This Saturday we went to a friend’s wedding. And I was reminded that, quite frankly, I’m not a big fan.
Don’t get me wrong. When it’s for someone I know, who I am truly happy for, and I know more than my hubby at the wedding, they can be great! I really enjoyed one of my best friend’s weddings! I loved my brother’s wedding! I absolutely adored my wedding!
But if those requirements aren’t met….really, not my thing.
The wedding itself is all very similar. I go to lots of Catholic weddings, so they’re VERY similar. You are allowed very little flexibility in a Catholic wedding. Which annoys the hell out of me. But that’s a separate issue. Anyway, I enjoy the procession and the actual part where people get married, if I know/like them and they seem happy. Then it just makes me happy :-) But in general, overall, meh, whatever.
Then is the reception. Which can be a lot of fun, if I’m with people I know and like. And can be horrible if I’m not. Remember Social Anxiety Disorder? Yeah, big crowd, schedule out of my control, trapped at a table for awhile with strangers chatting, is enough to send me into an anxiety attack.
This Saturday I went to a friend’s wedding. Someone who was in my college’s honors program a couple years ahead of me, and a female mechanical engineer a couple years ahead of me. Her and her husband work at Boeing like my husband (I would hold back that information…but enough people work at Boeing to populate a small country. So it’s not like that’s a particularly easy way to track me down :P ).
Wedding was a normal, Catholic wedding. I missed the procession, which was sad. It was whatever. I did physical therapy exercises during much of it :P Whatev. It started at 3.
Afterwards, they had us do a Wedding Scramble. A Street Scramble is an intense competition that happens throughout Seattle throughout the year. You race all over, searching for points circled on a map, having to answer questions at each spot that are obvious once you’re there, and get back first. The couple likes to compete in them. Since there was a football game starting at 4 (and Catholic weddings, even the short version they did, are 40 minutes), they had a Wedding Scramble set up for us in the neighborhood around the wedding site so we weren’t all caught in traffic. They did it, too, in their wedding gear and coordinated hot pink and neon blue tennis shoes.
Cute idea! Very personal! Love it!
If you’re going to do something like that….please, please, PLEASE include something in your invitation that says “Bring tennis shoes!” Because that? In heels? Is PAINFUL. I had horrible blisters, all around my feet, by the time we finished. And of course, this is the first wedding I’ve ever been to where I didn’t bring a second pair of shoes. Because my shoes were some I used to wear to work all day, I figured I could sit at a wedding then sit at a reception w/o needing a change. Didn’t count on hilly, rocky intense walking for an hour!
We got to the reception around 5-ish. Dinner at 5:30. (Remember, wedding started at 3. So we’re 2.5 hours in now) My feet are killing me, I can barely walk from the car in. And that’s taking into account the blister pads my hubby got me to cushion the blisters. So, ouch.
We sit at a table of former college friends. Well, my hubby’s former college friends. One from my year. So, basically, strangers, but who I have a vested interest with. (Yes, I realize there’s no reason to have vested interest. I don’t care about these people. But…..it still matters to me, more. And they knew me. I’m not just a random stranger to them. No logical sense, but it matters to me)
And inevitably, the catching up starts.
Did I mention that 5 of us graduated from the mechanical engineering department there? Out of 7 at the table?
Yeah, it was super awesome to have the, “So what are you doing now?” conversation. Person 1: I’m getting my PhD in engineering! Person 2: I’m in the Navy as a Nuclear Engineer! Person 3: I work at Boeing as a stress engineer! ( I didn’t catch Person 4’s answer). Person 5, comp sci, I also work at Boeing! Me…um…I used to be a structural engineer. But…I left. I didn’t get laid off or fired. (Because, somehow, it matters to me that people know that). No, I don’t want to talk about why. Now I’m a dog trainer, some crappy non-“professional” job. Yes, I know it’s really more of a trade. …Yaaaay.
And yes, I like my life better now. But I do miss engineering. I’ve cried over leaving. Repeatedly. Big part of my identity. All of these people knew me as a wildly successful engineering student. The guest in my year (also in my honors program) told me, before he knew what I was doing, that he had considered me the most talented engineer in our entire class. I was good at it.
And…I left. And they wouldn’t get it.
And just having to relive that, having to admit it to people who expect “more” from me, whose opinions I care about more than your average joe (even if inexplicably), to people who are doing what I just can’t do, it killed me.
So I sat there and tried not to fly into a million pieces. I came very, very close to losing control at one point. It’s weird. I don’t know if it’s an anxiety attack or what…it just, really, feels like I’m going to fly apart. No tightness in my test…tightness in my head. I can’t look at anything. I can’t react. I go rigid. Nervous twitching all over (feet tapping, hands clenching, fingers drumming, etc.) I wouldn’t be surprised if I start breathing harder/faster. And I just feel like I’m going to explode, physically and mentally and emotionally. Like I’m going to burst out crying and screaming and flailing my arms, and I’m not going to be able to stop it.
And to someone obsessed with what others think, that kind of display is about the worst thing I can imagine happening in such a case.
Anyway. 5:30, dinner is served.
6:45 I am barely holding on. Photographer comes to take a table shot because we’re all there. So I can’t sneak away. I can’t decline without making a big deal in front of all these people. But I’m honestly not sure I can pull it together and smile without exploding/losing it. I manage to. Hope you can’t tell my teeth are clenched. I immediately run paifully hobble away to breath in the bathroom.
7:15, still nothing has happened except dinner being served. I’ve been sitting with these strangers/former classmates for 2 hours. My feet are in pain, especially when I stand up to, say, go through the buffet line. Or get something to drink. I have nearly lost it once, and left another time to avoid getting close to that point.
And nothing has happened. No cake cutting. No toasts (there are 5 scheduled. ugh). No bouquet toss. No first dance. Hell, no dance floor! So I can’t even leave the table to mingle, because we’re still in limbo…waiting.
It has been 4.25 hours since the wedding started. By 4.25 hours into a wedding, everything is usually done! People are leaving! That’s a long time.
And I had a friend in town I wanted to see.
So we left.
Right before they started toasts.
And I don’t know, but I think weddings might just be generally non-enjoyable for me. It’s like it’s nothing but a social situation that sets me up to fail. Are there people out there who generally enjoy them?
On a side note, blister pads are amazing. Mmmmm, comfy less-painful feet!
On another side note, the friend who was in town? Told us, when we were discussing weddings, that ours was “just about perfect.” Which totally made me smile. ’cause he is NOT one for unfelt compliments!