Oh man... where to begin with this... Ugh, in life there are things that you kind of just hope go a certain way. And yes I know I am preacher and advocate of dropping, nay burying your expectations as to be free from the chains of disappointment BUT! as a woman and friend there's some stuff that's a little harder to not have expectations for because you've been envisioning them longer than some things. Well this was one of those things....
Let me set the scene...
You're asleep, like a GOODT sleep. The rising sun starts piercing through the window in your cozy bedroom in Kinsale, Ireland. Yes. KINSALE, IRELAND. You're stirring, happy, at peace, and naturally you roll over and check your phone for the time. But you don't even get to see the time because your attention is immediately drawn to the large photo text notification in center of your screen. You're not sure what you think you see. It's early. Vision's blurry. So you open it..... What you find is a short sweet message from your bestie accompanied by a picture that needs no explanation. Her left hand, a ring on it, and his face blurred in the background.
Now...you KNOW a bestie's engagement is a big deal. You're hyped, you're eager to get started with plans, and in an ideal situation you're THERE!! But that's not even the real issue....To be honest in that moment I couldn't even tell you what the issue was. All I know is that I was speechless. Until I snapchatted our other best friend to confirm what my eyes had seen. ( I couldn't send texts from Ireland.) All the feelings you wouldn't expect to ensue with this news were plaguing me. My stomach was in knots, and while my response back to my newly engaged friend said all the right things. There was a clear dissonance between my head and the physiological response my body was going through... I couldn't explain or understand it, so I just went about my day over 4000 miles away from it all. I remember walking home from town late that night with uncontrollable and nonsensical tears....
Two days later, I was back in Houston.
At this point, I was fresh off my flight, rushing to get ready for a dinner with the two close friends and the newly engaged couple. You'd think by now I'd have gotten over myself and my irrational symptoms. Not quite. I tried incredibly hard to decipher my feelings before dinner. I vented, attempted to reason, and come to a conclusion but it just seemed impossible to do in the time I had. If anything, it only made me more anxious and I knew this dinner was not the place to be in my current emotional state (especially without any answers or inclinations as to what this was about. My friend was happily engaged and she was going to need a better best friend than this.... Not long before dinner, I got a message that the boyfriend/fiancee wasn't going to be able to make dinner after all due to work. There was an immediate and unmistakable sense of relief with that message. Not complete relief but enough, which clued me in to some my emotional stress.
Dinner went, it was nice with enough laughs, and some additional little announcements. By the end of it, I was aware of just how little I had gushed or even spoken. Something told me, she sensed it but I just sort of hoped she chalked it up to jet lag, until I got the opportunity to talk to her...
At this point, I'm sure I seem insane, and maybe even like a shit friend. All feelings I had about myself while I was trying to work this all out, TRUST. The tricky thing about pin pointing the underlying cause of all this stress was distinguishing what exactly I was feeling first. Was it jealousy, anger, fear, concern, disappointment, what? Once I was able to articulate the emotion, I could figure out what it was directed at.
After many talks with my mother, a couple unbiased girlfriends, some time alone to contemplate, and an incredibly relevant episode of Sex and the City... I started to understand. The picture was slowly coming into focus. There was no jealousy, no, but there was some fear and there was definitely some disappointment. I had an expectation, a great one for her life moment, this life moment.
When you or your friend are lucky enough to get engaged or married while your young and hot, you sort of build up this incredible vision. Why? Because no youthful person dreams about their wedding taking place or even being a bridesmaid with a different version of themselves physically. Am I wrong?? And it doesn't end there, you envision the proposal, the showers, the parties, and you imagine that the you are a huge fan of the guy that's lucky enough to have snagged your best friend..... These expectations, I have learned are quite difficult to loosen your grip on.
Before this becomes about me not liking the groom to be, let me say it's not. He's not someone I worry about her being with, or not loving or appreciating her as he should. He's aware of what he has. It is, however, about not knowing him as well as I'd hoped to know the man planning to wed my friend. When you're in college and you're thinking about the future, you think you're going to be able to spend all this time with your friends and their significant others, and that by the time anything real or serious pops off, you'll be able to say:
"I love that guy. I love him for her. He's cool as shit."
(or something like that...)
If we were 40, and well into our lives and careers, you would expect to be a little too busy to know you're bestie's man well. Hell you may not even know she's in a serious relationship. You just might up and get a call to be a bridesmaid from anywhere in the world. But we weren't and aren't 40!!!!! What I felt, was upset. I was sad that even though we were young, she had a life moment 4000 miles away, I was anxious that soon I was going to be at a wedding wondering if it was a good thing, and I was scared of what the future might look like for us because of that. SPI-RA-LING, y'all. I know... My expectations were eating at me, and if I didn't get myself in check it was going to eat up my chance to be the friend I wanted to be to her.
Weeks later, I was back in HTX and I knew I had to talk to her. One because I had to talk to her and two because were having a game night with everyone that night and the groom to be was for sure going to be in attendance. & I needed life to be right before I encountered him so my greetings and "congratulations" would be genuine. Nothing worse than pretending to be cool or happy, and I would be no good at that anyway. And who wants to be the reason game night is hella awkward. hint: Not me. So we met at 8th wonder, grabbed some beers and talked, and talked, and teared up, but then laughed, and talked some more. Rational or pyscho, my feelings, feelings were valid. Feelings in general are valid. The worst thing you can do is not express them or make them known to whoever you feel necessary. You have to SAY SOMETHING to SOMEONE.
I said earlier, I went through multiple channels before even talking to my bestie, because you don't always know immediately why or what you're feeling. And it's hard to articulate your emotions sometimes, but even if I hadn't been able to adequately explain things before meeting her that day, I would have tried anyway. (and that's something because I actually hate not being able to articulate my feelings, so *shrug)
And young or old, life is not yours to bend to even your deepest and greatest of visions. It might suck a bit, make you nervous, or have completely unforeseeable effects/manifestations.... but it'll be alright.
The sooner you accept life has chosen another way than the one you set out for it, the less you'll miss out on.
The Third Voice