I know how Jane (Katherine Heigl) feels.
If you’ve not watched the film twenty-seven dresses, well firstly you’re missing out. Go watch immediately and stop reading this attempt at linking a movie to my life of writing. Disclaimer, It’s great, the film I mean, not my life. Well my life is pretty great but that’s just my opinion. Anyways, in the absence of watching a whole film, I’ll catch you up. Picture a smart, intelligent twenty something that is an attest to that famous saying ‘always the bridesmaid never the bride’. She spends her life going to weddings. She gets invited to every wedding possible, twenty-seven in fact. Wedding after wedding she smiles, enjoys herself but the feelings of ‘when is it my turn’ becomes more and more apparent. Between organising flowers, making sure guests have RSVP’d and ensuring the bride is happy, Jane forgets about, well… Jane. At this point she’s pretty down that she’s always the bridesmaid. She’s got a wardrobe full of bridesmaid dresses and that is really the story of her life. If one picture could signify the story of her like, it would be that one of a wardrobe full of dresses. Jane is the bridesmaid. Jane is only a bridesmaid.
Her best friend starts to question things and a young writer gets hold of the fact she’s been a bridesmaid twenty-seven times but she has never been the bride and thinks it’s a brilliant story. Long story short they fall in love and she becomes the bride.
The moral… we all become the bride eventually.
This story, or film, that I watched an age ago, well it reminded me a little of writing. I’ve been writing for the last three months properly. I’ve written fifty-seven articles in total so far this year. And it can start to feel like I’m the bridesmaid but never the bride. I’ve had a few views and one article got over two-hundred views (for a second I thought I’d caught the bouquet at the end of the wedding) but it seems like I’ve been shoved over by the angry lady who gets off with the best man.
My writing feels like I’m the bridesmaid. I turn up, I make sure everyone’s happy, I adjust the napkins, plump the flowers, check in with the bride but I’m still in the god-awful orange dress that is stood next to the stunning bride.
Always the writer never the read? Fifty-seven articles in and I’ve gotten pretty much nowhere (or so it feels). I’m Katherine Heigl stud next to another bride waiting for my time. I’m smiling, I’m happy to be here, I promise but I’m secretly annoyed that I’ve not had my time yet. When will I get more than two hundred views?
When will I put on the white dress and marry?
Most days I don’t get over one view. One. The equivalent of being put on the table full of the singles and the people that had to be invited. We’re next to toilets, it’s smells like ass, and we’re all making polite conversation whilst thinking:
“Jesus, this is rock bottom”
The guy with the balding hair, combed over to compensate, snorts and says he’s been looking forward to this all year (it’s October) so it’s been a while. I look up to nod and smile (I’ll just agree it’s easier) but he goes and picks his nose and flicks it. And then I think…
“No. This, is rock bottom”.
But then I really think. You know, scratch past the surface of what my life so far tells me is hard work and I think, Jesus Eve you haven’t even started. How many words is fifty-seven articles? Maybe thirty-thousand words… maybe.
That is probably more like three goes round as bridesmaid for a start.
And the reality is, who cares?
Who cares how many times you stick on a horrendous dress, walk down the aisle not to meet the person of your dream?. Who cares how many times you get drunk and get off with the tool-bag that you were slagging off earlier? Who cares if you are the organiser, who cares if you are helping the bride do her hair?
If you want to be the bride — you’ve got to put yourself out there.
I’ve not written enough yet to warrant any success… not really. I’ve showed up for the last ninety-days and written and I’m pretty happy with that. Maybe I’ve been to a lot of weddings and never been the centre of attention. But you get one go (well… in theory) you get one go at marrying the person you’re meant to be with… or the writer you want to be in my case. I’m not going to rush down the aisle to become something I don’t want to be or I’m not passionate about.
So on I go, to probably twenty-seven more weddings. Where no-one will notice my existence and that’s fine. For right now that’s fine. Writing gives me much more than external gratification. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love people to read my stuff… I happen to think it’s good. But that’s not the reason I show up. The reason I show up is because I just love to write.
So it might take eighty-eight weddings before I become a bride… and that’s is totally fine with me.
Originally published at https://www.careerhealth.info on April 27, 2020.