May 18th, 2014


LJ9: Keep Calm and End this Meme

My bachelorette party was a fairly low key day; wine-tasting, a visit to a nail salon for mani-pedis, and a yummy dinner.  As an older bride I wasn’t really up for bar hopping or penis-shaped anything, and since several of the ladies had to be sure to get home to tuck their kids in we were all in agreement about the tone of the day.

Opening my gifts, I received a good combination of useful (new wine glasses) and classic gifts (two different nightgowns).  One friend got me a metal water bottle, white with pink writing on it.  The image at the top is of overlapping rings and under that it says “Keep Calm and Say I Do”.  Internally I rolled my eyes at yet another repurposing of the Keep Calm meme, but hey a water bottle is always handy.  I thanked the giver and added it to the pile of new things in our apartment.

When packing to travel to WI for the wedding I threw the water bottle in.  I wasn’t sure I’d use it, but at least on my wedding weekend it would be thematically appropriate.  Instead it quickly became indispensable.

Partially that was because of its actual function – a water bottle.  It went with me everywhere that weekend; putting up the archway in my parent’s yard, decorating the reception hall, and making a run to the grocery store.  Having my own water bottle handy helped me be the designated driver after our rehearsal dinner (and not be hung over while I was doing my hair and makeup for the ceremony the next morning).  And because it was distinctive, even when I left it somewhere briefly it was always brought back to me in short order.  It’s an incredibly simple but useful thing – drinking enough water – and having a special water bottle helped me do that.

But honestly that silly phrase helped too.  When you’re putting together a big event some things inevitably don’t go according to plan.  I found myself reading that bottle a few times every day as we prepared, reminding myself that the ultimate goal was to be married when the weekend was over.  So when my nephew really didn’t want to be in the wedding party but my sister-in-law really thought he should be, or when our wedding music wouldn’t play in the borrowed boom box, or when I woke up at 8a the day of my outdoor wedding to the sound of a massive thunderstorm and pouring rain I would remind myself – keep calm.  It’s a wedding, not brain surgery.  So many people I love are here, and J and I will say the words, and then we’ll eat and drink in celebration:  even if my nephew doesn’t walk down the aisle, even if we have to crank the volume on the smaller boom box, even if we get a little damp, or have to resort to the back-up indoors plan.

I did still fall into a tizzy a few times throughout the weekend, but managed to calm down before things got ugly each time.  And no, everything wasn’t perfect, but it also stopped raining at 11:30a and was dry but overcast for the ceremony at 3p (ideal for photos).

The Keep Calm meme is so elastic in part because it’s based on an honest bit of advice that everyone can use.  Staying calm is a good first step to nearly anything you’re trying to tackle.  I may still roll my eyes occasionally at some of the stranger variations out there, but I keep it to myself.  I haven’t used the water bottle since the wedding; it’s a bit odd to carry around now that I am married.  I may have to find another bride-to-be and pass it on with a little advice: use it for water, and take the message to heart.

***Here's mine for Idol this week, other thoughts on the Keep Calm meme are here.  Voting should open Monday evening, check the community for details.***