I went to two weddings in as many days and as many states. One was the wedding of my dearest friend and the other was of one of my three dearest first cousins (I only have three first cousins). In general, I hate ceremony. I hate manufactured feelings. I hate creeds. I hate dressing up and wearing nice shoes. I hate wedding food.
What made the first wedding different from all other weddings? There were no manufactured feelings. My friend J and I made a toast, we spent about 24 h between rehearsal dinner, failed decoration attempts, babies who refused to sleep (hers), brides getting ready, makeup crises (for which we were terribly unequipped), and thoughts of divorce (mine, but then DP showed up two seconds before the processional). I cried writing it and J cried delivering it. The brides cried while listening to it. Whether DP cried is between him and his God.
I cried through other toasts. I cried when hugging Dearest Friend’s new wife. Over the past year she has become as much a part of my family as Dearest Friend. DP and I drove into the night in order to make wedding 2.
I cried the next morning out of sheer frustration and minor domestic disputes. I cried to see my uncle look so old. I was pleased, however, to see my cousins’ kids look old. They were cute and amazing. I cried on the way home because a) I was so tired and b) I saw my other family for about 2 h, which is just brutal.
In short, I am an emotional fragment of the woman I once was.
But I learned that these stupid events bring family together. I hugged my cousin twice during the whole wedding, but I sat at the table with my second cousin. DP chatted up my oldest sister, and determined that they both get along much better when they are on neutral territory (that is, not our home or hers). My second cousin and I marveled about chosen and biological family. We marveled at all the religion around us. Let’s just say, at the Jewish wedding, we looked the part, but we were both silent through every single bit of prayer.
We talked about religion, upbringing, art, and Audre Lorde. I’ve been reading Sister Outsider, which is blowing my little mind. I thought of this essay through two religious wedding ceremonies. I do not believe in god, but I believe in art. I believe in Audre Lorde’s broad definition of the erotic. I believe in the work that we do when we can, which is less often than we may like. I believe in love. I believe in letting go of small talk and talking about art, intensely, with someone who cares.
Give me a late birthday present. Read that essay. Tell me what you think.