I couldn’t blame my girlfriends. The girls, who upon learning of my impending nuptials last fall, reacted with varying degrees of annoyance and anger. Yes, I was disappointed, but I understood. I had been there too, excited for your friend but feeling desperate because of your own single status. Like Katherine Heigl in “27 Dresses”, there’s only but so many weddings a girl can attend before she starts to feel exhausted, aggravated, irritated and yes… alone.
My own cracking period began a few years ago. I had been to a few weddings during college- they were mostly small affairs for my cousins and were pretty fun. Then came September 2006. The good times started to dry up. First, my sister Joscelyne’s best friend Jennie said her vows to James. The ceremony was fine, but the reception? Um, Jennie if you’re reading this, sorry girl, but being hit on by your husband’s weirdo cousins half the night equalled out to a craptastic time. I couldn’t help thinking if I had a real date (since Joscelyne was my “date”), I could’ve been shielded from the drunken come-ons. But I couldn’t get a (male) date to save my life. I have a theory that happily single guys don’t want to go anywhere near a wedding unless explicitly invited by a member of the wedding party or are part of said wedding party themselves. Contrary to “Wedding Crashers”, the single guys I knew didn’t want to go anywhere near one. They thought it would give me “ideas.” Well, they were right. It gave me the idea to ask Joscelyne who agreed to come with me to the subsequent weddings I attended.
Two weeks later, my best friend Giddel married David, and I was (and am) so happy for them. I cried when she walked down the aisle, escorted by her grandfather. They looked beautiful. And I think it was around the reception that I started to feel very… alone. Joscelyne was there, of course, but I felt my singleness painfully. I didn’t have a man. No partner, no one to pose with in pictures lovingly. No man. And part of me felt even more alone since my bff had become a wife. Don’t get me wrong, I felt elated for her. But without any Raputre, I had been left behind. Giddel’s grandfather tried to cheer me up by saying, “Girl, as pretty as you are, you won’t stay single! What do these guys know? Let me bring you down to Puerto Rico, you’ll have guys lining up to marry you!”
Instead of Puerto Rico, the next month found me at my girl Robyn’s wedding to Dan. I almost didn’t go. I had a date (yup, Jos again), but I didn’t like any of my clothes, I didn’t know how to get to the place… and to be brutally honest, at this point, I was ready to plaster a big “L” for loser on my forehead. While Robyn giggled at her bridal shower, I was gagging. Not at her (really, Rob, if you’re reading this, I repeat, not at you!), but at my own pathetic single state. I tried to back out of going to her wedding, but she was relentless, so I conceded and wound up having the best time. Just when I had got my single girl swag going at the reception (at least I thought I did), it was time for the bouquet toss. Life is funny, because I caught it. Later that night at home I couldn’t help but feel that sneaking lonely sadness again. I might have caught the bouquet, but I couldn’t even catch a decent guy’s eye for more than a minute. And if I did, I soon found out, yes, he, too was married.
In came 2007 and I was still begrudgingly celebrating other people’s marriages. I had to RSVP “no” to Ilaf & Solman the previous November because I was just plain broke, but by January, I had recovered enough financially to attend my Uncle Curtis’ and Aunt Nancy’s reception. In February, my high school friend April and her honey Gary tied the knot. I wanted to tie a noose around my neck. I was sans Joscelyne who went in for an emergency appendectomy a few days prior, and I allowed my loneliness to take over. The ceremony was beautiful, and April’s dress was gorgeous. Gary beamed. I cringed. Sitting all alone in that pew, I felt an array of emotions. Happiness, for my friends, but anger, too. I sat thinking (evilly I might add), “WHAT ABOUT ME? WHERE IS MY MAN? How many more freakin’ weddings do I have to attend, huh? Nobody is celebrating my singleness, why do I have to keep celebrating their weddings? What am I doing wrong anyway? I’m not bad looking. I’m no Beyonce, but still dang, I can’t even get a date? What the freak??…” I know that’s shameful, but it’s the truth. I allowed my singleness to turn to loneliness, which in turn soured my attitude. I had officially become a hater. I also became obsessed with getting a man. Okay, maybe not obsessed, but I did have a touch of crazy. I went to Barnes & Noble and picked up a number of books on singlehood, relationships and marriage. I broadcast to everyone to “hook a sister up” with any God fearing, available guys they knew. I spent time in prayer asking the Lord to bring me my man. I went to seminars on singlehood, and even tried to complete eHarmony’s famous “Compatibility Test.” (Somewhere around hour number two in the process, I gave up. I got through the SATs twice, but Neil Clark Warren beat me.)
It’s this frenzied, crazed and desperate state which now reminds me of 50 Cent. Don’t see the correlation? It’s cool, let me explain. I was watching 50 Cent recently blab to an interviewer in an old clip on Vh1 how he would’ve done anything it took to make his rap career a success. His 2003 album “Get Rich or Die Tryin” wasn’t too much of an exageration. He was obessessed with getting to the top, and in his pursuit, lost friends, gained enemies and almost lost his life. In my single desperate days, I never risked life or limb (or hung out with Eminem or Dr. Dre), but my personal pursuit to get married did take a negative toll on me emotionally and even spirtually. I was envious (give me credit for admitting this, I NEVER would have then) and insecure, and was becoming bitter. Bitterness, if allowed to fester, is deadening. Instead of being truly happy for your friends and family, bitterness will kill that joy. Instead of seeing their love, bitterness comes in and distorts the picture, and instead you get stuck only seeing your own loneliness. The bitterness can deteriorate a part of your heart, leaving it lifeless- an emotional death, of sorts.
So when a few of my friends seemed offended by my wedding last year, I didn’t want to end the friendships. No, I wanted to hug them, tell them I understood. Really, I did. Some didn’t want to hear that from me though, and I even understood that. I knew they were thinking, “How can Alisha understand? She’s got a man!” So, now I’m letting you know here. I understand. And I don’t want you to waste time worrying about a future that you help shape by the decisions you make in the present. I lived and learned, and if I had any clue a year and a half after attending April and Gary’s wedding I’d be planning my own, I wouldn’t have sat there miserably. I would’ve enjoyed those weddings, danced at the receptions, tried to enjoy the food (tried because, let’s face it, wedding food is not always the best). I would’ve enjoyed my sister-date, because after her own wedding in May of 2007, we no longer had all that time together. I would’ve rocked a real single girl swag, thankful to know so many beautiful people who wanted me to witness one of the most important days of their lives. But like “Sex & The City”, “Shoulda Coulda Woulda.” Don’t make my mistake. There was nothing wrong with my wanting to be married, but the disappointment I allowed to rot my insides when it didn’t happen at the time I thought it should was very wrong. I’m so very thankful my outlook improved. After all, I never would’ve gotten hitched if I had let myself “die” trying.