Friday, November 7, 2008

I don't have any.

Well. One of my co-workers is getting married. She and her guy got together about a month before me and mine, and about a year ago they bought a co-op together, so it's not as if they didn't know it was going to go that way. But the engagement was a surprise - even though the ring was designed after one she found in a magazine and showed him...

Her wedding will basically showcase everything that I am shunning. She will wear a white silk strapless gown; her father will walk her down the aisle, lift her veil, and place her hand into her man's. The ceremony will be held in a Catholic church; the reception will not begin for another two and a half hours. Meal choices will doubtlessly be chicken or fish - or possibly, you know, veal. She's having five bridesmaids (at least), who will wear matching dresses.

And while I do not want any of the above items, while I reject them bodily and in whole, I'm... seething with envy.

Why? Because she has a path. It is clear cut, the ground is smooth and paved, lanterns light her way at every step. Not a doubt need cross her mind beyond: what are my colors? or, birdseed vs. bubbles? Every magazine, every website, every vendor only reinforces her vision. She says, I want X, and the world says, oh wonderful! Which of these nine versions of X would you like to choose? No forging of new paths, no taking the road of most resistance for this girl. Only, closed toe shoes or open?

Restrictive? Perhaps. But infinitely easier than what I'm trying to do. Me? It's more like I'm saying, OK, I want Y. And the world says, oohhhkkkayyyy, well, uhm, we've never heard of Y. Would you like to see our wide variety of X?

Me, I'm adrift in a sea of indecision. A path? I can't even find land. The long engagement may have been a really bad idea for me: that much more time to freak out and change my mind and doubt myself. This just feels like everything else I've ever undertaken: I'm looking around desperately for something to guide me, tell me "here's how you do it! here's your range of options!", and as usual, there simply isn't anything. There's just me, making it up as I go along and hoping it works out. It's high school, college, career, and relationships all over again - only this time it has to look like a big pretty party at the end... but you know, no pressure or anything.

This week there have been many crises. There was the "I'll never find a cake baker" crisis, the "I need to stop eating entirely because I'm a fat cow and I'll never fit into a dress" crisis, the "how will we find dresses for the honor attendants that the girls like and that don't clash with the dress that I'll never be able to buy because I'm too fat" crisis, the "we can't afford this goddamn wedding no way no how" crisis. Oh, the fun times.

I keep going through waves of this. I'm hoping I'll stop eventually - once I realize that there's nothing wrong with the way I want to do things, and that I'm fully capable of pulling this thing off. I'd like to think they're coming less frequently, and not getting as bad and not lasting as long, but it's hard to say when you're on the inside.

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

What most people don't understand about that poem is that the whole point is that he never could have taken the the first road to start with: it only seems like a choice. He is who he is, and he's come to terms with that. Ah, Mr. Frost, will you return from the grave and give me a lesson?

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