Post-Wedding Depression is Real

When I first became engaged to my husband, I ordered all the wedding books, researched, and meticulously planned until I ended up in the ER with nerve damage. I was also pulled in all sorts of directions by my in-laws and family, who paid for the event. My planning season was an emotional rollercoaster, but I loved the planning part. I designed so many things and perused so many websites I can now call myself a wedding connoiseur.

After my wedding, in the 12 hour timeslot before I left for my honeymoon, I felt despair. I didn’t get exactly what I wanted. I didn’t even have a real wedding dress, but a white prom dress, because of low funds due to my medical situation. During this time I had become obese, and I felt I was no longer beautiful. I dreamt of being beautiful on my wedding day. Instead, I had a pixie haircut, a round face, acne and pale skin. There was, also, well, my new walking stick. During my planning season I had gone from abled to disabled.

The honeymoon provided another high, but immediately after coming home things turned south. Why didn’t I get to be gorgeous on my wedding day? Why had my husband never told me he thought I was beautiful during the wedding? Where was the romance? And most importantly, why couldn’t I walk on my own?

Growing up I was the little girl who played wedding in diapers. I was the ultimate wedding dreamer. But the bubble popped and here I was, married, unemployed and disabled. I was going to grad school in the fall after having to drop out due to developing lupus three days before my wedding. I felt worthless as a housewife.

When COVID hit I had a giant brain worm: a wedding planner for disabled couples. I wrote about 100 pages of it in two weeks, then fleshed it out with interviews from the community.

In trying to cope with the post-wedding blues, I turned back to weddings (one of my favorite things) to try to help people. It works best when I’m coming hard at it on the weekends or discussing it with my professors, who have taken an interest in the book.

The beauty, purpose, and creativity involved in weddings lit my brain up like a live wire. To see it POOF out of thin air, after its most important culmination, drove me to writing more seriously. I wrote about fashion, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and my experiences as a newly disabled wife facing an unknown world.

If you found this because you’re feeling guilt about the post-wedding blues, you aren’t alone. You’ve definitely got a friend in me.

If You Can Be Anything, Be Inclusive

I wrote an article for URevolution a while back and was paid in the form of a T-Shirt via a $30 gift card. As my weight fluctuates I always need new clothes, so I welcomed the opportunity to amp up my wardrobe. The designs URevolution has are also cute and minimalist.

The shirt I received was this:

White shirt with black text "if you can be anything be" with rainbow text "inclusive"

I ordered a 2XL, and it fits me like a T-shirt dress, which is what I wanted. I especially like this shirt due to pride month.

When I was in high school, in my tiny rural town, I had a gay friend, out of the two gay people in that entire village. His dad found out and he had to run away. He’s doing great now, but at the time I was really upset and full of righteous indignation.

If I write for URevolution again, I plan on getting this shirt:

Grey shirt with rainbow "inclusion" text

I really like URevolution’s disability focus and intentional inclusivity of all types of disabled people across races, genders, and sexual orientations.

They are new and a little disorganized, but they will communicate with you should you have a problem receiving your gift card like I did. I found them to be cordial and kind.

URevolution also ships fast. I had my shirt in 3 days.

If you’re interested in branching out and getting your first paid gig, I recommend writing for URevolution.

Unlearning Internalized Ableism

Rainbow painting with broad strokes. Title: Unlearning Internalized Ableism. spoonielifestyle.com

While writing my book, Wedding Planning for Spoonies, I realized how ableist I was despite having a disability. Even the subtitle of the OG cover shows that.

I have had a debilitating mental health disorder for 17 years, and chronic pain for 1 followed by extreme GI issues for 4. Each night I would vomit. But the doctors all said that nothing was wrong.

Because I had experienced discrimination throughout my life, I assumed I wasn’t ableist. But I slowly recognized, especially in the past few months, how I had internalized that prejudice and let it define myself and others.

For example, the word “crazy.” I had always adopted this moniker to try to mask my severe mental health problems instead of addressing them. I very badly wanted to be a “normal” person. Later I realized that disabled people, mentally ill included, are normal. We are our own normal. Disabled people are human beings like everyone else.

Maybe I never stopped to question what a human being was. It isn’t someone who drives a car or has a career. I was so focused on achieving that I never stopped to think that all people get sad and angry sometimes. We all get hurt. Maybe we don’t all have identical experiences, but we all feel the same feelings. There isn’t a person on this planet who never felt anger or grief.

In this regard, perhaps I was lucky to end up disabled. I had to slow down and reevaluate myself and work hard on myself to change bad thought patterns that blinded me to fundamental truths. I’m not saying I don’t want things to change – I would love to be healthy again – but this season of growth was spurred by losing total control of my life.

Perhaps when we are forced to “let go and let God,” we find ourselves and others in the eye of the storm.

Wedding Planning For Spoonies: Now With Actual Spoons! 🥄

It’s time for book talk! I’m back to almost 20,000 words after getting the book down to 16,000. That’s quite a feat for a week. And now I have this adorable cover!

It probably is a bit cisgender – but I wanted the rainbow background for a reason. Please give me some #feedback for fun!

For those who don’t know, this is a wedding planning book for the chronically ill and disabled that covers LGBTQ+ as well as cisgender weddings.

The Disability-Friendly Wedding Planner: Even New Directions

I am back in the saddle again with my book, The Disability-Friendly Wedding Planner, and I’m telling you, it’s gonna be a long road.

The book’s purpose is to help disabled and chronically ill individuals plan their weddings, but I’m not entirely sure it’s doing that right now. I’m talking to one agent who hasn’t gotten back to me yet after submitting my manuscript, and I nervously await the next steps.

Additionally, or not additionally rather, the book has been slashed a bit. It no longer covers as wide a net of disabilities as I had once liked to. Now it only covers mobility, chronic illness, and chronic pain, which when you think about it is pretty huge. There are lots of chronic illnesses and chronic pain conditions out there, and lots of varying degrees of mobility.

I have lots lots lots of research to do, and if you’d like to help, email me.

The Monday Blues are Grateful For You

blue pain on wood with a heart imprint white text overlay " you don't know what you have till it's gone: the monday blues are thankful for you"

I haven’t had a regular Monday morning since November of 2018. At the time I was a receptionist for a seedy car lot and trying my hardest to keep up. Every morning I woke up at 3am for my strenuous 1 hour morning routine, followed by my hour commute to start work at 5am down I-35 in ridiculous traffic. My car was a 25 year old clunker with no airbags. In short, it was a dangerous journey.

I didn’t get along with the folks at the car lot. I was too genuine, and too disabled. This was year two of my chronic vomiting, and one Wednesday I ran from the receptionists’ desk to puke for about five minutes. There was another receptionist at my post. When I returned, I received a harsh reprimand and was promptly fired. The whole incident was so jarring I haven’t interviewed for a job since and have decided to make it on my own freelancing.

That’s not to say I don’t want a job. I long for a typical Monday morning with three cups of coffee, doing my hair and makeup, putting on cute clothes and rushing out the door into the chaos of traffic. I know it sounds insane, but as someone that’s been homebound for two years now, there are some “awful” things I wish I had in my life. Some tethers of normalcy to give me the crown of worthiness.

However, there was a time I hated my morning or night commute. There may be certain things we hate in life or dread, but they serve a purpose. Our commutes in our little cars take up little spaces in the world and show us where we fit in society, seamlessly and dangerously, knowing one crash could take us out forever.

A commute’s potential purpose is to gain insight about the world. That asshole who cut you off – have you ever considered you might have been the asshole? Or maybe they were rushing a baby to the hospital?

Another is to gain insight about the world. We are cars on a road part of a system that crosses continents. We are so, so small part of something so huge.

What about gaining insight about yourself? What do you do in the car to stay calm? Do you listen to angry music? Soothing music? Podcasts? Do you feed your mind, your emotions, or your soul?

Whether you make it to your destination or not, I’d say your Monday morning commute is thankful for you. Negative experiences – or experiences we think are negative – are grateful for you because they get to serve their positive purpose: to allow illumination in their darkness.

Quiet Mornings on the Patio

Yesterday, my family helped my husband and I build a pergola. It’s beautiful, and I only have a few awkward photos, most of which involve the garbage can. It’s red cedar, and small like our little misshapen patch of concrete.

The awkward pic my dad took of the pergola.

My husband labored over the perfect pergola plans for months. I mean months, ever since we bought the house in November. His grand scheme for the yard is finally beginning to come to fruition. I was getting so annoyed with his obsession over the pergola that I would refuse to look at his pergola design books and his drawings. As an engineer, he knew how to build things. And build something, he did!

A few years ago my parents thrifted the patio furniture for my first grown up apartment. It’s a pretty Parisienne set, at least to an American. Bear and I intend to have a Provencal Potager garden. My father lived in France for some time and I always wanted to visit. So Bear is bringing the French countryside to our backyard.

We will have two rose teuteurs (French trellises) in our tiny garden, as well as two raised vegetable beds made out of red cedar fence pickets so I can have easy access to the garden. In the photo you can see the accessible herb garden, and there will be another on the left side past where we are growing a lemon verbena and a moon garden.

Our backyard is the smallest we’ve ever had, but I wanted it that way. I wanted it to be low maintenance, low stress. But my husband is a civil engineer and knows how to plan spaces. I’m pretty excited about the garden. Does that make me old?

I Got Cinderella’d and It’s Not All Great

My husband and I come from two different worlds. He comes from a different stratosphere than I do. I don’t get along with his family, even before I ran away twice. They mistreated me while we were just dating, and I never really understood why until I looked at class differences and ableism.

I can understand not liking me after what happened in January, but the hate I received before my wedding day didn’t make much sense to me. I was threatened with a letter from a church to stay away from my husband because I was “depressed.” Not to mention all the snide remarks about me being a bed warmer and my husband needing a vasectomy.

Unfortunately most of this was communicated to me through my husband, so it was all secondhand information. But it took me to the point where they have to ask permission to come into my house (which I usually do allow because I was raised to be a hospitable southerner) and I will never, ever voluntarily go into their homes.

In rich families, children are investments. Not in a way that children are investments for the future, but in that they can make money for the family. Who they choose to marry has a direct impact on how much cash the child makes for the family and how much of a financial burden they will be.

I was developing fibromyalgia and lupus symptoms while dating my husband. Most likely I was seen as a money pit. My husband told me his family was afraid I would drag him down.

Let me stop right here with this gosh darn ableism. An able bodied person can drag any slooshin person down. Anybody can drag anybody down. I have some friends I cut out of my life who were nightmares. And dragging someone down is cyclical. I most likely will reintroduce those negative friends again once I feel I can. We’ll start out positive and go back down the negative gravy train eventually, then it’ll get too much. But a marriage is commitment. Part of commitment is saying, “I will love you even when I think you suck.”

People fall down and then they come back up again like a dolphin out of water, complete with sex for pleasure and all.

Rich people tend to hide these basic life lessons from their kids by controlling them with gifts that come with invisible strings only made visible when the kid steps out of line. Basically, rich people scare me.

A Disabled Body is an “Every Body”

I love my beta readers. Without them The Disability-Friendly Wedding Planner would not exist. Most of them are my family, so I owe them my life. However, I struggle with my beta readers from an ideological standpoint. This is something very real.

Before the book changed its name and content, my beta readers were great. They still are great, but with much crappery.

When the book transitioned to The Disability-Friendly Wedding Planner, things changed between me and my beta readers. I told my beta readers I wanted to include men, they responded men weren’t to do any wedding planning. Then, when I said I wanted to include genderqueer people, they responded with, “But they already have wedding books. Everything is already about them. You see them everywhere.”

Them. Them should be a curse word, unless you’re referring to gender-neutral pronouns.

We live in an Us vs. Them world, where many people see themselves as an US, while everyone else is a THEM. Thems are subhuman, immoral, and undeserving of what US have. Us are kind, intelligent, noble, moral, and good. Us deserves their rights and protection.

Ultimately, Us does not understand Them.

There is a way to be a Them on multiple levels, an Us on multiple levels, or partially an Us and partially a Them. This is called intersectionality – the blend of a person’s social identities that either brings them a cocktail of power and/or submission.

For queer disabled folx, they have many blends of social identities that make them a big ol’ THEM to the white, cisgender, Christian folks that have been volunteering to read my book.

Not everyone like that THEMS folx, but a few do. I hope with my book, the thems of the world are exposed as US to somebody – a lot of somebodies – and eventually everyone.

Good day.

If you are a good person, hit me up in the comments. Please help me with my project. Please please please. Even if you aren’t queer, if you have chronic illness or a disability, this project can help you. This book is a traditional wedding planner for everybody – and I mean every BODY. A disabled body is an every BODY. People never realize it, but in the blink of an eye, the progression of age, anyone and everyone eventually becomes disabled. Just think of your 80 year old grandma, or how I went to athletic and active to occasionally using a mobility aid and unable to walk my dog.

A disabled body is an every BODY, so the book includes everybody.

Not Giving Up

NOT a novel

When I first shared my covers on Twitter, there seemed to be some confusion about “the brides different ability.” This discouraged me a bit about my communication skills. I think this is partially because I am keeping this project a little bit under wraps.

The Differently Abled Bride Guide is a wedding planner book for women with chronic illnesses and disabilities. Differently Abled is the PC term for those conditions, as either of those groups can define themselves as disabled, not disabled, or differently abled.

I am trying to create a one-stop wedding planning resource for women with conditions ranging from fibromyalgia to paraplegia and everything in between. This is why I have been conducting so much research. I want accurate and inoffensive information.

Yesterday, I had some discouragement. I was approached by a publisher who asked me for $20,000 dollars to publish my book.

I’ve never even spent that much on a car. That is a fancy car to me.

This came immediately after my favorite publisher rejected me. So far I have 12 rejections in a month.

I know what I am doing is risky and out of the ordinary. My friends were so encouraging. But I’ll stick to it.

Don’t give up y’all. Some day we’re all gonna change the world. We’re gonna help people.