Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Married to Self

One of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver, wrote something that has stayed with me since I was nine years old. "All my life I want to say I was a bride married to amazement, I was a bridegroom taking the world into my arms."

This has always reached me in a way that no other words have been able to find me. It captures the sense that no matter life's circumstances, there is a beautiful relationship between self and the world that cannot be broken. I like to take this a step further and interpret it as focusing on one's relationship with one's being: thoughts, feelings, strengths, weaknesses, perfections, quirks.

That's what our college years are for: learning how to adore every aspect of our lives, and our beings, without asking for a refund of some kind; without feeling the need to rewrite history.

The relationship we have with ourselves is singularly the most important relationship we will have in college. I used to court myself through monthly artist dates which I first read about in the amazing book titled, "The Artist's Way." During these dates I would pull myself away from normal activities and give my silliness some much needed nurturing. During one of these dates I found my favorite field down the street from my mother's house. I would dance in the field with my car FM radio blasting. I would yell and listen to my voice echo against the trees that surrounded the field. Sometimes the sun would fall perfectly over the field and I remember consciously swooning over the absolute deliciousness of the moment.

I need to start dating myself properly soon: flowers, chocolates, fields, and all. By flowers I mean smelling the ones at Wegmans, and by chocolate I mean chocolate covered almonds that really should only be eaten in bed.

I'm not sure why I have avoided these dates since I've started attending Rider. It could be that I've have the pleasure of meeting and conversing with some of the most intelligent vivacious people I have ever known. Quite addictive folk that deserve the world. I need to take a step back from them though so I can remember what it feels like to have the wind sweep through my sweater to my skin, and then have it curve up and around my neck. Not that I cannot experience this alongside my loved ones, it's just that it hits me deeper when I find myself running alone for no reason with my head back, and I can laugh and I can find my company to be more than enough.

I actually did that last night. I was tempted to pick up the phone to call a beloved friend, however I resisted it. I knew I had to experience walking without my cell phone being attached to my head. Instead I ran from the Moore library to my car, and I was smiling and laughing big because Rider was a ghost town. Then I brought my head back focusing on space ahead of my path, and I found another lone walker, and I was sure she thought I was insane, or maybe she started running too enjoying that wind we had last night. I hope she did.

With the understanding that courting myself is important, the following is a poem I just wrote that encompasses the sense of unconditional acceptance for my body. It's the beginning of a series of a poems that I'm titling, "Married to Self."

I hope my poem encourages you to write your own poem in which you let yourself fall head over heels for your own skin.

Morning Mermaid

And the day that I can find myself
Sleeping naked with the covers
Only working half way
Across my legs
And I can see myself
As the morning
Mermaid hair still
Full of seaweed
From all the swimming
I did in my sleep
Watching my Arms legs belly slowly
the beauty mark on my right breast
the freckles on my arm connected
equates the Big Dipper
I don't want to leave
Because I know
I’ve got all of me
This time.

HerStory Head Editor,