Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Wedding Drama

This morning, I woke up out here in the beautiful desert, let the dog out, and sat down for some e-mails before going out for my run. What greeted me was another wedding RSVP (hooray!), and it was not really an appropriate RSVP in any sense of the term. It was not only inappropriate for an RSVP, it was disrespectful to me and Adam, and it was incredibly hurtful. What followed were many e-mail exchanges between the first RSVP and a second one coming from her daughter that was even worse, as well as a fuckton of texts to Adam, my mom, and two of my bridesmaids. So let me talk about my decision not to allow children at my wedding and the ensuing drama that has left me having decided not to engage with Adam's extended family any longer.

Part One : No kids

As I've said before, I'm really not all that into the wedding. I don't really like parties all that much, even if they are a celebration of love and perfectly suited to the couple in question. But here I am, hosting a wedding. A large party that will have at least half as many strangers as friends. A large party for which I'm paying. A large party where I am publicly declaring something that I think is private.

But if I'm going to host this party, then I should probably be able to enjoy it, right?

I have thought, for a very long time, that I probably wouldn't want to have kids at any wedding ever. Not even mine, just in general. I don't think that a large party with a boring ceremony and booze and dancing is really a place for kids. In fact, I think that children are often welcomed into adult situations in our culture and I wish we had more separations of adult spaces and children spaces. Kids mean I can't say, "fuck," and can't play Cee Lo's Fuck You. Furthermore, kids are loud and obnoxious and ill behaved. They don't follow rules well and their parents never enforce them enough. Babies are even worse. They need their diaper changed or fed or held and put down for a nap when I just want to dance with my friends. And then I go into nanny mode where I feel obligated to help because of my many years of service in childcare. Just, like, no. I want to say, "fuck," all damn day and dance with my friends UNINTERRUPTED. And I don't want to worry that some bratty kid thinks he's big enough to serve himself but is not intelligent enough to understand why there is a separate table of food for those with allergies and then he cross contaminates.

Oh, and I know that you're thinking, "Fenna, you crazy bitch, not all kids are like that." And you are right. Some kids are well behaved and they have parents who keep them in line and they are smart enough to listen to adults. But that doesn't matter because I would spend my day and my months prior to just absolutely WORRYING about it. And I would still alter my behavior because I was around kids, and I don't want to.

Adam has some cousins with whom he is close and he straight up told me he imagined them available on that day. But I can't include two kids and not all the others, and I still can't say, "fuck," around them.

Call it selfish or whatever you want, but the truth is, I'm not alone in this either. You see, I have cultivated friends and family who feel almost the same about kids as I do. My friends don't want to go to a party with kids, either. We want to party without interruption. When I spent months surveying my friends and family about my thoughts on the no kids idea, almost all of them agreed with me. But even without the backing of my friends and family, I made the decision and I told Adam I wasn't flexible on it, and he agreed.

Therefore, no kids at our wedding.

Part Two : An inappropriate RSVP

What I expected was some whining from my friends. What I didn't expect was an e-mail from a friend, whom I had thought was a rational person, going on about how sad it would make her to leave her 10-month old and her toddler in the care of the father and/or grandmother for twenty four hours, and how it would just be too hard to come to my wedding.

That friendship is over.

So if you want to call anyone a bad guy in this entire blog post, do as I have always urged, and call me the bad guy. Because after almost a decade of friendship and traveling for her wedding and engagement and just to visit, the fact that she couldn't leave her kids for 24 hours was so hurtful to me that I knew I would not recover. And I told her so.

Here's another thing I didn't expect : An RSVP from Adam's aunt about what a shameful and hurtful decision it was for us to exclude her precious grandsons because it's such a wonderful family event and she could just not even imagine attending when such heartless assholes were choosing to exclude her grandchildren. <--- That is not a direct quote, but it's the gist. She actually did shame us for our decision.

If we had received a phone call asking about our decision, I would've happily recounted all my selfish reasons for wanting to throw a party to celebrate my love in a way that made me feel comfortable. But she did not. She prefaced her RSVP with Ive been pondering on how to politely decline, but i just cant find a way to do that. Which I thought was incredibly funny, because obviously, a phone call would be a great way to start a polite decline.

What came next was the RSVP from her daughter, and I'm gonna include a screenshot of that one:

Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 11.20.43 AM

Part Three : The Drama

I mean, y'all, because HOW DARE WE DECIDE TO THROW A PARTY ABOUT OUR LOVE AND OUR COMMITMENT AND DECIDE TO CHOOSE AN AFFORDABLE LOCATION AND AFFORDABLE FOOD IN A MANNER THAT WE FIND TO BE FUN? Just, why the fuck are we even having a wedding if not to make sure we do everything the way everyone else wants, right?

So I did what I do. First, I forwarded the e-mails to Adam, my mom, and two bridesmaids. Even if only to show evidence, I talk things out with my friends. Then I texted Adam a lot of emotional shit. And then, I started e-mailing.

My first email went out before the RSVP shown above. And it was really not nice, although about as nice as I get. It outlined my reasons, though they were not her business, and invited her to reconsider. It ended by saying if she didn't attend the wedding, I wouldn't attend any family events of hers.

Then I received the other RSVP, which I promptly responded with, "And you can fuck off," as well as other words.

Then there were more e-mails about how she was just trying to decline in a way that wasn't personal.

DECLINE TO ATTEND OUR WEDDING IN A WAY THAT WASN'T PERSONAL?!?!?!

How does someone even say those things and think they are true? And so I sent a patronizing e-mail about how I wasn't going to put up with this sort of selfish bullshit. And I told Adam I was done with his extended family.

Of course, I was also texting my mom and two bridesmaids and forwarding e-mails and bawling in that way where your face is completely covered in tears and you can't even breathe because of the snot running down your nose.

It was fun.

Part Four : The End

There are not enough words to fill enough blog posts to tell you the amount of time it takes for me to make a decision that I feel will exclude someone. It often requires multiple e-mails and texts to friends...and not even just the best friends who will just agree with me. But like, asking coworkers and other near strangers and visiting internet forums to see if the decision I want to make that is best for me will be so hurtful to someone else that I should probably just not do it and get over myself. Whenever I'm making a decision that I think will affect someone else, I almost always ask their opinion. I try to engage in respectful dialogue and see if there is a solution I have not considered. And I know I don't come across that way because by the time most people hear my words, I have already decided and once I've decided, I'm very firm in not backing down.

But the aunt in question could've known all my agony. Easily. She could've called us. We could've had a long conversation about how difficult it was to choose to exclude two, well behaved, cool kids with whom I've spent time and not been driven out of my mind. We could've talked about the children I most especially don't want there because I have experienced their poor behavior first hand and I don't even know them all that well. We could've discussed the children I haven't met yet that I'm afraid might not behave in a way that would make me comfortable at my wedding. We could've talked about how much I love to curse like a fucking sailor and how I believe I have the right to do so at my own wedding.

And maybe she would've said the same thing and maybe I would've been real fucking offended and hurt by it. But at least then we would've had an adult, respectful conversation.

That didn't happen. Instead, we were shamed for our decision without ever receiving the very basic level of respect as to allow us to explain our decision. We were made to feel like a party we are throwing that is meant to celebrate our love is somehow wrong because we didn't do it the way someone else wants. Plus, name calling.

Y'all, I am a lot of really unpleasant things, but I am not a name caller.

In the end, after all the drama, I was left feeling completely exhausted and completely bewildered. I was also left with a firm decision not to engage with Adam's extended family anymore, even the ones I haven't met.

I know, I know, some of y'all are going to think that's extreme. Because you've been taught that family is important and that cutting people out of your life is bad...or maybe just because you have a great family who loves your friends and your partner and it hurts your heart to see someone excluded. But whatever. This is my life and I have to take care of myself.

I told Adam that I was not marrying into a family that was going to fight and be mean to each other. I already had enough of that from a family that is no longer welcome in my life and I am just not interested. It's a major bummer, honestly. I mean, not entirely for me. I feel some great relief about not having to get to know some strangers. (I know, I know, I would grow to love them...it's the growing part that doesn't interest me.)

But, I just cannot.

Part Five : Dénouement

While I was trying to eat my breakfast with the snot running down my nose and the tears streaming down my face, I also did some Googling. (I'm such a multi-tasker.) I was curious, Why have weddings become a public event?. Is it a modern thing, this need to declare everything in front of God and our community? (Whatever, God is always aware, right?) Just, like why?

I came across some really interesting results that I want to talk about because this post is so fucking long, why not add more!? Also, it's relevant to my feelings today.

On post I found was 7 reasons to believe in marriage. It is exactly this kind of bullshit that I think lends to all the cultural shit show surrounding weddings. This woman has decided that 7 things she found in her marriage are good enough advice for EVERYONE. I find fault starting at the top. "Marriage can heal you." Who says I need healing? I don't know, but if this is the crap we're all supposed to believe and the kind of crap we're going to spew into the world, then we're never going to get over all the fucking drama around weddings and marriage.

On Quora, someone asked, Why are weddings so important to people even if it's not their own?. There aren't a lot of answers, but I think they are telling. I like the guy's question which is basically, "I'm in love, maybe you're in love, why does anyone else care?" But this response : Regardless of our marital status, we were made to live in community, not in isolation. I think that's part of the problem. Why are we forced to believe that we have to have some community and that we have to share with that community? Maybe it's true that it would be difficult for a human to live in total isolation, but it's in no way true that a human SHOULD NOT live in total isolation. And even if I can't, personally, become a recluse (boy would I love to), then why am I expected to share my most personal beliefs on my own personal life with a crowd of people?

I found an interesting and somewhat cynical piece that weddings are really just a competition to show how much better than the Joneses we all are. I can get behind that one for sure. It's a lot of "this is what we do because this is what we do...but better than you." Boy howdy!

But the piece I loved the most was this on : Do we want a wedding or a marriage? In this one, the author says, I’m just not comfortable with the notion that a wedding is expected or deserved. By either person in the relationship or anyone else. I cannot tell you just how much I agree with that sentiment!

As happens when there is drama, my initial reaction is to SHUT IT DOWN. And by it, I mean everything. I wanted to call off this wedding so hard for about five minutes of my own selfish desire to run away from every motherfucker who is constantly bringing me down! But you know, Adam. And money (sort of). Like, obviously, my emotions given this situation involving two people should not define the entire wedding process. All of the talking and thinking and Googling and crying and forwarding of e-mails and ALL CAPS did help me work through some of my thoughts on this entire situation. I feel like I've rectified my person feelings on the entire wedding situation and they are...

Part Six : The Moral

I guess the moral of the story is not for me to feel all self-righteous in telling some rude motherfuckers off when it comes to my damn party. The real moral is I owe nothing to anyone and You do not deserve my wedding.

Yeah, that's where I stand. It's been a little over a year since I started thinking about what I'd want when I married Adam. Because I knew before he proposed just what kind of wedding he wanted and how different it is from my ideas...and I knew why. So I had a few months before he proposed to think about what he wanted and what I wanted and where I'd be willing to compromise. I also sort of knew that people would get up in my business, but I didn't understand who and to what extent. That has been eye opening.

With every step of this process and every annoying conversation and every rant and every tearful day or night, I've really been coming closer and closer to this : You do not deserve my wedding.

This is about my deciding to marry Adam, not about anyone else. If we decided to include you, then you should be happy that we love you enough to do so and supportive of what we want. I know that a lot of wedding sites talk about all the other people included in your wedding, BUT NO. No. No. And no. This wedding is about a commitment we are making to each other. It requires no one else. And the thing is, Adam wants to include other people because he loves them. That is powerful. And anyone included in that kind of love should feel fucking blessed, not be demanding we include their own ideas into our party.

Fuck that and fuck them. This is my new mantra for the next several weeks. You do not deserve my wedding. I don't mean that in a stingy way. I wouldn't invite you if I didn't want you there. I mean that in a mind your own damn business sort of way. Since when is being a guest in my life something you are so entitled to that you get to shame me in the decisions I make in my life? No.

I think we could all use a good dose of mind our own business, and I think when it comes to anyone's wedding, we all could use a double dose.


P.S. I feel like I should say that while I am done with Adam's family, I don't think he should be. It's fine. I'm a stranger who is a loudmouthed, weirdo, pushy, asshole. I understand how others can view me. But Adam is actually related to them, and I really don't want a stupid party to get in the way of that. I have straight up told Adam to call the aunt in question and work things out. She can't come to our wedding, but Adam should have a relationship with her. (She could come to our wedding, you all could. We're holding it in a National Park! We don't even get the restrooms to ourselves!) Wouldn't be a bummer if some stupid party ended an important relationship? It totally would. So I hope that doesn't happen.

You can read all my wedding posts!

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