Tomorrow I’ll be 36. Still I’m unmarried, not pregnant, and still unengaged. Out of order, but all applicable. In recent years, my age has made me think a lot, usually grieve, and always cry. I start thinking about the way things were supposed to be according to my head, and I start thinking about how I don’t have them and that must mean something’s wrong with me.
But what I didn’t even know is that I placed myself exactly here. I’ve placed myself unmarried, still unengaged, and still not pregnant. I’ve placed myself in this position, over the years, seemingly unconsciously and now … not.
Recently I’ve been doing a lot of work on the exactness of my wrongs, or default ways of being and thinking. I’ve done this work before, but never with as much pause and poise and thus, clarity. I tend to resort back to “well that’s just my default way of being and acting”, without taking the time and the diligence and the prayer to get underneath of the default. Because let’s face it – constantly going back to “default” doesn’t move me forward to where I want to be.
At all. My default keeps me unmarried, because it makes me protect myself and act in ways that are hurtful. My default keeps me focused on someone else, because it’s easier to blame you than it is to take a look at me and realize I have lacked acceptance of self. I have lacked love of self. I have made myself seem unspecial. I have tried to figure out ways to be absolutely perfect, thus proving I am worthy of your love and that ring that makes me feel so special and screams to the world that I made it.
I did that. I have done these things. And I can still do this.
And I really had no idea. I would say that I had an idea, but really, in all sincerity, I didn’t fucking know.
I didn’t know that I was still hurt from Matt. Yes, it’s been almost 7 years, but I didn’t know that despite not signing my name on a paper in court or wearing a ring, we were very much married. My heart was married. My emotions were married. My brain was married. And it’s not because I chose less than me to protect myself from being hurt, it’s because I really, actually loved him. It didn’t matter that he wasn’t an equal. It didn’t matter that there was more drama most of the time. It didn’t matter that I lost a lot – physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
What mattered is that I loved him, as much as you would expect someone to love the person they marry. And I haven’t gotten over it. After him I chose unequal’s that would seemingly cause less pain because I wasn’t brave enough to stay single long enough to heal in the beginning. Eventually I was, and God gifted me something that forced me to slow down and I got to do some work.
And then I met Mike. I chose Mike. I often say my recovery chose him because he is so very different than Matt, or anyone I’ve ever chosen. And guess what? When I met Mike, he was in a very different place than he is now: physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I chose someone who wasn’t ready. Now, we’ve grown a lot in 2 ½ years and he is the guy I knew he was when we met, but there’s a reason we aren’t engaged, married, pregnant or adopting. There’s a reason things are going “slower”. There’s a reason things are as they are.
Because I chose someone who wasn’t ready. And as it turns out, I wasn’t ready, either. So, I did this. I placed myself here.
And now I’m fucking sad. Not because I don’t still choose Mike or want to continue to be patient for him to be ready, but because I have been blaming myself for not being perfect enough to deserve a ring to wear on my finger. Because I’ve still been outsourcing things to best myself and do more of to make myself feel worthy of being someone’s wife. Because I’ve continued to think it’s the food or my body or the training or the career or the checkboxes one can check on any given day. Because I’ve continued to think that if only my behavior was a little bit smoother, more often, that he’d be ready.
And I forgot to keep the focus on myself. I forgot to take stock of me, and ask if I am ready. I am still not kind to Alison. I still do not give myself the benefit of the doubt. I still do not let myself go, unbridled, ever. And when I have a meal or two of overindulgence and feel unbridled, I get closer. I get clearer.
I get here. I get here, on a Sunday, the day before I turn 36, off of electronics and out with the dogs and into my tears and God. I get quiet after I get terrified. I get quiet after I get really fucking loud. I get hopeful after I get desperate and demoralized.
This is how I still meet God: through my body, and through the food.
This is how I still meet you: by sharing my most vulnerable moments, my most raw sentiments, and my feelings.
This is how I know I needed to take a break, and before I came back: I have missed sharing with you. I have missed connecting my own truth so that maybe you can better connect to yours.
If I didn’t step back, I wouldn’t be willing to move back ahead. If I didn’t slow down, I wouldn’t know that we’re all a bunch of misfits, doing the best we can. If I didn’t remove the checkboxes, I wouldn’t know that most of them aren’t checkboxes, but embedded means of proving to myself that I belong and that I deserve and that I am worthy.
Reality check: I am worthy because God says so. I am worthy because I choose to be worthy. I am worthy because I show up, feel – at face value, and continue. I am worthy because of all of the days, feelings, thoughts, and actions leading up to right now. At almost 36. Still unmarried. Still not pregnant. Still not engaged.
And you are too.