The night after I graduated from college, it was windy and rainy, like the weather was letting out a sigh after days and days of sticky 90-degree weather. It was probably two in the morning. The Lumberjack and I were upstairs in the creaky old house that he was renting, talking about "What Now": that inevitable moment after you've finished something really big and important and all of a sudden you have all the time and options in the world and you have no idea what to do.
And then we talked about getting married, like we sometimes did. Only this time was different, because every time we talked about getting married before, we agreed that we should leave that sort of decision until after I graduated from Oberlin. And all of a sudden I had.
Then we sort of mutually decided to get married. I don't think either of us really asked, or if we did it was only to confirm that yes, we are engaged now.
And then we didn't tell anyone for a while. We gradually told our friends and family over the next few months. When we'd been engaged for four or five months, we finally went and found a ring, and then it was suddenly very official and public.
I've had mixed feelings about that.
On one hand, I love the crap out of Lumberjack. We've known each other since I was fifteen and he was sixteen. When we dated in high school, we talked about getting married sometimes. Even though we didn't talk for five years, some of the many things we talked about when we reconnected were our views on relationships, marriage and communication - so thankfully, none of these issues has ever been unfamiliar or off-limits to talk about. He has awesome taste in music and films. He likes to debate about politics and gender identity with me. There are times that we sit next to each other with our laptops open, both looking for indie-dyed yarn online and oohing and ahhing over a gorgeous shade of green. I never, ever find myself sitting across the table from him at a restaurant with nothing to say.
So I'm really, really okay with wearing a ring that we picked out together. I'm totally okay with talking about when and where to get married, and what color my wedding dress is going to be.
What I'm not quite as comfortable with is all of the crap that seems to come along with the news that we're getting married. The targeted facebook ads. The mere idea of a gift registry. (I still haven't figured out how I feel about that one.) The big to-do over the wedding day when a marriage is supposed to be about being married, not just the day it happens. The whole "all brides/mother-of-the-brides are insane, controlling, self-centered and all around unpleasant to deal with" phenomenon. I want to be a wife and partner, but I'm really not excited about the prospect of being a Bride. I want the party with people I love and I want the pictures to remember it, but I don't want all the baggage and expectations of the "perfect wedding". So far I've had some really great conversations with friends and found some good resources, A Practical Wedding being chief among them. But I know I still have a lot of hard work to do before I'll know what I want from my own wedding, not what I should want from the ideal wedding that I'm supposed to have.
So in summary, Lumberjack and I are getting married. We haven't decided yet where or when. And despite all of my misgivings about the wedding industry, I'm really excited about it.
And that's the story of the ring on my left hand.