Saturday, February 16, 2008

Before the Wedding

I freaked out just a little teeny bit today.

Tonight is my bacholorette party. It's at a karaoke place, so my Man-of-Honor has asked me to come up with a list of songs I might like to sing. I suck at that. Just the thought of having to prepare makes my stomach churn. It's churning right now just typing this. So fuck it. If I sing less as a result, big fucking deal. I NEED TO RELAX.

However, I am spending the night in the city tonight, so I need to pack a small bag. And I would LIKE to wear something more fun to the party than my standard turtleneck sweater and jeans with sensible shoes. This requires a certain level of mental focus. On top of that, I am pressed for time. I agreed to meet up with one of my girlfriends at around 1:00. Her parents are visiting, and we'd like to meet. No big committment - just a cup of coffee in my neighborhood. They like history, and I happen to live in a historic area, so how convenient, right?

I went into a tizzy this morning trying to think about songs to sing. iTunes wasn't working. No wait, it's not iTunes, it's our internet connection! No, wait - G has turned off the MODEM! And I can't even focus because G's watching House reruns and I want to watch too!

So I say fuck the computer and exit the living room, attempting to tune out the oh-so-smart-and-sexy Sherlock House and Dr. Wilson. I start thinking about what I have in my closet that a)looks cute, b)I won't freeze in, and c)actually fits. This pisses me off after about 10 minutes.

G stars vacuuming. I guess House isn't so interesting today. I can hear the vacuum sucking things off the floor, making these ungodly clattering noises that suggest I might have just lost an earring.

This is the last straw.

"Honey," I timidly ask. "Would you please... go to the gym?"

"Yes," G says with a shrug. "No problem."

"I just need some alone time," I practically whisper, wringing my hands. I hate the thought of kicking him out. "Just for a little while, so I can really focus."

"It's fine." G gets his coat and gives me a lovely kiss with that understanding look he gets when he knows I'm struggling with something but don't want to talk about it. "I'll see you in a bit."

The minute he's gone, the house is dead quiet. I just breath for a few second. The cat's water fountain bubbles. It's quiet.

Time to get to work.

Less than 20 minutes later, I have chosen an outfit for the party that makes me feel adorable, packed a small bag, and gotten dressed for my coffee date.

So here I am with around an hour to myself. No need to wonder what to do. I headed straight for my magic box.

I have been neglecting my spirit for a very long time. I've been thinking intellectually about my faith, and my spiritual journey, and I've been drawing on my favorite practices to create my wedding ceremony, but I haven't gone to a service or a circle in ages... I can't remember the last time. It may have been over a year ago. I haven't done rituals in my home. I haven't observed the solstices, or the eclipses, or the full and new moons. Several minor Jewish holidays and come and gone unrecognized as well. I have been existing entirely outside the spiritual realm for a very long time.

Time to get the box out.

My magic box is where I keep all of my basic ritual elements. I have a goddess statue, a chalice, a bag of various types of stones, a large crystal, various colored candles, my Goddess Cards, and other sacred items used for creating an altar. As I pulled it off the shelf today, it was dusty. Shame punched me in the chest. I vowed to AT LEAST clean out that cabinet.

Nothing huge today, no elaborate altar building, no series of chants and circling, no changing into ritual dress. I just sat on the floor with my statue and my cards, and prayed.

Oh, Great Lady. Mother. Sister. Future Daughter. How I have missed you! I'm sorry I've been so preoccupied. Be with me now.

As usual, I felt the warming inside me... like being held on my mother's lap as a small child, arms wrapped around me. Just saying these simple words puts me into a relaxed state, a feeling that I'm doing something right, and that everything else will be better as a result.

I'm so busy, Mother... help me to calm myself. Help me to relax. Help me to be a good friend, but also be good to myself.

I've got so much coming up. The party tonight. Several visits with different friends. Salon appointments. My wedding. The rehearsal dinner before, the breakfast after. It's all so dizzying, and I've been keeping so many balls in the air for so long... Do you have any advice for me? Is there something I should be keeping in mind, a certain direction in which I should be looking? I open myself to your guidance.

I shuffled the cards, visualizing my soul as a sort of sponge floating in spiritual space.

The first card is Diana: Focused Intentions. Frustrating! "How do I know what to focus on!?" I just sighed and let Diana sit there, looking at me with a very direct gaze, holding her bow at the ready, arrow notched, suggesting that something's right in front of me if I'd just bother to LOOK.

The second card: Isis: Past Life. "The situation involves your past-life memories." WHAT? This is a concept I have always struggled with. It's a nice idea, but I just don't know about this. The whole idea of past lives is a bit of a can of worms - it leads to discussions of reincarnation, predetermination, and all kinds of stuff I just haven't gotten around to studying. Yet. Maybe I should look into this.

I opened the booklet that came with the card. "Suggested meanings: Get a past-life regression done to gain insights and answers." Hm. I think there is someone who does this just down the street from me. I'm thought many times about visiting her. Maybe I should. Just for fun.

The third card: Eireen: Peace. "There is no need to worry, as everything is working out beautifully." Well, thank you for that! I may carry that card around in my purse for awhile.

The fourth card: Coventina: Purification. "It is time for a cleansing detoxification of your body and mind." Yeeaahh. Maybe so. But first I have a lovely chicken with apricot-fig stuffing coming my way, as well as lobster bisque, mini-lamb chops, spiced pears with stilton cheese in a puff pastry, wedding cake, and a whole damn lot of martinis to drink. And then brunch the next day. And then a week's worth of gourmet Bed-and-Breakfast food. And a whole lot of glorious sex. It's my honeymoon, Coventina! This one will have to wait a week or so.

The fifth card: Freya: Bold. "Unleash your adventurous side! Take risks and be daring." Ok... I think getting married is a pretty big risk, even when things are as perfect as they are. People grow, people change, and every relationship feels the strain. My eyes are wide open and so are G's. Risk - no problem. And I think the lingerie I bought for the honeymoon probably counts as unleashing my adventurous side.

Gotta love Freya. She's like that girlfriend who drags you to the coolest places in town, that you normally would feel too intimidated or insecure to go by yourself. She's a kick in the ass that we all desperately need.

I gaze at my little spread of cards, thinking, absorbing, meditating. Normally I'd stop here, but I'm compelled to draw just one more card:

the Sixth card: Ishtar: Boundaries. "Love yourself enough to say no to others' demands on your time and energy."

Yep. That's it. That's why I needed the house to myself for awhile. This is the hardest one. A week before my wedding, and I feel like a hostage. I grasp this card and stare at it for awhile.

I place the card on top of the others, and I just happen to notice... My entire spread is contained within a circle of colored yarns woven into my carpet. Just sitting on the edge of it, I feel warm. There's power here... the power of my own will. It's all from within me, taking charge of my afternoon, taking stock in my current space, seizing control of mySelf, and forcing mySelf to stop, look around, and notice something.

I look around the room. Everything we need for the wedding is packed neatly in little bags and boxes. My last three tasks will be done this coming week, and I've already budgeted the time and obtained the necessary supplies. I look down at myself - ready for lunch with my friend and her family, in comfy jeans and a sweater. I think about the bag I've packed for my wild night in the city, and the cute little black outfit I'll wear. In the back of my awareness, I hear Eireen laughing. "See? I told you...

I think about Coventina again. Maybe there is something I can do.

I dig through the bottom drawer of my dresser. It's in there somewhere... there it is...

I pull out a white, ankle length gossamer nightgown. It was a gift from my first wedding shower. It was beautiful once... but now it's somewhat dingy. It was never really used for it's intended purpose... the ex didn't seem to really like it. I slept in it a number of times when I was alone, since it was a gift from Kristin and Lisa, and it reminds me of them. It's real use in my life has been as a ritual gown. When I performed Full Moon rituals in the house, I'd wear this gown, white like the moon, simple and comfortable and pretty. It's been a long time, though, since it's left that bottom drawer.

I draw a bath and sprinkle a liberal amount of salt in the water. I slip out of my lunch clothes and lay them on the bed - I've only been wearing them about 1/2 hour. I hang my white gown from the hooks on the back of the bathroom door, and step into the tub. It's HOT. I take some deep breaths, and submerge myself completely. Even my hair. I count slowly, to seven.

I stop there. Nothing is on my mind. I'm warm, and I hear nothing.

Coming up out of the water, I gasp for breath, wipe my eyes and look around. I'm disoriented. bathroom... lunch date... nobody's here... I relax for a few minutes. I am seized with a strong desire to stay right here, not move.

Getting out of the bathtub takes phenomenal effort. As soon as I can reach the sink and I drink some cool water. As I'm toweling off, I begin to cry.

Everything's different! Everything's all so new! Where are we going to live? Where will I be working next year? What happened to Glamgirl and Galpal and Wildgirl, my old cronies from the city? Where's my Pianoman, Where are Kristin and Lisa? Where are my parents, my grandparents? HOW DID I GET HERE!? THE WEDDING IS NEXT WEEK!! GOOD GOD WE'RE GETTING MARRIED.

Finally, after all that work, after all that thinking and examining and dissecting, after immersing myself in purifying salt, I have managed to strip away all my outer armor and finally admit to myself: I'm scared. I'm frustrated. I'm fucking exhausted.

I allow myself a very luxurious cry.

I deserved that.

I look at my white gown. Was I planning on putting that on for some reason? It's dingy. I pick it up and hold it in my hands. It's old and worn out. There is a rather noticeable stain on one shoulder... maybe I spilled tea on it or something. It hangs limp.

It's gotta go.

I feverishly wish I could burn the thing. It's magic has long since faded away. And I have new things now...

I hear G's key in the lock.

I toss the rag onto the floor behind the front door - the place we put things that are about to go to the recycler. I flit into the bedroom and am half-dressed by the time he walks through the door. "Hi Baby," I call out.

"Halloooo," he hollers. "Feeling better?"

"Yes, much," I say. I stuff my feet in comfy shoes, and dart out to give G a quick peck on the lips. "Thanks baby... I really needed that."

G notices the Goddess cards, still spread out on the floor, with my little statue overlooking them. "I see you've made good use of this time."

"The best ever."