If you’re a longtime reader of So About What I Said, then you probably remember seeing Jessi featured in several posts. She and I go way back (we initially bonded over our mutual love of writing and blogging!!), so I was honored when she invited me to her wedding a couple years ago. I was excited, of course, but there was a nagging thought in the back of my mind: I’m not used to going to weddings alone. This will certainly be a first.
And what a first experience it turned out to be — in the BEST way possible! I’m so glad I ended up writing about my wedding experience in my latest essay for Glamour! The essay “My Disability Made Me Dread Going to Weddings Alone. It Shouldn’t Have” explored what this new experience was like, even though most people my age had flown solo at weddings long before my maiden voyage. My editor was incredibly kind and wonderful to work with; she really got me to dig deeper and explore my feelings about my disability and not just recount the details of the wedding.
Here’s an excerpt of the essay, which I’m happy to say got Jessi’s stamp of approval (I’m *so* glad she liked it!)…
As I got older, it didn’t help that my physical disability made me feel as though I was on display; I felt incredibly self-conscious of my surgical scars, wheelchair, and deformities, and was about ready to say goodbye to any sense of hope. I was born with Freeman-Sheldon syndrome, a rare genetic bone and muscular disorder. And in my wheelchair, well, I tend to make an entrance wherever I go. I’ve realized that it’s impossible for me to go under the radar, no matter how much I might want to. People notice me. That’s just how it is.
So when I found myself sitting in a small banquet hall one rainy October evening in 2015, attending my first wedding as a solo guest, I felt especially seen—and not in a good way. Everything should have been perfect—I’d been friends with the bride for six years, and her now husband almost as long, and I couldn’t have been happier for them. Plus, at 34, I knew most people my age had probably been attending weddings alone for nearly a decade, and it’s really not that unusual. But here I was, drinking my Coca-Cola in a dimly lit ballroom and feeling anxious. It would be one thing if I could just easily blend in with the crowd—I craved that kind of anonymity—but instead, I carried that self-consciousness with me that night. Insecurity was my plus-one.
You can read the full essay here and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat! And of course, feel free to share my essay on Facebook, Twitter or even your local refrigerator. If you share on Twitter, be sure to tag me @melissablake so we can connect! I can’t wait to hear from you! Love you all… xoxo