This time 3 years ago, it was the night before my wedding. It was raining and hailing so hard during the rehearsal that it honestly feels like one quick blur. The journey from the venue to to the rehearsal dinner, however, felt like the longest most treacherous 3 mile drive ever. Los Angeles really wasn’t built for a downpour, so the streets were completely flooded, causing multiple detours and a not-so-fashionably late entrance, as my long ivory boho dress was soaked from the knees down.
Upon entering a small private room in an Italian restaurant, completely packed with people who all wanted to see me, the introvert in me began to want to crawl into a shell. But, all I had was a chair…in the center of a very long table. That would have to do. Have you ever been in a place that was completely perfect and absolutely beautiful, but it just wasn’t YOU? That’s how I felt about my rehearsal dinner. In fact, that’s how I felt a lot of the time in the presence of my ex’s family.
They had built this entire legacy…they had this huge following…and it was all great. It was beautiful. It suited them well. And being a chameleon and people pleaser at the time, I often felt I could jump right in and blend enough, somehow, that people could believe I could belong on the same planet. And while the rehearsal dinner was beautiful — the slide shows, the speeches — I didn’t see myself in any of it.
Through countless “prayers” for abundance in our marriage and that we would someday soon have the blessing of “homeschooling 10 godly children” (not exaggerating, that was actually one person’s prayer), it was clear to me that this room of people was not only mapping out my future for me, they were literally praying that miraculously it would happen whether I like it or not. I had been trying to eat healthy that night, you know, before the big day and the very tight wedding dress. But by prayer #9, I was eating my feelings in the form of cannoli.
I watched as my parents and brother had some mortified looks on their faces. They didn’t have much to say that evening. I remember that vividly. I remember how much their silence spoke volumes. Because I could tell that they were wondering where I was in all of these plans and prayers. Even still, they showed their support, they ate their cannolis, and they were polite even while orbiting a very different planet.
After the rehearsal dinner, I spent the night at my friend’s house, took a long shower, and had an unpleasant surprise. For the past couple of years leading up to my wedding, I was having all sorts of health issues. TMI for some of the boys reading this (sorry, not sorry–women are real), but it had been a year since I got my period. And before that year, it was crazy irregular. But on that night before my wedding, it happened. I guess when it rains it pours. Holy cannoli.
There were times in my marriage, much like at that dinner, where I truly just felt lost. I felt overwhelmed. I felt small…and I would only become smaller until I finally found myself, nurtured myself, and found growth in authenticity. No amount of fried pastry dough or ricotta cheese could save me when times got tough. And while I tried my imperfect, human best to be what I believed I was capable of as a wife, I don’t know that our definitions would ever add up. I don’t know that I was ever built to live up to a legacy that had been created without any room for the kind of shifts and change that come from doing life with someone like me. Even now, I don’t view them as “bad” or myself as “bad”. And trust me, that’s the hardest part sometimes. Instead, I see that perhaps our planets just couldn’t ever merge…and that through growth and evolution, they would only grow further apart.
On the very last day of our marriage counseling, when I was sure that there would be no future, I called a friend and was in desperate need of support. I got in her car, it was raining like crazy, of course. The tears wouldn’t stop. I could barely breath. My heart felt like it was going to leap out of my chest and leave me for good.
I knew how insane I sounded, but I felt it so strongly. On the day we knew it was over, sitting there in my friend’s car, I prayed for his future wife. I prayed that he would heal and grow and learn himself. That he would be able to love himself on a deeper level, and find someone else someday who compliments that in the ways he both needed and desired. I even prayed that he would be not just healed, but happy. Halfway through praying that prayer, I opened the car door, head in the rain, and threw up onto the pavement.
Some of those prayers at the rehearsal dinner didn’t feel right or genuine for me. In their defense, that room of people didn’t really know me. But I was praying about someone who had been my best friend for years…who I spent my adult life with…who I created a home with…who had experienced each other’s best and darkest moments. I knew the person I was praying for. And I genuinely meant it. 100%. I still do.
Stay tuned for part 4 coming soon.