That all little girls should grow up and get married and if you get divorced you’re a big fat failure.
I was married once. I had the big white dress, the sparkling diamond and even a fancy limousine departure. It was a fun party. I remember waking up the next day in our hotel suite overlooking the lake, seeing my veil on the chair beside the bed and being overwhelmingly sad that it was over. I wore that thing for two more days in protest.
We were WAY too young but we had a 2 year old already and it was the next step in what felt inevitable. I refused to get married until I could legally drink a glass of champagne at my wedding. I was 21 for 22 days before I said I do.
I had no idea how to be a wife? I was an excellent mother and knew my way around the kitchen well enough that his friends called me Betty Crocker. I sewed, cross-stitched and ripped out the front yard in our trailer park so that I could plant some flowers. I didn’t have the foggiest idea how to communicate my needs to my husband, and at 23 he was just as clueless as me.
We played house for 7 years and welcomed another baby a few years after that big party. Sometimes I think we were simply stubborn enough together that we refused to quit, even when we were both unhappy. We celebrated our 7th anniversary and he toasted me with a drink.
H- Just think. We were so young when we got married that we’ll be able to celebrate our fiftieth anniversary someday.
My blood ran a little cold and I felt nauseous. I looked at him and realized that I’d always imagined having my own life someday and I hadn’t considered the fact that he could outlive me and I might never know what that was like. When you’re a wife and mother, and especially one who is a homemaker and/or works from home, your life has everything to do with service and caring for the people you love, it doesn’t really have much to do with your dreams or goals. It’s all diapers and blow jobs.
I love being a mother and my son was the most incredible baby, toddler and little boy. I was hell bent that people who judged us for being too young would eat their words after five minutes with my bright and polite little creation. I taught him to read when he was 4, bought him a microscope when he turned 5, and tirelessly moulded both of my children into patient, well behaved, polite little angels.
I put on a hundred pounds and gave up thinking about what I wanted out of life or hoped to do with mine. It had ceased to be about me the day I lowered the blusher veil and let my dad lead me down the aisle. I was a wife and a mother, there wasn’t any room for Jenni.
Infidelity had been a problem in our marriage and people warned me that the threat of the 7 year itch was a very real thing. I had an affair and it destroyed me. I could no longer close my eyes to the things I wanted and needed in life. I couldn’t pretend anymore that I was what he wanted, either. Trapped in a bloated balloon animal version of myself, I contemplated suicide instead of ruining my family. I started running, mostly to get away from the problems that kept me awake at night and made the food I’d clung to for comfort all these years, taste bad. When I’d lost 50 pounds the real problems started to escalate. He’d loved me completely no matter what size my jeans were, but he was not comfortable with other men noticing and appreciating me.
One morning stands out in my mind because it was the day I decided that my life was important too. I woke up early, it was still dark out and he was asleep next to me. Bless his beautiful heart, he didn’t snore and I haven’t slept as well beside a man since then. He was silent and my heart was so heavy that tears fell quietly until the magenta sheets looked black beside me. I reached my hand out to put it on his chest and he shrugged and rolled over, turning his back to me.
I told him I wanted a divorce that day and life changed forever.
I’ve had the shitiest boyfriends, the biggest gardens and just enough joyful chaos to make me feel like it wasn’t a mistake. I’ve traveled, had different careers, fallen in love too many times to count and regularly make coffee in my panties- something that drove him nuts. He has an amazing wife that has loved my babies like her own and our lives wouldn’t be complete without her.
There are no accidents, and some of us are really quite content to sleep alone in a king sized bed, indefinitely. We got divorced in 2003 and I think people are finally starting to believe me when I say I’m never getting married again.
Because coffee tastes even better when you’re naked. 🙂