I was done.
I walked away from a life I had built with another man, a life I thought I was supposed to want, a life I thought was appropriate and expected for a girl my age, of my culture, my neighborhood.
I walked away from a marriage that was, according to most, not bad enough to leave.
I think most people thought I was supposed to be satisfied with that.
I think, for a long time, I thought I was supposed to be, too.
He never made my toes curl. He never made my heart flutter. He never took my breath away. But when I met him, he was nice and mature and most importantly at the time, immediately accepted by my family. He was my sister's type. He was my parents' type. I knew, even then, that he was certainly not my type.
As the years went on, I followed the exact blueprint my sister, my cousins, my neighborhood friends all followed: date, college, marriage. Even my wedding looked like everybody else's. And as I neared my mid-twenties, I found myself suffocating. Almost literally. I couldn't breathe. And it wasn't in the good way.
Our marriage wasn't exactly an act. I did not purposely set out to make people think we were perfect. I think, in fact, I set out to make myself think we were perfect. I have finally figured out, just now, that I just could not bear the thought of settling. I couldn't imagine having to spend a lifetime with a man I was not desperately, frighteningly passionate about. And so now I realize that all the years people accused me of pretending that I was happy, I was, in fact, pretending, but not for their sake. For my own.
When I told people I'd left, almost everyone's response was identical: "But why? He was such a nice guy." After a few of these, I regained my balance enough to respond with: "Yeah, I'm pretty nice too." This made people uncomfortable. And at this point, I realized I didn't care that much if people were uncomfortable anymore. I'd spent nearly 9 years uncomfortable. It was time for me to remember who I was, what I wanted, and flip off the world.
So I left.
It was the scariest thing I ever did.
Being brought up by parents who did not let me cross the street (literally), I did not get many opportunities to be brave. I never had too many opportunities to make decisions, especially not difficult ones, so I have never been particularly good at trusting my instincts. This was the only time in my life when I made a decision completely and utterly on my own. I wanted no input from anyone. I didn't want anyone to persuade or reassure me. So I told no one. Until the day I left. And then, all hell broke loose.
I was criticized for wanting too much, for expecting too much, for leaving without having a tangible reason to do so.
Fortunately, as time passed, many things came to light about him and about me that made people understand, much later, that what I had done was the absolute right thing. But then? On that day, 10 years ago today? Even I wasn't so sure that I wasn't a little bit crazy.
It was the best thing I ever did.
Go figure...the one time I made a decision on my own, it worked out. Big-time.
I wasn't sure, then, what kind of life I wanted. I just knew that I didn't want That. I didn't want Him.
Leaving that life behind, I was able to find a new one. New friends. New man. New life. Me, again. It is hard to even remember that girl...who I was for a while, in that marriage, with that person.
It feels like a lifetime ago.