For a very long time I moved through the world tied down to the most reviled person I knew. Myself. This other person rode along in my body, giving constant snarls and criticism on everything I did. The relationship was similar to the initially toxic symbiotic relationship of Melanie and Wanderer in The Host by Stephanie Meyer. I felt alien in my body, in the world yet not experiencing it. I feed off of and needed the attention of others. I was married and had friends but because of depression, it didn’t feel real. Trapped in my head and afraid of myself, I was alone. In my pain, I lashed out at my husband until he was distant. When he didn’t want to do the same things I did, eat the same foreign foods I did, I thought it meant he didn’t like me. I took that as further proof that I was alone. We talked about separating.
I came across a story in a local paper about a man whose relationships failed because he couldn’t return the love the women had shown him. Not because they were flawed but because he couldn’t feel love as deeply as they deserved. He realized that people date to build relationships and find love so if he wanted to love himself he could try dating himself! After months of dating: movies, long walks, going to his favorite restaurants, he proposed and accepted. He wed and promised to love himself while in a helicopter out over the ocean at sunset. Something clicked for me. I would date myself. Dear, Gods, what if I didn’t accept?
IMAGE: A glowing red heart symbol held in hands. Photo by Louise Docker Wikimedia Commons CC License
It turned out that all the bitchy woman in my head wanted was some understanding. We needed time for soul to meet body, to discover what we needed and desired. What did my body need? What did my soul need? How does this translate into preferences? Me, myself, and I spent time strolling along seaside cliffs, going to foreign and independent movies, eating exotic food, and dressing any damn way we wished. We started to become “I Am” and I began to untangle from my husband and appreciate him for the beautiful individual that he was.
Star Foster, editor of Pantheos, the Pagan portal at Patheos, wrote a Valentine for the single person. “You honor love when you can sit at a restaurant by yourself, or go to a movie by yourself, or go on vacation by yourself.”
As odd as this may seem, falling in love with and even marrying yourself isn’t a new idea. New Yorker Kevin Nadal proclaimed his self-love in May 2005. Not that long ago, Chen Wei-Yi “Only”, who lives in Taiwan, held a wedding with all of her friends and family in attendance. BBC asked her “What gave you this idea to have your own wedding and to marry yourself?” She replied, “I feel that marrying myself represents promise to really love myself. With this wedding I want to have a ceremony to prove that I really love myself.”
Part of the Charge of the Goddess states, “Let My worship be in the heart that rejoices, for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals. Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.
And you who seek to know Me, know that the seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery: for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without.
For behold, I have been with you from the beginning, and I am That which is attained at the end of desire.”
No matter what we look like, what our disabilities or struggles may be, we might as well be our own best friend because where ever we go, there we are.
Good Times Santa Cruz I remember reading the article but couldn’t find it for full references.
“The man who married himself” by Sharon Krum The Guardain UK Friday, May 13, 2005 www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/may/13/gayrights.features11
“The woman who married herself” BBC News by Cindy Sui www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-11722248
“Charge of the Goddess” Traditional poem by Doreen Valiente, as adapted by Starhawk www.reclaiming.org/about/witchfaq/charge.html
“A Valentine for the Single Folks” by Star Foster at Pantheos. www.patheos.com/community/paganportal/2011/02/11/a-valentine-for-the-single-folks/
Image: Oil on canvas by Diego Velazquez “Venus at Her Mirror” Wikimedia Commons Public Domain