Nineteen

I cannot overstate this enough. I do not respect marriage. We just celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary and honestly? that feels excessive to me. Not because I’m ungrateful for the monogamy but because the institution itself feels like a sham.

Let me explain.

I respect the partnership, I respect the absolute safety I feel in his arms. I respect the trust that we’ve built over 22 years of learning to be together. But marriage? As an institution? Gag me.

I do not feel safe in jail. I do not feel safe in contracts meant to harm me. I do not feel safe in places where I am not at all considered but expected to perform. I do not play by those rules, in fact I will fucking rage against them. I will not co-opt your ideas for me. Not interested. Will not engage.

My husband, his name is Aaron, is one of the safest people on the planet for me. I hide almost nothing from him. My feelings, good or bad, my desires, good or better, my plans and my dreams – he believes in me. But his experience in our life as a married man is almost counter intuitive to my experience in our life together as his wife. And I have a lot of feelings about this.

Here’s where I tell you that the purity culture of the 90’s mostly affected me, not him. Mostly laid the groundwork for my own destruction, not his. Mostly dictated who I was allowed to be, not who he was becoming.

And I have been unlearning these destructive, institutionalized restrictions as a map for my life for the entirety of our marriage. Not because he enforced them, not because it was the only answer my parents knew how to give me at the time … but because I understood the assignment.

And, bygod, if I wasn’t going to get an A in purity. I would expel myself from the classroom of life and start a new course … of recovery.

Only to be failed within the first 6 months. And out of that lesson, I have lived the last 22 years. Grief and loss and growing and learning and parenting and selfishness and becoming and unlearning and hopelessness and healing and renewal and trust and love and acceptance have been my companions on this journey. But.

Fuck. This hurts sometimes. To have been given a book to follow, to look it in the eyes and ask it BUT WHAT ABOUT ME and to hear silence in the auditorium of my peers. We love you, but not like this. We want you, but not broken. We hear you, but cannot translate this part of the book for your kind of transgression.

I will surprise none of you to admit that I am in therapy. I mean, I hope we ALL are. But I am, and we do body work in my therapy and it’s uncomfortable and hard because I have never been the one who is charge of my person. I have passed that beautiful vessel from man to man until I laid in pool of my own awakening and understood, for the very first time, that I wasn’t any of theirs.

I was mine.

And it is difficult. It’s difficult to learn what “normal” might feel like for me. What “better” means. Because I have never had the language to pursue myself, I have absolutely no idea where my baseline lands. Am I allowed to feel excitement? Am I allowed to be afraid? When am I allowed to say no more? Can I tell anyone that I don’t like this? Will any of you hear me when I say no?

Any way. Marriage is a fuckshow. Not without its rewards, all of which I am happy to collect and be a part of. I love being married to my Aaron. He’s for me. Always has been, he’s not the one I’m recovering from. But in my own misunderstanding, I began most of what we started within my own aftermath.

And it’s my turn to right the ship. And deciding that it still matters is half the battle.

I get to see how loud I’m really willing to be for my person. As it turns out, very loud. And very willing.

This is nineteen, babe. Here we still are, against literally all of the odds. I would still say yes to you.

I love all of you. Thank you for loving me.

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