I’m a pretty naive girl. I always have been. I’ve known this about myself for a long time, and this attribute has never bothered me. It’s helped me never jump to the worst case scenario, it’s helped me discover new and wonderful things in a childlike way, and it’s given me a heart that believes in the beauty of the world. It does, however, bother me when others mistake my naivite for stupidity. I am not stupid. I have never been stupid. I’m fully aware of why I make the choices I make, and none of those choices come from a lack of knowledge. They don’t come from a place of ignorance. They are not brought on by my inability to comprehend my surroundings.
So, when I decided to bring my husband to this wedding, I had a pretty solid idea of what kind of behavior I was in store for. I assumed he would be distant and agitated. It crossed my mind that he might drink too much. I even had my argument prepared in case he wanted to leave early. To his credit, he got ready and we were on the tram headed to the wedding site right on time. He sat next to me during the ceremony. He paid attention. He even pretended not to notice all the sympathetic looks my friends who knew about our current situation were giving me. He didn’t take my hand or kiss me or offer to help with my wrap, but that was fine. We were doing ok. We looked normal. And when I cried, I was able to pass it off as happy tears for my beautiful friend instead of desperate tears for the loss of the love I craved so deeply.
After the ceremony, we chatted with other guests and found our table in the reception hall. We were sitting with another couple we knew who were engaged, a good friend of ours who had been at our wedding, and her brother. Everyone at the table knew about our problems. They were all onboard to pretend that nothing was wrong. We were all doing ok. I was thrilled. For a moment I actually let myself relax. I turned to my husband and asked him how he enjoyed the ceremony. He said, “I kept thinking as I was watching them say their vows, that they truly loved each other. I don’t remember feeling anything when I said my vows to you. I should have felt something, but I felt nothing.” And then, as had become customary, I began doggie paddling again, just trying to keep myself above water. Refusing to let myself sink into the despair that was starting to swallow me whole. By now I had learned to shake it off. Feel later. Just keep moving. Don’t focus on the pain. Of course, he punctuated his statement with his all too familiar, “We never should have gotten married.” This had become his battle cry. I was becoming immune to it’s sting.
The rest of his behavior almost doesn’t matter. I’ve gone back and forth over the last week agonizing on whether to tell the entire story of this particular weekend or not. In the end, I’ve come to the conclusion that I must be honest, but I can also be brief. Yes, he was distant and agitated. Yes, he did drink too much. Way too much. He embarrassed himself by hitting on a group of girls at a different table. He refused to wait on the tram to take us back to our hotel, instead he wanted to get in the car with those girls and hang out with them. He was annoyed when I insisted on going along with them. He got angry when I made him go back to our hotel room with me, his wife. I killed his party. I got him to bed. I was numb. I’d taught myself how to survive this new life. It wasn’t ideal, but I was ok. I took off my pretty dress, wiped off my perfect make up, put away my jewelry; and stared down at the man who married me, but who felt nothing.
What I had hoped would happen, did not happen. He did not suddenly remember the joy of our wedding day. He did not turn to me with tears in his eyes realizing that he loved me again. He did not tell me how beautiful I was and how proud he was that I was his wife. But hoping for these things did not make me stupid. Putting up with his behavior did not make me stupid. Knowing that even after this, I would continue to love him and fight for him did not make me stupid. It meant I was his wife. And although watching our friend’s heartfelt wedding ceremony may not have made him feel what I wanted, it was a reminder to me of the promises I made to him and to God. As long as I was doing my very best to fulfill those promises, I was ok.
Yes, I am a naive woman. I believe in second chances. I believe in paying it forward. I believe that although we tend to hear more about the bad in the world, the reality is that there truly is more good. I believe in holding onto people, because people matter. I believe that humans need to know they are loved. I believe kindness makes a difference. Some may say that I was stupid to behave this way. I’m obviously divorced, so my actions didn’t pay off. But it’s never stupid to chose hope. It’s never stupid to remain faithful to your promises to God. And if getting up every morning and choosing to believe things will be better is naive, then I’m ok with that.
1 Corinthians 2:9 “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, not have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
2 thoughts on “Day 384”
This hits a little place I like to call home with me. Being “naive” is so easily seen as stupid by so many people. I often have friends or family members that think my desire to always look for the good in people makes me a stupid little girl. In reality, I always have that hope that forces me to believe that everyone has good and maybe they just need someone like me to help them believe or see it for themselves.
You are brave, kind, intelligent, beautiful and hopeful. And there will never be anything wrong with any of those things.
Hello Katherine, I’m not sure where to start. All morning I have been pondering what to write and what to say and how to say it. How I discovered your blog is probably as good a place as any to start. Yesterday evening I attended “Clue” with my family. It was an enjoyable show; the stage was full of extraordinary talent, thanks. After the show I decided to learn more about the cast, which, in short, led me to your wonderful musings and writings.
I have never been married, yet I found myself relating to your words on a profoundly personal level. I too am an early thirty something, who has fallen on unfavorable moments in time and whose life has taken a turn. My life is not how I imagined; then again, I’ve discovered life is always better, worse, and most certainly different than imagined. It was refreshing to discover that I am not alone in my alternate, might I add unplanned path, and struggles in my thirties.
My family and friends, while loving, loyal, and caring, often do not understand the emotions of my current place in life. I would love to fully explain; however, I fear a blog similar to yours would be needed to fully dive into the depths and emotions, as I’m sure you understand. Your comment section is certainly not a space for such a writing. In short, my heart was broken, and I am struggling to find my path forward after graduate school. Further, I managed to herniate two discs in my back. I’m living with family while I heal, and yet like you I don’t know where home resides. It is an illusion along with the path forward. It’s like I’m stuck in quicksand.
In an ironic twist; I found your discussion of religion and biblical quotations comforting. My academic training is within anthropology; though, I was raised within the church. I’ve been blessed to travel the world, and meet peoples of all economic backgrounds, faiths and religions, and the like. It has become difficult for me to believe that one religion is superior to another, and I’ve come to the conclusion that all religions are valid for those who practice them. I’ve also seen all religions practiced, preached, and all to often the hypocrisy of many.
This in part has led me to a spiritual void. It is a void that in many ways has instilled cynicism, drained and disparaged me; perhaps, that is why I found your words comforting. It is clear you are on a path of healing and understanding. The positive nature of your words and hope they instilled was energizing. The hope that one day I may be able to reflect as you have with such a clarity and respect for the process of healing, growth, faith and trust is encouraging. I’m not worried that I will not move forward; I will in time. The space I’m in right now, well its painful and often discouraging that’s all. I’m not broken. I’m just in transition. Something I think you understand.
As you can tell I can be rather verbose, and I almost did not hit send.This six paragraph writing does not begin to explore the thoughts, questions, and emotions that your beautiful words instilled. In truth I didn’t even finish reading your blog; as the more I read the more I felt I was invading your privacy. Ironically it is public. The raw truthful nature of each entry was inspiring and intimidating. In a nutshell, I wanted to thank you for taking the time to share, and let you know I relate and appreciate your writings. If your are up for it I would enjoy conversing about religion and life.