Honestly, I thought I had gone through my “crazy days.” What the heck did I know?
I found myself at 23, a month before our first wedding anniversary, absolutely broken. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I had tried putting more of myself in a marriage that I didn’t want than I’d like to admit. I was filling in patches with bubble gum and hoping that the dam wouldn’t break, but gum just isn’t strong enough. I had wanted out for years, even those years that we were “in love,” before the wedding, but I wasn’t strong enough to walk away. I didn’t want to hurt someone like that, but now I have no choice.
I remember going to a friend’s wedding with my mother about 7 months before our wedding; my mother told a fellow guest that I was getting married in the winter and she gawked at me.
“How old are you?!” was her first question, quickly followed by, “You don’t have to, you know that, right?”
I just smiled at her and said that I loved him, but I could feel the bitterness of the lie as it passed through my lips. Back then, I wasn’t willing to admit it to myself. I had already planned the whole damn thing. I wasn’t going to be the girl that called it off because she got cold feet; cold feet are normal… right? That’s what Google said.
Fast forward to the week of our wedding; I was an emotional wreck. I blamed it on the fact that I had my first official nursing school finals the week of our wedding, but I knew something was off. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I was terrified. This was more than cold feet, but I didn’t want to admit it to myself. I was scared. You know that kind of feeling when you’re about to make a terrible mistake, or you just did, but you feel like you’ve been locked in and there’s nothing you can do about it? Yeah, that was how I was feeling.
I didn’t feel like the blushing bride. I didn’t feel excited. I felt terrified. I felt like there was a sign above my head that said “dead man walking.” I cried constantly because I was so overwhelmed. I was hyperventilating and I couldn’t calm my nerves. My hands were constantly shaking and I was always in a cold sweat. If you’re experiencing this, my friends, don’t walk down the aisle. It is a sign.
Listen here folks, if you’re reading this because you’re having second thoughts about marrying that guy, don’t marry him. I’m serious. You will know the difference between cold feet and making a terrible mistake. Take it from me, the girl who was married at 22 and dying to be out by 23. I learned so damn much in that short stint. I learned that just because someone isn’t “that bad,” that’s not reason enough to be with them. If you think you’ll be okay staying with someone that loves you more than you love them, you won’t. You’ll feel like you’re missing out on something, because you are.
You’re missing out on what it feels like to be head-over-heels in love. Listen to me, my friends, don’t marry that guy you have doubts about. Wait for the one that you know you love beyond a shadow of a doubt. Your heart will know instantly and every mistake you made in the past, every “I love you” you uttered before, every smile you smiled towards someone else, well… they’ll all feel like a lie.
You’ll realize that you didn’t know what it felt like to love someone until you started loving them, that each smile was just a placeholder, and that you can’t spend a day without them on your mind. Hold onto that person. Cherish that person. Tell him how much you love him. Tell him how your heartbeat has changed since meeting him. Tell him how the thought of not touching his hand brings tears to your eyes. Tell him everything, every detail about you, every secret you’ve never shared. Show him your scars, the physical and those on your heart. Trust him with all that you are. Give him everything you have. Trust the “oh shit” I’m-about-to-dive-head-first-off-of-a-cliff-in-love kind of feeling. It’s real. It’s there. Don’t doubt it for a second. When you do find it, savor each moment; life passes by so quickly and before you know it, you’ll be 89 years old and missing the sound of their footsteps in the other room; so choose to enjoy their laughter, their smile, the warmth of their hand… enjoy it all while you can.