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SSR 11: Love Story

June 21, 2010

Exactly three weeks and one day ago, I watched a love story play out in front of my eyes.
I watched two people become man and wife.
I applauded as they took their first steps in their new life together.
It was a gorgeous day, and I was honored to be in attendance at such a fabulous celebration.

[you can read my recaps of the event on Julie’s blog: recap 1, recap 2.]

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Back in January, I mentioned my lack of wedding attendance due to a fear of the unknown.
I was afraid of how I would react in a wedding ceremony.  I was afraid that it wouldn’t be pretty, or even bearable.  I was afraid it would be pathetic and sad.

Guess what?
I was fine.

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Actually, I was kind of better than fine.
I can’t say that I actually allowed myself to process very much about my lack of wife-ness while I was watching the stunning Julie marry the love of her life.
I kept myself distracted, and I think that was the best thing for me to do.
It was hard to think of my past with Julie and Dan taking a step into their future.  They love each other so clearly, and I am so thankful I was present to see such obvious love be exchanged between two people.  The celebration was a gorgeous representation of what love should be.

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Once in a while, I think about how if the break up never took place, right now, I would be married.
Usually this takes place when I am doing something that I know I wouldn’t be doing if I was married, like watching Bravo for six straight hours, or eating peanut butter sandwiches cookies for dinner, or vacuum my living room, or struggling to pay rent in the apartment we picked out to live in together.

Once in a while, I wake up from a bad dream, and stare at the empty space next to me in the way too big bed that we picked out to sleep in together.  Or I get a facebook invitation for an event taking place in the town I lived in before I moved here, with him.  Then I just get angry.  I haven’t yet gotten angry at him, though.  Mostly I’m angry at myself for finding myself in this place.

People tell me that this is silly.  That I didn’t know this was going to happen.  That I didn’t know what I was getting into.  But I still remain angry at myself for not knowing any better. I should have known better. I shouldn’t have trusted him. I shouldn’t have tried so hard to be loved, and valued, and kept.  I should have taken better care of myself.

It’s really weird for me to think about the wedding aspect.  I had a dress that I never wore in front of a room full of people.  A dress I really kind of liked a lot.  So do each of my bridesmaids, and that fact alone has me shiver in disgust.   I hate that my friends and family spent money on a celebration that never actually happened.  I hate that my bridesmaids and family put so much time, energy, thoughts, and money into a bachelorette weekend for me only to have me call them the day after to tell them it was over through tears and occasional ugly-cry-speech that no doubt didn’t make sense.  It infuriates me to think about this.  I feel like I owe them for this, and that I can never repay them.

There were a lot of wedding details  that we spent a lot of time on.  There were wedding binders I spent a lot of time on, too.  Which really shouldn’t surprise anyone, but if you saw these binders I would expect you to understand me on a whole new level.  I wanted to share these creative ideas and details with people.  I was proud of the new ideas we put together, and I was proud of the details that I had dreamed of for a long time, since I was a young girl.

I shouldn’t be concerned with things like this.   I shouldn’t be thinking about a future wedding, because I don’t want to be one of those girls.  Because I don’t want to get my hopes up for something that may never happen.  I don’t want to pretend like I know I will for sure get married one day, because I don’t know if I will or even if I want to.  I don’t know if it’s necessary for me.  I don’t know if it’s a road I want to walk down.  But I’m smart enough to know that as time goes on, I may grow and change and feel differently about the idea of marriage.  I’m smart enough to say I don’t know.

But in the same breath, I feel like if I ever do find myself planning a wedding for myself and a hypothetical future husband (wow, that’s weird to think about), that everything needs to be different.  That I can’t have the same color scheme, the same photographer, the same dessert option, the same theme, or readings, or anything.  I feel like I can’t have anything even close to what was planned before and that everything needs to be completely opposite.

It’s silly for me to think these things, let alone even be concerned about these things.  But this is what you think about when you are running alone on a trail, realizing that the one year anniversary of the day you were told “i know I put a ring on it, but turns out I didn’t really like it” is just around the corner.

You think about things like how you wanted that celebration more than you wanted the marriage.  Maybe not at the time, but now, in hindsight, you do.  You wish that you still could have a room full of the people you love celebrating the next step you are making.

Funny, isn’t it?  Had we have gotten married, no one should have celebrated.  We would have been doing the wrong thing; something that wasn’t the best for either of us.  Funny, isn’t it, that we should have celebrated that we didn’t get married, that we didn’t do the wrong thing.

I know that I should celebrate the decisions I’ve made towards being healthier, in many aspects.  Not just losing weight, or eating more vegetables, or getting more exercise; but by making healthier decisions for my heart and soul and growth. I am at such a better place now than I was a year ago, in so many ways.  That should be celebrated.  And if I’m going to be really honest, looking back at some of the darker times, the fact that I am still striving in even the littlest regards, should be celebrated – because it didn’t always feel that it was possible.

Sometimes, however, it’s hard to feel like I should celebrate anything, or even consider myself something to be celebrated.  That’s not easy to admit.  But it is how I feel.  And sometimes you just have to shut that voice up.  You need to tell that silly voice in your head that says things like, “of course he didn’t marry you.”  You need to talk over the voice that starts being cynical and wonders if love really exists or if it’s all just a facade.

But when you witness things like this, you know that the cynic you sometimes argue with is null and void.  Love like this speaks hope, and I can’t help but wish it for myself some day.  And that hope makes all the difference.

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And so I carry on, knowing that one day, maybe.  In another dress, with another bouquet of flowers, in a different place.  One day, possibly.  As a different person.  A stronger person. A better person. One day, hopefully.

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. June 21, 2010 9:28 am

    Great great post. This: “i know I put a ring on it, but turns out I didn’t really like it” made me smile, not in a literal LOL way but in the way that you could take something that is deep and hard and long-lasting and put a little pun into it to make it a little *less* deep and hard. That’s the writer in you.

    I love that you are honest about everything that’s happened. Moreso, I love that you are honest in admitting that it’s nearly impossible not to think of your own circumstance when you’re seated before a bride and groom. I think that’s normal and I think that’s good that you don’t try to tell yourself it’s not on your mind.

    I’ve never been engaged, but I can speak from the “forever singles table” crowd and agree with so much of what you said at the end of this. That cynical voice is a selfish brat who wants ALL the attention in our minds far too often and it can be a battle to keep it at bay. I think the beauty in the matter for people like you and I is this: we DO have something to look forward to, we CAN wish for that day to come sooner because we KNOW how great it’s going to be. When I have my doubts and I feel completely alone, I pray and I remember that and I remember YOU because I know God has something wonderful planned for us. And, I mean, how freaking cool is THAT?!?!?!

    xoxo

  2. Liz permalink
    June 21, 2010 3:26 pm

    I just wanted to let you know that I love love love your blog. Seriously.

  3. June 21, 2010 7:43 pm

    I hope you don’t mind if I spill it right now….because I’ve never felt at liberty to write about my “love life” on my blog (mainly because I think the ex might read it…?).

    To me, being single is a scary thing. Petrifying, actually. I had a safe relationship. I had my entire life written out for me, but I chose against it. I still question if I did the right thing every single day…even though I know that I did. And it’s seeing other people in love (i.e. Mr. and Mrs. Grice) that reminds me that I made the right choice.

    But then again, what if that’s just not in the cards for me? What if safe was the best I’m going to be offered, and I just gave it up? What if I’m going to be one of “those girls” who, no matter how much I try, envision my own fairytale ending and wonder if every single guy I meet is “the one?” I hate admitting that I feel this way because I should be a STRONG AND INDEPENDENT WOMAN. But the truth is that to me, being single right now is like…being in purgatory.

    Enough about me. Bleh, sorry…

    You know, I can’t help but think that when you meet your future husband, you’re not even going to have to think about how it’s different from your past relationship. I hate to sound cliche in saying this, but…you’ll just know. Sometimes it’s hard to understand why God let’s us go through these things in life, and maybe you never will. But if anything, it seems to me like you’ve definitely grown and learned a sh*t ton about yourself (pardon my french). And looking back, I’m pretty sure you’ll realize what a huge blessing that is.

  4. June 22, 2010 3:41 am

    Oh Heather, your honesty never ceases to amaze me, in the best way. I hope you know you are helping so many people out there.

    I also share some of your feelings. When people talk about their future wedding…”I want a dress like this, a ring like this…”, 1. I can’t even picture myself having a wedding and 2. If I were to think about it, I would be saying “I want a husband that is…”. On one hand I don’t think I would ever get married “just ’cause”, but on the other I don’t know if I could ever find anyone that is absolutely perfect so will I ever settle? My thoughts are very contradictory because I’d like to think that one day he’ll walk into my life and I’ll “just know” but I also feel like that day will never come.

    The point is, I think we all have our fears and doubts but everything truly happens for a reason. You made a decision because you knew it was right for you. We just need to trust ourselves and the universe’s plan for us. Everything will work out the way it should – whether that involves marriage or not if you always stay true to your heart, you can’t be anything but as happy as you deserve. 🙂

    xoxo

  5. June 22, 2010 7:45 am

    Such a beautiful, beautiful post. I LOVE YOU!

    PS: I love Dan’s goofy, happy smile in the last picture. So cute. But then, I’m biased…

  6. Kati permalink
    June 22, 2010 9:07 pm

    You are a beautiful writer and I love reading your blog. I’m one of those that read a lot and respond a little. I really loved this particular post.

    “People tell me that this is silly. That I didn’t know this was going to happen. That I didn’t know what I was getting into. But I still remain angry at myself for not knowing any better. I should have known better. I shouldn’t have trusted him. I shouldn’t have tried so hard to be loved, and valued, and kept. I should have taken better care of myself.”

    I felt the same way both times my heart was broken. You know I wasn’t engaged but I might as well have been. I had started planning (didn’t tell anyone that) as well. I felt stupid when it ended. Especially stupid when it ended with Derek. He was so clearly not the one for me. (I hope I can feel that about Matt someday). But “Had we have gotten married, no one should have celebrated” and this is something I need to remind myself as well.

    Thanks!

  7. Brendali permalink
    June 22, 2010 11:31 pm

    Heather, your posts never fail to bring tears to my eyes. I thank you for your honesty, and sincerity in writing these posts. I feel each one of your emotions, and I feel you couldn’t have ended this post better… One day will happen, and when it does, and you write about it, I will cry cause I am happy for you 🙂

  8. Jenn permalink
    June 25, 2010 10:26 pm

    Heather,
    I am coming at this from the other side and if I had the same ability to look inside myself 17 years ago… I might not be in the same place I am at today. Today I am rebuilding who I am and it’s hard and scary. I wish I had examined myself and motivations more closely.

  9. Deborah permalink
    June 30, 2010 4:14 pm

    I was much more active on the Turkey Girls Spark team last year, and I remember what an enormously tough time (putting it mildly) you had. My heart broke for you. I’ve been back on the team with a few posts recently, and I followed the link you have on your signature. What a difference a year makes! Now, a year later, it looks like you are healing, happy, healthy, and engaged! Good for you! You will be the next bride, and your “happily ever after” will begin. Or maybe it’s already started… Mark sounds like pure gold. God has a way of bringing us through even the darkest of times so that He can show us a better way.

    My oldest daughter was engaged in 2000. I know that seems like a thousand years ago. Her engagement broke up too, and she was devastated. It took her years to work her way back to health (mental, emotional, physical, spiritual…) She became engaged this past spring and we love her fiance. They are getting married on New Year’s Eve. Their first full day of being married will be 1-1-11… it doesn’t get any better than that!

    I wish you lifelong happiness and peace. You deserve it. Bless you both. ((hugs))

    • June 30, 2010 4:30 pm

      Sorry to have confused you with my spark people signature – that quote is from another blogger, also named Heather – who blogs at hangrypants.com with HER fiance Mark.

      It is almost a year after my broken engagement, and I do feel stronger, and happier, and generally better than ever – but I am not engaged (or even dating).

      Didn’t mean to confuse you, but wanted to clarify!

      🙂 thank you for your support and encouragement!

  10. Hangry Pants permalink
    June 30, 2010 5:25 pm

    Heather, I am glad you were able to enjoy the wedding, appreciate it for what it was and reflect on its meaning to you. You are such an awesome and thoughtful person.

Trackbacks

  1. SSR 14: Being a Saver « Then Heather Said
  2. SSR 17: Noodles with Company « Then Heather Said

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