A Bit of Going Back Before I Go Forward (or Nice Is Different Than Good...)

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When one makes a mistake one is allowed to fix it.


There is a reason there are erasers on pencils.

That there is a delete key on keyboards.

Command Z (undo) on Macs'.

White out for paper.

But if one makes a mistake in getting married? If one hadn't a CLUE what one was getting into?


You made your bed; now lie in it.


I was almost 18 years old when I met K___.

Almost 18 years old is very not old.

I was one of the more messed up and confused almost 18 year olds you would've ever met.

Looking back on myself then, from where and who I am now, is surreal. Other than my general rotundity and clumsiness I'm a very different person.

Myself at almost 18 was a hurting, scared, tired, self-medicating, work-a-holic. One of my defense mechanisms was lying. It gave me a sense of control. I couldn't control the situations around me but I could control, I thought, what people could do to me. It was a sad, scary time in my life. My mother's death when I was 13 shook my world so much that I never got a handle on life for a long time after it.

Looking back now my siblings and I needed some serious counseling and deep, deep love. Instead we were sort of left to our own devices. Our father was severely depressed, losing his wife and best friend at the age of 35 (my mom was 36 when she died), with four children from ages 13 to 4 years old to care for, one with Downs Syndrome, left him utterly incapable of giving us the love and assurance we so desperately needed. This is not a slight towards my father. He did the best he could. Now, as an adult, I can look back on that time with so much more grace and understanding but, at the time, I was not so forgiving. There were times he was so hurting and depressed he couldn't keep a job and so it was the money I made working at various restaurants (First job was at McDonald's inside a Wal-Mart. Gag.) and my sister, Erin's, money made from babysitting jobs, that kept us afloat. The church that my family had been a part of for years growing up did a great job helping us out for the first few months after my mom's death but then, after a while, life took hold, and people began to forget and move on. Again, as an adult I get that. But oh lawd did we ever feel abandoned. There was no one to help us kids and, dare I say my father, walk through the grief and shock of losing the most wonderful woman ever so so quickly.

Wow. Even typing this out is hard. The swirl of emotions and hurt that begin to surface...

It was a dark, dark time.

There is so much more to this part of my life that I could write about (Maybe one day I'll have the courage to write it all out fully) but the reason I've shared this much is to help you get somewhat of an understanding of why I grew into such a confused and depressed teenager.

And why K___ was so attractive.

K___ grew up in a suburb of Atlanta with two very nice parents who had very nice jobs and lived in a very nice house with 3 or 4 nice cars and he and his siblings each had their own very nice rooms and went to very nice schools and generally everything was very, very nice. He was, in a way, the black sheep of the family in that he was a musician, a bass player, and had grown his hair long and wore odd clothes and was deeply immersed in the Christian music scene when I met him. He was going to college, but failing, and didn't really have a job and was living with his parents. This would prove to be a pattern later but there was no way I could know it then.

He was 23 when I met him in a band he was in that was looking for a lead singer. I showed up for the audition, they liked me and asked me to join. Then I found out they were a Christian band. Not only were they a Christian band they were a Christian RAP band. Not only were they a Christian rap band they were a Christian rap band I had seen once and made FUN of.


I liked Christians. I considered myself to be one. I did not, however, like the music they made. I joined anyway, flattered that they liked my voice and song writing style and drawn to the sense of community that I so desperately longed for.

It would be a short lived band. Five months later we would go our separate ways except that K___ and I had developed a budding romance. A budding romance that turned into love. He was my first kiss and made me feel good about myself. Me, the bungling, depressed, goofy girl that I was. K___ was a very handsome man and very nice. He walked with me through a mental breakdown and put up with the slow dismantling of the lies I had built around me. When he proposed to me a little before my 20th birthday I said yes. Because that's what one is supposed to do when someone so kind and nice proposes.

You love me enough to want to marry me? REALLY? No one has loved me in a long time. Very well, I'll take that, thank you.

Eight months later, two weeks before our wedding, as we were sitting in the car in a TGIFriday's parking lot, I told him that I couldn't marry him.

It was while inside the restaurant, an hour earlier, that the realization hit me. I remember I had been doing a little puppet show for him with the salt and pepper shakers.

"Hey there Salty, I think you make food taste better sometimes. But not on cookies. On cookies you're gross!"

"Oh yeah? Well you're gross on cookies, TOO."

I looked up at him and thought,

This man is not my friend.

He's nice. He's kind. But we're not friends.

I don't find him remotely interesting at all.

I feel like I'm just entertainment for him.

But he's been through so much with me.

He loves me.

This all went through my head in a split second and I tried to dismiss it. Pushed my meal around my plate, made jokes about the decor, excused myself to the restroom where I stared in the mirror panicked at my realization, came back and sat down, sang the praises of the ice cream in the dessert...

Just don't think about it, Meghan. Just don't think about it and it will go away. Just be very still.

As though I was trying not to throw up.

In the car, though, out it came.

"I can't marry you!"

He was shocked. He was hurt. He cried. He pleaded with me. Said that I just had cold feet. Said that he loved me. Reminded me of all the people who were coming, all of the preparations that had been made, the dress that I had had made to resemble my mother's wedding gown, the cake we picked out, again all the PEOPLE. All the people who were coming.

I felt terrible then.

I acquiesced.

That was when I made my mistake. That was when I let my fear of what other people would think of me dictate my decision. I tell you now that every decision I look back on with regret have been the ones I have made when I was worried about what people would think.

I told myself I was being ungrateful, that women would love to be in my shoes, about to get married to a nice, handsome, kind man. That finally I was going to be taken care of. Someone was going to take care of me. The fact that he loved me would be enough.

And so, in March of 1999, I got married. It was a lovely day. A lovely wedding.

Six months later I would write in my journal,

"I made the biggest mistake of my life and I don't know what to do. There's no one I can tell."

Six months after that, two weeks before my one year anniversary, I found out that I was pregnant. I was ecstatic. I wrapped myself up in the coming arrival of a whole new person and dug in my heels.

In October of 2000, a month after my 22nd birthday, Phoenix Dorian was born and my life exploded with joy. I would endure anything for this child. I would die for this child. Any misgivings about his father were pale in comparison to what I would do for Phoenix.

There was no going back now. My bed was well and truly made, and slept in, and the sheets rumpled.

{to be continued...}

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