When my former roommate Julia Allison asked me to be her bridesmaid, my first thought was YES! The second was – wait, I didn’t even know she was dating someone. It turns out — she wasn’t. She was completely single, there were no lovers in the picture (past or present), and this girl was all about putting a ring on it. I was confused.
Almost two years ago, I moved to LA to not only live with Julia, but to co-star on her BRAVO Reality Show, “Miss Advised.” On the show, Julia consistently expressed how badly she wanted to get married and even came up with a 73-point checklist that “Mr. Right” would have to match if he wanted a chance to turn Miss Allison into a Mrs. whatever his last name was. The show was about dating experts and it portrayed Julia’s frustration that came from being able to give great advice to others (homegirl was once on the cover of Wired’s How To issue, which was one of the highest selling issues to come out…ever), but struggling to find The One for herself, especially with the whole world watching her.
Photo: Warwick Saint
When we lived together, Jules was more of a cardigan and pearls kind of gal who loved huge girly dresses, tutus, and bright colors. Since the age of 8, she dreamed about a traditional wedding with a massive white dress and all of the standard ceremony rituals. So you can imagine my surprise when her wedding invitation (with the above photo) showed up in my Facebook event invites. It was a Burning Man wedding of self love and the celebration was about feeling completely whole as ONE without needing another to fill a void or make her happy. I went from confusion to intrigue, from intrigue to understanding, and finally from understanding to feeling completely inspired.
But it wasn’t until the actual wedding day that I fully got it. As I was sitting on stage with the other bridesmaids, all extremely feminine and powerful women — each representing a color of the rainbow and speaking about two virtues that embodied them as a Goddess — I listened to the messages each woman shared with the crowd. They ranged from grace and inner strength, to compassion and courage, all with focus on the power that comes from within. In true Julia fashion, she shared her own story with wit and humor, weaving the bridesmaids’ messages into the whole point of why she was marrying herself in the first place. She wanted to love herself passionately, madly, deeply; the way you love your soul mate. She wanted to look in the mirror and see her own eyes light up the way they did when she was looking into the eyes of a man she loved.
The entire crowd was filled with tears. It was such a different experience — to celebrate the commitment of a woman proclaiming that she would dedicate her life to loving herself every day and requesting that her friends and family hold her to that commitment. Rather than trying to fit each partner into her 73-point checklist, Julia wanted to break free and learn how to love without the attachment of whether or not someone was enough to be her husband. After all, how can you find a truly healthy relationship when you aren’t enough for yourself? Sure — most of us want to find our lifelong companion, but think of how many people in happy relationships will tell you that they met their person when they weren’t looking, when they were happy being alone. Alone doesn’t have to equal lonely, in fact, being alone can be one of the most beautiful experiences if we allow it to be.
Julia is currently writing a book about happiness and her quest to get there. You can find out more on her website by clicking here. And remember, before you can put anyone else’s oxygen mask on, you’ve got to make sure yours is on first. Before you can give in any way, you’ve got to give to and love yourself. Julia gave such an incredible gift to everyone who witnessed her ceremony; she reminded us to fall deeply in love with who we are so that we can fully share that with whomever else we want to share it with. Now that’s one heck of a gift if you ask me!
I jokingly asked Julia if she would divorce herself when she finally did meet the person she wanted to spend her life with. She just laughed — full belly, joyful laughter — and said, “Well you know, I suppose I’m in what you would call an open marriage,” and with a wink and a smile, she melted my heart.