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Confessions From the Past

The Chapter About Marriage


There are a lot of things I need to say. To a lot of people, really, and not you. You know how I feel/felt. But I’m not ready for that just yet and you seem as good a listener as any right now so bare with me. I know this is not the most enjoyable memory to return to. Feel free to skip ahead to the good stuff, where we’ve figured all this shit out already.

When I’d first made the move to Music City for the Really Hard Three Month Long Music Program Where They Make You Do Push Ups If You Mess Anything Up, they’d taken us to meet several important music industry people. While all my new peers swooned at the power and talent these people held (or so we had been told they held), all I could notice was one thing. One teeny tiny thing that each one of them had in common. One place where my mind drifted every time I looked at each of their left hands.

Why were they not married?

It was the only thing I thought about each time we met someone new and saw their ringless fingers and the only question I had at the end of every lecture they’d each given. They were all at least in their 40s! Was marriage just something they never wanted? Had they recently gone through a divorce? Had they never loved at all?! I needed to know!

Finally, one brave soul must’ve felt my extreme inquisitiveness from across the room because she asked, “I see you aren’t wearing a ring. Are you married?”


This particular man said simply, “No. I chose my career over a marriage and I have no regrets with that.”

…Sorry, WHAT? You chose working all day every day in an insane, sneaky industry over having someone love and cuddle you at night? Ha, no THANK you!

He must’ve been crazy, I thought to myself. He must’ve been lying. He must’ve just had his heart broken and not wanted to talk about it. He must’ve been rejected 150x or something. Who chooses work over love?

It’s only been a few months since that day but I can’t say things haven’t changed drastically since then.

“I just don’t understand why you don’t want to get married. All I ever wanted to be was a wife,” your best friend said to you last night over some ice cream.

‘Easy for you to say,’ I thought to myself. ‘You’re getting married next month.’

And then the next sentence, “If you don’t mind, I’m going to call him for a little bit to check in with him.”

It wasn’t the first time she’d had to ‘check in with him’ while we were hanging out. It seemed mandatory with everyone but I, in specific, was a bad influence on her. Or so I had been told.

‘Sure,’ I thought. ‘It’s only been an hour since the two of you have seen each other, why not?’

He responded by telling her he wanted to speak ONLY to her, only if she was ALONE and that if she wasn’t she should just call back tomorrow because he was going to get some sleep so I took her back to her place so they could talk.

And then, as I drove away, it all came boiling up again, as it often does now. In what world should a relationship dictate every move you make? Love isn’t something that means calling the shots for the other person and making them feel as if they’d done something wrong when they haven’t matched up to your expectations. Love isn’t distancing yourself from OTHER people you love in order to make your significant other happy. Love isn’t manipulating the situation to get what you want out of it. And it sure as hell isn’t accepting all these tactics because you care for someone and have agreed to bargain your own dreams and happiness for theirs.

You wanted to scream this at the top of your lungs at her; that she deserves more, that she can do better! That she should be with someone who matches her own kindness and creativity and little quirks!

And then you stopped. And you cried. And you got your stomach in one of it fits.

And realized that there are plenty of people who would say the same thing to you at this exact moment in time.

The phrase ‘I’m not ready’ can mean a number of things. It can mean ‘I’m not finished putting on my lipstick, damn it, hold on!’ It can mean ‘I’m too scared, I can’t!’ It can mean ‘I don’t want to do that just yet.’ Or it can mean ‘It’s not the right time. And I’m afraid it never will be.’

As I write this, you are 23 years old, just had a birthday. You’re in the process of applying for jobs near your long term boyfriend, two hours away. You make the drive once a week to go see him for two days; the two days a week he has off and that you’ve made sure to schedule your three current jobs around. He often challenges you that this time together is not enough and that you should quit your jobs to spend more time with him and be at his apartment when he gets home from work every day. He wants to get married right now and move in together and doesn’t understand why you don’t feel the same. You’ve told him that you want a job of your own and not just to depend on him for the rest of your life. That you have dreams too and don’t understand why he feels the need to be married right away. That just because you’re still chasing your dreams and not settling for a job at McDonalds doesn’t mean you don’t love him.

He thinks you’re choosing work over him. Over marriage. Over love. And suddenly you feel like all those important music industry people without rings on their fingers. The truth is, you still want to get married. You still think choosing a career over being in love is crazy. But why can’t you have both?

What I think you’d tell me right now, Future Self, is that it’s okay to want to be more than just someone’s wife. You’ve always wanted more than that. Your dreams are obtainable and you’re doing a great job taking steps to get to them and being patient. You do not have to choose to spend every free second you have with one person and one person only and you do not have to get married to someone just because they tell you it’s what you want. You are allowed to be hurt and you are allowed to express how you feel and you are allowed to be confused. You are not ready to get married to this person, even though you love them with every fiber of your being.

Because it’s not the right time. And I’m afraid it never will be.