Day 7: The First Time I Said I Would Marry Ben

For the final 30 days of my twenties, I am writing one personal narrative a day that has impacted my life until now.  To read more about my challenge, feel free to check out the first post.  

Also, this 30 Day challenge is also to support a wonderful charity, Zara Aina.  Please check out my fundraiser here and if you’re able, please consider throwing a few dollars toward this amazing cause.  It would mean the world!

The first time I ever said out loud that I would marry Ben, was while standing on a beach after skinny dipping off the coast of North Carolina.  And more strangely, I didn’t even say it to Ben. We had just attended the beautiful wedding our college friends Elyse and Rob, who were letting us stay in her family’s house right on the beach.  At about 23, she was the first of us to get married, and so it was the also first time we all watched two of our friends grow up before our eyes.  Arranging wedding trips in those days was a larger feat than it is today.  Every dollar was important, and doing things like affording gifts or airfare were usually out of the question.  It was also in the height of my most confusing years in New York City, and so a trip like this often was a place to release my extreme frustration at the disappointment my attempted acting career was turning out to be.

Heading to the wedding!

When the reception ended, we all headed back to the house and the group sprinted out to the beach to let loose and enjoy the break from a hot and stormy day. Unbeknownst to us, Hurricane Irene was barely a week away, and so my close friend Helen and I–both not a huge fan of rough waves…or really swimming in the ocean in general–headed back in from the choppy surf to stand on the shore.

At that point, Helen and I had known each other since 2009, and had been roommates, castmates, and a cappella-mates, traveled to London, Rome and Paris together, and were basically in the same boat with our lamentable acting career situation.  She had also seen me through two very long, drawn-out breakups over the years, both of which landed me on several bathroom floors crying into a wine glass with her (and the rest of my trusty group) lovingly by my side.  So in other words, if anyone could bluntly ask me about the idea of one day marrying my boyfriend while standing on a dark beach (and expect and honest answer), it would be her.

After my prior relationship, I went into dating Ben with so much hesitation that it took some time to see past my built-up wall of anxiety and anger.  And since I have never been one of those girls who had planned her wedding since childhood, suddenly realizing that this was a possibility sent me into some sort of numb state of confusion.  But sometimes, you just need to say it out loud. And to do that, you just need someone to ask.

I don’t remember the details of the conversation, but I do remember the clarity of mind that was upon us while looking out into the angry sea. Watching your friends grow up is a sure reminder that time is indeed passing, which is easy to forget when you are wrapped up in the day-to-day tedious tasks of making ends meet.  We weren’t in college anymore, microwaving macaroni and gossiping about secret love affairs, and we also weren’t crying on the bathroom floor, wondering when things would get better or when anything would make sense. We were on the brink of entering a new life, and suddenly trusting the words, “Yes, I could see us getting married,” instilled far less fear and self-jugmenet in me than at any point in my life until then.

After waiting in a final minute of silence, Helen wisely said that we should probably find the rest of our stuff and get something to eat.  The rest of the group continued to leap through the waves as we searched for our strewn garments and headed back for snacks and beer.

Whenever I think about the most important moments of me and Ben’s relationship, this comes to mind.  It’s good to have practical friends that place practical and life-changing ideas in your head.

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