So a movie came out a while back, eight years ago to be exact, called Good Luck Chuck. It stars Dane Cook and Jessica Alba, and follows Chuck (Cook) as he tries to pursue a relationship with Cam (Alba). There is a slight problem though, as Chuck was cursed long ago, by a gothic girl he refused to kiss during a childhood game of 7 minutes in heaven. The curse dictates that every single girl he dates will break up with him and marry the next guy she goes out with. After plenty of rom com shenanigans, Chuck realizes the curse is actually true and does everything in his power to keep Cam from breaking up with him and marrying the next guy she meets. Blah blah blah, the curse is broken and they ride off into the sunset on a boat in the middle of the Southern Ocean toward Antarctica. And there are penguins. Yay hooray.
Hardly Oscar-worthy, this movie doesn’t exactly qualify as one that would stick with you for years to come, and really, I had pretty much forgotten it until parts of my dating life seemed to sound eerily familiar. Let me explain.
I had been dating Josh about 8 months and we were in the Outerbanks of North Carolina with my family on a beach trip. While drinking my morning cup of coffee out on the back deck and listening to the peaceful sounds of the waves, I decided to catch up on what was going on in the world of Facebook, only to notice a video on my newsfeed. It was posted by Bennett (who took me on a cruise and subsequently broke up with me over text message that same week..only a year ago) and showed him standing on the beach at sunset with the woman he had started dating after me. Intrigued, I clicked on the video, and felt my stomach clutch as I watched him get down on one knee and propose. SHIT. My heart twinged painfully, my stomach churned and my vision tunneled for a moment…focused on this thing that was happening in front of my eyes. Well, damn.. that was fast. Just that April, only four months prior, he had written me an email after reading my blog. He realized that he had left me unfairly with many unanswered questions. He answered those and apologized for the way things had gone. He was going to take a whole year off to be single and try to figure out what he wanted. I thanked him for his email and told him I didn’t have any regrets or bad feelings about the time we spent together..which was really true. By August, he was engaged.
I mean really, how do you go from “I’m going to be single for a whole year and just focus on me blah blah blah” to popping down to the local Jarrod’s to pick up a shiny rock that means “let’s hang out for the rest of our lives and have his and hers hand towels in the bathroom”??? HOW???
I just couldn’t quite comprehend what was going on and so I did I always do when I have the ocean in front of me and a twinge in my heart. I took off to the sand and water to clear my head. I left my flip flops by the edge of the dunes and walked until the pounding of my heart slowed to match the crash of the waves. I stopped by a sea turtle’s nest and sat, hugging my knees to my chest. I thought about the mother sea turtle making her trek up the beach, patiently and tirelessly digging out a hole for her eggs and returning again to the sea…pulled by some powerful magnetic force. I thought about those hundreds of baby sea turtles, left alone to dig themselves out. I thought about those tiny creatures and how daunting their start in life would be, the dangers they would face. Birds, sharks, dehydration…so many obstacles to overcome, that only one in a thousand of them would survive to adulthood. And then I thought about love. How perilous it is. Fraught with hurdles and setbacks, it is incredible that so many relationships survive. My relationship with Bennett had died on a long car ride home from Louisiana and while I knew he was not right for me, it stung to see him move on in so grand a way, and so quickly. Four months…that’s all it took for him to decide he wanted to marry this person. Four months. I did the math… that was about how long we were together…and this sneaky, ugly thought crept into my head…”and you weren’t good enough” it whispered gleefully. “You weren’t good enough for any of them.”
It took Jeff 6 years to decide to propose to me..and even then, he was cheating on me only months after…and while realistically, I know this had nothing to do with me…it always makes me wonder..what is it about some girls that makes guys ready to commit at the drop of a hat? It’s clearly not a trait I possess.
Here’s the thing about salt water…it heals. Like an angry infection, those thoughts tried to spread their poison through my heart, but were beaten back by the relentless press of waves…by the feeling of tiny grains of sand, gritty and immeasurable beneath me. The ocean heals me…it always has..After Jeff and I split up, I was afraid the beach would be tarnished for me..it was so very much OUR place…but then my ever wise sister reminded me, it was MY place long before he took up one second of my life. My family has been pulled to the water for as long as I can remember. My dad was an underwater photographer for National Geographic, my mom…delicate Irish skin and all…loves nothing better than to settle into her beach chair with a wide-brimmed hat and a dreamy novel…a cold beer in her hands wouldn’t hurt her feelings either. We’ve been making journeys to the water before we ever formed our first words, took our first steps, discovered our first loves. I’m not over-exaggerating when I say I feel a constant state of unbalance until I am breathing in salt air.
It was this cool morning air that filled my lungs and calmed the vicious thoughts in my head. I brushed myself off, said goodbye to the baby turtles waiting under the sand and began the walk back to the house.
When I got inside, I said “good morning” to my parents, mouthed the words “Bennett’s engaged” to my sister whose own mouth promptly dropped open in shock, and went to find Josh. He was in the living room, playing on the floor with my baby niece Ella, and shot me a big grin when he saw me. “Morning love,” he said, as I leaned down to give him a kiss. “Doing ok?”
“Better now,” I told him, joining him down on the floor. And as he brushed a hand casually down my back I realized that I was. I really was.
<– p.s. This was the actual nest I found! yay for baby sea turtles!
Fast forward to a week ago. I’m scrolling through the dreaded Facebook yet again, and I see a post made by Jim…remember the guy I flew to Florida to see over Spring Break? The one who sucked so majorly? This misogynistic military moron (yay for alliteration) was engaged. Not that I really kept up with him, but he did send me a weird message one time telling me that the guy I was with better treat me like a princess or he was going to “knock his teeth out” …which was odd considering he treated me like shit the entire time I was down there…but I digress. Engaged? Sweet Jesus. I didn’t even know he was dating anyone! All the sudden he’s ENGAGED?!? And here’s where my mind gets blown..Both of these men had been married before and made some horrible decisions leading to their subsequent ugly and messy divorces. You would THINK they would have wanted to go slow this time around…maybe take their time and not jump into something. You would THINK. Apparently not. Bless their hearts and more power to them…I cannot even fathom the misery that would come from being married to Jim (MAKE ME A SANDWICH WOMAN!! AND COME RUB MY DAMN FEET!!!) and while I truly like and respect Bennett, that one just wouldn’t have worked…especially with having kids together off the table. I was talking to my sister about the fact that both guys got engaged to the next girl they dated after me, and the storyline started sounding familiar in my head. Ah yes! The movie. Was I cursed by some voodoo magic where every guy I dated would break up with me and end up marrying the next girl they met?? Most likely not. Most likely I had just extended my bullet-dodging abilities and the Universe had saved me from making anymore huge mistakes…namely..ending up with men who were not even close to being right for me. Thanks Universe..I owe you one.
So my post today ends in a jewelry store..I said THREE diamond rings didn’t I? Now, now.. don’t get all excited. I was only in there with my sister while she got her rings sized…no magical proposals for me just yet my friends… 😉 but I started talking to the sweet girls behind the counter (I think they were a little bored and eager for something to spice up their afternoon) and they “convinced me” to play dress up with some of the rings…pshh…like they really had to twist my arm. Just for the hell of it, I tried on a pear cut engagement ring. It is my absolute favorite shape and unfortunately, it just so happens to be the kind Jeff got me. I had often wondered if it would be taboo to get another ring in the same shape. I loved my ring. LOVED IT. I feel sick to my stomach every time I think of the fact that he has it. (honestly he’s probably pawned it so who knows where it is now) So there I was, slipping this gorgeous ring onto my finger and praying that I felt nothing when I saw it..yeah..so much for that idea! I was immediately thrown back into those old feelings like I was Marty McFly zipping back in my DeLorean with Doc Brown to March of 2012… when Jeff first got down on one knee one foggy evening at Marshes Light. I heard the soft lapping of the water against the dock, saw the glow of the lighthouse and the railing where we carved our names. Sadly, that pretty ring was never meant to be on my hand again. And while I was disappointed, I think I always knew that I needed a fresh start.
I tell you what though, these looked awwwwfully nice 😉
1. It’s ok to feel a twinge when you see your ex move on in a big way…whether it’s with an engagement, a wedding, a baby or hell, a new KitchenAid mixer..those things are sweet. It’s ok for your exes to move on because hey! You have too!
2. The Universe has my back..it is steering me in subtle and some not so subtle ways toward a life that is starting to be pretty damn awesome..so keep up the good work Universe! I owe you a beer next time at happy hour.
3. If/when Josh ever asks me to marry him, it will be perfect..and it will be with a completely different ring..and a subsequent completely different wedding..because he’s different..our relationship is different and deserves to be treated as such.
Side note: Josh and I were driving home from a trip to the antique store and I was telling him about my time spent with my sister at the jewelry store earlier that day. I explained that she was getting her rings sized and that I had been having fun trying on sparkly things..when a few minutes later, he asked oh so casually…”So, what size ring do you wear?”