Moving from I to We

Image courtesy of: http://greinyphotos.blogspot.com/

Love, having no geography, knows no boundaries, weight and sink it deep, no matter, it will rise to find the surface. ~Truman Capote

Dear Readers: Please read this post I wrote four years ago before reading my latest essay.

Moving from “WE” to “I” 

I am a big fan of the writer Elizabeth Gilbert.The first book of hers I read was the best-selling, Eat, Pray, Love, even though I had heard of her work through other essays and in previous books, particularly The Last American Man. I will confess I have read the former a total of three times -once a year from 2008-2011!  The book came along at just the right time in my life and, although our journey’s were not exactly the same, I could identify with many aspects of the pain and eventual healing Ms. Gilbert had experienced. However, when her next book, Committed came out, I avoided it like the plague! I did not want to think about even entertaining the idea of getting married and I was convinced that if I read it, I would somehow quickly jump back in the game. To affirm this notion, I would routinely drive by a friend’s house (a common route into town) and see her latest man’s truck parked in her driveway. I would physically react each time, unable to fathom even the thought of someone else regularly taking up space on my property or in my bed. I loved my independence; I loved the idea of not having someone to come home to every single day. And even though the boys were settled with me, it never was the same scenario as having a partner in my home.

I watched as other women and men I knew go through separations and divorces. Some became unmoored in their new status. Getting through the day -or dare I say- the year, was just about all they could handle. Others seemed to relish in being single and were perpetually dating, often finding themselves in troubled or serial relationships.(All this in a small town-very surreal.) I was grateful to be both independent and in a relationship that provided me with the safe distance we both needed.

Life continued. I faced the good, the bad and the ugly and grew to cherish the life I was making. The love I had for my now- husband grew stronger despite the distance and we made the most of our reunions together. Always on the same page when it came to our future, neither one of us felt compelled to marry just yet. But our commitment remained steadfast.

An old friend TB once said “Relationships are like sharks, they must keep moving forward or die.” Living separately at a long distance is unsustainable (never mind expensive) if you want to build a life together. For me, that is what marriage means. Yes, it is a legal contract bound by particular laws. There are benefits to a legal union, like being next of kin in health care decisions for your spouse, for example. However, those laws mostly come into play when the marriage is coming undone. For some, it is a religious contract. Depending on how you view faith, those laws can either serve to fully express your union as equals or repress and oppress at least one of you.

I am at a point in my life where I have let go of the false beliefs of needing a “soul-mate” or in thinking that I need a man to “complete” me. The former is a specious sentiment espoused by popular culture. It leads people into thinking that there is only one person in one lifetime that connects with your true self. We need to release that idea. Instead, how about intimacy? And I am not talking about only sex here. I mean the kind where being naked with someone is more metaphorical. It is that place where only you and he (or he and he or she and she) live and talk and breathe. It is a place where it’s nobody’s business but yours. And frankly, my husband and I do not need to complete one another. Yes, we have a life together, but we also have our own selves and our own inner life. If  you know that and respect that about one another, I believe it can be a healthy, supportive and loving relationship. No need to lose the I and replace it with We; it’s possible to have both.

I have Elizabeth Gilbert to thank for this post. Yes, I finally read Committed, but only in the last week! I felt I only could write this after I read her perspective on marriage the second time around. Again, while our journey’s were not the same, I could identify with the struggle in moving toward it once again. Ironically, I was more ready to read it after I got married! I also recommend The Signature of All Things and Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.  If you want a compelling saga with a strong female lead character (and then some), read the former. For understanding and embracing your creative self, read the latter.  ‘Magic’ was a Christmas gift from Jenn  (and recommended by Emily) who both serve as loving reminders that my writing is worth doing and pursuing.

 

 

 

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Gatherings, Gratitude, Guidance and Gumption

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Photo courtesy of D. Jacavanco (jacavancostudios.com/blog)

I’m writing this piece looking out at my new back forty; a verdant park is now my backyard instead of the long expanse of grass and thick woodlands. The journey to my new life is at once complete and just beginning. We were married in late June on the beach with the roar of the Atlantic and soft tunes of a love song in a circle of friends and family.

 The day was picture perfect-the bluest of skies, the warmest of suns and greenest of grasses. The party was held outside in the backyard, a culminating celebration and the best way to say goodbye to my house and land that survived loss and was revived by love.

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The boys had moved to a beautiful apartment on the other side of town earlier that month. We had time to adjust to being apart before my own big move a thousand miles away. Although I had been in the house alone before, it was never so empty. I had trouble sleeping, not out of fear but in the sense of knowing it was permanent. It was difficult to work with all the emotional upheaval that comes with making five life changes at once. I was saying good-bye to everything.

I went for one last big hike in the mountains with my youngest during that time- a necessary reprieve from the planning of the wedding and packing whatever I needed to bring.

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I said good-bye to my therapist- a woman who provided me with strength and courage  for a decade and helped me get back myself.

So, two days after the wedding, we hit the road with everything I had- and all that I needed- packed in the car. Books, clothes, photos, paintings and two cases of wine arrived safely  three and a half days later.

And, two weeks after the wedding, my house was sold. My husband and I are  at last making our own home together. At times, I feel like a stranger in a strange land. The climate is different-and I am not just talking about the humidity! I will leave the details of my observations for future posts; they are stories unto themselves.

Until then, stay tuned!

Small Matters

Hi Folks! This is a post that I wrote when my blog was in its infancy stage- 4 months in. Per request, my soul sister, Emily asked that I re-post it. That’s the necklace she made in the photo! She is a talented metal worker and silver smith AND she is making the bands for my wedding in June! So fabulous to see how life has changed for the better. Enjoy the story!

Building A Life Of Hope

Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end. ~ Scott Adams

Last week’s severe storm in my region had me thinking about the importance of small things in our daily lives. I was lucky to have been spared the worst of the disaster having lost power for just three days and not sustaining any property damage short of fallen branches.  I missed my morning coffee that I brew in the pre-dawn hours and sip while getting ready for my day. Luckily, I live close enough to a Starbucks which opens at 5 am. What a treat! I drove there in the early morning darkness in my jammies and hoodie and savored each sip. I missed drying my hair but I was getting my haircut on day two anyway. My hairdresser does such a great job that my hair…

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Two Firsts

Credit: projectm-online.com

So which one to write about? Which one to reveal? Which one do I remember? Which one have I forgotten ’til now? Which one really counts?

Teenage curiosity and innocent lust are more apt descriptions from the summer of ’76.  A week at the lake with other families. Days when we never got out of our bathing suits until dinner. Dancing to the music of the Guess Who. Blown away by Peter Frampton. Wiffle ball games just before sunset. When darkness fell, the older folks gathered for their nightly card games while we put pennies in the pot for Michigan Rummy. One night the lights went out and I found myself kissing him. A cousin of a friend. And that’s all there was. A small crush that lasted less than a week. Vacation was over and we all went home. I’ve heard about him from time to time over the years. Turns out he lives in the same valley region as me. I understand he’s had similar struggles. I wonder if he has ever thought about that easy time when we knew nothing of the world. Still sheltered from the harshness and hard times.

But the one I that hides in a tiny corner of my heart happened three years later. Not quite summer and not yet fall. The freshman girl who a lot of the boys thought was cute (at least that’s what my friends told me at the time). But I fell for the senior and he for me. A bit of a rebel and I assure you that was part of his appeal. I liked his curly locks and trimmed beard and the fact that he could play guitar and sing. The first night he took me out he walked me to my dorm and we kissed on the path outside. His glasses fogged up. And I remember thinking that it felt so very different from it did when I was fifteen.

Needless to say, we fell in love. Crazy, mad young love where you find yourself unable to think of anything else. Love that didn’t meet parental approval, so it was met with outright rebellion. Circumstances eventually changed and then ended our ties to one another. My heart was broken. It was hard to let him go but it was the right thing to do. I thought I saw him once years after he’d married and I was with another. He was sitting at a storefront window talking with a friend. My heart stopped and my mouth went dry. I never went in to say hello. But his love letters and photos are still tucked away in an attic trunk. Momentos of my first love unread and unseen for decades. Pieces of a former self and sweet reminders of first love.

 

Kellie’s  prompt this week had me in the way back machine! I could not decide on one particular story as one memory (in this case, the latter) brought up another. The story is my complete thought process.

#FWF Free Write Friday: First Kiss

Summer is in the air and reminds me of those sweet summer flings, first kisses and young love. Do you remember? Tell me…

 

Purple Haze

photo credit:  www.mymodernmet.com

Lavender: her favorite scent

    Soft, sensual, soothing

     When first they met

 he offered her its sweet gift

       A small token

He became heir apparent

  to her lifelong affection

Their affair is like a willow

        Easily bent

But with strong, long roots

His love for her plays like a flute

Tender, calming and gentle

     Almost like a whisper

For the first time and forever

She can bask in the warm glow

      of a healing heart

Another great Free Write Friday prompt from Kellie Elmore! This week we had a word bank: lavender, willow, sweet, bask, flute and heir.  http://kellieelmore.com/2013/05/31/fwf-free-write-friday-word-bank-7/

A Way of Waiting

lovers waiting

When you were last here a snowstorm stranded us

We were hot with cabin fever

This morning I rise alone 

Chilled by the longing for you

I know that I need to wait

Spring is beginning its slow unfolding

The grass is getting greener by the day

The bare trees are just beginning to bud

The forsythias are in full bloom

I watch the sun rise from my bedroom window

I know that I need to wait

I go out to greet the day

Morning is stirring here, just a bit

The air has a hint of warmth

I listen for the early sounds of the day

I know that I need to wait

I hear the tearful coos of the mourning dove

The rat-ta–tat- tat of the woodpecker

The singsong serenade of the cardinal

Work keeps an ocean between us

I know that I need to wait

I hear the low hum of the traffic

and the long low  whistle of the train

Runners emerge for their daily exertion

I return home to face another day

And know that I need to wait

waiting quote

The Yearning

lovers yearning

Tonight I wash away the stains of the day

Unravel the cloth that has wrapped me

Stretch out the aches and pains

Robe myself in silk

Clamber to the comfort of my bed

 

My thoughts are of you on this clear spring night

Sleeping beneath the pink moon

I long for your touch

Your sweet words

And you

Just you

Only you

Always you