I’ve been working on an art piece for the last few weeks. It is titled “Discarded.” It depicts a broken wooden puppet.
As much as this quote is a set of wedding vows, there is much more to my feelings on any kind of vows.
There is – for me – a difference between a promise and a vow or an oath. A promise means that I will do my damnedest to fulfill that promise, unless life makes it absolutely impossible to do so. A promise is a private deal between me and someone else.
On the other hand, vows and oaths are far more sacred. That’s because it is not only just between me and the other person, it is witnessed by the Divine. If I have asked the Divine to bear witness, I cannot allow myself to break that vow/oath unless the other person has done so first.
It’s similar to my thoughts on aggression. For the most part, I am a pacifist. But, especially after my marriage, I will not allow myself to be victimized. If that makes you think that I am not fulfilling your ideas on what a pacifist is, that’s your issue. It’s also the same way I look at unconditional love – I love the person, but I am NOT required to put up with their behavior if it is harmful to me. I will fight, but only if forced to do so to keep from being victimized myself or allowing someone else to be victimized.
And yes, I believe wedding vows to have been taken in front of the Divine. My wedding vows have not been broken. Why?? Because what I promised is to stay with him “as long as love lasts.” I will never take a vow to love someone “forever” or “till death do you part” because the sad reality is that there are two (or more in the case of poly families who have chosen to have commitment ceremonies including all of their loves) people involved in these vows. While you may be capable of loving someone “forever” or “till death do you part” but you can’t know whether the person you are committing to is capable of doing so.
But, when it comes to wedding vows in particular, perhaps I’m still a romantic. I feel these vows from the movie actually should be what is promised in a wedding. Not that the two of you are “becoming one” but that you are promising to be strong when your partner is weak, to be willing to put yourself aside if your partner needs you. And, that you will allow your partner to be strong when you are weak, and that your partner will be willing to put themselves aside if you need them. And yes, I’m struggling to work on the whole idea of letting my partner be strong when I’m weak, because I haven’t been able to trust someone to be strong for me or even just be willing not to use that weakness as a way to control me.
I’m far too used to having to be the only one I can trust, and it’s not just giving up suspicion. It’s giving up the stubbornness of being like Smeagol (Gollum) from the Lord of the Rings. I’ve been holding on to my perspective of being treated badly, victimized and all around being somehow “kept down” that I had to learn what it was REALLY like being treated badly, victimized and being kept down.
I’m not saying that I was that woman that manipulates everyone around her to get sympathy. Nor that I was willing to play the victim card to get people to give me things. Instead, I went the other direction. I covered myself in emotional armor and rarely allowed anyone past my portcullis emotionally. I lied to myself, telling myself that I was being “emotionally resilient” because I could handle anything that the world wanted to throw at me. That the strength of my endurance meant I was able to adapt to absolutely anything. I couldn’t see that I was building my own prison walls.
The reality is, many of us walk around in the world with emotional full plate armor. We have to learn to be able to be vulnerable. And our culture doesn’t exactly encourage anyone to be vulnerable.
Oh, we say that women at least are allowed to be vulnerable. But if you ever actually look at all of the rules that a woman has to live with just to be seen as a strong woman without being a ball-busting bitch.
And sadly, a lot of it comes from our fellow women. And manipulative women (of which there is a greater percentage than with men) take advantage of those rules, calling on “sisterhood” if it will give them an edge over anyone else.
It’s sadly why it takes a good portion of our lives to learn to only need our own approval – if we even ever learn it.