There are things in your life which you never forget. Images that once seen can never be erased from memory. The sight of your newborn child, the colors of your most memorable sunset or the death of a loved one. For me, despite all of the above being true, one of the most prominent memories of my life will always be the memory of that warm, summer morning.
There will forever in my mind be that sight and that sound of my husband screaming angry slurs from the bathroom. He held a razor against his wrist. I sat there, numb and afraid and though he didn’t cut himself I began to picture crimson droplets pouring from the delicate skin on his wrist. All the while, I can’t take my eyes off of his shirt. Plastered with the stars and stripes of the flag. It reads, tauntingly, “These colors don’t run.”
They do not run. They stand and fight and scream and cry and break pieces of yourself that you didn’t even know you had. Today someone shared one of those stupid text-images about how “If he loves you he won’t ever make you cry. Real love means that you will never have to….”
The truth is that no one tells you how hard it will be. My idea of marriage was heavily romanticized. That being said, yes I have romance in my marriage. I am deeply, unequivocally in love with my husband. But when it came to the fairy tale I was much more prepared for dragons than I was for depression.
That morning stood still for me as our son ate cheerios and watched Spongebob in the living room. The high-pitched voice rang out from the tv, a song about “Fun.” All I want is for my son to be happy and smiley and to have a life full of happiness like his yellow, spongey idol. Spongebob has a good life, even if Patrick is annoying and Squidward is an asshole.
It was not until I had been married for a few years, it was not until I thought I had nothing left to give to my marriage that I realized how wrong our ideals of marriage are. Young girls share these pictures and these quotes about what true love is and what the perfect relationship will be like. No one wants to tell Sleeping Beauty that fighting that big-ass dragon was really hard. No one wants to tell her that The Prince is all sweaty and tired and you need to do some work for a few minutes. This is your battle too.
In our house, the dragon we needed to conquer was depression. It was a history of family abuse, untreated disorders, disputes with friends and the crushing reality of trying to make ends meet. Our dragon was depression and we were using each other like weapons to combat it.
After that morning and several more like it I knew there had to be a change. I had decided, it was seek help or leave forever. We had been raging this battle by ourselves long enough. We set up an appointment and with the help of a professional began actually discussing things that bothered us.
I had no idea that you could scream and yell so many times and still not say the things that were actually wrong. I had no idea that the hurdle that we needed to jump, or the dragon we needed to slay was just being able to say when we were feeling vulnerable.
The thing about Sleeping Beauty is why did no one think about what might have happened if someone had just invited Maleficent to the party in the first place? Maybe everyone should stop ignoring the dragon in the room.
To be continued…