“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. What stories are you carrying inside you that are yearning to be freed onto the page? What stories are you carrying inside that, once freed onto the page, will also free you? Whatever they are, write one of them. Now.”
Maya Angelou: The Call to Write.
I am not in the regular habit of going back down memory lane…except to write these stories, ha ha. My inspiration to capture stories from my life was far from welcomed when it first appeared over two years ago. Over time, the inspiration could not be denied. I learned that resistance was futile. On one hand, words seem so meaningless. Live for now. What good comes of looking back? On the other hand, I enjoy capturing my stories in the quirky way that I do. Inspiration just hits, usually triggered by something – could be a song, a movie, a book, a conversation. Anything. I really do not take them too seriously. They are just stories. I have come to strongly believe that being a storyteller is a very valuable profession. One that I feel well suited for. I am not overly concerned with accuracy. I just let them flow. I always learn something about myself, my past self that is. I embrace the idea that in each moment I am reborn. So I really do not feel defined by my past actions and choices. Nothing to be ashamed of. I Let Go of the belief system I once held that past actions define you: peaceful, free state of being. In this moment, I have complete and total freedom to make my right now choice. I am in harmony. I do not have to conceptualize old choices. If they do not resonate in this moment, absolutely fine. This moment is my greatest teacher. How I feel now is my most useful tool to gauge this moment.
Recently, I found myself in conversation with a friend who was in the early stages of separating from her long-term marriage. Been there. Done that. Like attracts like. My Wedding Day Story came out. Wow, it had been a long while since I have thought about that one. It is a story about honesty…and deception. I am honest to a fault. Life seems always a paradox. Love that!
Graduated from Medical School in 1990, fully licensed 1992. Lived the life, working full-time as a Doctor. I dated my Med School Sweetheart. One of the largest motivations for me to get married, if I am honest with myself, was number one to have a family – in wedlock was my belief system. The number two reason was so that I would not have to be worried getting caught staying overnight at my boyfriend’s house, another belief system. At that time, I cared about the opinions of certain people. Parents? Neighbors? That feeling was getting old as we had been dating for six years prior to marriage. I guess that was a wee signal about a lack of enthusiasm if I had been a little more observant. Med School was a bit distracting…and overwhelming at times. We actually did break up about a year before we got married as I saw the writing on the wall. If he was unsure about marriage after five years of dating, then he was just unsure. I grieved the loss of our partnership but was prepared to get over it and start looking anew. I even had another strapping medical trainee in mind. That man also became a surgeon, orthopedic – a little more ‘hands on’, so I guess I had a thing for surgeons. I run into him from time to time and it is always a pleasure. Once I was in the company of a friend when I ran into Mr. Orthopedics and she sensed some energy in the air, for sure. I can be such a flirt. It amazes me that I was a faithful wife and girlfriend over 22 years in partnership with my buddy. Wonder how authentic that really was? Somehow, two weeks after breaking up, my buddy and I were reunited. This was a great relief to our friends as they just could not see us apart. We were best friends through dating and early marriage. An intuitive cousin of mine, Neurological ICU Miracle noted in the story “Your Song”, had shared her observation that she did not see us as lovers somehow. Hmmmmm…. I was not at all offended. It was a bold statement. Love those! I could understand why she would say that. Made me a little uncomfortable. Truth has a way of doing that, doesn’t it?
Contributing to our brief breakup was my purchase of a small home. I had been renting an apartment on my own for one year. I was sort of waiting around for a marriage proposal. I learned that I do not like living alone and needed to change my residential status. I took on a room-mate after purchasing the house. I got along famously with her, ended up as one of the bridesmaids. She was a family friend growing up on the same street. The four parents were shocked that it worked out as well as it did. They saw us both as too hotheaded to get along. Ha ha. Within one month of my home purchase, my boyfriend also bought a home. Bigger, better, in a nicer neighborhood. That started the gossip flowing. Strange circumstances indeed. I now realize that I have been fiercely independent for a very long time. Owning a home on my own, with a bank mortgage, felt like an achievement. It was a great lesson in debt. I took on a 10 year mortgage and felt its weight on my personal freedom. I recall sitting there with my first Medical earnings rolling in. Paid off the student loan in two months. Felt absolutely awesome! Worked my butt off in those two months. Never worked harder in my life before or since. Tee hee. The next tens of thousands accumulated and I seriously asked myself, “house or stereo”? The housing market was very affordable in Edmonton so I chose house. One of those choicepoint moments. I can only laugh.
All in all, I was more interested in the marriage than the wedding. I felt the experience of planning a wedding was a bit of a gong show. I prefer to evaluate any and all customs to determine if they suit me. Well this was not going to work with the collective people involved. At that time, one thing we were in agreement on was to be married in a church. Fiancé and his family had recently gone through catechism in the Catholic Church. They were each formally baptized and received First Communion. I have always enjoyed Spirituality so decided to join a catechism class of my own – an enjoyable experience. The priest shared a lot. He was very open-minded. It was much more than just the Catholic dogma. We explored all faiths: a theology course. Within the church there are many Beautiful Souls. I was impressed at how many were not connected to the dogma but wanted to share community within the Catholic Church. Slowly over time my favorites found their way out of the Church – many forced out but some voluntarily left. Politics are ugly no matter where you find them. It did not take too long before I declared myself an ex-Catholic.
Patty Griffin’s soulful version of a Catholic classic All Creatures Of Our God & King. I sang in the choir for three years. Love the music!
The Priest, Father Dick, who presided in my fiancé ‘s neighborhood -the good one, remember?- was inspiring. It was his cowboy boots that peeked out from the bottom of the robes that fateful day September 1994. I and many others noticed – tickled. He was known to drive a Harley motorbike also. Fun Fact: he ended up leaving the Priesthood years later to get married himself. Go Dick!! One man’s scandal is another man’s celebration. A cause for celebration in my world! So happy for that inspiring man.
Back to my wedding:
Nothing confused me more at the time than me breaking down into tears the instant I crossed the threshold of the Chapel, captured in the photo by my dear Aunt. I continued to weep through the entire ceremony.
It was not like I was moved in a happy way. I felt overwhelmed. I did not want to look too closely at it. Was I sad? Not sure. When it came time for the vows, I barely got out any words. When I was asked to repeat till death do you part, I just could not say that. Father Dick paused. Repeated the vow several times. Giving me multiple chances to join back in. ….Then cut his losses and carried on without those words ever being repeated.
As I look back now, I am dumbfounded. My higher Self seemed to know that it was not going to be forever. I am nothing if not honest. I was reminded each time I saw another wedding ceremony about my own not seeming to match the typical sentiments.
As I see it today, I was destined to have my three kids, and the experience of marriage. The kids have been my best teachers. Their young energy helped me to break free from the collective consciousness – also some of my family’s belief systems.
My buddy was a Soulmate but was never designed to be forever. He was and is a good man. He sure knows how to dance. It was those Michael Jackson hips that started this whole affair back in 1988. The Med Show Dance. Med Show is a racy affair where Med students let off a
little steam while we entertained an audience with crude skits and songs. In the days before You Tube. One’s career could end with some of that footage. A highlight of the wedding reception was doing the lambada in my custom made cheongsam – thank you Chinese mom! Proud to say I still fit that dress. Just sayin’. I was showing more leg than is proper back in China, I was told by a Chinese friend later. My cheongsam was all Hollywood, not China so much. Dancing the lambada in it appeared slightly scandalous to my mother she later shared. Our best man had passed a hat around to collect money to entice us to do the forbidden dance. He had traveled with us to Mexico so knew we would be up for it. We were. Close friends hinted that I was sexier than was proper for a bride. Sexy is as sexy does, I always say.
I had wanted to understand my emotional reaction in the Chapel better. I asked my bridesmaids what they thought of it? One replied, “You are a tough nut. Tough nuts are tender on the inside.” I found that such an unsatisfactory answer.
I was told that many people were so moved witnessing my ongoing crying. Many said it was a beautiful wedding. The comments struck me as very sincere.
My decision to raise my kids in a two household family and not remain married to their dad, was not celebrated by…anyone. Except me. I forced the transition on everyone in my family. Not long after separation, they were asking would it be Ok to include my former husband in family gatherings? I initially answered, No. Let us wait until he has engaged in the process of separation etc. I did not want mixed signals being sent. Well that day did come. It was a beautiful thing to see he and my mom reunited. My imagination was creating a movie scene. A large green field scattered with colorful wildflowers. My mom and buddy each in an opposite corner of the field. They would stretch their arms open and in slow motion run towards each other. When they met, an authentic embrace would follow: turning in a slow circle as the embrace continued. It was Beautiful. I felt like crying at the mixed emotions it brought up for me. They share mindset and enjoy each other’s company and conversation. They had accepted each other as family. I felt a wee bit bad for keeping them apart in the way that I did. They had visited a couple of times on their own. It was this day that I came up with the idea that I had married my mom. The energetic signature was so familiar to me. I had been entrained. It was nobody’s fault. My biggest challenge in life to date is to just be myself. I am very intuitive and knew that to be myself would challenge those closest to me. I would say that is midlife crisis defined. When someone breaks out of some societal or family mold and steps into who they truly are. History has shown that society can be pretty cruel to those transforming. Judgments have been thrown around freely. We could choose to celebrate this monumental achievement. Connecting with your true Self is the greatest possible triumph. Big theory is that this is what Mental Illness is. An individual whose natural state is a mismatch to the collective consciousness. Perhaps we all go through it as we open up to our true selves. Not for the fainthearted. It takes time to tease away the energetic ties to allow your true self freedom to emerge. “Ties That Bind” story coming soon. Also we must Let Go of belief systems that do not resonate with our natural state.
Seeing that my former husband fit into my family more than I did was not really painful by this point. It just made sense. It is the way it is. It is nothing personal. I am who I am. They are who they are. Live and let live.
When you become a lover of what is, the war is over. Byron Katie
It was interesting to just look at this situation for what it was. I can only be myself. I know that now. Being anything other was not a comfortable way to live. I gave it a shockingly valiant effort. Wow! WTF. The Beautiful Truth of it all is that the only thing holding back my being accepted was me not accepting myself. It was for love of family and friends. I knew the real me would likely not be celebrated. I am OK with that now. Do I really have any other choice? I allow it to be more their problem than mine. So simple. Yet so difficult for me. I chose to allow that. I figured it out…eventually.
Shocking conversation spring 2014 with my buddy, as I often refer to my former husband: he expressed that Divorce was a bad disease. I really thought after three years and a girlfriend, he would have less resentment. I told him that I did not judge it. Authenticity rules. And repeated the Byron Katie quote above. It did not go over all that well. But I was very peaceful with it. I accepted his viewpoint. At the same time was so very comfortable with my own. Live and let live. What better gift do we give our children than to model this for them. I had been selling him on the Divorce thing from the get go. He had never really wanted to buy it. I felt it was for the wrong reasons. More about connection to collective consciousness than the desire to share love with me. A common fear with divorce and separation is “what about the children”? Yes, what about them?
A favorite teacher Matt Kahn summarizes a common relationship theme:
We are going to lie, disappoint and have Anniversaries until we die. How romantic…
Is this what we want to model to our kids? Not me.
This small interaction may sound so simple but it was evidence to me that I stand firm in myself now. I am changed. It is good. I have come a long way! I am no longer affected by conflicting opinions in those around me -as I oh, so used to be. I take it as a good sign…for me.
Started writing January 2014