The bravest thing I ever did

Sometimes when I’m feeling less than stellar, it’s easy to forget that I am brave and strong and that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be right now. You see, I came very close to not being here…

As I was reading this article in the Huffington Post today I was reminded of a time when I too had cold feet. I had friends who told me everything would be OK too, but really, honestly, everything was not OK.

It was the summer of 1999 and I was one course away from graduating university. I was engaged to a very sweet guy and our wedding was set for November. I had chosen my dress, my invitations, the venue… I should have been ecstatic, but I was miserable.

I had gone away for a weekend with my bestie and I had a such a great time. I drank, I laughed and I flirted my face off… I had so much fun.

Without my fiance.

I had more fun in that one weekend than I’d had in a really, really long time. And on the train ride home, it hit me. I had fun because I was alone. Because for 48 hours I didn’t have to think about my wedding and not-so-happily ever after with Mr. Not Quite Right.

When I got home to Ottawa, I wrote this:

“I’m too young, we’re too young. Maybe we should wait a while. I hate that I’m thinking these things now, after this weekend. Like all I needed to betray him was one temptation. I remember thinking at some point that this was a test to see if I could go through with it. And here I am, three days later in one of the most suffocatingly panicked states I’ve ever imagined. I wish I could tell someone how I feel but I’m all alone.”

So three months before tying the knot I told him that I didn’t want to get married. It was awful. He cried and I cried. And for months afterwards I had to relive that pain as I explained to everyone I knew that no, I wasn’t marrying him, that I’d called everything off. It was embarrassing and heart-breaking for me; I can’t even imagine how it must have been for him.

Chances are that just saying “I do” and dealing with the aftermath would have been far less embarrassing for me — but I’m certain that the aftermath would have been devastating for both of us.

I’ve never doubted whether I made the right decision but sometimes I wonder how I could have been so brave. Sometimes when I’m holed up in the suburbs dealing with the day-to-day fights of being a WAHM (work at home mom) I forget that I went through a lot to get here — to live in this moment, roll my eyes at this husband and fight with these kids. And even though I don’t always feel strong, I am.

“I haven’t looked before I’ve leaped. I’m leaping with my eyes squeezed shut. With the kind of blind faith in God that only those who have nothing left to lose could ever understand.” — Me