“I would love to have wild hair like them,” I told my fiancé pointing at photos of beautifully liberated amazons of the late sixties cultural rebellion in Stern Magazine .
“My little sweetheart,” my fiancé answered, “you are much too nice for that.”
He took the magazine out of my hand. “Have you already tried pizza?” he asked. “Let me invite you.” Pizza was new in the early 70’s in my small hometown. I was “old; I grew up in a mindset of “so yesterday.” My mother had pushed me to believe that women got married as their sense of life and to get engaged to a seven year older catholic college student at 17.
“You have to marry the first man you have sex with,” she said. I was doomed.
I was a really good teenager as I had given up on my “childish” hopes and dreams, which never included a white wedding dress. I accepted that to please my parents I needed to become a woman and not an explorer, architect or stage designer and especially not a rock star. I did not talk back anymore. But my skin crawled when I looked at this man I had nothing in common with other than our obsession with English sports cars, a man who wanted me to just be educated enough to serve his future business buddies.
On a rainy night after one of his jealousy fits I tossed his ring into a puddle and ran. On high heels, water splashing on my panty hose, my carefully curled hair getting soaked.
He didn’t follow; he dug into the puddle to recover his investment.
I laughed out loud. I was free. I decided to never ever be the “possession” of any man. I signed up for college instead and got my MA with suma cum laude.
I loved my independence; my freedom to do what I felt was right for me and later for my amazing son. I experienced a few long term relationships but always had one foot out of the door. I missed out on love; I did not believe in it. I did not trust men. If you don’t trust, commitment is not a word but a threat. I did not know how to receive or give love until I “grew up” with my son.
The percentage of couples not getting married has gone up since 1969. In 2018 the count of single parents was 24 Million. “The model of an adult life that puts one romantic partner at the center is just one way to live... Some people care most about another person who is not a romantic partner. Others have a number of friends and relatives who are important to them; often they value the flexibility of deciding when they want to see those people, rather than feeling obligated to be with one person most of the time. Still others like to spend most of their time alone.”
I am proud of and still love my independence but I don’t love to live alone. Anymore.
My dad died a few years ago, the man for whose acceptance and love I had fought in everything I achieved, whose approval meant the world to me. I never got it. I thought.
Writing my memoir, diving deep into my memory and feelings I saw that in his way he had loved me with all he got. He was broken so it wasn’t “enough” for me. I didn’t realize that his tough criticism was fueled by the need to protect me from life’s disappointments, from the blows of fate he had to accept.
“Don’t be so ambitious, it doesn’t pay off,” he warned me. After another one of my crazy cool achievements he asked, “Can’t you ever be normal?” These blows to my heart kept my armor up for decades.
On his last day on Earth I said “I love you dad.” And without a pause he answered, “I love you too.”
After he died I went on new journeys into my truth. Discovering my dad as a truly good man with a broken heart who never woke up from his pain and failed aspirations cracked my armor. And when it’s cracked it’s destined to fall off one day.
Empathy is medicine.
The pain of loosing him is still with me after 7 years. Seven years in which I slowly gave up on my old stories. I learned that trust is possible and love is available right there in daily life.
Women held up the mirror for me; “We love you Angie.”
“Hey, I love you right back.”
The more you hear it and say the more it becomes REAL. “Believe, my dear,” said my insistent life coach, “is a positive thing.”
Rudolf Steiner postulated that “the school of life” happens in 7 yearlong semesters with lessons responding to seven chakras and exams that can feel like “crisis.” I always saw my life as a university and that I am here to fulfill my potential. To me it means to also resolve issues I brought with me as an “old soul” and it doesn’t matter if we call it former lives or memories of our lineage or DNA input. We’re not empty pages when we arrive.
Looking at the lessons I was supposed to learn in my first 49 years I can only say, darn, I flunked the tests. Sometimes I avoided the tests.
I put what I had learned on a shelf for a later day though.
10 x 7 = 70. Just yesterday I texted my deadline battered son that out of solidarity I give myself a dead line. I thought of June 2019 to finish a project I am in labor with for quite some time. Now I got the bigger deadline. I’ve got some time to make it to 70 but that’s it; I will finish all my lessons until then.
“If you pass the exams, you are offered a chance to get to the next level in order to meet new teachers that help you learn new things about life,’ says the life script doctor. I always got teachers even when I did not pass my exams. Like a cat with seven lives I received many chances.
I WOKE LATE.
But I did.
Who knows what late blooming is good for in my bigger picture; as I always said after every life experience and every drama, “at least I have something to write about.” I was meant to be a messenger and how could I be if I did not go through all human feelings myself to finally learn one of the most important lessons; self love?
In finding answers to what is truly important for me in a relationship with humans around me I am learning to see “male” with different eyes; without the cold metal of much despised patriarchal prison bars clouding my view. Healing the world and our selves means to heal the wounds of gender animosities; to balance the inner male and female learning but not wallowing in our female history of repression.
The pain of the past is a story that belongs into the bookshelf, not forgotten but put aside so that we can see the good.
When we embody our full potential in order to share it with the world, like many of us do with social media, we are offered unique opportunities to rediscover ourselves and “see things differently.”
Outfits talk and get us on our way if we are open to listen. Today it was a Millennial style wedding dress for me. It said, “There is love, believe it.”
My dad never once criticized me for being a single mom; he supported us.
Men know love for women. Okay then.
I woke late. But I did.