11.26.2007

Because you don't want people to look at you and think, "yeah, there's a cat lady in the making"

Today is going to be one of those days where I favor the Internet with a few Pearls of Wisdom. I have been hearing from a lot of young women lately who, I fear, need a gentle talking-to. A reality check, if you will. If you, Gracious Reader, do not need such a check then you can read this with smug satisfaction, basking in the glow of your own emotional health and maybe treating yourself to some dark chocolate while you're at it.

If, however, my words strike a chord deep within you and make you want to come over to my house and light pieces of it (or me) on fire because I just don't understand, then trust me: you need to hear this.

I am hearing a lot of single young women talk about how it's really uncomfortable for them when their siblings (especially younger siblings) get married before they do. As one who has been in this position--twice, thank you very much--I can say that they're right. It is uncomfortable. It's uncomfortable because it reminds you that you want to be getting married, and it makes it seem as though everyone but you is doing it, and you really don't want to go to a wedding where everyone asks you stupid questions and pats your arm and stuff.

Only here's the thing. Some of these women are talking about this situation as though it's The End of the World, and it's the Hardest Thing They Will Ever Face in Life, and it's something that their siblings are doing On Purpose Just to Be Jerks. Friends, when you go there, you are losing your perspective in a big way.

Yes, it can be uncomfortable. And you may end up with some legitimate gripes which will make for fabulous blogging fodder. But it doesn't affect your life in any way. It doesn't make you more single than you were before. It has nothing to do with you, actually. And if you insist on making it all about you, then you're going to be in for a world of hurt. Not only will you drive yourself crazy, but at the wedding everyone will be eying you in fear that you're going to rip the tiara off your sister's head, plunk it on your own, and start hysterically screaming about how this should be "MY DAY--MY DAYEEEEE."

In case you're still not with me, let's try an analogy.

Ahem.

The hardest thing that has ever happened to me or will ever happen to me in life was when my sister/brother got an ice cream cone and I didn't. I mean, it's not like I wanted their ice cream, because I'm looking for a completely different flavor. But still. The fact that they have one and I don't? Totally wrong.

The only way for me to tolerate my icecreamless situation is if everyone else abstains from ice-cream ordering until after I've picked mine. Once I'm happy and content with my ice cream then you're welcome to have a go. And if you missed out on perfect opportunities during that time, too bad. It's called Solidarity, and you'd better go read up on it.

Or, if my siblings miss the Solidarity lecture and decide to get the ice cream anyway, then they should have the good grace to tiptoe around me and never mentioned the ice cream and maybe just eat it in a closet or something so as not to remind me that my hands are coneless.

In fact, now I get mad when any of my siblings even think about ice cream cones, or drive around looking in the window of ice cream shops. Because NO ONE DESERVES IT BUT ME.

Kind of ridiculous, right?

That's what I though.

So here's what you do. You have your cry in your room alone and then you get to work. You are as enthusiastic and helpful and happy for your brother/sister as you can be. Before the wedding, you take an extra long time getting ready so that you look hot enough to melt glass. Because guess what? You will get married at some point. And 30 years from now when you're all reminiscing about your engagements/weddings, do you really want everyone remembering how insane you were and how they weren't even allowed to be happy around you?

I didn't think so.

15 comments:

kristen said... [reply]

This hits home.....because I just spent the holiday with my two married sisters and their families. Was it the T-giving holiday that brought on this post?

I've had this on my mind this week; a post is brewing in my mind. It gets hard sometimes...but I also haven't been one to throw a tantrum or fit in the middle of 31 flavors because no one bought me a waffle cone with 3 beautiful flavors.

My little bro married before me; I had a hard time at first, but I'm over it. I'm also the only one out of 5 children flying solo. It kinda sucks; but such is life.

Miss Hass said... [reply]

Amen. There are so many other things that are so much worse. So much worse.

And really, what would I blog about without my aunt sending me insane emails about how 'it just takes one'?

Cicada said... [reply]

There was that time that I had to attend the baby shower of a girl who I'd grown up with who was like a sister to me... and everyone there was either family or like family, and they were all married but me and almost every one of them had kids. And so I had to put on a happy face and blink back the tears a couple times.

And then I realized that I'd been on a mission, and I was the only one in the room who had had that opportunity, and then I felt glad.

And then I realized that no, one of the other girls in the room who I'd grown up with went on a mission, and she had a husband and a baby.

So then I blinked back tears for the next three years till I landed myself a husband.

It did suck, but only when I dwelt on it. Being single wasn't the end of the world, and being single a little longer afforded me lots of opportunities that I wouldn't have otherwise had. So perspective helps (of course it's easier to have a really positive perspective when you're looking back).

abby said... [reply]

This reminds me of the lame Mormon TV ad from the 1980s about the girl who cries in her room because her sister is getting married before her. Her dad has to make a special trip to comfort her. Do we all want to be that girl?

It's hard when roommates get married on you too. However, you have to be happy for them because someone successfully navigated the dating pool to win the prize.

Weddings remind me that it will happen to me when the time is right. I suggest Elder Oakes talk on Good, Better, Best for a good perspective on the trials we go through under these circumstances. I'm sure all of us could have settled for something good but it's more awesome to have the best. The best is worth waiting for even it causes you to bite your lip when you have to watch your sibling with his/her best and you're staring at nothing across the table.

Jimmy said... [reply]

I was going to say, you're always such a good voice of reason, but how corny would that have been!

You're so right though. Life doesn't care about whose turn it is. We get what's coming to us when the time is right, and I'm convinced of that. In the meantime, life's much better when shared with others.

skye said... [reply]

Very well said, Miss Nem.

Now, I don't want to be all "he grass isn't always greener", but it's not like all your problems will be solved the second you finally find someone to marry. Marriage takes a lot of hard work to be successful. There are days I wish I were still single, because that has to be easier than what I deal with some days. (I just hope I'm not the only one who thinks this way. :) )

So, yeah, keep things in perspective, and realize that being married isn't all about the honeymoon.

Holly said... [reply]

Very well said! I'm the oldest of 4 daughters and I was the third to get married. I was 2 months away from my 30th birthday. It wasn't easy going through two weddings before my own, but I came to terms with my singleness and I was happy and content with the possibility of never marrying. Honestly. Once I realized that contentment, I met my future husband. Funny how things happen.

Wodin said... [reply]

It is tough when your younger sibs get married before you do (I should know; both of mine did), but at the same time, I didn't feel bitter, and they weren't snots about it. Never once has my brother or sister said anything akin to, "Well, you'll understand when you get married!" or anything remotely as revolting. Instead, they've been fantastic and perfectly lovely.
The only sucky person was the nosey lady in the ward who asked when I was finally going to get married. I looked at her witheringly and said, "Never."

Yankee Girl said... [reply]

"at the wedding everyone will be eying you in fear that you're going to rip the tiara off your sister's head, plunk it on your own, and start hysterically screaming about how this should be "MY DAY--MY DAYEEEEE" brought to mind a wonderful scene from the final episode of Vicar of Dibley. I miss that show.

*hope the link is right

Rachel said... [reply]

It's times like this I'm glad I'm the youngest. But I can honestly say that I have never been resentful of any of my friends who got married before me. I think it's because of your ice cream analogy--they got a great flavor, but it's not the one I'd like for myself. So what's the point in pouting? How about just being happy for the people you love? Honestly...

Jenny said... [reply]

I love the analogy and I feel bad for that poor girl when something hard actually happens to her and she has to deal with it. I hope no one I know is anywhere near her when that happens. It might be something akin to little lady Katie going Ka-boom.

Nemesis said... [reply]

For those who don't know about Little Lady Katie, (which, hi, sad) you can watch her here.

Nells said... [reply]

This made me think of the new movie called 27 Dresses. Have you watched the trailer? Go to apple.com/trailers and watch it there. You'll get a kick out of it. But I do agree...all your problems are not solved once you do finally get married. It is a lot of hard work and trying to adjust to living with another person and sharing everything, etc, etc. There are definintely pros and cons. My oldest sister got married two months before I did and to someone who is just a year older than me. Who would've guessed?!?!

Audra said... [reply]

My sister had that! She said, "I am not jealous because I do not want your husband! You are marrying the skater kind of guy! If you were marrying a tight pants cowboy hat wearing rodeo boy, I would have a problem with that, but I don't have a problem with you marrying a guy I would have no interest in before I get married" I think she had a decent point!

Th. said... [reply]

.

Of course, you've dodged this bullet, but I still thought of you.

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