The content of the following blog has a vulnerability rating of 93 (that was an A when I was growing up). This blog may make you uncomfortable. It may cause you to think differently of me due to the humanness involved. This could cause you to disapprove of me or it could cause you to like me more. If you like me just as you believe me to be, you may not want to read any further…
You were warned.
October 28th. Weird for me to think about this date. I don’t typically notice it and I’m not sure why I did today. But, since I did recognize the date, I should acknowledge it…I know if I don’t, it will come back to bite me in some obscure emotionally painful manner.
Fifteen years ago, I was walking down the aisle of a beautiful Catholic church wearing a long ivory dress accented with lace, a handmade veil on my head and carrying a beautiful bouquet of chocolate roses with golden berries and deep greenery wrapped tightly in elegant silk ribbon. My dad accompanied me down the aisle as Canon in D echoed from the balcony.
(The Bridezilla portion of this event is an entirely different blog…I continue to seek forgiveness from my dear friends for my crazed behaviors during the year of planning).
This was the day I had been dreaming of since I could dress my Barbie and Ken for their wedding day. I had waited a very long time for this day. I was 29 years old, three months shy of 30. But, I was already behind on the life I’d mapped out so many years ago.
The chart outlined that I should have been married by age 28 and giving birth to my first child by the age of 30. Damn. I’m behind by approximately 640 days. (730 minus 3 months).
Trust me. I wasn’t late arriving because of lack of effort on my part. I’d kissed more toads than my fair share. Hell, I lived in a town with one of the largest Army bases in the country. There were plenty of single men in this town.
However, the man I met at the end of the aisle that day was not a Soldier. Instead, he was a dear friend whom I’d worked with for a few years. He was smart, handsome, kind, funny, and even Catholic! How could this go wrong?
The marriage ended in three short years with too many how’s and why’s to unpack publicly. It was painful for me and I believe it was painful for him as well.
There were days I didn’t think I would be able to get out of bed. There were days I made it out of bed, but I would burst into tears with no fair warning. There were nights when dark chocolate and pinot noir were all I had to hold me together.
I’d failed. I failed before I started – I was already behind when I walked into that church full of family and friends. It wasn’t the 640 days. It was the years of trying to keep up with plans and goals that were never mine to begin with.
The dreams of Ken and Barbie…babies and degrees…houses and tennis games…those had been superimposed into my being. They looked like they would make me good enough.
Maybe I could prove my worth with a masterful ceremony full of pomp and circumstance…maybe I could follow the rules and have a husband, two kids and a house with a pool…maybe I could finally annihilate the passionate and zealous lover of Xanadu, puffy Cheetos, beer from the bottle, stupid pranks, and Jesus…(see, being raised Catholic, I never thought twice about saying I loved Jesus and beer in the same breath).
Perhaps that’s what this life is all about – fitting in. Playing the game. Keeping up with the Jones’. It had to be. All the people who fit into those boxes looked happy, looked beautiful, so they must have been, right?
Fifteen years later, the camouflage has stopped hiding so much of the truth. I’ve slowly accepted the parts of me that have been buried under the cloaks of societal expectations. They aren’t pretty…and they need support (often in the form of Spanx)…but, I’m trying to be comfortable in who I was made to be – not who I think everyone assumes I need to be.
I guess in a peculiar way, I should still celebrate October 28th. It was the day my make-believe life became the humble beginnings of my authenticity.
Believe. Create. Live.
© 2015 Rebecca G. Townsend