There’s an app called 365 Days of Flow that I like because its aesthetic is lovely and water color-esque and the daily messages are neither too self-help-y nor too obscure. Sometimes it’s nice to grab your phone in the dim, quiet morning and see a little something that will maybe help you set a tone for the day.
Here’s part of yesterday’s message:
Many studies show that you process experiences faster when you put them down on paper. The act of writing helps you structure your experience, and that makes it easier to let go.
Some of these blog entries surprised me by getting so dark and serious. I came to this space because I wanted somewhere to jot down these weird wedding experiences I’m having — from falling down Pinterest holes full of small, glittered toy animals to stressing about random corners of our budget.
But since getting engaged, I think about parts of my life that haven’t occupied much mental space in years. I feel like my mind is trying to close some loops before I formally enter a next stage of life. My subconscious has an agenda: bring to a conclusion experiences that have quietly lingered within me. Like how my previous relationship ended, coming out, parental relationship dynamics and things like that.
Processing is one of the top lesbian sports. As a people, they do a lot of it and I’m no exception.
So, I find myself describing experiences I had years ago that were profound at the time and I assumed held no power over me anymore. I guess I was wrong about the power of my past, but writing things out has helped me feel better. It’s helped me structure my experience and made it easier for me to let go. Just like ol’ Flow app says.
Engagement feels like not just a time of preparation, but a time of evolution. Maybe those are two sides of the same coin. I know a few people who called off an engagement and that struck me as odd, because if you’re not going to go the distance with someone, wouldn’t you sense that before you even got engaged? It makes a lot more sense to me now, because there are so many part of wedding planning and preparing to be married that are surprising or merely unexpected. It’s a lot of work, not only to plan the day, but to prepare yourself to become someone’s wife. That word, “wife”, has so much more weight to it now. And that freaks me out sometimes.
My girlfriend and I love to travel. Recently we got away to Austin, TX for a long weekend. We sat at this great bar called Cheer Up Charlies and I told her that it almost seems like a bigger deal to stay together when you aren’t married. Every day, all day, it’s my choice whether I stay or go. I’ve been choosing to stay for eight years. At that moment, nursing my gin and tonic under a dark sky full of heat and humidity, being married seemed like letting the wave take you. Being together without a contract felt like choosing to balancing on the crest.
Then I started getting wedding presents. I love all presents, always and everywhere. You could wrap a box of paperclips and it would delight me. Turns out having a wedding registry set up before you have a birthday is great too, because then your family will just send you things from your registry. My parents, brother and sister-in-law got me birthday presents off the registry and opening them was extra delightful. Not only are they beautiful things, they’re the things we’re going to use long into the future as a married couple. We now have 12 matching wine glasses that we can place in the hands of our family and friends at Thanksgiving, Christmas, dinner parties, birthdays, or anytime someone stops by for a chat.
Sure, things are just things. When you live in California, every time you put away a glass, the specter of earthquake rattles the shelf. In a minute of shaking, all those matching glasses could shatter. So it’s not that I’m precious about things. But what’s struck me about getting wedding presents is that it feels like our community is lining our path with palm fronds. Each gift is like a frond lain before us with love in recognition of our journey, to make it more comfortable and to bind us all more closely together. We’ll follow this path down the aisle and it’ll continually lead us back to the people we love who love us right back.
We wouldn’t be getting wedding presents if we weren’t getting married and if we weren’t getting wedding presents, I wouldn’t have been swept into this realization that the things in those enticing boxes are so much more than just pretty possessions off a list. Some waves are more full of meaningful than others, I guess.
But even if the engagement process has kept us on our toes, I’m still worried that being married will turn into taking each other for granted and my girlfriend is too. The antidote that we came up with in Texas is: keep traveling. Get away from what’s familiar and you start to see with a fresh pair of eyes. Get away with another person, and those fresh eyes can remind you why you love them, why it’s so much fun to hang out, or teach you new things about someone you thought you knew inside and out.
And maybe keep writing it all down, too. Processing…