I’m getting married in exactly 32 days. December 12, 2021. We picked the date because we thought it would look cool on all of our stuff as 12/12/21. But, the closer my wedding date gets, the less I want to have a wedding at all.
It’s not that I don’t want to get married to my fiancé, in fact, it’s the opposite. I wish we already were married to each other. I wanted to elope just the two of us, maybe just our immediate family, keep it small and intimate. Although I’m the most Type A person in the world and love to have “control” and plan things, planning a wedding—for me—has been an extra add-on that I didn’t know I couldn’t really handle or take on.
I’m a full-time high school teacher currently, in the middle of the ongoing pandemic. I didn’t start my career path out as a teacher, though. I worked for 6 years in digital journalism as an editor, then an editor-in-chief, and now as a freelancer to companies. I went back to school to get my master’s in education after former teachers had invited me back to speak to their students about career paths in writing. Being in the classroom, in front of the students, had sparked something in me that I didn’t know I would enjoy so much—so, I switched paths.
The first full year I was a teacher, the pandemic hit. March came around and the world shut down as I knew it. I began teaching remotely, from home, and tried my best to keep my head above water. I was a first-year teacher dealing with so much unknown that it was so hard to navigate. At the same time, I was finishing the last year of my master’s program. And, on top of that, freelancing for two companies “full time.”
The following year, I started a new school—in-person this time…sort of. Half my students were in-person, while half of my students were at home online, and it was my job to teach both of them at the same time, live. I decided it was the perfect time to go get another master’s degree, too. All while writing on the side.
I tend to do this to myself. I have a pattern of exhausting my schedule to the point where there is absolutely no room to breathe, shower, or even take a sh*t. I enjoy being busy—it’s almost soothing to me to be so busy that I have no time to stop and think. It’s part of my high-functioning anxiety disorder—I like to be constantly on the go, constantly moving, doing.
But, this year has been different. This year has been hard.
When my fiancé proposed to me in June, it wasn’t a huge shock or surprise. The two of us have only been together for two years, but it’s one of those “When you know, you know” moments in your life that you only so often get. We knew we wanted to get married, and I knew I wanted to adopt his 7-year-old daughter. My fiancé has been married once before—but, his ex is no longer in the picture. And, he had a small city hall ceremony when he did it the first time around.
So, when we discussed marriage, he thought we owed it to ourselves to do it right this time around. Truth be told, I would have eloped, but it’s not just my wedding. It’s his, and our daughter’s special day, too. So, we decided to have a real wedding—venue and all. And, while I knew the ring was going to come along some day, I started my research into venues, vendors, and the whole nine.
By the time I said “yes,” I had narrowed down just about everything we should go see and look at. It made planning the wedding a bit easier, because we didn’t go to 100 different places to see things. We picked our venue on the spot, knew what florist we wanted, chose a DJ, and pretty much solidified our plans in about two weeks after getting engaged. I bought my wedding dress at a sample sale, my hair dresser is a family friend, and we booked everything through friend’s recommendations.
It sounds so easy and so flawless—so “everything’s falling into place.”
But, truth be told, I am so burnt out I can’t even get excited about my wedding. I’m nearly a month away and all I want is for it to be over already.
I’m teaching full-time at a high school that has just reopened after being closed for a year and a half, with 4,000 students and masks all day long. My 9th-grade students haven’t been in a classroom full time since the 6th grade. They’re struggling. The school, itself, is struggling to get back into the swing of being back full-time. Even the other teachers are having a rough go, some being 30+ year veterans.
At home, I work several jobs on the side. We’re saving for a house, so every penny counts. I’m also adjusting to being a “mom” pretty much in an overnight motion—skipping the diapers and feeding times, but going right into the attitude stages.
I try my best to keep a smile on my face, pretend I’m feeling great, show the world I can handle anything life throws at me—but I’m exhausted. Emotionally, physically, mentally. I feel like I can’t get ahead of anything. Everything has another step, things are piling up—it’s just a lot. And, for me to say something is a lot, it is a lot.
I want to get excited for my wedding day, as everyone keeps asking me as the days get closer. And, I am excited to celebrate the love between my fiancé and I. But, I’m so tired, so burnt out, so run down, I just feel like my emotions are the Sahara Desert. Totally in a drought. Unable to process the anticipation and happiness that comes with a wedding day.
It doesn’t mean I don’t love my fiancé, or care about him, or want to spend every day for the rest of my life with him. I just, I need a life vest while I’m drowning out here.
Lex Gabrielle is a lifestyle writer who believes in messy buns and 3+ cups of coffee a day. When she’s not writing, she teaches high school English, journalism, and creative writing. You can see more of her work at www.lexgabrielle.com.