It’s said that every girl dreams of her wedding day. But even before that, girls fantasize about how their true love will propose to them. It’s spontaneous or romantic or surprising or magical.
But for me…I’ve always dreaded this milestone. When I was younger, I convinced myself that I would never marry or have kids. But as I got older, wiser, more experienced, marriage quickly rode in sight, and my biological clock made me yearn for children. Yet there is still that feeling of dread lingering over this topic. Why?
Because I am a first-generation Vietnamese-Cham-American. Because I spend my days freely as a young American adult who has to come home to a household heavily influenced by the Vietnamese culture and the Cham religion.
I love my culture. I love my origins. I love who I am. But frankly, the culture clashes drain the magic out of proposal and marriage and celebration. At least it does for me. Because I have to tell my boyfriend of one and a half years how and when we will get married. Because I have to follow certain rules and go through certain rituals and procedures. Instead of waiting patiently for that day on which he will get down on one knee and pull out that little velvet box, we have to have a talk and a mutual agreement on whether or not marriage is something that’s going to happen and when it’s going to happen.
I love Ryan. I want him to be a permanent part of my family. But there is still that part of me that is scared that my crazy-ass culture is going to drive him away. I’m so scared that this is too much for a typical American guy. And I’m SO scared that one day he’s going to look back and wish that he could have done it the way he wanted.
I don’t need a big ring or a fancy wedding. In my culture, if you’re poor, you can have a celebration with just your immediate family, share one plate of food, and give one gold coin to the bride. As long as it’s done right and with the permission of the parents. I don’t care how it’s done. All I want is for him to be ready. We don’t have a house, I don’t have a job in my desired field, and we’re both completely clueless. But I feel as long as we’re both ready and have the support of all of our parents, we will be okay.
Three years ago, my friends told me I would change my mind about marriage and kids when I met the right one. I didn’t believe them. But wow, here I am, typing about it and crying my eyes out because I’m scared shitless.
God help me.