October 8, 2012
I woke that day feeling like I had an elephant was sitting on my chest. As if Monday mornings weren’t bad enough, I knew this one would be even worse. Today was, excuse me, would have been, my one-year wedding anniversary. Ideally, on this day in a woman’s life, she may hope to wake up to find flowers, chocolates, breakfast in bed, jewelry or just a smile from her husband of one year and some morning sex. I woke up to an alarm clock blaring and my phone buzzing like crazy from text messages. Friends and family knew what day it was, and they were just calling to say “hello.” It was sweet of them, but my preference was to forget what day it was and just get on with my life.
My mother called as I was walking out the door for work. “Hi sweetie, it’s mom. How are you today?” I adore how my mother always tells me it is her when she calls, though today she sounded a bit too perky for my taste. “I am fine mom, how are you?” I asked back. “Well you know, I am going to take the dogs into town to getting groomed…” she tried to make small talk as I tried to get off the phone. “Look, sweetie, I know it is going to be a hard day, what are you doing today?” She asked. “Work Mom, I am working,” I said with as much enthusiasm as I could muster, I really didn’t want her to worry. I wanted to hide under the covers, but I knew that would do me no good -plus I would be drunk by noon and that just seemed lame.
When I got divorced from my first husband, I threw an “I am not married any more party,” on my wedding anniversary. I also cut all my hair off into a short bob and drank myself silly with all my friends. I wouldn’t be doing any of that this year. I learned two major things from that experience; A girl with a square face can’t pull off a short bob, and once the hangover wears off you are still getting divorced. Look how much smarter I am than the first time around!
My good friends refused to let me sit and wallow so though I didn’t want a party, I agreed to dinner. I still wasn’t sure where my husband was living; we were not exactly friends at this point. During his phase of trying to win me back, he kept claiming that he was moving to LA. So I was constantly on high alert that I would run into him somewhere. Since he still felt that we should try and “work it out” I decided to have dinner at a club that I belonged to and I knew he wasn’t a member, so it drastically lowered my chances of running into him. I also found it a bit poetic since he had me kicked out of the club we belonged to together and then lied about being a member of this club for almost a year. It wasn’t until I became a member that I was able to verify he had been lying… shocking, I know. I also later found out that he and Katy came here with some of his friends for a party during award season one year- brilliant I know.
The past year had been more turmoil than I had ever experienced, and I was ready to put it behind me. Though I wasn’t technically divorced at the time, I was ready to cleanse the past year out of my energy space. I was moving through it slowly but I was still highly annoyed by how much of this whole mess occupied by brain space and my energy. I needed a cleanse.
I decided that I would burn something and since I couldn’t burn the images of him and Katy out of my head, wedding photos seemed like next best thing. Carrie Bradshaw once said that when you are going through a breakup you should, “destroy all photos where he looks sexy, and you look happy.” I decided to do just that; I decided to burn my wedding photos. I loved my wedding photos. My photographer was amazing, expensive but amazing. My husband didn’t feel it was a worthy expense, so I cashed in some stocks to pay for her myself. He would spend $1200 on shoes that matched a particular belt of his, but wouldn’t pay a top photographer to capture the happiest day of our lives!
Looking back I was lucky that we had so many great shots that I had put off picking out which ones I wanted to be blown up until after the holidays and the pageant season were over. I had only had a few smaller prints made to give to our family’s at Christmas. I wanted to make the perfect decision on our big photo since it was something that would hang in our home for years to come.
My best friend had a fire pit, so that evening we poured a glass of wine and grabbed the matches. Standing there over the roaring fire, I felt as if I should say something powerful or meaningful… but nothing came to mind. So I said, “fuck you and the horse you rode in on!” I took one last look at how happy I was on that day, my face full of hope and love. I said a small prayer to the universe for happiness in my life and chucked them into the flames. The photos lit quickly, throwing a lot of ash into the air, and then they curled and deformed as they burned. It was my first-time burning a photograph. They take a surprising longer time to burn than they do on television and as I sat there watching the “happiest day of my life” go up in flames I felt sad.
At dinner that night as I looked around the table while sipping a fabulous red wine, I felt so blessed. The reason for the dinner was a sad one but even with all the pain and sadness, I knew I was beyond lucky. I had such an amazing group of friends. They had supported me every moment of the past nine plus months and I would never forget their kindness. Most of them had been there as I walked down the aisle, and they were still standing with me- more than I could say for my husband. When you live 1500 miles away from you biological family you have to pick your local family, and everyone at that table was my family. No one wanted to bring up the topic for the dinner but finally, I broke the ice, “thank God I got rid of that bastard!” I raised my glass and we all said “cheers!”
Speaking of family; after all this time I had not heard two words from my soon to be former “other family”- my in-laws. It blew my mind that they hadn’t reached out to me at all. Had they nothing to say to me after their son/ brother had totally betrayed me? Lied to everyone, including them for all the knowledge I had, and they had nothing to say? I had learned not to expect much from them but something along the lines of; “We are sorry this has happened.” Or “I don’t know how we raised such a liar.” Or “Let us at least pay you back for some of the wedding costs.” Hell even a “We never liked you anyway, you deserve all this,” would have at least been some form of communication! They had promised to love me like a daughter at one point, clearly, now all bets were off. Now, admittedly my family wanted nothing to do with my husband but I had to beg them not to reach out… they had plenty they wanted to say.
After dinner, I went home to my new little life and sat in my bed. I pulled out my journal and tried to write, but I had nothing to say. The numb feeling I had the day I walked out had returned. As I sat there, not crying at all, I started to feel the numbness give way to anger and hurt. I pulled out my laptop and began to compose an email, to my former family. I didn’t want to yell at them or spew anger, but I had a few things to say and I felt it would help me move on and it seemed like the perfect day for closure!
Logically I should have waited until morning to send an email but instead, I hit the send button, turned off my side table lamp and stared at my ceiling. I have no idea how long I laid there, but it seemed like hours. Eventually, I fell asleep. When I woke up the next morning, the light was filtering in through the large windows that made up an entire wall of my apartment, I blinked my eyes open and began to laugh. I had made it. I survived the past nine months and made it through my first would be wedding anniversary-it felt great!