Updated: Jan 21
I close my eyes and breathe.
That is what I have learned to do when I don’t know what to do. So, I do it a lot. I sit and wait for my heart to speak.
I love when my heart speaks.
It means I am alive.
It hasn’t been easy though, this “listening to my heart.” I was never taught that in all my growing up.
Through life, my challenges, and the choices I have made, I have discovered it is the only true thing.
For that, I am grateful.
I was 19 when I said “I do” for the first time. I remember walking down the aisle holding my dad’s elbow. Pachelbel’s Canon playing on the CD player. My gown was so beautiful, my mom made it for me.
My grandma was there from California and one of the reason’s I didn’t call off the wedding. She’d already bought her airplane ticket and I didn’t want her to waste her money. Plus, let's be honest, I didn’t have the guts to do something big like that anyway. Call off the wedding and disappoint people? No way.
I’d only known him since June. We met the first weekend I moved to Cedar City after graduating high school! We met at a dance. I remember dancing with him, the song ended, and we kept dancing.
We hung out quite a bit. He and his friends and me and my roommates. Only two weeks after meeting he asked me to marry him. His friend playing the guitar in the town park, roses hidden behind a rock, and the ring we had briefly looked at.
I said yes!
I’d always had this false feeling of unworthiness. An empty feeling, wondering if I would ever get married. Wondering if I would ever be good enough for anybody to love me. That one day someone would love me enough to want to marry me.
So here I am . 18 years old. Engaged to be married to the first guy who looked my way. I didn’t know anything about relationships, but I didn’t know that.
He left a few weeks after our engagement for training in the military. It was weird and distant. He’d write me letters and call me when he could. I’d go weeks sometimes without hearing from him. I didn’t know any different but knew I didn’t like the feeling. However, I didn’t want to be “needy” so would pretend things were completely fine whenever I did get to talk to him.
He came home without telling me. He’d been home almost two full days before finally coming over and surprising me. I was upset that he’d not come to see me right away! We were engaged to be married after all and I felt like I should have been the most important person in his life. But to tell him that would have been too open and vulnerable, so I ate my words and pretended everything was fine.
There were times when I’d hear from him, and times I wouldn’t. My 19th birthday came and I had high expectations (that I didn’t communicate) and so was utterly disappointed. I went home and cried to my roommates when he dropped me off early on my birthday night. He hadn’t brought his wallet to dinner, so I paid. He drew me a picture of a fairy and framed it. It was sweet, and I tried to be especially grateful for the thoughtfulness of that. But my heart was speaking.
It was speaking
And I didn’t listen.
Because nobody could love me for me, I’ve always given more than I was comfortable with to please them. That being mostly physical. This situation being no exception. I thought that was how I would keep them to me. Give them what they want.
My body was starving for affection and attention and a yearning to be touched, but somewhere my head kept saying to give him what he wants, don’t be selfish. That’s what you’re supposed to do. So I did.
I made him dinner whenever I could. I was so excited to be a wife and to take care of someone. I didn’t know how to cook much then but knew my mom had always made my dad dinner, and I found that as a way to show love. I wanted him to love me.
My heart was speaking
I talked to my mom about it a little bit. She kept saying this was supposed to be the happiest time of my life and if I wasn’t feeling good about it I should call it off. So I’d get up the guts to do it, even though the invitations were out and everybody that was coming had their plane tickets and the caterers had already been paid and we would lose the entire down payment of the furniture we rented… and then he’d show up with flowers. Every time. And, I’d get swept back under and think my heart and body didn’t know anything.
See, look how great he is that he brought me flowers...
The weekend before our wedding we’d had appointments to meet with the bishop and stake president to get our temple recommends. We made it past the bishop interview, but not the stake presidents. I’d been asked to step out while the stake president spoke with him alone. When he walked out he said we wouldn’t be getting married in the temple. I asked, "why"? He said it was between him and God now.
Guess that answer was good enough for the girl that doesn’t talk or ask questions.
So we got married.
As I’m getting into my wedding dress, I won’t let my mom help me because I have my belly button pierced and I knew she’d be mad at me for getting that done. I didn’t want her to see it. I’m not lovable if I have my belly button pierced I suppose…
We didn’t dance at our wedding. But I was “happy.”
You see, there’s this fake smile I am really good at placing on my face. One that lets everybody think things are fine. One that says my heart is breaking inside. Not because of anybody else, but because I don’t know how to listen to it.
I love you,