It's a heavy thing to put on, a wedding dress. Fabric down to the floor. Especially when the idea that dress belonged to was, long ago, typed up as Irretrievably Broken.
“How do you feel?” says Mike, holding his camera from a distance.
“Terrified,” I say. A sense of being displaced in time, like falling asleep in your bed—and then waking up in the house where you grew up. Why do I pass over the same memories, the same places?
But I’m resolved, I’m cutting away the things that hold me back, the things that no longer serve me. We can take out the garbage, be reborn, have courage, breathe deeply, live.
I had this plan, constructed from when I was a little girl, about how to grow up, do it perfectly. I planned so hard that I lied about how much I wanted love. But I do want it, love, the kind that’s unconditional and messy and doesn't require negotiation or meted approval.
But it means you have to be scared sometimes, do it out loud. It means his face in the first light of morning will be so beautiful that it will make your heart ache. Or that sometimes you'll start crying at the dinner table and you won't be able to say why and he will just pick you up and hold you so close, closer than you've been held maybe ever or at least since you used to be burped by your mother and she thought you were the most fragile and tender thing she'd ever seen and he'll say I'm here I'm here I'm here, baby I'm here. It means that you can step into your own orb, radiant and curious and desirable—and know that, if you looked, but you won’t, he, in this, and the balance of all the other small moments, was paying attention.
I am worthy, that’s what’s true. I'm imagining the woman I will become, I'm standing on the work I've invested in myself and I'm breathing deeply and I'm ascending.
There's love and belonging and it's right here and we're worthy of it, all of it, and more. You can be, you must be, better than you ever thought possible.
I dream of racing SavageMan again. I dream of feeling my husband’s hands on my pregnant belly. I dream of a girl who will slam her door shut and I’ll say, it’s ok, I’ll just be here when you’re ready; connected through the door frame and the love of a man and the breath of an Om.
I dream of Thanksgiving where we pull all the tables together and there's the drum of kids' feet and a dog's licking my toes under the table and Dad says Oh bother and is there more cranberry sauce and can someone get another bottle of wine and where's Shasta now is she peeing and whose toys are all over the floor and my sister cups my elbow in her palm and she leans her cheek toward me and someone climbs up in my lap and someone's talking about how we've made food so cheap but what about all those bees and bats and someone interrupted and someone's laughing and I didn't hear the joke but it's funny just the same and someone dropped their fork and Dad bangs his knees and says Oh bother again.
(Photo: Mike Olliver)