woeful was the wedding
The most-recent family wedding that I recall with untrammeled delight… occurred in 1983. (There was at least one really good one circa 1981, and another pretty good one in 1986.)
I could not come close to completely enjoying myself for my sister’s wedding (1991), nor my brother’s (1993).
My own wedding was pretty awful (1993).
Getting snubbed by a tableful of cousins happened at a 1996 wedding. (Never able to determine why that happened either.)
K1’s wedding (2007) was the best of the lot, by miles. But… I felt I had to keep away from almost everybody, “to avoid trouble”, when it’s not me who created the trouble.
K2’s wedding (2008) had one or two good points. I was actually just a guest, not really a “member of the family” anymore, and that was liberating in a lot of ways. I still kept myself apart, that time because… my entire extended family were strangers to me. Therefore, if I seek them out, what if they snub me in front of everyone? Let’s not risk it.
But the wedding that I got angry over Thursday was P’s wedding (1986). Why is that one “unresolved” (presumably)?
Well, I made some really terrible choices.
I should have stayed home.
I shouldn’t have told everyone at my job the elaborate web of lies about why I “had to be there”. Not because lying is wrong, but because those particular lies sliced my heart to shreds every time I uttered them. Captain Awkward says something about how you don’t win prizes for “suffering the most” — I wish I’d understood that a lot sooner.
Not only did I not “have to be there”, but no one cared that I was there, when I did arrive. I actually wondered if I might be invisible somehow, as almost no one seemed to see me, that whole weekend. I moped around, looking for someone, anyone, to be happy that I’d made all that effort… no one was.
I should have avoided my sister and JM at all costs. They could see me, and they poked me with sticks every chance they got.
I should have avoided my mother.
Or maybe, I should’ve made some kind of scene.
Captain Awkward advocates making a scene when people are being assholes to you. Let people stare, or gasp; let your silence, when you don’t “smooth things over”, become awkward.
What dress did I wear to P’s wedding? I have no recollection at all. I do remember I felt ugly, and like an elephant. I tried to “enjoy” myself anyway. I also drank at the reception; it softened the edges.
Extended-family parties, when I was a kid… after an hour or two of being bored stiff, I’d go hide under the coats in whatever bedroom they were in. Sometimes fall asleep. Hardly anyone ever noticed that they hadn’t seen me in hours.
Or I’d go off with a book, in the quietest, emptiest corner I could find.
Sometimes I would still have panic attacks, but I didn’t know that’s what they were. I just knew I was frantic with desperation to not be there at all, but there was no way to escape, so I had to bear things as best as I could until my parents felt like leaving.
None of my close relatives ever wanted to talk to me. (Sometimes I lucked out with someone’s elderly in-law.)
It’s probably a wedding, in particular, that’s jabbing me the way it is… because that thing I intended to do at the end of March was… “marry myself and The World”. I was going to, well, will (at some point) have a ceremony and a reception and maybe even a honeymoon.
I can supply flowers and decorations and food and drink. And a venue.
What I can’t supply is a community of human people who want to spend time with me. Celebrate with me.
No celebration… in my entire life…
If it was “about me”, it was terrible, and probably humiliating.
If it was “about other people”, no one wanted me there.
I have this poem that I can’t finish, and can’t revise or rewrite, because I don’t have any frame of reference for a party… for me… that I enjoyed being at. And yet, if I could have rewritten it, I was going to use what I rewrote as a model for marrying myself.
Populating a “wedding party” with imaginary friends… I can’t even do that, because I can’t imagine people wanting to spend time celebrating with me. It’s never happened, so my imagination has nothing to work with.
What does “human social” joy feel like? I don’t know.
Almost always, joy, for me, is “nonhuman social” (but “human solitude”).
Maybe I can’t really have (human) friends, who would celebrate with me/for me, at all. Maybe that’s functionally impossible.
What I can do, though, is try to locate individual elements that a wedding celebration might include. Assembling them all at the same time and location? Maybe not a priority. I definitely don’t like (or excel at) wrangling with logistics.
How could a joyful ceremony be customized for just one (human) participant?
If I feel something once, I can feel it again. So how can I feel joy, and celebrate, me?