Friday May 13th, 2011 seemed like as good a day as any for my 3rd and final walk down the aisle. Technically, it was only the second time down an aisle as Temple weddings are a smidgen different than any you’ll see on TV, but still. Being slightly creepy and paranormal obsessed anyway, I wasn’t deterred by this purportedly unlucky day. On the contrary, I had previously married on rather lame days without much luck of an eternal companion.
Spring in Utah is unpredictable at best and bi-polar at its worst. However, the sun rose that morning accompanied by a cloudless sky and the promise of an outdoor wedding blessed by God and Helios themselves. That morning I made preparations for an early flight to the beloved South, packed my son’s bags for a week with his dad, and began making myself presentable to stand before my fiancé, God, and our closest family members as I vowed to love #3 for the rest of my forever and shame all those who felt that I was too eager to remarry. For the record, I failed at said shaming.
Of all the emotions I could have been feeling that day, I simply felt calm. Gone were the nerves or apprehension that I felt with my first wedding. Nor did I feel the tremendous excitement of my second or the continual thought that it was too good to be true. With #3, I just felt peace. Peace at having grown up with his family; peace of having so many mutual friends and associates I mean how crazy could he be? Peace at the ease with which he fell into place with my life and routine; and most of all peace at how very regular he was. I feel like that doesn’t sound at all like a compliment but coming off of the wild ride that was my life as the wife of a body builder, business owner, drug addict, alcoholic, semi-public figure – I longed for a regular life. I no longer wanted to be part of the “scene”. I was eager to be a middle class wife and mother who went to neighborhood cookouts and soccer games. I was so very over all of the expectations that were internally and externally put upon me by a husband that saw me as an accessory that enhanced his image and appearance. I was relieved to be loved for all of the other parts of me. Because, dammit, I am funny and smart and kind and driven. I love cooking and cleaning and reading and rollerblades. And just maybe if I married the regular guy, with the regular body who dined on corn dogs and gas station burritos, just maybe I could kick the craziness that had begun to make a home inside my head. And after all, though I didn’t exactly ask God if this was my guy, wasn’t that peace my answer?
I will not take away from #3 in all the ways that he is, indeed, a marvelous human. And one of those ways was the complete and total support that he never withheld from me be it my crazy gym routine or diet restrictions, my Harry Potter obsession, or even my love for all things haunted and all things Southern. And so like the trooper he is he diligently put on a smile and followed me all over the south taking both historical and paranormal tours, strolling through antebellum cemeteries, and snapping picture after picture of anything covered in Spanish moss. #3 and I did not live together before we wed. Had we opted for premarital cohabitation, I believe there would never have been a wedding or little Miss G. Successfully lying, specifically habitual lying, requires an individual to have intelligence, a fail-proof memory, and unwavering focus and attention to detail in order to properly manage all the little ends of your tales. #3? He was absolute rubbish…at all of it. My point with that little detour, is that the peace with which I entered my marriage and enjoyed my honeymoon lasted about two weeks. But my real point to this post is this: Today there will not be a floral delivery made to my office, nor will I rush home to ready myself for dinner reservations and I didn’t even need to shave my legs because I will not be celebrating my wedding anniversary. But try as I might to ignore it all together, I can’t. So instead, I compiled a list of all of the things that I *can* celebrate, because 5 years ago I married #3.
- The Girl. Great big huge *sigh* here and also a few tears. Let’s all just agree that my life is beautiful if for no other reason than this little bit of a daughter exists in it.
- Subsequent to The Girl’s inception, I gained a community of 60 diverse and amazing women. Back in the day when you learned you were pregnant you bought this book, *the* book, and became proficient on all things pregnancy and baby. Nowadays, you download an app, get assigned to a group of “January 2012” mothers and then begin the process of slowly weeding out the ones that are too pretentious, too ghetto, or too drama. At which point you start a private Facebook group of the ones that make the cut and 5 years later you’ve shared your lives and joys and sorrows with these women and you’ve also scheduled meetups with them anytime you are visiting their homeland. It’s actually pretty freaking awesome.
- Family and friends. Post marriage, I’ve lost a lot of really amazing peeps. Did you know that you can actually lose friends and family members in a divorce? Because yours, mine, and ours – like everything else. But also, you get to keep some that wouldn’t have otherwise come into your life. And even if we can’t actually hangout because of allegiances and such, I love my growing network.
- Recovery. Although it could be argued that ED only became the really ugly, nasty monster that it was because of finding out all of the ways in which #3 loved loads of other women, I would also argue that without that exceptionally shitty discovery, subsequent ultra-low points, and finally the reawakening, I never would have slayed this dragon. Because really, had #3 not played his role in my life, I would have continued to move forward functioning with this disorder. Because when we’re content, let’s be honest, we don’t grow.
- Compassion. Man on man, this one is a bear. I *thought* my life with the drug addict taught me compassion for a disease. But really, until I loved someone who was equal parts amazing and asshat, I had no idea what compassion was. I have so often felt like I lived in some really warped alternate universe in living and loving #3. His ability to be so many contradictory things has nearly driven me bonkers. But I also have glimpsed this really tormented soul; so tormented that he continually self-destructs…but also kind of takes out anything within a 60-mile radius. Along with the compassion I have felt for him (when not praying for his demise) it has given me so much more compassion for a massive population of victims of domestic violence; both because all of this led me to volunteer at a shelter but also because if you’ve never loved a manipulative being you cannot possibly comprehend the trauma and crisis in which they live their lives every day.
- Boundaries. I went from being a gentle, passive, what’s-mine-is-yours Cancer to having this lunatic like voice that unpredictably erupted from my lipstick stained mouth. And now, I’m finding a more comfortable, less unstable middle ground. One in which *I* determine what works for me, what I will and won’t do, and what I’ll allow people to say and do where I’m involved. I’ve embraced (perhaps too eagerly) the idea that everyone’s happiness at my expense is dreadful, unproductive, and no longer has to be part of who I am. Also, I may have placed my boundaries excessively high for the time being but it’s fine y’all, I can always reevaluate.
- Worth. Ok so I’m not there yet. And honestly, I don’t know exactly when I’ll ever fully understand it, but the point is, my life with #3 has taught me that *I* get to define it. I get to decide what I deserve. You won’t tell me, intimidate me, or bully me in to seeing me through your perception of me. Unless it’s good…I could probably stand to believe a bit of the good stuff. Nonetheless, I am discovering my worth. And it’s finally unattached from who loves me, what my jean size is, or how many calories I burned today. Rock bottom is a great place to start to rediscover where your real value lies. And I can’t wait until I see that I’m gold.
I get to decide what I deserve. You won’t tell me, intimidate me, or bully me in to seeing me through your perception of me.
Happy Anniversary #3. I’m not celebrating our 5th the way I ever would have imagined, but I will send you a bit of love, a prayer for healing, and a big ol’ kiss my ass. Only joking, folks.