Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ex-cited


I am a girl who remembers dates. I remember the date of my first kiss, my "anniversaries" with all of my boyfriends, the birthday of college neighbor's cat (sad, but true)....everything. You give me a date, I will remember it. It's both a blessing and a curse, as I never forget the dates of bad things, but also eternally remember the dates of the good as well. With this ability in mind, I realized today that there are also days that personify qualities both good AND bad, and we are rapidly approaching one of these days: December 17.

December 17th would have been my 10 year wedding anniversary to my first husband. We married on a Friday night at First Presbyterian Church in Cleveland, TN, at 7pm. My bridesmaids (all 8 of them) wore black dresses. I carried red roses. I walked down the aisle to my favorite instrumental song ("Greensleeves"). Both my Dad and my Grandpa were still alive. It was spitting snow. My cake was stunning. That pretty much sums up the positives.

The negatives? Well, my husband was an abusive asshole (I didn't know this at the time, so I'm not sure it counts). One of the groomsmen showed up without his tux. The silver balloons decorating the reception hall had all stopped floating and fallen to the ground. My best friend told me marrying this guy was the worst decision I had ever made. I hated my hair and makeup.

As I reflect on the marriage and subsequent divorce, I can't help but feel anything except gratitude and relief. I am glad that we married, and I am even more glad that we divorced. Leaving my first husband was hands down the best decision I ever made, and foraging through that situation made me far stronger than I could ever have become otherwise. It wasn't pleasant, it wasn't what I would have chosen for myself had I had a crystal ball, but it happened and it's okay. In fact, it's better than okay, it's good.

Resigning myself to accepting that I'm not perfect, I make mistakes (sometimes BIG ones) is not easy. It's a matter of taking steps towards the future and making the best out of what I have. So this December 17th, I won't be sad that I'm not celebrating ten years of marriage. I'll be thrilled that I'm celebrating 8 years of freedom. And I won't look back for a second.

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