I have been to a lot of weddings since my own first one in 2005. Tons and tons really because I was one of the first of my friends to get married at 21 years old and in your twenties you tend to attend them one after another.
And going to weddings after that one day in April I said vows has always been miserable. Truly and deeply miserable. Weddings and showers and parties of joy and hope have filled me with dread and pain. Any one of my friends can attest to this. I look at pictures of myself on your big days and I ache for that girl and even for you, my friends. I could not be fully present for you in my situation.
The deep seated sorrow. The lack of hope. The anger and frustration. The bitterness.
All these serious and miserable emotions brought about by my own unhappiness in vows unfulfilled. Lies instead of joy. Promises broken and heart broken and life broken. Over and over. The patterns of life visible even then on a two year cycle of not only mundane but in many ways, truly and deeply awful. How I lasted so long I do not know.
But this past weekend my best friend got married. I was so happy for her but I also must admit, I had done what I always have done these last 15 years to prepare for a wedding ceremony: shut down some of myself, walled off and hardened up in order to witness vows that would remind me again of how unwanted and unloved I am. How the words never backed up by deed break me in more ways than one, as a word lover and a human who needs real connection. How I’ve wasted my life on someone who never was who I thought. I didn’t even realize I was doing it, this emotional preparation but I can see it looking back over the last couple weeks, rebuilding and clinging to old patterns of protections…even in this whole new world I’m in of living loved and seen and cared for with authenticity and passion. (I wonder now if this isn’t even part of the illness I’m struggling with.)
Until I was standing there holding the bride’s flowers and the ceremony began and suddenly the dread was gone.
I was free.
Free to hear the vows. To feel the truth that some times love is real. To feel the truth that marriage is not the enemy. To feel the truth that not every one lies when they make promises. To feel the truth that I am loveable and desirable and unbroken.
The walls came down and my eyes found Tim and I could literally feel all the weight of 15 years of sorrow and disappointment and doubt about my worth and anger and resentment and angst leave my body. Like it floated up and out of me. It is gone. I wonder if you could see it?…this moment happening….it was palpable to me, a true epic moment in the midst of a beautiful, unique, authentic ceremony uniting two souls.
As my best friend said her vows to her husband I could feel vows inside me begin. Like a song in my soul. The truth and depth of the joy and light replacing the places that were fear and darkness. I no longer live in lies. I no longer expect loneliness. I no longer need armor to function. I am free.
Free to love. To write my own vows. To give that last 2%. To know I’m protected by someone who loves me more than I can even comprehend, who is worthy of my love and attention. To know I have a true life partner now who will not let me drown or choke or burn. Who will always be mine only. I am free to be me. Completely.
Timothy, I love you. Thank you for your work to get me to this place. You are the change. You are why I’m free. You have changed me from the inside out. You have loved every part of me, unmatched. My soul is yours. You are the best human I know and I’m honored to be yours and I know the truth that I am the luckiest girl in the world. I am counting down the days to being your wife. The 2% is gone now. Im all in. Forever. R.
Hope and Bug thank you for being my friends through every single thing. Julia, thank you thank you thank you. Thank you for listening and coaching and loving. Thank you for making me your MOH. For trusting me with your needs to get things done. For letting me be a part of your beautiful day and even for Marie and the vows you said and how I know you love this happening in your moment. I love you, friend, forever. Always thankful for you and how you celebrate what is best for everyone you love. You are a treasure. A very very very sparkly treasure. Rach