from. Fighting with them is terrible. But fighting with this sister is worse because I don’t know her as well. I’ve known Allison since she came home from the hospital. I’ve watched her skills in getting away with shit grow over the years. Steph and I met in high school. I can’t think of her as less than family, but I can’t read her like I’ve known her since birth.
I also have to face the facts that I haven’t been communicating. I read a book upon being named as one of the maids of honor, and it gave a list of things never to say to the bride. I couldn’t believe that any woman would advise other women to lie to their friends with such canned phrases. With further research, I was heartbroken to find countless wedding sites, Buzzfeed-type sites, and advice columns saying to do that same thing. We, as high ranking wedding party people, should not mention how much things are costing. Because someone is going to sign a document and throw a huge party we can’t be straight with matters of money. What kind of sense does that make?
What dynamics are we, as women, setting up for our daughters and nieces, showing them how to lie effectively to their friends and sisters? What the fuck are we doing?
“Suzy dear, when you and Peggy grow up and one of you gets married, the other should be ready to spend hundreds of dollars and lie in favor of not canceling if she asks for your opinion in a moment of life-changing seriousness, no matter what you have seen, heard, or think. Okay, girls? Now, who wants cookies?”
I can’t say that I blame my sister, although throughout the last few months I have now and again. I’ve always known I hated weddings. Being a part of one was just all the more disgusting. The level of consumerism and patriarchy should be enough to make anyone turn up their nose. Plus, I just lost being in my sister’s wedding, so I’m bitter about a bit of this.
Knowing Steph, I should have known that the money would become a problem. I should have made sure that I’d looked her in the eyes and made sure she knew I didn’t have money. I did tell her. I have the copy of the email I sent to her bridal party and herself explaining how I had no funds and I was worried about it back in January. Everyone knew. People I don’t even know got to hear about Brittany, the maid of honor without a job.
“Oh, so she must have kids?”
“No, no. No kids. Just her. She lives with her girlfriend. She just doesn’t work.”
I really don’t know how those/if any conversations like that took place. Still, various Masterpiece Theater pieces have been mentally performed in my mind about the shame of the broke maid of honor and the bride who suffers through for her poor friend. And maybe it’s me. I am crazy-ish. I have depression and PTSD, at my very best. If I can sleep about twenty hours a week I’m doing well. I lose time occasionally; although admittedly less and less over the years. If I could stuff all of my head inside and tune out like I did in high school I bet I could hold a job and just not feel my life around me. And I think there are lots of people who can do that. Much to everyone’s annoyance and mostly my own, I am not one of those people.
I’m unwilling to say that I’m broken or wrong as a person because of this limitation. One of my favorite lines in Game of Thrones plays in my mind when I think I’m broken:
“Some people are always going to need help. That doesn’t mean they’re not worth helping.”
I am not good at doing all the normal adult stuff. I limp along as best I can, but I am not good at most of it. My friends all know that my plans are subject to last-minute change, always. I may flash and be freaking out instead of making that movie we’d planned. I may lose time and not even know it’s the day we’re supposed to hang out. I have tactics to help me and my friends work with me. Or they aren’t my friends. Over time people have been weeded out of my life because of this reality.
Steph told me tonight that there was no way our friendship could end. I don’t think I’ll ever stop loving Steph or her daughter. I think she’ll always be my sister. Right now she’s not treating me in a way that most of my friends treat me. And we’ll have to fix that.
I’m exhausted thinking about it.
I am entitled. It’s wrong of me, but I’ve been ruined by years of therapy work on boundaries and creating safety and healthy communication. I won’t settle for certain interactions because I know I don’t have to do that. If I’m uncomfortable, I can leave. If something is said that is not ok and it’s not agreed to be put away, I can leave. If even after trying to work things out and loving someone, if I’m not happy, I can leave. I get to walk away from love if I’m not happy. That seems crazy out loud. For so long I felt undeserving of love. I told myself I’d better cling to all the love I can because it will all end sooner or later and I’d be alone again.
Now I don’t worry about being alone. I like me. I like me enough to be alone if it’s better for me. I don’t worry about running out of love. I’ve maintained an active poly lifestyle for the last three years. Over that time I’ve seen love multiply, not divide. Instead of feeling the need to keep someone in the wings of my life for whenever my relationship ended, I maintain a few relationships that have different timelines. I am never without someone to hold me. I don’t worry about telling people to back off. I shut my mother out of my life for three years. If I can do that to my mom, I can cut anyone off. That doesn’t mean I want to do that. It just means that I will if it comes down to me or you.
I will always choose me. Always. I have to. I need me in order to survive, and I can’t kill myself. I closed that door. I don’t even want to hurt myself, really. And so if I have to live, and I need me to do it, then I have to pick me. Every time.
Planning a wedding is mad stressful. I have three girlfriends getting married over the next couple years. It looks insane from the outside. Just like parenting looks big from the outside and is way bigger in reality, I assume planning a wedding is even bigger than I know. I’ve never done it. And not only is Steph planning a three-day estate wedding (it’s three days, but the wedding is only one-how is that phrased?) but she’s raising a kickass kid, working, taking care of Eric’s grandpa, and saw both her parents go into unexpected surgery last month. She’s got a lot. I don’t want to minimize. I also don’t want to be minimized.
“Then do something that isn’t minimal. Like fucking earn a living, you lazy ho.” My self-talk generator is a bitch.
At the end of the phone call Steph told me to relax. It’s no longer something I need to worry about. I’ll be able to attend the wedding with the money I’ll save on the dress, hair, makeup, nails, shoes, alterations, dry cleaning, hotel, food, drinks, car rental, airlines, bachelorette party game supplies, food and drinks for three days at the bachelorette weekend, money for tours and fun during the bachelorette weekend, and whatever other costs would have popped up. As it is I wasn’t able to fess up for the bridal shower flowers, which Steph covered for $200 in my name. I didn’t get her a pair of panties for her panty tree or a gift for the shower. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get a gift for the wedding. It’ll depend on plane tickets and if I can refund my bachelorette weekend ticket. I regret buying supplies at Michael’s for crafting that damn sash.
She asked if we were ok, and I told her no. I love her and I’ll be there, but this is not ok. I feel like I publically humiliated myself (and am adding to it now?) for months in front of her bridal party. I was edged out of planning because of my economic state, I guess. I don’t know why exactly because I was edged out. I was held responsible for not making it to a shower that was supposed to have airfare provided. On top of it, I was told that I wasn’t “being a friend”. That part really sucked.
I have to look at my boundaries. I need to spend some real time thinking about what I’m sending out if this is what I’m getting back. I know changing myself affects my immediate world, but maybe Steph and I have shifted orbits. Maybe she’s beyond my understanding. It doesn’t mean I don’t love her. I just have no idea what the fuck she is doing. Or what the fuck I’m supposed to do.
Well, now I won’t do anything but try and return wedding things to buy other wedding things. That is much easier.
I’m gonna work on my meditations. It’s halfway through the month and I’m only 1 for 10. Granted drop, death, and drama have been thick this August. Still. I am not just a lazy ho. I want to reach out for the goals I’ve set. I have goals. They just don’t involve veils. And I don’t want to be sorry about that, please.