for brian, who's still my partner in doing things differently, who I still love to the moon and back.
"I always tell people it's a bad idea to marry young!" he says, after inquiring about my wedding tattoo and discovering that I'm divorced. "So I guess THAT was a mistake!"
"Nope. Not at all. It was a great idea. We wanted to celebrate our love. We believed in ourselves, each other." I'm a little smug on the subject, to be honest, deflecting so often the assumption that I regret my decision to marry.
"Well now it's gotta suck, doesn't it?!"
"Nah. Not really. We kept it real. Called it what it was when we didn't want each other anymore. Split up so we could stay in love."
"He's a great guy. It didn't end perfectly. It never does. But I wanted him to be happy. And he wanted me to be happy. And we knew it meant breaking up. Hard as fuck, but it's how we still love each other. We're not together, slowly making each other miserable."
"So it was a mutual break? That easy?"
"Uhh, not exactly..."
The conversation continues. Confusion ensues. In the end, we land here:
"Dude, basically, when you go all in, you get a lot of results. Wonderful, hard, easy, scary, memorable, human results. When you go half way, you get a lot of regrets. Anxious, unsettled, wishful, mournful regrets. We married. We divorced. We celebrated. We grieved. We both moved on. Faster than we would've if we were still half-assing our way through shit, too afraid to be real with ourselves and each other about our honest-to-god desires. I feel seriously accomplished to be 26 and divorced. Like...YEAH, BABY--GOT THAT UNDER MY BELT!"
We chuckle. "Better you than me."
"Psssh. Better this than that."
"I'll take results over regrets any day."
"But a lot of them suck."
"But nothing lasts forever, either way."
"I dunno, girl. I couldn't deal with the shame... my family, my community, everyone there as I make this huge promise. And then telling them I failed?"
"So you'd rather never go for anything?"
"Not the shit I'm not sure of."
"No one gets married thinking they're gonna get divorced. I thought I was sure. Shit happens. Nothing's sure."
"HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THAT?"
"ONE CIGARETTE AT A TIME. Just kidding. I basically slept for a year."
"I don't have time for that."
"Yeah. There's not a lot of societal space to be a really alive human in this world. But then again, it's possible. You just have to stop worrying about looking good. And then you start developing all kindsa crazy faith... Start discovering that having the rug pulled out from under you doesn't actually kill you. It's weird and relieving."
"But how do you know that you'll get your shit back together?"
"You don't. You just HOPE. Or you just STOP HOPING and see what happens. It's really fucking humbling."
"OH MY GOD, YOU'RE TRIGGERING ALL OF MY SHIT."
"Oh my god, you're the best, I love you, let's hug."