Letting go of the reader

The reader who came drunk deserves a mention.

As I sat in my apartment writing thank you letters, I realized that beyond the conventional gifts and attendances, I had the wedding to thank for so much more.

More than the ability to gather together close family and friends to support me in what was a major decision in my life. I never thought I would host a wedding, thinking myself already very much committed and past all that a participating in a conventional wedding represents.

More than the ability to throw a (lets-face-it ) not very fiscally responsible one day party which took months of preparation. (To my mind), If I did do the "wedding thing", I somehow envisioned it happening quietly, with my partner and myself jetting off to the Maldives or the Swiss Alps, accompanied by two of our best friends. Quel rêve!

I'm careful not to replace "wedding" with "married". I know it's a bit clunky to say "host a wedding" instead of "get married" but the distinction is very important to me.

I had the wedding to thank for such a pivotal development in my personal relationships. 

I came to the conclusion that I had outgrown some friendships, and perhaps, too, they had outgrown me. I suppose you could that say that if I had only been open to this sooner, I would have done something about it. It seemed that what the wedding did was to illuminate issues that had existed for quite some time yet I was either too complacent or too cowardly to confront. 

As I struggled to write my thank you letter to one of the readers, I accepted that her selfish attention-grabbing games on the wedding day was just a feature of her personality. I also (finally!) resigned myself to the fact that she'd behaved that way at other times. At the same time, I realized that I don't have to be around for any of that any more. 

Because, (OMG!), this isn't high school anymore. Because life's too short. And you know what? I'm just going to give this one a miss, thanks. I've already paid my dues. And oh OMG, I'm too old to take that kind of BS!

Again why the post-wedding blog?

My wedding brought out into the open a veritable minefield of unresolved issues about my personal relationships. I'm sure that some of these things were always around but only got the attention they deserved during that emotionally-intense time. I realised that there were many crucial things about my relationships that I had chosen to ignore for a very long time, things that I could no longer continue to ignore.

In short, the wedding wasn't merely a materially expensive rite of passage, it was an important cathartic event in my life.

After the drunken and giddy celebrations and the honeymoon, I found myself sitting in my small apartment scribbling thank you letters. It was at that moment that I realised the wedding was going to change my life, but not in the way one would ever expect a wedding to do. It wasn't going to change my financial means, or spiritual well-being, and or social status (other than perhaps the fact that I became entitled to use my husband's last name).

What it did was to focus on the substance - the quality - of my friendships and my familial relationships. In doing this, I somehow achieved a sense of clarity about which relationships needed nurturing and work, and which ones needed to be let go. It was this last thing that sent me to a very lengthy post-wedding self-reflection when I found myself harmonising a sense of peace and a very real and painful sadness.

I am an extremely loyal person. "Like Bertie the dog", an ex-boyfriend once said. (Sounds 'bitchy' I know but trust me he meant it as a loving compliment, and excuse the pun). I don't have problems discarding material belongings but letting go of people, of human relationships is something I have never consciously done.

So the post-wedding blog began.

The Aunt Who Rang To Ask For Money

For as long as I can remember, money has been an issue in my family.

Acknowledgement: it is a fact that money is an issue with most families.

In my family, money is an ISSUE.

I grew up very mindful of the various heartaches that lack of money wreaks on people's lives. I was surrounded by vastly unhappy adults, mothers/fathers/uncles/aunts/cousins, who chose to let their lack diminish their reception of the great possibilities for creating happiness. I coveted the good fortunes of better-off friends, their fancy schools, exotic holidays and lovely glossy clothes.

Most of all, I grew up wanting to ESCAPE the unhappy coven of my money-starved, and by consequence, money-obssessed blood relations. I grew up resenting them for continuously choosing to mire their perceptions and judgements in murky negatives, of basing their reception of experiences on lack instead of opportunity.

In short, I grew up wanting out of my family.

Happily, (and entirely by design of course!), I've managed to keep at the safest possible distance from these unhappy souls, some of whom continue to choose to be unhappy. And in case you're wondering, NO, they're not hobos or hillbillies (don't you just love these words?) who live on rations or government support or ghettoes. They're an educated, middle-class bunch who've taken issue with the fact that the weren't born to money (like the rest of the world!) and that, at certain periods, they've had to work themselves to the bones to survive in this dog eat dog economy.

And so...

I was a little taken aback when just a few weeks after the wedding, I received a phone call from another of my aunts. She said that she was, as usual, short on dosh, and would I give her some so that she could throw her daughter a graduation bash at their favourite restaurant? She said it would be such a terrible pity if she couldn't do that for her one and only child.

"Excuse me?!!"

My partner and I received neither phone call nor letter from her to congratulate us on our wedding or to at least wish us luck (and don't we all need it?!). We didn't particularly mind as she is fairly self-absorbed and tend not to be very mindful of what's goes on around her in general. We didn't mind...


When I got the phone call asking me for money, without so much as an enquiry into how the wedding fared (maybe something like, "did everything go well?"), I sort of began to mind. My partner minded very much. Then I really started to mind.

Then I got very upset.

This is how it's been on that side of my family for as long as I can remember. They're a little bit autistic. A reasonable reasoned individual might say to him or herself: "um, it's probably not very appropriate for me to ask these guys for money because they've just hosted a wedding, and also because they might be a little ticked that I didn't even bother to send them a card".

One would think, huh?

I haven't spoken to that aunt since, and I'm not exactly sure I want to anytime soon.