Vienna Moon

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Yes, I did. I pulled one of those Under the Tuscan Sun moves that many women dream about but never get beyond just watching the DVD. I finally ended my 11 year marriage to a man I got engaged to in my very early twenties and looking back on it all now, I cannot believe I made such big decisions at so young an age. As happens throughout life, I simply grew up and realized we both wanted very different things. My ex-husband wanted his now power-career to skyrocket upward and I watched my stay-at-home motherhood go from being a dream-come-true to a nightmare in a gilded cage. The final straw was when my youngest child headed off to kindergarten and I tried to go back to school to finish college…and he said "No".

Looking back on it now, I should have left the marriage long before that point but I had babies to take care of and he had to finish his Bachelor's degree, MBA, CPA and the list goes on (all in the name of what was good for the family, of course). I found myself almost 100 pounds overweight and decorating our latest house for the third time when I finally just lost it completely. Baking pies from scratch and repainting the walls in yet another hue just could not keep me sedated in my delusions any longer. I had wanted so badly to keep my marriage together that I ended up putting "me" dead last on my list. In trying to be the perfect mother and wife, I somehow forgot about myself. I lived in sweatpants. I avoided mirrors. A former model, I knew what eating well and exerciseshouldlook like. I simply did not care to even try any longer. That was three years ago.

Since that time I separated, divorced, and briefly dated a lousy sex-addicted creep (my self-esteem was"mud"after so many years of being ignored and chastised). I got myself off the rebound train (or so I thought) and found myself moving to Austria (Google Maps helped me figure out where it was) in order to re-start my long neglected college degree at an American University in Vienna. It didn't hurt that I also found a seemingly great guy who first came to visit me in the US for three months and then bought me a ring and convinced me to move to his quaint little country.

A Grace Kelly Fairy-tale ending, right? Wrong. (If only I had watched Diane Lane a little more closely)…

After living with "the Austrian" (his voice sounded just like Arnold, theGovernator )and watching our nearly two-year long engagement go from "wedding date?" to "not exactly being engaged" to "living together" to "an open relationship" to breaking up, I found myself alone again. I was struggling to cram university classes into a brain that simply had forgotten anything academic whilst dealing with the hurricane of a post-modern European philanderer who had shattered my already shattered heart. And for the cream, whenever I missed the good ole' US of A I would get a trusty call from my ex-husband (a controlling it-is-all-your-fault phone call) and that would be enough to keep me in Vienna and doggedly determined to prove him totally wrong about what I was capable of achieving. So, alone, but wiser, I fumbled onward.

Fast forward to 2012. No dates for 6 months, I am in my second year of University, deciding I am actually good enough at this academic stuff to take on a double major and then WHAM, I meet Him. He is Turkish, I am American, this is Vienna, it is an international love fest.
I lost a ton of weight, started working out and taking Ju-Jitsu, started loving mirrors again and he tells me I am more beautiful every single day. We go out for Viennese coffees and classical music concerts (this ISthe birthplace of Mozart, after all) and I have culture, art, travel and educational opportunities I never could have imagined. There is no way I could have even dreamed this stuff up. And through it all I have learned exponentially to become a stronger, more worldly woman.Now this is beginning to feel a little more Tuscan to me.

I have been living with my tall dark and handsome significant other for 6 months and everything has been going along swimmingly. I even met his family and traveled with them (it is a huge deal for the woman to meet "the parents" in Turkish culture) so I was buzzing happily along on cloud nine with talks of promise rings and engagement ……….and then nothing.
He got cold feet. I should admit here that he is several years younger than me but he's 30, not 18, so when he suddenlystoppedtalking marriage and it became "you're pushing me" I was really taken aback.
I thought hard about moving out. After all, the last thing I wanted was a repeat of the engagement that never was.
I thought hard about channeling Angelina Jolie and just living with the guy and forgetting about marriage. I thought about ending it entirely. Yet here I sit, under the Vienna Moon listening to Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. More beautiful in many ways but more profoundly sad in others.
We had "a talk" and he told me he doesn't want to rush anything. He wants to do things slowly but permanently. Logically it makes sense. Logically I want that too. My heart just doesn't seem to be logical. I finally met the man I want by my side forever. He is my best friend. I know he loves me dearly and he wants a future with me and I know ( I finally understand ) that even if this is not meant to be;I am meant to be.I know I am rising from the ashes and transforming into that phoenix. I see it happening. I just wonder sometimes if I will be seeing it alone.

Where will I go from here? I am learning the harsh lesson of actually waiting and seeing instead of always trying to smooth everything over and "make it work". I know my worth now. I know how drastically life can change. Maybe I can channel Diane Lane's character a little more and just let go. It is a scary feeling. Just letting go. Having no idea where the wind will carry you. But as I sit here looking out onto the elegant city of the Habsburg monarchs , with its sun-drenched yellow palaces and the Danube river twinkling under the moonlight, I realize just how far I've come…and I wouldn't trade it for anything.


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