09 March 2007

on marriage

this has come up a couple of times within the past week, first with my dear friend sophie - whom i don't get to see and rap with nearly enough - and more recently over at sicily sue's place.

marriage. so much to say, so little time... so many thoughts a-swimming about...

historically, marriage has taken the shape of many things - a necessity in which to propagate the species, and later, a selling/giving away of a woman to a man... clearly by today's standards, we've evolved past that. right?

i'm hitched. i did so for many reasons, none of which are listed above. i didn't get married so i wouldn't be alone late in life. i didn't get married to depend on my partner for money, security or stability. i saw wayyyyy too many unhappy married folks over the years at the bar - men that loathed the idea of going home at the end of a night to a wife and children he didn't know or didn't understand - possible even care about. women that were married because they thought they were supposed to be. with the divorce rate the way it is, i fear that many people just opt to settle in relationships out of some strange sense of cultural expectancy.

i was never that girl that dreamed of her wedding day and had it all planned out from the moment i was old enough to think about it. when will asked me and i said yes, it was a different sort of deal for me.

we had two seperate ceremonies. mine was first. we went to my most special place, just he and i, and asked if we could go down to the beach for a few minutes. i'd written out my promises on a piece of birch bark - all of the things that i knew i could promise to that would never change over the course of our lives together. i put months of thought into those promises, as promises are something that i never take lightly. we exchanged them on the beach, then skipped rocks to seal the deal, as i didn't need anyone or anything to officiate over our binding. it was beautiful. it. was. perfect. there were tears and laughter and memories that i hold so close and always will.

for will's part, it was a short catholic churchy ceremony, about 10 minutes long. it was important to him that a certain padre do the deed, a man that he's known for years and years - someone that was/is instrumental to his philosophical evolvement. it was nice too. there were only a handful of people there that day, as we had planned a huge bonfire party for all of our friends and family to come to a week or so later, at another dear friend's mom's house. it was wild and crazy and fun. i still don't know how i was ever cleared by the church, i was really clear that i had no religion and had no intentions of just trying one on for size. we never went to the classes and retreats, though we had to fill out some lengthy questionnaires.

there was no stress involved, whatsoever. i found an awesome dress at it's a beautiful day - our resident 'hippie' store, and my mom made me a little headband.

i love will in a way that transcends the romantic sense, that, according to joseph campbell in the power of myth, wasn't introduced into the wedded vernacular until medieval times. i was pretty horrified that our marriage license came from some office that deals with property ownership -and that we had to pay for it. i also ixnayed the obey nonsense in the vows, or any mention of ownership for that matter. no one "gave me away" - just because it's tradition, it doesn't mean that it isn't bizarro. i didn't take his last name, after 29 years, i'd grown quite fond of my own.

the thing is, it saddens me to know that anyone would ever feel pressured, consciously or unconsciously to be married. that there has to be 'that certain someone.' does there really? and why? there are so many ranges of thought regarding marriage. some view it as the oppression of women. perhaps this is another reason why the extremes are so dead set against gay marriage. it would stand to chisel another notch from the patriarchy's belt.

what if romantic love and marriage is but a myth we've all bought into?

what if we aren't meant to be with one person for all of our lives? a tradition so steeped into every aspect of our being that we simply just play a grown-up version of follow the leader, and beat ourselves up when we don't reach some societal expectation by a certain age? what if marriage is simply a tool that is used by men and women alike to further compartmentalize people?

so many of my friends and acquaintances and people over the years that i have spoken with have literally felt pain and sadness over not finding the one - a few of them i know have simply settled - and that makes me sad. i don't know that we need to. why can't we be enough for ourselves?

i had taken a break from dating for 3 years before i met will. i had been in and out of relationships for years prior, some good, some bad, and some very very very bad. i knew that some soul-searching was in order - that i needed to be enough for myself, on every level. i had gotten to the point where i knew i would be ok with just me - and i was cool with that. when i met him, it was different than anything that i had ever imagined. he's my best friend. he is so many things to me, but most importantly, my partner in all things. i don't call him my husband, because it isn't like that - at least what conditions i would put on a husband label. sometimes "hubby" slips out - a product of my own conditioning, but... conditioning is meant to be challenged. just ask violet. you. go. grrrl!!!!!

and even if marriage is some fabricated entity, and there is no such thing as love - i wouldn't trade my boo or the result of our union, the phenomenal bebe - or our life together - for. anything. in. the. world. and never would i question another's choice to fly it solo. it is all about choices and options - freedom, that is. and don't we all want to be free? i can honestly say that any level of oppression that i feel and recognize isn't coming from will.

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