a photo of yourself two years ago and how you've changed
I pulled this photo out of a folder labeled "Old Life." I had to crop it. I'm not going to lie, I timed this particular post for this particular day. Two years ago today I thought my life was over. It was 41 days before my wedding, my fiance and I had a huge fight the night before and Sunday, May 3, 2009 he walked into our bedroom, sat down and said we needed to talk. To say that I heard the other shoe drop is a vast understatement.
I was never one of those girls that dreamed about her wedding from the time she was a little girl. And I wasn't one of those girls that hoped to marry her high school sweetheart. On the contrary I spent my high school years telling my mother to let me date whoever I wanted and promising to never marry any of them. I had a friend when I was a freshman that I swear prayed for me every day when I said that I had no desire to get married at all, though live in boyfriends were completely fine (of course this particular friend also thought it was God's plan for her to grow up and marry a youth pastor).
Just before I went to college my friend Tricia got married. Well somewhere a light bulb went off and I wanted a wedding. I'm not sure that I really wanted a marriage so much at that point, but certainly a wedding. From there I had every little detail down. I even wanted to be a wedding planner for a period in time. I think part of this stemmed from the fact that ALL my friends were "coupled" and were dropping like flies when it came to getting engaged and married. It was almost like planning my fantasy wedding was my way to stay connected with my friends.
What is funny, however, is that when the weddings got closer and closer I removed myself from those friends. It was really hard to be around them when I knew their lives would be changing and mine would be staying the same; they would move on and I would get left behind; they were taking the next step and I wanted nothing more than to take that step with them.
It wasn't my time then and frankly it doesn't seem to be my time yet. I didn't date a lot in college and that was fine with me. It was hard when all the friends were pairing off, but there was just no one special in college.
I graduated in May 2004 and went into my first "big girl" job. I made a wonderful friend, Mary, who was also single and things couldn't have been better. Then she "coupled". The good news was that I "coupled" too! Oh, he was perfect. At least on paper. That relationship bounced up and down on a crazy emotional roller coaster for about seven months. He broke my heart time and time again.
We got into a fight one night and told me to have fun going out and he hoped that I met someone. I drank. A lot. And I did meet someone. Granted if it killed me I was going to meet someone, or several someones.
That night Mary got engaged. Boy, oh boy, here we go again.
I went home, where the guy was, and it turned out we actually were dating! Who knew? Well certainly not me. At any rate, I am the girl that can get dumped when she didn't know she had a boyfriend. That's me!
That was Sunday night. Monday night one of my friends text messaged me that one of the guys that I met on Friday wanted my number and asked if it was okay for me to give it to him. Of course I said yes. From the next day on we were inseparable.
What I didn't realize at the time was how I had let someone else determine the future of a relationship. I think I was so stubborn that I didn't want to let the ex win that I stayed in a relationship much, much longer than I should have.
Fast forward through four break ups, too many tears to count, four dogs, two houses and one totaled truck later we were engaged. A few weeks before we got engaged Mary and I went and saw Sex and the City, the first movie. I made a comment when we were eating sushi afterwards that I thought that would happen to me (if you haven't seen it, Big stands Carrie up on her wedding day). I don't even know why I said that, just a gut feeling I guess.
Then we were engaged. I thought wedding planning would be cake. I couldn't plan the wedding. I mean, could not plan it, at all. I guess I should have taken the fact that nothing would come together (besides my favorite photographer) as a sign, but I kept ignoring it. I was so certain that I had invested four years in this relationship and this was the way that it was supposed to be. In January the movie Bride Wars came out. Mary and I went to see it for our monthly girls' night. Through the whole movie I found myself relating to the character whose wedding didn't happen. Another sign. Then there was when he and I got into the huge fight while meeting with the wedding coordinator. And when I was with Mary at a dress fitting and she made a comment about whether the wedding would happen on the day it was supposed to.
That was when Mary knew that something was up. She knew that I knew that this wasn't going to happen.
That was almost a month before he called the wedding off. I knew that all the signs were there, but I didn't have the strength to end it.
To this day I am beyond grateful to him for that.
He gave me my life back.
He allowed me to smile again.
He allowed me to realize what I am meant to do with my life.
He allowed me to find my passion.
He allowed me to be the person that I was meant to be.
Very easily he could have continued to go through the motions, as we had been for quite some time, but he didn't. He had the strength to allow me to be free. I didn't have the strength for that at the time.
When all was said and done I had two options: allow this to consume me and ruin my life or allow myself to become a better person because of it. Thankfully I chose the latter.
So in the last two years here is what has changed:
I found out who my real friends were.
I have made some friends that I will keep forever.
I found an amazing church.
I lead a youth group now.
I joined Junior League.
I will be a committee chair next year, as well as a rep for an AJLI Action Learning Team.
I started my Masters.
I am only 12 hours away from finishing my Masters.
I learned how to work a swimming pool, all by myself (with a little help from my favorite pool store!).
I have successfully opened the pool twice.
I have met some of the best little people in the world and I can't imagine my life without them.
I have reconnected with an old friend or two.
I have conquered codependency.
And most importantly I have realized what I want out of life and am able to recognize what I don't want.
It has been a very fast two years. It is hard to believe that it has been this long. I have cried, a lot. I have hurt, a lot. If I had it to do over I wouldn't change it for the world. Every tear and hurt feeling has made me who I am today. I know that there are great things out there for me, just waiting for me to grab them. I know that if things had gone how I wanted them 730 days ago I wouldn't be here. I am glad that I'm where I'm at and I'm glad for where I'm going.