I’m hoping the person who sent me this is not too annoyed that it took me so long to post the secret.  It’s been a busy couple of weeks.  Anyway…

Anonymous writes,

Now, with the exception of Pru here, you probably don’t know me from a hole in the ground. I don’t dare post this on my own blog, as I wasn’t clever enough to remain anonymous in my blogging. But because you don’t know me, you have no idea that my favorite color is pink or that I believe Diet Coke to be the sweet nectar of the Gods, I’m afraid I’ll have to start off with some background before I launch into the story.  

I was never a wedding person. It’s not a personal thing: I like YOUR wedding but not HERS, it has nothing to do with locale, budget, or food options. It reflects not even remotely on the way I feel about the husband and wife-to-be, and it’s no yardstick to which friendships are measured. As a kid, I’d probably have preferred to play Army Man rather than Bride, and I certainly never dreamed about my future wedding dress or anything equally silly. 

I’m no fan of weddings in the same way other people hate the color orange or call themselves “Not A Cat Person.” It’s just a personality quirk of mine, and it’s not one I’ve never hidden.  

I did happen to have a wedding of my own at the request of my future husband, although I found the whole situation to be rather foolish. I’d much preferred to have taken my marriage to the Justice of the Peace or Las Vegas rather than don the poofy white dress and march down the aisle. The marriage, that I wanted, but the wedding didn’t mean a whole lot to me. 

My best friend got engaged in January of this year and immediately asked me to be a bridesmaid for her (she had all bridesmaids and no specified maid of honor), to which I agreed immediately. I was positively thrilled about the union, I love her husband-to-be, and I was happy for her that she finally got what she’d wanted for so many years. You see, she IS a wedding person. She’d been waiting to get married since I could remember and probably well before that. 

It’s been a rather rough year for me: the deaths of a close friend and the death of an aunt, two back to back miscarriages followed by a pregnancy, the nervous breakdown of my husband, then myself, and all the trials and tribulations that go along with raising two children while heavily pregnant. But I was determined not to allow this to affect my involvement in the wedding regardless of how excited I was to discuss party favors of ribbon choices. I had other things on my mind, obviously, but I didn’t let it show. 

I went along with her Type-A self to billions of bridal stores to search for the Perfect Dress, I helped her select bridesmaid dresses and jewelry, I let her do all of the talking about herself and her wedding without really ever talking about anything to do with what was going on with me. Time yawned on and I realized that since she hadn’t selected a traditional maid of honor, no one else was stepping up to get the dates for a bridal shower or a bachelorette party on the calendar, so I did this. I sat the bride-to-be down and I discussed what she wanted out of each party. 

And because she is both OCD and Type-A, she wanted a lot more to do with the planning and execution of both of these parties than I’d have liked her to. Not because I didn’t want her opinion, but because she began to obsessively email me every day to find out who was coming, food choices, etc. It seemed that she couldn’t let go even the details of the parties she wasn’t supposed to be involved with. Luckily, I had help in the form of another of her bridesmaids, so together we carefully planned and executed each of these standard wedding parties. It became apparent that none of the other 4 bridesmaids were going to do anything to help out, so we took it over. I like to think we did a good job even though it was never acknowledged by the bride in any way. 

I got pregnant about 4 months into this engagement after two miscarriages and thereby ruined her choice of bridesmaid dresses, and she let me know that she was pretty angry with me for this. Not the pregnancy, I like to think, but the fact that she had to re-choose a dress that had already been chosen. To me, a non-wedding person, I couldn’t understand her anger, but I tried to let it go and write it off as stress from her upcoming wedding (7 months away now). 

As the wedding grew closer and closer, I found that I hadn’t seen my friend The Bride in many months and the only times I spoke with her were when she was discussing and obsessing about each tiny detail of her wedding. We rarely discussed anything to do with me or my life—which are important to me, too—but I tried my best just to let it go. I talked her down when table centerpieces became an issue, I talked her through the creation of gift bags, and my husband even volunteered to do her programs for her. So it was with great shock on my part when I received a call from The Bride about a month and a half before her wedding and well in the middle of my own nervous breakdown. 

The discussion she wanted to have? My feelings about her wedding.  

According to her, I wasn’t excited enough about her wedding.  

I was so thunderstruck by this accusation that I started to cry right then and there on the phone with her. I couldn’t believe that I was going on trial for my level of excitement regarding her wedding. I’d not only stepped up and done everything for her two parties while the other bridesmaids barely showed up, I’d gone with her for many of her errands, I’d listened and discussed options I could have cared less about, and I did it without feeling even remotely resentful. She was my best friend, I would make damn sure she’d have a great bridesmaid. 

We discussed the whole situation, but being in the middle of my own breakdown I didn’t really realize how much anger she produced by daring to criticize my happiness level at her wedding. It wasn’t until weeks before the wedding when she began calling to nag me about my choice to have my mother perform the alterations rather than pay a tailor, bugging me to have the practically wrinkle resistant dress steamed, complaining about my busted foot (necessitating wearing flats rather than the heels I’d previously bought). But the pinnacle was reached at the salon, where I was forking over major cash to get my hair and makeup professionally done, when she blatantly ignored me, except to demand that I had take the break between the salon and the wedding to go get the ribbon (not actually part of the dress) that my mother-in-law had thrown away presumably by accident. And then I found out that she’d been trashing me to her other bridesmaids—the ones who didn’t show up for her parties–all along.  

I cannot tell you how hurt this made me want to get into the car with my husband and son and never return to the wedding. I’m not a doormat sort of person, and I don’t really take shit from other people, but even then, even as I tried not to cry off the makeup I’d just spent a fortune applying, I knew I couldn’t just leave. 

I made it through the wedding, I made it through the requisite dances and I gathered up my husband and got the hell outta there. And I’ve sat here since then—well, I’ve gotten up and done other things as well—fuming with anger and brimming with hurt.  

It’s obvious I need to speak with her, but what do I say? What do I do here? 



Readers – suggestions?  Wisdom?



Anonymous writes,

“My brother’s girlfriend is pregnant.
But wait folks, that’s not all.
They recently moved into my mom’s house (my sister already lives there).  It’s a three bedroom house with 5 adults, 1 toddler, and 3 large dogs.  And they’ll be adding a baby into the mix.  They moved there to start over…and because they were living with her mother who decided my brother was no longer welcome there after the latest break up/make up.  Since he was living with my mom he couldn’t see his son much (they live an hour away) he decided to try again with her so he could be involved with his little guy. 
So of course she would end up pregnant now at the worse possible time.  She went for her ultrasound, found out she was “about three months” along and scheduled an abortion for the next day without even telling my brother.  She eventually told him but then headed back to her mother’s house since the appointment was early the next day.  Her mother was all in favor of the abortion and was even going to pay for it.  Because they do not have the approximately $300 for it.
He called, sent a long heartfelt email to her begging her not to do it.  She hung up on him and went to her appointment.  There she got as far as getting on the table before she changed her mind and decided not to.  So she’s keeping the baby.  Of course I’d rather she keep it or make an adoption plan than have an abortion.  It’s still hard to deal with though.  Then we hear the bigger reason she was considering abortion.
The baby is probably not my brother’s.
To say he’s not taking this well would be the understatement of the year.  He had a feeling that may be the case when she was so insistant on abortion.  The likely father is a different race, so it would be kind of obvious.  I don’t know what they are going to do.  If it wasn’t for the kid they already have together, I think it would be over.  I think it would have been over long ago.  But if he goes more than two days without seeing his boy, he gets really depressed.  He loves him so much.
So she’s depressed.  He’s depressed.  Everyone is depressed over the whole thing.  Having a baby should be a happy thing, not “oh shit.”  I feel sad for my brother that he hasn’t had the chance to experience that.  And I feel sad that he’s hurting so much right now.  And I feel sorry for myself as I’m still raw from the news that we can’t have any more kids.”

Any thoughts or wisdom to impart?

Inaugural secret

I have yet to find a way to thank people for participating, or encouraging others to make submissions, without sounding like some sort of gossipy, curtain-twitching old hag.

Regardless, thanks to those who have left comments – the anonymous comments revealing secrets (please see them in the first post), and the others who have posted support (either for this blog in general or to the anonymous commenters). 

I have had but one reveal to post, so thanks to Ms Anonymous for contributing and popping Swallow the Key’s cherry.  She is no longer a virgin, the poor dear.  Er, Swallow the Key, not Ms Anonymous.   Well, she may be, but that is an anonymous post for another time.  So on with the sharing…

“I can’t work for women.  Hell, I can’t even really work WITH women.  I have constantly found that men simply want to get to the top, but women will throw each other from the cliff edge to get to the top.  In my entire career history I’ve only been able to work for one woman with any degree of success (and that’s because she was really fantastic and easy to work for).  I’ve only had one female colleague that I could get along with.  I promote myself as a feminist and a career woman…but I can’t work for women.  I can’t work with women.

Talk about career limiting.”

Anyone else find themselves in this position?    Comments below.

Update:  I had an interesting email from someone related to this topic, so I hope you don’t mind if I add it to this post because I think it is a very interesting view that I struggle with myself.

“Sometimes I worry that women’s individual choices to become stay-at-home mothers makes it harder for women to achieve equality. Several of my classmates from graduate school became stay-at-home moms soon after getting their degrees, and some stopped midway when they had a baby and never finished. As a result, some of the faculty and students felt like those women had “wasted” their educations. Not only for themselves, but in terms of taking up one of the very few spots out of hundreds of applications, and in terms of using fellowship money that could have gone to other students who would have made better use of their degrees.

I have never been in the position of making hiring or admissions decisions, but I am torn between wanting to help women move up in the world and wanting to ensure that the spot will go to someone who will do something valuable with the opportunity. At the same time, from a feminist perspective, I believe that women should be able to choose to do whatever they want, including full-time parenthood.

But still, I am disappointed when my educated friends become stay-at-home mothers.

I”m not proud of myself, but that’s how I feel.”


As for submissions, holla at your gatekeeper:  swallowthekeyblog at gmail dot com .

In the beginning

Here it is.  Send me your grievances, your agonies, your secrets, your annoyances.  It can be anonymous, it can be out there for all the world to see, but in this secret place. 

Comments are enabled, and always wanted.  Submissions should be sent to swallowthekeyblog at gmail dot com .