Hello and Happy Monday,
What a week! Thank you all for your good wishes and congratulations. It’s exciting when there is great news to share. We had a wonderful weekend as an official family.
The day before our wedding ceremony, I found myself distraught and upset. When I was growing up, the message that was repeated often to me and my friends had always been to find a man that can take care of you financially, marry him, and live happily ever after - three very easy steps and that was it. Once you were married, it was easy breezy. This was always the narrative, in just about every movie and tv show we watched, in magazine articles we read, and the tons of quizzes we took in Cosmopolitan. In my twenties, it came from the older adults I knew, asking when I'd meet someone to take care of me (eye roll). Even with that being the message, I didn’t follow it because somewhere in that message it always displayed the female (ME) being submissive and I knew I didn’t want a life like that. Cue, 1950's Housewife, Father Knows Best or Leave it to Beaver.
In the past, I made more money than my boyfriends and even my ex-husband, I knew how to take care of myself, I knew that happily ever after required work; work within and work with each other, and I knew that I wanted a partnership one in which we shared responsibility of our relationship and all things in it. Yet, on Tuesday, I found myself struggling.
When I met Joe, I was hand making a mermaid tail Halloween costume for Melissa and I made a joke that the mice in my attic were making my costume, just like in Cinderella. This led us in a discussion about Prince Charming and if he existed. It became a funny joke, but all kidding aside, Joe has been my Prince Charming. And that is the issue for me because Prince Charming is a fairy tale character who comes to the rescue of a damsel in distress and must engage in a quest to liberate her from an evil spell. In some ways, I could argue that I was in a lot of distress. I was barely making ends meet, working against the current to get a divorce I had so desperately wanted for years, and taking care of my two children on my own. I was in an uphill battle to regain peace in my life. I was making strides and then Joe came along and I accelerated to where I wanted to be. Our relationship has always been easy, we both have done a lot of work to be where we are and our conversations are always deep and meaningful. We know what it takes for a partnership to be successful and are continually growing and learning and working together. If there really was a Prince Charming, perhaps I really have met him.
So, on Tuesday when I came from running some errands, I sat down in front of Joe and started crying. Let me back up. When Joe and I met, we agreed we didn’t want to get married again. We don’t believe that once you are married it makes your relationship stronger or better. Eventually, we changed our minds due to family dynamics but agreed to get married on our own terms. And on Tuesday, the old message of marriage and “Happily Ever After” was causing anxiety in me. Even though our relationship has been amazing, like a fairy tale, there was a piece of me holding onto those childish beliefs that once we got married, the work was done and poof, “Happily Ever After.” As I sat and cried and explained this to Joe, Joe did what he always does, dropped everything and listened. He doesn’t offer to advise unless I ask, he doesn’t try to put words in my mouth or cut me off. And as we talked, my anxiety lessened. We talked about all the work we do to keep our partnership strong, how we are always communicating about everything. And in those moments, I realized, once again (because somehow, I forget this!) I already had my “Happily Ever After”, that our wedding ceremony was just another day for us to express love for each other. Then I was crying, as my kids call it, "happy tears".
The practice of Svadhyaya, self-study, is much more than just learning something new about ourselves. Sometimes it relearning the same things over and over, sometimes it’s redefining what we had once believed as the truth, and sometimes it’s having someone to listen to you figure out what is going on to gain some clarity.
I’m curious, what beliefs from your past have you redefined? Are there ideas that keep coming up for you? I’d love to know how you work through your outdated thoughts.