Yesterday I had a bridal shower. I know that seems kind of strange considering I eloped almost a year ago now. It also seems strange because anyone who knows me probably has heard me either say “what’s a bridal shower?” or, sometime later, “I don’t want a bridal shower.”
The thing is, I’ve done a pretty solid job at convincing myself that I don’t want a lot of things, because I’ve convinced myself I don’t deserve them. I would be lying if I said that I truly think I’ve gone through life being the best human being I can be. I’ve worked really hard, I have a lot of accomplishments, but I don’t think I’ve been very kind. At least not to the best of my ability.
For me, and I’m sure many others (especially women), I think it is much easier to hide in the shadows, and say things like “it doesn’t matter”, “I’m fine”, “it’s not a big deal”. Truth be told, I’m not much of an attention seeker in the “bridal” way- I get flustered and awkward easily, I’m not the best at small talk, and I hate getting my picture taken because I always end up with Forest Whitaker eye. But I’ve dismissed all of those “big” moments, because I assured myself that no one cared. Why would anyone want to watch me open presents?
So when my Mother-In-Law brought up a “shower”, I was pretty on the fence. As the process started to roll along, my stomach was in knots. I could see the invite list growing with people I barely knew, and a part of me felt foolish for even inviting the people in my little world. Why do I deserve a shower? I married a guy I only knew for 2 months and I didn’t even include anyone in the wedding. Almost everyone I invited has had some type of event (birthday, graduation, shower, wedding, etc.) that they invited me to that I just didn’t even attend. I played myself down. I tried to get out of the registry. Then I searched for bargain registry items. I apologized for my little existence.
I’ve spent a fair amount of my life keeping people at arm’s length, talking too harshly, making mean jokes, staying at home…to avoid any type of fear or hurt, or slight confirmation that I am worth less than I even I think I am.
So when, yesterday, on the hottest day EVER, 30+ friends, family, and a ton of strangers came to me with pure kindness, I was shocked. My friend Alison literally checked on me every hour, ironed my dress, held my favorite lipstick in her pocket, wrote down all of my gifts, and drove me home. With a smile on her face. I’ve barely known Alison for two years, and I’ve never done anything for her.
I’m nothing like my husband’s family- they are classy and patient and religious and generous. I’m just a girl with a loud mouth who really loves their son. But they were so nice to me.
My very pregnant friend from high school took the time to hand draw a picture of Aleks and I and put it in a frame. Who does that?
I woke up this morning at 6 am and cried for a while in bed. I wasn’t sad, my heart was just so open and vulnerable after an entire day of pure sweetness that was shown to little me. I never thought that I would have this life. I cursed and pushed and cut out plenty of people for 25 years to almost guarantee that I would not have this life.
I feel like I need to sleep for 2 days, hug my husband for 2 hours, and spend the next 2 years thanking everyone who was there yesterday. I don’t know why you all love me, I don’t know what I did. But my heart is really open and full, and as scary as that is, I will do my best to keep it that way.
Thank you to everyone who has given me so many chances to be a better person.