In the academic span from pre-school through college, there are only a handful of lessons that really stand out.
The Native American’s that visited my pre-school and gave me my “Indian” name, “Shining Branch.” There was my fourth grade teacher, Mr. Pruhdomme, who gave us science notebooks for sketching amoebas and other life forms that floated in jars of formaldehyde in our classroom. Fast forward to the college years, and there was a fascinating “Female Sexuality” course and Steve Yarbrough’s Short Story Fiction class.
But perhaps nothing made such an impact as the little “home-ec” elective I took my senior year in high school. I was no longer sitting among my typical college-track peers. This class was called “On Your Own” and a lot of the students were going on to join the work force right after high school graduation. Mrs. Rasmussen made sure she touched on all the basics. We learned simple cooking, how to write checks, got a little sex education, and we were given an assignment with two choices: have a “baby” or plan a wedding.
I embraced the wedding project with great enthusiasm. At the time, I was dreaming of happily-ever-after with my boyfriend. To me, there was nothing more “real life” than getting a trial run at what I thought would be my inevitable experience only a few short years away.
There was no Pinterest then. I used real magazines, scissors and glue, collaging bridesmaid’s dresses and flowers. I hunted for flatware and dish patterns for the registry. And of course, got to choose my dream wedding dress.
But somewhere in the couple of weeks we had to complete the assignment, I lost momentum. This wedding planning stuff was exhausting, virtual or not. Perhaps it was the fact that there were so many phone-book sized magazines to peruse with almost nothing that I liked. Options seemed limited and I never thought to break out of the mold – sketch my own dress or create my own unique pattern for my flatware.
All I remember is feeling completely spent by project’s end. All wedding enthusiasm had subsided. I never wanted to look at another formal dress again. My wedding planning experience had been had, and though I still wanted my real-life chance to walk down the aisle, I had no desire to be involved in the fanfare required to make the festivities happen. By the age of 17, any bridezilla within had been exorcised.
Twenty years later, it appears as though there is some sort of gathering in love to arrange. There is going to be a wedding and I am the bride. You see I’m still digesting this.
And I’m noticing there is a momentum around a wedding. Like moths to a flame, people move closer to love. They jump up and down and shout “Holy Shit! I’m so excited for you!” when you tell them. Or simply say “I’m there!” before getting an invitation.
I love that they love it. I love it too. And I love that they want to be there to share it. But I’m having flashbacks to that high school wedding collage. I’m swirled in mixed emotions – enjoying the artistic fun of shaping a beautiful day to remember, and intimidated by the knowledge that even a simple ceremony can quickly take over your life for months of preparation.
So I watch myself, laugh and try to breathe. Don’t fully admit to the Bohemian that I’ve started a Pinterest board (which I thought was private to me but it appears as though friends have found it and are now following me. Good God!). It’s my Barefoot Bohemian Wedding board, with a just a few clips of table settings, a couple of wedding dresses, and a cool handmade paper invitation. Oh boy. I see how this can start.
But I tell myself to just enjoy. I’m no longer stuck within the confining pages of Bride magazine. We can make this how we want. Keep the focus grounded in what it’s all about. Love. And all it’s brilliance. Here for everyone. Here to share.
No one’s left out. Not even bridezilla. So I’ll send her a little love, too.