Today is the anniversary of what would’ve been 5 years of marriage for me.
I’m a little stunned by how wholly and powerfully my life has changed since then.
I still celebrate this day in my own little way, like a quiet emotional nod and wink to my past self. It’s like a recognition of the first of many pivotal moments in my young life.
I still maintain that my wedding day was one of the happiest of my life. I drank, sure, and I got fairly drunk, but there was no sorrow or guilt that day, surprisingly enough. The truth is that on that day, everything felt perfect. On that day I was more overwhelmed with love, for my partner and for the people who showed up to celebrate what I hoped and assumed would be a lifelong commitment. Even today, I still feel so grateful for those who showed up for me on that day and in the many days since then, through all of my ups and downs.
In many ways, my marriage and its subsequent collapse catapulted me toward sobriety, and graduate school, and this insanely wonderful (and sometimes painful) spurt of inner growth. I may have made it to these places on my own had the marriage continued, but it’s impossible to say how likely that is. My marriage pointed my life toward something completely different than I had ever imagined. I never planned this. If you had told me on my wedding day that in 5 years, I would be nearly 2 years sober, living back in my home city, working toward becoming a therapist, and—gasp—single, I would’ve told you that you were absolutely, completely, 100% out of your mind.
I suppose that’s how these things usually work, though, isn’t it? Most people probably don’t plan on their lives pulling a 180 on them. Most people wouldn’t believe the circumstances they’re thrown into, given the chance to see the future. Very few of us are hoping or banking on the wildfire or flood that destroys our homes. Very few of us count on our drinking to become unmanagable, or our relationships to collapse despite our best efforts, or our life trajectories to drastically change course mid-flight.
But, here I am. And here you are. Here we all are, some of us where we thought we’d be, and many of us in a place that is sometimes impossible to recognize as our own lives. But, we’ve made it. And we’re continuing from here, just as we always have.
So in a way, I feel like this May 18th is a celebration of myself and the journey I’ve been on in the last 5 years, more than a celebration of what once was. Today I feel more reverence for the pain I’ve gone through, rather than anger or despair. Today it is easier to wish my ex-husband happiness, rather than karmic justice for “what he did” — though I definitely have my moments some days. Today I am content with sitting in the shade outside my favorite coffee shop, getting delightfully distracted from my work by passing bikes, cars, dogs, and people. Today I feel OK.
I appreciate these moments & days of relative inner peace. They don’t come as often as I’d like but they never go unnoticed. Especially on a day like this, an anniversary of a promise that fell apart completely, I am reflective and calm and just happy to be out in the sunshine. For all the agonizing I do over the state of me and the state of the world, most of the time I feel assured that it’s going to be OK, just as it always has been.
❤ Em, Day 678