Wednesday, October 3, 2012
The Fairytale, Revised
I've heard every girl dreams of her proposal and her wedding day, but I didn't. I dreamed of being married and I dreamed of having kids but how I got there wasn't much of a concern. So, when over dinner one December evening Ben started talking and reaching into his pocket for what turned out to be an engagement ring I was flooded with mixed emotions.
Looking back, I guess I knew it was too soon for us. But what can I say? There he was, clearly in love with me, asking me to marry him. I knew I loved him too. While it all seemed to happen so quickly, in the grand scheme of things I had wanted to be married for so long that I didn't really have to think about my answer. Instantly I was looking ahead to what it would mean to finally be someone's wife, and to soon be a mother.
I feel like something has been stolen from me. Not just my dreams for marriage and motherhood. I'll always be someone's ex-wife now. Like a used car, previously "owned."
My trust has been taken too. I trusted Ben completely, with my heart, with my future. I trusted him to be there. After a string of painful experiences I trusted him to never hurt me. I trusted him to never leave.
But he did.
I struggle to imagine a day when I can ever trust like that again.
"If I ever get married again, it will be on a Tuesday," I told Shane.
"That's selfish. What if the guy you marry wants a wedding? What if he doesn't want to get married on a Tuesday?"
"If he doesn't want to get married on a Tuesday, he's not the man for me to marry."
I had a beautiful wedding, on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, in a church full of people. We danced through tears of joy, our own tears and our guests'. We seemed like such an odd pairing but I don't think anyone thought we wouldn't make it.
Now here we are, two and half years later, and halfway through our six month "waiting period" before we get divorced. Then, I can petition the Church for an annulment. I'll ask them to declare that my marriage was invalid, that a real marriage never existed. It's what lawyers call a "legal fiction;" an assumption that something occurred or did not occur, when in fact, it didn't or did. When it's all over we'll just pretend like the last three years didn't happen. Without my little bit of human evidence here, Gabriel, I suppose it will be that much easier to do.
It's hard to ignore the shame and the guilt I carry with me. I feel like the last three years are a stain on me. Like people must look at me and think, "There's that girl, the one who can't have "normal" babies and can't keep her husband." And I know it's all in my head. That's just it. That's what's in my head.
I know that I don't have to be alone right now. A girl never really has to be alone. It's crossed my mind that a warm body just to fill the space might not be so bad. But then one day he'll just be one more stain too. I don't need a white knight and I don't need a quick fix. I've experienced both, and neither of them lasted. Neither was what they promised to be.
Being guarded is a switch for me. My inclination is to allow myself to trust and to care freely and swiftly, no matter how many times I've been wounded. I guess the trick now is to understand that trust is something that has to be built and affection something that has to be earned. Though I can't imagine ever trusting in a man again, I have to at least trust that someday I will. I have to believe that someday a man will come around and he'll appreciate me not in spite of my experiences, but because of them. Where right now I see myself as scarred, he'll see me as strong. For all the times I felt I was expendable and my devotion pathetic, he'll see me as valuable and worthy of his trust and maybe then I can start to trust too.