When family and friends ask me how married life is going, I stand there with a blank look on my face or stare at my phone with a million thoughts running through my head. Most of these thoughts are works of fiction filled with lust, drama, and romance.
How’s married life? they ask
Oh it’s wonderful! He’s more kind and caring than he’s ever been. He literally cannot keep his hands off me and sends me dirty text messages and brings home bouquets of roses. Only a few months into our marriage and we’ve filled our days with adventure, wine, and music that inspires us to dance. He spins me around and leaves me breathless.
How’s married life? they ask
Well, it’s nothing like I imagined. It’s like the magician has disappeared and I’m left standing in a reality that I don’t recognize. We’ve let ourselves go and all bets are off. We’re far more gross and weird than we’ve let on and it’s beginning to wear us thin. We don’t go more than a few hours without seeing each other and are constantly getting on each other’s nerves.
How’s married life? they ask
It’s like having a second full-time job. It’s a lot of work and the work has only just begun. We’re learning how to live together and still stay sane. Some days we want to strangle one another while other days we don’t want to be around anyone else. The hardest part in mixing our two lives into one.
Of course I don’t say any of this out loud. I allow these little stories to flutter around in my head because they seem far more interesting than the current status of my reality. How’s married life? The truth is it’s comfortable. Not much has changed from us dating to us being husband and wife. We have the same arguments, enjoy the same moments, and as much as I wish he was suddenly more weird and gross so I would have something to write about, he isn’t.
How’s married life? It’s wonderful and silly and fun and infuriating and a work-in-progress. What’s married life? It’s different for every couple so it’s difficult to explain. For us, it’s sweat and farts and morning-breath and smiles and laughter. It’s planning for the future and figuring things out together. It’s comfort and boredom and rare moments where I still find butterflies in fluttering around in my stomach.
Before Alex placed a ring on my finger I hadn’t given much thought to assuming my his last name. Alex and I aren’t the most traditional couple so those around me assumed I would keep my maiden name (or they didn’t want to ask me another wedding question that might make me hostile). It wasn’t until a few days after we’d been married that I was 100% certain I wanted to be a Buccella.
I decided to assume my husband’s last name rather than legally change it (so I’m still a Grillone). Why? Well the long and short of it is simple: I wanted to. Alex and I are starting our own family with just the two of us and I want to share a last name with him. Some women have told me that that’s old-fashioned while others think that taking his name means that I’ve “lost” myself. Either way, their challenging opinions or support don’t faze me.
my body = my choice
my name = my choice
my pen = my voice (sorry, had to do it!)
The only complication is the whole I’m a writer thing, so what happens to my social media links, my website, my future novels? I will publish my novels under my maiden name Grillone because that is how the writing world knows me. My social media channels will have a little bit of both. I am Vanessa Grillone and Vanessa Buccella, so why not have both? For me it’s all about respecting the chapters that came before November 11, as well as, all of the chapters that will come after.
Does taking my husband’s last name make me less of a feminist? No. My husband and I are equal. We believe in equal rights, we both contribute financially to the household, we both clean and take care of one another, and we encourage each other to have dreams and pursure them. We are a team not a hierarchy.
That’s the best part of being a twenty-something Canadian woman in the year 2017 is that I can make these kinds of choices. I can do what is right for me and if need be I have the opportunity to fight for what isn’t.
We did it! We travelled a 1.5 year-long road jumping over arguments, dodging (and even embracing) tears, and pausing at crossroads until we reached destination “I DO”.
November 11, 2016 was exactly how I hoped it would be; calm, relaxing, and fun. Since we had the ceremony and reception in the same location (The Hazleton Manor) the day was super easy. Hair at 9 AM (many thanks to Chroma Hair Design), make up at 11 AM, a few mimosa to calm the nerves, and it was time for the ceremony.
The rest of the day was like a dream. I immediately began to tear up as I walked down the aisle with my parents to the music stylings of Out of the Blue. Seeing the smile on Alex’s face and watching his legs shake nervously filled me with excitement and joy. The ceremony itself was quick, fun, and completely US – it did help that we got to choose all of the readings and write out own vows. The hall was decorated to perfection (thanks to my mom and mostly Paradise Floral Studio), the music was on point, the food was utterly delicious, and the drinks overflowing. Everyone embraced us with a warm hug and a smile. The entire hall was filled with love, hope, and happiness – I could feel it oozing from our guests.
Yes, there were things that didn’t go exactly as planned; I was grooving on the dance floor when the back of my dress popped open. It may have fit like I glove in the morning but after dancing, sweating, and eating, I could barely breathe!!!! All in all, the wedding was everything I hoped it would be and so much more. Thanks to our family and close friends, we made memories that will last a lifetime.
Thank you to everyone who attended the wedding and everyone on social media who wished us well. Here’s to a new chapter as Mr. & Mrs. Buccella ❤
As I sat down at La Bamboche with my fluffy cappuccino I realized that I was about an hour early for my final wedding dress fitting.
MY FINAL WEDDING DRESS FITTING.
Which meant that I would get to take my dress home because it’s so close to the wedding that there’s no point in keeping at the store. Because I’m getting married in less than a month. In less than a month I get to marry my best friend, but not only that, I get to see what all this planning actually accomplished.
It feels completely surreal. Where did this year go?! Didn’t we just get engaged? Every time I try to picture what the day will look like I either get a bout of anxiety or I cry with happiness. I’m nervous about the big day and hope everything goes as planned but I’m also excited. Excited to finally say the vows I’ve written a million times, excited to walk down the aisle with my mom and dad, excited to watch my friends perform a song or two, excited to dance the night away with my family and closest friends. I’m also excited for the relief I’ll feel once the day is over. I’m looking forward to not worry about seating charts or floral arrangements or offending anyone. I’m excited for what happens after I DO.
Wait, what happens after I DO?! I guess we’ll find out ❤️.
**A special thank you to all of the wonderful women at Ritché Bridal for your patience, support, and magical alterations. I felt like an old friend every time I went for a fitting and I am sad for all of the future brides out there that won’t get to have the Ritché Bridal experience. Congratulations on your retirement and thank you for the dress of my dreams.**
Thanksgiving is my favourite day of the year. If you’ve been following my blog since 2010, you’ll remember that my family is all about our Thanksgiving day traditions. The day begins with a trip to Downey’s Farm where we scarf down the best fries with gravy (or a hot dog), take photos in the pumpkin patch, and buy 3 different pies from the bakery. Next we head over to the closest apple orchard and pick to our hearts’ content. Then we all head to my parents’ house to snack, nap, and await an epic turkey dinner. Although the day itself has lost some of its magic, I’m thankful for its continuity. We’re growing up and perhaps we’ve exchanged hot chocolate for coffee (or wine) but we still enjoy being together and continuing the tradition that started long before my nieces were born, before my sister was married, my brother graduated high school, or Alex and I got engaged.
Thanksgiving, apart from the family time and overeating, always makes me think about what I’m thankful for, what I’ve accomplished, and how I can better myself. It’s one thing to be thankful for people and the many things they do for us and it’s another to show thanks – which is something I don’t do enough of. This last month or so I’ve felt extremely overwhelmed, headstrong, and stubborn. Nightmares, thoughts about a disastrous wedding, and planning has me going a little nuts. There is always something on my mind and with the final countdown beginning I’ve turned into a BRIDEZILLA. I’ve been short with a lot of people and stress is no excuse for a bad attitude. This bridezilla has to morph back into the anxious humble little nobody who appreciates all of the help and care people (my mom especially) have put into this wedding.
As far as my own accomplishments go and the goals I want to set for myself I’m afraid that I’ve become lazy. What happened to the girl who used to blog her heart out, who used to jump at the chance of attending every event she was invited to? What happened to the woman who wanted to make a difference with her words? Who looked to young writers for inspiration and allowed herself to get lost in creating worlds filled with characters that people could relate to? What happened to the woman hell-bent on acquiring a literary agent who could both challenge and help her create beautiful stories? She got a full-time job and a suitcase filled with excuses and used them every chance she could. I’m proud of all I’ve accomplished at work but it’s time to go back to my roots and get excited about words, books, bookish people, and spinning tales. It’s time to get back to being me.
The other day I called to reserve a limo for our wedding (OMG it’s almost here!!!), and I ended up chatting with a lovely woman named Helen. As she took my information she commented on my email address (email@example.com). I like that, it must mean something, she said. I explained that it is the name of my first blog and first book.
After many minutes of chatting I learned that Helen has a background in marketing and used to run a magazine. She’d spend loads of time with writers and journalists and really enjoyed the hustle and bustle of that industry. And then life throws you something you didn’t quite expect and you just have to roll with it, she said almost sensing my curiosity of how she ended up in the limo business.
She explained that sometimes she misses the magazine industry but there cane a point when she realized that she had no time for anyone, not even her own life. She decided, or life helped her decide, that she had to make a change. Our conversation meant more to me than I think Helen understands.
As today marks the one year anniversary of Alex’s liver donor surgery, I know what she means by life throwing something unexpected at you. I completely relate to her point about enjoying what is important in life. And given that I spend my 9-5 in the cured ham industry and not writing, I know that life can often send you to the most unexpected places.
Given how stressed I’ve been over the wedding, how much I’ve been itching for change, and honestly, how defeated I’ve felt over my writing (or lack thereof), Helen truly inspired me to think positively and embrace the life I have while working for the other things I want. It’s funny how all of the Helens in my life seem to say the exact thing I need to hear at the precise moment I need to hear it.
She’s scared of many things but failure in particular keeps her up at night. There are many things a person can fail, like a test or dream. You can learn from most failures and move on, and she is used to those kinds of failures.
One thing that she doesn’t want to fail at is her marriage. She isn’t getting cold feet because her heart is fuelled, heated, and powered by love. She sometimes thinks way into the future and pictures what their life together will be like. She clings to the hope that there will still be love, a love so great it can trump anything that stands in their way. She hopes that there will always be compromise and compassion between them. She jopes for honesty.
She pictures him looking at her the same way he did this morning, with a mixture of pride and astonishment, as if she couldn’t possibly be real. She feels his arms enveloped around her in the warmth of the morning glow. They’re standing on the front porch; he in his work clothes and she in her pajamas. She pictures him holding her that way forever. She might be a hopeless romantic but maybe that’s an important part of their relationship. Maybe they’ll struggle, change, fight, and play but they’ll love each other through it all.