It’s Just a Piece of Paper

The glamour industry is known more for its divorces than blockbusters. Two of my favorite A-list couples just recently filed for divorce – Ben & Jen and Gwen & Gavin. The tabloid article had an image of Gwen in her wedding dress, looking absolutely happy and it got me wondering..

What if divorces didn’t exist?

What if the moment you get married, there’s no out? If there is a problem, the two of you have to discuss it and sort it out. You have to find a way to work through your issues. And no, I’m not talking about marriages with physically or emotionally abusive spouses or serial cheaters. I’m talking about the normal couples who reach a point where they simply think “We have too many differences. I want out.”

I’m terribly afraid of marriage. Not because I don’t want to be married but because I’m afraid that someday it will end. I’ve said it before several times, the end of me will not be the moment my career comes crashing down or when I lose a loved one. The end of me will be the moment I hold divorce papers in my hand.

But what if that was impossible? I’ve seen so many people in my life rush to get married. My best friend got married after only knowing her husband for 3 months and I know that when in love the person doesn’t think of ever getting divorced but should there be a law that would never allow divorces, do you think the person would think twice before making their decision?

And very honestly, what is it about signing a paper that kills a relationship that has been built over the years? Through various struggles that have been overcome?

Several years ago, when my mother was holding divorce papers, my dad’s mother walked up to her, hugged her and said, “You are not my daughter-in-law because you signed a piece of paper. Our relationship will not end because you sign a paper again.”

That divorce never happened and there has been nothing to worry about on that scale since but my grandmother’s words never left me.

Am I someone’s wife because we sat in front of one hundred guests and got married? Am I someone’s wife because I signed an official paper that states “You are now husband and wife” ?

And does my relationship with this man just end because I sign another paper that says we are no longer united by marriage?

Does one piece of thin paper hold enough strength to turn every fight, every argument, every struggle, every moment, every kiss and all the love insignificant?

If not, then what is it about a divorce? I know I’ll hear a lot of people telling me that marriage is complicated, you have to think of your happiness and a divorce is unavoidable at times. But why?

If there didn’t exist that piece of paper, what would you have done?

Would you have simply walked out? If you knew that that particular piece of paper did not change your relationship, would you find a way to fix the problem? Would you have stayed?

Or would you have still packed and walked away?

I’m not experienced. I can barely hold a relationship together. But I’ve been raised believing that the concept of signing a paper mutually for the beginning and end of a partnership belonged in the corporate world for business deals and not for emotions.

Not for a marriage. Not for a relationship. And definitely not for love.

Am I wrong?

The Monsters Behind Masks

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If you’re reading this, it means I’ve used every last ounce of the courage I possess to press Publish..

Maybe it’s because I’m finally old enough to see it. Maybe it’s because, for the first time, I’m retracing my entire life. Recollecting the moments that forever changed who I am.

I saw a movie yesterday. The girl looked at the guy and said, “I was 7 when someone asked me if I wanted to be with my mom or my dad.” It shouldn’t have mattered to me. I shouldn’t have cried. But I couldn’t help myself. Because I was 8.

When I tell someone how insecure I’ve become as a person because of the way I was shoved in the middle of a struggle to save a marriage, they think I’m being too sensitive. I almost tell them they’re seeing it wrong. They’re looking at the 22-year-old analyzing that moment. But I wasn’t 22 when it happened ! I was a child ! But I never say it. I smile small and turn away so they can’t see I’m hiding tears.

There are moments in a relationship when I look at the guy and wonder what would happen if he could see inside my head. If he could see the way I see life. If he could read my thoughts. Would he run? Would he choose to never come back? Would he think I’m crazy?

There are moments when I wish someone could understand it. There are moments when I don’t understand why anyone should.

They say it’s amazing when you finally figure yourself out. When you learn what makes you, you. But what happens when the person you are is someone that’s holding on to all her darkest fears? With bruises turned permanent scars? With the need to be loved but never having the ability to believe it?

What happens when every little thing about you comes from a place you never want to go back to? When you realize your entire life changed because of the one moment you had no control over? When there is a constant battle between the guilt for allowing yourself to be drawn into a mess while arguing that you didn’t know what else to do?!

Do you stand up for the child you were or hate yourself for not knowing better?

As I think through all the relationships I’ve had, I’m beginning to decode patterns and it’s like a nightmare playing on repeat as I realize I’ve done the same thing over and over again, wrecking every chance I had at a happy ending. Every time I was so close to it, I let it stop me. I let myself be pulled back. The fear that I don’t understand. The fear that stopped me from ever moving forward, turning this tunnel into a never ending hole of doom.

I wonder what would happen if I could look at them and tell them how it feels like a lost childhood. How in the process of letting them have what they have right now, I drowned. How they’ve made me terrified of commitment. How I run when I feel too much while still craving it because I believe in leaving before I’m left. And how I’ll never stop believing that people leave.

And how, in that moment, when everything I wanted was right there, I couldn’t nod my head yes. I couldn’t walk into the light. I paused. I struggled. I lost.

But maybe that’s just the way life is, isn’t it? Each with a struggle of their own. Not many win. Most of us lose our battles. We give in to whatever it is that consumes us. We let it win. We learn to live with that loss. We learn to put on a mask and hide behind the person the world would like to see. The one that’ll blend in. The one that won’t draw questions.

Someone asked me recently if there was a reason behind the playfulness he sees in me. He felt like the light reaching out. An opportunity to walk out of the dark. All I had to do was trust him with the truth. And I wanted to tell him. This is my mask. This is the way I relive my childhood while still running away from it. This is the person I became when I sat on a couch at my aunt’s house, grinning broadly while crying inside. This is me blending in.

So I smiled at him and said, “No. I’m just a little immature. Nothing else.”