Originally posted on April 12, 2014
Last year, the day that would have been my 10th wedding anniversary totally slipped my mind. I guess I’d been so busy living life, that I hadn’t had time to even think about it. With the start of The Optimistic Divorcees blog, Cheryce and I had the idea to write letters to ourselves on our wedding day. What would we say to our “then” selves now that we’re no longer married? I must admit, I thought it would be a little scary. The book to that part of my life had been closed for a while now and opening it back up could bring up some old feelings. But, on the anniversary of what would have been 11 years of marriage, I’ve written a letter to myself on my wedding day. Writing the letter was therapeutic to say the least. It reminded me of what I’d gone through, but most of all, what I’d come out of and just how strong I am.
Can you believe it’s your wedding day? You were up bright and early after a restless night filled with nervousness and excitement. I know you can’t wait to take that trip down the aisle and marry the one you love. But first, there are some things I want to tell you. You might not like it, and I don’t want you to get mad at me, but I need to tell you because I love you and you deserve to know.
Remember when mama asked you about marrying him and said she didn’t have a good feeling about it? She was right. Remember the doubts you’ve had leading up to today? Wondering if he’s really the one? Well, he’s not. He’s not going to change because you both declared, “I do.”
Listen sweetie, these next few years are gonna be hell. Take a look in the mirror. Take a good look. Remember that face, because you’re going to forget who you are. Close your eyes and be present. Remember how you feel right now, because these feelings? They aren’t going to last forever. The years you’re anticipating wedded bliss? They’ll be short lived – just like your honeymoon phase. You’re going to forget you’re beautiful; you’re going to forget that your family and friends love you, all because you’ll be so caught up seeking the love you want from your husband. The dreams and goals you had for yourself will be forgotten and all you’ll care about is keeping up with your husband’s whereabouts.
Even though you’re married, you’ll never feel more alone. You’ll spend a lot of holidays without your husband by your side. He’ll be too busy doing his own thing and you’ll begin to question his love for you. Yes, he’ll pay the bills, but he won’t pay any emotional utilities. Your doubts about him will cause you have to doubts about yourself.
This marriage is going to have you down on your knees and at times, in a fetal position, feeling a pain you’ve never known before. A pain so deep, no medicine can alleviate, no doctor can cure. Depression will begin to set in and you’ll feel like you’re a nobody who has nothing to offer anyone. So, you’ll consider giving up your own life. But hang in there, Shari! Your family and friends will be there to pull you out of your darkness and remind you that God loves you so much and He’s never left your side. They’ll encourage you to pray and spend as much time with God as you can. And you will. You and God will become BFFs. You’ll really know what it means to have a prayer closet. Sometimes you’ll try to pray for yourself and you won’t have any words. Only sobs. Some days the sobs will turn into songs. “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” will become your new anthem. Eventually, you’ll see a glimmer of light in the distance and you’ll keep pushing toward it. You’ll begin to realize that your pain is for a purpose greater than yourself; that you can’t fully empathize with someone else unless you’ve been there yourself.
Yes, there will be moments where you are embarrassed and ashamed because you made a wrong choice, a bad decision. There will be good days and other days it’ll hurt like hell. But you’ll still keep going. You’ll begin to see yourself clearly again. The face you originally saw in the mirror will return. People will remind you that you ARE worth it. And eventually, you’ll believe it.
I wish I could stop you from heading down that aisle, but it’s part of God’s amazing plan for your life and I can’t interfere with that. What you’ll discover about yourself and who you’ll become after this is all over will be well worth it in the end.
So go ahead, take a deep breath. Adjust your veil and take that first step down the aisle. I’ll see you on the other side.
P.S. I can’t wait to meet the stronger, more determined, courageous you.
If you could write a letter to yourself on your wedding day, what are some things you would you say? Share in the comments below!
Originally posted on September 9, 2014
Remember in April when Shari wrote that letter to herself on her wedding day? Well now it’s my turn. Today would have been my 17 year wedding anniversary! I remember MOST dates, so it’s not unusual for me to think about what this day used to be every year. What has changed is how feel when I think about it. For several years I would spend this day depressed and angry. Now it’s just a fleeting thought, like “oh today is the 9th”. So it felt really good to write this and just reflect on how far I’ve come, the innumerable lessons that I’ve learned, and the leaps and bounds in which I’ve grown. There was a time that I thought that I would never get over the things that transpired during the course of my marriage, but now not only am I over it, but I can use what I went through to help somebody else. I can even rely on the strength, courage, and wisdom (cue India) that I gained to make it through obstacles that I encounter in my life today. So here you go, from my heart to yours. Grab your coffee or get your tea and read the conversation that I have with me. (Dang I’m a poet and didn’t even know it…well unless you count the haiku, lol)
Hey girl! I hear that congratulations are in order. Yeah, I know. You’re getting married tonight. On a Tuesday night right after work though? You don’t think it’s strange that your pastor won’t perform the ceremony or that your future mother-in-law won’t be there? It doesn’t bother you that at 18 years old, all of your friends are going away to college while you’re staying to start a family?? Eh. Whatever floats your boat. I’m happy for you anyway. Oh you don’t recognize me? I figured you wouldn’t because you don’t even know me yet! I know right? That’s pretty funny, but trust me…once you get to know me you will love me! But enough about me, let’s get back to what I really came here for. Oh no no honey, I’m not congratulating you for becoming Mrs…um, what’s his name again? Yeah right, him. I’m not congratulating you for that. I’m giving you kudos and well wishes for the days to come AFTER you say “I do”. Yep. After. That’s when REAL life begins…
Congratulations to you for trying to make the best of your honeymoon, 6 months later, even though it will be known as the worst trip of your life.
Congratulations to you for fighting for your marriage and for standing up for what you believe to be true and good after your husband tells you that he doesn’t love you, even though you’re still in the “honeymoon” stage of your marriage.
Congratulations to you for not giving a few people the butt whippings that they may very well deserve, especially after finding out about your husband’s infidelities, some of the indiscretions being with people you KNOW, in your home and in your bed.
Congratulations to you for growing up during your marriage and not remaining the stifled, docile, little girl that you are as you enter your marriage. It’s really going to come in handy later when you discover that a divorce and full custody of your child is granted to your husband because of an unseen ad in a newspaper.
Congratulations to you for having friends that love you and have your back unconditionally, even though you kind of suck as a friend to them during your marriage. After the smoke clears they will pick you up, dust you off, and help you move on with open arms and hearts.
Congratulations to you for surviving your feeble suicide attempt. Your outcry for attention and love lands you a 24 hr stay in a mental health facility, but you come out with a testimony.
Congratulations to you for not having a child immediately. You wait 5 years and decide to procreate when things are SEEMINGLY turning around.
Congratulations to you for developing a deeper, more real, and intimate relationship with God. One of the worst pains that you will ever feel is inflicted upon you by a man of the cloth, but you still never lose your faith in Him. You question things, you cry, and at times you even have feelings of utter despair, loneliness, and hopelessness, but you always find your way back to the one whom gives you peace that surpasses your understanding.
No no no Cheryce. Don’t you cry. You go on and enjoy this day! Really, because this is where the start of your development begins! You can’t be the woman you are to become without today and the days hereafter. There are days that you will go to sleep crying and wake up with those same tears. There will be days where you have to remind yourself to eat. There will be days that you hate yourself because you think that there is something wrong with you or that you have done something wrong. There will be times when you wish that you could wake yourself up from this endless nightmare. But…congratulations to you because you are an overcomer! You conquer feelings of not being good enough, low self-esteem, rejection, betrayal, shame, and depression. Everything will work together for your good and in turn you will be able to help, encourage, and inspire others. You will find your voice and realize your self-worth. You will become a woman of courage, strength, resiliency, humor, compassion, and creativity. Huh? You say that I look familiar and you think that you know who I am now? Nah. Like I told you before, you don’t know me yet, but when you do get to know me, you will love me!
Cheryce F. Thompson and Shari Anderson
The Optimistic Divorcees was a blog co-created by myself and Shari. It was established, not to promote divorce, but as a platform to promote strength, courage, and happiness. We wanted to let people who were experiencing divorce know that there is a fulfilling life after divorce. We needed them to understand that they could be happy and content in their state, and know that no matter what, they were going to make it, and that they would find their happily ever after! On this blog we shared stories related to our marriages and divorces, our dating experiences, and other elements pertaining to life after divorce. We also welcomed other divorcees as guest bloggers to share their stories.