I never dreamed about my wedding. I dreamed about being married. Having a family. Being part of something bigger than me, creating something bigger than me.
When someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my response was always, "a mom." I accidentally went to college for a Mrs. degree. My mom always told us that we'd never be in a place that would have so many attractive, eligible men on a path to success again. (My mom says a lot of stupid shit.) So when I got to college, I latched onto a boy and, for him, I changed the patterns of my life. When that didn't work out at the ripe old age of 19, I fell apart, and then put myself together by partying, and partying hard.
I wish someone had given me the tools to be a strong, independent woman. To forge my own path, and then accept a man who walked that path beside me. Not find a man to create my path. But I digress.
By my senior year, I settled into a nice balance of being a responsible, budding adult, and a complete fuck up. And then I met Joe.
Over the years he clipped my wings, in the best way possible, in a way I needed them to be clipped. He was the most stable thing in my otherwise unstable life. And for all of our bad qualities as a couple, we loved each other, he made me laugh, we acted like a team, he was my best friend. But I latched onto him for all of the wrong reasons, and I did what we all do, I moved through the steps.
Moving through the steps never leads to Happily Ever After.
The truth about marriage is that it takes work. Lots of work. And love. Compassion. Respect. Trust. But mostly lots of work.
You cannot pile moves, job losses, job transitions, house problems, infertility, miscarriage, multiples, autism, disability, more moves, more transitions, more problems onto a foundation with cracks.
Guess what, people? Foundations can crumble.
And the people who are fighting to hold on start dying. Like their person, their souls, they start to die. Joe and I loved each other enough to stop killing each other.
When we separated, so many people -- groups even -- reached out to ask me to share my story. Um, no thank you. I do not want to be the poster child for divorce. Cause here's the thing, while I believe it was right for me, I don't believe it is right for everyone.
This society is fickle, man. If you stay, you're a fool. If you leave, you're selfish. And every opinion in between. Our paths are deeply personal. I can't tell you what is right, I can't support it, encourage it. It's not mine to choose. Don't make me an example.
The only thing you can do is choose, each day, your path. The one that feels right for you, and hope that at the end of your life, all you end up with is the right regrets (gracias, Arthur Miller.)
The struggle to get here, to this place where I feel like I can even speak about what I have and am moving through. Lord have mercy. Visceral. So I am letting myself feel all the feels.
After the balance of the last year, and really the last eighteen months, I will tell you this: I believe in love, and I still believe in marriage.