I have been having this recurring dream.
It’s the day of my wedding, and all the people that love me are arriving from all over. Joseph is there. The aisle and the altar are set. I am in the bridal chamber, surrounded by my bridesmaids and my mother. There is the energetic, optimistic hustle in the air, the happy busy-ness that characterizes the hours before any big celebration.
In the dream I am buttoning the last little pearl on my tiny white satin shoe, bent over my knees pushing yards of tulle and satin out of the way, when suddenly I realize: I have no one to marry.
This realization strikes me in much the same way as would the realization that you forgot to order the wedding cake, to pick up your aunt from the airport, to book a photographer. Shit, I totally forgot. Except of course, you can still get married without a cake, your aunt, or the photographer. You can’t get married without a partner.
Last weekend I had a conversation with my shockingly gregarious and exuberant friend & member of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, Jeff, that went like this:
Jeff: Lauren, is this your new husband?!
Me: No, this is my friend Bryan. Actually, I’ve never been married.
Jeff: What?! I thought you had lots of husbands!
Me: Nope, no husbands.
Just to be clear: I’ve never had anything close to a husband. And until recently, I wasn’t all too sure that marriage was really something to aim for. But now I keep having this dream.
I am someone who pays attention to dreams. I have been rewarded time and time again as they show me things that I cannot see with my waking eyes. But this dream I didn’t want to pay attention to.
The first time it visited me I woke up thinking God, that was pathetic. How depressing. I shook my shoulders like a horse trying to shake a fly, dragged myself from bed, got myself and Joseph dressed for the day.
The second time I thought That dream again? I don’t have time for this.
The third and fourth times I woke up reconciled to the now familiar and growing stone in my stomach, a gift for the day left by this dream.
And then I dreamed it again. Alright alright alright already! I hear you! Like a ghost haunting her old home, this dream is going to keep hanging around until I look it in the eyes and listen to what it needs.
So I let the dream in, I let it do it’s work for a day or two. We had a couple of really good conversations in the car while I drove to work, in the late afternoon as the sunlight scattered across Third Creek Greenway and Joseph dozed in his second-hand stroller. In the end the dream persuaded me, so here goes:
I am ready for a life partner.
There, I said it.
For the last year and a half I have put all I’ve got into healing my heart from the destruction of an abusive relationship, into building a stable and healthy and happy life for me and Joseph, into drawing my chosen family close around us, into aligning my work with my values, into making the preparations.
And I/we are as ready as I/we’ll ever be. I have retrained my heart to no longer seek out men who are constitutionally unable to be the stable loving partner that I seek. We are surrounded at every turn by a strong and loving and supportive community made up of some of the most exceptional human beings I could hope to know. I am working a job that connects me to the work of making our world a more loving place. I am buttoning the last pearl on my tiny white slipper, but I remain terrified to ask for partnership.
I am ready for a life partner.
There, I said it again! (Are you listening, dream? Are you listening, Universe?)
I must admit that I am standing on shoulders as I write this. Back in the spring, my sensitive, talented, wonderful friend Elias Attea (who is also an astonishing writer, artist, musician, grower, teacher, whose thoughts you can read here) posted this message on Facebook:
What I don’t understand is how it’s socially accepted to hide in the depths of some server, advertising yourself as single, interested, or looking for hook ups, but it’s not so socially comfortable to be so forward as to wear a sign around your head saying, “Hello, I’m single looking for (name your preference). Or it to be the first thing to bring up in conversation after introducing your name.”
Well, facebook, it’s not quite the same, but it seems that these channels are also rare of postings for intimacy.
In which case, I’ll be comfortable in sharing, “hello, I’m currently single. Would you like to go on a walk sometime? I do hold the intent of forming relations platonic, romantic, or intimate. I am a person to both push and find refuge with others. Phone me, message me.’
It’s out there universe.
It is a terribly vulnerable thing to say out loud, and we all know the terror of vulnerability. My particular fear is bolstered by the destruction I was subject to last time I opened up my heart. But speaking our intention is the first step, and I believe in the old saying that we get what we’re asking for.
So, I’ll take my cues from Elias and say it again:
Hey Universe, I’m currently single. Would you like to drink a cup of coffee together? Would you like to go for a walk sometime? I am open to a relationship of companionship, romance, intimacy, and partnership.
(Are you listening, dream? Are you listening, Universe?)