Nine years ago, I was about to make the biggest mistake of my life.
I knew it was wrong. I knew it wouldn't last. I knew I wasn't really in love. And I knew the wrong person was going to be waiting for me at the front of the church.
I knew all of this.
What I didn't know was one little thing: how to get out of it.
I was too proud, or too ashamed, or too stubborn to tell my parents I no longer wanted to get married. Everyone was in town. Everything had been paid for. I wasn't Julia Roberts. I wasn't a runaway bride. I didn't feel like I could ask for help.
And so I went out the night before the wedding (nine years ago this very day) with some of my best girl friends and got drunk. I outlasted my three bridesmaids, drank til I threw up, drank some more, and got back to the hotel room at 4 in the morning, 12 hours before the actual wedding. I had been sick for a few days before, but that night cemented the almost complete loss of my voice.
And so I got married: hungover, sick, terrified, and barely able to talk.
Looking back, it wasn't just the literal loss of my voice. That day was when I started losing my figurative voice as well. I lost the ability to be honest and became an increasingly secretive person. From the moment the wedding was over, my life also felt like it was over. My new husband was depressed, suicidal, and violently angry by turns, increasingly demanding, and went through money like water. He hid our debt and secretly ate his way through the money in our account. He couldn't take care of himself or hold a job, and yet was jealous of my paycheck and authority at work. We fought in the car, we fought at work (fights which I never won), and yet I was shocked when my boss told me my husband was abusive.
One of the first steps to being to being abused is to believe that the person abusing you isn't capable of doing so.
I suppose it's valid to say that I can be a little outspoken about my life. There is the matter of this blog, after all, and the fact that I'm more than willing to tell you what you want to know (and often more than you wanted to know). It's my story, my voice, and my wonderfully imperfect life. I've slowly been getting it all back, and I don't want to lose it again.
So now here I am. Nine years out from my first marriage, a year after wrecking my wedding dress, and engaged again.
The more things change, as they say...
Sometimes I think I must crazy to get married again.
Other times (most times), I think I'm so unbelievably lucky to get married again. I get a do-over, a second chance, a whatever you want to call it. I get a man who knows me and all my flaws better than any one else ever has and still wants to marry me. I get someone who feels more like home than anyone or anything else. I get the relationship I never believed in.
I get a fiancé who comes home, lifts me up into the world's biggest hug, and then says, "We need to talk."
And then, a few seconds later, he allows my heart to start beating again by finishing, "... we really should narrow down a wedding date."
But that, I believe, is a story for another blog.