I’ve never wanted to take charge. I always thought I was a better asset to the team by standing on the sidelines as the quiet but attentive observer. Then, I’d digest, process, analyze, evaluate and propose an idea to a more vocal member of the group on the sly. I’d sit there and listen as my idea was presented and discussed, hoping it would catch on. I don’t know why this is. It’s just how it’s always been.
I’ve always deemed myself mediocre and never wanted to be in the spotlight, for fear that I’d muck up what I was trying to say and just like that, the idea would lose it’s wings. Better to have someone more eloquent and engaging to sell the idea, I’d think. That’s not my strong suit. It’s not so much insecurity as it is disinterest with the need to be praised. I guess you could say intrinsic motivation has always gotten the best of me. I’d rather be happy, knowing, quietly, that I had done this, that I had made it happen, than awkwardly explain away the good job I’d done until it dissolved into nothingness. I’ve never wanted to take credit or stand up.
Lately, though, I’ve been reconsidering my position. I’m still not keen on standing in the spotlight, but am realizing, reluctantly, that as a bride, I’m going to have to step up into the light for a bit. The idea would have petrified me five years ago and left me shaking in my boots last year. But finally, I’m starting to grow some hair on my chest (metaphorically, of course) and I’m learning that like it or not, this bride-to-be’s big day is rapidly approaching, so I’d better start getting used to the extra attention.
Slowly, but surely, I’m starting to understand the game, and to get that taking control isn’t a bad thing, especially when I know what I’m doing. I don’t know everything about weddings, which is why it’s great that I can defer to my wonderful wedding planner, but I do know a lot. Let’s just say that over the past year, I’ve done my homework, when it comes to weddings. I know what I want and what I don’t want, and while I waffled about decisions to a painful degree in the beginning and agreed wholeheartedly with every idea I was given, I’ve come a long way, baby. I’ve started to see the fallacy in following the pack. It’s not easier — it’s much more frustrating to try to incorporate ideas that I don’t agree with and frankly, don’t want, just because I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings by saying thanks, but no thanks. Plus, maybe it’s my old age of 28, but I want and know that I deserve respect, and it’s hard to be respected when I don’t let anyone know what I’m capable of.
We see inflated egos everywhere we turn. People are desperate to be recognized for their contribution to, well, whatever they’ve done, even if that accomplishment is entirely self-serving. Humility and pride can and do co-exist. And those in power don’t have to be inept, arrogant blowhards. Do they? I’d contend that thoughtful, considerate and good-hearted leaders are just as able to rise to power and once they do, they can make true and long-lasting changes to the status quo, which serve everyone better, in the long run. It feels weird to make that leap into wedding territory, because the way I’ve “risen to power” for this wedding is because the man of my dreams scrimped and saved to buy me a more gorgeous ring than I could have ever imagined. But, alas, that’s how wedding culture goes, I suppose.
We see the brides who are drunk with power all the time. Everyone knows of at least one “bridezilla,” who made the lives of people she “cared” about hell, just to appease herself. Frankly, I don’t get it. Why would you want to burn bridges with your future in-laws before exchanging “I dos”? Why would you want to ruin friendships with the ones you asked to stand by your side on the biggest day of your life? Is it lack of forethought or is it that one’s true character shines through when stress and money and time and etiquette and bundled up into one massive ball of chaos? I’m pretty sure it’s the latter. And I, for one, am hoping to rise to the occasion — to become that warming and calming force for my loved ones, especially since they’re doing so much to be there for me.
I’ll end with a passage from a remarkable book a friend lent me, called The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran. Written in 1920s Lebanon, this book offers simple and beautiful messages about life, love and loss. Here’s was Gibran’s prophet has to say of good and evil:
“You are good when you are one with yourself.
Yet when you are not one with yourself you are not evil.
For a divided house is not a den of thieves; it is only a divided house.
And a ship without a rudder may wander aimlessly among perilous isles yet sink not to the bottom.
You can good when you strive to give of yourself…
You are good when you are fully awake in your speech,
Yet you are not evil when you sleep while your tongue staggers without purpose.
And even stumbling speech may strengthen a weak tongue.
You are good when you walk to your goal firmly and with bold steps.
Yet you are not evil when you thither limping.
Even those who limp go not backward…
In your longing for your giant self lies your doogness: and that longing is in all of you.
But in some of you that longing is a torrent rushing with might to the sea, carring the secrets of the hillsides and the songs of the forest…”