I used to collect bridal magazines. I would horde them under the bed that I shared with my boyfriend as I imagined the day that we would thumb through them together. No one knew they were there except me; those magazines were my solace, my secret plan, my surreptitious way of obsessing over my future and still remaining that girl who didn’t obsess about getting married. At the time, I believed in magic – not the kind of sorcery that sends a broom dancing across the room, but the magic that comes from finding your true love. The magic that binds two hearts to one another the way the ink was bound to those pages in my magazines. The way the princess and her prince are forever bound once the dragon has been slain and the evil Queen had been exposed. Unbeknownst to me, however, our dragon had yet to awaken. That beast still lay silent in its dark cave, with tendrils of smoke rising from ugly nostrils signaling the fury of fire that was about to be unleashed on the unsuspecting.
On May 27th, 2006, the dormant dragon awoke; that was the day I discovered my true love was a cheater. My prized prince was a common crook. The discovery of this treacherous affair took my breath away quite literally. As I hyperventilated, my face became numb and my hands curled into painful, misshapen claws that I could not unfurl. I was crushed. For those first few moments, I grappled for my sanity the way a drowning swimmer struggles for the water’s surface. I knew then that I would never be the same again. I knew that my fairy tale had ended.
Unlike a fairy tale, though, life has its own practical magic. I was no princess at the mercy of cruel fate; I was a warrior, so I decided to fight. Oh, there were tears and triumphs. There were counselors and commiserates. But somehow, magically, there was laughter and love and I knew I could live through this.
This unexpected journey changed me. At first it brought out the beast in me, but unforeseen was the unwavering faith that I found in my heart. What I believe is this: There are no certainties in life. There is only faith and choices. I believe with all of my heart that the strongest magic I possess is my power to choose and I chose forgiveness. I chose to support and rally round our fractured love as if it were under attack by some mythical monster and it has made all the difference. I no longer have that pile of bridal magazines full of stunning weddings and false perfection hidden away under my bed; instead I have a marriage that I believe in and the knowledge that magic still exists.
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