Lake Villa, IL
That girl in the photo is me a year ago today. In a white poofy princess dress. Happy as ever. Glowing. Walking down the aisle towards trauma.
Yesterday I heard some incredible news that prompted me to look through the photos from “our” wedding, a memory that I have slowly let go of. I feel as though I don’t recognize the girl posing next to the groom. She is attempting to be a beautiful bride. She seems genuinely happy, I can tell she really loves him.
But all I can see is mediocrity on the groom’s face. A face I once admired for years, but now I can no longer recognize. He has two faces: one that lied to me, even when he loved me more than anything in the world, and I know for a fact that he did. And the other one that is much colder, the face that he showed the rest of the world, his true self, and the one that he eventually showed to me. On the day of our wedding I was seeing the face that I wanted to see, the one that I Ioved. And now as I look back at the photos, all I can see is that he was showing his true face all along.
There are a few photos where I do recognize myself, though. I recognize myself in the photo above. A long- haired girl playing dress up on what she thought would be the most important day of her life. She was reaching the ultimate “goal” of her life. Little did she know, she was still a girl when she got married at 21-years-old. She was a girl who let herself be defined by her relationship. He defined her.
It wasn’t until he left her, only two months after their wedding, that she became a woman. She had no other choice but to get through senior year of college just having had a heartbreak that almost took her life. But guess what? She found refuge in her artwork and the sadness became like some sort of gasoline fueling the passion coming out of her hands.
So yesterday, I got the news that the toy groom that slow danced with me to “Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby” by Cigarettes After Sex is now married again and expecting a baby.
Yep. Pretty incredible, right?
Well, here’s the thing. He and I had a really good run, it wasn’t all bad. But it wasn’t until after the relationship was over that I processed some really shitty things that he did to me, including sexual assault. Yet I never would have left him; I would’ve stayed in that abusive relationship because I was basically brainwashed and really believed that he loved me, despite the way he treated me.
So, if the other woman makes him happy, then okay. If they are ready to have a baby, and the man I know certainly wasn’t, then so be it. Like I said, this is a different version of him that I don’t know. Life is silly and works in mysterious ways, but I will always be thankful that I’m no longer the wife and child-bearer of someone so...shitty.