Tuesday, August 4, 2015

On This Date in History: a Digression

First of all, there are a few reasons why I'm behind in blogging.

1.  Work.
2.  More work.
3.  Not nearly enough sleep, due to continued and still-inexplicable sleeping issues (and to things loudly crashing to the ground at 1:30 in the morning).
4.  A renewed obsession with reading.
5.  Making sure that in spite of it all, I still have some fun.

Who wears short shorts? Bellars does.
(Photo credit: Insomniac Studios)
Things I will be blogging about, eventually:

1.  July's reading list and reviews.
2.  Why I both love and hate wedding shows.
3.  Alexis' and my new and ongoing quest for the perfect nacho location.
4.  This epic photo shoot:

For now, though, I'm going to talk about something more personal and relevant to today's date (and, in a way, to the above photo).  

It's August 4th, which means that eight years ago, I got married.  

Seeing as this is officially my first year not being married on my anniversary, it obviously worked out great.  (And yes, I'm sometimes sarcastic and bitter about it.  It's one of my ways of dealing with the experience.)

I'm not going to talk here about the things that happened.  If you want to talk with me about it privately, I do honestly welcome it.  

I'm not even going to talk about how much happier I am post-divorce.  I've talked about it before.  I talk about it with my friends, my boyfriend, and my family, ad nauseum.  We get it.  Move on, Ashley.

Well, I'm trying.

But I'm a person who dwells.  Particularly when significant dates come around.  I may have trouble remembering others' birthdays, but I remember when most big events happened in my life.  I often even remember what I was wearing.  This may make me incredibly self-centered, but so be it.

And getting married, regardless of the outcome, is a big event.  (And I obviously remember what I was wearing.  Easy one there.  See: above)

The question is: do I regret it?

There's not a simple or easy answer.

In many ways, yes.  I regret being too scared to back out at the last minute.  I regret not trusting my gut instinct.  I regret being naive and stubborn.  I regret not listening to my parents and those of my friends who tried to warn me.  I regret not going to grad school instead.  I regret the years spent being unhappy, the time spent drinking too much, the time spent being generally unaware of what was going on.

But. (Isn't there always a 'but'?)

If I hadn't gotten married, I don't know where I would be.  Or who I would be.  Granted, I could be rich and successful, married to a charmingly bookish English professor, and spend my time on tour for my best-selling novel when we're not spending summers at our country house in jolly old England.  This is highly unlikely, I know, and very probably not one of the results of not getting married eight years ago.

The unknown is a scary thing.  You can put all your hopes and dreams on it, or all your worst nightmares.  To reference the book I'm currently reading, you can be Jay Gatsby, reaching blindly for that shining green light, only to be disappointed by all-too-human realities and frailties.  Or you can imagine the worst-case-scenario, and live life in fear of failure.  I don't want to do either.

If I hadn't gotten married, I almost certainly wouldn't be where I am today.  I've had this discussion many times with various people.  And, as I've stated many times, I love where I am today.  It's not ideal, of course.  I'm divorced, in debt to my parents for bailing me out, and nowhere near where I thought I would be at thirty.  (Hell, my former dog unfriended me on Facebook.  How many people does that happen to?)  

But it works, in its own weird, unexpected way.  Getting married and being married for seven years 
for better and for worse made me the person I am.  I wouldn't say I'm a completely different person than I was eight years ago, but I am, I think, much improved from that all-too-young girl.  I've become more comfortable with who I am, more self-confident, less afraid of what other people think.  I've changed my hair color (countless times), my style, and my name (twice).  I've become an adult, or at least something approximating one.  I'm happy more often than not.  And I have better friends than I could ever have asked for, a wonderful boyfriend, a crazy dog, and a job I love.  I don't regret where I'm at or who I am or who my loved ones are.  Ever.

So.  Is Fitzgerald right in saying that, in spite of our struggles, we are "borne back ceaselessly into the past"?  Well, yes, in a way.  After all, we can't escape the past, or fix its so-called mistakes.  We can't entirely forget the past either.  I can't change where past decisions have brought me.  Saying "I shouldn't have" doesn't change the past eight years.  And very possibly, I shouldn't want to change them.  But I also can't be Nick Carraway, obsessed with telling and re-telling the same long-finished story.  Much like re-reading The Great Gatsby: though I may find something different each time, the ending isn't going to change.

Am I there yet?  Obviously not, or you wouldn't be reading this, if you're even reading this.  All I can say is that I'm working on it.  I'm working on not wondering what might have been.  I'm working on not regretting.  I'm working on not dwelling.  I think, though, that doing a little dwelling today is understandable.  I hope you agree.

"So we beat on, boats against the current," and all that jazz.


  1. I completely forgot it would have been your anniversary.
    Coming from a fellow person-who-dwells, though, I think you're working through it admirably.

    1. Thank you. I'm trying. Not always easy.

  2. It isn't the success or failure, but the struggle that truly makes us human.

    You can quote me on that. And congratulations on working on happiness. More people should.