Instead of a church, we got married in a gorgeous old Art Deco building that used to be train station. We had a good friend get ordained online at Universal Life Church (yes, it’s legit) and preside over the ceremony. We didn’t have any bridesmaids or groomsmen. I didn’t change my name. And the plan was that once we had kids, I would continue to work and build my business, and my husband would quit his job (he’s been a stay-at-home-dad for four years now).
So, with all of that non-tradition, there was no way I was going to do something as traditional as have my dad walk me down the aisle. I love my dad deeply, but in my mind, that was an old way of doing things: handing the woman over to her husband, like a piece of property passed from one man to another.
I had an idea of what it represented, and it didn’t seem to fit with this independent woman I’d come to know myself as.
Politically, it felt right to abandon such a patriarchal tradition.
In my gut, it felt a little off. But still, the principle.
My mom knew my independent mind and understood where I was coming from. I’m not sure what my dad thought. He has Alzheimer’s, so conversations are almost impossible now, but even five years ago, they were on the verge of heart-breaking, with the wires in his brain getting more and more jumbled.
In fact, this was the point at which he was watching everything he enjoyed—doing crossword puzzles, reading biographies, building model ships, making furniture, driving—slip away. He didn’t express that exactly, but when I mentioned the aisle business, he did say something very close to this (if not this exactly): “Walking you down the aisle is something I can still do.”
Right. Hmm. Gut punch.
So I thought about why I was so independent. And I realized it was probably because I was raised by two people who encouraged me—and my six siblings—to make our own ideas about stuff. And then didn’t get mad when we did.
It was probably because I never once felt like girls were less than boys in my house, or that I was a piece of property.
It was probably because while my parents were quite traditional in their marriage, they never told us it was the only way. Or even the right way. It was just one way.
Women are still treated like pieces of property in a lot of places in the world, and I detest it. But the idea that a father walking a daughter down the aisle represented a property exchange wasn’t actually about my life. When I looked at both the facts and the stories that made up my life, it wasn’t even relevant.
It became clear that I was holding onto an idea for the sake of the idea—not for how it applied or didn’t apply to my particular life.
I told him that I would love him to walk me down the aisle.
And thank goodness I had someone to hold onto, because that is a scary aisle, even for non-traditional girls like me.
What are you stuck in?
What idea are you stuck in—right now—that has more to do with stuff like old industry standards or politics or something someone told you once than it does with you and/or your business?
You know those ideas I mean. Those moments of: “If I do A, it must mean B . . .”
But what if you just decide that instead, it means C?
It’s a crazy powerful thing, the unchaining of ideas that don’t need to be linked together anymore. Letting go helps you do a lot of cool things, like take a stand in your brand. Or write a stronger, more interesting, out-of-the-box “About Us” page. I’m doing a teleclass about that tomorrow, in fact, called Rescuing Your About Page From Mediocrity(that I used a picture of grooms in a row on that page is really just a coincidence, I swear: I didn’t know I’d be writing about my wedding this week!) There’s still time to sign up!
About pages will always be mediocre as long as they stay chained to old ideas of what About pages should be. So will brands. So will relationships.
Relevance is, you know, relevant. You have to keep tabs on it. Because ideas get really stale once the relevance wears off.
Unchain. Be free. Walk down your aisle.