Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Bride

On Friday Mom and Maid of Honor were in town for my bridal portraits. Truth is, I had been ridiculously nervous about his. Ridiculously. As in, the amount of nerves were ridiculous and also, in retrospect, what a silly thing to be nervous about! Putting on a gorgeous dress, spending half the day pampering and beautifying myself (or even better, paying someone else to do the pampering and beautifying for me- thanks Joy!!), and spending the other half of the day mugging in front of the camera with a bunch of beautiful props including the most beautiful bouqet of red flowers (did I mention they're called "Cherry Love" roses- how perfect?!?)....what girl in her right mind wouldn't love that?

And I guess that's it right there that identifies the danger and the trap that brides tend to fall into. "What woman in her right mind.?" Most women aren't in their right mind half the time. And before anyone gets snitty with me about being down on women or anything like that, just hear me out. We have all these emotions and horomones and pressures and responsibilities and expectations flooding us from within and without. There's a reason women are generally better at multi-tasking than men- it's because we've had to be.

And The Bride, well, she's supposedly the be-all, end-all of all of those emotions and horomones and pressures and responsibilities and expectations, both from within and without. There's an incredible amount of pressure on The Bride to be the most perfect of perfect version of herself that she ever has, can, or will be. Bridal magazines are full to two things: 1) advertisements of perfect, beautiful, impossibly airbrushed women and 2)articles detailing all the many ways you must begin perfecting yourself- NOW! -if you intend to be The Bride.

The second that ring slips on your finger you're apparently supposed to drop 100 pounds, perfectly tone every inch of your body, bleach your teeth to a blinding white, remove any and all surface hair from your body in the most painful way possible, schedule weekly faces to make your skin taught, dewy, soft, blemish-free, wrinkle-free, glowy but still shine-free, etc....

You should also start getting manicures every day because people are going to be looking at your ring and God forbid they notice a chip in your nail polish or snag on your cuticle (this for a girl who normally eschews nail polish all together), cram 1,000 hours of planning into each 24 hour day (yeah, go ahead and quit your job, it's normal for people to take off several months before the wedding), stretch a $10,000 budget to cover a $500,000 three-ring circus of a wedding (don't forget the ringmaster, the tent, the clowns or the lions), deep condition your hair twice a day, cut out sodas, cut out sugar, cut out fat, cut out carbs, cut out meat, hell, you might as well just go ahead and cut out eating altogether and while you're at it, forget the idea of sleeping ever again until after the hoopla is all over and done with.

And finally, make sure every single person you've ever known, ever, in your entire life, recieves a wedding invitation and make sure that every single person who might consider themselves a friend or family to you in some form or fashion has a special role to play, complete with specially assigned dress, shoes, hairstyle and underwear plus a very cute, catchy and creative title to set them apart. This is because no one on the face of the planet should ever have to have their delicate feelings hurt in any way whatsoever and it is The Bride's mission to make sure this doesn't happen.

I'm ranting now, but I have a point, which is that there's a lot of pressure and expectation wrapped up in being The Bride and no matter how level-headed, down-to-earth, laid-back and practical you may be, if you are a bride then at some timre or other you will find yourself feeling totally overwhelmed as you realize that you've become caught up in some futile and ultimately foolish attempt to be The Bride.

And that's where the ridiculous comes in. Because none of it actually matters that much. Sure, every bride wants to be beautiful, but she needn't worry about it because there exists a wondeful magic that means every bride is beautiful! And it doesn't come from any amount of beauty treatment, body sculpting or brand-name couture. It comes from the exquisite joy of joining your life with the one you've chosen- your partner, your lover, your best friend, your biggest fan. This is the one who will stand witness to your life, who will challenge you to learn and grow, who will help you rub all your rough places smooth and all your smooth places polished while you do the same for him. And that- that knowledge, that secret sureness, which everyone else can see on your face but no one else can really know or understand -that is what makes a bride positivey glow with radiant beauty.

And that's how I felt on Friday, positively aglow with beauty from without and within. I felt showered, bathed in the light of the love of my family and friends- and of course my fiance. And I felt, strange as this may be, more closely connected to some deep, still well of inner beauty, some soul-light that I usually have trouble drawing from even though I know that it's there. It felt like rivers flowing forth that day instead. I'm excited for more of that feeling, that heart-light feeling. I hope it flows over those around me too. I want everyone to know what it should really feel like to be The Bride.

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