An artist friend of mine was asking me about this project recently and she commented how I was “wearing it”. She said that I was putting myself into the space and time that was my marriage. I found that interesting since the dress, literally my wedding dress, was beginning to find its way into the photographs and objects I am producing for the final exhibition of this project.
It is always difficult to determine when a marriage, or any relationship for that matter, actually ends. In my experience it is way before you discuss ending it, and it is never a clean break. Whatever that inexplicable thing is that joins two people before any of society’s rules and rituals step in, it is very hard to cut off. The heartstrings stretch beyond imagination and sometimes literally need something akin to a chainsaw to separate them. I have never left any relationship, no matter how long, or how bad, without physically feeling an ache in my solar plexus as if I had been energetically ripped from my partner.
In ending a relationship, there is a lot of going back and forth trying to forgive and forget the irrevocable actions of each other. Somewhere remains the hope that things will get better, and perhaps even glimpses of things actually improving begin to materialize. But inevitably the end, sooner or later, becomes obvious to both parties.
It has been roughly been 2 ½ years since my ex-husband and I decided to end our marriage; 1 ½ years since our divorce was final. It is time. It is time to take off the dress and end this project. For the next month I will be finishing up this blog so that I can begin to work on the photographs and objects that will be part of the installation/exhibition in January. Doing this project has been both informational for me and healing. There are no rituals after a marriage ends, or after a divorce is final. Society wishes to sweep it under the rug and encourage you to find another partner and begin the cycle again. But, there is a mourning period after any relationship ends and like we mourn the death of a partner, we as a community should develop some kind of rite the helps heal the wounded parties of a relationship. After all, I think we all could learn from each other and disrupt the romantic notions that culture puts in our hearts and minds. Having a fulfilling relationship has nothing to do with a white dress.