I am getting married one week from yesterday. Everyone keeps saying, “Are you excited?!” (except those closest to me, who know to just ask, “How are you feeling?”) and the short answer is, yes, of course. If I wasn’t, we’d have a problem. I am very excited. But I’m also overwhelmed. And I haven’t totally known how to put it into words until the other day when a new colleague overheard me trying to explain it, and she came into the hall and simply said, “It’s a constant state of hyper-vigilance.” Yes. Planning a wedding and getting mentally ready for it is exciting. But it’s also draining. For some people, a lot of something good isn’t draining. But for others, like yours truly, a lot of anything is draining, whether it’s a positive “lot” or a negative “lot.” I think I had gotten myself stuck in feeling guilty. I’m happy about my wedding, I’m excited about my wedding. So I shouldn’t feel overwhelmed or exhausted or sick of talking about it. And if I do, what does it say about me? It must mean I’m flawed, or something is wrong with me.
But the truth of the matter is that, like everything else, this isn’t black and white. It’s not one feeling or the other, it’s not right or wrong. It’s and. Like we always teach our students, and work to teach ourselves: we can feel more than one feeling at once. There is no right way to feel. And when I take a step back, I realize that all of us – my parents, Jeremy, his parents, have felt a myriad of feelings. Excited, anxious, worried, overwhelmed, stressed, elated. And they’re all good. And okay. And expected.
This is so surreal, I keep thinking. Not surreal that I’m marrying Jeremy. We knew fairly early on that this was it. (Fun fact: our recessional song, after the ceremony, is the song that holds such meaning to me, as it’s what I was listening to when it hit me for the first time – Oh my god. I want to marry this man. I want to spend the rest of my life with him.) But more so surreal when I think about my life as a whole. Sometimes I take a step back and look at my life, and I have my stuff, everyone does, but overall, I have my shit together. More than together. And for many years, my shit was…..well, very NOT together. And during those days and months, I had to focus on putting myself back together, piece by piece, figuring out who I was. I learned to like, and even love myself, but that was my focus. I certainly couldn’t ever see a future in which not only did I love myself, but I wanted to open up and trust and give myself to someone else. It just wasn’t something I could imagine.
I think that younger Jen, who lives within me, is the one who is feeling surreal. Present-day Jen feels like, Yes, this is exactly what is happening, of course it is. But it’s that old me who is astonished. Amazed. Proud. Relieved.
I am madly in love.
I am marrying my best friend, the man of my dreams, the most incredible man I could have ever hoped to find.
I am happy. I am lucky.
I’m getting married.