On Learning To Trust Myself And Pump The Brakes


If you look very closely, straight to the back of my eyes, past all of the makeup and fake lashes you can see it. Plain as day, immortalized in time, in the gorgeous autumn wedding photos.

I knew it wasn’t a good idea.

I was a beautiful bride. A bizarre-world version of myself, but still a beautiful bride. Tanned (because you have to, the dress is white and you’re white! You’ll wash right out), bejeweled in SO many rhinestones from head to toe, fake nails, a big poofy wedding dress (that, for the record – I did not pick out. “OH MY GOD, THIS IS THE ONE” was declared before I even saw a mirror) and a bad case of pneumonia. Every time I took a deep breath I coughed like a two pack a day smoker.

You know when you’re a kid and you’re about to bail on your bike? I did it a lot, but this one time sticks out to me. It was the first ride on my brand new hot pink and black Huffy bike – the first one I’d ever had with hand brakes. I was riding down the sidewalk and our across the street neighbor was mowing the lawn and he backed into the sidewalk to re-adjust his mower and I was coming at him, fast and furious – handlebar tassels waving behind me. I started panicking, furiously jamming my pedals back but oh my god, my brakes weren’t working (of course they weren’t…they didn’t work that way) and I knew I was going to plow right into this guy.

There was nothing I could do and he didn’t see me and I hit him, straight on and I fell straight to the pavement. I saw the whole thing happen three or four times before it happened – and then it happened almost exactly how I had pictured it in the slow-mo pre-disaster film reel in my mind. But yet, it still happened.

He yelled and was a total monster about it (I WAS NINE! AND ADORABLE!) and within minutes I began berating myself for not using my “big girl” brakes. How was I so stupid to have not used them in the moment? It was so clear, just pull them back and boom! I’m safe. But, when it was happening and I knew it was happening there was literally no solution presented to me. Just crashing into that dick with the mower.

This is the same feeling I had at my wedding. I mean, it was gorgeous and fun but the whole time I was having a completely out of body experience. Partially induced by the pneumonia meds, but a lot of it was how I was truly feeling. I knew I was going to end this marriage. I could see it. Frame by frame playing out in front of me. But while the planning was happening and the dress was being fit and my EIGHT bridesmaids hurried around me like Cinderella’s mice I never once thought to pull the hand brakes.

I spun my legs around a few times, believe me. Cold feet, tired, stressed all of those things were suggested as possible reasons for me not being OVER THE MOON about legally binding myself to one person for the rest of my life – someone I knew that I’d outgrown.

Someone who didn’t make me happy. Someone who I didn’t make happy.

And, two years later when the bike of our marriage finally collided with the mean man with the lawn mower aka our separation, it was exactly how I thought it would be. Shitty. And lonely, but only for a little while, because I knew that I was ready to use the big girl brakes.