Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bridesmaids Dress Shopping and Bitterness

I'm warning you in advance, this post is going to show the ugly side of me. :( And it's a very long post.  Sorry.

This past weekend I went bridesmaid dress shopping with my sister, my mother, and what seemed like a bajillion of my sister's friends.  I had the option of staying home and just sending in my measurements, but I felt that I should go since I'm the Matron of Honor, and because I wanted to be there to object if my sister decided on something immodest.

It was an experience, let me tell ya. lol

When I walked in, I was extremely overwhelmed.  There were seven "little" girls (the youngest bridesmaid is 12 and the others are 18-19.  My sister's only 19.) giggling and talking very loudly in a very small room. My sister tried on her wedding dress (which is gorgeous), and then my mother took my veil out from a bag.  I keep my wedding dress and veil at my parents' house because we seriously have NO ROOM in our closets.  Anyway, I'm ashamed to say that I lost my temper with my mother.  My veil was all crumpled up, which annoyed me, and I said, "Oh, is she wearing my veil, then?  Thanks for asking."  Ugh, it was such a bratty thing to say, but I was annoyed to see my very expensive veil crumpled up in the bottom of a bag and that my mother just assumed my sister would be wearing my veil (see how prideful I am?).  My mother insisted that she had asked me, and I insisted that I didn't remember that conversation, and everyone got really quiet, and my mother said, "Good job.  You just made a fool of yourself."  Ugh...I felt awful about my behavior and I was furious about everything all at the same time.  I apologized for my behavior and said my sister could try it on, and my mom got all passive-aggressive and said, "Nope.  Nope.  Don't worry about it," and threw my veil back into the bag. Sigh.

I tried to put the situation behind me (I hate having people mad at me, so it was hard) and tried on a few dresses.  I rode back to my parents' house with my mother, sister, and all of my sister's friends, and I was scandalized.  I must be incredibly naive about what life is like outside of our "little Catholic bubble" ;), because I couldn't believe the kinds of conversations I was hearing.  F bombs were flying all over the place, everybody was talking about how stupid everyone else was, how drunk they were at which parties, which of their friends is in jail, and who got in whose pants while they were in grade/high school.  I mean, holy crap!  Even before my conversion, I didn't talk like that (which is because of God's grace, not because of any merit of my own, obviously).  And my mother was sitting RIGHT THERE, not saying a thing.  Which leads me to the bitterness part of the post. 

When I was growing up, my parents were pretty strict with me.  I wasn't allowed to say butt or stupid for a long time, let alone curse, or listen to the rap music station.  When I came home from school, I had to sit at the kitchen counter right away and do my homework before I could do anything else.  The TV in my room had to be off at 9:30, and I wasn't allowed to watch certain cartoons.  I was terribly afraid of disappointing my parents, and I worked hard to get good grades.  I didn't really have any faith formation other than CCD, but I was taught to at least be a good person and to treat others how I'd like to be treated.  However, my parents don't parent this way with my brother and sister, and it makes me very, very angry.  

When my sister was 12, she became anorexic and almost died (she got down to 73 lbs), and after that my parents were afraid to ever say no to her.  I understand.  They didn't want to cause her to relapse.  This style of parenting has spilled over to my 14 year old brother.  My mother lets him do whatever he wants. He has an, laptop, and tv in his room, which she lets him play whenever he wants.  When I come home, I don't see him because he's up in his room, and when I do see him, he can't wait to be upstairs.  He's been caught watching por.nography, and my parents haven't done anything.  Boomz has offered to set up the wireless so that it shuts off at a certain time so that my brother doesn't stay up all hours, but they won't let him.  My father tries to discipline as much as he can, but my mom contradicts him and tells him to back off.  I have so, so much anger toward my mother because my father is trying to do the right thing, but she won't let him!  She's constantly criticizing and emasculating him, and I HATE it.  I want to scream at her sometimes.  My siblings' souls are at stake, and they aren't doing ANYTHING.

Sigh.  I'm sorry this post is all over the place.  I'm just so angry, I had to get a little bit out.  I'll probably end up deleting this post later.  


  1. Get it all out girl! I understand your frustration. All you can do is pray for guidence for your siblings and parents. Be a good example to them, and you never know what will happen ;)

  2. I can relate to you in the fact that my DH and I get uncomfortable around family too. The things they think are important and their morals and values are a lot different than ours. It's sad because our idea of what families should be and what we have in reality will never be the same. All we can do is be our true selves, plant seeds, and pray that the Lord opens their hearts and minds to the truth that he's shown us.

  3. Oh, I am so sorry. :( What a tough weekend. It must be hard to be corrected by your mom publically only for her to not correct others. I think parents and their issues have a way of getting to our core. And wedding stuff can dredge up a lot of emotions and dynamics that we'd rather ignore.

  4. I can so relate. a) don't get overly scandalized by your weakness and sin the bridal store. I once dissolved into anger and tears b/c my MIL moved my wedding dress from safe storage in a bedroom closet into a moldy basement. Do an act of contrition. Go to confession this weekend. Ask God to help you do better and move on.

    b) you are so not alone in being the only big C catholic in a family. It is heartbreaking. It's especially hard when younger sibs are involved. There is something about "losing Christ" that makes family's dissolve super fast. I'm 10 years older than my youngest brother. When I grew up, things were a little "off" but we still had dinner as a family each night and Mom enforced a strict no alcohol policy in the house. When my brother was in high school, family dinner turned into take-out eaten at random times in front of the TV and my brother started throwing drinking parties at the house. My brother got arrested and hospitalized for drinking in excess in college--nothing was said by my parents.

    Pray a lot for your sibs and try to ask God for clear directions before saying anything out loud. In Carmel we have a saying "we do out 1 % and let the Holy Spirit do the remaining 99 %).

    Cheerfulness and Catholic living say a lot. Your sibs ARE watching you. They want a happy marriage in their hearts. If they see you living out your vocation with joy, it will plant a seed. You never know what will work. My little sister was shocked that I went to 6 AM Daily Mass b/c she KNOWS how much I love to sleep in during the mornings. That one silent behavioral change said volumes to my non-Catholic sister about Jesus true presence in the eucharist b/c she knows the old me so well.

    c) I've got your brother on my permament prayer list. If he's got a vocation to the priesthood, he's bound to be attacked. Our Blessed Mother can make good things come out of evil. Whenever you get depressed about him, check out Father Coropi's conversion story to get a big dose of Hope.

    Hugs and prayers! Abigail

  5. sorry, i just realized this was a super long comment. send me your email address please. your family is in my heart and prayers! abigail(dot)b(dot)benjamin@gmail(dot)com

  6. I have no sisters, but I think I'd be annoyed that anyone would presume to wear my wedding attire without asking. Who will keep it after the wedding? You? Your sister? Your mom? Might want to keep your wedding stuff even if you don't have room in your closets.

    I would suggest thanking God that your parents were as strict with you as they were and then, maybe, talking to your dad about how scandalized you were by the conversation and conduct during your visit and remind him that he didn't raise you that way. Does he approve of it and if not, why are your siblings being raised that way? If you and your dad are in agreement, maybe something could be said to your mother, as it sounds like she is the biggest problem. Your sister is an adult. There isn't much that can be done there, especially if she is getting married and moving out, but it could make a big difference for your brother.

  7. Don't know if you sew, but if you plan on making your children a baptismal gown, you might want to let your sis know that if she shares your veil, she won't have it for a keepsake because "her" veil will be cut up to make said gown.
    (Where I come from, the baptismal gown is cut from the mother's wedding dress, and a piece of the dress goes onto the priest's first vestments too, if your son becomes a priest.)

    That might solve the problem. LOL!

  8. I'm so sorry! I will pray for your family!

    I'm in a similar situation with a sister who is getting married. It's hard and so frustrating.

    DH and I also have a similar family situation. I'm the ONLY Catholic in my family and DH's family is 99% cafeteria Catholics. It's very difficult.

    Like I said, you and your family will be in my prayers!

  9. Hello,
    Just randomly came across your blog. I know how it is sometimes. Family can be SO infuriating, especially if they don't share the same views.

  10. I'm so sorry! I feel so bad that you had to experience all this! You're stronger than you think though!

    Praying for you!

  11. Don't delete it woman!!! it's okay to feel like this! What a yucky situation - I was cringing at what was being said in front of your mom!! :-/ they are all so young, too...eek!!!...I was the same way you were, trying to please my parents, etc and I would feel the same way about all of this. Veil included. It's okay for you to have felt the way you did, and we all react in a way we regret later sometimes! I hope the rest of the wedding planning goes much better than this day did! Hugs!

  12. I can't believe I never commented on this.

    I think you are soooo normal to have those feelings and frustrations, and at the same time, you are the light that your family needs. You will be the one to help them all become holy.