Five years

Jun. 21st, 2012 11:33 pm
karnerblue: Monterey sea lion (Default)
[personal profile] karnerblue
This day, five years ago, was one of the worst days of my life.

It's hard to believe that I'm the same person, really, hard to believe that I went from that situation to this one, hard to believe that one life can change so much. (And yet most of us didn't go to our five-year reunions, 'cause not much ever happens in just five years. I guess it makes a really big difference which five years.)

Five years ago tonight, I was sitting on Deb and Eric's couch, crying. (I'll always be grateful for that, by the way, Deb and Eric, grateful for how you were there for me that day.) Five years ago today, I was falling apart.

I still remember that day very well. It started with a shopping trip: I thought I'd go find myself a ring, maybe a topaz, something pretty, something just for me, and something to go on the finger that had held a diamond the day before. I was struggling to hold myself together even then, trying to be strong, looking to get myself something to keep me centered, something to focus on when I needed to collect myself together again. But I never made it into the store. I got as far as the parking lot before the phone rang.

The last ring that had rested on that finger, the one that stayed there only seven weeks, had a flaw in it; I didn't notice it until the day after it was purchased. It was a little bit of charcoal inside the diamond, an inclusion, an impurity that I could see if I knew where to look, which I soon did. At the time, it didn't bother me, 'cause I saw it as, I don't know, almost a sign that it was real, 'cause real things have flaws. It was like the relationship it symbolized, I suppose -- nice on the surface, but very much flawed if you really looked at it closely.

Five years later, there's another diamond on that finger, this one accompanied by a few little friends. This one's pure and clear and sparkling, like the sentiment that led to its purchase. It was bought and given out of love, out of a true desire to win my hand in marriage, with a clear head and a sense of real commitment. And I'll wear it for the rest of my life.

I honestly never would have dreamed, five years ago, that any of this would have happened. I know now how little I even knew about love then. Love is not about savoring the happy moments that come between the moments when you're totally debased, frightened or in pain. A good relationship should never make you feel like that. Pain and fear aren't the price you pay for love, as I thought then. Love is about making each other happy, but it's not about doing whatever it takes to make the other person happy at the expense of yourself, your sanity and your dignity.

I've learned so much in five years. I've learned about what love is truly meant to be, and I've found that for myself. I've learned to be more adventurous and more confident, and I have a much greater sense of self-respect, of valuing myself and my opinions, wants and needs. I know that I never, ever have to do anything I don't want to do, and I have a supportive, loving fiancé who encourages me to remember that, and to get out and do things, and to take time for myself and with my friends -- he doesn't feel threatened if I need to do something without him.

Earlier tonight, I was thinking about my fiancé's bachelor party, and I was thinking that if he wanted to have a party full of drinking and strippers, y'know, that would be alright with me, 'cause I trust him completely. (Never mind that he's not interested in either of those things -- which is nice, too, I must say, to have someone who isn't obsessed with porn and scantily-clad chicks on TV and who doesn't drink, either.) And then, all of that sort of hit me, that five years after I thought I'd never open my heart up to anyone ever again, I've given mine over so completely, without any fear or hesitation, to someone who deserves it, someone who I can trust to always love me and care for me and stand beside me. And I cried again, five years later, but this time, they were tears of joy, celebrating how I've grown and the happiness that I've found, and marveling at what still lies in store.
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karnerblue: Monterey sea lion (Default)

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