This time 3 years ago, I was just two more nights away from the big event. With all the chaos, family in town, and details to conquer, I was in desperate need of more restful time. My mom and I decided to spend the day together just doing typical pre-wedding girl things, and doing our very best to distract ourselves from the work left to be done and the conditions looming outside.
(I went through the depths of my Instagram past to find this photo I posted from exactly 3 years ago when I was at breakfast with my mom.)
After our date at Denny’s, and fuel in the form of bottomless coffee & pancakes, we headed to get our nails done. The Ventura Blvd. salon was all glass windows, floor to ceiling, and we watched as the most intense storm I had ever seen during my time in Los Angeles began to come down. Hard.
Large chunks of hail pelted the glass as if it was being thrown in a snowball fight. The wind’s force was causing it to literally rain sideways, even rattling the windows at times. Sometimes it takes the craziest of conditions to help us realize that we are completely and utterly out of control. And then, perhaps at that point, all we can do is sit back and enjoy the ride…or at least be along for the ride as best we can. That was a common theme in my marriage. Being called a “bad wife” felt like that pelting hail. Hearing him say he was moving to New York City felt a lot like that angry wind.
Previously, my mom and I had been much more stress prone, but as Mother Nature showed off, we sat in our pedicure massage chairs, looked at each other, and burst into laughter. What could we do? (Well, if you must know, call and rent expensive, out-of-the-budget emergency tents for the intimate backyard wedding, of course.)
Once it was made incredibly clear that the weather forecast wasn’t joking around, I decided that I better go find a sweater to keep my shoulders warm over my strapless wedding dress. After much digging at Marshall’s, I stumbled upon a Tiffany blue cardigan that matched my wedding colors to a tee. It was a little too big on me, and it had a small hole in the sleeve, but to me, it was perfect.
“Should we see if they have it in a different size? Or keep looking to find something without a hole?”, my mom insisted.
It was hard to explain, but I was drawn to that particular sweater in part because of its flaws. It felt familiar. It made sense to me.
The thing is, we can purchase Tiffany blue cardigans. And we can rent fancy tents with chandeliers in them. I see all of it as an attempt to make the most out the “worst case scenario.” That is something that my marriage ending taught me. There is a grace that comes when we make beauty out of the most horrible conditions. I couldn’t throw a weather resistant white tent over my marriage. I couldn’t people please or “perfectionist” my way through a hurricane. A blue sweater wasn’t enough to keep me warm at night while we were separated and I was utterly alone. It wasn’t comfort enough in the months of marriage counseling or the times I slept in my car. In the same way, there was no way I ever could have prepared myself for the man I vowed my life to deciding to move across the country.
Some conditions come in the form of clouds, rain, or hail. Others come in the form of demands, ultimatums, abuse, abandonment, or loss. We don’t typically have control over the conditions that come with the imperfect world we live in. But what we do have control over is how we choose to learn and grow from them.
It’s kind of interesting to think back to this time 3 years ago, and how that girl was so full of hope even in the face of coming storms. She was shaken at times, but not afraid. Little did I know that the real storms were going to show up later on, and in far more challenging ways. But I am truly grateful for every last one of those conditions…they strengthened me and brought me to a place that left me alone at times, but forced me to be rooted and to grow.
If you took the time to read this rant, whoever you are and wherever you are, I want you to know that the storm will subside. Everything might look completely different, but you’ll still be there.
PS- I still have that sweater. And it’s still beautiful to me.
Stay tuned for part 3 coming soon. //