planning out our wedding celebration has been a real experience for me. if you asked me at any other point in my life how i’d imagine this event would go, i bet you the ideas forming in my mind would have been anything but this. choosing to be with and marry someone whose family is not (and has never been) supportive of our choices is a real challenge. the chinese culture is extremely heavy on respect and being dutiful to one’s family. anything short of obediently fulfilling one’s responsibility and meeting parent’s expectations is a crime punishable by shaming and an endless array of disappointment.
i’m sure not all chinese families are that way. my mother is chinese and i was not raised to believe i have no choice or say in any matter. but then again, she’s not culturally very chinese at all and neither are/were my grandparents. so i really can’t speak for what the norm is. it could be a belief system that is still a building block of the culture. or it could be a dying practice. in all honesty, i’ve never had too many chinese friends – being mix and culturally more westernized meant i hardly fit in with either race.
i have however for the past 3 years – had the pleasure (or lack thereof) of having chinese in-laws. i always imagined my wedding to be an occasion to celebrate. isn’t the idea that this would be my one day to be queen? i thought i’d have my mum here and in best case scenarios my mother-in-law, fussing over the planning and what everyone would wear. i thought i’d be really happy, seeing two families get to know each other and become one.
the truth is, it’s been an extremely dreadful and draggy union. if i didn’t choose at all times to keep my head focused on love and clear from negativity, i wouldn’t make it to the finish line.
i believe my parents-in-law would like us to wait to be stable before having a wedding. or get married for that matter. i believe their son being 30 is more appropriate and acceptable. it is unfathomable, why he would want to be married at 26. although being 30 wouldn’t even make a difference because first they’d have to accept that he is marrying me. which they don’t. they think he’s crazy. they say we’re disrespectful. they act like having to invite people to the dinner is such a shameful thing. where on earth would they hide their face?
this upsets me. as much as i hold on strong to our love and know that the only people who have a say in this relationship are the actual people in the relationship, it really pokes at my emotions and sanity. i understand us living life differently is hard for them to accept. but to be almost completely ashamed at something as simple and pure as a wedding?
it turns our beautiful occasion into a messy negotiation and takes away my one day.
it’s a good thing i’ve grown to accept what i cannot change in life so at least i’m not under any delusion thinking they would show up smiling and make me feel loved. we will do this and get it over with and enjoy what we can.
love is far from a fairy tale fantasy. or maybe that’s exactly what fairy tales are about – a challenge to fight for the love that really matters. this relationship is and always will be hard work. but i have never doubted my choice and my partner has never made me feel like he doubts his. in this moment, i do fully believe that us is worth all the effort we’re putting in.
it is times like this that i really stop to appreciate how loving and beautiful a family i have. immediate and extended. things may not be perfect, but i have grown up with an incredible amount of love in my life. in the darkest of days, love always shines through. because of that, i am now able to give my partner the one thing he has been lacking in his life. to share all the warmth and happiness i have in my space and fill his life with purpose, gratitude and love.