Since my wedding last Saturday, many people have asked me this question:
“Do you feel different?”
My go-to response has been, “Well, my left hand feels heavier!”
And I do feel different now that the stress and anticipation of an impending wedding has dissipated, now that the question of who was or wasn’t going to show up or behave have been answered.
But what else feels different? My name has changed (I’m part of the hyphenation nation now). My title hasn’t changed, but people keep calling me “Mrs.” (I’m still technically “Rev.,” but whatever). I’m not used to seeing any jewelry at all anywhere near my new husband’s body. And after what has been a long, fulfilling, and yet difficult journey for us, it feels good and right that we’ve embarked on this next chapter.
But it also occurs to me that I’ve gotten that question—”Do you feel different?”—on several different occasions this year. In April, I turned 30. “Do you feel different?” In June, I was ordained. “Do you feel different?” And now in September, I got married.
“Do you feel different?”
The truth is, I do feel different. I still feel restless, but in a more settled way. I’m still insecure, but with greater confidence. I still wrestle with mental health and body image issues, but I feel more accepting of those realities and hopeful for growth in those areas. I still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up, but I’m getting clearer if not on the what then at least on the who (me!) and feeling a little more grown (most days).
I don’t think I feel different because I got married, or got ordained, or turned 30. I think all those things happened because I was beginning to feel different.
(The exception being turning 30. That happened because 30 years had elapsed since my birth.)
I got married because I was finally starting to feel different—OK with not knowing what the future held, OK with being vulnerable to another human being, OK with trusting myself to be a good wife and partner and hopefully one day mother, even though I was and am terrified out of my mind that I will fail at those things.
I got ordained because I was finally starting to feel different—if not much less resistant to my call, at least more open to seeing where it goes, and responsive to and grateful for my friends and colleagues who have walked the path with me.
“Do you feel different?” Yes, I do. But only because I was already starting to change, to grow, to come into my own. And I’ll keep feeling different, keep changing and growing and becoming.
That’s why, in the final line of Colin’s and my vows, we promised “to love you as you are or as you may become.” Because we aren’t done feeling different. And that is a good and hard and beautiful thing.