Thursday, September 30, 2010

More on unmet expectations

So, in 1997, my younger brother told me he was going to ask his girlfiend to marry him.  For the next 18 months, I swear the wedding and all of the planning that goes along with it was the ONLY thing that was discussed by my family any time we spoke on the phone or were in the same room. God love them, I know they were excited about it, but by the month before the wedding, I had long since had quite enough of it all. I just wanted to talk about ANYTHING that didn't have to do with their "blessed day".

Thinking back, it was about then that I THOUGHT I had hit my emotional low.

A few weeks before the wedding, there was to be a girls' night-in (kind of like a mini-bachelorette party). By then I had grown to know my future sister-in-law, T (names have been removed to protect the innocent) and had actually begun to like her. However, I barely knew the other girls who were going to attend. The evening started off well enough. There was a little alcohol involved, but we were all pretty light on the spirits. A few hours into an evening that I thought was just supposed to be us girls (imagine painting fingernails, watching chick flicks, etc - all out girliness), the guys showed up. The boyfriends (or fiances) of each of the girls decided to crash our little party and mushiness ensued. With a little wine in me, (it IS a depressant, ya know!) I was in no shape to be so violently confronted with my singleness.

As they all cooed and cuddled one another, I slipped out the front door and stumbled over a few tree stumps into the pitch black of the night. We were at the house of one of the girls and she lived out in the country. So with no moon and very little ambient light, I crumbled at the base of a tree in the back yard while the tears flowed and the bugs began to feast on me.

As I sat there, I was overwhelmed with grief and feelings of loss. I wasn’t where I thought I’d be by then. (I was 26, after all – practically a spinster!) Sure, I’d graduated from college, but there was no dating life going on to speak of at the time and the future looked fairly bleak in that respect as well. I’m sure there are many who don’t know (and probably don’t want to know), but I seriously considered suicide.

I clearly didn’t go through with it. But it makes me sad to think a young woman such as myself would feel such deep despair over being alone.

After all, there should be a big difference between being alone and being lonely, right?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The best laid plans of mice (and me)

Growing up, I was never one of those girls who had the big book of wedding plans like the one that Monica whips out in Episode 2 of Season 7. I never had my colors chosen years ahead of time. I never dog-eared fabulous wedding gowns in the pages of "Bride" magazine.

It wasn't that I didn't want to get married. In fact, I was the vision of eternal optimism. Even though I came home from every school dance bawling my eyes out because no one had asked me to dance, I always thought that NEXT time would be different. It had to be, right? After all, my mom always told me that she thought she would never get married and she had obviously done that AND had two kids. (Thank goodness she just barely avoided spinsterhood at 19!)

I guess I always just assumed that marriage was an inevitability. After all, hundreds of thousands of people get married every day. So what if no one asked me to dance in high school. There's always college, right? ....Wait, I dated one guy during college until he dropped out during my junior year and I called it off. After that, I never went on a single date during my whole college career..... No matter! When I get out into the "real world", there will be scads of opportunities for dating and marriage. After all, I'm young and I have plenty of time. This is a new world and women are waiting longer to settle down and start their family lives.

Finally after college and out in the "real world" I did finally go out on lots of dates. I was the master of the first date (thanks to an introduction by, mostly. {sigh}), but I couldn't seem to keep them interested enough for a second date. Sometimes that was just fine with me, but too often I was simply emotional roadkill when that promised "I'll call you" never came.

I always thought that my emotional rock bottom in the relationship area came in 1997 when my (younger) brother told me he was going to ask his girlfriend to marry him. My response to him was an admittedly shameful, “Have you lost your mind?”

There were so many things about the situation that I didn’t understand. First, my YOUNGER brother wasn’t supposed to get married BEFORE me, was he? If he does, what does that mean? What does that say to the world about me? Second, I couldn’t believe he was marrying HER. At the time that they met, my brother and I were very close. We were attending the same college, had lunch together every day and somehow the boy who had driven me nuts when we lived under our parents’ roof had turned into a very good friend.

We were close and SHE was butting in. Matt and I would spend hours hanging with one another before they met, now I wasn’t allowed to spend 15 minutes with him before she needed his undivided attention. And now she was going to be around FOREVER? Til death do they part and all that?

(Stay tuned for the rest of the story.)


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