Sunday, February 7, 2016

Runaway Bride... and Papaya.

One of my all-time favorite Julia Roberts movies.  This particular scene is about two minutes before she goes sprinting down the aisle away from Groom #4.

Recently my maid of honor said I reminded her of this movie - don't worry, I'm not about to wear my Asics to my ceremony!  However, there's a point made in the movie that Maggie (Julia Roberts) has been running from her grooms because if she'd gone through with it, they would have married a lie.  She was never honest about the little things, about who she really was, and so she ran before she could say "I do."  As a soon-to-be-bride, this was a monumental moment when the lightbulb went off.

The little things matter.  In this stage of being engaged it's tempting to say they don't, but they do.  For instance, my fiancee enjoys bringing dinner to my place once in awhile and he often surprises me with dishes or types of food I've never tried.  Living in the Middle East that leaves an enormous selection for me.  One day he brought over papaya.  I took a few bites, muscled my way through it and set it aside.  He asked if I like papaya, and for some reason I said, "Sure."  No, I don't.  Why on earth did I say that I did?

Because he likes it.  In some twisted mathematical world that equation said I needed to like it too.  I've never been good at math.

Unfortunately, if we tell enough of those little lies, usually we do this with the intention of pleasing our partner, we create a mask.  Your significant other continues to fall in love with someone they think they know - but don't.  Hence, the significance of the lesson in Runaway Bride.  Then, one day, months or years down the road the truths start coming out and resentments surface.  I cringe at the idea of being served papaya every few days because my then-husband remembers that I said I liked it.  Why is it so hard to say, "no.  I don't like ______"?

Because we fear rejection.  Yes, even over those little things.  Deep down, those of us who struggle with fears of abandonment, rejection, accepting another's love, believing another's love is as deep as they say it is, and simply being loved for who we are look at a papaya and see our deepest fears coming true if we're honest.

But here's a fact about love.  Real love, the stuff that lasts and runs so deep nothing can get underneath it to create division, casts out fear.  Real love, the good stuff, means letting the truth strip you bare in front of the person you love and letting them decide if they still want you.  Even over a papaya.  Deep down, it's not just about a piece of fruit - it's about being seen for exactly who we are.  And that's the scariest thing of all: being seen, being known, being laid bare for another person to scrutinize, criticize and condemn.  But from what I hear, it's also the most glorious thing of all: being seen, being known, being laid bare for another person to love, respect, cherish and treasure.  Forever.

I'd rather the latter.  The only way to find out if that's possible is to take the leap and trust my fiancee with who I am, as honest as I can be, about the big and the little as they come up.

I can't imagine getting married without being seen, being known, being laid bare... at least when it comes to a papaya.  My fiancee and I aren't moving in with one another until the wedding, we're saving our first kiss for the altar, and there will be a lot more first's after that!  If I can't be honest about a piece of fruit, it doesn't provide my husband-to-be with much confidence in my ability and willingness to be honest about the bigger things.

So here it is.

Honey, I don't like papaya.  I prefer mango.

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