Monday, May 21, 2018

Why I'm Sad About the Royal Wedding

"Your power to change the world is your power to change your mind about the world." ~Marianne Williamson talking to Oprah

I woke this morning grumpy. Last night's dreams were interrupted by long periods of wakefulness. I've been sick with a stomach flu that won't go away.
But mostly, I'm just angry with the world.
Or rather, angry with MY world.
Because yesterday, I watched clips of the Royal Wedding.
I'm not much of a royal watcher, though I live in the Commonwealth. I wept at Diana's death and became enamoured with her post-mortem.
I periodically watch The Crown.
But mostly, my royal watching is of the "oh, look. The adorable baby prince and princess is on the cover of People" variety.
Until yesterday when I began watching clips of the wedding and couldn't turn away.
Has a groom ever looked at his wife such naked love? Has a wife ever reached for her husband's hand so consistently, as if it's the only thing that will keep her rooted on earth? Has a couple ever been so perfect for one another?
But then...
A wave of sadness.
My own wedding was beautiful. My dress not unlike Meghan Markle's, though significantly less couture.
I woke that sunny morning with the teensiest sense of cold feet. Was I ready for this commitment? Was I absolutely certain?
I fought the unease in my stomach. I've never loved being the center of attention so I attributed some of my discomfort to that.
I knew, though, that I needed to see my husband-to-be. I felt certain that once I could look into his brown eyes and see the love there, that I would be okay.
He, however, was in another town, waiting for the wedding to begin.
He was also fighting the mother of all hangovers, courtesy of a groomsman who had been ordering doubles all night for my mostly tea-totaller of a husband.
But I didn't know that.
I knew only that I needed to see him.
I arrived at the church. Someone cued the organist to begin playing Pachelbel's Canon in D.
With my mother on one side, my father on the other, I walked down the aisle toward my husband who...wouldn't look at me.
I panicked, desperate to catch his eye.
His eyes fixed on the ground.
The stories swirled in my brain. He doesn't want this. He's having second thoughts. Oh god, what am I going to do? Should I do the dirty work and say "no" at the alter and save him from this? From me?
No matter that he had expressed zero doubts about this prior to this moment.
I was convinced that he didn't want to marry me.
I got to him and he took my hand, still refusing to meet my eyes.
I stood there in abject terror that he was going to say no.
What would I do?
The wedding went off without a hitch. When we finally had a moment where I could whisper to him, "why won't you look at me", he whispered back: "I think I'm going to be sick. I drank too much."
When I later got the whole story, I was livid with the friend who did this.
But I also realized that the stories I was telling myself were fiction.
We change the world when we change our minds about the world, Marianne Williamson tells us.
She might be talking about big change, like feeding the hungry and housing the homeless and embracing the disenfranchised. But she's also talking about change on a much more personal level. She's talking about changing the way we perceive the world – as a fundamentally good safe place or a fundamentally unsafe bad place. When we see it as fundamentally good, we keep our hearts open to the beauty of it. When we see it as fundamentally bad, we close our hearts.
Either approach is, of course, a story we tell ourselves. The world has both good and bad. I contain both good and bad. And, I have learned since my wedding day, so does my husband.
In the early days post D-Day, I thought I would never feel joy again. The world had become dark and I expected it to remain so.
It was only when I could change my mind that the world changed for me. The light began to seep through the cracks.
Today, the darkness comes and goes, but mostly goes.
My anger today is, of course, a mask for the sadness I'm feeling about the ways in which my own marriage hasn't lived up to my expectations of it, to my hopes. I've learned the hard way that pushing that sadness away sends it underground until it reappears. As resentment, a lack of self-care, poor sleep.
I'm going to wish the best to the Royal Couple. I'm going to hope that the love they feel for each other on their wedding day continues to grow. I'm going to hope that neither betrays their vows to each other.
And I'm going to let this sadness wash over me until my faith in myself, my husband and my marriage is restored anew.


  1. I avoided all that was the Royal Wedding this weekend. Weddings ... they're a trigger right now for me.

    After looking at phone records in the beginning - I realized that there was some major phone/text conversations around my 14th wedding anniversary both with the OW and another potential OW. What I thought was a perfectly lovely day (we had dinner with our 2 youngest children and spent time as a family) ... nothing elaborate but lovely was jaded by his lack of "being there." I look back and could see it in retrospect but I was in such a state of bliss I didn't at the time.

    In the early days of searching for info on the OW - I came across her wedding video that was posted by her videographer as advertisement. It made me angry. She had a BEAUTIFUL wedding. It was everything that mine was not. And yet, 8 years later she was fucking my husband.

    I hated her. I hated her entire family. I wanted to comment about not retaining those vows. I wanted to do something ... anything ... to let the world know that she failed to keep her end of the bargain.

    I didn't ... afraid that if I did there would be some sort of retaliation. That she might come back and try to steal my husband again.

    Little did I know ... she didn't have to "come back" because she'd never really, truly left.

    My 15 year anniversary is 10 days away. Within a few days of DDay #1, I'd actually suggested that we renew our wedding vows this year if we made it through the storm.

    I don't know. I'm just not really wanting to even celebrate it. I don't feel married. I don't wear my wedding rings ... I struggle with believing that she is finally gone ... or that he hasn't replaced her with someone else and is still being unfaithful ... and with believing him when he says that he's been distracted because he has been laying up at night trying to figure out what to do for this anniversary.

    Yes. The stories we tell ourselves. :) They are a bitch.

  2. What is really sad, I said to myself, it won't last. I attended one wedding after Dday. I found myself reminded of lies and betrayal. Not one of my better days but I put on a good face for my friend.

    1. LLP
      I hear you. I look at every marriage now at the overwhelming love each other has at the altar, only to think - will you have it in you to do the hard stuff in life together forever? So many people aren't resilient enough now a days to deal with the shit life throws at you. Too easy to get out and not have to deal with uncomfortable feelings. Even my kids aren't too keen on getting married as they say "what for?". Very sad world we live in now where opportunities control loyalty.
      Gabby xo

    2. This is one thing that has confused me. As I looked around at my life I knew our marriage was not perfect. But honestly I knew of and still do not know of anyone with a better marriage than us. Even during 10 years of affairs be hidden from me I felt better off than everyone I knew. And I would still say that looking back even knowing what I know now.

      I find in today's society people even in a marriage are so self focused. Everyone I know is either overly absorbed in their kids or if not they are so addicted to their phone.

  3. Thanks for sharing this! You make so much sense of what I have lived through and continue to have these back and forth emotions! We watched the wedding with my mother and I was moved by his obvious love for her and hers for him!

  4. This hits home on so many levels for me! I have felt blah and down about this whole wedding too. For me I was attributing it to what feels like glorification of marriage. We were so much younger but I too felt like we were the only two in the room. We were a team and embarked on so much together. Then I was alone basically keeping the team afloat. For ten years. I see this and I think did we get married too young should we have cut our losses. I continue to focus on the positives in our marriage and my life in general. But I do still feel down and worn down by all of this. I wish I was not so jaded and skeptical about the world.

  5. My h looked at me with so much love on our wedding day, and both of us spent the whole day smiling.

    I still cannot understand what happened to the love that he had for me (for years). Apparently vanished into thin air with no explanation.

    I have been to two weddings since D-Day. The first was absolute torment in that I had to keep a happy 'normal' face while watching the beautiful young couple so filled with joy and hope... which made me feel my loss all the more. During the party, the DJ played the song my h and I had chosen as our first dance. Well-meaning guests and family danced towards me, saying, "oh, that's your song!" I don't know how I managed to dance my way through it. I think I deserve an Oscar.

    The second wedding was easier on me (older couple, less formal surroundings, no family members present) - but I think any reminder we bruised and saddened folks get of trust and happiness is bound to touch our hearts in their most sensitive spot.

    Courage to you all.

  6. I'm going through a down time and the wedding did not help. Nor do Facebook pictures of happy couples so thankful to be celebrating their anniversary with their soul mate. Wasn't helpful when my mother called on Sunday and gushed over all the wedding details. I haven't told her about the affair. Not her fault.

    Just feeling sad. I'm throwing myself into my job because there I feel strong, capable and appreciated. Better times are ahead and this will pass.

  7. Yeah, weddings are hard. Anniversaries are hard. Reminders that our lives are not what we thought they were. is not what we thought it was. Our men are definitely not who we thought they were. We had a love story, and now it is tainted and changed forever.
    That being said...2 years 8 mo after Dday 1, and with the 2nd anniversary of my divorce coming up next month, I am feeling more peaceful. The wedding made me feel a little melancholy, but it wasn’t bad. I enjoyed it. It’s gotten easier.
    This was the primary thought in my head:
    We are socialized to feel like a wedding is an ending, a culmination. Movies, books, etc., so many end with a wedding. Difficult paths have led to the altar, but now you’ve found your love, your partner, your soulmate. Sure, you’re starting a life together, but it will be HEA because love is real. You fought to get there. You made it. No more loneliness, no more searching, you face the world together. The End.
    And that is such a load of horse crap. A wedding is a beginning, it’s barely the start of the story. Everything lies ahead, and it is not moonlight and roses. It is aggravation, misunderstandings, resentments, secrets, financial problems, doubts, boredom, and yes, loneliness. Even in a good marriage. There is companionship and joy, but it comes and goes. Sometimes you go through adversities and you pull it together,you make it through and find great intimacy and contentment - only to have it fall apart again a few years later.
    It’s like the young couple in “Spring Awakening” who face each other and sing of the overwhelming chemistry and fascination between them...but the chorus is:
    “Oh, I’m gonna be wounded,
    Oh, I’m gonna be your wound.
    Oh, I’m gonna bruise you,
    Oh, you’re gonna be my bruise.”

    Yeah, weddings. While I’m glad for their joyous day, I don’t envy them the journey ahead. I’m wishing them luck, I’m praying that they will make it through the “slings and arrows”, and that they will truly be one of the couples that cleave to each other and grow closer. Those couples are not as numerous as you would think. Many who seem happy have secrets rifts and sorrows keeping them apart. Three years ago next month, I was one of those happy couples celebrating my 17th wedding anniversary on social media. I didn’t know I was being betrayed. The day after my 18th anniversary, the divorce was final.
    It all sounds grim, but I say all that to say this: marriage is not a fairy tale, and a conspicuously loving couple does not a happy marriage make. They’ve had a lovely start, but they’ve barely left the starting point. My strongest impulse is to wish them luck, strength, and perseverance for the long journey ahead. They will need it. There is no happy ending. There is only the next chapter, and the chapter after that, and the one after that, indefinitely.

  8. Still Standing 1May 23, 2018 at 5:17 AM

    SS1 part 1
    Elle, thanks so much for sharing your story about your wedding day. It's always interesting to me, when I hear someone's story, how there's always something I identify in it. I just spent an amazing weekend at a leadership academy with the veteran's org I volunteer with. (open to vets and civilians. I'm the later.) Life changing does not even begin to describe it. So challenging and so many people being open and vulnerable. I was able to share some of the things I have learned here, about being patient with yourself, about not needing to know everything right now, just the next right step. And most importantly, how showing up as your real self, no mask, allows others to connect with you and makes it safe for them to do the same. How sharing your story allows others to do the same.
    I was so busy over the weekend that the wedding was, quite literally, background noise. I heard some of the music in the cafeteria as a group were watching it on someone's phone. And I'm kinda glad. Even as someone who identifies as Brit, it has little to do with my life.
    But. The part that I feel and hear with you all, is the sometimes skeptical feeling when observing young couples who think they have it all figured out. Who have yet to weather anything truly difficult (at least between each other, I'm making no assumptions about childhood or mental illness etc etc.) And I remember that that was me and my ex. We were going to do better than our parents. We were going to kick so much relationship ass and nothing was ever going to come between us. And we were both so naive and so wrong.
    As I watch my nephew and his fiance ramp up to their marriage, I have to admit that I feel concern for their longevity as a couple. This was his first long term relationship and they are both young. And his fiance is soo like my sister, in charge of everything, that it probably feels safe and familiar to him, without him being really conscious of it. And my gut tells me that unconsciously repeating childhood pattern sis not a recipe for a lifetime of happiness. However. I don't know her all that well. I don't know how they deal with difficulty. Maybe her parents gave her enough love and validation that they will weather the tough stuff. Also, I gave them a copy of the 5 love languages at their engagement party and told them it was information I wished i'd had decades ago. She cocked an eyebrow at me and asked "did you read it?" and I said "yup, cover to cover.. Its helped me understand what I need (quality time and physical affection) and what my daughter (acts of service) and son (quality time) need." I actually appreciated her skepticism. She had probably been on the receiving end of sooo much fluffy pre-marital advice. And I know she went on to read the book. So I've done something small to support them and will continue to be a friend to their marriage.

  9. Still Standing 1May 23, 2018 at 5:17 AM

    SS1 part 2
    What really resonated with me this week, was the stories you were telling yourself, Elle, as you waited at the altar and about how his shitty affect must be because he was regretting his choice to be there. This is sooo me too. And I had found myself there last week, because I wasn't getting the positive feedback I was wanting and had to sit and be uncomfortable for a long spell. Dating at mid life (or any time really) is not for the faint of heart. But hells bells do you learn a ton about yourself. I was absolutely in a space of why would he want me? I must have imagined his interest (despite piles of evidence to the contrary) and he's just a nice person. he probably talks like that to everyone. Just churning. And, I recognize that all of it, every last doubt still has to do with my sense of worthiness and still struggling with the idea that I am lovable. even though I am tons better about this, certain situations are still a struggle. My guess is that I will always need to be vigilant when it comes to my self talk and being kind, patient and compassionate with me.
    One final thought, and its that I still believe in the power of love. That crazy love those royal kids have when looking at each other? It is not a fixed or permanent point in time. No feeling is final, so why do we expect love to be different? It evolves and changes. Like forgiveness, it is a place I need to pass through over and over, with intention. I know in my own life, there are times when I am or have been absolutely in love with my children. Sometimes they are little assholes. The way I love them now is different than the way I loved them when they were babies. baby love is raw and intense and full. Now my love is full of admiration for the people they are becoming, for their humor and resilience and their struggles and weaknesses. No different than it will be with any significant other.
    I also get how hard it is to fully love someone who has done so much harm, hurt us so deeply. Thinking of my mom. Some days I don't feel like I love her at all. other days I feel compassion and sadness that she never found herself. It's hard to be fully loving with someone who is not sorry. If she had fixed it, beaten the bottle, even once acknowledged the harm, I think I'd be more open to loving her. Food for thought.

  10. I haven't posted anything for a very long time, but continue to read religiously!

    The royal wedding itself did not bother me in the least. I watched bits and pieces of the grand event. It didn't bother me a bit.

    I am almost at the 4 yr mark of b-day, actually, just days away. My moment of sadness came in October when our daughter married. That was one of the toughest events to deal with. As happy as we were for her and her now husband, I of course was miserable at times. Hopeful that he will never do what her father did to me!!

    To complicate matters during the week leading up to the wedding, there was an accident. I received a message from my husband, asking how my day was, just usual conversation. And then he said I need to tell you something and I want you to hear it from me...the OW was killed in a car accident on the Monday before our daughters wedding. He found out Wednesday from former co workers who had no idea of the affair.

    What a plethora of emotions. As I explained to one friend, the closure, the fact that I never had to worry about her again. Then the guilt that I was almost happy, and the tears because there she was again in death.

    As my husband and I ran errands leading up to the wedding, I would see messages pop up on his phone, and at one point I completely list it. He wasn't hiding any of it from me, but as I said to him, it was a flashback of it all happening. I asked him how it made him feel. He said of course it was upsetting, but not the way I thought. It brought up the hurt he caused our family. We were both sad for her children. But talking about it got me through it, his honesty and not hiding it from me.

    There were a few tense moments, but it was a wonderful wedding. His speech was moving, his words of wisdom...we cried, the whole room cried, we laughed. It was an amazing experience. But the first wedding after b-day, definitely tough!!

    Rachelle ❤

  11. I wasn’t able to watch it and haven’t had much time to review any pics except a few. I did think of Diana this past weekend when they shared a pic of her day. As big of a to-do that all was back on her day, it was a very sad day for her. Just days prior she got the shock of him buying Camilla a gift and the betrayal pretty much unfolded. She was trapped at that point. If you read about it now, it really was her worst day ever. She had to put on a smile and go in public for all to see. She was crushed and so began her downward spiral. I have a hard time respecting Charles.



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