I’ve had some weird nightmares lately, which I think are a result of stress and a feeling of displacement from not being in my own apartment yet (tomorrow is moving day!).
There was a weird one a couple nights ago where I was being chased by a monster from an episode of Angel. On the one hand, major props to the show for creating something that stuck with my subconscious like that. On the other hand, nightmares suck.
Last night was another wedding-related one. I’ve had the ones where I forget my dress, where everyone shows up on the wrong day and we don’t have anything, where the vendors don’t show up, where my man of honor tells me the morning of the wedding that he’s still in Ohio and didn’t want to come to the wedding anyway (so not true, he totally wants to be there). Last night’s was more of a cautionary tale, surprisingly.
I was dreaming that I was in attendance at a wedding, but I didn’t recognize the bride or groom. The bride was pretty sloshed and got up in front of everyone and started talking about random things, like what flavor gelato was going to be released next, and why that’s important. And in my dream, I zoomed in on her appearance. Her hair was disheveled, her makeup wasn’t crisp anymore, she really looked drunk and ridiculous. And I thought about how I hoped her bridesmaids were in better shape, because they needed to clean her up before more pictures could be taken. And I thought about how I desperately didn’t want to be that bride. I want to look good on my wedding day. I want to not get so drunk that I embarrass myself, but I want to be able to drink with friends and family and have a good time. I want my hair to stay looking nice, and my makeup to still look flawless at the end of the night.
Most people who know me would probably say that I’m low-maintenance. I don’t usually wear makeup, I like to play video games and watch action movies, and my favorite outfit (and fiance’s favorite outfit for me, too) is yoga/pajama pants and a hoodie. But a wedding day is special, and I want mine to be beautiful and elegant and cheerful and fun.
I struggled with that for a while, because there are so many conflicting ideas out there about what it means to be a woman and a feminist. To some, I’m “betraying the cause” when I care too much about my appearance, or want to wear a frilly princess gown or tiara of some sort. It was a huge internal struggle, deciding whether or not to hire a professional makeup artist for the big day. And it doesn’t have to be like that. I don’t need to face shaming for wanting what is “girly” or “feminine” or “dreamy.” I grew up on Disney princesses, and I damn well want to be treated like one on my wedding day. It’s that transition from daddy’s little girl (princess) to mother of her own family unit (queen). And if I want to look like I’m going to a coronation, I damn well will.
There are other things at play, here. Why some women don’t like the word feminist. Society’s idea of gender roles in a relationship and the modern push against more traditional ones. Whether makeup is a force of great good or terrible evil. Tradition vs. offbeat and what it means to want a mix of both. What it all boils down to, really, is what is said in this article on OffBeat Bride. No shaming, just support. And if we approached all of life like that, the way that tribe members talk to each other on OffBeat Bride’s wonderful forums, well, the world would be a much better place.
So maybe it’s silly for me to have cautionary nightmares about problems with my appearance on my wedding day. But I’m allowed to care about whatever I want to care about. And at least I can relax, knowing that most of my exposure to wedding culture has been filtered through OffBeat Bride‘s wonderful policy of acceptance and support. They’re the reason I’m not really worried about how much I weigh on wedding day. They’re the reason I’m going to feel beautiful and glowing and happy in my own skin, trusting that the makeup is enhancing what is already there, not turning me into something else.