I had originally attempted to answer this question in another post, but ended up getting off subject in the worst way. Mainly, the emotional way. Nevertheless, I realized almost right away that my post entry had way less to do with the answer to that question than the emotions and defenses I was feeling at the time.
But rather than focus on just how embarrassing it was (somewhat still is), or how I felt a certain integrity not to re-edit it because there’s a certain element of standing by a work, even if it is flawed; or how learning about saying what you mean and meaning what you say mixes in with the old habits of overcorrecting and likely met with a variety of personal reactions (of which I had plenty), I’d rather just say it here like I intended to originally.
Besides, if I corrected the old one, it wouldn’t show up as a new post here, but rather stay buried in the year-ago collection of blog posts and get lost; and I feel confident that it’s not going to really matter to the least of my critics, nor do I care if it does—I just want to be able to look back and be satisfied to reread that I addressed it.
So, question. Why, I was asked, did I even have a do-over wedding-type shindig only to leave my husband 8 months later. How could I even think about doing that when so many people were present to witness the celebratory wedding we never had. It has been one of the top most lingering questions to keep surfacing this last year. It wasn’t just the one question itself, but also all what the answer represented, and a rather decisive maneuver to address it on my blog when I finally could answer it fully and honestly.
Answer. Number One. (And keep in mind, this was NOT an easy answer, nor an easy decision to come to in the very first place.) It was the quickest way to put a whole big patch over the whole thing. All the problems we were having. All the problems we were pushing under the rug. All the problems I tried bringing to the table and we never fixed. All the problems we tried scooping under the rug and never got counseling for. All the problems that bled into new ones, bigger ones, problems that we didn’t bring into our own lives (cancer and medical) breaching into ones that we did (too long a list now). Problems that metastasized into big, leprous, itchy tumors. Problems that caused us to consider divorce, not once, not twice, but at least three serious occasions in the past and in front of friends. Flatlined moments only dug out of long enough to fool myself back into the shredded union.
Number Two. I never thought, in probably a million years, that my life would flip over upside down on its head just months after. I was just not looking at the situation in my marriage honestly and was desperate to hide it, change it, make it work somehow, feel renewed, and give each other amnesty. I was hellbent on making it work ‘till the day I died, even resolving to be a Stepford wife if need be. I would take the final swallow in choking down what was left of me and operate at a shell level until the girls graduated and only reserve the real stuff for them (because it was the only way to compensate what K refused to give me--passion.) In many ways, I was like the wife of the alcoholic back in the day—the one who convinces herself that it will still work, that the terrible things going on inside her marriage only exist for a “tiny” reason, and compartmentalizes the situation so she can put it “over there” for an unspecified amount of time, until the next time. Only we were both part of the problem and I was compartmentalizing for two people—me and him. And I wouldn’t discover how bad it was or how hard I was working to choke it all down until I met someone who was able to drag me out from under all the layers of crap and point to the light.
Number Three. All of the layers of junk we had gone through, both inside and outside our marriage, whether it happened to us beyond our control or we brought it on ourselves in some way, was something I wanted to put behind us. I just wanted to really start over. I thought it was a great idea. I was inspired. I thought it would be a great way to throw away all the left-over ickies of life first afflicted with cancer and joint problems and then later infidelity. Or, like I said, a day of amnesty in our marriage and bumpy lives together. I wanted something normal and I really felt that it would be a good way to say a big ole “f*** you” to old attitudes, to people who couldn’t support us, nosy people, people who added to the demise of our relationship (including ourselves), and just celebrate something we never, ever had: a real wedding. I really believed that if we could give ourselves this treat, that we would feel more at liberty to be who we wanted to be with each other.
It would take more than living in a small town and blaming everyone else to get past that. It would require a good, hard, honest look at myself. And it would take an even harder realization: that we already were what we were going to be, and that we contributed to our own demise. We had turned 180 degrees away from the day we got married.
Nothing can really happen without counseling and lots of support, which we received so little of, and when each of us had changed so much as a direct result of ignoring the issues. It was a small, isolated northern town with nowhere to go, nothing to do, very little aspirations, and people who care more about themselves than others or drinking themselves into oblivion. And where we had no family, no blood family anyway—the ones who love you regardless—people only can only go so far for you or, as in some cases, when there is something in it for them—like a snooping Tomcat or a glimpse at my boobs or ass, which I did nothing to bring on. Nothing. It was difficult to find help without judgment and we did not surround ourselves with people who could help us professionally or emotionally. Resources without traveling a good distance for them meant there was at least some risk of losing privacy, And we both had our own, separate hard times with reaching out to others. By the end, we didn’t know who to trust, and we only had ourselves to blame.
This I must say, though. Not every single person we met or knew there was like this, nor did they fit into this description, nor is it totally accurate or fair. But I am not talking about those people, and there were quite enough of the kind that did fit this description to make it difficult to live in a community where we, as a couple, depended on a support system that consisted of friends who could be as fickle as the wind and/or in no way obligated to us. Family absolutely mattered but ours continued to be far away and in the background, and we were only family to friends until their real family came home for the holidays. By the end, I just gave up trying to talk to people.
It should have been a sign in and of itself that I was not putting out the kind of quality person I wanted to be surrounded with by being defeatist about the things I could have done to save our marriage, but I had become so very tired of taking on more than half of the quality control for our union and excessive guilt three times over that I finally quit owning all the guilt of the whole marriage and started living like a person that knows it takes two to make it work. I just wanted to strip down the appearances we made even to each other and live a real life. I wanted K to make the call to the counselor, the psychologist who came in once a month from the teacher’s union. I wanted him to be the one to put in a last ditch effort to save us. To help me help us. To take some responsibility in an emotional matter. I wanted him to take the reins for a while, but not just in tasks, but in love and in passion.
But it takes two people to want this. Love is an action word. Be it that I’ve made mistakes—Lord knows I’m no angel—I know what devotion is; and I know that even in spite of myself, I backed up my fluffy words with actions. Anyone who can say that simply providing the basic necessities should suffice, well I would say I tried—oh god how I tried—to make it be enough, but it just doesn’t. Not for this girl, not for most passionate women. Not for me. It was not an easy decision to make.
And finally, when I could no longer deny it and no longer wanted to, I left. Bam. Just like that. Because it was my choice and because I’m a grown-ass woman (as my father might say.) Because I honestly didn’t think people would give two shits. Because people with family there just don’t realize how lucky they are. Because I was tired of haggling all of this AND my place in society without so much of a bottom line, a safety net, a support system, or a family. Because I was tired of allowing everyone else to make decisions for me. Because, as stupid as it sounds now, I thought it would be good that K wasn’t left alone. (In terms of the night I actually left, which itself hadn’t gone like I’d planned.) But most of all, because I was tired of grieving over my other half letting me go like a trap door on a stage long before I decided to leave and not caring about it, even when I brought it to the table as a concern.
Be it erred thinking or truths in reality based on perception, all of this was what was under the layers of the onion that our marriage became. I still grieve this because I believed in our love. I believed in our ability to make it work, to keep getting to know each other, and to get over obstacles. In all of my crazy quirks, mannerisms, nuances, plain dumb idiocy, forgetfulness, dizziness, airheaded and Gemini-ish blabbermouthy youth, never was I unrealistic about getting married or putting the work into it necessary to survive. Not even when any single link in the chain of the medical age robbed our lives of a real beginning, where the chain of THOSE events were never-ending. Nor did I forget the moments of magic we had once upon a time and in the beginning. But maybe I shouldn’t have had to do it so alone. Maybe I shouldn’t have had to do it so. damned. alone.