But the big day arrived, and I have a picture from it that I adore. The image is of my father walking behind me holding my gorgeous Vera Wang gown that my sister, Cindy, so generously bought for me, so that it wouldn't drag in the dirt. It was an outdoor wedding, at a friend's estate in the Hollywood Hills, and the aisle consisted of a dirt path surrounded by ominous, large, prehistoric cacti. In the photograph it looks as though I am running and my dad is pushing me down the makeshift aisle, because if I take my time, I might change my mind. My mouth is making an O shape, and the caption, if there was one, would read: "Oh shit, I can't believe I'm doing this." It's definitely not your typical serene, hopeful, smiling bride photo-op, but more along the lines of Calamity Jane meets Runaway Bride. As we stood in the middle of a big circle of our friends with a Sikh guru and beloved friend as our officiant and minister, we included Jewish prayers, Native American rituals, and the Beatles' "In My Life" played on an aluminum cello bellowing across the canyon. I framed that picture of me and my dad, and it sits on my nightstand to remind me of how far I've come; that my fear of losing my freedom or my identity was ultimately just a feeling, and that I would have never married Jason if losing either one was going to be part of the deal. The truth is I feel more liberated in this partnership than I did out of it. It was a beautiful day, and while we didn't read from Corinthians, it was absolutely divine.
Four years after our wedding day, I codirected and wrote a short film about love and longevity in a marriage. In the script, Kris Kristofferson, who plays the husband, is caring for his dying wife in an E.R. When asked by a young nurse played by Robin Wright what the secret to love was, he says, "Stay in the room," which accounts for the theme of the film and speaks to the idea of not leaving when things get really difficult and when things don't come easy. That life lesson was imparted to me from a beloved therapist to many of my friends, and in turn to me through them, and we have used it throughout the years whether we are talking about our friendships or our romantic relationships. By staying in the room there won't always be lightning strikes, although those still happen, but more like small fires that continue to burn if they are stoked.
My life with Jason is the warm glowing fire that can peak with vibrant flames—and we have stayed in the room together when the oxygen was thin and breathing was difficult. We've managed to emerge stronger through it all, build a home, rescue and raise dogs, go through midlife crises, travel the world, and laugh until our cheeks hurt. And it's in this relationship and the laughter and the litter that I have learned more about love than anything else in my life. And the most profound selflove lesson that I have learned is that I am enough.