Operation Perspective continues…

Posted on March 31, 2009. Filed under: reality |

I just had to share this advice I got from a reader, Jen, who left neither a blog link nor email, but to whom I am indebted.

Due to factors beyond our control, my husband and I had only about two months to plan our wedding — the whole thing! This meant that my dreams — both for a few expensive splurges and for DIY-simple (which can often require more planning/time than the ready-made store-bought things) — all had to bow to The Possible.

What budget-friendly reception venues were still un-booked at this point? I took the first one that offered the time-slot I wanted. What dress under $300 did I fit into without needing alterations? I bought it, although the style wasn’t “perfect”…

This was annoying and upsetting during the planning phase… but ultimately freeing. On the wedding day, I knew I’d done the best I could with the time & money I’d had… and that freed me (usually a such control freak) to let go.

As a result, my personal advice to all my soon-to-be-married friends is: don’t just budget your money… budget the time you let yourself plan. Even if it’s something “cheap” or a “minor detail” giving it too much time will make it expand until it feels like a “big deal.” Save yourself the emotional explosion.


Also, I wanted to address the part about smiling… because, you see, I don’t beam and glow. Ever. In fact, I usually have a deep-in-though expression that others usually interpret as annoyance.

Before the wedding, then, I felt required to practice a nice, glowing smile. It was weird. And it looked phony. And it was depressing. So I finally resolved that my wedding was the one time I would defy the American Smile Standard (which has a three-letter abbreviation to express my feelings about it exactly). Whatever expression happened to be on my face, I would leave it there.

The result? For the first time ever, I saw *me* in a picture! Me with the slightly-serious expression that both my husband and I know is “my look” for peaceful. And thanks to that, anytime I look at a wedding picture I re-capture the feelings I really felt — the happiness, the nervousness, the peace, the stress… all of it — because it’s all still right there on my face.

I treasure my wedding pictures in a way I know I couldn’t if I’d “played the actor” and pasted on a grin.

Sorry so long & hope that helps!

It helped.

I love this response. The reality is that, hard as I try, my mouth will be open in raucous laughter in all of the candids, my eyes will be closed in most of the posed shots, and up until recently, I could have cared less about photos, believing that life is to be lived rather than captured.

Originally, I wanted to get married within three months, knowing myself well enough to know that the more time I had, the more stress I’d invite. In terms of actual wedding planning, I haven’t really exceeded that. Hell, in terms of actual wedding planning, I could have done it all in a month. But, I needed the extra time to be ready emotionally, to be ready to do this joyously.

And what “joyous” looks like in my world — as you reminded me — is not at all what “joyous” looks like in someone else’s. Serene, collected, glowing I am not. Ecstatic, excited, crazy-happy I am.

I love this engagement picture because it captures us perfectly.  He’s sporting some kind of crazy happy excited expression; I’m laughing with my whole body (you can’t see it, but my left leg is cocked and sticking out!).  That’s the point of the photography, after all.  To capture a moment so that you’re reminded — in your soul — when you see it.

Thanks, Jen!  Anyone else getting great advice on keeping your perspective (or have any to offer)?


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    I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt (and divorce papers) to prove it. Here I am again, pledging my life to my (new) love with eyes wide open (and heart racing) knowing full well how emotionally traumatic this can end… and doing it anyway.


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