This I Believe

Brittany - Hartland, Michigan
Entered on January 19, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I already have my wedding song picked out. Well, it’s narrowed down to Don Williams’ “I Believe in Love” and Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be.” I know what my dress will look like—it will be a strapless, floor-length gown with simple but elegant detailing. I know my bridesmaids will wear pink. I am going to dance to “Tough Little Boys” by Gary Allan with my dad and my mom is going to give me such a big headache I’ll wonder why I didn’t elope. I have every detail figured out, except if I will ever have a wedding.

I don’t know why, but I have never been quite sure about the idea of marriage. Contrary to what most psychologists might think, there has been nothing wrong with my childhood; my parents are still married and most of the time they’re happy. Oddly enough, no one in my close family has been divorced or separated. None of the men in my family have any out-dated beliefs that the women should stay at home and tend to the house and children. My parents have always encouraged me to go after my goals and that I can have it all: a career, a family, a loving husband. I just don’t know if I believe it. My mom told me that the deer carcasses on car roofs during hunting season were being brought into the city to be fixed by doctors, after all.

I believe I can have any one of those things above; if I pick one, I can make it work. I don’t know if I could ever make them work together though. I feel as though I’m at this point in my life where I’m trying to decide what to do with myself. Everyday I stress out a little about my grades and whether or not, in four years, I’ll be accepted to law school. Then shortly after, I wonder whether I would be happier in law-school or picking up someone from pre-school.

I think my apprehensions about marriage stem from when I was in eighth-grade and I decided that I wasn’t going to become seriously involved with someone during high-school. I knew from the time I was thirteen that I wanted to be successful, that I was going to get good grades, go to a good college, get a good job and live in Manhattan. It was my version of the American dream. I also knew that sometimes “life happens.” Sometimes, that dream gets interrupted by the most unexpected things like falling in love. I never did date anyone from my hometown, I’ve never told a boyfriend that I love him, and to date, life hasn’t “happened” to me.

I’ve entertained the notion that I have scared myself away from love more than once. Looking back, I see numerous and amusing examples. There was the boy I threw off of my bed because I was certain I heard the words “I love you” whispered during a kiss. When he assured me he didn’t, I allowed promised him that if I ever did hear those words we were breaking up. There was the boy who drunkenly asked me if I loved him, as we tried to determine our relationship status. Although most people would appease a love struck and intoxicated co-ed and say “Yes,” I quickly and firmly answered “No” before changing the subject.

I sometimes wonder if my determination is the reason I’m unsure about whether or not my perfect wedding is simply a dream. I wonder if I will ever relax and let “life happen” to me, when I will ever fall in love. The ironic thing with my internal debate over what I want with my life is that for so long, I knew the answer. I never wanted to get married. Most girls have had their wedding planned since they were five; I didn’t have a wedding dress picked out until I was fifteen. The songs were chosen less then a year ago. I sometimes laugh at the idea that my dreams of marrying prince charming began ten years late when I was a teenager, along with my biological clock, which began ticking ten years early.

I’ve never been a hopeless romantic but it seems like just recently I’ve morphed into a person I don’t know. There are so many things I can’t find the answers to. I don’t even know if I want that fairy-tale wedding I described. I don’t know where love will take me, if I will let it sweep me away. I don’t know if I believe that I will find love and unlike Don Williams, I don’t even know wholeheartedly if I believe in love. I wonder if this whole internal debate was caused by a seemingly insignificant decision of mine when I was thirteen. And I wonder if I will let myself fall into love when I find it. I wonder a lot about what is in store for my future but I suppose that I should just relax and let life happen for a change.