As of this Spring, I’ve now been married two years. Yikes. TWO WHOLE YEARS.
Right now, Sean and I are both sitting in the living room working on our laptops – he’s editing photos and I’m writing. We are both ridiculously lucky and stupidly happy. There is a lot of exuberance and adventurous energy in our life and I have felt more open to being public about that as time goes on. I’m still fiercely protective of our relationship and have a lot of things I like to keep private but I feel it’s actually my relationship with the public that has shifted for the better and recently allowed me to share more easily.
Sometime soon after we were first married, someone took duplicitous steps to get their hands on personal photos of mine and ended up finding a picture of our wedding. This picture, a beautiful image of such a personal, delicate, precious, vulnerable and special moment, quickly made it out into the internet and ended up placed in articles talking about my dad’s arrest, subsequent charges and speculation about graphic details. Although there is no indication that this was the original person’s plan, they either didn’t take the time to realize this was bound to happen or did it anyway regardless.
I don’t know how much you might know about trauma and it’s effects, but I had a mini-meltdown when this happened. If someone has experienced longterm childhood abuse, it is a struggle to recover one’s sense of control and ownership over one’s own body and one’s own truth. Not only was I working through this, I also was in the depths of coming to terms with the feeling of exploitation of my individual work and public image that had happened through reality tv, media and the career of the band. After about a year and a half of trauma therapy working through the abuse of my childhood, these wider feelings of confusion over issues with my previous public life had begun to resurface. The picture being taken and released without my consent was devastating and felt like another massive violation and betrayal. Blown out of proportion in my mind, it made the outside public world feel unsafe and unable (or unwilling) to understand me all over again.
Bottom line, I felt like it might not even be possible to set the record straight, restore order and get people to understand the complex story.
It’s taken some work, but I’m amazed how differently I feel only one year later. (Time really is so crucial to any healing process!) So, what’s changed? I’m working to let go of the need to always set the public story straight and correct how people see me. Some people will always have a wrong or outdated perception and I can’t make it my responsibility to fix that. That would be a never ending (and never succeeding) endeavor. What’s more important is living that true life and making it a healthy one. Simply taking more time to concentrate on real relationships around me continues to anchor my heart and keep me more present. I’m building a truly beautiful life with my husband. Now the choice to make something public is one born out of joy, celebration and exploration. And it feels good for that to be a choice. It makes the world feel safer, more inviting and supportive.
When I look back on our wedding day two years ago, I want to tell the whole world about the love I’ve found. I was happy then and believed in the commitment I was making but now that feeling has multiplied a million times over. Those vows are colored and intensified by the times I’ve gotten to see them in action in our life so far. I thought it was good then and it’s even better now. Here’s a few pictures that mean a lot to me from that day and I’m happy to share them with you to celebrate our second anniversary. Here’s to many more! <3
– Jessica 5.19.2019.