“History repeats itself…”
“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
Along with other pithy slips of phrase, these two of my Mother’s favorites confounded me. How could history repeat itself, if we’re each these super-individual snowflakes that can be whatever we want when we grow up? How can it be possible that history repeats itself? Now, we’ve all seen the comparisons between JFK & Jefferson’s assassination, the anagrams of notable figures’ names’ and whatnot. It’s chilling, for sure. Almost as if there was some kind of meta pattern we, as the human race, are replaying until we can transcend it. You know, like an individual organism does. The definition of insanity and whatnot?
I come from a line of lascivious women. At least 3 generations back, we were getting knocked up before marriage. This would probably be the first time my mother would intone her phrase with ominous connotation, that their fates would be my own. Now, my grandfather on Mom’s side was very like Archie Bunker – except the TV never showed Archie entering the daughters’ rooms after bath time. She herself had become pregnant prior to graduation from college and got an abortion. Of course the tales we tell our children at bedtimes don’t reflect Grandpa’s perverse version of stories, love, or goodnight kisses. Of course they don’t shade the kids’ psyches with the hues of shame and guilt that a survivor of sexual or domestic assault has assimilated.
Today is the fourth anniversary of my most recent marriage. I phrase it thusly; it is, after all, my third. Since I was 23, I’ve been all but swearing off men. My boyfriend back then was about as femme as one could be while still enjoying to take girls in bed and electing boy clothes to go to work. He was bi, he was switchy/bottom-leaning. The popular joke among our friends was that I was the “man” between us. I idolized him. But inside, I said, “THIS one. MAY AS WELL BE a girl. If we can’t find sustainable partnership here? Best leave boys alone altogether.” After that boyfriend had evaporated to California? In standard predator fashion, my ex-husband number two would sweep/swoop in on the heels of that breakup, to collect the pieces of a busted-up Jen, and “reassemble” me in some way that suited him.
This launches an entire saga which precedes my arrival in the world of Kink In Name. Ex Number Two still holds the title of Most Sick, (Mono/Vanilla), Repressive, Toxic, Seven-year Relationship Which I Repeatedly Attempted To End.
My husband and I haven’t lived together in over a year. We’ve been dwelling separately since the monoheteronormative script wouldn’t allow us a way to cohabitate and go through the motions of coparenting without slipping into romantisexual motions. As this anniversary has approached, I’ve been thinking about our relationship and what honoring our commitment looks like today. While our relationship transition has been difficult and fraught with hard feelings, we’ve retained a sense of solidarity and intimacy despite the personal disagreements we may be experiencing.
So BearWithMe still holds the title of Dude This Dyke CHOSE To Co-Parent With and Then MARRY.
We’ve all been invited to a wedding this weekend. Mutual friends. Nothing like adding sentimentality to an already loaded weekend.
I got to thinking yesterday about this meta cycle I have of losing my marbles/my coping/treading water when Major relationships dissolve. Since being under the care of Western Psychology & Psychiatry for 17 months now, it’s changed the way I view my life’s arc. Each of the major head-goes-under-surface-emotionally episodes roughly correspond to Jen losing someone significant in her life.
It’s almost as if my identity gets all wrapped up in to whom I’m partnered. Now, I know the reader just got all kinds of judgy just now – indulge me. I know, I know, “BUT JEN – AREN’T YOU THIS PRICKLY FEMINIST DYKE BITCH?!” It’s true. I am. But I’m also horrendously codependent, thanks to a legacy of men (primarily) overstepping boundaries sexually, emotionally, mentally, psychologically, spiritually. My value really IS defined by my ability to please men/my partner/family members, either through my appearance/sex appeal, my domestic skills, my ornamentation, or the status I confer to them. When I fail to conform to a standard which expressly and explicitly serves The Ultimate Authority, Men (Status Quo), I expose myself to vitriol and abuse which rivals my big bad Hulk-like father. It takes a truly unholy amount of conscious reprogramming & positive affirmations (which contain their own demand for focus, nutrition, hydration, etc.) to not internalize these deeply harmful messages. My experience is not unique, nor is it isolated. I had a (once) close friend (male) call me a victim this week. When one is conditioned from a young age to be pleasing & of-service to those in the vicinity, whether bigger or smaller, older or younger, gender irrelevant, and then later that person realizes they’ve been denied permission to be a sentient being, self-same? It sorta becomes a chicken-and-egg argument, no?
So it was approximately Labor Day when my lover and I fell in love. It was approximately Labor Day when Mr. 7 Years of Toxic was introduced to me. Other than being the month of my mother’s birth, October itself doesn’t stick out as auspicious in my life. Pennsic is the first two weeks of August, so by the time September rolls around, I’m looking forward to sustaining the costume-appropriate events, and anticipating Halloween. Resisting the urge to PUT AWAY ALL THE (costume/garb/sewing) THINGS. September is when school resumes, and it’s taken some weeks to recalibrate from summer mode to school mode in my home. October is when the flow starts to be automatic. Weather gets chill. Flip the house from summer/play mode to business & school/responsible mode.
We planned our wedding for the first weekend in October, in Charlevoix, because it held equal chance of being blustery & awful or being sunny, 70’s, and gorgeous. We were marrying in garb, heavy upholstery and whatnot, so a brisk breeze or overcast skies would have been a boon. I’m reptilian and perpetually chilled, so warm WITH layers is always desirable. The Fates connected us with a ritualist who penned a ceremony which was duly Pagan & agnostic to fit us both. Even my mother got costumed up. The ceremony was idyllic, and the ONLY complaint I have about the Big Day is our DJ was a douche.
Women & girls have a fairy tale. We’re spoonfed it, it’s indoctrinated by Disney, and the way our culture is structured reinforces this myth. The wedding day is the ultimate punctuation on that myth, isn’t it? You’ve won Prince Charming. Happily Ever After comes next. BearWithMe and I did it up – a castle, crowns, attendant lords & ladies, an intimate gathering of nobles to witness the union. A feast to celebrate. A rented cabin in the woods at which to do hair, host the rehearsal dinner. It was picturesque. For the ugly duckling girl from white bread suburbs who really wanted to be Judy Garland/Liz Taylor/Madonna when she grew up, it was truly ideal.
The ring finger of my left hand has featured one of a few rings in the last year or two. As a polyamorous & radical/anti-authoritarian relationshipper, wearing a conventional ring on that finger is not a light decision. For awhile, it featured the poison ring my lover and I used to weave spells. I carried the remnants from a ritual inside the amethyst lid for nearly a year. Then a simple band. Then, a much heavier poison ring, elongated oval in shape, with a spell that I’d woven, strictly for me, has been there recently. Last week sometime I felt the need for naked fingers. Removed all my rings. My wedding set stays on the right hand usually unless I’m working in dough, ground beef, or marshmallow.
Since yesterday, I’ve worn my wedding set on its intended finger. Nowhere you look in my life, would one think, “now THERE’S a straight, traditionally married chick.”
Three days is the grace period we give a moon ritual. Within 72 hours of the Dark/New/Full Moon, one’s magickal workings are considered timely/punctual. Scheduling is hard, y’all. I was going to wear my wedding set for the 72 hour period, but for whatever reason, my heart said “four”.
It’s been four years. For four sleeps, four sun/moon rotations, this commitment will set upon my fourth finger on my heart hand. I will wear it when we all attend the wedding this weekend.
Happy Anniversary, my love. I do have regrets. I will continue to try and hold our agreements and commitment sacred. I chose you, I choose you, and I continue to choose to love you.