the water got high and she never got dry

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

perspective lines converge

The wedding countdown, courtesy of the ticker above, has been a source of stress, rather than excitement. It is a continual reminder of everything that must be done in the coming months for the future, rather than “Yay, it’s that much sooner that I get to marry this man!” And that’s just wrong.

What I sometimes forget is just how big a deal this whole getting married thing is to me. I grew up with a strict, domineering, alcoholic, verging on bipolar father and a loving but passive mother. I grew to fear and hate the banging sound of the cupboard door behind which he kept his beer. Some memories are so ugly that I think they’ve been quietly forgotten, out of sheer self-preservation.

The hurt, the anger, the embarrassment of such a dysfunctional home all left their mark on me. And even worse was the fear of how much I took after him, not even so much the drinking part, although for years I wouldn’t touch alcohol, but in temperament. How emotional and moody I can be, just like him. With no model of a functional family, would I ever be able to have one myself?

My most serious relationship started out great and then deteriorated ever so slowly and almost imperceptibly at first. I blinded myself to how bad it got and stuck with it even when it became dysfunctional. It’s hard to separate reality from perception, but according to how I was perceived, treated, and sometimes even felt, I was moody, overly emotional and “difficult.” I really fucking hate that word, by the way. I’ve promised myself to never tell someone they’re being difficult, because it’s just so belittling.

I took pride in dating guys who were nothing like my dad, who were affectionate and sweet, and yet to one day find myself curled up on the floor in my bathroom with a boyfriend pounding on the door yelling for me to come out and talk to him, and only later realizing how disturbingly it recalled very similar experiences with my dad, was unsettling to say the least.

And you know, it’s not as if I’m a fundamentally different person now or have multiple personalities, but with Husband to Be I have never once felt or been treated as a difficult person. I’m just me. The best me possible and one who is loved and wholly accepted, warts and all. We disagree sometimes but we almost never fight and there’s no screaming and no door slamming. Even in the midst of wedding stress, home is an oasis of calm. And when HTB tells me, unprompted and apropos of nothing, that I’m so easy to live with, he has no idea just how much that means to me.

Being with HTB helps to heal old hurts but you know, it’s not that I was broken and he fixed me. I fixed myself and by the time he came along, I was ready for him. To some degree, my last ex may comfort himself by thinking of me as an overemotional bitch, but this bitch, this drama queen, has taken everything she’s learned and let it lead her to happily ever after.

The love that I have is both a blessing and an accomplishment. I got damn lucky but I also worked my ass off for it.

Perspective is everything. I’m still hella stressed about school and wedding. But there is a hell of a difference between wondering if it’s safe to go home and where I’ll sleep if it’s not and wondering if I’ll leave with “just” a master’s instead of a Ph.D or wondering whether to go with a DJ or use an iPod. I should be so lucky to have these be my problems.

In 4 months, 3 weeks, and 4 days I will be burying my toes in the sand on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and HTB will take my hand and we will sail away into the mystic. And it will be amazing.


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