Category Archives: wedding

Small is fine.

Noah, Shanna, Calli and I spent the morning talking about our upcoming Disney cruise.

I have a surreally privileged life.

All three of them need to update their passports. I’m good for six more years.

Shanna will be Noah’s Best Person. We negotiated for a while about a tux and how sharp Shanna would look. She’s contemplating. Calli wants to be my Best Person. I think that sounds divine.

We think red and blue will be the colors. Outfits maybe kinda sorta Dickens-costume-like so they can be multi-purpose.

It doesn’t really matter if anyone else likes it. Jenny has said she will try to bring her family. I’m barely close to counting on that because Jenny doesn’t bluff. Outside of that I’m not sure that we will have more guests. I don’t think anyone else will be up for paying for it. And it interferes with school.

(But going this week is way the heck cheaper than going during the actual summer break season. And this is our real anniversary. Small is fine.)

I talked to Disney. We are booked for a vow renewal. We have our cruise line details. I’ll talk to a wedding coordinator this week.

We’ve paid deposits. (And insurance in case of cancellation because whoa.)

If Jenny ends up not being able to go I will recover. I’ll be sad and disappointed, but I’ll recover. It’s ridiculously expensive. It is not ok to expect people to hemorrhage that kind of money to prove their love. I do not expect anyone to come with us.

No matter what the four of us are going to have a very good time. I’m very glad I get to hang out with them.

It is weird finding out what living in the walled garden is like. This is what the protected, safe, security feels like. I may not have hoards of people but I have safety, love, and so much privilege.

I feel kind of ashamed of myself for spending this much money like this. I could pay down my mortgage. I could remodel my house. I could donate it to people who actually fucking need the money. Instead I will be a selfish piece of shit and go play on a Disney cruise with my family for my 10th anniversary because I really want to. We will have a lot of fun together.

It will be very relaxing and snuggly and loving.

I even got us a veranda. So we can wake up in the morning and sit outside in our PJs on our veranda above the ocean.

Because we can. Because why not? Because it’s wasteful. Everything is wasteful. I want to. I’m selfish. I’m going to.

It will be so much fun.

You just know that Noah and I will be having sex on that veranda. It’s a way of having semi-privacy on a boat.

That will be fun.

Noah wants to do this. He’s been poking at me for a while. It’s funny that he wants to do it… but really he wants me to do it. It’s not like he’s going to handle details beyond what I force him to handle.

You know what? He’s busy earning the money to fund it. I can be uhm magnanimous about the time division here. Ahem.

Noah treats me like a very expensive pet. It’s both lovely and weird.

I like it.


Not a nice person.

Periodically I see references to the idea that every is a good person from their own point of view. Everyone views themselves as the misunderstood protagonist of their own story. Not me. I think of myself as more like an anti-hero. I am not morally superior. If anything I am inferior.

A long time ago it started to seem to me that being a hero was something that just wasn’t available to people like me. I am certainly a protagonist in my story though I am probably mainly an antagonist in other peoples stories.

As Agatha likes to say, “I can work with that.”

I don’t see a lot of point in working hard to be nice.

If I felt physically threatened I probably wouldn’t call the police I probably would beat the shit out of the person threatening me. I’m not so much with the “lawful good” personality trope.

Ok, the first thing I would do is verbally clear up the fact that this person knows it is a really stupid idea to threaten me. That clears up like 99% of issues without violence.

But it is backed up with the real and serious threat of violence. That means I’m not a nice person. I can work with that.

I’m not going around beating people up for casual insults or for doing things I don’t like. I am too apathetic for such shenanigans.  I will only hurt someone if I believe I must do so for self defense. I have experienced an unusually broad range of conflict from mild verbal to physical fights.

Calli turns four in August. Then we all get to enroll in martial arts. Whee! It will be good for us. Maybe they can teach me more control over my abysmal temper.

The goal isn’t now or ever to be a nice person. I want more control over how and when I am not-nice but that doesn’t mean I want to be a nice person.

What makes someone a “good” person or a “bad” person. Are all soldiers automatically bad because they have the potential to kill? Some of them even have. The ones who do kill people tend to come home totally fucked up.

I’ve never killed anyone. Does that make me a good person? But if someone hurt my babies and I thought the police were going to do nothing… Well I don’t feel real bound by the 10 Commandments anyway.

I’d take that person to the desert. My babies are off limits. The penalty for fucking with them is your life.

Does the fact that I will defend my children make me a good person? If I don’t defend my children am I a good person or a bad person? I would be a non-aggressive person. A passive person.

Mostly I just make sure they aren’t alone with people. Not even for a few minutes. And they know ALL the technical names for their body parts and explicitly that anything covered with panties is *private* and people who touch you there mean you harm when you are a kid.

My kids will not be victims.

And I’m very ok with that meaning that I can’t be a nice person. Ok. No problem. I lost that potential long, long ago anyway. I will be fierce instead.

If I were still trying to be a nice person I think I would be paralyzed with fear. I have too much bad in me that might leak out if I say the wrong thing. I might have to stop talking altogether if I wanted to be “nice”.

The little slice of the world I inhabit isn’t very nice. I think it is funny that so many of these writers know only people who think they are nice. Really? I know a lot of people who would laugh at the idea that they are “nice people”.

My shrink says that people who have had easy lives don’t feel comfortable standing near me and that is a lot of why I know so many people with ridiculous trauma histories. She tries to get me to understand that my view of the world is perhaps a bit skewed.

I know a lot of former childhood prostitutes, male and female. I know a lot of people who have been arrested for violence. I know a lot of rapists. I know a lot of people who beat the shit out of people for fun or money. Not like, mafia beat people up or anything.

I didn’t manage to end up friends with the nice fluffy spank-o-philes who just like a nice spanking. I know the people who want to be cut up with razor blades and long whips and turned completely black and blue from all the terrible bruising.

I broke a bone in a scene and didn’t stop the scene for health care. I stayed tied up for hours. We stayed at the party for a while after the scene before we bothered going to the hospital.

Pain is part of my life in a way it isn’t for most people.

I’ve had two hard pregnancies followed by two hellish labors (One unmedicated for 40 hours the other unmedicated for nine days) and neither was anywhere near as painful as when a large man picked me up by my pectoral muscles and shook me like a dog with a toy.

I thought that feeling was so overwhelming I would completely and totally combust from pain. That is still my personal 11. Nothing has been as painful as that.

And I have pictures from a long and storied relationship before that showing how I worked up to it.

Then the week after the hardest scene ever Noah asked me to marry him. Then things changed.

Let me tell you, there is no way to tell the story of me and Noah without it sounding like a rescue mission. All of these pieces fit together and layer.

My Owner was pretty happy with Noah as a partner for me. He gave me Daddy’s permission to date that nice boy. Even Puppy (a not-nice person I dated in between the times I dated Noah) gave me his blessing when I married Noah.

Pretty much all of my ex’s came to my wedding reception. They were all jolly and happy and very glad to see me with someone who wanted to jump through the hoops they were not fucking interested in jumping through.

I feel lucky. Despite the fact that I am not very nice people still love me. As much as I talk about being a raging asshole… that doesn’t actually come out much any more. It did when I was much younger. It did when I was a kid, a teenager. I had it mostly under control by my twenties and I’m doing really well in my thirties.

think mean thoughts but I mostly keep them to myself. To people I say the nice things I think. I’ve learned better how to filter them at full speed. Like all skills it has taken a lot of practice.

But I’m still not nice. Because if I need to say mean things in order to create the effect I want to create I will fucking well do that and probably not feel bad for more than a few seconds.

I have no problem with being nasty to racists but I’m working on doing it with slightly lower volume because I dislike having my throat hurt from screaming. See, still not nice.

My children are the best mirrors in the world. Children learn to treat you by watching how you treat the world around you. They don’t do what you say they do what you do. I don’t really want my kids to have to deal with the punishments that come with being a screamer. And clearly we are all screamers. So I have to figure out how to change myself.

I can’t get through this by telling them what they must do without changing me first. That really blows.

A friend commented with dismay when his childling heard the definition of rules-lawyering and was happy. “No! Don’t do that!” I encourage my kids to do it. Without yelling. Without pestering.

The pestering rule is kinda my favorite thing. Persistence is awesome! Pestering is annoying. Asking for something more than three times is pestering and then you don’t get to have whatever it is that day.


When my kids ask for something a second time all I have to say is, “That is your second request.”

And they zip up their lips faster than you can say, “Bob’s y’er uncle.”

I get the impression they react pretty much how I react when someone says their version of “You are getting close to a boundary.”

React with glee! They are defining themselves for you! This is a good thing!

When people used to ask me to leave the morning after a pick up I took that as a sign of healthy boundaries and I left happy to know that I hadn’t over stayed my welcome.

I like my house. I like that I am not going to be kicked out. I can make it as weird as I want to. It’s ok. I have permission. I don’t need no fucking permission. Something. Anything. I can do it to my house.

Kind of crazy.

I look at the houses around me and think, “Man we have different aesthetics.” My neighborhood is full of people doing shit to their houses. Some are gentrifying. Some are just doing general maintenance and repairs to the facades they created decades ago. They like the look of it.

My house right now is just one of the shittier ones (from the outside) in the neighborhood. Not quite derelict, but man do we need to do some repainting. Shabby. Not improved upon since the 1950’s.

Meh. I don’t want to spend the money so I ignore it.

We all channel our frustrations in different ways. I have lots of control issues and I’m not a very nice person. Only I can be very nice and very polite and great to talk to.

Isn’t that why sociopaths are so dangerous (not that I’m a sociopath–too much empathy)? They are so charming. I don’t have to be nasty just because I’m not a nice person.

So many layers.

Noah says I’m consistent. I think I have so many special cases that it is weird that he can find consistency.

I think it is much healthier that I now side track onto thinking about home improvement projects rather than sex or being hurt. I know that I will have to make my own status in this life. I inherit nothing positive. People think of me only as a sum of what they can see.

I can get away with whatever I try hard enough to get away with. If I want to have a community I have to go out and fucking meet the people around me and introduce myself and consistently say “Hi” and smile for years.

Having a distinctive yard is helping. “Oh! You did that!” Yup.

Small pond. A very small pond. I want to be a big fish in a very small pond. That’s all I have the spoons for. I know all those other lakes and rivers and oceans exist but they are kinda scary for me. I like my very small pond.

Here everyone walks to the table completely neutral to one another. We have no preconceived associations other than the most gross (meaning large–not necessarily yucky) and general racial and sexual assumptions.

It was just dumb luck. We happened to move to the same neighborhood during the same span of time. Let’s talk.

I have lived here longer than anywhere else in my whole life. I want to know my neighbors the way other people got to get to know their elementary school peers. I want it.

My kids need community. Communities happen when people create them. Just keep doing things.

I’m not a nice person. But I can be quite charming and fun when I put my mind to it. When I try.

This is why I try to limit my time with people to the amount of control I have to give.

I am an angry girl. But I’m not angry with you. And I try hard to differentiate my behavior better than that. You are not a representative sample of your group to be punished for the whole. No one is. No scapegoats here.

We are not a collective. We are a bunch of individuals. That is why change is so hard. It can’t be mass taught or enforced. It has to be lead.

People aren’t willing to dramatically change their opinion in public. That would mean losing face.

Grow the fuck up.


I need to climb out of this cycle. I’m having a hard time. Generally the more I focus on a cycle, the more I feel the desperate need to control my emotions the harder it is. I can only walk out of the main room into a different room to get control over my face and tone of voice so many times before I’m not actually in the main room I’m just hiding in my bedroom so I can cry.

We had a milestone this week. Someone described Shanna as a bitch. It was inevitable and all. She is female and she has strong opinions. I still feel sad. It wasn’t said in an attacking way. Calli keeps biting Shanna. The proposed reason is that it is because Shanna is a bitch to Calli. I…

I compare Shanna to my big sister and I have a hard time with using the word for her. Shanna *is* pushy. She *is* bossy. But when Calli turns around and yells, “You are not the boss of me” Shanna backs off and says, “Oh, you’re right.” Given the interactions I had with my sister I can’t think of Shanna as a bitch. She will have to get a lot more malicious before I will think that fits.

That is like 3% of my fuss today. Maybe only 2%. But it’s there. And it’s a milestone. I like to write those down.

Mostly my fuss isn’t about anything happening. That’s the point. I haven’t had anything really bad happen in a while. Which means that every part of my body is starting to vibrate with anxiety because surely something terrible is going to happen any fucking second.

Who is going to decide that I am too much trouble?

I am looking at the calendar and thinking that I should hibernate through most of November and December. Maybe if I hibernate then people will forget how unpleasant I am and when I come back in the spring people will be bored and lonely and less likely to reject me just because they are tired of my shit.

Sometimes it is very hard knowing that I have to consciously parcel out really small doses of me or people don’t set their own boundaries well until they tell me they don’t want to know me any more.

I tried to explain this to some of the homeschooling moms and I think I upset them. Shit.

I have to keep people on the third tier at a distance or they decide they don’t like me any more. If I try to get too close to people then they don’t want to know me anymore. I have to monitor how annoying or difficult or over-sharing I am being. I have to make sure I don’t overwhelm people because it is all my fault don’t you know. If only I would shut my stupid mouth people wouldn’t have to be so mad at me.

I’m sorry that I’m bad. I’m sorry I hurt people just by talking.

I am really fucking antagonistic when I feel this way. I was at someones house and she said that the kids couldn’t go outside because they were sick. I uhhh challenged that.

I didn’t challenge it because I think she isn’t allowed to set those boundaries. I asked because I have been working really hard on telling my kids the difference between, “I don’t want you to do this for health reasons” and “I don’t want you to do this for various grown up reasons that you don’t care about and I do.” Which is to say that I’m trying to not lie.

I have read a lot that the sick/cold connection is a myth. She clarified that once you are already sick being cold lowers your immune system and makes it harder to get well. Oh. Ok. I don’t think I have read about that part but it seems more or less logical.

People don’t like it when you question what they are saying to their kids like that. But I don’t like feeling lied to. I didn’t like it as a kid and I hate it with the fury of a thousand suns now that I am an adult and I am not subject to the random fucking whims of an adult.

Which isn’t to say that I thought this other mom was lying. But what she said contradicted what I had in my head. I know I am not always right so I asked. My tone of voice was shitty though. I think there must be a nicer way of asking for more information.

I don’t think it helps when I say, “I’m totally ok with telling my kids that I have made an arbitrary decision that them doing ________ would be a lot of work for me so no you are not allowed to do it right now.” Because then it sounds like I think that what other people are saying isn’t acceptable or correct and that isn’t what I mean at all.

Other people are allowed to parent however they see fit. Lots of parents lie to their kids all the fucking time. Sometimes they are just passing on their own inaccurate beliefs so the parent doesn’t feel like they are “lying”. Sometimes the parent knows and doesn’t give a shit.

I don’t think I will ever be good at just shutting up and letting other adults say things without asking questions. I am just that fucking annoying.

So I should stay home, right? I think other people are allowed to do whatever it is that they do. But I ask questions. And I have a really annoying tone of voice. It is way sharper and more confrontational that usual lately. All the self-hatred and denigration I hear in my head all day wears off the closest I have to soft edges. I should be able to ask my questions in polite and neutral ways. I often can’t. I can either sit there silently or I will sound like a fucking bitch.

I’m sorry. It isn’t your fault. It isn’t because I actually think you are a liar. If I were having a more socially suave day I could ask and not piss anyone off. But I’m not socially suave right now. Right now I feel like a mean and hateful monster.

Today we go to a camping wedding. Oh god.

Clearly a lot of people like me. In order to hibernate I have to turn down invitations. I turn down invitations nearly every week because I am fully booked. I can’t go to ____ because someone is coming over in the mid-morning and someone else is coming over in the evening.

But I don’t like me. That kind of trumps everything. I don’t like me much at all. I don’t think I am kind enough. I think I am a hateful, nasty person. I think that even when I haven’t said anything other than “Good morning” and “Good to see you.” I think that someone as unpleasant as me should not be allowed to freely inflict such fucking misery on every one in the world. I should die and make the world a better place.

But clearly other people do not agree with my assessment. Thus the invitations to weddings and birthday parties and other such festivities.

At some point this cycle will shift. I will stop hating myself with such vigor. I will stop hearing a cacophony of screaming voices telling me that I am a stupid bitch and no one likes me and why don’t I just go play with the cars on the freeway already because no one wants me to stay. I hear my mom and my sister and my brothers and my uncle and I don’t know how to make the voices stop.

I don’t have multiple personalities. I have overly strong memory abilities. I am too smart for my own good. I don’t forget things. I remember things so strongly and so clearly that other people are shocked. I can sit down and concentrate hard and tell you about the sequence of events on days that happened when I was two, three, four… I can’t remember every single day of my life with perfect recall but I can remember most of it. Almost all of it. It is all stored somewhere in my database and if I rattle it back and forth I can find what I need.

The problem is when I don’t get to control what is actively replaying. I have all those screens in my head. Luckily when I get into the place of hearing all the screaming this is sans-video. This is just an audio track. Thank goodness for small mercies.

I go back and forth between ringing my hands with “I don’t know what triggers these cycles” and “I’m just like this”. When I feel this way it is hard to understand or believe that I ever feel differently. I have lots of good days though–I objectively know it is true that I go through many days of my life without all the noise and hatred. I know it happens because I can pull out a reel of tape of some other day and replay it and know that the day was fine.

But I can’t find the mute button. I can’t find a volume control. I can’t just decide I want this to stop today. It has to stop on its own.

I used to ask my Owner to beat me when I felt like this. Noah and I have a different relationship. He does give me the occasional spanking (only when I ask very nicely and then wiggle my ass just right) but it isn’t extreme. I think that at this phase of my life I have completely moved the “edge” that I am willing to play at. I no longer need to be the most psychotic bottom in the room. I’m good. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

I feel this way because of chemicals in my brain. I could take more drugs. Ha. I could do other things to disrupt the chemical levels in my brain. I have found few things in life that are more system-wide influential on my hormones than pain.

I believe I am supposed to be in pain. I believe it is the natural result of existing when you are such a piece of shit.

For the record, not all masochists feel like me. Most don’t. I have only met a couple of other people who talk about using bdsm the same way I do to deal with a pervasive sense of low self-esteem. People are masochists for a lot of reasons usually totally unrelated to being abused. The mean voices in your head thing is very non-standard.

Cutting would quiet the voices in my head. It would start other rounds of self-shaming but it would get rid of these voices. These voices want me to be punished. They don’t really care how. They just know that I am bad and should be hurting.

There is a very large part of me that wants to violently fight back. Fuck you. No more hurting me.

I think that is part of the reason that this is so hard to ignore. It makes me so angry that I feel this way about myself all the time. I feel so mad that the people who were supposed to love me and teach me to love myself were instead nasty, hateful people who taught me that I deserve suffering and death.

I don’t feel capable of being a nice person. I feel like that is a ship that has sailed. I am just a mean, nasty bitch. That is just how it works. But I want to be a nice person. I want to be someone who deserves relationships. But I don’t know how to earn them. I don’t know how to be good enough.

I need to just understand that if I am stupid enough to spend a lot of time with someone that there will be problems and eventually the person will want to go away and never talk to me again because I am terrible and mean and bad and annoying. It is appropriate for people to have these boundaries with me. It wouldn’t keep happening if I didn’t deserve it.

I have to keep people at a distance because people have relationships with me to meet needs of their own. I need to not think that relationships are about meeting my needs. My needs are cavernous and beyond the scope of anyone. I need to shut up. Shut up. Shut up you stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid bitch.

I’m not very good at that part.

I really liked that my Owner liked to keep me in a muzzle and hit me a lot. That just seemed appropriate. It was pretty hard for me to be bad in that circumstance. Near as I can tell that was the only period of my life where I didn’t feel like I was on the verge of being punished for being bad.

I was good. I was doing the right things. I was silent when and how he wanted me to be silent. He kept gags in my mouth a lot of the time. He thought it was “hot”. I still have jaw pain. I can’t do it any more. I feel like a failure.

I liked feeling like even if the inner core of my personhood was rotten and disgusting my outer shell could still please someone. Even though I deserve to die I was still amusing and worth keeping around for a bit longer.

No wonder my Owner didn’t want to talk to me about my mental health at all. That was Not His Problem.

Really my mental health isn’t any ones problem but mine. Shut the fuck up already you self-absorbed twat.

I’m afraid that if I stop paying attention and I stop arguing with the voices and I stop trying to figure out how this works that everything will get worse. I’m afraid that if I stop trying to track this that I will lose the ability to tell what is real and what isn’t. I’m afraid that if I stop trying to keep track of the fact that these are irrational voices–unrelated memories just jumping out–that I will believe that this is all that is true in the world. I’m not sure how long I will live if I give in and allow these thoughts to just be “true”.

That antagonistic, “Why did you say that?” That’s why I’m still alive. I know my tone of voice is shitty. I know I “should be” more gentle in my tone. I know. There is no excuse for me treating people badly just because I have mean things in my head. I know. I know. I know.

Do you tell someone with diabetes that everyone else wants donuts for breakfast and if they can’t eat it that is their own fucking problem?

My tone of voice is antagonistic because I am always speaking over hateful voices in my head. I sound so difficult not because I think you are doing something wrong but because I think I am bad. I am so very sorry that there is collateral damage.

Just hide. Don’t talk to any one. But I can’t. There is a wedding to go to. Life just keeps happening whether I am ready or not. And people tell me they want me there. I want to believe them. I want to believe them so much I shake with longing.

I want to not be hated. I want to believe that I am worthy of something other than being hated. But I’m such a bitch. Bitches deserve hatred, right?

The end of a sprint.

The wedding has happened. It was breath taking and wonderful. I got a lot of compliments on my speech so I guess that went well. The girls were the belles of the ball. They were charming, well behaved, and up for fun at every second.

I wish I didn’t leave weddings sobbing. I wish that I didn’t leave and want to go home to my nice private bathroom with a lock on the door and a nice scalpel. I clearly am not someone who deserves to be loved like they do. Clearly I am someone who deserves to be hated.

Let me tell you, no one is singing made up (really quite good and funny) songs about how happy they are to have me in their life. My brother and sister don’t tell people that I am inspirational and their favorite person. My mother and father don’t cry as they tell me how proud of me they are.

I feel like a petty self absorbed piece of shit. I held it together until I left. They don’t need to see me cry. It isn’t their problem.

I am not anyones problem. Well, Noah. He’s nice to me.

Shanna asked why I was crying. Calli asked if I was sad. I said I was sad. I thought about deflecting and just not answering Shanna. Instead I told her, “Because when I go to weddings and see how much the mommies and daddies love their children I feel sad because I am not loved like that. It’s hard. Luckily you will be loved like that.”

Shanna told me at great length that I am loved. I have her and Calli and Daddy. She loves me enough to make up for them.

I wish. I’m going to go cry now.

It doesn’t seem real.

Today was the rehearsal for the wedding I officiate tomorrow. The bride, groom, and both sets of parents took specific trouble to tell me how grateful they are that I am participating in the wedding. They all told me how important I am in the lives of the bride and groom. The bride went off on how I was the only teacher she has ever felt connected to and I have changed her whole life.

I cried.

Sometimes I stop and think about the fact that most of the “great” men and women in history were serious assholes. For example, Paul Revere was a thief. I doubt they taught you that in elementary school.

Maybe I don’t need to die quite yet. I do some good in the world even if I am a complete dick.

I’m nervous and excited and happy. It will be over fast. I just need to show up and do my part and pretend confidence I don’t have. At the end of the day they will be married. I’m so grateful that they want me to be part of this.

Maybe final draft?

Today we get to participate in a modern day fairy tale. When people write love stories about getting to grow up with and marry the right person–they are writing about couples like M&E. Precious few people get it right so young. I have been lucky enough to know these two since almost the beginning of their relationship. I hope you will all bear with me as I ramble at them about the commitment they are making.

In English classes we claim that every story has a beginning, a middle and an end. Does life work that way? No, not really. Life is lived in medias res. What that translates to is “in the middle” and it’s the idea that for every moment in time there is a moment before and a moment after so everything is really in the middle.

Are we here to celebrate the beginning of M and E’s relationship? I submit that the beginning was long ago. This may be a doorway to a new stage but it is not truly the beginning.

This idea of transition is very important. It prompts you to step back and look at your life with perspective. How does a given event impact your life and how do you fit into the world? The world was around long before you and with luck will still be here long after all of us are a memory. How do you fit into this larger tale of humanity?

Marriage has existed as a word in our language for at least 700 years and as a concept it is much older than that. Anthropological records indicate that people have been engaging in monogamous pairings for at least 20,000 years. That’s a long time of people deciding, “Hey I’m sure I like you more than I like any one else.”

In Ancient Rome there were two kinds of marriage the poor people kind where a father deposited his daughter with a groom and they shacked up and the official kind with merging property. The merging of property is what made you someone of status and someone deserving a proper wedding ceremony. From there, a millennium later, the Church of England was kind enough to offer couples a choice between merely “loving and cherishing” their partner or “loving, cherishing, and obeying”; I know which one I would choose.

Marriage has changed a great deal over the multiple millennium that such unions have existed. I feel like we live in an exciting time for marriage. At no point in the past did couples have as much freedom to define their roles as we do right now. You do not need to have a marriage that will make someone else happy or satisfy their needs. You need to have a marriage built on mutual understanding of your unique quirks and desires. No other marriage will look exactly like yours.

In this marriage you are both focused on how you will grow together. You have been together so long that you have a good idea how you want the larger curves of your lives to go. You have already supported one another through transitions from one life stage to another. You have this built in advantage over most people who get married these days.

Do you know how to be happy and how to make goals? The first and most important step is to give and receive love. Check.  After that you sit and carefully think about what area of your life you want to see difference in. Then you try to decide what that area of your life means to you. How do you want it to look? Write all of this down. Then you organize your results. Then review the options for how to change what you don’t like. You can’t just “stop doing” something you have to replace the behavior with something you are moving towards.

We live in one of the most exciting times in all of human history. At no other point in time have humans had the option of changing as dramatically as we will in the next twenty year period. The next twenty years of your life will involve technology that was completely unthinkable even five years ago. Your children will be technology natives. You live in a time and a place where change is happening faster and faster. Being adaptable is one of the most important survival traits our species has to master right now.

Today weddings are about joining in front of family and community. The people who are here with you now are the witnesses for this new marriage and change in your life and your identity. These are the people who will hold you to your promises. In choosing to get married you are consciously saying, “The good of us together as a family needs to come before our individual wants.” That will mean hard choices sometimes. That will mean having to bite your tongue when you are feeling impatient. It will mean needing to learn how to express your wants and needs so that they can be met–if your needs aren’t being met then your family is not actually functioning. No one can be a martyr. I say this to both of you. No martyrs.

Whether what you dislike is your current brand of makeup or your current employer the process is the same. Notice that you are having a whole set of reactions to a situation or trigger. Find a way to make categories as you evaluate. Divide up your thoughts and make them patterns. Eventually it will be clear what you need to do. Maybe you will be yelling at your kids too much. Maybe you will be frustrated by deciding who needs to clean the bathroom. It literally doesn’t matter what part of your life the situation is in. Just do the process.

There will be conflict and unrest in your life. It is as natural as breathing. What will determine your strength of character and the strength of your marriage is how you adapt, how you change. Life is change, Princess, and anyone who tells you different is selling something.

I am standing here because I believe in you. Because I have watched you two support one another through massive life changes with good cheer, love, and kindness. You don’t need a lecture on how to be good to one another—you are already there.

Whenever you feel like you have nothing else to give you have to find a way. You have to ask for help. You have to find love and compassion and generosity no matter how tired you are, no matter how frustrated you are, no matter how angry you are. You are on the precipice of one of the most grueling stages of your life together. You need to treat the next five years as an investment in the next fifty years. The more kind you are to one another during this stage the more happiness, love and generosity you will experience over the whole rest of your life. Be selfish. Think of the future. Be nice to your partner.

It is about finding balance.

If you do not prioritize your needs and talk about them and insist on them being met then you will not get what you need this lifetime. I say this to both of you. If you do not ask for what you need then you will almost certainly not get it. You have to ask. You have to be brave. You have to take risks. You have to say things that scare you and make you feel vulnerable and weak. Otherwise you will not be able to grow as a unit. Vulnerability is part of the whole process.

You also have to say “no”. You have to say, “I wish I could support you in this way because clearly this is a need for you but right now I can’t.” Don’t be sorry or mean when you have boundaries. Just have them. There are reasons we as a species have extended clans and communities. You are not meant to be isolated as a couple deriving all of your support from one another. You must be vulnerable and you must ask for help when you need it. First from your partner and then from other people in your life who can help. They want you to be happy but they can only help meet your needs if they know what they are. (This is not an open invitation for people to meddle. People should only show up to help if you want them to–otherwise it is a boundary incursion.)

Every year on your anniversary you need to sit down together and reflect on how your marriage is progressing. Time will pass–that is inevitable. Growth is not. The only people who can evaluate whether or not you are progressing in the directions you want to progress are the two of you. If you do not stop and consciously take stock you will not be able to determine if you are doing the things that are important to you. Don’t drift through life. Make goals. Make lists of goals for one year away, five years away, ten years away, twenty years away. Make them together and separately. Then check them off one right after another.

M, when you are feeling frustrated and overwhelmed and you aren’t sure how to find more patience you need to close your eyes and think of E laughing. You need to think about how much you want to hear that laughter every day of your life. You want that to be the sound track of your life. You want to make E happy. You want to hear her laugh. As long as you can make E laugh everything will work out ok in the end–right?

E when you feel disrupted and like you don’t know the route forward you need to trust the process. M helps you feel safe. I can tell you right now today that you will not always be safe. M will not always be able to keep you perfectly safe. But you will always be able to return to safety. Within your marriage you have the ability to choose to make your home a place of comfort and calm away from the turbulence of the world. Your home is not about a building it is about the place of safety and love within your heart that you share only with M. As much as you love your parents and your siblings and your children you will always be one flesh with him. Your home will be with him.

Both of you need to consciously balance your own mental health. You need to develop new passions. You must never stagnate. Even when you feel completely overwhelmed because you have too much on your plate, you still need to learn new things every year. You must change. You must grow.

I tell you that the two most important things you must think about as you go forward with marriage is: how to constantly change on a personal level and how to support your partner through all of the dramatic changes that are coming. It is going to be hard for both of you. Both of you will have days that feel so overwhelming that you want to quit.

On those days stop and take deep breaths and remember that you have already spent most of your life loving this person. You have already given so much of yourself that you can never truly sever the bond. No matter what you two are entwined. Doing life as a married couple will be infinitely easier than as former partners. You are bound permanently. Find empathy for one another. Find compassion. Find love. When you are upset think about it from your partners point of view. Be selfish but not too selfish.

Marriage is one of the hardest and best things you will do with your life. In picking this person you are saying, “I am good on my own but I am better with you.” You are consciously choosing someone to be your helper and partner in life. It is a great honor and a great responsibility.

(Obviously addressing crowd.) Everyone here is a witness to this new marriage. You are here because you love these people. I charge each of you with being a friend to their marriage. Help them grow together instead of apart. Being married is not always easy. It takes community and support and love from a lot of people to make a really great marriage. I say that we are all here for a modern fairy tale because these two have all of the elements for a great marriage–they are so lucky to have all of you.

I have faith in you. I know that you two will find a way through hard moments and days and maybe even years. You will not allow life to stop you from making forward progress on the things you want. I have seen you come too far to allow any other road block to stop you.

So, does anyone know why these two fine young people should not be married?

Ok, can I got some approval instead?

It is time for you two to make some promises. Please repeat after me: {Insert personal vows that they have not given me.}

I, ____, take you, ____, to be my lawfully wedded(husband/wife), to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.

I give you this ring as a token of my esteem and promise. So that at any moment if you need a reminder of how much I love you all you have to do is look down.

The state of California says that I have the honor of pronouncing you husband and wife. You may now kiss your bride.

wedding babbling

Hello and welcome. I presume you are all here because you know M & E, right? I just wanted to make sure we were all in the right place.

Today we get to participate in a modern day fairy tale. When people write love stories about getting to grow up with and marry the right person–they are writing about couples like M&E. Precious few people get it right so young. I have been lucky enough to know these two since almost the beginning of their relationship. I hope you will all bear with me as I ramble at them about the commitment they are making.

It feels presumptuous for me to tell you anything about relationships. You two have been together longer than I have been married. Luckily for you I have never let my lack of complete authority stop me from speaking.

Marriage is one of the hardest and best things you will do with your life. In picking this person you are saying, “I am good on my own but I am better with you.” You are consciously choosing someone to be your helper and partner in life. It is a great honor and a great responsibility.

Marriage has changed a great deal over the multiple millenium that such unions have existed. I feel like we live in an exciting time for marriage. At no point in the past did couples have as much freedom to define their roles as we do right now. You do not need to have a marriage that will make someone else happy or satisfy their needs. You need to have a marriage built on mutual understanding of your unique quirks and desires. No other marriage will look exactly like yours.

The people who are here with you now are the witnesses for this new marriage. This change in your life and your identity. In choosing to get married you are choosing to say, “The good of us together as a family needs to come before our individual wants.” That will mean hard choices sometimes. That will mean having to bite your tongue when you are feeling impatient. It will mean needing to learn how to express your wants and needs so that they can be met–if your needs aren’t being met then your family is not actually functioning. No one can be a martyr.

(Obviously addressing crowd.) Everyone here is a witness to this new marriage. You are here, ostensibly, because you love these people. I charge each of you with being a friend to their marriage. Help them grow together instead of apart. Being married is not always easy. It takes community and support and love from a lot of people to make a really great marriage. I say that we are all here for a modern fairy tale because these two have all of the elements for a great marriage–they are so lucky to have all of you.


Alright. That’s all the babble I have right now. The internet strongly implies I will need around 3,000 words for ~30 minutes of talking. I didn’t hit 500 words in this first babble and I know it isn’t polished or ready yet. Luckily I have two more months. I’m not even working against a harsh deadline yet. It’s an ok beginning for now. I’m out of typing.