It’s been awhile since I have actually sat down and wrote.
The book I have been adding to is a complete mess as I began writing it before the walls of my life came crashing in. I’m sure if I actually sat down and wrote everything out it would probably be a best seller.
It has all the elements of a great book.
Seeing that I have taken nearly every step to avoid even thinking about what happened, it seems stupid to write it down and relive it.
There is a story in it though. It’s about ghosts. Ghosts that haunt you every single second of the day.
This week the ghosts weren’t just haunting me, but screaming at me.
I had spent Friday night shooting a wedding with my ex-husband. Now I say ‘ex-husband’ loosely. The fact that we haven’t filed any papers yet to make that official is kind of strange. When asked why we haven’t started the process I point out that I skydive now and there isn’t a shadow of a doubt that I will at some point need more medical care than I have ever needed in my past. There hasn’t been a time that I landed my chute and haven’t fucked something up. Toes, fingers, tail bones. Nothing is spared when falling from the sky at 120 miles per hour and then trying to land a massive canopy with no formal training. I say formal and I mean something more than, “flare here and you’ll be fine.”
This wedding was a lot nicer than I had expected. It was near by and who ever decorated it did a good job. It wasn’t over the top like some that I have shot. My ex-husband and I have this lame after-you-left-me-for-someone-else ritual that we seem to do. I get there after he does. He meets me at the car to carry the enormous case I have for the camera gear. He says I look nice, which is always taken with a grain of salt, because his new girl friend is a marathon runner and dresses nicer than both of us ever could muster. “thanks.” I mutter as I try to find the reserve to not punch in the throat and call him a cheating douchebag. After we get our gear hidden away he shows me all the places he scouted out for pictures. I half listen and go find my bride. She always looks beautiful. Her girlfriends are always beautiful. Everyone is so happy.
The wedding I shot alone a couple weekends before, I was expecting to not be able to do without wanting to strangle myself with my neck strap. It turns out when my ex-husband isn’t there, i’m not nearly as stressed out. It was one of the most awesome weddings I had been to. It snowed, it rained, the sun was out, the bride wore a short dress, the groom was a complete jokester. I loved it. Best wedding so far. When it was over, I told the bride that she had something that no other wedding has had so far…every single weather condition.
The wedding this past weekend seemed to hit me in a place I wasn’t ready to face. The ghosts were there and they were working double time.
During the wedding, the part I don’t listen to is the vows. I mean, really…I could now write a book entitled, “The Cynical Wedding Photographer” and the first chapter will talk about how I do everything in my power not to snort during the vows and roll my eyes when the words say, “For better, for worse. In sickness and in health. Forsaking all others.” are muttered by the minister. I should get a tip for not grunting, “Yeah, right…you buy that and I have a bridge I’d like to sell ya!”
Now I just walk away and find something else to do until it comes to the exchanging of the rings. This part is even a joke, but it makes for beautiful pictures. Sliding on that most precious ring.
I’ve actually thought of writing the book and this chapter would be titled, “Girls, pick an ugly ring that you hate. That way in 3 years when you find out he’s fucking the office whore and you have to remove that ring, it won’t hurt so much.”
During the reception, we have our rituals here too. He goes one way and I go another. Wow, that sort of sounded like how our marriage turned out. Anyway, we sometimes meet up in the middle and exchange cute things we saw. Now I shoot him daggers while the best man talks about ‘how when so-in-so met his new bride they knew it would be forever’ because I am reminded of how his son stood up and gave an awesome speech at our wedding and how my daughter brought the place to tears when she talked about how much she loved her step dad and we would always be a family.
Normally I don’t even hear the music. This last wedding I heard the song he had chosen for his parents to dance to our wedding. It was paying homage to a marriage that has stood the test of time and distance. It ripped my heart out and try as I might to avoid it, the tears came. Never did I imagine as we watched his parents dance that 2 and half short years later, I wouldn’t even talk to them anymore. The fear of hearing a single thing about his new life and family has kept me from calling to see if they are okay. It seems harsh, but hearing his dad would probably do me in. I remember times when Shaun and I were in the middle of a rough patch that I would think about just giving up and I would think of how much I loved every single person in his family and I would see his dad’s smiling face and I was reminded that every marriage has it’s bad times and it’s sometimes easy to take the easy road, but in the end when you get to wake up to your next best friend every morning and you’re promised to laugh through the tears.
Near the end of the wedding, they played another song and the whole crowd joined in the singing of it. The bride was very animated as she sang to her new husband. He looked at with all the love in the world. At that moment, no on in the world existed but her and her adorable singing. She laughed at him and he pulled her close and then looked at her again as to make sure she was really there, really his. He laughed and smiled and sang along with her.
That was the part that I realized I don’t think I have ever been as happy as those two people on the dance floor were at that moment.
The ghosts led me out the door to the chairs that were still sitting on the lawn from the ceremony and I let it out. I cried. I cried for the loss of my best friend. I cried because no matter how much I can hope to love again, I will always walk around with the ghosts that he left me with. The insecurities of who I am and what I have to offer. The feeling that I can’t ever shake…that I am just not enough.
I drove home too fast that night on a road that should be given a lot more respect than I showed it. I rounded a corner going too fast and the fear of losing control of the car ripped away all the pain I was feeling. My head was straight again. I slowed the car down enough to still feel the electricity of speed, but able to control it.
When I got home, the girls were excited to see me and they were goofing around. Instead of joining in like I normally do, I snapped. “NOT TONIGHT!” The ghosts didn’t want me to end the misery I had been in…they were enjoying me as I twisted every day of my eight years with Shaun wondering at what point exactly it went so horribly wrong.
People always tell you when you’re in this situation, “It wasn’t your fault. This is something HE did.”
The reality though is it doesn’t matter who is right or wrong in a situation like this.
You can sit and point fingers, “Well, I wouldn’t have done this if you had done this.” all day long. The person that was done wrong, will not only feel like shit because of what was done to them…but wonder at what exactly was the thing that drove the other person into someone elses arms? Was it the way I looked. Did I dress wrong? Was my hair too short, too long, too dark, too light? Was it the new tv show I started watching or was it because I blinked too often? There isn’t a damn thing that I still don’t wonder about. Nothing is left unthought of.
The next day I promised to not let the night before bother me. A friend and I packed up the kids and took them on an adventure. The one thing that I have found that clears my mind. Getting in the car with a destination in mind, getting lost or enjoying the unexpected traffic jam.
The ghosts followed me there too. The ghosts will follow you to all the places you had gone to with the person that left you.
I would like to end this with some sort of ‘i’m doing better now, and I am working on getting rid of my ghosts and I am going to be fine’ but tonight I just don’t feel like I can.
I have a few ghosts sitting next to me telling me that I need hide, run, go, flee. My chest hurts from the fear of rejection even when I’m not being rejected. My heart feels like it’s going to stop when I think about allowing anyone in.