Brene Brown would be impressed with me. The author of Daring Greatly, she's big on being kind to yourself, on knowing which of the little voices shouting in your ear deserve attention - or don't - and she's full of suggestions on how to open your heart and protect it at the same time. I couldn't be reading a more timely book.
Weddings provide many opportunities for hurt feelings. Brown's research on bullying and vulnerability and the should's which surround us would have been helpful as decisions were being made. Little Cuter and I are fairly confident in our ability to be true to ourselves without damaging others, but the definition of other was different in this case. Everyone had a stake in the event. Everyone had an image of the event. Everyone had an opinion and no one wanted to hurt any one's feelings.
The morass was deep. Brown's answer made me laugh; she quoted The In-Laws. Trying to avoid a hail of bullets, Alan Arkin advises Peter Falk not to run straight for cover, but to serpentine. Zigging and zagging, taking control of the situation and turning it on its head for your own advantage, being an active participant instead of a recipient of slings and arrows.... we serpentined our way to this weekend and everyone is still in love.
I'm thinking that the bride and groom deserve kudos and, perhaps, a mention in Brown's next treatise.
The kids really didn't have too many disagreements before they became engaged. They approached the big day with quite disparate expectations and it could've been ugly. Instead, they trusted one another, they were open and honest about the why's and the feelings, and they listened. They really and truly listened to the words and the thoughts and the emotions behind the other's why's and here we are, eighteen months after he gave her the ring, creating an event that makes everyone smile.
Daring Greatly is research based, written by a social worker, and filled with advice and stories. Brown quotes Harry Potter and Jerry Spinelli and herself and, while the book is sometimes difficult to grasp if you haven't read her previous work (as I have not) her basic premise resonates with me. TBG and I deal with many of these issues as we wander through the maze of media attention. There's lots more to say, but I'm in Weddingville this week so it will have to wait until the party's over.
For now, let me leave you with this quote from the chapter describing her research process:
Traveler, there is no path, the path must be forged as you walk.That sounds like fine advice for people starting a new adventure.... like marriage.... or being in-laws.
I received the book and a stipend to write this review; the thoughts are all my own, as always.