For some months after I said “I do” on a glorious sunny Friday in May 2009 I lived in a perfect little newly-wed bubble. I basked in the glow of my dream wedding day and the prospect of becoming the archetypal stepford wife. And by this I’m not eluding to the subservient aspect, more the desire to evolve from a dis-organised and untidy young lady into this immaculately groomed, witty and consistently charming woman that exudes confidence and allure.
I wanted my home to smell of apples and cinnamon and triumph (because I had baked a delicious cake)
I wanted to find a job that I truly loved and transform into an uber successful career woman (because then I would have so much to talk about at the dinner table)
I wanted to emerge from my front door like one of those glossy celebrity types with bouncy shiny hair and flawless skin even when they are just “doing the school run” ( yes I’m talking about you Elle Mcpherson)
Hell. I wanted it all.
And I know what you’re thinking, because as I’m writing this I’m thinking the same. Shallow.
So. Before you read on I’m going to offer you the opportunity of a get-out-of-jail-free-card. This post isn’t about romantic gestures and mellifluous poetry. I am not going to sugar-coat my words and endeavor to offer you a sneak peek into the O’Shea marriage through a pair of rose-tinted spectacles. And although 99.9% of the time I don’t advocate the use of profanities, there may even be swearing involved.
Here’s the part at which you are free to leave. You have been warned.
A few months into writing my W-day report on the infamous YAYW forum I received a phone call from one of my best friends. She had inadvertently stumbled across a thread on another website that was in short all about me. And my big day.
It wasn’t nice.
I was mocked and critisised both for my appearance and my “voice” and seemingly the very fact that my wedding styling and accompanying planning account had become so popular. I was labelled a fake. My story was labelled boring, too long and “Yawn-worthy”. Someone even said I must be an “under-cover” journalist who was only writing about their experience to gain a readership for the launch of RMW.
I need to point out here that I’m not looking for the sympathy vote, I realise that negativity of this kind (ie to hide behind an on-line persona so they can attempt to hurt others) either stems from jealousy (which itself stems from their own insecurities) or the very real fact that there are just ugly people out there. And I’m not talking aesthetically. I mean those who get their rocks off from being well…. mean.
I won’t pretend the comments didn’t sting. They did. It made me question a lot of things about myself, whether creating a UK wedding blog was the right way forward and completely burst the aforementioned perfect bubble. The taunts and the spite isn’t what almost broke me though – sticks and stones and all that. No. It was the fact that they took an image of James, the man I loved without condition, loaded it onto the site and tore strips off him too.
I felt like someone had kicked me with a size twelve hobnail boot. And it was all my fault.
Had I not been so excited and proud and so ruddy naive to think that all other planning brides must feel the same as me, I wouldn’t have written my report in the first place. And I wouldn’t have had to witness my favourite boy be ridiculed on-line.
I spent a week battling with how I was going to tell him what had happened or even if I ever should. And then I woke up with my head swollen like a giant melon, covered in hideous welts and couldn’t breathe. James swiftly called an ambulance and after visits from six (yes six!) consultants I was diagnosed with Acute Urticaria (i.e Hives) which after a fortnight of tests and steroids they concluded was brought on by stress.
Regardless of the diagnosis I felt the need to explain all to James. And you know what? he laughed. He laughed at these ugly people and their silly mindless comments. He told me they were sad. Very sad. And told me that I should feel sorry for them and not waste another minute of my time worrying myself with such pointless bollocks. He told me that not telling him about what had been upsetting me and seeing me hauled up to a drip was far worse than the behaviour of shameless bullies.
It taught me a valuable lesson.
Nearly two years later I can hold my head up high and say that I count myself lucky. Because there are lots of you gorgeous ladies out there who deal with awful situations every day, serious illness, financial worries, family bereavement – I think I got off lightly in comparision.
My first six months of marriage wasn’t all roses and romance and I accept the next sixty years are not going to be either. But that’s ok, because when the going gets tough I know I’m not going it alone.
So then. Mrs O’Shea’s views on marriage and a few of my pearls of wisdom.
Marriage means caring about someone else more than you care about yourself.
It means for all the good times there are invariably going to be bad times, sometimes maybe even really ugly times. And it’s about coming out of these the other side. Together. Better. Stronger.
It means that you can continue to be you or you can strive to be a better version of you, you don’t have to scent your house with apple and cinnamon generated from your extrordinary baking skills to be a good wife. You are a good wife. That’s why he asked you to be one in the first place.
You are both allowed to make mistakes.
You are both even allowed to occasionally (what your partner may consider) really f*ck up. Providing you can forget, forgive and move the hell on.
Neither of you are perfect. There will be times when you drive each other nuts with your less than favourable attributes.
You are both allowed to have as many non common interests as you like. It’s what keeps our dinner table banter so entertaining. Not my uber successful career. Although RMW is pretty fascinating.
You will experience achievements and failures. Be proud of both. It’s what makes you who you are.
When you are at your lowest ebb, the chips are down and the road ahead looks bleak, you know you have someone there by your side. Always.
Rebecca needed to make peace with her not-so-perfect wedding, I needed to make peace with my not-so-perfect first few months as a wife.
And now maybe you can appreciate why I continually bang on about what an amazing and inspiring community we have on here – I once had front row seats to the darker side.
You guys rock my world.
Here’s to the gorgeous, the bad, the ugly and being (realistically) happily married.