i thee dread

the metamorphosis of marriage

I once heard the phrase "don't borrow trouble." The idea is that if you're worrying about things that haven't happened yet, or might not happen at all, you're borrowing potential trouble from your future and turning it into real trouble in your present. Well, I'm borrowing trouble, big time.

I dread weddings and funerals. Specifically, weddings and funerals which my parents might attend. Even more specifically, funerals of relatives that I love, and the weddings of my unmarried siblings. 

Nobody is dying right now, so that pot is sitting cold on the back burner. But the weddings. Oh, god, are there going to be weddings? Brother #3 has a long-term girlfriend. He's had others. Will this one be "the one"?  Will I have to spend thousands of dollars on traveling and hotels and other wedding-related expenses, for a wedding that I don't really want to attend, but feel obligated to? My sister has been with her boyfriend for several years, and more and more lately, I wonder if an engagement announcement will be forthcoming. I told myself, hey, maybe they're just the cohabiting type. Maybe they'll never get married. Maybe they'll break up (sad, wouldn't wish for it, but could happen). Maybe they'll suddenly elope and spare the rest of us the ordeal of a family wedding. If they do have a ceremony, it'll most likely be closer to home, but still, ohhhhh...I don't want to go. Her college graduation was hard enough, but things between my mom and myself have gotten much worse (well, better for me in most ways, but you know what I mean) in the years since then and I Just. Don't. Want. To. Go.

But I will go. She's my sister, and I love her, and her wedding isn't about me or my mom, and I'll suck it up and go and be supportive and happy for her and not let her *know* that I'm sucking it up. I'll bring my kids, because she's their auntie, and they love her, and they should get to be present for the celebrations of people they love.

But I worry.

I worry about having to be near my mom.
I worry that my mom will try to talk to me.
I worry that my mom will try to touch me, or kiss my cheek like she did at another family gathering.
I worry about looking perfect, and not being too fat or too frowsy or too...something.
I worry about having to stand next to her in a receiving line, or sit near her at a table.
I worry about the interactions with relatives that I don't want to see, many of whom may lecture me about burying the hatchet.
I worry about bringing my children.
I worry that my mom will approach my children.
I worry that she will talk to them.
I worry that she will touch them and kiss and hug them.
I worry about whether or not I should allow her to go near them.
I worry that there's no real way to keep her away from my children if they're at the same event.
I worry about maybe telling my kids to stay away from Nona.
I worry that she'll sneak behind my back, when I'm away from them for a moment.
I worry that I'll feel like I want to protect them, and that I'll do something that leads to her causing a scene.
I worry that in the name of not drawing attention to myself during my sister's wedding, that I'll put on too brave a face and subject myself to too much.
I worry about the more-intimate rehearsal dinner, where all of this will be a thousand times harder.

And as of last week, I know that my sister is looking at rings, and that she'd like to have a simple ceremony but that it will at the very least be a small ceremony, not a private elopement, and that she is counting on me being her maid of honor.

And I know that I will go, and bring my children, and act natural, and that it will be really, really hard.

And I worry, and I worry, and I worry. 


  1. Dont go if you worry...you are worth more than that; I have found that my loss is wider as I have had to remove myself from more family than I would have liked to escape their toxic grasp...I am on a new zero tolerance journey...zero tolerance for abuse...when I find myself scared or worry, I look at what the facts are and remove the element producing the fear...this is essential for my healing as I was powerless for most of my life and endured more than a lifetime of their stuff...so, I am finding that I have more grieving to do for losses on the periphery that have been essential to eliminate my risk of more of their abuse.

    Just my 2 cents...you will find your way...we all get to choose how to do this thing.


  2. Little One, We've been raised to worry. Sad to say, but I well remember in my late 20's joking, "If there wasn't something to worry about, I'd FIND something." Because that was my life and it was comfortable in a strange way and no doubt I'd feel more "me" as I had been raised to feel worry and anxiety because my environment trained me to be "on watch" for the most subtle cues.

    Feelings just are. It takes a good long while and re-exposure-if it's NECESSARY-to confront our fears. Look at how you handled the "ambush." Was it scary? Mon Dieu, YES! Our biochemistry and parasympathetic nervous systems have been primed to be on "alert." There are structural changes that take place when we're exposed to these kinds of environments that we experienced from our birth. We have no control over these responses. Yes, I know someone is going to respond regarding Yoga, Deep Breathing Exercises, Mediation etc. I'm not saying these and many other "practices" don't have value-of course they do.

    But when you're starting this journey the lack of confidence combined with fight/flight/Traumatic History aren't helpful, respectfully and IMO. Sometimes you just have to sit with the internal discomfort. The opportunity to confront your fears will present themselves. Having a plan gives you options besides "freeze."

    You responded beautifully to the ambush. IMO, this is the start of mastering your fears.