I’ve had two weddings, but only one marriage. My first wedding was to the guy who has the antique mirror and necklace; I should just call him Mirror Guy. I didn’t love him and I can’t tell you what I was doing with him because it feels like another lifetime and because I was in a fog, but I can say I was coming off of some of the darkest times of my life, and that I was very young and totally lost. I’d been in that damaging victim mentality for too many years, blaming other people for my poor choices and behavior, numbing out, denying, running. I wasn’t an awful person or anything, I’ve always been kind, I was just lost. You know the syndrome, right? I am this way because this happened, and then that happened, and then this other thing happened, so when you leave the room, I think you’re leaving for good and that’s why I’m not eating dinner. As if that makes sense. This thing that should have happened did not, so I have fear that no one will love me, and nothing good will happen, so I’m just going to sleepwalk, okay? Because I don’t know how to do the awake, I’m going to take responsibility for the way my life unfolds thing yet, so if you want to marry me, sure. Sounds good. Or something like that. And of course I thought I loved him or I wouldn’t have worn the Cinderella tulle dress and gotten myself to the beach club on time. But you can’t love if you’re sleeping. You can stick your arms out in the darkness and hope you run into something good. But you probably won’t. If you’re in darkness, you’re most likely going to fall in a ditch and break something. Like your heart. Or your ability to keep sleeping. Something will give, that’s for sure. Nor can you see that the person you’re about to marry is incapable of telling the truth or being honorable or kind, or of loving you in any capacity at all. I should have known because he told me he was separated when we started dating, but actually he wasn’t and it took two years to sort it out. And somehow I became fixated on that, and never realized I didn’t love him, and it would have been just fine if he’d stayed married to that other woman, thanks very much. And it’s not like there weren’t signs. I begged for signs. Do you realize if you’re asking for signs that’s a sign? I didn’t.
I have to share about the signs because it’s comical. I’m going to the store to try on dresses with my mom, and she has to wait in the car because I’m throwing up. I’m throwing up. Nauseated at the thought of buying a dress to marry the man who turned out to be Mirror Guy. And I can’t get the song, “You Don’t Know Me” out of my head for weeks. And the morning of the wedding it is sunny and gorgeous and I think, “At least that’s good.” Because we are getting married on a deck overlooking the water. In front of 250 people, most of whom I’ve never met. And at 4pm the sky turns black. I’m not exaggerating. Black, and pouring. Torrential rain so thick it sounded like someone was an inch over the roof of the minivan with a thousand power-hoses. Frogs dropping from the sky would not have surprised me. Oh, and the minivan. My wedding party left in the limo I was supposed to be in, because the makeup artist wanted to do me last so my makeup was fresh, but she ran so late, they had to take off, and I went to the beach club in the minivan with my parents and my little brother and his best friend. And because there was a weather alert with a red stripe across the bottom of every television telling everyone to get home and stay indoors, the traffic on the highway from the hotel to the beach club was nuts. Like a parking lot, people racing out of the city to make it to their homes. This is in New York, mind you. So my step-dad drove on the shoulder for six miles. So pretty much, on my way to getting married, hundreds of people gave me the finger. How many signs do you need before you turn the minivan around? That’s like a punchline, isn’t it? And when I got to the beach club my mom and I raced to the bridal room, and my best friend and bridesmaids shoved me into my dress, and someone handed me a glass of champagne because I said I thought I might pass out, and of course champagne is the answer when you feel faint and are about to make one of the worst decisions of your life. So I went down the aisle like a wind-up doll, done up like a princess, vacant eyes. Worse than that. Deer in the headlight eyes. As if I hadn’t said yes to all of it. As if it were just happening to me. And when they announced we were man and wife, there was a crack of thunder and lightning so loud everyone laughed nervously and I thought. Well. You can’t ask for more signs than that.
I say he didn’t love me and I know I didn’t love him, even though I believed I did and I believed he did in my sleepwalking state. But he didn’t want a wife, he wanted a mother. Someone to make dinner and read his screenplays and rewrite all the dialogue because people don’t speak like that. Who speaks like that? And hey, why don’t you leave your dog at the kennel this weekend, because actually, I don’t like dogs. And I need to go shoot this commercial, so drop everything and come, okay? Even though it’s in Canada and you’d rather stay home since I’ll be shooting all day and sitting around a set isn’t all that fun, and I don’t want you off exploring by yourself because you’re too young to be off on your own like that in a foreign country. Um. Canada? I think I can get around because I speak English. Also, it was never consummated. I’m not saying we hadn’t had sex before the wedding. I’m saying there wasn’t any after, and there wasn’t much before. Because he preferred porn to an actual human. But I didn’t know that then, so I was busy thinking there must be something wrong with me. Anyway, I had the thing annulled. I should say, I woke up, and had it annulled. And Mirror Guy is actually the perfect name, because that’s what happened. I looked in the mirror and thought, how, how did I land myself in this mess? How did I not stop, at any of those burning red flags, and turn myself around? Maybe it was compounded by the fact that the much older guy I dated had come before Mirror Guy, and by this point I was just wrecked. But I got the message. I got it hard and ugly and in the face. There was no one to blame but myself, because my mom wasn’t fond of him and said as much, and my dad and step-dad didn’t think much of him, either. All my fingers pointed back at myself, and I thought, I’d really better turn this sh&t around, now, or my life is going to be bleak and dark and very painful. No light. I’d been doing yoga for a couple of years at this point, and I believe that’s the light I used to find my way out of a nightmare of my own making. Without the mirror or necklace, but you know what? Such a small price to pay. Because in the years after that I started planting the seeds that sprouted into the life I have today. I look at my life now and I’m blown away. Two amazing, healthy, happy kids who adore their grandparents. Friends that know how to show up, a few of whom have been there through everything. A community of yogis locally and around the globe because the internet is pretty amazing. And all of you. You get to decide who you’re going to be, you really do. I’m not saying everyone has equal opportunities, or that the playing field is level. I’m simply saying you have the power to decide how you’re going to do your life, and what you decide makes all the difference in the world. I hope you decide to be your best self. To own your story. To refuse to let your past dictate your future. To get your hands filthy with your pain so it doesn’t control your life, because there’s no need for that. Your life can be so beautiful. Even with heartache and tragedy, there’s still so much beauty to be found if you open to it. Wishing that for you, if it hasn’t happened already. And sending a ton of love, Ally