An artistic depiction of a blooming flower

The Freedom of 50

For years, many said I had to love myself before anyone else would. So, I tried, and I tried, hopelessly frustrated. A twist of fate had landed me in Los Angeles at 26. 8 months turned into 22 years. I was thousands of miles from my family, enjoying deep friendships, but still looking for love in all the wrong places.

My friends loved and cared for me, and I them, but none of those dear friendships had the intimacy or support of a shared life. None of them provided the consistent touch, presence, and safety I needed to heal into loving myself…

…So the handsome Naval Search and Rescue swimmer swooped me up into a late marriage at 46. I thought I had finally found home and family with my husband and our dogs on the California coast. It slipped away quickly though not suddenly, like sand through my fingers. It was completely lost in one night, in one moment of choice- keep my vows or find my ever-elusive self-love. I knew what I had to leave behind with no idea of where I was going.

Now I was 47, incredibly single, permanently childless. I began to pick up the pieces of my shattered heart and my shattered life. In a bodywork session, I had a vision of being encircled by healers and sisters and teachers and spiritual friends. There was a flaming portal in the middle, inviting me into its mystery. I knew someday I would step through, trusting my circle of guardian angels to meet me on the other side, where my lone heart waited for me.

I bowed to the rage. I bowed to the grief. I bowed to the what ifs, the fears, the self-reproach, and the impulse to blame. I invited them all to tea in the parched garden of my fertility, each wilted flower a lost hope- too many failed relationships to count, one engagement, one brief marriage, and no pregnancies.

I sat on that barren earth as it futilely drank in my tears of sorrow. I let the heat of my passion spark the dried detritus of my life and take hold, clearing the land with a controlled burn…

…Now, three moons until my milestone, cool and wet, I am revived by the rivers of my birthplace. I leap through the ring of fire like an acrobat, knowing any embers caught on my hem will die. Echoes of the ages beckon me to a love affair with myself, reminding me to drink in my own wisdom and savor my waning wiles.

I am home in this almost 50 year-old female body, finally…lover, witness, healer, dancer, sage, joker, sister, friend, daughter, and yes, mother.