There Once Was A Time When I Was A Girl
Sure, I grew up a tom boy. I preferred football and hockey to discussing soap operas and television or family drama. I liked catching garter snakes (boas and the like are scary, gross and can stay FAR away from me behind glass), mice and newts. I played in the dirt and I couldn’t care less about who did what and why one persons emotions were more important than anothers. I preferred shooting sports to painting my nails or doing my hair. . . but I did keep my nails a plethora of colors, as well as my hair and did attempt to go “above and beyond” the styles my little hick-school was used to — occasionally I would notice I’d start a hairstyle from one of the teen-mags and shortly it was all around the halls. I guess I’ve always had moments where you could see me screaming “Look at me!
Please.” And then I’d go back to reading my 20-30 books a week.
Yes, I often wore jeans and t-shirts – but that was for several reasons. I was poor. I felt worthless, ugly, and un-cared for — and was treated as such. School shopping consisted of being able to buy three outfits for the YEAR – which means I needed to base my decisions on what would last, and what wouldn’t be noticed day in day out. Luckily for me, the Internet was new, and free t-shirts were everywhere. My step-mom decided that instead of buying me a real bra that may actually FIT me, I was required to wear her old ones that didn’t fit her – and I can tell you they did NOT fit me. No way my 7th grade body could fit into a C-Cup.
But one of my favorite high school moments was walking down the hall in brand new clothes from one of the hottest shops in the mall [I scored about a grand in cash that Christmas], twisted up hair with each twist painted a different color of hair mascara and being stopped by the hottest guy in our grade and being complemented. “Looking good, Erica”. To this day the thought still makes me melt. I had taken particular care in my outfit and makeup that day. I was glad it was noticed — and years after that I realized just how often I would find this guy staring at my eyes in English class. I still have a nickel he threw at me in Yakima while he was playing basketball.
I owned one Tigger coat – for years it was the only coat I had – and it was just a light jacket. The “best” shopping trip in junior high was when I was able to obtain that absolutely non-exclusive Black and White “CK” t-shirt we all had. My shoes were ratty. It bothered me on occasion that’s all I could wear, but I learned to accept it. Protesting did no good, and it wasn’t worth being sad over.
But, despite all of the terrible clothes I wore I had a boyfriend at 15. One who appreciated, admired and further spurred on my tomboy kick by continuing to encourage my desire to learn more by inquiring and doing things hands on. And I loved him deeply. I trusted him, and was never scared of him. Some nights we fell asleep on the phone, and woke up with our ears on the phone – and continued talking. He was my first date. We went to the theater and saw “Blade” – which was against my normal movie style. My first kiss. My first nearly everything. I was happy, and girly – and when I was with him, I had no family problems or drama. I spent a lot of time thinking about spending the rest of my life with him. When he went into the Marines, I was deeply sad – but I dreamed of the day he’d come back and ask me to marry him. But then, we broke up. And he never chased me like he should have. He never apologized like he should have. And he never saw the honesty in my heart like he should have.
That didn’t stop my planning that he’d come to his senses, and come running back after me. I’d always looked at the bridal magazines (when nobody was looking). As a jeans/t-shirt girl surely nobody would ever picture me in a dress of this magnitude. After all, I wasn’t worth a new prom dress. I got one that was homemade, quickly in a beautiful lavender that was NOTHING like the dark color changing taffeta I wanted. But, as is the theme for my life – I had to settle for what I got and not let the fact that I was disappointed hurt those around me. I’ll take the pain, so they don’t have to.
For several months after high school I bought a new copy of several bridal magazines and thumbed through them with my friends at work. Friends who knew nothing of my tom-boy nature and didn’t realize that the light lavender skirt and the white SUPER short skort I owned (which, btw – 10 years later, I still have and I still wear BOTH of) was completely against my nature.
In my head, I planned an elaborate wedding. I didn’t mind that the groom was nowhere to be found. This was my dream — to be happily married to my best friend working together for the new cars, new house, massive gun collection… entertaining on the weekends, and vacationing with laughter several times a year — and occasionally having the house families arrived to for the holidays.
I can’t remember all the details of the ones I’d planned — but here are elements that stood strongly at 19, and do to this day:
Good wedding planning starts with the dress. I want something sleeveless, slightly A-Line, and it was a not a common concept at the time to have a splash of color on the dress, but I want the bust line to be lined with a deep blood rose red. Such as this:
The overall color scheme is black, light and this same gorgeous red. My bouquet is a simple dozen red roses which match my dress.
It should be a late spring, early summer wedding, taking place outdoors somewhere with either a waterfall nearby, or a gorgeous ocean view [waterfall surrounded by tress preferred – perhaps just at somebodys house].
His tuxedo will be the blackest of blacks – with a black or white undershirt, red vest and red tie. While a white tux would be often, I find it often clashes with the white of the dress.
Rather than the traditional wedding march I’d walk down the aisle confident and glowing that I was walking toward the man I loved whole heartedly to Pachebels Cannon in D, played by a beautiful string quartet:
My high school swing choir would come together to accompany them in singing the words to Canon of Praise that we sang as our choir teacher marched down the aisle, and the words would bring an ease to my nervous stomach:
All within me bless the Lord,
All within me bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord,
O my sould, All within me, bless his holy name.
O bless the Lord, O bless his holy name.
O my soul, All within me, bless his holy name.
Lord, O bless his holy name.
O hear, you righteous
know that the Lord is good. With truth, with hope,
We remember all his love, he crowns with hope, with hope and truth.
God the Lord is gracious, his mercy is the same forever.
The Lord our God same forever–As a father loves his children,
loves, he loves his own, so the Lord loves his own.
Those who know the Lord, they claim his ever present help.
Those who love the Lord shall claim, shall claim his ever present help.
O bless the Lord, O all within me–O my soul–bless his holy name. O bless the Lord, my soul, O bless his holy name.”
The ceremony itself is simple, quick – to the point but with vows custom written. My ring would be nothing but a princess cut – rounds allowed as accents, possibly radiant or similar but NEVER any emerald, marquis or pear cut:
Although years later I decided with black diamonds because I love what it represents. Preferably three stones with either the outside two being black, or the inside one being black – but not all three. But in all reality – the amount spent on a ring means nothing compared to the actual beauty, the time, effort and the true intent behind the ring. Quoting myself from 2009:
A Black Diamond to me speaks more to what love and a relationship is really about. A Black Diamond is full of little imperfections. It is a hard stone, and because of its imperfections it is difficult to cut or create. One wrong move and it can crack right in half. Remarkable, unique, and beautiful, these imperfections reflect the characteristic distinction of the black diamond. It does not have to “explain” why it is imperfect; it just is–singularly imperfect as a result of being the residual, of the more favored classic white stone.
And tell me this isn’t simply beautiful.
The engagement ring I did get was a major disappointment to me [and while I’ve technically been married for 3.5 years, the engagement ring was smashed long before the marriage and I never got a wedding ring] – not because it was about $300 (no, i didn’t forget a zero) but because he put next to no thought into it — the metal in the band cut my finger – and he listened to my ex-boyfriends new girlfriend when discussing what to buy. When he was looking at something even a little more pricey she asked if he was sure he wanted to spend that kind of money on me. I guess not. And I’m not sure why she felt the need to tell me that she told him this. If I hadn’t broken her boyfriends heart, they would never have gotten together! But while I was deeply heartbroken, but I didn’t let it show.
There are so many “lower clarity” rings I like better than the perfect ones. I love the imperfections and the way the light can play on them. I love knowing that something so imperfect can still be seen as magnificently beautiful. Like me.
The ceremony itself will be late afternoon, before dark – and as we walked up the aisle as man and wife there’ll be no seeds, no rice, no bubbles… but doves and butterflies would be released.
I dream that the reception afterwards is held in a large tent. Food and early dancing to a mix of the quartet, and a DJ. There’ll be wine and champagne. . . The tables will be large round with candle center pieces. The tent itself will let the night sky shine through, and there will be white and red Christmas lights strung everywhere.
More recently I’ve had dreams of a wedding cruise instead, inexpensive and still blissfully divine — in which all these elements can still be used from the darkly colored roses, to the christmas lights adding a wonderfully enchanting fairy-tale elegance.
Either way it will be a fun adventure for all to enjoy the beautiful night, but other than occasional moments of love and laughter with friends and family – my eyes would be glued only to the handsome man who promised to dance with me forever – and my heart will never forget that I promised to dance with him, too.