Friday, February 22, 2008
At the age of 50, when many people were either celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary or well into their second or third marriage, my girlfriends and I were buzzing about the disappointment of being single and facing another Valentines Day alone. For many of us, there was no discernable partner for the future. I was included in that group. Then, in the middle of an internet dating blitz, I had an epiphany. Instead of looking hither and afar for the perfect guy, why not get married to myself!
When I write about love these days, it usually leads me in the direction of an idea of ‘Greatness’. I want to live a GREAT life. I have GREAT friends. If and when I date again, I’d like it to be a GREAT love. Sometimes I even imagine this ‘great’ love could involve a place or an idea. Sometimes its the notion of faith, or of cultivating a ‘greater’ understanding of God. Maybe even my work with MAMAPALOOZA and mothers across the world would qualify.
Sitting over the ashes of years of pent up desires, I tried to do a mental inventory. Two of my best friends were in the middle of heartache. One with a dysfunctional guy with a jail record and a shoe fetish, and the other with a physical therapist, who’d practiced a little too much therapy on women other than her – Naked, I might add. These were ‘normal’ successful women, with "good heads on their shoulders."
Coming from a traditional marriage, I noticed even after the divorce I continued to be attracted to guys with a more or less mainstream view of archetypal 1950’s male/female relationships. Inevitably, as we grew closer, his fantasies turned to getting me in the kitchen with an apron and a dishpan. I knew this wasn’t going to work for me anymore. I’d already done that, and besides, now that I was past childbearing age, it just didn’t seem like the kitchen was the best use of my life experiences. I wanted to share, explore, expand, and love in mature, generous ways, where we both kept our autonomy and our own addresses.
The idea of marrying myself came to me after brainstorming about a much needed vacation. I’d tried writing myself love letters, and certainly done time participating self-help groups that focused on self-love as the pillar of any successful relationship. Spending time alone wasn’t a horrifying concept, and rather than approach the Valentines, vacation, solo affair with dread, I decided to turn it into a revolution.
It was a simple ceremony, consecrated on a cliff in Barbados. Part inspiration, part new age conceptual cleansing, I truly felt the Holy Spirit move me. The wedding arch is a permanent part of the landscape at The Crane in old Bridgetown. With the sea crashing below, I spread my arms wide like wings. While the wind caressed my skin, I turned towards the water and began to quietly whisper the words I so longed to hear, and had looked far and wide to encounter.
“I love you.”
I felt kind of giddy. My heart was racing and it was like one of the great passages in life, when everything is clear and obvious. It was just me in my bathing suit, with the sound of the surf and my heart beating wildly inside my chest to a perfect harmony. “I do,” I said, hoping that with vigilance I could be my own best friend, partner, soul mate and companion.
Living Loud sometimes means creating my own definitions of how I think the world should be, and at the same time pioneering fresh concepts of the ways women, mothers, daughters, sisters and individuals can dream their lives into celebratory ways of being. The simplicity of knowing that I am my own best life partner is a novel way of looking at the world.
There was never a time when I wasn’t engaged in the search for a boyfriend, partner, husband or lover. Maybe there will be others down the road, but this current "marriage" seems somehow right, and I for the moment am happy to love, honor and trust myself, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health - til' death do us part.
Joy Rose is a contributing columnist on The Lohasian. Her column "Living Loud With Joy Rose" explores self development ideas and tools meant to inspire and mobilize women to create an extraordinary life. Joy is the Founder and President of The Motherhood Foundation and Mamapalooza; a multi platform event, music production and entertainment development company that specializes in creating media brands to empower mothers and other women nationwide. Mamapalooza's unique message reaches an estimated five million consumers each year.