“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
― C.S. Lewis,
“Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet.”
“I ask you to pass through life at my side—to be my second self, and best earthly companion.”
— Charlotte Brontë , Jane Eyre
I’ve been married for almost a third of my life.
I remember what it was like all those years ago…when everyone tells you not no marry young. But the vanity of youth encourages naught but to defy the world in which you find yourself.
Nine years ago.
It seems like a lifetime. But isn’t that what I always wanted? Always wanted, but never dreamed I would ever come close to? A lifetime in love. A lifetime with you.
Looking back to that girl I used to be…I almost don’t recognize her.
Because our marriage is just as much about my adventure to find myself, as it is about my adventure of being in love with you.
I thought I knew who I was back then. But now I realize that I was only starting to know. I was a shell of myself; filled to the brim with self-doubt, fear, and lack of confidence. I was wary and cynical, constantly my own biggest skeptic. So filled with anxiety that there was no room left for joy. I thought I knew what life was about: the point of life was to just get through the day, to be married, and have children, to find happiness in this, and just keep on living.
That’s what I thought life with you would be like.
And that was the life that I wanted with you.
You were my rock. You were the confidence that I do not possess. You were the surety in my world filled with fear. You were my champion – saving me, providing for me, loving me despite my lack of belief in myself. You were the calm in my storm.
I never thought that anyone would love me. I never thought that I was beautiful. I never thought that I would actually find someone who would want to marry me. After-all, I am not the most ordinary person. I had been that way for quite some time… I’d rather spend my time reading stories than talking with actual real people. I’d rather be outdoors, breathing in the fresh air, than taking even a few moments to apply makeup and arrange my hair. I’d rather inhale the smell of carburetors in the late summer night than do whatever it was that other girls were doing (I don’t actually even know what other girls spent their nights doing…but it certainly wasn’t breathing fumes from fast cars). When I tried to wear nice clothes, it usually just didn’t work – I have no fashion sense at all. But when you’d rather be reading than shopping at the mall, it was easier to just give up and wear t-shirts all the time.
My books never seemed to care anyways.
Some things just aren’t meant to be.
And I never thought that I was meant to be married.
Not to someone like you at least.
My Prince Charming.
I was so young. So sure of myself. Yet so unsure. It is amazing how things change. How people change. How I have changed. Yet I would be crazy not to admit that the person I am today may not have ended up with the person that you were then. We are so different. Shaped and formed like stones along the river. Now I understand why they say not to marry young – because when you find yourself, you may not like who you find yourself with. But the sententious reality is this: I wouldn’t be who I am today without you.
So my story is not one of finding myself and being filled with regret.
I stand again to defy what society expects.
My story is one of finding myself and finding myself still completely and wholly in love with you.
My Prince Charming.
The one who made me.
I find my life so completely entwined with yours. And that, quite frankly, is a very, very good thing.
You who talked to me when I was content to be a wallflower, who (probably quite literally at times) removed the book from in front of my face…and saw me. The one who noticed.
The one who noticed me.
Utter lack of fashion and all.
You, who put up with my rambling discussions of all things nerdy…who enjoyed the smell of engines on a warm summer night with me.
I married you then. And I’d marry you now.
You, who were my confidence for me. Who was strong when I was not. I thought I knew what my life with you would be like. But it is really unlike anything that I ever imagined. Our dreams began to grow together, and they have changed like the clouds that shift in the sky…and we have continued reaching for them all the years through.
Once, I was content with that life I thought I knew. And you were content to let me have that life. But life has that funny way of dragging you along on adventures you never wanted to have.
Or at least it feels like you are being dragged sometimes.
Sometimes it feels like you have dragged me on some of those adventures. And I mean that in the most lovingly way possible. I don’t know when you really started making me. Maybe it has always been that way. But looking back now, I see all the ways and the times that you encouraged me to be so much more. Never judging. But gently pushing, telling me to try. Telling me to just do it. Listening to all my fears, but telling me to do it anyway. Throughout the years you have challenged me, encouraged me, pushed me, and loved me through it all.
I said I’d never go back to school. But somehow, in your quiet way, you helped me to do it. You told me it would be alright. You knew, even when I did not, that I was meant to earn my degree. And apparently to keep earning them.
You knew, even when I didn’t trust myself, that I was meant to pursue a career. I thought I knew who I was, I thought I’d only ever stay home with my kids. I never believed that I would have worth outside of this. But whatever you saw in me, that I didn’t even see in myself, you challenged me to recognize my worth and potential in what has turned out to be a very fulfilling career.
I thought I knew that I would be a fabulous parent. Turns out…teaching may be my thing, but parenting really doesn’t come naturally to me at all. But that doesn’t matter to you. You love me regardless of my flaws and weaknesses. All the while telling me, knowing for me, that I can be so much more.
You have pushed me to be involved. To face life head on, and unafraid. To try, and fail, and try again.
And know that it’s okay.
I’d say that you hold me when I cry. But you know that I prefer to cry alone.
And I love you for that too.
So here I am. Where once was a shell of a person stands a being wholly made. I do not doubt. I know who I am. I am brave. I am strong. I may be small, but I make up for it with a passion and intensity that rivals the sun. I have known fear. But fear doesn’t frighten me anymore. Fear challenges me. Fear pushes me, and teaches me. Where once I lacked confidence….there is no lacking now. I wear the clothes, the clothes don’t wear me. And it doesn’t matter what I am wearing; I know that I am beautiful nonetheless. I can do this. I can do this. I can handle life. Now I am my own biggest fan (well maybe my second biggest fan, I think you will always be my #1 biggest fan). I do not hide in the shadows of cynicism and skepticism anymore. This is my life. Our life. Whatever will come, will come. Those shadows do nothing but slowly drink the life from you. I will not spend my life in the shadows. Maybe before….but never again.
So here I am.
The life with you that I always wanted.
Whole. Sure. Complete.
A person changed. But only because of you.
My equal. The other side of my coin. My balance. My lover and friend.
When God made me, He made you too. And He knew that I would be yours forever.
And I know that while you will always help me to grow, and change and be more…I know even still that no matter what or where or when you will love me…love all of me…no matter what.
And I will love you too.
So thank you, Babe.
Thank you for seeing me, and loving me, and making me yours.
Here’s to a lifetime of you and I.