"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending." Maria RobinsonMy blog friend Diane, over at Contemplative Photography wrote today about the goodness inherent in each of us, and our proclivity to sometimes avoid seeing the 'roundness' of our nature. We're uni or two dimensional in our inner view at times -- not being able to see the full depth of our selves, she suggests.
When I was in my early twenties I married a boy I met at University in France. He was Canadian, and not having lived in Canada since my tweens, he was my ticket back to the land of my birth. I also told myself I loved him. I must, I said, he was kind and caring, funny, intelligent and he had a good future.
We married, much too young, and separated less than two years later (13 months to be exact). I didn't want to marry him. I wanted to dance naked in the rain, to run through puddles laughing and screaming at the sky to fall down around me. I wanted to feel life, in every pore, to know love in every vessel of my being.
He wanted to build the good future he promised me. He wanted to play safe. To not disrupt the status quo. To not disturb the peace.
He wanted to be a good husband. I did not want to be a wife.
I knew that the day I stood outside the church with my father. It was autumn in rural Ontario and autumn leaves were falling all around. Blazon red patches of leaves clung to branches, losing their grip in their defiant insistence they did not need to fall.
I did not want to enter the church. I wanted to push the hood of my white jersey gown off my head and go for a walk. (I refused to wear a veil. Refused to carry a bouquet. Refused to change my name -- but I lost that one to my husband's insistence it was the proper thing to do -- give up my name to take his. I took my own name back when it was over. Giving up his name was the only thing I could do with something I should never have taken in the first place.)
"We can't go for a walk," my father said where we stood at the bottom of the granite stairs leading up to the church doors. "There are people waiting inside for you." And we climbed the stairs.
I got drunk at my wedding dinner. I seldom ever got drunk. But I got drunk that night. And I stayed in a stupor for the next many months. Not drunk. Just in a non-alcohol induced haze of fear and trepidation and worry -- I didn't know how to fix the mess I was in. I wanted to feel good about being married. I wanted to feel like it was the right thing for me to do.
And I knew it wasn't.
It was a fight with my parents and my brother that set me free. They saw things in me I didn't see and while their version of what they saw was not really me, the truth was what they saw was me 'living a lie'.
And I was.
It just wasn't the lie they thought they saw.
They thought I was getting 'too big for my britches'. They thought I was 'upping' myself. Making myself 'better than' them, the rest of the world, everyone else.
They thought I was being someone I wasn't.
And that was the truth -- I was being a married woman, going through the motions of living a marriage I didn't want, living a life that didn't fit.
I didn't want to be married.
I loved the boy. I just didn't love him enough to commit my whole life to him -- at that time.
And so, after my parents and brother and sister-in-law left in the middle of the night, their voices continuing their condemnation of me, I curled up into my body, sobbing and crying, waiting for my husband to come home -- I never did wonder why he stayed out so late so many nights. I thought he was at a meeting -- and that's another story. When he did arrive home around three, he found me, a soggy dishevelled puddle of tears, lying in the middle of the living room floor.
"They'll tell you I kicked them out," I told him. "They'll say I picked a fight and forced them to leave. That I wouldn't let them stay."
It wasn't true. They were welcome to stay. I had only asked that they quit talking about me in terms of good and bad, with the bad being the predominate descriptor.
They couldn't stop. I couldn't let them stay.
But, their insights lingered. Their words filtered through my fuzzy unease and I knew the truth.
I could not stay in my marriage when I didn't want to be there. I was hurting him and me. I did not have the right to do that.
A year and a bit later I accepted a transfer out west. I didn't care where I went. I just wanted to get away.
And that's where the truth found me. Living alone. Loving life. Finding myself where ever I was.
It would still be a year or two before I found the courage to forgive my brother for what he'd said.
If he were alive today I'd thank him.
While his words hurt, and were projected from a story I didn't relate to, they were the impetus that set me free to become me.
All of me. Beauty and the beast. Light and dark. Shadow and illumination.
We don't always see ourselves as we truly are and often family are the only one's who can tell us what they see in our not being who we truly want to be.
Sometimes, what they tell us is filtered through their own pain, their own vision of reality. Sometimes, their truth hurts.
Pain is illusory. It passes.
Truth never dies. It never leaves. Truth has light and patience. It is willing to wait for us to catch up to it. To be willing to open our eyes to it. To be able to open our hearts to its beauty.
And always, the truth is illuminated when we step from the shadows of our fear we will never be enough as we become the enough we truly are.