~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…
At 46, the handsome, former Naval Search and Rescue Swimmer swooped me up into a late marriage. I thought I had finally found my hero, my home, and my family with our two dogs on the California Coast. They were great consolation, our “babies.” Yet, it slipped away quickly, if 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 what lay ahead.
Now I was 47, incredibly single, permanently childless. I began to pick up the pieces of my shattered heart and my devastated 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 false starts to count, one engagement, one brief marriage, and no pregnancies.
I sat on that parched earth as it soaked up my tears of sorrow. I let the heat of my passion spark the dried detritus of my life, taking hold and clearing the land with a barely contained wildfire…
…Now, here I am, three moons until my milestone, cool and wet in the early Mid-Atlantic Spring. I am revived by the rivers of my birthplace. Their streams’ babbling remind me to listen patiently to the younger selves within. Heeding their cleansing call, I have found the way to my return.
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. I soften into my own love. I savor the feel of my body from the outside in, receiving my own tenderness.
I am home in this almost 50 year-old female body… finally… lover, witness, seeker, healer, singer, dancer, sage, joker, friend, daughter…
…and yes, mother…to myself, to my beloved Chloe, the Cocker Spaniel, and in the world…with my mother’s heart beating and beaming out my love.