stranger things- my version
The day you wake up and realize you married a stranger is the day what was left of your world comes crashing down, threatening to smother you in ways you never thought possible. It is also the day that you realize how very alone you are.
Marriage is supposed to be a lot of things but for me it was this thing to be idolized, worshiped almost. It was something that was mysterious but at the same time so predictable. It was literally nothing more than an algorithm.
Girl-> meet Boy-> be modest so he is attracted to you-> chase him but pretend not to-> hook said boy and get engaged-> plan parent/church/everyone approved wedding-> use same wedding venue as everyone else from said church-> Go to pre-marrital counseling and this means you will never get divorced-> do the wedding thing-> quit job if you even have one-> have babies-> let yourself go-> worship husband and be submissive.
That is pretty much it in a large nutshell with lots of points for my tangents that I will refrain from. All in all, one simply needed to follow the steps that had been laid out for them. This was your safety zone. This was MY safety zone- minus the talking to boys thing since that was not allowed in our houes (I shall save this for another time).
If I haven’t lost you yet, you may wonder how we even ended up together. To be perfectly honest, it wasn’t until my “special friend” asked me this questions a few weeks ago: “Is your husband your best friend?” My inner wanna-be perfect wife almost overpowered me in an effort to nod and say, “Of course he is!” But it caught in my throat as an even more terrifying realization struck me like a freight train. “No….he’s not. *long pause* In fact, we really were never even FRIENDS to start.” At that point, the truth I had been hiding from for so long began to sink in. No, we were mere acquaintances at best. Yet somehow, here I sit over a decade and several kids later wondering how in the hell I got here. Here are the basics: I had limited options, at least in my mind. Why? Because I was scared out of my mind to go against my parents, my church, and everything else that had been drilled into me for the last…forever. Along came boy who everybody loved, everybody wanted so naturally that made him appealing to me if for no other reason than conquering territory ahead of the pack (Yes, I am slightly competitive). We got married a few short months after we started officially dating. Every time someone learns this, I can hear the gasps rolling up through their lungs and out into open air followed by the immediate outpouring of “Wow, that was fast.” To this, my response was as canned as they came. “Well, we had been friends for YEARS before we started dating so it really wasn’t as bad as it sounds.”
See? Crisis averted…until now when I suddenly came to the realization that we barely knew anything about the other and what we did know was just the pertinents- age, sex, height, family and church background, hair color…and that’s about it. I tried to think back of the conversations we had over our “friendship” period and came up with a whole lot of nothin. We saw each other once a week, from across the sanctuary, for approximately 16 weeks out of the year for4 years. And sometimes, he would act like I was invisible, or maybe dead, or plagued, but mostly non-existent. But he had a job, a car that ran, and he went to the right church, and held the door open for ladies so he HAD to be the best thing since sliced bread. Plus all the other girls wanted him- did I mention that yet? I would sneak a conversation or two with him but without a cell phone of my own, communication just didn’t happen. When it did, it was limited to me finding random reasons to call him to ask for help with math or some other ridiculous thing.
Then came the day that he finally decided he liked me. Of course, this was also the day that my father decided he was the devil for asking to date his daughter. Again, another story. Being officially dating meant more phone time where of course we discussed the important things like ensuring neither of us drank, we were both virgins (cuz that’s a deal breaker, yo), if we would hold hands, if we felt kissing was a safe option, the length of the kiss (3 sec MAX, people), the clothing that I would NEVER wear, and talking uber spiritual because I was a good Christian girl. I was grounded and strong. I had CONVICTIONS and no guy would make me waver. These convictions also conveniently included never marrying against my parents wishes. *Cha-ching* My bases were covered. He agreed with everything. We were on the same page and on our way to pure and utter bliss. (Please pardon me if this oozes with cynicism and sarcasm.)
Oh, honey. Bless your heart.- yes, I heard you just now because I am saying it too as I relive this. THIS was what I hid behind every time someone commented on how quickly we barrelled down the aisle. But here I sat in a chair staring at a woman I barely knew a few months ago who has now seen deeper into my soul that anyone else and I am WILLINGLY admitting that I married a stranger. What worse is all these years of marriage have done nothing to create a friendship. Instead, I am lonelier than ever and trying to address the lack of friendship evoked nothing more than and schpeel on how we really were friends, we just have to choose to move forward, blah-dy-blah-dy-blah. The realization that I had babies with a stranger made me want to vomit. He is like a roommate. But this particular roommate can’t be evicted or replaced. No, this is a roommate I am stuck with for all eternity. Can I just say I have never wished for death to come sooner? The thought of being stuck with a stranger because the words “for better or worse” were uttered one time without fully realizing that my mess of a head couldn’t make a rational decision to save my life- I think my brain just blew up a little in my head.
The kicker? He has no idea who he is married to either. He was duped, not intentionally, but duped just the same. He married a quiet, good little girl with no sign of the turmoil being suppressed miles beneath the surface and now- I am an openly emotional, sensitive, mouthy, interoverted-extrovert with a side of sass and a whole lot of baggage and damage to go along with it. I am a far cry from the girl he thought he landed. Talk about Jacob marrying Rachel and getting Leah!! We were both unhealthy going into this and our marriage and entire life for that matter has been constructed on nothing more than the rotting sewage of our pasts, never being honest internally, and years of neglect. I think we both want this to work but my fear is that so many years have built a wall of mistrust and hurt that nothing and no one can penetrate. So when I say Stranger Things- I mean the REAL world version that is my life.
See ya’ll in the next episode.