Process, Uncategorized

The Story of The Broken Goddess

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Maybe it’s the whole point this picture so isn’t me. Black dress red high heels and yet it has on occasion been who I have projected. The Femme Fatale (not really) The toxic masculine idea of the divine feminine, maybe.

It started with the idea of keeping a blog called The Engaged Life, that was supposed to document, chart and consolidate the process of getting married. To use it as a learning tool and create a narrative that teaches. The only challenge was that the narrative quickly sped out of control and I was spinning.

Being a Bride is fucked up, not least because it’s a modern falsehood built on the idea of purity. It caused me problems. As I think on it now it makes me think of the painting of Lady Jane Grey by Paul Delaroche. Lady Jane Gray was a young English noble who was married off in an alliance that would make her the shortest reigning English monarch. S Lady Jane Grey was Queen for 9 days and was removed from the throne was later beheaded for treason along with her young husband. The painting depicts her in a white dress being helped to the executioners block blindfolded and most importantly in a white dress. 1077px-PAUL_DELAROCHE_-_Ejecución_de_Lady_Jane_Grey_(National_Gallery_de_Londres,_1834)

It’s a rough analogy I know; for being a Bride. I’m sad to say it’s how I felt and in moments even worse. For many of us, our wedding is some how meant to encapsulate all we are as women. It’s based on the idea that someone else should adore us enough to offer that validation, which all of us know on a spiritual path know is absolutely fucked. How do we get someone to love us that much if we don’t align with the idea of purity not only that how do we honour this idea when it’s all about somebody else feelings for you?

I’ve struggled with this, all of this, and much much more and i”m still wondering at it all. About what society think and why we are hell-bent on creating such unrealistic expectations of ourselves? To be young, to be beautiful and most of all that these are the qualities on which we as women are supposed to be honoured. When most of the women that I know have radically transformed themselves beyond the ideas of the maiden by the time they get married these days. That we are no longer sacrificial virgins, we’re just supposed to look like one. I’m glad to believe that ideas of the divine feminine are rapidly changing. That there are now hopefully a whole generation of young girls and young women that no longer seek to define themselves by these rules. Yet is it changing rapidly enough?

If Instagram is anything to go by not really and yet at the same time maybe? Ideas of perfection are crippling and self-harm rates among young women are on the rise as Instagram is suspected to be part of the cause. The perfect photo, the perfect body and the strange face smoothing filters that are just creepy. Yet, on the other hand, Instagram gives us a voice and the opportunity to honour ourselves, see our own value and write stories that represent us in all our messyness, rather than the picture perfect lives that we are supposed to be living. That our feeling matter and the idea of the female muse are quickly fading as the community Boyfriends of Insta suggests.  That men too are supposed to glorify women for nothing more than their looks in beautiful locations presenting fantastical ideas of self-love; when in fact the photos are endlessly supported by someone other than ourselves. That somehow we need to be endorsed. I can’t figure out if it’s radical subversion of the concept of the gaze or a perversion of it? That women are still buying into the masculine control of the gaze. absorbing and adopting it as part of a toxic masculine framework. That they too believe that beauty is their only value. The self-harm epidemic certainly seems to suggest so.

Where does that leave us? Much like my idea of a blog called The Engaged Life, very confused, especially as women who straddle the new and old paradigms.

What alarms me personally most is…..that I did not grow up with body image issues. admittedly I’ve largely been quite slim and fairly attractive so why would I? Maybe this is the quandary of the older Bride and all that means. You think being an older Bride would offer you more confidence and control. Where in fact I found the opposite trying to live up to value and beliefs that had outgrown me, that my twenty-something self would have relished. It makes me believe that the worshipping of the maiden has to take on a different form. Develop its own ritual and Brides should be left to focus on the important things, marriage and the transitioning of families. The story has to change. Brides are not sacrificial offerings. They are Queens creating their own Queendoms.

 

 

 

 

Process, Uncategorized

Our Bacon Tree

IMG-2295Our Bacon Tree is actually a Spekboom (Which is Afrikaans for Bacon/Pork Tree) that were given as a token reminder of our wedding. At the moment it lives on our balcony and has had a pretty epic year on its own. Having survived two moves, re-potting and being devoured by caterpillars. (Yes your right that is very symbolic, our wedding token was devoured by the Earth’s universally accepted animal change agent.) It has also given up a limb to spawn a fully independent mini-me.

The good news is that is has survived the process. Like most living things it has a variety of moods that I now use it as a relationship weather vain. Which has forced me to create a new relationship in my life and I find a place to focus the nurturing qualities of marriage. I talk to it. I encourage it and I tell it how beautiful it is. That it belongs in with us and that I am very grateful to have it in my life. That I love the work it does and how much it is doing for the planet. I make sure it’s loved, though I’m not sure it believes it after the caterpillar incident.  I wonder at what lengths people go through to keep a plant healthy and happy. Especially in the times, we live now.   I know it is a miracle in my life and it represents hope for the future. Especially as it loves munching carbon. Over a decade ago someone once told me “If you think you are ready for a relationship to get yourself a plant and if it lives a year, you are ready for a pet”. In recent weeks it has also been highlighted to me that a husband is a sort of pet. (I know it’s terrible) As we shouldn’t have such high expectations of people. After all most pets behave and do as they like and we love them anyway regardless of how inconvenient that might be.

The marriage process has made me confront things that I literally never thought possible. Miya Angelo said, “When people tell you who they believe them”. All of a sudden I do. There are many things that we choose to overlook when we get into relationships. For all the right reasons. We want to love through it. We believe that anything is possible. That we can love far beyond our own truths and live somebody else’s. Then we begin to understand just how wild that is. What a massive adventure is laid out before us and that in undertaking this path we are reconstructing the world in which we have chosen to live. That our world is no longer controlled by our personal truths and that shared realities are complex. That living with another person is like living with another reality that we might never fully discover. That we can’t colonise another person’s mind with ideas that aren’t true for them, any idea, and that somehow we might be able to navigate that together. That these are the decisions we’ve made and that we resist them at our own peril. Alternate truths are real. Yet somehow we are surprised by this. As if politics alone wasn’t enough to play that out for all to see.

The thing is though we don’t have to convince anybody. We don’t need to change anybody’s mind. We don’t need to make them understand how we see it and we certainly don’t have to expose facts in order to be heard. All we can ever do is turn up and be ourselves and live our lives as fully as we always intended, love ourselves enough that there is space for another perspective. Live our truths and through the process and know that we are enough and the world’s madness doesn’t change that.

They say that there are lessons in everything and that what we see is our mirror. What we don’t fully understand is how deep that reflection goes. Of course, what I’ve just said is a paradox. As there is no depth in a mirror. All we have is a flat perspective that can move and change giving us all the information that we need in it. Reflecting back all the details of our backstory and simultaneously our present. It soooo fucking magical. It’s totally understandable that we would be highly confused by it. Relationships take personal understanding deeper, as we unpick everything. We find that our internal traits, have external matches. Cause meets effect, openness meets rigidity, reflective meets reactive, embracing meets denial, truth meets reason. There’s also no telling where each of us may take that ground in the ever-shifting sands of life.

We all like to believe that we know the best way forward and that we can talk through everything. Then honestly what if you can’t? What if after nearly eight years of being together you finally realise that actually, you have totally different belief systems that literally took seven years to show up. That the veils have well and truly fallen and love can still dwell in the places where we can’t meet.

We may be very familiar and safe with our own demons and the process it might take to coax them into a ferral state of benign co-living. When all of a sudden you find yourself discovering somebody else’s lurking in the previously unexplored recesses of their mind.  We don’t know where they start and end or even their true form. Like the film, Alien we don’t fully understand what we are seeing. It takes a while for the nature and intentions of the wee fucker to fully come to light.

We can liken personal relationships to revelations in history. Where the nature of the universe even now is under debate. That the best ways forward are often argued about. Great breakthroughs are often dismissed and even ignored until we find ourselves in a new reality depending on who has the fortitude to push through. The lesson will be repeated until it is learned. Love always, especially when it is hard, confusing and frustrating. Yup.