1.19.2012

wedding reflection: part 2 of why.

(Photo taken by me.)

It was fall, and I'd been in therapy for a few months. Every Wednesday at 10am, I'd clack up for four flights of stairs to the counselor's office where I'd arrive sweaty and breathless, then wait for my therapist, Jeanne, to call my name. Her office was plain, but cozy, and her presence was always warm. The brown recliner would be empty, I'd settle in and without fail, I would cry. At the end of our hour, I would say goodbye, head down the stairs and walk a block to a coffee shop for lunch. My booth was always open, and I'd sit for an hour or two thinking about what Jeanne and I had discussed in therapy.

I don't know why it happened that day in October, perhaps it just happens that one day, something finally clicks. But, suddenly towards the end of our session I stumbled upon it: Somewhere in the years of dating really terrible boys, of finding "Bethany is ugly" scrawled in a public place in high school, of being told by a man that I was too fat to be loved...I had decided that I didn't have a voice. That I simply wasn't worthy of having ideas or of being heard, and that these nasty incidents were just the truest reflections of who I was.

Our session ended, and as I clacked down the stairs from the fourth floor counselors office to the street, I got pissed. Really, terribly, very pissed...more so with every step. Pissed at people in the past for the hurt they caused. But, mostly pissed at myself for allowing it. I'd crumbled into a giant people-pleaser who formed my identity around what a handful of truly messed-up individuals had told me about myself. And I'd spent the past ten years believing it all was true.

But once the anger passed, I became determined. I shoved open the door to the courtyard, and it was like breathing air for the first time...sharp, chilly October air that catches in your lungs, but leaves you feeling fresh and new. I wanted to do everything differently. I wanted to allow myself to be the girl I'd always dreamed I could be, to simply live as me. Stop worrying about whether those around me thought I was fat, unattractive, over-the-top or boring. So, right there, I swore to myself that I was going to have a voice again. I was going to be me, and regardless of what others said or did, I was worthy of love and a voice.

After I'd settled into my usual booth at the coffee shop, I started thinking about Gabe, about our plans to elope. Eloping, I realized, had just been my way of crumbling again. A wedding had been too scary for me...too much attention. Too much room for judgement. Too much work to make everyone else happy.

I thought about what I really wanted: I wanted to marry the only man who had ever made me feel worthy and cherished. I didn't need a fancy dress or 200 people there. Regardless of what every wedding blog or magazine was showcasing at the time, what I really wanted was to have my father walk me up the aisle to pledge my love to Gabe. Mostly, I was ready to start living spontaneously and joyfully, two words that described the girl I once was, and the girl I so wanted to be again.

This was the first step. That night I texted Gabe;

"Idea: What if we have a surprise wedding on New Years Eve, with just our immediate families and our bridal party?"

He texted back that it sounded fun, but that I needed to really make sure it was what I wanted. Silly boy. I was a new girl. And I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted to marry the first boy who had truly cherished me. I wanted to marry the boy who had loved me through this mess...

...and I didn't want to wait eight more months to do it.

24 comments:

  1. This is such a great story, I can't wait to hear the rest and see more of your wedding photos.

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  2. Love this! I don't even know you and I am so proud of you! Honestly, I'm praying for this moment in my own life. Thank you for sharing and you looked beautiful in that photo!

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  3. I'm so enjoying reading your wedding tale- thanks for sharing it.

    As I was reading today something I always say to my boys when their feelings have been hurt by someone came to mind and I wondered if you might find them helpful too: 'what other people think about you is none of your business' and 'birds always peck at the best fruit'.

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  4. oh my gosh. i just love this. i mean, when i got your 19 page email (hehe) i was crying reading it and called you immediately. but reading the background in to why you made your decision makes this even more special. heart you.

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  5. Lovely! You found the man who gives you the courage to be your beautiful, wonderful self & he loves you for it. I'm hooked- I can't wait to read & see more of your wedding!!

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  6. This almost made me cry (at work! eep!) It's beautiful, and you're beautiful! And I'm glad you have decided who you want to be and that you're not going to let anyone tell you who you are! You and Gabe are both lucky people!

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  7. This is beautiful! You are beautiful! The love you have described is beautiful! I am so happy for you and Gabe, and I cannot wait to hear the rest of your story.

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  8. This is amazing! I love that something that means so much to you for the rest of your life, your wedding, is perhaps the first thing you could do for yourself! I hope you enjoyed it with all the people you love and who love you!!!

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  9. What a beautiful story of redeveloping yourself! I can identify with it a lot and your story is so encouraging to me and inspirational! Thank you so much for sharing it, I really appreciate it! Congratulations! xo

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  10. This is just beautiful girly!! It's so inspiring reading this story, and for anyone else experiencing similar troubles, reading how you got through it is amazing! I'm glad you've reached that point of getting back to your "old" self being the "new" you with a man who loves you completely!! To some that's a dream, for you it's reality, and it's one of those realities that's better than a dream!! Congratulations Bethany!

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  11. I love these little stories and how open you are about all of your trials and tribulations. x

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  12. Kids in high school are so cruel...and they're snot-nosed little liars if you ask me, because you most certainly are NOT ugly! Thanks for opening up, yet again. I'm loving hearing how this story unfolds :)

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  14. LOVE! Oh, it makes my heart happy to hear about truth overcoming lies. Thank you for your vulnerability in sharing your story. It is truly a blessing to take a peek into your heart and hear about these things. Thank you. I'm walking away refreshed :)

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  15. You are beautiful and your honesty is beautiful too!

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  16. Your story has got me truly captivated. I love the way you are telling it and appreciate how open you are being. You are sharing a great gift to many as I'm sure most women will find at least one point that they can relate to. I can only see a truly beautiful woman in your words and in your photos. I might be legally blind but I can still see beauty loud and clear. And you have it.

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  17. My spirits are lifted once more! Wonderful, Bethany. This post makes my heart happy. Good for you for getting ANGRY and taking your life back.

    I love your love story. And I adore you!
    xo

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  18. Every successful, amazing woman that I know was tortured in high school--I think it's some kind of screwed up rite of passage.

    Can't wait to hear the next installment!! :-)

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  19. This is beautiful! I'm so happy to read this and see how you decided to have a voice again. You are an amazing woman.

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  20. good for you for wanting to change and then grabbing it by the horns and making it happen.

    i love hearing this. and i can't wait for the rest!

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  21. I can honestly say I'm so proud of you! The best way to deal with defeat is to own it. Other people may have done mean things to you, but I love that you've taken control and said "enough!" It's your (and Gabe's!) life - what an empowering way to start it :)

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  22. 1. I saw your wedding on stylemepretty. It is INCREDIBLE. (And I know what I'm talking about. I look at every wedding EVER posted on that site.) The colors, the intimacy, the style, the JOY. Incredible.

    2. I followed the link to your blog and stumbled upon this posting. And wow all I can think is AMEN SISTER. What strength it took you to find your fight, your passion, your JOY.

    3. As someone who struggles with depression daily and an eating disorder for the past several years, I just want to say I know that struggle and I know the joy of digging down and finding an iron will underneath all your own weakness.

    4. You are flipping gorgeous. YOU GLOW.

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Every time you comment, a unicorn gets his wings. Also, my phone beeps and your words bring me joy. :)

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