Today I went to a bridal store for a dress fitting. Yes, that looks as weird to me as it probably sounds to you. No, I’m not getting married. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m producing the Bridal Guide that the newspaper will be printing next week. I started it around the same time that Mr. Blue Eyes and I broke up. Divine timing? Cosmic joke? All of the above.
I needed pictures of someone trying on a wedding dress for the Guide, so I kidnapped a young woman who works at the paper (who also happens to be teeny-tiny and gorgeous, so I knew she’d look great in photos!) and took her to the bridal store that’s 45 minutes north.
Nerma was a great sport about it – she’s still in college and has no plans to get married any time soon. She was the perfect person to take on this adventure.
I was nervous about walking into the store and looking at dresses – I didn’t know how I’d feel about it. But we had such a good time! It was really fun to talk to the sales woman, watch Nerma try on the different dresses (she put on four), and take pictures. The first gown that Nerma put on was incredibly beautiful… it looked like it was made for her. The others – well, let’s just say they weren’t her style. The last one was a whole lotta dress for such a small girl and she said she felt like she was “drowning” in it.
At the end of the day, I had a phone session with the amazing Ken Kizer. As I talked about how much it hurts to have to let go of a relationship that I’d had so much hope for, he said something amazing to me. (I transcribed this from a recording of our conversation…)
“Most children go through an experience of betrayal by their parents. A lot of times we swear we’ll never let that happen again. What that does is prevent us from intimacy. So many people go around trying to protect themselves from that kind of pain, which means they’re never really available for true love.
So part of the healing then is to let your heart break. Just explode into a million little bitty pieces and then have the experience of noticing that it really didn’t kill you. It didn’t take away your ability to love. It didn’t take away anything important about yourself. The sense of confidence and strength that will come out of this is priceless.
There’s no other way I know to get there except to go through it – the whole way through it. Stare the pain and fear in the eyes and be okay anyway.”
Going through this experience of heartbreak hasn’t been easy, and I know that it will continue to take time. What I’m committed to is doing the grieving now – and doing it as fully as I know how – so that when it’s done, it’s DONE and I don’t carry it into future relationships.
Here’s the blessing of doing the Bridal Guide in the midst of heartbreak – it’s making it very clear to me how much I DO want a commitment. It’s something I’ve played around the edges of, but never let myself get fully invested in. Now I know. I won’t go into a relationship just to get married, and I wouldn’t do it with just anybody that asked. But when that right person comes along, I now understand that this is important to me.
And someday it will be fun to be the girl standing on the little podium in the bridal store trying on dresses.