On one warm August summer day in 1982, I got a ride home from the airport. I didn’t know then my future husband was besides me at the steering wheel. I had spent three long, boring weeks with my parents and other family members in Greece in holiday. It was so boring I can’t even remember where or what town it was. Prior to this ride home my future husband and me were good friends. At last day of school my fellow students and me went to celebrate the end of school at a restaurant. We had no other option as we studied to become sous-chefs, so no celebration without food. My classmates phoned their boyfriends and girls to accompany them. Not wanting to be the sad girl with no boyfriend, I phoned my best friend and within 30 minutes he stood besides me. So it will come as no surprise at the end of the night he was my official boyfriend. Bingo! I found a someone I can rely on.
Anyway, on our way home somewhere on the highway between Brussels and Antwerp all of a sudden, quite unexpectedly, he popped the question after dating for only two months. “Will you marry me?” I was 17, he was 18.
As I had no further plans, and being 1982 with the nuclear weapons looking over our shoulder ready to drop, I thought marriage would be a last thing to do before we all died. Yeah, I was a real beam of sunshine at the time. So my reply was very calm and controlled, “Yes”. Nothing more, nothing less. A simple yes, and we continued our journey to Antwerp.
Thinking back on it, my husband was a kind of knight, in not so shiny armor. He knew I lived in a controlling environment with hardly any freedom. Being the unhappiest 17 year old he had ever met, the only thing he could think of was marrying me to give me the chance to become a person, not and object to show. And of course he also loves me.
The happiest day of my life wasn’t that at all. My mother did her best to make everything picture perfect, but I felt neglected and just being there to play a side role in her story. So my wedding day didn’t go as the fairytale I was told when I grew up, but at least I had my knight besides me. Chances of me exploding at our wedding day was real as I was a ticking time bomb, but it didn’t happen. I really felt all the aggression building up inside of me, and the man walking next to me had the magic power of calming me down.
Yeah, bingo! I found the right guy for me.
The decision to be me.
Everyone knows getting married is a major step in our lives. For me it was a first step in making a 180 degree turnaround. Looking back at it, the awful day in June 1983 was the best decision I ever made, although it was an impulsive one. It was the start of a long road to live and not being lived. Every step I made walking the long and winding road, with many obstacles released me from some stones I carried with me from childhood, getting lighter every step. I got the chance to grow into the me I am now. Getting rid of the enormous ball and chain hanging around my leg. The ball and chain is long gone, but I’m still trying to let go of the past. But if it wasn’t for getting married to the guy who’s still at my side and supporting, me I would still be one miserable mess.
This little story inspired me to make “The decision to be me”. The bride cuts the string of houses which is a metaphor for the umbilical cord or ball and chains of my parents. You’ll notice, if you look very good, she is cutting the cord with one hand while the other hand is doubtful and holding it back. Cutting yourself free from a controlling upbringing isn’t the easiest thing to do. It’s scary, I felt small, and uncertain. But in the end I’m managing. The thing I would have liked to do was to cut up my awful dress, instead of the houses. But the dress that I hate like I hate walking in the poring rain, still is a symbol of me getting away of the situation I was in then. So I chose to use the string of houses to symbolize getting away from my childhood house. Me, cutting my way to my new life. Me, making the decision to become me.
What life changing decision did you ever make?
Have you actively made a decision that changed your life in any way? It can be a tiny thing with big consequences, or a big step with changes only you notice. Tell me your story because, we all have one. Everyone makes some kind of step that make your life go in a different direction.
I would love to hear your story.
With a hug and a smile 😊