Monday, May 5, 2008

There are more things in heaven and earth...

Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

I have been riding a euphoric wave the entire week following my wedding. I would call it strange, since it is unlike any feeling I have ever really known, however, others who have married have assured me that the feeling is natural, normal and should be enjoyed.

So I will.

However, I have been feeling one thing that seems to be more than normal wedded bliss - perhaps extraordinarily so. I feel as though my soul was cleansed, almost like a cosmic re-boot of the spirit. I feel renewed and free, like I have never felt before. I would be tempted to attribute this feeling to my new marriage, but it seems somehow more than that.

I should mention that it is not like me to view the world through rose colored lenses. I am a natural cynic, raised to question everything, taught to not trust the motives of others. I look at life through the eyes of a skeptic, disguised as a realist, and more often than not, I find myself following pessimists down their dark and dour paths. It is not that I choose realism or pessimism, but in the past I have been so deeply hurt by supposed friends, or betrayed by those calling themselves my allies, that somewhere in my subconscious mind I have learned not to trust, and to question everyone and everything.

But lately that just doesn't seem right.

I have to start by stating the obvious: Love is strange. It certainly took me by surprise. To say I wasn't looking for love is a lie; I believe that on some level we all look for love every moment of every day. However, I never really expected to find it. When I did, I didn't expect the enormity of my feelings. I thought this depth of feeling was myth. I was wrong. I am glad I was wrong. Then I didn't think I could feel any more But I do. It seems an unending supply of happiness and emotional connection. It seems like it will overwhelm me at any moment, but it doesn't. I just keep finding new ways to express it.

Perhaps it was that monumental step of committing my life completely to another person, or perhaps realizing that someone wanted to commit his life to mine started this flood of joy. Perhaps I just need to be committed. Whatever it is, it seems like I see love wherever I look now. I felt so much love for my husband that day. I felt so much love surrounding me. I felt love from my family and from my friends. I felt joy from people I had just met and from those I had known a lifetime. I wish I could find a way to bottle this feeling and share it. Or keep it stored away for those cold nights where loneliness seems overwhelming. The best I can do is to try to express it with prose: and if prose is too limiting, with poetry; and if that becomes too small, with song or dance or art. I feel a poor vessel for such beauty.

I had a chance to make some new friends and to renew old friendships over that weekend. Maybe my eyes were opened because of love, maybe because I grew tired of being such a cynic. Whatever the reason, I was able to see and recognize love from others for what felt like the first time in a decade. Did you know that joy can manifest itself physically? It can. I learned that aura is not just something for the new age crowd and can be viewed by anyone whose heart and eyes are open to it. I learned that you can see a bond between two people and recognize its significance. I saw soul mates holding hands, brothers embracing, parents holding children, and friends affirming their friendships with each other. I saw new bonds forming among strangers. I built new connections and strengthened old connections, which, by virtue of my new love, felt reborn.

Sadly, I have learned that there is also a converse to this renewed vision. As obvious as the love between two people can be, it can be as blatantly apparent when there is nothing holding people together. I witnessed that as well. I saw people throw up walls to separate themselves from the joy present that day. I saw people try to force happiness that didn't exist. It made me feel sad for those people. It made me realize that while for me the feelings were overwhelming and cleansing, to some present that day, those feelings were non-existent. I saw people try to force a levity they did not feel. I saw people close themselves off and shut themselves down. As a result they seemed distant and angry and strangely empty.

I try to think back to other moments in time I have witnessed. I have gone to countless weddings of family, friends, and clients. I have always tried to open myself up to share in the joy that these others were feeling. I always thought of it as "borrowed" or somehow "stolen". I never considered that what I was feeling was my own joy, amplified by the moment. I understand that better now. Joy and happiness cannot be borrowed, they have to be in you all along. Perhaps the small romantic part of my soul that refused to give in to the cynic kept that joy alive. Perhaps I was not so pessimistic as I had thought.

In any case, I am beginning to understand that those who so often seem cold or unhappy are so within themselves only. I am beginning to realize that I cannot feel anger toward people who seem unwilling to be happy. It is truly their loss that they could not share in the outpouring of love and surrender themselves completely to it. I have stopped feeling angry and begun to feel sorrow for those seemingly lost souls who felt more empowered by bitterness than by love. I truly hope that they can find some happiness in the weeks and months to come. I hope that they evaluate who they are and where they are in their lives and find something to be thankful for. I hope that they can, each one of them, learn to be happy with themselves. I hope that they find their soul mates, if they haven't already. I hope they find forgiveness if they hold animosity. I hope they find peace, and joy and love in abundance.

I hope they can find their way as I did, and I feel I finally have.

Friday, May 2, 2008

And Another One's Gone And Another One's Gone...

Another one bites the dust...


I had always joked that I would play Another One Bites the Dust at my wedding. Now I have to play it at my funeral instead. You see, my wedding featured more traditional wedding music instead... More traditional wedding music, a little chapel,an ivory dress, flowers...

A klingon...

You thought I was kidding didn't you? Of course I would have a Klingon at my wedding. A Klingon and a Ferengi. A Klingon, a Ferengi, and a Borg... And the reception was at a star port... and my cake featured a Star Trek logo... And the night before I drank something called a "Warp Core Breach" and the rest of the night is a foggy blur, except that I ended up wearing a tiara...

But it was fun.

Of course it was. It was my wedding, and it was everything I had ever wanted a wedding to be. My family was there. Friends were there. Michael's friends were there. Michael's mother still played the marytr and stayed away, but I didn't let that ruin the day. It was touching and memorable and sentimental, and I am deeply deeply in love with my husband. And I have been exceedingly cute about calling him my husband for the past week. I have to assume that eventually this state of newlywed euphoria will wear off, but for the time being it is nice to be cute. And I am not cute.

I originally set out to write about some truly tacky people who decided that our bachelor/bachelorette party wasn't crazy enough for them so they left (after about 20 minutes) to find strippers of their own and have the party the way they felt it should be... Without the bride or groom to be, and acted like we were the bad ones because my BLIND husband didn't want a stipper he couldn't see or that his gay best man couldn't enjoy... and because I don't want some strange man's sweaty balls shoved in my face... Because of that we weren't having a real party, so it was OK to leave. Even though these were my so-called friends and my brother/man of honor... although later on he did apologize and I was able to forgive him.. which is good, because I hate being mad at my brother. The rest of the tacky crowd, however, really hurt my feelings, and had it not been for a few key people, would have completely ruined my night. I have decided, after much soul searching and discussion both with my new husband and others, that they were tacky, that they were wrong, and that I shouldn't waste any more energy on them. Consider the matter dropped.

In fact, it was dropped earlier in the week. I decided that my time was better spent with better people. The only reason I mention the others in this post at all is to better highlight how truly awesome the others at the party and at the wedding were.

So the stripper-seekers (male and female) will remain nameless. (Except my brother, but he did, again, apologize sincerely... So he's OK.) The other's however, deserve mentioning.

First of all, I got to meet Michael's best friend, John, for the very first time in my life. John was an awesome man. I knew I would love him when he knocked on the door to our room, and after Micheal opened it, I didn't hear anything for a few minutes. When I peeked over, they were hugging like long lost brothers. Then John hugged me, and I have to tell you, I immediately trusted him and felt like I had known him forever. He was so warm and open and wonderful. I have never met anyone as honest as he was, right off the bat. He was also protective of Michael, which I loved immediately, because I feel protective of Michael as well. He was so open, infact, that everyone else loved him immediately too. John is going to go down as one of my favorite people ever.

Another one of my favorite people is Amy. Again, Amy is a friend of Michael's from Boulder. She wore a Star Trek Jersey to the wedding which I loved. She engaged everyone in conversation, regardless of who they were. And best of all, she came to my room a couple of hours before the wedding to help me get ready and to help me calm down. She even pressed my dress, helped me put on my shoes when I was shaking so badly I couldn't keep the buckle in my hand, and told me that I was beautiful after my dress was on, and the make up was done and my hair was combed out. Those were all things that my mother should have done, but didn't. These were all things that my brother, god bless him, tried to do, but really couldn't. These were things that I really needed a woman for, and because of Amy, I had one. I told Michael after the wedding was over, that I was going to steal her as my friend now. She was awesome. I hope she reads this and knows it. She saved the day in more ways than she could possibly know.

And then there was Jamie and Bob. Two more of Michael's friends. He refers to Jamie as his adopted little sister, and until I met her, I didn't really understand what he meant. Jamie and her husband Bob were great. Without ever having met me, she was willing to photograph the wedding. And I am a picky beeatch when photos are concerned (especially photos of me... witness my photo to the right. Self-portrait). The few that she has had a chance to send are awesome. I couldn't have done a better job myself. And she worked HARD. I know. I have photographed a number of weddings on my own. She worked hard for no pay and didn't complain. And got along with everyone. And Bob was too cool. I have never really met people like them before. I am glad I got to meet them now. I hope we can keep in touch.

Then there were the Bramlets. Heidi, one of my best friends from High School, and her husband Henry, someone I have known since High School... We had lost touch. Things happen, some good, some bad, mostly indifferent, and we lost touch. Aside from the occasional email, and a once a year (maybe) brief contact at a party, we never really talked. Then when I got engaged, my brother spilled the beans before I had a chance to announce it myself and I got a call from a very excited Heidi. So, I invited her and Henry to the wedding. I am so glad that I did. When they got to the bar at the hotel, it was immediately apparent that they were not only happy for us, but that the whole reason they came to Las Vegas was to celebrate with us. They came in, connected with Michael's friends, opened themselves up and were universally loved by everyone there. In fact, I think they may have made friends on their own that weekend. Heidi and I talked almost all night and cried and laughed and talked. They bought me a tiara. They picked up the tab (even for the deadbeats who left the party early two nights in a row)... They showed support. They showed love. They showed a decency that few possess. Getting a chance to reconnect with them made the weekend that much more special.

And then there was Kramies and Rene. Kramies is a musician friend of Michael's. I have to be honest. When I first saw them at the chapel, I didn't think that they could possibly be with our group. They were too cool... When I said that Kramies is a musician, I meant it. He looks like he belongs on an album cover, and Rene looked like a model. And they were the coolest people I had ever met. And some of the nicest. And for a talented guy, Kramies is very modest. Which I found refreshing.

And Christina - another one of my very best friends - came out, despite the fact that she may or may not have a ride back to LA... she came anyway. And Esther and Collin came, even though they are preparing for their own wedding in June, and Esther is trying to finish up Med School. They could only stay for the day, but seeing them was awesome. And they were genuinely happy to be there.

Heck, even my 82 year old grandmother seemed happy for us. And I have seen this woman four times in my life...

So, after a lot of thinking, and a fair amount of talking, and a lot of questioning, I have decided that I don't need to waste my time on dour, depressed people who want to make others as miserable as they clearly are. Some people really needed to grow up, and realize that the point of the weekend was celebration. I found the love of my life, which I never thought would happen. I am happier than I have ever been. I wanted everyone to have a great time and to celebrate that feeling of love and togetherness with us. Most people got into the spirit. A few bad eggs could not. They are the ones who missed out.

Henry said one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard on Saturday after the wedding as Michael and I were saying our good-byes... He said (paraphrased, but the sentiment is the same...)"The greatest gift we give is the friendship we bring to the table." That is so true. New friendships were forged that weekend. Michael and I said our vows infront of a room full of people who love us. I sometimes get this dark feeling that no one is there for me. This weekend proved me so very wrong. I am so blessed to have friends like I have, to have Michael, and to have gotten to know his friends. I would like to expand on Henry's thought. The greatest gift we give is not only the friendship we bring, but the openness of our hearts to our friends both new and old. The greatest gift is the ability to love and recognize that love in others.

I hope everyone keeps in touch. I hope I can hold on to this feeling forever. I hope the sour-puss crowd who couldn't join the fun at our wedding finally do grow up and realize that we should turn our attention toward a future forged in hope and we should not dwell on negativity.

So, from a newly married woman, to those friends I have had for a lifetime, and to the friends I made this last weekend and to the friends I haven't met yet, have a wonderful night. Dream pleasant dreams, and may you wake up with hope in the morning that carries you through to the night.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Call me Mrs....

Married at last.

More to come.