Tag Archives: family

better or worse

What is the purpose of a wedding anyway?

As a girl, I envisioned the fanciness, the awe-inspiring grandeur as the movies make it out to be.  More so… when I thought of my wedding, it was really about the PEOPLE you love and the HAPPINESS that came along with it.  I saw the wedding as a ridiculously overpriced party with tons of food, smiling, laughing, dancing, a gorgeous dress, a fabulous husband, and a large crowd of supportive friends and family.  At 26 years old, engaged, and about to be married, I still want those things.  Yet, I didn’t see myself struggling so hard to get there.

Now that this “Big Day” is approaching for me, I’m left with several conflicting feelings of dread, stress, disappointment, nostalgia, and during rare moments, excitement.  It feels like a lonely place to be because I don’t seem to find my issues reflected in the glossy wedding magazines, colorful Knot website, or dream wedding shows.  When people ask me “How’s wedding planning?”, I feel like a freak for not being more giddy in my response.  Sometimes I completely fake it.  The only place of solace are through conversations with other real-life brides.  It’s like meeting another wounded soldier who survived the same battle that I’m about to face.  An instant connection is formed – one based on encouragement & empathy.

The biggest shock for me in getting engaged and beginning the wedding planning was how it drastically changed (or perhaps unveiled?) the relationships in my life.  It forced me to evaluate who were the most important people in my life.  Who to include in this whole planning process.  Who will truly be by my side for such a significant occasion in my life?  Who will truly support me in my decisions?  Who will be consistent?  For better or for worse isn’t just for your life partner; it applies just as much to your other loved ones.  It was a test of some sorts for many of my relationships – both friendships and family.

For the sake of some confidentiality, I won’t list names, but I will say with great disappointment that some of those relationships failed me.  There was a great deal of emotional conflict that arose in the first month of my engagement – family loyalty, selfishness, old history, lost friendships, etc.  In hindsight, I believe that a majority of those issues arose because other people had selfishly harbored issues of their own and decided to use the engagement as a catalyst to bring those issues to the surface.  Funny enough, life was just fine prior to when J asked the question.  So, was it REALLY about me?  Or was it about them?  Sadly enough, no one ever warns you that a wedding could potentially be destructive to your relationships… or to your mental health for that matter.

In the past few months, J & I had some major talks and decisions to make.  How much of our own happiness are we willing to sacrifice for the sake of others’ happiness?  And how much of it is ours to claim?  We’ve realized, with much disappointment and sadness, that it will not be given to us easily.  As much as these people say they care and love us, they love themselves – be it their pride, ego, or traditions – more.

Honestly, I’m pretty tired of walking on eggshells around others’ feelings, especially for an event that’s intended to be mine & J’s.  Compromising is one thing, but losing perspective is another.  I know the difference between support and selfishness, and as much as I hate to say this about people whom I love – it’s downright selfish.

If happiness is our goal, then I’m determined to make sure that’s what J & I deserve and demand.  For better or for worse.

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Filed under Bridal blues & bliss, relationships

sleep

I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately.

At first I thought it was because I’ve been sick for the past couple of weeks – it’s tough to sleep with a coughing fit.

Next, I diagnosed that it must be my coffee intake.  After all, introducing caffeine into your body after a long hiatus is sure to send it into shock.

Hmm… maybe it’s my late night workouts.  It probably takes some time for my adrenaline to slow down after an intense work out.

J has to literally tear me away from my computer during these restless nights, only to have me toss and turn wide awake.  Anyone who knows me would find this behavior unusual – I typically sleep fast and soundly in an instant.  When J, who is himself an insomniac on occasion, can find sleep more than I can – something is off.

I began to realize that taking Nyquil was only a quick fix.

Last night, I jumped into bed and just stared at the ceiling.

“I think you’re right.”  I said.  That got J’s attention.  He put his book down, and asked, “About what?”

“I’m overwhelmed.”  Still looking at the ceiling.  Not angry, not upset, not in a fit or crisis.  I was simply, calmly acknowledging a very obvious fact.  Obvious to everyone but myself, until that very moment.

“Well,” J started, as he turned to face me, “You’ve been working non-stop all month.  Of course, you’re overwhelmed.”

I tried to mentally list all of the possible culprits for my anxiety.  I’ve been dedicating time to Stella & Dot, my new side business and learning all of the strategies to successfully book and execute trunk shows.  In just my first month of signing up as a Stylist, I had done 4 trunk show events, including my initial launch party!  Wedding planning is just gearing up, with the continuous hunt for a wedding venue and the seemingly never-ending task of gaining my family’s approval.  There are days when I wince at the thought of devoting an entire year just to planning it, with the current stress already forming & the anticipation of more stress.  Job searching is still on the periphery of my mind, especially with lay-offs occurring in the next month or so.  With all of those things, financial security is a big factor in my worries.  And somewhere crammed in the rest of my head are the obligations and expectations to multiple roles in my life: being a good fiance, sister, friend, employee, daughter, etc. etc.

Ugh.  No wonder I’m a mess.

Just from voicing it aloud to myself and to my wonderfully supportive fiance, I decided that the bulk of these issues were not going to be resolved that evening.  If I’m going to have a busy year, I can’t burn out this early in the game.  Something needs to change.  I need to change my game plan.

At that moment, what I decided I needed more than anything else, was a chance to just rest from all of the chaos and noise in my life.

So I made a conscious effort to hit “pause” for the evening, and I finally went to sleep.

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Filed under Bridal blues & bliss, epiphany, relationships, simple things, Stella & Dot

finding a home within a home

So I put off writing an entry explaining my whole San Francisco living situation for some time now.  I don’t even like discussing it in person; it’s almost like trying to explain to people why I had to let go of the “potential love of my life.”  Broken up before anything even got started!

It lasted less than a month, but it was a month packed with the excitement of exploring a new city.  A potential new home.  Evenings were fun because I could meet up with friends in the City for dinner to try out some new restaurants or explore a different district.  Weekends were devoted solely to discovering hidden pockets of the City; sometimes with visiting friends, other times alone.

Then there was the commute.  Waking up at 6:30am to catch the Caltrain, relaxing on board for about an hour as the Baby Bullet jetted across the Peninsula, then taking the Dash shuttle to work.  Total time was a grand two hours – each way.  It sounds awful, but was actually a highlight of my day.  I loved being able to spend mornings and early evenings reclined with a book in my seat, blasting the iPod, and not being in traffic.  My commute is what finally forced me to have that peaceful moment alone – to get away from the noise and stress of my daily life.

Of course, I couldn’t whisk away to San Francisco and pretend I didn’t leave a life behind.  I had abruptly taken a middle of the year “vacation” and reality was creeping in quickly.  I had sudden personal family matters to attend to, a boyfriend who was beginning to lose his patience with his temporary “long distance girlfriend”, and a demanding job in its peak program season.  What became clear to me were two choices: I could leave and make a new life, hoping that things will follow me.  Or I could make a new home for myself where my life currently exists.

I know a few friends and co-workers that had the courage to pick up and start a new life elsewhere.  Some a few hours away, some out of state and crossing from the East Coast to the West Coast, and even one who lived and worked in Europe and Asia.  The reasons why my friends moved vary –  school, career aspirations, a significant other, or no obligations.  I admit, I envied them.

Granted, San Francisco does not measure in the same scale as an international move.  But it’s not exactly down the block.  However, I soon found that the allure of SF to begin with – the vibrancy of an urban city, the exciting people, the arts & culture – didn’t quite measure up to the pieces I realized that I’d be missing.  A farther drive from my family & some close friends, evening activities spent calculating an hour commute home, and missing the opportunity to reaquaint myself with my home city.  One or two hours may not sound too long, but it feels painful compared to the proximity of being around loved ones within ten or fifteen minutes.  If I had to choose between commuting to the City to have fun versus commuting to see loved ones, the choice became obvious.  Within three weeks, I moved my belongings back to San Jose.  Everyone was surprised to see me come back so quickly; they all assumed the “trial month” would convince me to stay forever.  Truthfully, I’m still surprised, too.

And as J and I start talking more serioiusly about our rapidly approaching future, the glamour of living alone in the City has started to fade.  Why couldn’t we have a life here in San Jose?  Why not start something new here?  Which leads us to now… Instead of spending my weekends looking for new sights to discover (though I still do on occasion), we’re using that time to wander through model homes, comparing kitchens, wood flooring, and whether or not the walk-in closet is large enough for our taste.  And I’m loving every minute of it.  San Francisco will always be special, but it doesn’t always require moving away to start a whole new life.  As the past few months have shown me, J and I can plan for a new life together no matter where we are – even if it’s located in the same place we’ve always been.

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Filed under city travels, epiphany, relationships