Some days, I worry about the balance. I worry about how to keep marriage a partnership, without lazily merging into one lump of shared likes and dislikes, hobbies and projects. Staying Meg and David, not Meganddavid or Davidandmeg sometimes takes a bit of conscious effort. And other times, say, when you’re trapped in a bathtub like Emily, it takes no effort at all. In those moments, you realize it was so obvious all along.
I write this from the bathtub, where I am sitting, with my shoes on, listening to tornado sirens wail.
One of the things I was most worried about before C and I got married was losing my independence. I was worried that there was a “Single Emily” that I would never get to know, or that being half of a marriage would mean that I was no longer a whole person. Living in a city where rent made living alone prohibitively expensive may have played a role here. Most of all, I think I was afraid of not knowing how to be alone. In retrospect, you would think he had proposed that we become conjoined twins instead of getting married.
Well let me tell you (alone from the bathtub in the middle of a tornado), this first year of marriage has been a freaking crash course in “aloneness.” I’m pretty sure I get my advanced certification after tonight. Perhaps you think I’m being dramatic, and maybe I am. But I was deeply afraid that marrying young would leave me unprepared for moments like this. So here I am, alone, in the candle-lit bathtub on the phone with my mom. And I will be fine.
Our new marriage has pushed me geographically, professionally, physically, mentally and emotionally. We moved to St. Louis, Missouri from Washington, DC; I faced down unemployment and accepted a new job where I’m pushed harder every day; I ran a half marathon, sought out professional writing opportunities, and learned how to be alone in a new city (where they have tornadoes) while my husband focuses on his graduate program. I also learned how to use power tools, haggle with mechanics, and parallel park. Look out, world!
So I’m raising my tornado-bathtub glass of wine (yes, there is a wine bottle and a sippy cup in my tornado bag) to all the independent married ladies out there. Because marriage is not the same as being surgically attached, and sometimes marriage pushes us to more independence than our single selves could have imagined.
Photo from Emily’s personal collection