Almost eleven years ago, I made a decision to commit my life to someone else's, and get married. I was twenty at the time, and thought I knew exactly what I wanted. I was going to be someone's wife, and raise a family, and it was going to be my most important achievement in life. I would be the wife who made breakfast in the morning, packed my husband and children's lunches with little love notes, and had dinner on the table, when everyone came home from their day. I would be the one who organized birthday parties, baked pies for holidays, and kept house. I was going to be the wife and mother who had everything under control.
What I didn't realize, is at the age of twenty, it was all an illusion. There was more to being a wife and mother than I had bargained for. My husband and stepson had their own personalities, which were things I didn't have control over. They had needs I hadn't calculated into my plan, and I had stepped into a role before I really knew who I was, or what I needed. It was as if I had taken the job for a big movie before I ever read the script.
By the time I was twenty five, I was completely and utterly confused, living my day to day life in this role of wife and stepmother, and in my moments alone, questioning whether this was the life I was meant to lead. In my gut, I felt as if I was living a lie, but I couldn't figure out exactly what the lie was. I loved my husband and stepson, and wanted to be happy for the life I had created, but often felt alone, in the dark, and wondered how I had ended up where I was. I simply couldn't figure out how I could be so unhappy in the "happiness" I had created.
When things started to fall apart in my marriage, I was quick to blame anyone but myself. I didn't know how to take responsibility for my own unhappiness, my own sadness, my own frustration. It was easier to point the finger at my husband, or money, or anything but myself. I told myself over and over that "it wasn't me." And then I realized it WAS me. I was the one who wasn't satisfied. I was the one who was unhappy. I was the one who wanted something other than this life I had created. I was the one who had lied to myself all these years, and told myself I was straight. But the truth is, I wasn't. I was a gay woman, married to a straight man.
When I finally realized what it was that had been eating me alive, the sadness and confusion quickly morphed into guilt. How could I do this to my husband? How could I do this to my stepson? To my family? To myself? How could I have been so clueless that I hadn't figured this out about myself before? How was I going to fix this? How could I make this go away?
At first, I told myself it was a phase, I'd grow out of it. Then I thought maybe I would just keep it a secret, and no one would need to find out. Then I realized if I did those things, I would just be more unhappy, more sad, and more confused. And so I told my husband. I sat crying on our recliner, apologizing for who I was, and what I was about to do to our family. After I finally got my admission out, he took my hands and told me it was okay. Everything was going to be okay. I was going to be okay. He and my stepson would be okay. I could see the hurt in his eyes, but I could also see the love.
We divorced just before my 26th birthday, and our sixth anniversary. When we went to the courthouse to finalize the divorce, he held me in his arms and told me the exact same thing he had said the night I confessed. "We are all going to be okay. You might not see it now, but you will." Nearly six years has passed since I divorced and came out, and there have been many bumps in the road. But his words still hold true. Everything is okay.