Navani Knows Wedding Bliss, Sorta

I was finally beginning to regret my decision. Don’t get me wrong, I was super honored and flattered to be asked to be a bridesmaid for my cousin Christian. It showed me that our relationship (although not by blood) was special enough for him to include me in his big day, and I vowed not to let anything during the process take that away from me. Plus, I had my dearest cousin (the grooms’s sister) along with me for the ride. But I must admit, I almost met my match.

Besides being treated like an outcast since the engagement party (the sorority sisters of the bride had no interest in making conversation with me and the groom’s sister), there was the bachelorette party. A weekend getaway in Atlantic City seemed harmless enough. Until my cousin and I got there and discovered we were left out of the dinner reservations. Instead, were left walking around aimlessly without anyone’s phone number because the maid-of-honor never thought of exchanging that info. Oh, and then there was the heart-to-hearts between the bride-to-be and us.

“Oh you know Adria, I never though you liked me cause you know, you are so Ghetto, and I am like, not” She told us as nonchalantly, as if she just told us her favorite color was blue.

Us being the only people not in her sorority. Us being the family of the groom. You might as well have called us Andre and Big Boi at that point cause we were def outcasts.

“No, I don’t mean ghetto in a bad way, just like you are so into hip hop and stuff, you know.” She continued.

Still totally confused and shocked me and my cousin stood speechless. Were we on a candid camera show? perhaps some new reality show that would air on Bravo or WE. That seemed like the only feasible explanation for this.

Then there was the “I am not sure if I am ready to get married” comments that ensued all weekend. They were followed up with the “you are sooo old comments.” Still, I kept pressing on in my bridesmaid duties, smiling and nodding pleasantly. Even when it was me and my cousin who got stuck setting up tables for the rehearsal dinner at 10 o’clock at night, getting splinters and walking in poo. I desperately held on to the honor I once had in saying “I do” to this whole arrangement.

The wedding day finally came, and with it more chaos. Besides spending an obscene amount on getting hair and nails done and rushing back to the hotel to get dressed with the girls, there was the joy of getting left in the salon while everyone else got done before us. Nothing beats getting dressed for a wedding in the wax room of a Dominican hair salon. It was quite the scene, walking down 94th street in Queens all dressed up in wedding attire. Even though the bridesmaids left us stranded (“umm there is too much traffic for the limo to come there, you should just meet us at the church”) we still tried to hold onto our dignity and our make-up as me, my cousin, make-up artist and the groom’s mother rode in her non-ac car to the ceremony.

I believe it was on the steps of the church, after the ceremony, when the Nazi Photographer yelled at us, that I asked myself why I agreed to this:

“No bubbles!!”

“Ok now bubbles”

“SEMI CIRCLE”

“LOWER FLOWERS!!!” He screamed at us as if we were in bridal boot camp.

I had had enough! I was ready to shove my bouquet down someone’s throat! Then we finally left the the VIP room with the leaking ceiling and lined up in the reception hall and heard Jay’s Encore come on. As we walked out in pairs to Jay Z and flower pumped along the way (and after a few shots of patron) it all started to make sense again. I watched my cousin and his bride run out to the dance floor to Enur’s Calabria and realized how happy they were. It was all about that moment – that one moment of being oblivious to anything else around them, just being so happy to have each other that mattered. And for me, believing that kind of love still existed only because I witnessed it first-hand, made the whole ordeal worthwhile again.

Navani Knows Twenty-Somethings

Recently I was in Atlantic City celebrating a bachelorette weekend for my future cousin-in-law. It was a very exciting time, especially since I haven’t had a weekend get-a-way with a large group of girls in a while. But what I failed to realize was that I’d blatantly be in the land of the twenty-somethings the entire time. Of course I didn’t really think there was a huge difference between someone who is 25 and someone that just turned 30, but I was constantly reminded that I might be wrong.

“OMG I don’t ever want to turn 30, then I’ll be sooo old. My life will be over” the bride-to-be exclaimed on numerous occasions.

“Yeah I don’t want to wait until I am thirty to have kids, that’s sooo old” someone else stated matter-of-factly.

I suddenly felt like I was in the episode of Sex and the City, the battle of the twenty-somethings and the dirty thirties. Somehow the three of us that were “over the hill” became the ones everyone felt sorry for. How did I land in this episode of the twilight zone?

“Here, give them more liquor, they need it cause they are old and sober” the Maid of honor screamed throwing a bottle filled with a harsh, gasoline-like rum concoction.

Yes, I am single and thirty. I am crashing on my friend’s couch at the moment. But there is something freeing and lovely about being all these things at the ripe age of 30. The beauty of it is, at this age I don’t care! I don’t have anything to prove. I quickly learned that age is in the eye of the beholder.

You couldn’t pay me to go back to my twenties now. All the worrying about what to do with my future. All the stress because you are afraid of making a wrong decision in love or in your “career.” The pressure of feeling like you have to accumulate a certain number of things by the time you hit 30. Then there is the constant internal bickering with yourself about characteristics you cannot change, like your nose or the size of your chest. Nope, I have no desire to trade places with my younger counterparts. For all their energy they have insecurities to match.

At 30, I may not know much more about the answers to life, but I don’t feel the need to pretend to either. I know the only thing constant is change. I know how to adapt to life’s curveballs. I no longer feel the need to look like anybody else. I know I am not perfect, but wouldn’t change anything about myself for the world. I know what I like and don’t like, and more importantly how to express that. I don’t know where I might be in 5 years, but I know myself, and that makes all the difference.

I quietly passed the bottle of gasoline back to the maid-of -honor and sipped happily on my water bottle full of Malibu. At the end of the day, I still know how to party with the best of them. However, 30-year-olds party smarter not harder. By now I know what not to drink to avoid a painful morning after.

“Aww Navani, you just don’t care. You are so comfortable. I wish I was like that” An inebriated bride-to-be exclaimed. I wasn’t quite sure what this meant but I took it as a compliment.

“Thanks. It comes with age” I reassured her.