It’s one of those days that started off just dandy (got some good sleeps!) and went on to be frustrating (stayed late at work!) and ended with some overly emotional responses to normal-life stresses (probably PMS! for real, though!).
It’s one of those days that makes me deeply disappointed — in life’s random and unrandom stressors, in myself for reacting to said stressors like a child, in the unfortunate timing of it all… Cause it’s our last evening before the wedding weekend begins!! Why do I have to be this way. 😦 Why is it so hard for me to just suck it up and be nice despite my mood. 😦 Sorry Mark.
But. Growth Togetherly means that we make mistakes and learn from them. The eve-eve of my wedding, and here I am stressed about condo renovations. Talk about relative worries. I think I’ve just reached the end of my decision-making rope — I don’t know what the Best Thing To Do now is. I’m tired of deciding on things and answering questions on whether to spend how much of our money here or there.
But I say all this in light of the fact that PMS looms dark and gloomy over me (and my general tiredness). And with the reminder that I am well loved, despite myself. See: Evidence #1 — a little link gem I found in the inbox after I got home this evening, in an email titled “to make you smile.” He knows me so well.
Here we come, Friday! We’ll do better tomorrow.
P.S. Last night sleeping in my single-person bed. WAH.
Last Tuesday night prolonged by driving from the DC small group, to Mark’s, then home to Annandale. Last Tuesday night going our separate ways after that little drive through southeast DC, bellies full of Stef-provided treats and hearts full of quiet conviction.
Scott is a man of encouragements. He spent the better part of the closing of our meeting tonight just telling us how much we’ve meant to him, Stef, the group, and how impressed he is with our faithfulness. Stef prayed specificities and generalities over us — for the wedding and for the coming together of two families and for the fitting of the ring over that dang still-swollen finger.
Scott reminded us that they’d seen us through so many stages of relationship life! That they’ve known us as boyfriend-girlfriend, as engagees, and now (soon) as a married couple. WHAT A SPECIAL THING! It felt all the more surreal for me to think about this, because I’ve never had a lot of friends see me through a lot of different life stages. All those moves kept my friendships in neat little truncated blocks in the timeline — childhood-in-Korea friends, elementary school friends, high school friends, etc.
Another thing to note about these last few days of pre-wedding life is that these days are sweet and full of well-wishing people in your life coming out of the woodwork. People who, for sure, care about you on a normal day, too, but they take special care to check in. “How you doing? Anything feeling too crazy??” “Are you putting on enough lip balm?” “How’s that chin pimple??” “Here’s a poem that made me think of you guys; it’s about endings (but also beginnings)” —
On Closing the Apartment of my Grandparents of Blessed Memory
by Robyn Sarah
And then I stood for the last time in that room.
The key was in my hand. I held my ground,
and listened to the quiet that was like a sound,
and saw how the long sun of winter afternoon
fell slantwise on the floorboards, making bloom
the grain in the blond wood. (All that they owned
was once contained here.) At the window moaned
a splinter of wind. I would be going soon.
Last Monday as single people, people! This means that, henceforth, we will be waking each other up on those struggly Monday mornings instead of what we’ve been doing for the past 26 years — just solo struggling.
I packed up 95% of my things out of the basement — slowly but surely, just my style. This move is a lil different from other ones because there isn’t really a home ready and waiting for me. Some boxes will continue to live in storage at JoQuy’s, some boxes are living in storage at the condo, and yet several others are moving over to Mark’s apartment in DC while we live that DC life for a month, awaiting the beauty that lies beneath the surface of our condo, post renovations.
It’s a little bit complicated, but I’m grateful for the fact that we don’t have very many things. Our lives are easy to pack, easy to move, easy to store. The allure of lightness makes me want to buy all our furniture from IKEA so that it’ll be take-apartable whenever we wanted. And I’m not unaware of how lucky we are to have Joe and Quyen who are letting us store some things in their basement, to have Mark’s apartment as a backup home, to have this month’s buffer while we figure out this next giant adulting project that is condo renovations. Seriously. So, so grateful.
Wedding prep in the midst of moving/renovations prep means that sometimes, friends come by your home while you’re packing your evening hours away to drop off things they’re letting you borrow for the wedding, and that you come out to the parking lot and chat with them at their car door while the summer evening wanes around us.
Yena came to drop off the polaroid camera we’ll be using for our guestbook, and we caught up carside about her life, next steps, the wedding preparations, our move — you know, just nbd, normal-life things. I’m a little sad that we didn’t get to hang out forreal forreal to celebrate her last few days in nova, but again, gratitude reigns as I think about what a special friend I have in this girl — girl willing to drive all the way over to MY house to drop off HER special camera that she’s letting me borrow for OUR wedding.
Pulse check on Feelings About Wedding today: I am actually/seriously/finally really excited about the wedding. Craftsy little details are taken care of, borrowed things are borrowed, the piles of wedding things are organized and ready to go. Now all that’s left to do is to trust all the people I’ve delegated pieces to — here ya go, here ya go, here ya go. Please take good care of these chunks. *Insert dancing hamster here cause I’m really just excited to go enjoy the festivities.*
Mark wouldn’t say the same, though — he’s busy contacting contractors and setting up appointments for estimates. Once again…GRATEFUL! He called me on his way home, confessing that he’d been stressed about getting me a gift for our wedding day — to which I said, foggetaboutitt. Let’s just write each other nice letters.
It’s our last Sunday as single people, and we’re sitting at the kitchen table typetypetyping away at our respective little screens as JoQuy watch Games of Thrones on the big screen.
It’s a comfortable routine we’ve gotten into — with more typetypetype than we’d like, as the wedding-planning/condo-buying/renovations-researching to do lists have grown, but a comfortable routine nonetheless. Sundays afternoons are our unofficial hangout hours with Joe and Quyen, as the two couples of us return home from respective Sunday services and post-church lunch dates back home to recharge a lil and ready ourselves for the week ahead.
I make my breakfast smoothies (a tradition that Quyen has gotten in on, too), Mark takes care of his unruly inbox, Quyen preps her lunches for the week, and Joe putzes around doing whatever needs doing around the house. Rogue hangs low and revels in the daytime presence of all four of us at home, a rare occasion in itself.
Living at Joe and Quyen’s these past nineish months has been a lesson in the beauties of commune living. Before moving in, I’d been a little worried about the sharing aspect of my living with them — would it be uncomfortable? awkward? inconvenient? to share living room and kitchen? Would I be too much in their way? Will it be a bother than I’m taking up room in their fridge? — but the sharing has been the best part of living here. The sharing of food, of time, of efforts, of conversations. It makes me appreciate and understand those multigenerational Korean families of old so much better.
When all four of us are home at Joe and Quyen’s, there’s a hustle and bustle in the cooking of dinner, in the doing of the dishes, in the taking care of the laundry that elevates daily mundanity to something a little more festive. Unexpected deliciousness appears on the dinner table (unexpected cause you weren’t necessarily involved in the cooking of said deliciousness), and evening “How was your dayyy” rituals are varied and interesting. After living our lives as four individuals — or even as two couples, as we often do on weekends — we can come together as one unit of several parts and take care of the business of homemaking with much more efficiency than is possible in life as a singleton.
In my apartment on Jefferson Park Avenue, Charlottesville — my very first solo home after as a postgrad adulting person — I remember being amazed at how much time and energy it took to toil against the daily entropy of a home. Dust is falling over your scant furniture all the time, and dirty dishes will pile up against you if you don’t keep an eye on that kitchen sink. Not to mention how much time it takes to go grocery shopping, prep the vegs and things, cook a proper meal, and clean up after yourself. All for the pleasure of eating for like 12 minutes. Independence is not only exhilarating and freeing, but also just time consuming and energy intensive. And lonely at times, of course.
Being, instead, a part of a whole means that you can specialize in the niche of homemaking that you enjoy (or are, fortunately or unfortunately, better endowed in). I’ll do the dishes err day to clean up after Quyen’s delicious cooking, and Mark and I were happy to chip in as free labor when JoQuy started putting down their new hardwood flooring to replace the carpet. We help with the dog-walking when they’re staying out late, and they feed me real food when they see me whip out those ramen packets at dinnertime. The economy of this system boggles my mind — and I think: Thisis how civilizations were built!!!! Cause, seriously, if every person had to live in their own singleton home and keep up with full-time jobs and make dinner for themselves, I dunno how far we would have gotten with society and all. There’s not enough energy (or time) for all that and progress.
And the even more beautiful thing about this whole system is that if you find yourself in a commune with people you love/like/enjoy, home is not only a well-oiled machine of efficiency but a warm place full of good food and company you’re glad to take refuge in.
I knew I had a good thing here when I first moved in, but it’s taken me nine months to articulate exactly why. It’s with bittersweet smiles — and promises of future weekend hangouts — that I close out this one last Sunday, hangin with JoQuy in their living room. They just finished their episode, so the night routine of taking Rogueshi out for his night pee begins — the happy jingle jingle of his collar bids us all a good night.
So many candids, so little time. These are only the July 2017 ones, but someday I gotta do a JoQuy post so they can see (and so I can remember) all the happy moments they had…with their best basement tenant ever ;). Thank you, JoQuy, for being the best upstairs landlords ever. No winky smiley needed there.
Rogue just wants to be a part of things. Just a regular day in our kitchen.
A SEAFOOD BAKE for Quyen’s bday!! Joe and Quyen are the best, most gracious, generousest hosts I know.
The day that Rogue tried a lemon for the first time!
Grilled chezz and tomato soup dinner, paper plates cause we just don’t curr.
Handyman Joe. Even in the face of unparallel hallways, JoQuy never lost their cool.
The oimuchim I made!! Quyen’s garden overflows with produce, so I googled for cucumber recipes one afternoon.
Getting their Game of Thrones on, even in the midst of floor reconstruction surgery.
Getting pretty for the wedding / enjoying some manly whiskey with Joe the whiskey master. Mark is a man of many facets.
The coming together of two individuals in marriage is just one — crucial, but — relatively small facet of two families coming together.
Even when you’re just the catalyst for a storm, you can get caught up in the middle and get quite hurt, tossed to and fro in the fray.
When you’re feeling that distance from your people — impermeable, imperceptible — press in bravely and they just might surprise you with their reaching-out in kind. And remind you that you’re among family indeed.
THINGS I’M LEARNING, STILL:
The impulse to pull away and be cold toward the one I love most when I am hurting comes from a darker place that I’ve been willing to imagine. As God brings us togetherer, so Satan works to separate. Don’t let him win. (“Choose each other. Always choose each other,” she said.)
It doesn’t do any good to tell yourself the victim’s narrative over and over — in fact, it will only make you cry more, probably in public. That song of self-pity is a tempting one to hum sadly to oneself (though loudly enough for people to hear), but it’s not healthy or productive. Or fair.
Speaking of fair: Past hurts, built-up issues, personal sensitivities are not fair. They blow up at inopportune moments and burn innocent victims. If you’ve been hissed at, the only thing you can do is propagation prevention. Make sure the hurt doesn’t go forth and make more victims.
PRAYERS I AM PRAYING:
God, teach us how to be closer to each other through difficulties and hurts. Use these times to teach us what it means to “have each other’s backs” and to “be on the same team.”
God, let my heart be more like yours — in undeserved offenses, let me see the hurting heart. In unfair circumstances, remind me of the grace that you lavish on me. In those dark and stormy corners of my heart that I like to sit in sometimes, back to the world, humming that song of self-pity, show me hope and teach me peace.
God, help us to continue to press into this community you have us in. Let us not miss out on the present for fear or shyness or laziness; let us be open, and give us opportunities to learn from that openness. Keep teaching me about community, God, it’s a fascinating gift you’ve given us on this side of heaven.
Thank you for surprise interventions and people who love us through treats. Thank you for places that are private enough to cry in, public enough to hold hands in. Thank you for being greater, more merciful, more gracious — more light and hope and everything good — than all of my grievances and fears.
Wedding dress shopping is a really interesting phenomenon. The experience of shopping for your Perfect Dress parallels a lot of what they say that your Perfect Romance is supposed to be like.
“Supposed to be” — key words that turn on alarm bells in my head, cause of this season I’m in, you know.
Are you supposed to have that THIS-IS-IT feeling that all the TV show brides-to-be talk about? Are you supposed to cry tears of joy? Are you supposed to ring that bell as you commit to your dress, hoot and holler and make everyone’s heads turn with your choice?
Are you supposed to be flooded with emotion? Are you looking for a tingle in your tummy? Will there be a light bulb moment over your disheveled little head?
I’m skeptical. As I have been, throughout this entire wedding planning process. Just questioning all the “supposed to do’s” and “supposed to be’s” because there are endless ways to spend your money on this single (admittedly, very special,) day.
This high-stakes decisionmaking based on a fleety feeling is also an interesting kind of logic, because, how the heck are you supposed to know what “perfect” feels like, if you’ve never found the perfect wedding dress before? How are you supposed to know what “bridal” feels like, if you’ve never been a bride before? How are you supposed to feel about hemlines and trains when you’ve never ever worn a dress for gettin’ married in before? I don’t have any personal context for any of these questions.
They’re all borrowed ideas, you know. Those ideas in your head of what you think you’re supposed to look and feel like. From TV shows and Pinterest boards and wedding blogs — they hail from all corners of the internet, in loud, ringing voices. But you’ve never actually been here before — it’s totally new territory — so it’s probably an okay thing that you feel awkward and a lil out of place in those expensive white dresses. As a first-time, usually mostly casual kind of gal, my bride-to-be-ness feels a little uncomfortable and discouraging in some of these dresses.
But I totally do get that tingly feeling sometimes while shopping — about the perfect pair of jeans, cuffed to just the right leg length, or a silky dress in mustard yellow. So the feeling itself is real, is attainable. I know that. It must be the context that’s throwing things off.
[Western] Weddings — and all things wedding related — are probably one of the most hyped up of human experiences. They hit that sweet spot of a marketing perfect storm, swirling somewhere between Specialness and Ubiquity — lots of people have them, but all with the hopes of only doing it once. With the exception of wedding planners, you’ll never get to practice enough times to get good at the thing, but there’s incredible pressure for you to present, sometimes to hundreds of guests, a Perfect event.
The only hope, really, is to remember yourself and to remember your main purpose (psst: it’s to get married and to have enough money left over so that you can live life after the wedding day too). And ask, once in a while, along the way:
Who are you, and how do you normally dress? Is that the way you want to present yourself at your wedding, as your normal-days self? Or are you looking for something different?
And, seriously, how do you LOOK in the dress? If ya look good and ya know it, you’ll feel it. (Clap your hands!) And that’s a virtuous cycle, if I’ve ever seen one.
And, of yeah — if you don’t know what it is that looks good on you, try on lots of different silhouettes, cause what your heart leaps at might surprise you. Those feelings are sneaky.
What the heck. What am I doing here. Shopping for wedding dresses. Blogging about the experience. Okay the blogging part, that feels right. Is it still you, ladisonmee?? When did you become a lady who shops for wedding dresses and has feelings about different kinds of white fabric? Life is a mystery.
Had the feeling.
Don’t care that I am a foolish girl; I’m excited for this dress.
Emotional support cred goes to RH on the journeys to and from Annapolis on this drizzly Saturday.