My ex-boyfriend is getting married.
To a very nice girl. A girl that is head-over-heels crazy about him. A girl who wants more than anything in the world to marry him. And, I should mention, a girl that I am friends with. And this is the part where we all say congratulations! and clap our hands for love, once again, conquering all and bringing people together.
Except lately, I've felt slightly behind in that cheer. Like that person always a measure behind in the song, or a beat too late when everyone is clapping in time.
A friend explained to me once that each year of her life feels as if it simply builds on the other years; builds, but doesn't replace the people we were before. So, in her mind, her 21-year old self still exists, her 5-year old self still exists, her 14-year old self still exists. And they all take up space and crowd for emotions. And, to me, it makes a lot of sense. The times I want to throw a huge fit and fling myself to the ground kicking and screaming and yelling "No! NO! NO!!!"? 3-year old self. Random road trip to California? Definitely 17-year old self.
I think this concept of selves explains a lot of my feelings about this marriage. The 26-year old self is super happy for them and wants nothing but the best. The 15-year old girl that was hopelessly, madly, achingly in love with him? Yeah, not so happy.
I realize this makes me sound slightly schizophrenic, but I think everyone has conflicting emotions from time to time. Times when you've been happy and sad. Times when you've been simultaneously angry and relieved. Dueling emotions, I think, are pretty common and I think they're usually the mind's response to sudden, unanticipated changes. They're what happens before we've had time to sort things out emotionally.
So I've felt slightly conflicted about it. I confess to avoiding Facebook for the past few days in an attempt to not get daily updates about the plans, or pictures of the ring, or whatever. Not because I've wanted anything to be different (I most certainly do NOT), but simply because every time I go to it, I have felt this swell of differing feelings and it's been disconcerting.
Last night my ex called me to give me updates about the wedding plans. He and the fiancee are making a trip out to Utah to hold a celebration with the friends and family here who will probably not make it to the actual ceremony. He wanted to know if they could use my house for the festivities. I have a good house for parties. A huge, flat yard with enough space for a good volleyball game. A beautiful living room with floor to ceiling windows that lend a gorgeous view of the mountains and the valley below. It makes sense to have it at my house. And so I agreed. And in a month and a half, we'll have a party for them here and it will be great, I am certain.
For some reason, this conversation was what I needed to get my emotions straightened out. I think it's because, in some strange way, this party is a way to satisfy all selves. It's a way to prove to myself that I kept my promise to him all those years ago- that I would love him for forever. It was more than a boyfriend thing- during that time period those people (the five of us) were my family and I still consider them thus. It's a way to spread that love over to her and solidify to the world that, in my life, they are now one and the same and, in a sort of Godfather sense, any person of his is a person of mine. It's a gift I can give. It's an affirmation of my long-standing belief that if you love someone, you love them for life. Without fail, that love changes and morphs and becomes something entirely different than you ever thought it would be, but at the end of the day, it's still love. And that's something worth celebrating.
So, with hands clapping synchronously to the beat, I say congratulations! I love you both.