Having an imagination is a wonderful thing. It got me through a somewhat lonely childhood, turned me into an avid reader, and a passably good writer. (The latter is still up for debate.) Having an imagination is also a very terrible thing. Having an imagination that has had years of unrealistic portrayals of romance in books, music, movies, and yes, even commercials, is an even worse thing.
That is my imagination.
My imagination has had years, and years, and YEARS of romance saturated influences digging their way in. These influences planted seeds of, often unattainable, portrayals of love in my head that my imagination then watered and cared for diligently, allowing them to grow into visions of how I wanted courtship and declarations of love and proposals and marriage to be. My imagination created beautiful, romantic, eloquent proposals. My imagination created chic, rustic weddings with everyone I know celebrating love into the late hours. My imagination is amalgamation of every “Our big day!” wedding Pinterest board, saccharine rom-com, and tradition we’ve been taught goes along with love and marriage. My imagination is probably not the only one filled with dreams of perfect ivory lace dresses, but that doesn’t make my last year of crazy any less… crazy.
Mr. T and I are going to get married. We’ve known this for quite some time. Our discussions of ‘forever’ came fairly early on and throughout the last year, as our relationship has been tested and strengthened, have only become more of a foregone certainty. One night, about a month in (I told y’all, we hit the together forever stage early), we were at a bar – where ALL important discussions should occur, natch – and we both put it out there. “You’re the one for me.” This is not a direct quote. Remember, we are at a bar, exact wording is a bit fuzzy. But, what wasn’t fuzzy was the agreement that we didn’t need to date forever to figure this out. We were both adults and had been in enough relationships to know yep, this is the one I’m ready to dive into the deep end with. Y’all, I was ELATED. I’m 32 at this point and in a point in my life where I am one million and ten percent ready to have this commitment in my life. I was ready for the wedding, the white picket fence, and the happily ever after. Being in love with someone who was so many of the things I’ve always wanted, and on top of that, ready to move at the same speed as me was enough to set my ‘should we honeymoon in a beach location or in England?’ imagination in motion. I wasn’t quite a woman possessed, but I wasn’t exactly sane either. I was a woman filled with expectations.
My first toe dip into the pool of insanity was Valentine’s weekend. Ewww, gross, who proposes on Valentine’s? So cliché. Yeah, yeah. Whatever. Valentine’s proposals may not exactly be unique, but Mr. T and I were going to be visiting a friend in Sacramento. We had plans to go to vineyards on Valentine’s. Omg. Vineyards. Valentine’s. I’M GETTING ENGAGED! I started making checklists in my head. ‘So if we get engaged in February that’s totally enough time to have the end of September Fall wedding I’ve always dreamed of. We can do engagement photos in the Spring and Fall in London would be perfect!’ This will be the perfect romantic getaway. How could it not happen?!
Well, easily. That’s how it could not happen.
As we were flying back home, sans ring, I told myself it’s fine. And it was. Maybe I had some expectation of a romantic proposal, but we hadn’t really been actively talking about timing of getting married, and, as the non-crazy part of my brain reminded me, we had only been dating for seven months. Sure, we practically lived together and I’d been sporadically dropping hints that I wanted to be Mrs. T, but we’ve got plenty of time, I told myself. Maybe the Fall wedding won’t be in the cards, but maybe that was for the best… because now that means we can have a Spring wedding!
It was probably early April when I further dipped a whole leg into the pool of insanity. We were all settled in our new home and life was really, really good. One day I declared, ‘I think 5/6/17 will be a perfect wedding date.’ Mr. T agreed. Kind of. But also kind of didn’t seem to be paying full attention to me. But I didn’t pay much attention to his not paying attention. No sir. Because I was too busy plotting our new wedding. Swap out Spring engagement pictures for Fall ones, deep purple flowers for a lighter lilac color, and the honeymoon to Paris (because what is better than Springtime in Paris?) and everything can still happen just how I’ve always imagined it. Everything can go exactly how I’ve always planned. If Mr. T would just hurry up and propose already…
We planned a housewarming party for the end of April. Most of my family and a lot of our friends would be there. There would be food and drinks and games. I would find the perfect outfit and be the perfect hostess because surely this was going to be the day he was going to ask me. By now he knows I’ve always thought it was romantic to have friends or family around to share in that moment with you, for them to hear how much you are loved and wanted in someone’s life forever and at the party we’d have a whole house full of them. How could it not happen?!
Well, easily. That’s how it could not happen.
Still, I didn’t let it get to me. The dream wedding I had planned in my head wasn’t for another year, so there was still time for things to go as planned.
The next week we set out to NYC for my 33rd birthday and I belly flopped straight into the pool of insanity. We were going to Jimmy Fallon and seeing a Broadway show and a game at Yankees Stadium. We were going to check out some trendy bars and restaurants and had walks on the High Line and Central Park and across the Brooklyn Bridge planned. It was going to be perfect trip. And by now it wasn’t just me who was thinking I’d come back an engaged women. Friends and family all felt certain of this as well. A vacation and my birthday? How could it not happen?!
Well, easily. That’s how it could not happen.
Except, this time I did let it get to me. We were in a bar (again, because obviously this is where all important discussions should occur) and I made some comment about packing a ring. Mr. T very blatantly told me there was no ring. He was slightly intoxicated at the time, so it didn’t come out in the nicest way. And I was slightly emotional at the time, so I didn’t take it in the best way. I held off for as long as I could, trying and trying to not let everything I’d been expecting since that first discussion of forever nearly nine months ago overwhelm me and send me into a ridiculously unreasonable tantrum. I did pretty well… until we got back to the studio we were staying in. I broke down. I cried and cried and he got frustrated, both of our go to reactions for situations like this, and we finally just went to bed. The rest of the trip was really amazing, but, of course, this was still in the back of my head. But, I didn’t bring it up because how could I tell him what I was upset about? How could I tell him I was upset he wasn’t doing things as I expected he would? That him not doing things as I had imagined made me scared we weren’t on the same page. That the picture in my head I had spent years fostering wasn’t happening how I wanted it to. I couldn’t. I couldn’t tell him those things without him thinking I was absolutely crazy.
Because I was absolutely crazy.
I have a huge problem with things not happening as I’ve imagined and planned for them to. (Refer to my previous post in which I freak out that we’re moving in together but not married or engaged because, once again, that’s not how I’ve always imagined the progression of a relationship happening.) I’m sure I’m not the only person who suffers from this. I’ve spent a lot of time analyzing myself and I know much of this building scenarios in my head and being unreasonably disappointed when those don’t come to fruition is because of my need for control in my life. Planning how events in my life would happen over the years was my way of controlling a life that often felt out of control when I was younger. Imaging how things would be perfect in the future was an easy way to escape periods of my life that were very far from perfect. And it’s hard to break away from those ideas of perfection. Those expectations. It can be difficult to let go and not be in control of how things happen. It’s difficult to not let the expectations make you feel unsatisfied when you compare your life to how you imagined your it would look years ago.
Now, since Mr. T read my posts, I should take the time to, once again, say that I was never disappointed in him not doing things “quickly enough.” We did eventually talk through all of this (although I’m not sure he knew just how crazy and extensive my imaginations were… If I haven’t scared him away yet, I’m pretty sure he can handle it though.) and I tried to give him insight into the deep, dark cave that is my brain. To let him know my mini meltdown wasn’t from disappointment, it was from being faced with the fact that there are things I just can’t control (a lesson I actually learned long ago, but keep relearning over and over again). It was the process of letting go of the ideas my imagination had spent years and years creating. Ideas that were never actually realistic because they never included the most important part – him. Things I planned years ago didn’t factor in how my life would change over the years. How some things that were pinned to my Pinterest board imagination would become less important as the relationship with the person I was ready to spend my life with became more important.
So, it is now August. One year from when we first discussed ‘forever’. We still are not engaged…. Except, we kind of are. There hasn’t been a proposal, there’s no ring, we aren’t “Facebook official”, and things are definitely not going in the order I always expected they would go, but we have a date set. I have a dress. We have a honeymoon. We have a countdown. And most importantly, we have a lot of excitement for our future. And, no, this non-traditional reality is never how I pictured it when those seeds were first planted in my imagination. It’s better. Because it’s now it’s not about making sure things meet those expectations I created years ago. It’s just about me and him and forever.