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Staying True to Yourself

September 5, 2015

You may have noticed the cool breeze in the late evenings and early mornings. We’re into the season of “Late Summer” now. This is the time of the Harvest in Chinese Medicine. Late Summer is a great time to reap the fruits of your labor and set aside some nourishment for the colder months to come.

 

The “virtue” associated with this time of year is “integrity.” When it comes to feeding yourself, both with actual food and with activities and passions that really help you thrive, you have to know what nourishment really satisfies you and keeps you feeling good.

 

Recently, I learned a lesson about integrity from my little sister Nicole. Nicki has spent the past year planning a wedding. Anyone who has ever planned a wedding knows that there are things that are EXPECTED of you, and there are also a lot of unwritten rules.

 

Nicki is a social worker and likes to keep it simple. She is keeping it so simple in fact that she is not even having a wedding party. It will simply be her and Joe at the alter on October 17th. She did reassure me that I would have been her maid of honor if she had had one. We are now using “air quotes” when referring to me and my “status” in the wedding.

 

Because there is no maid of honor, there was also no one to plan a wedding shower or bachelorette for Nicki. I asked her if she wanted either and she said she really didn’t want more occasions where people felt they had to give her gifts. 

 

And the bachelorette party she had already ruled out completely since our culture tends to make the bachelorette one final night of wild freedom, and like me, Nicki likes to go to bed by 10pm and not draw too much attention to herself.

 

But I wanted her to have some lady time, in the tradition of the bachelorette party, before she was married. WHAT IF, I asked her, we could do a bachelorette party that rang true to you?

 

I suggested brunch at her favorite restaurant followed by a visit to a brand new cat cafe in Georgetown, not too far from where she lives near Washington DC. Brunch, cookies, coffee, and stray cats, with proceeds benefiting the Humane Society.

 

She paused and said, “I could do that.”

 

We had a great time petting kitties, especially since Nicki and I both are dating men who are tragically allergic to cats, and chatting while sharing a meal.

 

Social events like weddings and wedding showers can have some limitations. The wedding is as much for your tribe as it is for you. But you can work within the limits expected of you to celebrate and make your public commitment to each other in a way that feels authentic to you.

 

I was inspired by my sister and her decision to not let society’s framework of rowdy bachelorette interfere with her choice to celebrate with other women before tying the knot.

 

Are there structures in your life or work that you feel held back by? Is there a way that you can adapt those structures so that you feel comfortable and keep your integrity?

 

I would love to hear what this post brings up for you. Leave a comment below.

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