Posts Tagged ‘wedding’

Adjusting, remembering.

It’s been almost two weeks since the wedding.
Less than two weeks since I moved.
Mere days since we returned from our honeymoon.

Part of me wants to put life on pause for a minute, so I can savor these experiences properly.

Another part of me craves the mundane, a rhythm to my life that is not based on a future event, to settle in and be. Settling in may take awhile. Right now, I can take deep breaths and do activities that feed my body and spirit.

In the meantime, I want to remember:

Presence is a gift
our gift
I will, I do
Blue sky above,
clouds building
My hair up, braided and pinned, tendrils kissing my face;
the look in his eyes, the feel of the handfasting cords against my wrist,
my hand clasped in his
community and blessings all around
Celebrating us,
celebrating
love.

****
The way the light touches the canyon walls,
bathes the field,
lengthens distances;
Watching the moon rise over the Watchman, a hair’s breadth from full;
Finding a hidden trail and climbing over boulders in the creek,
seeing our reflections in pools and the sky rise far above
When we stop to gaze at the rocks in awe,
the calm energy of this preserved place holds me.
I look at him – long-time lover and partner, now husband – and smile.

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“Try to be present” and applied wedding advice

One of the most common phrases of advice before my wedding was along the lines of, “Just enjoy it and try to be present.”

First, I want to say that this is well-meant, good advice. However, it’s harder to take this advice to mind and heart when planning and executing a wedding. There is so much going on, and it’s challenging to enjoy the process. Also, the midst of all this busyness, I am often managing my sensory experiences and making sure that I am taking care of myself so overstimulation won’t overshadow my overall experiences and outlook. I do have skills that help me be more present, and I use them often, and I still struggle when juggling multiple tasks and stimuli.

The question that came up for me after hearing this advice is: How? How can I be present amidst that much stress? How can I enjoy it when there’s so much going on at once?

Another piece of advice I received provides a possible answer:

“Do your best that day to just be there – remember these are people that know and love you, and it’s especially okay to be you in front of them.”

In the end, this reminder helped me stay present. I was there to join my love, to be with loved ones who came specifically for this occasion. If something didn’t go according to plan, it wouldn’t matter – people were coming to be with us, not for an exact or perfect occasion.

At the ceremony, as I stood there in the circle, looking into my love’s eyes, feeling the love of all those around me, I felt safe, present, and alive.

A post-wedding moment: sharing gratitude with a friend.

After our formal goodbye at the reception, as my love and I were at my car preparing to leave, my friend approached me. She gave me a hug, expressing gratitude for being there, and for our friendship. We first met in our DBT group in October 2014, where we started at the same time. She shared with me about a moment before we knew each other:

“The first day of group, I sat in my car, not sure if I wanted to – or could – go in. And then I saw you get out of your car, and I thought, ‘If she can do it, so can I.'”

“I’m so glad you did,” I said.

“Me, too,” she replied.

Double rainbow on my wedding day.

double-rainbow

Picture of double rainbow that my husband took.

I’ll share more details at a later point; for now, I’ll begin with this:

It started to sprinkle just as we were finishing up our wedding reception. It was raining as we drove across the city to the bed and breakfast, where we were staying the night.

As we were approaching the B&B, we saw a vivid rainbow, and another faintly above it. The clearer one seemed to expand in the sky across the valley, across the greater part of the city.

It was the beautiful ending to a wonderful event. It was also a beautiful beginning to the next chapter in our lives. I turned my love – my new husband – and smiled.

Wedding countdown: My bridal toolkit and self-reminders

As my wedding approaches – now a week away – I make plans. I make a list of things I might need with me on the day. I look at my schedule for the week, and each day gets busier. I write in breaks for myself. As my stress level goes up, I notice that I become more sensitive to tactile stimuli once again. I remind myself to breathe, drink water, eat, and to rest as much as I can. I start doing my sensory brushing routine more consistently, and I’ve been doing yoga daily. I’m storing and reserving energy for the upcoming event whenever I can.

My bridal toolkit, things to have with me or nearby in case of need:

  • Water
  • Straws
  • Weighted blanket
  • Weighted lap pad
  • Wrist weights
  • Fidgets (soft fabric, koosh ball, etc)
  • Wilbarger brush
  • Makeup wipes and cotton
  • Lipstick
  • Chapstick
  • Ibuprofen
  • Bandaids
  • Dental floss
  • Lint brush
  • Bobby pins
  • Pen and markers
  • Ginger chews
  • Ginger ale
  • Altoids
  • Extra pair of shoes for reception (just in case)
  • Pashmina (in case it’s cooler)
  • Peanut butter crackers (keep my blood sugar up)
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste
  • Toothpicks, Dental Floss
  • Emory board or manicure kit
  • Soothing supplements (as needed)
  • Rescue Remedy lozenges
  • Sunscreen

As the date gets closer, I realize I can plan and anticipate up to a certain point. I can cope ahead, and I also can’t anticipate everything that will unfold. I have self-soothing and sensory skills and tools. It’s comforting to know that I’ll have them, and that my mom will be there to provide direct support, and that I’ll have other support as well. If or when I get overstimulated, I can advocate for myself and I’ll also appoint others to check in with me and run interference when needed. I know it will be a lot, and it may be overwhelming at times, and I will likely need time to recover afterwards. And all of this is okay.

I also want to remind myself: I love ceremonies and rituals, and taking part in them. I enjoy standing in that kind of energy. I’ll be outside in nature, and I’ll be able to easily look up to the sky, out the mountains, down to the valley. I’ll be able to touch a tree and connect, visualizing myself feeling rooted. I can look into my love’s eyes, hold his hand, and take comfort in him, in us, as we deepen our commitment.

While the idea of a reception may be challenging for me with its consistent social aspects, I remind myself I will know almost everyone who is coming. There are coming to love and support us, to celebrate with us. I give myself permission to sit down, take breaks, to dance to move energy, to give myself what I need throughout the process. There may not be many events in my life where the spotlight will focus on me in quite this way. In the end, I want to be present, I want to take it all in. I want to give myself permission to allow myself to be with where I am and how I feel without judgment. I want to savor, enjoy, and experience it for what it is.

Wedding countdown: Hair and makeup trial

hair-flowers

Sample flowers for my wedding hair trial appointment: white roses, baby’s breath, and delphinium

My wedding hair trial involves a lot of pulling, pinning, some curling. My hair stylist tells me to wash my hair the day before my wedding, because second day hair holds styles better. My curls straighten out and she uses the iron to convince them back in. I giggle, quite a bit – I’ve never had this done before. I didn’t think I’d want my hair in an updo for my wedding until I tried on my dress; the dress, with its ornate embroidery along the neckline, dictated the hairstyle. My stylist parts my hair to the side, braids strands, and then adds the flowers,  creating something similar to an image I’d found on Pinterest. For awhile, it looks odd, and I have difficulty not pushing my hair back behind my ear, as it’s hanging down and tickling the side of my face. In the end, though, she pins that piece back, and the look falls into place. It’s asymmetrical, it’s beautiful, and it suits me.

She asks if she can clean up my eyebrows, just a little in the center and underneath. Although I rarely do this, and I agree. She waxes them; the process stings and I cringe and wince. I know my pain threshold is low, and that my reaction is strong.

We run out of time, and have to postpone the makeup part. I won’t have the full picture until my wedding day. I keep my hair up for the rest of the day, and run errands at Walgreen’s and a hardware store. There’s something exciting about doing daily activities with my hair in an updo with flowers.

My make-up trial is more touch-based than the hair; there’s so much direct contact with my skin.

“You have sensory issues, right?” she asks. I had mentioned that I was tactile defensive during my hair trial, but I hadn’t used those terms. It turns out her nephew has Sensory Processing Disorder and her eldest son has Asperger’s. She also has other clients (mostly children) with sensory issues. I’ve been going to her for haircuts for two years and didn’t know this, although I had the sense she was excellent at reading body language. Since my initial process of choosing her was based on the creative name of the salon and reading her short bio on a website, I’m so glad that I ended up with her.

She explains everything she’s doing, and tells me to give her feedback – if something feels uncomfortable, if I need a break. Firmer touches feel better than softer or lighter ones, I tell her. I’m grateful I don’t go through the hair and makeup process regularly, even if I like the end result. It is such a tactile experience. “I’m bringing my weighted lap pad next time,” I tell her. I might even bring my weighted blanket, just in case.

After the appointment, I look at myself in the mirror. I’m still in there, just more accented, styled, glamorous. I love how my eyes stand out. I play with toning some of it down until I find the right balance.

Now, I close my eyes and imagine everything together: my hair up, makeup done, wearing my dress, bouquet in hand. Ready for my entrance.

Wedding countdown: Remembering our steps toward engagement

When I was young, I was convinced that I was going to get married. It wasn’t a conviction that fueled envisioning a perfect wedding or anything like that – it was mainly a feeling.

I told my mom about this conviction at age 11. She asked a simple but also complex question: why? I remember this conversation as taking place on our trip to Alaska, specifically in Juneau, on our way to our campground near the Mendenhall glacier.

Why? Because. I realized I didn’t really have an answer.  I don’t know if it was at that moment that my conviction started slipping away, or if other factors crept in. When I came out as bisexual at age 17, I didn’t want to get married because gay marriage wasn’t legal at the time. It didn’t seem fair to me. In any case, it was somewhere between a “don’t want to” and a “I’ll never.”

I met my future fiance at age 24 in 2007. Something about this relationship felt different to me, and I found I wanted a more long-term commitment. We had been together for roughly six months when I found myself saying, “I want to marry you,” almost unconsciously during an intimate moment.”I want to marry you, too,” he responded, “But not yet.”

Our “not yets” held us – through moving, his attending graduate school, a multitude of stressful transitions.
When I moved out to live in community, my healing process, questions from other people, and general stress on our relationship threw the constantness of us into more doubt.
We separated in the fall of 2013.

I remember a conversation about relationships and marriage at one Sunday night dinner that fall, where several other women shared their thoughts. “I don’t know,” I said. “I thought I had found the person I wanted to marry.” I was confused about my relationship with him – as I still deeply loved him – and I didn’t know what the future held.

Through my health issues, depression, and crisis, he stood by me. We came back together slowly, tentatively. By the time I left San Diego in June 2014, I knew two things in my life for sure: that I needed to leave for my own healing, and that I wanted to be in a relationship with him. Even if it had to be long-distance for awhile. Even as we were rebuilding trust and learning to communicate in a different way.
And we grew closer, steadier.

There were nights that fall where I would text, “I want to marry you.” He would respond, “I want to marry you, too.”
One day, I asked him, “Wait, are we serious?” He paused and said, “I think I am.” Are you?” “I think so,” I said. “Let’s talk about it next time I visit,” he replied.

So we talked about it on a cool December day as we took a hike in the foothills. We shared what we wanted, what marriage meant for us, whether we were ready for a stronger commitment. Both of our answers were “yes.”  We don’t really have a proposal story, but nonetheless, we have a story of strong mutual agreement and knowing we were ready.

We carried our unofficial engagement with us, not quite a secret, shared with a few loved ones, calling each other “fiance(e), husband, or wife” on occasion at the end of our Skype calls. We chose my engagement ring – first the jewelry store, where we walked in together and found out our the ring sizes. A few months later, around May of 2015, I went into the store and took pictures of a few rings I liked. I shared them with him, and he said, “I like this one a lot.” I looked at it – an aquamarine stone in a square setting in  yellow gold. I had imagined a smaller stone in white gold, but there was something about this one, the way the cool aquamarine stood out against the warm gold, how it looked natural on my finger. It felt right. I went in again and tried it on and got tears in my eyes. Soon, we started making payments on it.

engagement-ring

The ring was ready and resized by Thanksgiving weekend, 2015, when my love came to visit. We went into the store and he slid it on my finger. We took pictures that day and officially announced our engagement. The day before, I had also given him an engagement ring: a simple stainless steel ring, black with a gold design. He wasn’t expecting it, and he smiled as he put it on. It fit perfectly.

We took pictures – selfies, or “usies” – outside under the deep blue late fall New Mexico sky. We glowed. “I marry you,” he said. I grinned. “I marry you,” I replied.