Remember yesterday’s post? Here’s a tone shift.
Last weekend I attended a cousin’s wedding on Cape Cod. I haven’t reached the age when my friends are getting married yet, so I haven’t been to many and I’m no expert, but this one was everything a wedding should be, at least as I see it: the whole thing, the ceremony, the dinner, the dancing, reflected the couple’s personality perfectly. The love between them was palpable; the bride screamed “Yay!” when it was all over and they were officially married. It was moving and exuberant and everyone there felt it.
The thing about weddings that always surprises me—and perhaps this is particular to me because I’m single, though my hunch is that others must feel it too—is the strange blending of emotions. This wasn’t the first wedding I’ve been to where the bride cried the whole way down the aisle, and both she and the groom cried during the vows and pronouncement. Most of the guests cried, too; afterward, I think we all felt a little exhausted. In a good way, I mean—it was a beautiful wedding, and the tears were for happiness, for the excitement of the newlyweds as they walked back down the aisle hand in hand. And yet, I felt sadness, too. Of course I’d feel sad—I can only aspire to the kind of love they have, and I felt shut out of something so singularly theirs. I felt jealous. I felt, suddenly, like my romantic future must be very bleak by comparison. It sounds selfish, but I think I cried as much for my own sense of hurt, of left-out-ness, of disappointment, as for their touching declarations and promises.
The truth is, I have many details of my own wedding picked out already, including but not limited to the first dance and the flower arrangements. Is that silly? Maybe. Sometimes when I think about the possibility that it all might happen I get just as choked up as I did at my cousin’s wedding. [Insert readerly eyebrow-raises about my bizarre fantasy life and over-emotionality here.] It’s hard for me to believe that I could ever find someone willing to put up with me forever, let alone proclaim me as the person he wants to be with publicly. It seems far away and impossible. I feel very worried that I’ll have to continue being the single one while everyone else gets married, when it’s eventually the right time for me to get married, that at every wedding I’ll have to keep changing the subject when my relatives ask why I don’t have a boyfriend. I’d really like to meet someone, but I don’t want to rush and settle. I feel unhappy about many of my past relationships, and it is hard to keep my chin up and continue chugging along, trying to enjoy as much of my single life as I can and hoping that one day I’ll have a partner. It’s scary to embark on so many things alone.
The posts I’ve been writing lately seem so bipolar to me: they celebrate being single, or they condemn it. If they’re confusing and contradictory, it’s because that’s how my dating life feels—I want to be with someone, but there’s no one at hand. I’m in this limbo, literally in-between homes, when I’m not dating at all—can’t, really, at this juncture. And I’ve been holding myself back from romantic encounters, too—I go on dates, I have crushes, but I’m slow to act because so many times I haven’t been, and I want my relationships to be sure and deliberate from here on out. It feels really good to know what I want and to be waiting for it. It also feels really frustrating.
The upshot, I guess, is that with all these Feelings, I’m going to make a great bridezilla when the time comes.