When I (finally) got engaged to my boyfriend of 4 years, I thought to myself, things were, at last, going to fall into place. We just finished two-years of a long distance stint when I left D.C. and moved to New York City to pursue my Master’s degree. In addition to my engagement, I was offered a position with my dream employer back in D.C. Life was finally moving in the direction I wanted. I had the ring. I had the job. I was going to have the wedding. Girl, was I wrong!
Not too long after our engagement, I started working back in D.C. when my fiancé was accepted into a graduate program in New York City with a full scholarship. It was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up and I definitely encouraged him to go. Of course, that meant another two years apart…clearly, we have terrible timing.
Once we settled into a groove of being long distance, yet again, wedding fever came over me, in a bad way. A year had passed since the fiancé proposed and we still hadn’t set a date or made any plans. I was getting anxious. When everyone around you asks when the date is and giving some look when you say you don’t know…it takes a toll. What wasn’t stressing me out though, was where we would live once we got married (I was living with family to save money), how we were going to actually pay for the day and all that is involved in it, basically, the stuff that really mattered.
My fiance, the realist, kept saying we should wait until things were a little more stable. Of course, not wanting to hear this, I gave him all of the reasons it would work out..with spreadsheets! I believed my optimism, organization, and persistence won him over, so we settled on a date contingent upon me getting a place of my own and saving my portion of the wedding budget.
Time for Some Honesty
The venue was booked, the save the dates were mailed, and I had said yes to the dress! Wedding planning was moving swiftly along, while life after the big day was somewhat of a blur and shrouded by seemingly more pressing issues such as which flowers to use for centerpieces and choices of envelope liners and envelope combination for wedding invitations. I had 20/20 vision for the celebration, yet in the dark for what came next…or even, what really needed to happen before. It started to become very clear that I was pressing ahead with my wedding plans for all the wrong reasons because we had been engaged for x years, because people around us were telling us to go ahead with it already, because we had already paid thousands of dollars for deposits, photos, wedding party gifts, etc…
On top of all of that, my savings plan wasn’t working out, I still was staying with my family, and my plans for moving forward seemed to backfire. When I realized that I was using the wedding as a distraction to the mess of my life, I knew I needed to woman up and make some tough decisions. There was a gut-wrenching, ugly cry, breakdown conversation that I had with my fiancé when I told him that I think we should postpone the wedding because I don’t have my sh!t together.
Time to Shine
One day I was scrolling through Instagram on my phone and saw a post that read:
“Getting your shit together requires a level of honesty, you can’t even imagine. Ain’t nothing easy about realizing you’re the one that’s been holding you back this whole time…that your lack of discipline is the answer to some of those why not me questions you ask.”
I had to lean back and give my phone the Black girl magic affirmation “yaasss!” because I knew all too well the level of honesty and the amount of discomfort that comes when you realize YOU have been holding YOU back. To be fair and kind to myself, I am not a total mess. Like all of us, there are areas that I needed to improve or address; the main one for me being that I was/am a procrastinator. Big. Huge. As I’m sure you have figured out, my coping mechanism of choice for procrastination was/is distraction. You do not even want to know how long it me to start and finish this post.
The good that has come from all this is, I’m seeing a therapist now who helps me to stay accountable and focused on my short and long term goals. I try to acknowledge when I’m getting sidetracked and not focusing on what I really should be; It’s a continuous effort. There are days when I get scared that old habits will resurface, that I’ll be stuck again. I know now, that even if I do, I will find my way back out again.
The original date we set for our wedding has come and gone and we don’t have another date set, just yet, but I know when the times comes, one day this year (claiming it in advance!), that my highest, best self will be showing up that day…and all the days after.
What do you need to cancel or delay to get your sh!t together?
Domonique is a creative, multi-passionate educator, writer, and artist. She loves a good DIY project and can be found perusing the aisles in a craft store near you. Instagram: @designingdomonique