I took a deep breath. "I'm scared." I said.
The moonlit reflection of the jacuzzi water cast gentle ripples over Nick's concerned face.
Our deposits had been made and we were only twelve-hours out from our official venue walk-through.
Between the heat of the hot tub, what I'd just said and the pressure of this only and final weekend trip to Maui to plan our summer wedding, I was feeling pretty dizzy. Yet I knew, even in this giant exposure of vulnerability (even to myself) that I needed to communicate; It's what Nick and I do best.
"Scared of what, specifically?" He asked quietly.
I looked up at the stars. It seemed so wildly ironic that I was sitting in the same place I'd been a million times, probably having wished upon the same stars as a dreamy little girl for a prince like Nick. It felt mystically supportive that I'd be here at Mu, my childhood home I was so graciously invited to stay at by the new owners for my big wedding preparation visit. I wondered if I felt so brave to share because I was at Mu, or because Mu called me back to show me my truth, the way it always did.
How is this me? The same girl who's been known to say, "I'd give it all for love." The same girl who's wanted this her whole life. The same girl who hysterically sobbed, "YES!" when he kneeled down on one knee in Miami.
How is it that I'm now wondering if this is right? If this is true love?
I could barely answer his question. I didn't really know, and this fear felt hard to look at. My eyes pleaded with his for comfort.
"I'm scared too." He said after a long silence.
A strange wave of relief washed over me. My inner teen furrowed her brow and dropped her jaw in disbelief at my security. I felt her frantically searching all my darkest crevices for the insecure, obsessive, anxious girl I once was. All that were left were the faded scars. I realized she was gone.
Back in California, we shuffled from parents' house to parents' house, trying to cram in all of our long-distance visits in a jam-packed three-month window. It was not only our first year being engaged, but it was also our first year living out of the state and country. The overwhelm was real.
After a whirlwind trip to visit my parents in Vegas, we found ourselves back in the car. With no true space to call our own, we found ourselves on the road a lot. That was our safe space. Our private space. Our us space.
It was dusk already, we were exhausted, and we had a four hour drive ahead of us. The silence of our little container was pregnant with unspoken words and underdeveloped thoughts. It'd been just a few weeks since our Maui trip and between the lack of space and the fear of the feelings we had, not much had progressed. We knew we needed to talk about it all, and we knew this was one of our best chances.
"Want me to go first?" Nick said finally.
"What if we postponed?" He said softly with long pauses between his words.
We both howled with tears the whole way home because we always feel the same way about everything. Even now.
Why is something so easy so hard? I thought as I wept into my pillow that night.
Over the next month, our historically stable relationship oscillated between complete doubt and painful cries to assured confidence and romance. We were on a horrifying, unpredictable roller coaster with no idea how it would end. But we held each other through every loop, drop and climb; And even when we thought we'd fly completely off the tracks.
There was hardly a moment where we raised our voices, hardly a harsh word exchanged and never a moment we didn't try. Trying was the easiest part. Trying was an absolute given.
One of the beautiful parts of Nick and my relationship is that none of us bring an ego. We respect each other too much. We care about each other more than our own self-images.
We gave ourselves one month to make the final call on the postponement. We prioritized our togetherness and communication, while staying completely aware and attentive to our individual needs. Nick started therapy and meditating with me daily. I continued mine.
My inner child that only knew yelling, inflation and escalation watched us with safety and gratitude. My inner teen that only knew compulsion and insecurity watched us with wide eyes with admiration. I watched us with mindfulness, kindness, patience and courage.
We watched ourselves and each other shift and grow before our very eyes. We found a balance between surrender and acceptance, and effort and devotion. There was no more idealism. There was no more denial. There was no more rigidity in a picture-perfect love, story or timeline. There was only what was and what is. We stepped into a maturity I didn't even know existed, let alone could've imagined would be beautiful. But it was beautiful.
On our final day to make a decision, Nick kissed me with teary eyes as he woke up. "I want you to know that I love you and I want this. I know we have until the end of the day, so we'll take that time, but I just want you to know where I stand. I'm ready. There is no one else I'd rather do this with."
I smiled softly. I knew it was true. I'd always known this was true.
I took the day to myself to meditate, breathe and listen. At the eleventh hour, I set a timer for twelve minutes and let my pen glide across the pages of my journal, holding nothing back.
"I want to be chosen. I want to be chosen. I want to be chosen. I want to be chosen." I wrote as the timer went off.
"I want to be chosen." I said out loud. "I want to choose."
In the face of all fear, I wanted to be chosen. In the face of all fear, I want to choose.
It wasn't time, my heart knew. We weren't ready.
Nick and I sat down that night to discuss our official decision to move forward with the wedding.
"I want to postpone." I said confidently this time.
I watched Nick's eyes as they moved through shock, sadness, compassion and understanding. Always understanding. We held each other in the utmost respect, love and understanding.
We walked through the balmy night to move through the nerves accumulated from our talk and final decision. Both of us raw and full of grace. We sat on a see-saw in a little park down the road and cried tears of admiration and gratitude.
"I love you." We said.
"There's no one else I'd rather do this with." I said.
I could tell you that Nick wanted to elope because he's such a low-key introvert and this big wedding vision was giving him a heart attack. I could tell you that all the COVID-19 mandates in Hawai'i were getting so outrageously restrictive that we were losing our marbles trying to keep up, while trying to save our dream wedding from getting completely altered. I could tell you that uninviting 100 people from our wedding to find a middle ground between Nick's ideal wedding and mine caused tension between family members. I could tell you that living fifteen hours away from our wedding destination was a lot to handle. I could tell you that we moved seven times last year and only had a home base for three months and it took a mental and emotional toll on us.
And it'd all be true.
But what's truer is that we weren't ready.
And that's what we honored.
And to us, that feels like true love.
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