Like lots of us this past month, I watched HBO's “Going Clear” documentary about Scientology, which featured interviews with a bunch of former Scientologists, talking about how they escaped the church. After watching the doc, I went down a deep rabbit hole online, ending up at the blog of Marty Rathbun, one of the folks featured in the documentary. I read this thing that he wrote and was like Wait, this weirdly relates to wedding planning. I know that's an odd thing to say, but stay with me here:
Choosing a side and then obsessively resisting against another side causes one mental and spiritual dissonance. One doesn’t get relief from one’s dissonant self by changing sides and carrying on with resisting.
Many a trap sells jazzed up forms of resistance. Inspection of the salesmen on either side of most dramatic conflicts shows close parallels to those whom they invite you to resist.
An easy mark for resistance recruiters is someone who has been deeply conditioned to resist. Such folk are sitting ducks for re-enslavement by entrainment. Resisting against that which you once resisted for appeals to the denialist mind looking for return to the seeming comfortably numb stasis of two-valued thought.
What really strikes me here is that Marty is talking about non-binary thinking, which applies to a lot of things including, yes, wedding planning. I don't mean to minimize the horror of escaping from a controlling church by comparing it to the frivolity of wedding planning — I'm just saying there are lessons to be learned here that apply to all sorts of aspects of life.
Whenever people are like ROAR MAINSTREAM WEDDINGS I HATE THE WEDDING INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX BOO FUCK THE WIC RAWR, I'm always like “I get your frustration there, guys — but stop fighting so much against what you don't want, and start proactively working to determine what you DO want. Construction is always more difficult than demolition!”
I get the frustration, I really really do. I just think it's too easy to get caught up in simply fighting and rallying against something. To me feels just as blind a pursuit buying into a mainstream vision that doesn't resonate for you. Conforming is too easy, and rebelling doesn't actually get you any closer to actual self-awareness.
In Offbeat Bride's early days (way back in early 2007 *waves cane and pats MySpace profile*), a much higher percentage of my posts were reactionary and focused on resistance. Even subtle framing like “Wedding invitation wording that won't make you barf,” sets itself in opposition to barfing. (SOME OF US LIKE BARF, OK.)
I slowly realized that I wasn't doing anyone any favors by being so reactionary and oppositional. What if some people like barfy wording? What is my wording about OTHER than not barfing? Once readers aren't barfing, what's my next strategy for keeping them around? Big picture: being an anti-bride or a rebellious bride doesn't really say much about who you are, just who you aren't.
Offbeat Bride shifted to be more inclusive, more focused on creation than demolition, more focused on supporting people's choices instead of just bitching about the existing options. Sure, we still feature guestposts thoughtfully examining the mainstream pressures and limitations of the Wedding Industrial Complex (it's an issue that drives our readers crazy, for reasons I totally understand!) but generally, I'm not interested in what the quote above calls “two-valued thought.”
When you're planning a wedding (or a life), the options aren't just “for/against”… they're as limitless as your capacity to create and execute a vision.
Let's hear it: what are you firmly FOR in wedding planning?