When I was 11 years old my Father frantically called my Mother and I from the kitchen (where we were making his favourite meal, cottage pie, for probably the third time that week) to the television. He introduced us to a revolutionary new program called the Oprah Winfrey Show. I can’t remember what the topic was, or why it was so relevant, but this lady had it going on! I never forgot seeing Oprah on TV for the first time.
When I was 16 years old I got expelled from boarding school and my Mother had to leave my Dad in Namibia, to move to Cape Town, to look after me. We fought like cats and dogs. I wasn’t accepting that someone, who was perfectly within her right to be ‘bossing me about’, was telling me what to do! As far I was concerned, I had been in boarding school from the age of 12 taking “perfectly good care” of myself.
In Matric we moved in with my brother and we would spend afternoons watching Oprah together every day at 5pm. I was so annoyed when they moved the show to 4:30pm and I’d have to catch the rerun at 11pm! As it were, in the end, getting expelled made our relationship because we became best friends.
When my Mom went back to Namibia I continued to watch Oprah and for many years she taught me many lessons. One particular episode was about women and stress. Mothers spoke about struggling to cope with motherhood, working women struggling to balance work/life. I learnt about “me time”, which only makes real sense to me now. Their conclusion was that you just can’t do it all. I remember thinking at the time, ‘I’m not going to be like these women. I’m going to be better than these women. I’m going to do it all. I’m going to be the ‘best version of myself” and conquer the world.
And so far so good! I have a great job, I work on weekends, I blog, I have a lovely relationship, an awesome family and wonderful friends. Life’s peachy!
Last year Mr John and I decided to get engaged. We really want to travel to Europe before settling down, having kids and doing that whole vibe. Now seemed the perfect time. I thought to myself, and I said to my Mom, “We’re not going to fight. I don’t see why families get torn apart over table decor or why people fall out, it’s silly! We’ll be fine.”
Over the last 4 months I’ve been the most unhappy than I have been in years and years and YEARS! I almost can’t remember the last time I was this sad. Organising a wedding is stressful. They always say that. But, like the day I watched Oprah, I thought to myself, “I’m not going to be like those women. I’m not going to fall apart or complain or struggle or fail. I’m going to own it. I’m going to be the woman who does it all.” I’ve been wrong. And not only have I been wrong, I’ve been SO SO SO SO SO wrong.
I thought people who couldn’t juggle things were weak, I thought they were disorganised, lacked ambition, didn’t work hard enough, didn’t push hard enough. EISH. Naivety at its best I suppose.
So why DO people fight? Why ARE weddings so stressful? There are many, many reasons, but mine include:
- You expect your family to deal with things in one way, they deal with it another. Tension!
- Mental capacity – there’s literally only so much you can do in a day. Work hard then go home and work harder, eventually = meltdown. In my case, meltdowns x 10.
- Incompetent organisers – you won’t believe their talent to make work!
- Poor service providers – expect to do their work if you want any results.
- Work stress – I was recently given a new role at work that I LOVE but has required A LOT of work. It’s been tough trying to play catch up there and still organise a wedding.
- You start to handle things badly when the stress gets to you.
- When you handle things badly and it hurts the people around you.
- When you handle things badly, you left yourself down. A LOT.
- You think, “Oh I’ll just rush home and tell Mr John about how badly this company has handled this” until a simple moan becomes a daily occurrence.
Some of the service providers have been truly terrible to work with, and the shock of that almost puts a spell on you as you ream from trying to understand it all. Really! I know I sound mad, but it can actually blow your mind how inefficient some people can be! (Even now I’m doubting myself and thinking, “A master never blames his tools”, could I have done better? I swear to the heavens I couldn’t, and can’t do, more than I have during wedding planning!)
My new job role (which I’m SUPER passionate about and I can’t wait to enjoy once I’m back from honeymoon with ZERO external factors), planning a honeymoon to Europe (where everything has to be booked before your visas are approved), planning a wedding, working over weekends to pay for said honeymoon and trying to blog – well you can see THAT’S LONG gone out the window, has JUST. BEEN. TOO. MUCH.
I’m sorry Oprah, and all those women, you were right.
It breaks my heart. It truly breaks my heart. I hear myself speaking to my Mother so badly, ranting to Mr John when I get home about the NEXT thing that’s gone wrong, who is this person? I keep feeling like, this isn’t my heart, this isn’t my soul, this blackness that surrounds me. IT IS NOT WHO I AM IN MY HEART. And you ask yourself FOR WHAT?! I was perfectly happy before I got engaged! Living a beautiful life! This public declaration that’s meant to celebrate love, family, joy, bonds, has lead to me such a shitty version of myself. At this point, all I can say is EISH.
Everyone tells me that it will all be worth it on the day. And, honestly, I still can’t wait to see everyone. That was always my whole ‘point’ and favourite part. I can’t wait to spend the day with the people I love. But at what cost? I 100% question that now.
I’m not telling you what to do. I’m not telling you not to get married or to elope. I’m just saying… I think this is what the Lord of the Rings was all about!!! It pulls the dark side out of you!!! Brace yourself. Weddings are coming.
I hope you will be a better person than I was this time.