Several years back I said I do under the sweltering skies of an Indian summer. It was almost perfect except for the moment it came time to utter those life-altering words. An imaginary fur ball appeared in the back of my throat followed by a coughing fit. The organist made the lone journey across the altar carrying a Dixie cup filled with ice-cold water. I felt dozens of eyes burning a hole through the lace of my once in a lifetime dress as I gulped down the water. At the reception, we all clinked glasses and had a good laugh but I always wondered if it wasn’t sign of things to come…
Three months later, after gaining clearance from the British Consulate, I flew from sunny southern California—where it never rains or gets below 50 degrees to London where the sun is a distant legend and worshipped by underground cults—to join my British husband. It was a typical January afternoon, 25 degrees, gray and dull, when the wheels of the plane touched ground. The 747 skidded to a halt inches before breaking through the glass windows of Terminal 2 at Heathrow. The excitement I had carried all way from LA in the pit of my then flat and toned stomach turned acidic and morphed into gaseous bubbles that percolated furiously.
The reality and the dream collided as the pilot welcomed us to London. I didn’t want to be married, why had I said yes and donned that gown? I feigned sleep thinking the airline attendants would leave me on the plane and take me back to where we came.
“Miss, wakey-wakey.” Followed by a gentle tap.
“Wakey-wakey.” A hearty squeeze to my left arm.
“Get up now, Miss.” A full body push nearly knocked me over.
I had no choice but to wake and apologize for sleeping through the disembarking of the plane. I tried hiding in the bathroom but the Virgin Airline Staff had me removed and chucked me off the plane. As I was going through immigration, I offered the guard a hundred bucks, even my body, if he would refuse me entry into the country on the grounds I was an unsavory character. He laughed thinking I was kidding.
“Luv, you’ll be fine. I’m sure you’ll adjust.” He had read the paperwork granting me legal entry into the UK. “Tell your lad to take you out for a nice cup of tea.” I’m sure I groaned. “Go on now, he’s waiting. Go make some babies, you’ll be fine.” I stood there with my lower lip trembling. His comment stood me still. It wasn’t the crassness of it. Rather the notion of having babies hadn’t entered my mind along with the other changes I was embarking on. I hadn’t considered the ramifications of uttering the words I do.
It’s said the three most stressful situations in a person’s life are:
- Getting married
- Moving house ( I moved across the pond)
- Changing jobs (in my case, it was a career)
It was hell the first year. I can’t sugar coat it. In the groom’s defense, it wasn’t all bad. There were trips to Madrid, Paris, Scotland, and Malaga. All those places I had read about in books by Beatrix Potter, Trollope, Dickens, and Bronte, even my favorite place to get lost in, Charing Cross Road, soothed my irregular heartbeat. Marriage was the easiest of the three, moving to a new country and changing jobs, is another post or three.
I’ve retrospect I’ve concluded I was either in-love or suffering from a brain aneurysm because nothing else explains why I unwittingly tackled the three most stressful experiences at once. There was no reason for me to move to the UK, the groom might have easily moved into my loft in LA, but I never asked or thought about it. I said yes and packed my bags. It wasn’t until the wheels bounced along the runway did it dawn on me what I had done. I hadn’t a clue what was awaiting me on the other side of immigration. It was a pivotal turning point for me. I was heavyhearted. I had nowhere to go but forward.
That first year is not lost on me. I carry it with always and turn to it when I am starting down a new path. It was defining and the year I found me and all that super-womanly-shero power I had always dreamed of having. What I didn’t confess in my last post on the never-ending cycle of life is that I never hesitate when I am rushing towards something. I jump in feet first even if my rational voice is screaming in Dolby stereo inside of my head.
“DANGER WILL ROBINSON.”
As I sit on the fence about to jump feet first into my newest beginning, I remember the walk through immigration. Of course, I am terrified. I’ve no idea what lies ahead of me but with the strength of the past behind me, I’ll not hesitate a minute more. I am finalizing the WIP, now a manuscript, which includes words on every page, chapters, and the words: THE END. I don’t have a clue, what, or how, but I know I’ll come through the other side.
What was your defining moment (discovery of shero powers)?