Tomorrow is my 4 year anniversary with myself. On September 10, 2010, alone in the woods out in Massachusetts, I swore an oath to myself… to death do us part. Truly. Afterwards friends shared my wedding cake with me as part of a lovely evening others were already having.
I have 5 words inscribed on the inside of my wedding ring, and for my 1-year anniversary I had a gold ring with 5 gold dots tattooed at Bulldog Tattoo. For my honeymoon I went with myself to New Orleans for a non-work vacation. I/we went out for delicious food, wandered the French quarter, had great sex, did a self-suspension scene at NOBLE, and fell in love with one of my cities-of-heart a little bit more.
This year, as a 4-year anniversary present, I got myself a black floating locket full of self-truths and blessings. For the deity I serve, for home, for safe travel. Family, romance, my black heart of innocence. Peace, health, inner identities. An altar I can wear around my neck, an opportunity for reflection, an opportunity for gratitude and love.
It has not always been the happiest of marriages thus far. In fact, I have been an outright abusive husband at times. I have cheated on him, put others before him, and been pretty cruel at time. I didn’t ask him what he wanted at times when it really mattered. I have not lived up to my vows. But… we are still together.
In coming to know myself, I have come to realize how truly driven I am by the opinions of others. Imprinting comes easy to me- those dear to me say something, and I take it to heart without them even meaning it as something firm. Certainly not asking me to change. People who I admire (and hell, sometimes those I don’t even know) say things about me that send me into self-doubt of my integrity and reality. I have been referred to as a very strong person who can at times be pretty fragile. That sounds about right.
Last night I had a realization that referring to myself in the third person, as my husband, is actually a tool for my health. For my life success. For a long time I have worried that when I do, it is a sign of self-avoidance and distancing of emotions. And perhaps it is to some degree. But you know what, if it is a useful internal tool, and sometimes external tool, so be it. If I have learned that saying “don’t be so mean at yourself” means far less to me than “don’t be so mean to your husband,” how is that not a blessing of self-hacking? I don’t want those who are not close to me to talk about me as a “him,” but for self, I just realized it can be a boon.
Getting to a point where I married me did not come easy. I started taking myself out on dates. And some of them were pretty lousy. But come time, they got better. Meals with just the one of us. Going out to the movies or for a long walk through the city. Sharing samples of frozen yogurt and figuring out which one to get. They might not seem like big deals for some folks, but for me, it was a big deal.
When I got the engagement ring, it sat on my computer desk for weeks. Why? Because I was afraid he would say no. How is that for a dilemma? That I didn’t think I liked or loved myself enough to consider such a commitment.
On the pier by the Ghandi statue in San Francisco, I/he said yes to the glittering ring. I cried as I slipped it on.
At the time, was it part of healing after a divorce? Perhaps. But it was also, is also, something that has become truly profound. It’s been messy, and I’m still getting to know him, four years, almost 35 years on. There are so many times when I honestly don’t know what he wants for dinner, and still fumble on “basic” questions of identity and preference. It sounds absurd for a guy who has a form online that talks about my travel preferences and service desires, built for those who do temporary service for me. But I am both. Because I/we are both.
I love my husband, and I love the gift he got me. I look forward to our date night tomorrow. I love the woman we’ve chosen to live and love. Every pairing is poly in some way when we include ourselves in the equation. I adore our home and dogs, and like (and at times truly love) our career. He’s a good guy who gets lost and scared sometimes, but he lets me hold his hand, and I feel blessed for still being in relationship with him. I look moving forward together with him.
Happy anniversary my love.