Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Two

Eventually, I'll stop remembering this day as significant; it'll just be three days before my sister's birthday, the middle of the month, however many days before Thanksgiving, forty days before Christmas, a month and a half before the start of a new year. But for now? It's my anniversary.

I used to tell the story of how we got married with a joyful enthusiasm, laughing at the swiftness at which we tied the knot. We went to the county clerk's office to get the marriage license, drove thirty minutes away to have another county clerk wed us*, and then I went back to work, where I was greeted with dozens of balloons filling my cubicle. I'm allergic to latex, so everyone who decorated it had to remove all the balloons and then disinfect anything that might have been touched by a balloon, but the gesture was appreciated. Three days later, we were moving into a new apartment, adopting a cat, and starting our life together.

Now, the tale is a sad one for me; I wasn't manipulated by Three into getting married too soon (we'd not even known each other three months at that point) but by a desire to not have to deal with shit-talking from my grandmother about "living in sin." Even at 26 years of age, I was too young, too inexperienced, too naive, and too compromising to make that decision, but that decision I made. And I'm reaping what I sowed. I don't blame my grandmother, of course; that would be ridiculous. Despite being the above-mentioned things, I was still an adult. I could have just put on sunglasses and declared, "Deal with it." Our relationship probably would have lasted six months - a year, at best - but I stupidly locked myself into a long-term relationship with an abuser and stayed because I made a verbal and documented promise to some random lady in Ashland City, TN.  

I'm not necessarily anti-marriage, but I cannot honestly say that I want to get married again. I mean, it's highly possible - and even probable - that I'll be ready again at some point, but I can't say when. That future is so muddy, and I'm choosing to live in the moment for now. It's a vulnerability thing, really. I still don't trust people enough to believe that they won't hurt me, that a relationship can last forever. I should be celebrating my seventh anniversary today, but instead, I'm spending the second one in a row away from the man that I have literally no way to contact. Oh, I don't regret leaving at all, and I'm definitely happier where I am, both geographically and emotionally. And I'm not even sad, really** ... just reflective

It can be really hard to be past the anger and sadness*** and realize your own complicity**** in your misery. I look back at Past Juju and think, "What in the actual fresh hell were you doing? Why didn't you see that?? Open your goddamn eyes, Juj!" About six months before I left Three, I remember casually telling a friend that, if I'd had it to do over again, I wouldn't have gotten married so soon, and at the time, I didn't realize how telling that statement was; I already felt the regret game but didn't know how to express it. But while it's tempting to play the shoulda-woulda-coulda game, I can't dwell on that. That's just living in the past and keeping myself blind to opportunities for the present and future. Sax Player and I are taking our time, and I'm relearning how to be Just Me, getting involved in a writing community and returning to my paintings. I'm making my apartment - well, parts of it, since I'm sharing it - reflect who I am as a person: a little messy, creative, eccentric, and nerdy. I have never done that in a home before+, even the house Three and I bought.

This evening after work, I'd like to think that I'm going to go home and treat my time as if it were any other day, but I'll probably have a glass of wine and ponder things. I spent too much time trying to distract myself from dealing with long-reaching issues that existed before they were exploited. I will never be perfect, and no relationship will be without its flaws, but I have to finally learn from my mistakes and put myself on the path to where I'm healthily approaching other people. I'll get there; it just takes time and effort, and I'm not going to simply wait for it to come to me. I can't afford to. 

* Now, I will never not laugh at the sheer Tennessee hilarity of how this woman said "gratuity." DID THEY PAY YOU GRATOOTY. I TOLD THEM THEY'D HAVE TO PAY GRATOOTY!
** Last year was definitely the year of sadness. God, Thanksgiving was terrriiibbbblllllle. 
*** Well, I'm not totally past it, but I'm much better than I was last year.
**** This does not - and may I repeat NOT - excuse my ex for his behavior toward me.
+ Now that I think about it, I'm not even sure my childhood bedroom was decorated by me. I was this transient thing, waiting for something or possibly someone to define me and keep me, give me a reason to stay somewhere. I don't know where that comes from, actually, which is just proof that work on myself continues. Maybe someday I'll have it figured out; maybe I'm a wandering soul, never meant to put down roots, or maybe I just haven't found that right place. Although honestly? I wanna live in an RV. 
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