Sunday, February 8, 2015

It's Never Just Cold Feet

In the beginning, I would dread filling out paperwork because EVERY LEGAL DOCUMENT FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE,  would remind me of  the one mistake I made in my twenties (technically  I was 19),  that would follow me around forever. I wanted to be the person who makes these forms, so they would embarrass everyone else too: Were you the kid that ate paste in Kindergarten? Did you wet the bed? Have you ever slept with a person, and didn't know their name? Are you high right now? Have you ever stolen anything? Have you lied, cheated, acted like a complete asshole for no good reason? Do you litter? Have you ever woken up with your head in the porcelain throne covered in your own urine after a night of one too many drinks?

 Until I am in charge, most forms will not ask you these questions. However, every single legal form I will ever fill out for the rest of my life states: Please list all former names what I felt like they were really asking me was, please share with us all, one of your biggest mistakes. "This shit again."  I thought in my head, as memories came flooding back. I always wanted to fill in witty answers like, his ass made this mistake too, and he doesn't have to fill this part out you sexist patriarchal assholes.

When college started, I didn't go live in a dorm, because I didn't want to be around my incredibly smart friends who would take up partying, getting drunk, rushing, tail-gating, skipping class, and all the other activities freshmen college students take up after being let loose by their overbearing parents. A bit judgmental, don't ya think? However, this is how most of my friends spent their freshmen year in college. I taught yoga and went to class. I actually went to my classes, took notes, and had great grades. I also was introduced to a guy seven years older than myself, in a bar ironically, even though neither of us drank, and I have still never been drunk. Midway through my freshman year in college, I was engaged.

Oh yeah. You read that right, engaged at barely 19.

So, I have never had a really unforgettable night that I can't remember like the ones my friends had. You know, the facebook memes out there, stating how thankful  they are that  instagram, facebook, and twitter did not exist, or weren't like what they are today when they were doing all the crazy things in their college days.

Me, not me, I was going to raise the bar. Instead of all of that,  I married the wrong person, and I am here to tell you folks, it is never just cold feet.

I was with my ex husband for a total of three years. People have fish that live longer than that. We were married for less than two years by the time our divorce was finalized. People have stuff in their freezer longer than that, but because I had made an official mistake that was a legal contract, it would follow me around for the rest of my life.

 Today, I would've been married 12 years. February 8, 2003, 10 days shy of my 20th birthday. It wasn't even legal for me to drink the champagne at my wedding. We had spent an entire year planning a beautiful wedding. All along I had doubts. It was the elephant in the room the entire year. I kept a lot of it to myself. I figured it was normal. After all, this was a huge life event.  Some of my close friends asked questions, which I also thought was normal. We went to couples therapy,  I thought if we worked out issues ahead of time, we would be fine. We went through the Pre-Cana classes(Catholic marriage preparation courses). Secretly, I think I just wanted someone, anyone, to say, "You two are not compatible. This is not a good idea. This isn't either of your faults, I just recommend you both don't get married." It never happened. At least not that blunt.

As I woke up the morning of my wedding,I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach and this mysterious bruise on my chest,  even my body was trying to tell me, "You aren't listening to your intuition." I knew something didn't feel right. That feeling had been there for a while, but I had kept pushing it farther down. I had made this commitment. I had planned a wedding for an entire year and the day was here. He was a good guy. We had bought a home. We were stable. This wasn't some unplanned, young irrational love affair (that wasn't the kind of person I was). I kept reminding myself of all of this. The truth that so many things weren't right was still hovering over me. That pit in your stomach, that unsettling feeling. That feeling is never just cold feet.

Cold feet, I think I now understand where that term comes from. It is the feeling when you are anxious, anxious with excitement about your wedding and marriage. Anxious with the idea of it being a momentous once in a lifetime event. Anxious that you might mess up your vows in front of everyone(if you are a shy person). Anxious that this person you love so much is committing to spending the rest of their life with you. Anxious because you are making a commitment to someone you love so much, but you will have to learn how to love the way they need to be loved over the course of your marriage, even greater, deeper, and more than you know how at this moment. The expression "cold feet" is not in reference to that unsettling feeling in the pit of your stomach, that you can't calm no matter what you have tried to do. How do I know this, because I've experienced both.

Our wedding day, like for most couples, was a whirlwind and was over before I knew it. I tried to convince myself everything was fine, and this was going to work, but that unsettling feeling would not leave, no matter what I did. I tried. I tried really hard. I am not sure when it happened, because that feeling was inside for so long,(I was so afraid to let it out), but at some point out it came. I had made a big mistake. I had made a big mistake, and the only way to fix it was to fail. I hate failing. I hate giving up. I am as stubborn as they come. I not only made a mistake, but I was going to have to admit this to myself, to my husband, my family, and my friends. Even if I never went into any detail, the failing of my marriage was enough. It was one of the most difficult life lessons thus far.

I have made peace a long time ago with all of this. I wish I had walked away. If I had listened to that feeling, I would've saved us both a lot of grief. I didn't have the maturity and life experience then to walk away, and call it off. I felt like breaking off an engagement was going back on my word. In hindsight, when I was getting divorced I realized it would've been unsettling and upsetting to break off an engagement, but a million times easier than going through a divorce and being a divorcee at twenty-one.  If you have your doubts, and that feeling in your stomach that something isn't right, something is not right. This applies to everything. Marriage is incredibly hard, and no marriage is perfect, but if there are issues you are concerned about going into your marriage, they will almost always get worse. That unsettling feeling in your stomach will only grow bigger as the permanence of your decision settles in.  I learned a lot from this mistake. I always listen to that feeling in my stomach, and I never chalk that feeling up to nothing, because it always turns out to be something. When you are about to commit yourself to another person for the rest of your life, if you have this pit in your stomach, this feeling something isn't right, doubts that do not settle, do not convince yourself it is just cold feet.

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