Saturday, November 2, 2013

Happily Ever After

So...  what did YOU do last weekend? :)

Here's what we did:

Here comes the bride! Seriously, does she not stun? And Dad looks great, too!

That's me on the mic, with the permanent head-tilt. Preternaturally calm. Got some laughs, brought some tears, even got a "YEAH!" at one point and  enthusiastic applause at the end. I am pleased to say I rocked it, people! I did my sister proud!

And away they go! Look at those smiles! Those are two happy newly-weds. It was a perfect, perfect day, and they were surrounded by wonderful friends and family and infused with the love and hope of everyone present.

Yep, I can safely say that officiating my sister's wedding was one of the all-time most amazing things I have ever done. Maybe THE most amazing, as far as personal achievements go. Writing that article that went viral never came close to this, because so much of that was accidental. This was very much a deliberate thing; something I made with a purpose and for a specific desired effect, and it accomplished exactly what I hoped it would.

It was just straight-up amazing.

It definitely ranks on the list along with marrying my husband, having my children, and graduating from college (all three times). 

Those are the top awesome things. The I'd-never-do-differently things. The Highlight Reel. Those are the ones. 

Maybe seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time, from a hillside in the distance, would be on there, too. Although not an accomplishment, that sure was cool. 

The week was fantastic; spent, as expected, with the family in an enormous house in Lake Tahoe. They found a house big enough to hold us all for the week and to host the wedding in the back yard-- a trick cribbed from my own wedding up at the Russian River several years ago.

Such a great idea, if I do say so myself!

The kids ran around with their cousins, the guys cooked like mad geniuses for the Friday night bash, the women made centerpieces and hung Christmas lights in the yard for the big event (that's the way we do it in our family), and I helped everyone with their written pieces because, miracle of miracles, I was the only one finished.

Oh, and my sister Miranda baked the most outrageously delicious cupcakes and cake pops ever to grace the Earth. She should be illegal. 

Or she should live in my kitchen. One or the other.

The crazy thing that happened, after it was all over, is that I felt... good.  

I felt... great. 

All the way home, late the next afternoon, I kept catching my brain searching, searching, searching for the thing that went wrong. Surely there had to be something to be embarrassed about. I hadn't said the right things, or I'd said too much, or I'd done something embarrassing or revealed something I hadn't meant to show.


I had said exactly what I'd wanted to say, and just how I'd wanted to say it, and I'd elicited the response I'd hoped to elicit, and I saw the joy on my sister's face that I'd hoped to see, and I heard her friends talking about her wedding as if it would be memorable in exactly the way I'd hoped they would. 

I had wanted to make the day special not only for her and her husband, but for everyone who came to share it with them, and I felt like what I'd tried to do to engage them all and bring them into the moment with us had worked very well.

I couldn't find anything to feel bad about. I felt like an unqualified success.

More than that, my shame centers were blessedly clear. It was... weird. Disconcerting. 


You guys, I don't remember the last time that happened. And when I say that, I mean this:

I don't know if that has ever happened before.

Like, ever.

I don't know if there has ever not been a voice that has snuck in, after the fact, and whispered, "You didn't really do that, not really, you cheated, you skated by, it was too easy for you, you didn't really work for it, you didn't do enough, you didn't do your best, you didn't do it right, it wasn't perfect, it wasn't enough, it was too much, you were showing off, you were being selfish, you were being lazy, you're a fraud, they'll all find out...."

This time, not only did that voice not come, but it took me three days to notice that this  was what was really missing. It wasn't just that I couldn't find the thing that had gone wrong. 

It was that I didn't feel any shame, either.

For three whole days, I felt nothing but a quiet, golden, contented hum. Powerful. Accomplished. Capable. Free.

My regular readers will know what a big deal this is. It is a Very Big Deal. In fact-- and I am not saying this lightly, my friends- it might be The Biggest Deal Since I Began This Therapy.

As you may recall, there is evidence to suggest that PTSR is, in essence, a shame disorder. I have written about that in this blog, and I agree with this theory (although not to the exclusion of others). Shame has certainly been my own constant companion, not just throughout these past 22 years, but even before the accident. It's what made me prone to such a powerful PTSR response in the first place.

So in light of my shame-free response to this extremely shame-prone, emotionally-heavy situation last weekend, I am thinking something pretty damn incredible has happened. Something so incredible that now that it has occurred to me, I don't even know what to do about it. But I'm going to tell you about it, and I'm going to think about it, and I'm going to do my best to make it happen again.

Here's what I'm thinking:

During and after that wedding, when I was doing what I meant to do (and what I was meant to do) and then trying and failing to feel any shame about it, I was NOT having an I WANT TO LIVE moment.



And if THAT'S what it feels like, then hot damn! I'm going to try to do as much of that as possible. 

A girl could get used to THAT.

Me & the Mrs.


  1. Beautiful, my dear friend. Here's to more and more moments of LIVING!

  2. Oh my god - so incredible Kate. And I have to say... I don't remember seeing you so incredibly content in your skin. Not only was the wedding amazing in and of itself. But watching you do - what you do- and watching you do it so elegantly and poised and...comfortable - it was beautiful! I LOVE you so much. You...are..Incredible!