Happily ever after is a state of mind, not a circumstance.
For the benefit of anyone who should wonder what happiness is, or wonder why they are not happy but feel they ought to be... those who feel ungrateful perhaps for not being satisfied with their circumstances, circumstances which other people covet. This is why. It is all in your mind and until you get your mind right, a change of circumstances will not save you.
Think of yourself, the things you like and dislike and break that down into component parts. Do you like the things you have cultivated, achieved, experienced? Dislike the things which happened to you or were done to you? The things you did not choose? Parts of your body you cannot change? Memories you cannot forget?
I am staring out of the window of a moving train and wondering at the unfamiliar landscape. Perhaps at this moment whilst I wonder at a tree or stream or road or house, someone is in Leeds wondering at a tree or stream or road or house which is known to me. Known by me. Steeped in my memories like the tannin stains on a teacup or teeth. Drops of rain fall and my mind lingers on the cycle of water. Once those raindrops were my sweat, my tears, the sweat and tears of ancestors. We bathe in them, swim in them, drink them in, flush them out. Everything comes down to molecules, cells and we are all part of each other on some level. And as I catch my reflection, pale and dreamy eyed, lost in thought my eyes begin to search my features. The eyebrows I do not pluck but remain shaped. The beauty spot above my top lip which was waxed thin and for whose sake I have never waxed the area again. The kink in my nose, a souvenir of my first act of rebellion, my first disobedience, the time I questioned the sign on the water slide which said "feet first". The memory of the rush of water, my nose making contact with the white tile just 4.5 feet below, the cloud of red and searing pain. The ghosts of freckles on my face, the fine lines which I have earned, etched there through smiles - both soon to be covered with a layer of unfamiliar makeup as I pretend to be something I am not.
The pressure to look my best, to take this seriously, to do Darren proud, to make the best of myself. To outwardly reflect a serenity I do not feel. A perfection that I do not crave.
A marriage cannot happen without a wedding ceremony and a wedding ceremony means compromise, whether compromises between two people in love, two families joining, the people who bear witness. Everyone has expectations, everyone has an opinion, everyone puts pressure on you and no matter your opinions and beliefs and how clearly you articulate them, they will not allow you to hold them peacefully. Because if you don't conform, don't try they will judge you. Will pity you. And there is no satisfaction to be had in making your own choices because they will taint them and tarnish them and watching clink and clank up the aisle, rusty and conspicuous under the weight of that armour.
No, its not easy and I knew it wouldn't be. Couldn't be and that's why I didn't want it. Falling in love with that one perfect person, no not perfect - but perfect for you - can be so filled with magic. But we don't live in a magical world. Fairytales were created to share, to teach, to be cautionary tales for others. Whether a book or a bible you cannot keep magic all to yourself. It will always be discovered and diluted away from you.
I don't mean to sound so maudlin, but whether you want to or not, there is no such thing as "your" wedding. You will have to justify every choice to someone, and steel yourself for feedback.
In 44 days I will change my initials, my name of 28 years and my status as I become forever bound to the man I have loved for almost 3 years. I will have another anniversary, another "first" in my life. My salutation will no longer be Miss. In Paris they will call me Madame. A lack of flowers or bridesmaids, my unconventional shoes and music choices are not matters of speculation, a wedding is not a spectator sport. It is a gateway, a portal, a rite of passage from one state to another. A fleeting moment and from now until that point I have no interest in being anything other than present. In thinking and speaking freely, not tied up in cliche and tedium. It exhausts me.
Ziggy played guitarrrrrraaaaarrrrraaaarrrrrr.
Title: Changes by David Bowie