13 May 2010

Boys for Pele

I'm having many feelings about leaving Selah for a week. Eight days, to be precise. Seven nights. Most of those feelings span somewhere between dread and anguish. They do not occupy the joy or relief end of the spectrum. I don't spend enough time with her to feel joy or relieved at the thought of being away. I'm having mommy feelings. And that's okay.

No real prevailing sentiments about the way of the world lately, no supercharged literary or media experiences. I've been putting together the 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle of life these past few weeks, been way overworked and underslept and overall just have kept the energy small and necessary. This is the first time I think I've lifted my head from the searching for and careful placing of pieces numbered 577 - 600.

Some thoughts on marriage: some people get married. More people these days are not marrying at all or choosing to wait... sometimes for an arbitrary time, sometimes based on tangential events (homebuying, childbearing, [un]employment). Like I try to do with most things, I reserve judgment on this one. I don't care when or if you get married, I really can't say I care what your ring looks like, but I will come to your wedding and probably will weep a little at the ceremony. Hell, I'll even perform the ceremony for you and your partner if you'd like :-) I will itemize my sentiments to the best of my ability:
  • I have witnessed people getting married for reasons other than what I believe marriage to be for. I think marriage can be a whole host of things, from a declaration to commit to the person you have chosen (barring ideas of "true love" and "the one"), to an economic arrangement, to a lifelong experiment, renewed daily. To me the trouble arises when someone looks to the Wedding as a day that will mark a change in the relationship, when someone looks to the Marriage as something different than the Relationship they're already in. This is dangerous!! It is a recipe for deezaster! Maybe not certain doom, but certain disappoinment no doubt.
  • While witnessing a beautiful, sincere, and perfectly pulled off low-maintenance wedding a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that I felt myself breaking out into hives at the thought of ever having to do what they were doing. The socialized me said "shame on you! don't you want to get married someday?" and the itchy me said "HELL NO INEVERWANTTODOTHISEVEREVEREVEREVER." The truth lies somewhere in between.
  • I could not get up in front of a crowd of people and declare my love for the idea of a person, which I think is where the scared voice was coming from (not that they were doing this at the wedding - Basonge and Gina, your wedding was spectacular and I was honored to be there). That to me is where the fallacy of some weddings gets my goat. I can't get up there and be all light and no shadow. I hold both, because each complements the other. HILARIOUS TANGENT: Ayano told me that he and Taina were talking, having a hypothetical conversation about a hypothetical wedding. He said something about not wanting groomsmen but instead wanting bridesmaids, because we all know about the collective of wonderful, strong women he holds dear. Taina responded, "See Daddy, this is why Amelia will never marry you because you have all these WOMEN around you." He laughed. I laughed when he told me the story. The girl is wise.
  • My relationship is my practice. That is how I approach it. That is what has made it successful, if you measure success by longevity and a considerable level of respect, humor, passion, and comfort. I love yoga. I would practice yoga daily if I had the time (I must! in there somewhere...) and inclination (which shows up more like 3 times a week...). I would meditate every day if the same qualities of time and inclination were there... but guess what!? My relationship has been and continues to be a daily practice in my life. I am not perfect, he is not perfect, there is not some other perfect ideal out there for me. I work with whatever feelings come up: fear, bliss, anger, frustration, confusion, elation, passion, lust, desire, whatever. They are there to be observed and explored, and I have been lucky enough to be with someone who (most of the time) can be present and just let me have my experience. All along, even during the most confusing times, there has been a voice deep down that has simply directed me to "stay." My mind may be swirling, my body may be fighting or fleeing, but the voice, somewhere below my heart yet above my belly (I believe that's the 'self') says "stay."
  • So I could get up in some kind of fancy dress and talk about my practice, and hear about how being with me is also a practice, and I could get up and say to everyone that I am choosing formally to commit to the practice of the relationship for my own sake, for our sake, for the sake of our families, for the sake of the community. I could do that. And then I could keep practicing... ad infinitum. I might wear a ring, but I probably won't because I'm just not a big jewelry person. And I'm definitely not going to do the macarena.
No, there are no plans to get married. In fact, we have a secret pool about who is going to be next. Are you in the pool? You might be. You should go ahead and just bite the bullet, take the plunge, pop the question, and make me 20 bucks already.


  1. 20 bucks? stay? perfect of future ms.catone? a tattoo?

  2. I want to know more about how the title ties in -- Boys for Pele is bomb! "Need a big loan from a girl zone?"

    Love your thoughts as always.

  3. pele is the (polynesian/hawaiian) volcano deity... just pulling on tori and doing my own ritual sacrifices to her (pele) for a fortuitous outcome http://www.mythicalrealm.com/legends/pele.html <3

  4. as you know, i could have cared less if i ever got married, got a ring, all of that...but there is the other person's desires to consider so we went for it...for me, it was about choosing him to be my family...i don't say that lightly...and i didn't speak those words in public lightly...i felt like i had my inner circle around me and I was prepared...I am much like you...all the wedding stuff freaked me the fuck out...but the reality is this: i am with the best person i know, i am with the funniest person, the most loyal to me...it will never be better with anyone else because i will still have all my issues and so will he...it's much more satisfying to me (not for everyone) to recommit everyday and figure this out with the best person i know...above all, the wedding was choosing him to be my family...of course I had already done that but it's always fun to have a BBQ and a tent too...

    oh and thanks for marrying us :)

  5. Thanks framing & sharing those thoughts in such a way, that it made me consider my stance on that matter in a slightly different light...Blessings 2 U :) ~paz}i{amor~

  6. Thanks framing & sharing those thoughts in such a way, that it made me consider my stance on that matter in a slightly different light...Blessings 2 U :) ~paz}i{amor~

  7. Like Denise, Peter really wanted to get married, and I had no intention-- I could care less about wedding trappings, we already owned a home together, we had been together for over 10 years, etc. etc., what's the point?

    But once we did the deed, things felt different, in a way I don't know if I can explain, and was totally shocked by. Maybe it was a kind of finality? The removal of that tiny hint of 'maybe'? Other people's reaction to us as a couple? I'm not sure. It was scary and weird, but once I got used to it, I do think it deepened our relationship, and made me feel felt very, very safe.

    Thanks for writing this, and making me be introspective for five minutes, in between diaper changes...

  8. Beautifully put. I wanted to get married because I thought I would feel safer. I did not figure this out until a few weeks before we got married. I understood this at the same moment that I realized I would not feel safer. I would not feel more sure that forever was in the cards for us, or that we would not hurt each other, or that some disaster would not befall us. But we went ahead with it, because why not? I loved my purple dress and I was amused (as was Edwin) by the thought of a City Hall marriage. This was, by the way, a VERY amusing City Hall. What has surprised me in marriage is not the hard work and the practice, (just because you formally say 'I choose you' does not absolve you of the fact of doing that over and over, each and every day) but that something has passed between Edwin and myself that does make us feel closer, more bonded. We both feel safer, and in ways that neither of us expected. I can see this is the light-hearted was that we approach each other. We have both let that final guard down. For us it took marriage, but that is not the only way. However one manages to take that final guard down, it is a blessing to be free of it and to enjoy this kind of relationship with another person.

    Thanks Meels for creating the space to get open about this.