Isn’t this what happens when you cross the threshold of 4 decades & are still unwed, un-childed, wild & possibly bewildered? You marry yourself. I haven’t mentioned it before because I couldn’t get past how new-age-y it sounds.
Although I vaguely picked up this idea years ago, I have dismissed it all those years. I even dismissed it while I began to adopt it a few months ago. While searching TED talks, I came across this one, & it helped me approach the idea that there might be merit in marrying myself, whether I ever married another, or not.
It was like the switcheroo that happened when I was asked to audition for Vagina Monologues. I had a huge resistance to the word vagina. As much as I know none of us would exist without vaginas (not even Donald Trump), I just didn’t like the idea of talking about them, even though I am one who likes to stretch comfort edges in many areas, including equality, so why not say vagina? Well, I’ve since come around to an even better-yet-still-edgy term — pussy — but that’s another story for another day…
I’m all about empowerment, particularly of women, because I feel that when women are empowered, whole communities benefit. Still, internally, I had to work to embrace the Vagina Monologues. Once I did I was sold — sold on the realization that much work lies ahead to make the world safe for women & children. Which means we are far from civilized as long as women & children are at risk.
So while it’s potentially much less controversial than developing a relationship with vagina, it is in the same vein & with some of the same resistance that I decided to marry myself. What does that even mean?
In one of Ana Forrest’s practices, she says, “Breathe into your heart the way your heart most wants to be nourished.” Upside down on the mat, head gorged with blood, & still my mind draws a blank. What does my heart want & how does it feel most nourished? I don’t know what that even means, what that might look like, so I simply breathe into the back of my heart, into that place that feels like it’s been skewered. That’s a good start.
I realize I have wanted someone else to nourish my heart for me, yet I haven’t even been able to verbalize clearly how I’ll know it’s happening. Is it any wonder relationships have come to an end? If I’m not clear on what I need & want, I’ll take whatever comes along & whoever shows interest in me. Of course, I could trace it back to my father not being there. How could I possibly know what I haven’t known? How can I know how my heart can be nourished by a man when the archetypal man, my father, wasn’t there? (As you might guess I’ve unconsciously chosen partners who can’t be there for, or with, me…) So I tried all the offerings, thinking each time that this man might be the one to offer the balm, the man to match me & nourish my heart.
And of course I like to imagine I chose it all — all of it — including my father, or absence of him. If that’s the case, then why? What’s the benefit? How does what-is require me to evolve?
Sure, like I said in the last post, it seems like my life might have been more successful in some way if I’d had more of a foundation in this value-setting work that I feel I’m only now getting a good grasp of. Regrets are useful if you can pull out the still-workable material, otherwise they feel wasteful, I find. And I don’t value waste, so I’ll just continue on from here, from where I realize I am now. Which is somewhat clueless, yet still curious.
This decision was also triggered by getting a ring returned to me that had been a partnership ring from when I lived in NYC. I had tried to barter to have a piece of jewelry made by another ex, as a way of transforming both of those relationships. Didn’t work out as I had hoped, so when I got the gold band back I tried it on again & the only finger it fit was my left ring finger. I experimented with wearing it out to the shops & noticed that when I saw an attractive man I hid the ring by putting my hand in my pocket. I wanted to say to him, “It’s not what you think! Don’t write me off just yet!”
Marriage tends to pull you out of the dating field, as it should, I say. With that commitment made you can focus on other things that you didn’t have time for when so much of your energy was extending outwards in the hunt for a mate. Wearing this ring has made me realize that the one I need to love &, for a time, hold separate from the world, is mySelf. As much as I yearn to be met by my true mate, I have the opportunity now to deeply understand where the gaps are in my self-acceptance, support & nourishment. And as Tracy says in that talk, “You enter into relationship with yourself. And then you put a ring on it.”
So while I imagined the cashier at the health food shop dismissed me as a non-date-able option because I had what looked like a wedding ring on, I also began to realize that having some barriers, some boundaries, is actually what I need. Out of a seemingly backwards sense that to show a need for boundaries was weak, I haven’t had many. I’ve allowed far too much trespassing than is good for me, for my heart, or for the greater good of this once-green & blue planet.
Recently, I’ve been tested on this front as two separate men have tried to kiss me when I did not want to be kissed. And this is what my fear has been — that if I am fully expressive, fully mySelf, I will be preyed upon. With the first man I laughed out loud. It startled me so much that I burst into laughter. It wasn’t at him, it was just at the absurdity of him thinking that because I dance freely & smile freely & talk freely, that I give my kisses away freely. The other man I flew into a mad rage on. I was irate, livid. And one thing I said has really stuck in my mind,
“I am not here for you!”
Maybe some women are there for men. I know I have been. It certainly seems to be how we treat the planet — like it’s there for us to do what we want with. Where’s the conversation? Where’s the respect?
I remind myself — this is the only piece of earth I can truly make any adjustments to. So I’ve been answering these questions in relation to mySelf. How often have I driven myself unnecessarily & unkindly? How often have I taken from myself or not bothered to be respectful with my own needs? Do I even know what I like? Do I wear perfume? When? What music do I like? What’s my instinct in a crisis? Or the particular rhythm of my sneeze? How do I feel safe? When do I feel free?
The Oracle at Delphi wisely said, Know Thyself. I’m looking closely these days, through words, in mirrors, in dreams, in conversations & conflicts, in my search to know what it means to ‘come home to your own sweetness’. Which just so happens to be the subtitle of my book. Whaddya know? Here I am learning what it even means to live life With Pleasure (the title).