There is something magical, annoying and disappointing about weddings.
Let me also start off by saying that I do not share this first group of pictures to celebrate a wedding that led to a marriage that has since ended in divorce. Rather it is to show the power of love.
The wedding event is quite a lot! To say the least! We spend months preparing and some spend years not to mention all the time spent dreaming of this one day, which seems so strange to me. It seems like a setup for disappointment.
Furthermore, planning a wedding in Jamaica adds challenges! In Jamaica, in many ways, you are forced to keep it really simple unless you have a lot of money to spend on getting people to be kind and helpful. It also requires creativity and a vision. And a shit ton of patience! (which I lack!) Jamaicans are not good at customer service, and when they are nice, trust me, it is not FREE. (This will be another post, believe me!)
My first wedding was sweet and similar to my recent beautiful Jamaican wedding, it must be a sign, this marriage is a charm, it is the third after all! My mom, her best friend, Marsha, and all my aunts were integral parts of my first wedding. This is the marriage to my eldest children’s father. Placed on Sand Key beach, at sunset just like my Jamaican wedding. The first wedding marked a historical moment, hence adding it to this post; it was the moment I knew my Grandpa was obsessed with Xaviar (“the black baby”).
I am passionate about race and identity (and have written several posts on the topic)! The following pictures are to show the power of love, and how two people have the power to change minds. This was more than a wedding, this marked me!
In Jamaica, I have experienced both racism and classism. It does not help that I am white and am strapped with a Louie bag and wear Rayan’s. When I think of my Grandpa’s demeanor towards Xaviar on this day, I am humbled. It truly was a miracle come true! My Grandpa is Italian and at the age of 13 came to America as an orphan and lived a difficult life in the early years of the United States of America. He did not like many people, Italians are quite racist as well. I was taught this through his actions but my life and the decisions my mother made were quite contrary to these beliefs allowing me to learn to think otherwise.
My parents did a wonderful job of showing me what it looks like to get a divorce (sadly) but they also showed me how to co-parent and not involve their children in adult issues (gladly). There were several critical markers in my life that made me who I am today and this wedding day was one of them. Let me be clear, the title of my post is Weddings and Racism, not Weddings and Marriages. I think it is important to note that the marriage is not the wedding, many weddings take place and fail to become marriages as did this one.
It is true, we are the power for change. It is each of us who has the power to change or not change the course of history or in our case ourstory. This is not some hype speech or to spit out exhilarating cliches. If I had not broken some rules, these things may not have happened – my Italian racist grandfather holding my bi-racial son, both my dads being present, all of my family on the beach, where we spent much of my childhood years on the weekends for family dinner. I broke many of my family’s unspoken rules and it led to men’s hearts being changed from fear of black people to love and acceptance.
By the time, I met my second husband, the father of my last three children (aka the Harried Hamptons), racism was not as much an issue, and the fact that we were a bi-racial family was not as uncommon in the 00s. However, life in Pinellas County, Florida in the nineties, and especially in certain areas of Pinellas County was tricky for colored folk. I broke rules and grew up in an environment with remnants of racial oppression and fascism rearing their ugly heads.
My second wedding would be considered disappointing because it was at the courthouse, and more of a formality to justify the means. The second wedding was not a wise decision and has proven to be true.
I think it really is true in general, aged things are deeper and richer, richer in character. As we mature in life our character grows richer and deeper, and the small things are put in their proper perspective. Consequently, this wedding speaks of richness and depth, this wedding was magical, intentional, and yet simple. I walked “down the aisle” to Toni Braxton’s, I Love Me Some Him, instead of the traditional wedding march standing in front of one of the most beautiful areas of Portland, the eastern corridor of Jamaica, at sunset with some of my favorite people! The song I chose rightly depicts how I view the context of our initial meeting and the authenticity of our relationship. Yet I was fearful to marry again as it seems that I am not so good at maintaining my integrity about marital commitments because this is my third time.
for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes. Proverbs 24:16, Bible
Marriage is a risk no matter what color you are. To love is risky because love is messy. Love is simple yet complex. Like weddings, simple (a celebration of two people loving each other) yet complex (a bunch of decisions and energy for “one” supposed day of your life without even fully understanding the hugeness of committing to another person for the rest of your life in front of a bunch of people).
In God’s economy, second and third chances abound and yet they do not come without cost. My two failed marriages have cost me a great deal. It cost all five of my children. It cost each of our extended family members, and it is clear that divorce does bring “violence”. Hurt people, hurt people. Racism is a vicious cycle. Fear is bred. Hatred is a series of choices to despise and scorn someone. Which is what racism is.
Weddings are beautiful! They are a picture of two people saying they are choosing one another, that they are choosing to risk all that they are to love. And to vow to care for one another and hold each other down and this is my promise until death do us part. I am honored and humbled that he chose me!