Marriage & Recovery

There was a time in my life when I wholeheartedly believed that finding “the one” would fix everything. That my prince charming would sweep me off my feet and make every insecurity and addiction disappear. Over the years I realized the naivety of this belief, yet there was still a part of me that believed, or maybe hoped, that having a ring on my finger would make every other struggle in my life vanish.

I’m here to say that this is 100% not the case.

I’d learned well before meeting Ryan that being in a relationship would never fix my problems. No man would ever come along and miraculously make my trauma disappear. However, there were, and always will be, men who try to convince women that they are indeed the answer to all of their issues. It’s these men who reinforce codependency and lead their partners even deeper into the pits.

One of the reasons I fell in love with Ryan to begin with was because he never tried to be my cure-all. He’s supported and encouraged me from the beginning, but has never pretended to be able to “fix” me. Instead, he has loved me through relapses, grief, insecurities, depression, anxiety & nightmares. To explain a bit more, this is part of the little speech that I gave at our reception:

“I’d never ever been the one to make the first move, or say those three little words first, but I did. He was different, he is different. He is my knight in shining armor, but not because he saved me. But because for the last three years he has challenged me to save myself and continues to be my support and my best friend… The point is, he is not like anyone I’ve ever known, and I cannot believe that I’m lucky enough to call him my husband.”

It’s been difficult for me figuring out this whole “wife” thing. I have the same, if not more, unconditional love and support from my husband, but I’ve been struggling. I think I’m trying too hard to identify who I am as a “wife.” I’m still me. I’m still the same woman who is learning to love herself, despite not necessarily liking what she sees in the mirror. I’m still the same woman who has claimed victory over some of her most aggressive demons. I’m still the same woman who is madly in love with Ryan Norton, and who is working so freaking hard, every day, to be a better human.

So here’s to marriage not fixing all of our problems, but to being able to celebrate the victories, big and little, with your permanent roommate. 👫

NN


After the Wedding…

It is pretty incredible how much goes into planning a wedding. We focused on that one day in August for over a year. There was no energy wasted thinking about what it would be like to come home, back to a reality, after 21 days of a whirlwind of pre-wedding week activities, the actual wedding, and then the honeymoon.

Let me tell you, it was weird. It seems that I’ve been in a daze since we got home. A combination of “is this actually real life” and “what do I stress about now?”

I’ve been Mrs. Norton for over a month, but I’m just now starting to settle into this “Wife” role. Maybe once we get the Thank You notes sent out it’ll feel a bit more solidified, hehe.

All of this to say, hi there. We’re alive, and loving this journey forward as husband and wife. Happy to report that there actually is life on the other side of a wedding. For awhile there, I thought everything would kind of stand still after August 18th. 😏

🖤 N.N.

08.18.18

Wedding Day. It’s surreal, I can’t believe today is the day that I marry the love of my life. In less than six hours we will commit to each other for life.

It rained this morning, and I got super anxious. Then I got a text from Ryan that said “blue sky baby” with a photo of the sun peeking through the clouds, and my anxiety went away immediately.

No matter the weather- I marry my best friend today, and I couldn’t be more thankful.

We are having a small, simple, intimate wedding. We wish we could have invited everyone, but we will continue the celebration at home.

I’m currently surrounded by the women who have supported me through life, as well as the new additions to our family. I’ve never felt so much love in one place.

Thank you Jesus, thank you to our families and friends. We are so incredibly blessed. ❤️

Here’s to Strong Women

 

…may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them. 💙

 

I am still processing this experience, now almost a month later. Never in my life have I felt so beautiful, confident, loved or free. The most important women in my life came to love me and support me while looking for the dress that I’ll marry my husband in. From Minnesota, North Dakota, Colorado & Kansas to Arizona – they all made a point to be here, and it’s still hard to wrap my head around.

I was so nervous about that weekend, my anxiety the week before was painful. Are they going to think I’m fat? Will I look fat? I’m disgusting. Will any of the dresses fit? Will they laugh? I’m ugly. Will I ever find a dress? Will he even actually want to marry me? Etc, etc… But then something amazing happened, I was free. Those self-hating negative thoughts did not make it to the fore-front of my mind all weekend; exactly the opposite of what I had anticipated. Usually, trying on clothes is nothing short of a nightmare for me, but this shopping weekend was so amazing it felt surreal.

I was not worried about my weight or size, and it’s so ironic because by no stretch am I near any of my low or goal weights. These women showed me something profound – they will love me no matter what. My husband will love me no matter what. I AM LOVED. It’s something I’ve been told my whole life, it’s something I’ve known my whole life, but only recently have I been able to actually  feel loved. A lot of it has to do with being in the healthiest relationship I’ve ever been in, a relationship where my partner encourages me to love myself, and to NOT be dependent on him to find my self-worth and value. 

This all took on a whole new life this weekend. The entire two days was magical. I don’t know that I’ve ever been able to honestly say that I love myself, but I’m truly learning how to. I never thought I would live to see a day when my eating  disorder is losing it’s grip on me, or when I can’t remember the last time I harmed myself. I have a LONG way to go. But now when I look at the tattoos on my arms, reminding me of hope and to love myself… maybe I actually can. 

Two days of laughing, a little bit of crying, celebrating and just enjoying life together. Thank you to these amazing women. My family, my best friend who has become family, and the family I’m lucky enough to be marrying into. 


&& Thank you Jesus for your mercy and grace. I am undeserving but eternally grateful for the life you’ve given me.

N.T. 👰