Every time I open up this browser to write a new post, I wind up spending ten minutes staring at a blinking cursor and a blank page before giving up. Pages upon pages are handwritten in my journal — a stream of pure emotion that has fought its way through with little context and maybe even less sense. It’s just…how do you say everything you long to say when you’re not sure you have all of the words, when you’re not even sure you can make sense of it all, so how can anyone else?
I’ll start with this:
I’ve always believed in love — every variation of it. Love is the beginning and the end and everything that fills up a lifetime in between.
Last week, I had the absolute pleasure of being Maid of Honor at my best friend’s wedding. The days leading up to the ceremony were filled with anticipation and emotion — there were nerves, there was a little bit of stress (note to self: buy the more comfortable shoes before you have the dress fitting), there was indescribable joy.
The words begin to fail me now.
I wish I could write about this day…I wish I could describe the freshness of the flowers and how the sunlight streamed through the stained glass windows of the church, creating a mesmerizing picture of peace and certainty. I wish I could cement in words the speeches and the toasting and the dinner and the dancing, oh, the dancing. I wish I could write about the dresses and the jewelry and the curls and how special it felt to be a part of something so special.
I wish I could set in words what this day meant to me, for what Sarah means to me. The best friendships seem to be the ones where you don’t know how or when or where they began — they just always seemed to be, just as you’re certain they always will be. They’re those lifelong friendships that will carry you through the years — moments filled with shared laughter and shared sorrow and shared memories.
I wish I could write about this day and just what her happiness means to me, but those words won’t come, not as they should.
And maybe that’s just as well.
Because there are moments that you share and moments that you keep, and this one — this day — is locked in my memory forever.
Something began to change in me over the course of the past few weeks — as I conspired with her fiance and sisters to (successfully!) pull off a surprise bridal shower and bachelorette party, as I spent time with Sarah tying ribbon around tulle for dozens of favors, as I hugged and danced with old college friends I’ve missed dearly at the reception…
Something began to change, something subtle, but something all the while profound.
I was laying down my defenses — defenses I’d spent years building up, defenses that held firm with even my closest and oldest friends, defenses that I didn’t even realize were put into place until I found myself hiding behind an impenetrable wall, longing to be rid of any reserve, but living there for so long that I didn’t know how.
But now…There were smiles, there was throw-your-head-back laughter, there was reminiscence and nostalgia.
There was joy.
There was me.
There I was again, though for a moment I barely recognized her, so long had she been gone. But there I was — baring my soul without fear of rejection, without fear of what I might lose. Here I was, my heart alight, free from pain and worry, pieced back whole again. Here I was loving deeply, with every piece of myself.
Here I was being loved in return.
I had spent so much time hiding behind this self-made barrier, trying to protect myself, trying to heal from the pain and the fear and this soul-gripping sorrow that I never let any of the good seep through. There just wasn’t any room for it.
But an amazing thing happens when you begin to break down that barricade — you allow all the good to come flooding back in.
Ending New Beginning
Maybe it was the dress. Maybe it was the magic of the night. Maybe it was the love and happiness I felt for Sarah and her husband reflecting back and filling my soul with hope and joy and promise. Maybe it was even the flirtations with a guy who is so wrong for me in every single way, but the physical attraction makes it hard to think straight, makes me not want to think at all.
Maybe it’s been a long time coming, but for the first time in a long time, I felt beautiful.
I felt wanted, even needed.
I felt like this was where I belonged — there in the church as I watched my best friend marry the love of her life (“Someone was crying, I heard someone sniffling behind me.” “Yeah, that was me.”), there in the reception hall as we toasted to moments and lifetimes, there among the flickering candle light as we remembered when with the people who have shared our stories.
There in that room where the past mixed with the present as we go forward creating our own futures.
I wanted to hang onto this feeling — this understanding of who I am and what my place in this world might be, this revelation that we’re all growing up and, though I fought so hard against it, how beautiful it can be…Because if growing up means your best friend is this happy, then it has to be worth it, it has to be something good.
I want to hang onto this feeling, and while sometimes I can feel the doubt and fear set back in, I’ve realized that it’s up to me — it’s up to me to hold on and to let go, to keep the good and rid myself of the poison that had infected my relationships, my every thought, my entire life.
It’s up to me to choose.
And on that night, I chose happiness.
I chose this beautiful, beautiful life.
And now, I choose love.