I'm getting married ... finally?
In the days and weeks that followed my engagement, I found myself randomly screaming I'm getting married and then squealing. Seconds after, a nagging voice in my head would follow up with finally. After it happened a few times, I decided to fight back against that thought and the implications that accompanied it.
I am not above talking things out with myself. I wanted to get to the bottom of why that word kept sneaking into my mind and why it bothered me. This investigation required me to start back at the beginning.
Picture it: Maryland, the year 2000, a 16-year-old girl (me) sitting at the desk in her bedroom to plan out her life. I vividly recall writing down the moves I was going to make over the next few years on notebook paper using a mechanical pencil (which to this day is still my favorite writing tool). It went like this:
Go to college. Meet my husband.
Get married at 27.
Buy a house.
Have my first baby by 30.
Have my second baby by 32 (that means I'll be 50 when my youngest child is 18).
I naively believed that writing these plans down meant that they were etched in stone. I would certainly meet a man in college because that is where all girls meet their husbands, or so I had been told. It never once occurred to me that my life would not go according to the way that I had mapped it out. Needless to say, I did not meet my husband in college, nor did I meet him soon after I graduated college. This derailment threw the rest of my timeline completely off kilter.
Over the years, I kept telling myself that marriage would happen when the time was right. I also had a target age that I kept in my mind as the absolute cutoff. There was no way God would make me wait too long. I just knew I wouldn't be one of those women who took "forever" to get married. Obviously, marriage did not come to me at 27, but something else did. I witnessed a journey on opposite of the spectrum actually: my parents' separation.
In 2011, less than two weeks before Thanksgiving, my father left our family and never returned. I was living with my parents at the time and will never forget the image of him walking out of the door. My parents had been married for 28 years. My mother was 12 years old when she met my father. My parents were best friends and their marriage was the sole reason why I wanted to be married and have my own family. I was dazed and confused as I watched a total nightmare unfold before my eyes.
Unfortunately, my father's exit was so that he could be with another woman and her family. He was deeply involved at that point and it became obvious to us that he was not coming back, despite our hope and prayers. My parents were not officially divorced until 2014, so for two and a half years, I saw my life as I knew it and the family that had been my foundation completely unravel.
I saw my mother broken into pieces. I saw our family home sold. I saw my mother's "friends" distance themselves from her. I heard rumors. I heard lies. I heard silence from my father. My brother and I tried to speak to him to get an understanding, but he was not having any of it at all. Instead, he told me that I could live with my scars.The grief was unbearable. I was disoriented and hurting. This was not a part of my plan.
There is so much to say about their divorce and its effect on me. Thankfully, I have this entire blog journey to dive into that topic. What I can say for now, though, is that God knows what He is doing. I had a plan for sure, but He saw what was coming toward me. I have no idea what may or may not have happened to my relationship if I had been married when everything took place. I can tell you what my life looked like after the raging fire burned everything down.
After my father's departure and my parent's divorce, I was distracted by graduate school and living alone in a new place. Honestly, I completely ignored how I was feeling about what was going on. It went well at first. It was much easier for me to dismiss the pain than it was to acknowledge it, or even begin to process it. Also, it is important to note that pain is a very vague word when it comes to all the feelings that I experienced and still experience to this day.
It was not until 2015 that I started to deal with all that was happening inside of me. I discovered that I was in the midst of a lot of unhealthy patterns that were not serving me well at that time in my life. I did not meet Damien until 2017, almost two full years after I began to truly work on myself. I know with 100% certainty that I am a healthier version of me than I was several years ago. I was on the road to healing by the time I met my future husband and I know it made a difference in our relationship overall.
I learned that, sometimes, God holds things off to make sure that we get the best that He wants to give us or so that we can be in the best posture to receive what He has for us. For me, I realize that my personal healing was more important than me having a husband.
I needed oxygen before I needed an engagement ring or a wedding. I needed to work through some things before I could be available to anyone else. I desperately needed to be available to myself and I was worth it. So, no, I'm not finally doing anything. I'm in the place where I am supposed to be in this very moment which is getting married to someone incredible.
My hope is that you understand that your life is not on a stopwatch. It is not in our best interest to live life as if we are in a race to acquire ideals and possessions at a specific checkpoint. So often we are bombarded with messages about what we should be doing at a certain point in life. You're 16 - you should have a car. You're 18 - you should be off to college. You're 25 - you should be dating or putting yourself out there. When women are close to 30 or a little over it - they should be having a baby. You've been working your job for 25 or more years - you should be thinking about retirement.
You should. You should. You should. I think we need to tweak that narrative. It's best if you focus on being your optimal self and trust the process of learning, growing, and evolving. It's best if you check in with yourself about what you really want and need from your life at the time. It's best not to force anything. It's best to stay your course and not try to move forward to be like someone else. It's best to make room for the inconvenient things that are bound to happen and, sometimes, those things will shake you down to your core.
So, yes, I am getting married and that is where the sentence ends. Yes, my parents are divorced and, funny enough, that is where my beautiful journey began.
Take good care of yourselves, friends,