Today, while chatting with a friend of mine who is pregnant with her second kid, she said to me, “Nobody tells you, you know? You ask other women about their pregnancies and they said ‘Ohhh, it was the most beautiful experience of my life.’ But they don’t tell you about the fact that you get gassy, that you pee yourself when you sneeze, that you have crazy amounts of discharge and have to wear panty liners for 9 months, that you get hemorrhoids, that you have a being inside you who is kicking you all the time.”
After I stopped laughing my ass off, she finished. “Being pregnant is a beautiful thing, yes. But it is more gross and painful than beautiful, that’s for sure.”
One of the other potential names for this blog was “Nobody told me” because, oh my GAWD nobody tells anybody anything!
But of course, then we take it a step further.
We hide the truth and willingly contribute to The Fantasy. Oh yes, it’s getting a capital T and a capital F because it is a living breathing thing that we are feeding and keeping alive.
The Fantasy isn’t a new concept for me. When I was 17, I got a wicked case of mono (a girl doesn’t kiss and tell. No really, there was no kissing). I was laid out for weeks, couldn’t get out of bed, had to drop out of high school and feeling like a total failure and loser.
Once I was up and moving again and telling my story to people, that’s when everyone started coming out of the woodwork, telling about their experiences with mono. I remember thinking, “What the hell? Why did I have to join the mono club to find out that this is a thing that happens to a lot of people? If I’d known before I wouldn’t have felt like such a loser.”
But The Fantasy has never been more apparent to me than this year. Because this year I got engaged and married. I want to discuss this more in depth later but here’s the TLDR version:
I’m not the girl who dreamt of her wedding her entire life. I didn’t have romantic expectations going into the process. And even as an event planner without high expectations, I still found it to be often exhausting, difficult, frustrating and disappointing. Kind of like my friend’s pregnancy, beautiful – but more gross and painful.
And guess what? As SOON as I got engaged, that’s when the real stories came out. The Fantasy was gone in a puff of smoke and suddenly I’m hearing from all my friends, family, even strangers, how awful their engagement was, how terrible the wedding planning was, how miserable the wedding was. And not just a few people. Droves of people.
So, um, I say to you, to myself, to everyone everywhere…what the fuck?
Why do we need The Fantasy? Can we start to speak honestly and openly about the beautiful and the gross? How much more amazing would life be if we could encounter it with our eyes open to reality, instead of shrouded with fantasies that will be painfully ripped away? Imagine how much better we would feel knowing that things aren’t going awry, they are going like they’re supposed to go – gassy and dischargy and mono-y and frustratingly and also beautifully and surprisingly and fulfillingly.
When we ditch The Fantasy, we find that we are not alone but that we are sharing a human experience. I want to keep calling out The Fantasy on this blog, in the hopes that maybe it will lose a little bit of its power. Next time, we’ll talk about engagements. Cause oh, girl…