This photo may not seem like much. It just looks like a 30-something mother of two girls who is desperately working to squeeze her way into the literary world while balancing daily life. Much like she squeezed herself into these leggings, but less awkward… no probably more awkward. But, this is me… in all my glory. And that’s not a funny remark. The fact that I can sit here, freshly showered while my two little girls nap. Listening to the rhythmic hum of my washing machine and my big brown dog snoring next to me… it’s all glorious.
My husband and I will be celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary in 3 1/2 months. 5 years is not a long time, it’s like… infancy in the marriage world. But my marriage means something special to me.
You see, I was a different person 5 years ago – and even more different the 2 years before that when I started dating my now husband. I battled with myself for months now, trying to decide whether or not I would be sharing the darker part of my life. And I finally had an epiphany. I don’t want that person to exist in my happy place. I don’t want him to weasel his way into what I, and my husband have worked so hard to create together. He has no place here and he’s done enough damage as it is. So he will stay back there in the before section where he doesn’t even belong, but that’s my cross to bear.
But, I will say, that he destroyed something really special within me for a long time. I allowed him to rip apart my happiness, my creativity, my innocence… so by the time I finally forced him out of my life, I was pretty broken and didn’t like myself.
Not one teeny tiny bit. I didn’t know who I was anymore. I didn’t know my true likes, dislikes. I didn’t know what would be proper boundaries in relationships going forward or how to decipher what was OK to relinquish control over and what wasn’t. So I took no one seriously. I was a mess in many senses of the word. Until I met someone who I call my transitional person. A person that I still care about to this day, because they dusted off the old me and showed me that she was still there… and not as scary awful as I had been told before. This person wasn’t the one, however. That’s the thing about transitional people in your life, you really connect with them because they’re there for a purpose. But once that’s fulfilled, you can’t really keep them, and it’s OK. It took me a long time to realize that, to be OK with that… but once I met my husband… it was so completely and amazingly different.
I would have said that you were completely insane if you told me that I would have given up my independence, became a stay at home mother and moved 300 plus miles away from the only place I’d ever known as home. Leaving behind my comforts, my friends, my parents – my safety net. Everything and everyone who caught me when I fell and helped me stand back up. I never in a million years thought I would have that kind of trust for someone with me. That anyone would ever truly cherish me enough to take care of me, but still challenge me and force me to be better everyday. To inspire me.
So, I understand how normal this picture looks. I understand that my life is not glamorous and that I am trusting someone with myself and the lives of our children having given up what could save me should this ride ever come to a stop. But the trust that I have, I know deep in my soul, is mutual. He’s trusting me too – to not leave when I get scared. To not break our family and tear apart the life we’ve built when and if things get tough. We have proven to each other time and again that we will get through anything. A lot of people work just as hard and don’t get to keep it all together. I am not delusional enough to think our marriage is immune to the D – word. But I also know that that word doesn’t mean failure either. It just means that it’s just not the right person. But you can learn from it – take away the good parts and leave the bad behind. Take ownership in your hand in it and work to be a better you for if and when you meet the right one.
You see this photo here? It was taken on a gorgeous April afternoon during our engagement session. We argued that morning. Or was it the day before? I can’t remember. Regardless, we have always argued. Sometimes horribly, sometimes not. But it happens. All. The. Time. We have had to learn one another – learn what the other needs and decide to pay attention to those needs. I have had to learn the difference between wanting someone to make me happy versus add to my existing happiness.
Marriage is hard. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and anyone else could ever do. It’s constant work – every single day. And adding children and the hormones that follow them and stresses of life… it can be exhausting and test yourself as a person, test your marriage. But you have to choose every day to do it. Because of the vows. If he wasn’t the man he is, I would never have married him. I know that much. And I don’t like him everyday. We have both been through times where we question why the hell we ever got married… questioned WHO the hell we married – because this is not the person we expected.
Expectations kill everything. Saying and doing things that can cause irreparable damage, kills a marriage. Not talking kills your underlying friendship. I have not been easy, I can admit that. And so can every single person I have known in my life! But, this man, those kids, this home, that dog, this photo are a representation of where I was and where I am now and I wouldn’t change a damn thing about it.