Me, years ago...More stream of consciousness stuff
Warning: Please read this disclaimer carefully before you read the rest of this post. I use my blog, among other things, as therapy. If the material contained herein appears to be and/or is sappy, dramatic, stupid, disorganized, not worth reading, please do not say that you were not warned, because you were.
I was looking for something in my "hers" closet. I have "his" and "hers" closets and of course both of them are filled with my stuff because I don't have a live-in boyfriend or husband or anything of the sort. I first typed "I live alone" and realized that I don't, my mom and my sons are there (my sons at least some of the time) so I don't really live alone.
Return from digression: Anyhoo, looking for (insert object here)
My wedding album: I had a lovely wedding back in the mid 80s. My then-fiance and I planned everything, paid for most of it (we were both 30), had every cousin and friend paticipate as bridesmaids or ushers, and it came out to be a nice and very enjoyable wedding. We even had a beautiful ice carving of two swans at the reception before the dinner (ok, you can laugh if you want, but ice carvings were way cool back then) and an open bar for the entire duration. But the main thing was that we were very much in love. I've been to weddings where the bride or the groom was crying the night before or that same day or looking for ways that they could have the wedding cancelled ("What if I disappear?"). I have also been to weddings where either the bride or groom (or both) shed tears at the ceremony, not tears of happiness, mind you, just tears because they were getting hitched and they really didn't want to. Still other weddings I have attended, either the bride or the groom had been out with the "other" love interest the night before... I'm sure you are getting my drift by now.
We were not like that, my groom and I. Not that I think we were any better than anyone else. We had huge fights before (and God knows, after) the wedding. We had our problems, our challenges, but we did love each other and were so happy to be getting married.
Everything I have written so far here is one digression after another, but that is how stream of consciousness works, baby! To get to the point quickly, which is really, really difficult for me, I had to pick up my wedding album to get to something else in the closet. The page opened up of a picture of me in my bridal finery standing with my dad in front of my mother's huge, beautiful gilded mirror in the living room of our house just before leaving for the ceremony. My father was holding my hand and we were both shyly smiling into the camera. I paused to look at my dad's beloved face and it was a sweet moment for me. As I said before, it took me a long time to be able to see his photo and not cry. This time, it made me feel good, thankful, appreciative, and content, for some reason.
Then I looked at the other person in the picture. I said previously that the other person was me, dressed in my bridal gown and veil, but I took a closer look. That was not me. I looked at that face and truly I could not recognize myself. This is a recurring theme with me. The person in this picture had a face that is not mine now. I'm not talking about the signs of aging, the wrinkles, the turkey neck, the saggy jowls, the liver spots. Ok, I'm exaggerating (a little) about how much I've aged, but my point is that what makes me not be that person anymore is the soul. The person in that picture believed in a future, was actively involved with her future was optimistic and believed in herself and in people, among them her family, her father, her fiance.
The "me" in the picture believed in loyalty, in the institution of marriage, in love and its infinite power. It was a part of my life where things were beginning, paths were being taken, directions being followed, futures were being determined. And yet, there was not a twinge of fear or dread in that person's face in the picture that used to be me. It was a time of fearlessness, of belief in prayers and hard work. Of sleeping the whole night through, the sleep of the innocent and the young. In that picture I had no qualms about promising my life "until death" to my fiance, I was so totally in love and convinced that our love would conquer everything, would make anything possible, would be eternal. It was as if my groom and I were on our flimsy little covered wagon of bliss, heading out into the uncharted and dangerous territory of mortages, pregnancies, babies, responsibilities, endless meals and bottles and bills, long nights spent changing sheets and wiping the chins of croupy kids, bitter arguments with mean grade school teachers, an infinite number of T-ball and soccer practices and karate lessons, countless boo-boos and real emergencies. But also, the sweet weight of a sleeping baby on my breast, the wonderful reconciliations with hubby after a particularly horrendous fight, the knowledge that that someone always had your back even though you couldn't have a civil conversation with him... Off we went into our frontier of adulthood, happily clueless and stupidly optimistic.
I am no longer that person. It's like that song "When I Was Young" in the sense that I feel more immature and less sure of myself nowadays.
On a lighter note: I was recalling the time about three years before I got divorced when we were packing up and moving to a larger house. My then-hubby and I were going through some boxes trying to throw stuff out. I pulled out one of those strip photographs you used to be able to get in malls where you went into a booth and had four poses and then you waited outside and the machine would spit out your pictures. It was my face on those pictures but I had pigtails and I NEVER wore pigtails. I turned to my then-hubby and asked him, "This is me, with pigtails? I don't remember when I had these pictures taken?" He got red in the face (it happened a lot in the last years of our marriage) and mumbled, "That's not you." I found out that it was his girlfriend who dumped him just before he met me. We had THE SAME FACE. So much so that I was convinced it was me in the picture. This set us off into a couple years of "Would you have married me if I didn't look exactly like your ex-girlfriend?"-type conversations. It was one of the last nails on the coffin. Took me a long time to be able to laugh about this.