Growing up, I didn’t have too many great role models of marriage. It has taken me a whole lot longer than most to develop standards and values that I would be proud to pass on to my Daughter for how to be treated. I have come to jokingly and lovingly call this “Princess School”. I know when I meet a Princess School Graduate in my chair or in my social circle because life is pretty good for them. Things are TAKEN CARE OF. And lest you think I am talking about not carrying my own bags, that isn’t it. Nor is this discussion about money, material items or being a Diva. It’s really about self-esteem and self-respect.
When I was becoming a Feminist in my late teens, I confused “Having it all” with “Having to do it all”. I was going to have a career, kids and a relationship. The man I chose would not have to provide for me. I could do it myself. Maybe HE could stay at home with the kids. I could do it all because I wanted to. I judged women critically who declared their Boyfriend “treats me like a Queen”. I had some stuff a bit backwards.
I was 26 when I met Daniel and 28 when we got married. We met playing in nightclubs in NYC. We created music together. We fought a lot. We were in love. We had our son when I was almost 30 and daughter at 31 and divorced soon after. He was and will always be a great love of my life and you could never have talked me out of marrying him. But put it this way, I bought my own wedding ring.
When I was in my 20s, I decided that LOVE was all that mattered. I thought that if I loved YOU, that was the most important factor for us to have a relationship. Princesses don’t think this way. At all. Princesses are rational and decide that yes, love matters but how you treat THEM matters as much, if not more. How you are treated-not just how you feel about the other person. This is the difference.
We decided to get married on a Thursday night. We got our marriage license on Friday. We got married at City Hall in NYC on Monday at 2. We invited the few friends who we thought could make it. I spent the weekend preparing. One of my best friends made the cake. My other close childhood friend made my bouquet.
*disco ball shoes featured are mine
I knew Daniel didn’t have the money for a ring so I went ahead and bought one for myself. Then I took the subway to the Upper East Side to a wedding boutique to look at tiaras. The very elegant sales ladies were horrified when they asked me what my dress looked like and I pulled it out of my BACKBACK.
I had this dress for years. I figured it was white and strapless and why not wear it? Their tiaras were way out of my budget so I left and got one elsewhere and laughed a little at the thought of how they were probably talking about me. Clearly, they were used to dealing with Princesses. On a timeline. Not a short sale.
I loved my husband. I loved our little wedding. Our children were born of love. I wouldn’t change any of that. I led with passion and my heart, always. But looking back, it wouldn’t have hurt for me to have more needs, more self-respect and ask for a little more in life earlier on. The two don’t have to be at odds. This I didn’t understand.
There is so much to say about how we think of ourselves and how these thoughts generate the actions that create our lives. It could be said that our lives are manifestations of how we feel about ourselves. Where I still have work to do is as a late-comer to Princess School. Maybe I will never become one? I’m probably too old so I should be enrolling in Queen School. But this much I know-I’d like to stop creating hardship for myself. I’d like to think there are new ways of thinking that are easier than the ones I have. I’d like to stop suffering because I think I have to, because it’s second nature. There surely is something to be said for buying one’s own ring. And there is surely something to be said for not having to.