And then I knew, and then it hurt.
I hurt that five years ago, in a little courtyard in a city that I love, I let someone promise me forever.
I am sad, that as I am fixing to do this all over again, that I can't give him the one gift I wish I could give him.
And I know it doesn't bother him.
But on days like today, it bothers me.
The guilt of having been married.
The guilt that this is not my first time.
The guilt that this experience is not my first.
That even though, so much of what I feel and what I know is the first time, that the weight of the guilt is heavy.
Because five years ago, I said I do.
And a year later, he walked out on me.
And he broke my heart in so many ways that even as I am wholly in awe of where this has led me, and the lessons I have learned, and the person I have become because of this, that he did scar me.
That the grieving sometimes doesn't end.
Whether it is that I failed myself and failed my marriage.
Or whether it is that I am terrified of losing another child.
It's not always going to hurt like this. I know this.
I know that it won't always hurt the way it does now because it doesn't hurt anymore the way it did the first month, or the first year, or the second, or the third, or the fourth.
This pain, is not a devastating-can't-breathe-
This pain, is just pain.
This pain is just I-need-a-moment pain.
I need a moment to acknowledge that today is the day.
So I just needed to say this out loud.
So I just needed to say, five years ago, I said I do and it all horrifically fell apart.
Just like on Mother's day, I need a moment to say, I was a mother too.
Because I think the numbness of forgetting, does not alleviate the pain of experience.
But the pain of experience always gives birth to something new.
And right now, my new, is good.
Really really good.
But it is moments like these, late at night, when the vulnerability of everything hits.
And I am scared.
I am scared of not being good enough.
I am scared that it was me.
I am scared that this will haunt me.
I am scared that the guilt will never go away.
I am scared that I will never forgive myself.
I am scared that he broke me in places that feel healed, but can be ripped apart again.
I am scared that my gut was so so broken once.
Because the man I married and the man that was, was not someone I really knew at all.
And it wasn't like I married a man I just met. I married a man that I dated for three years and lived with and I was blinded to so much.
I married someone that I let change me and someone that I allowed to question my values, someone that I let me believe was not who I was at all.
I let him break me. Not overnight. Not just when he walked out.
But I let him break me a long long time ago. Piece by piece, lie by lie, compromise by compromise.
And the saddest part in all of it is that I didn't even know.
I didn't even know until his ex wife told me.
In one of the most profound moments of my life.
That she was me, so many years ago.
That she wasn't judging how it happened or why it happened.
It always happened.
I was number four. Number fucking four.
How does that even happen?
How do you even marry someone you met doing Katrina clean up and be so completely mistaken?
How do you not know that you are wife number fucking four.
I wonder if number five knows she's number five.
Or if she thinks she's number three?
And the saddest part is I don't even hate her.
Because number two taught me, you don't judge.
You don't judge and you don't know and you completely get why.
Why smart girls become stupid girls.
Why she said yes.
Because she is in the same cycle.
The controlling nauseous cycle of control and just enough threat.
The saddest fucking part was my parents were devastated.
On the day that I thought was the start of my happily ever after, they were hurting.
They were devastated.
They were heartbroken.
Because they already knew the things I didn't know and couldn't see.
And in the thirty hour plane ride home my godmother questioned and questioned and questioned my mother.
Why didn't you say anything?
Why didn't you stop it?
Why are you letting her marry him?
Why? Why? Why?
Why did you pretend to be happy for her when you weren't?
Why did you lie?
And this is what my mother told me when it was all over.
That she didn't because she was my mother.
That although she didn't quite know how bad it was that she knew enough to know that when things fell apart, I would need her.
And so she didn't say anything.
And so I didn't know about this conversation or how they felt.
She had already voiced her concerns when we started dating and when we got engaged.
And when I didn't listen, she stopped.
Because she couldn't stop the train wreck, but she could make sure that she was around to help put the pieces back together.
To help put me back together.
And when it exploded.
She was on a plane within the week.
She sat and listened as I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed.
She picked up my laundry and made comfort food.
She was my mama, and she didn't say anything five years ago today, because she needed to be there when things fell apart.
And the sacrifice in that brings me to my knees.
So while I was the fool and while I was blindsided.
It was obvious to everyone else.
It was exactly what number two told me
that when it was all over
they held her and told her who she was
that they had lost her but they were going to find her
that she was not done
that she was not broken
that this was not her story
this was a lesson
a hard, painful, heartbreaking, lesson.
and I believed her.
Not just because she was number two and knew what it was like
but because I knew who she was
I knew the type of mother she was
I knew the type of person she was
I knew the type of wife she was
and what she gave me wasn't just answers
but what she gave me was hope
that smart girls do stupid things
and that is okay.
"Forgive yourself for not having the foresight to know what now seems so obvious in hindsight."