On some days, thirteen years seem like an eternity in a marriage. Other days, the decade plus a few years can beam like the shining sun which rose too early and set too soon. The decisions I made brought me here. I am sitting under a rainbow colored quilt purchased from Target seven years ago. Today, the quilt has stains and rips but it has gained a softer, more soothing comfort due to the repetitive every week washing.
Before the marriage and the commitment, I made other life altering decisions. Each nod or shake of the head was seemingly made out of love. I turned down a scholarship to Ole Miss. I loved a boy. I married him and he made a baby with another lady. He made lots of babies with several other women in the many years that followed. I filed for divorce from my first marriage within four months.
I stayed in my hometown and attended Marshall University. Here, I obtained an undergraduate degree and followed it up with two years in graduate school. I never completed my second degree. Today, I don’t really care if I ever get that second expensive piece of paper. The first and only degree bearing my name resides above my shitter. I get a bill every month for my education. I will probably keep getting that same bill till my hair is white and I have forgotten why those people are sending me that bill. Hopefully, someone will remember to pay it for me when I am too old to know what it is.
Sometimes I look at a recent picture and although I’m smiling, I don’t know what I am smiling about.
I’ve always kept that smile. Most pictures hide my real smile. I don’t like my front teeth. I rarely show them in pictures. My real smile is a wide Julia Roberts horsey kind of smile. That smile, which is mine, is usually accompanied by a belly laugh and quite possibly a snort. Sometimes, I laugh so hard that tears stream down my cheeks and I feel like I can’t catch my breath.
Keep smiling. Keep the hurt hidden.
Under the glow, the roaring laughter, is a vast sea swelling with the previous hurt and the unsuspecting crashing waves of current hurt. Hurt. Hurt. Hurt. Keep smiling. The laugh lines are a reminder that with the bad days will always come new days, some of them happy. Happy, sad, good or bad; these are the days which made me who I am.
Who I am.
Once lost, now found in security. My own safe haven created right here under a rainbow colored quilt.
Once bereaved by never being loved, I’ve learned to love myself. Trust myself. I am foolproof.
Once naive to believe in forever, now residing only in today. Fuck tomorrow.
Once allowing sad tears to bring me to my knees. I stand on my own two feet, firmly. Cowering no more.
Once I was an unsure girl, today a woman has risen. I am completely capable.
It took 30 years, one failed marriage, and several men trying to break me to realize WHO I AM.
EXACTLY PERFECT. PRECISELY WHERE I SHOULD BE. I WAS MADE BECAUSE OF MY YESTERDAYS.
It took a lot of hurt to get me here today. I have a high tolerance to pain, and I don’t believe in medication. I wouldn’t trade one tear for the person I am right now. I wouldn’t trade one bad day for that glimmering smile and my undeniable belly laugh.
I am the real fuckin’ deal.