Simple Definition of engaged: promised to be married: busy with some activity
I got engaged!
As I announce this one by one to family and friends I have to say that their excitement is palpable. Mine…depends on the day.
There is definitely excitement, elation, heart-opening joy, but there is also some dark stuff, that creeps up, quietly lining each happy emotion with a thin shadow.
I have been trying to figure out how to explain this, and also to figure out why these “negative” feelings have been surfacing during this moment that is supposed to be one of the happiest of my life.
I am making a huge leap forward with my partner. We have been together for six years and lived together for three. Truly, we have already created a marriage. A couple months ago when he and I decided to make it official, I was really excited. I loved having the secret. Part of me wanted to tell everyone, but we decided to keep it just about us for a little bit.
Now that it's announced, I have to say there is a lot of fear, anxiety, and stoicism happening for me. It's confusing. I realized that some of those above listed emotions are coming on because there is an underlying sadness.
No matter what joy or success I have, there is always a little grief at letting go of what I had before (even if it is high time to be movin' on). Since I put on that ring, I have experienced many high and low emotions; I have realized the shadow side of me is right there. She waits for moments like these to truly show her depth.
My shadow side emotions are quite separate from how I feel about my partner and my relationship.
I am very much in love with him.
I am deeply grateful for him.
I am constantly amazed at what steady love, attention and support he has for me.
I am deeply grateful that he and I have worked, over, under and through MANY conflicts - and come out the other side for the better.
I am proud and impressed that we have come out rough patches communicating kindly, truly seeing each other and learning when to compromise and when to honor our separate selves.
Last year, when I had come home from an intense 10 days away with some of the best women I know, I excitedly downloaded details from the trip with my girlfriends, my good friend’s baby and inspiration from a 3 day retreat. As I reflected on this time, my growth, how far I had come, my then boyfriend looked at me, with tears in his eyes, and said “I am so proud of you for doing this work.”
That sentence was pivotal in our relationship. Before that moment, I tried to give him peeks into my alternative world, into Chinese medicine, and intuitive work and my personal work. But it was personal, and I was shy to share it. That sentence, dissolved most of my fear and I felt so proud to be so loved in the place where I was most vulnerable.
For the past 10 months we have been doing work together in couple’s therapy. We entered it after a rocky time in our relationship, as a way to see if we could repair some cracks or if it was time to cut the rope. We also entered it as a way to pre-marital work. We wanted to enter the next phase of life together equipped with ways to compromise instead of hitting the same arguments, the same blocks.
I have seen many relationships and marriages of different shapes and sizes. I have seen them up close and personal and what I have learned is the great ones are few and far between, and they take a lot of work. Signing up for that is fucking scary. It’s not too different from the current life that we have together. It is taking a deeper, more self-assured step, into that work.
I said yes, I am engaged, I am moving forward. I bid a final farewell to my single lady self. I take the highs and lows of the shift into the identity of wife. I am facing my fears about taking the risk that anything is possible and the very scary thought it could not work out.
Onto this next adventure, of engagement, wedding planning and really getting to spend a life with the man I love. I am so grateful to have him by my side as I ride these highs and lows.
There is room for all of it: joy, fear, elation, and disappointment. But my brightest moments are opportunities to face my deepest shadows.
Thank you for reminding me that life is not all puppies and roses, nor can we all be Peter Pan and live in Never Never Land. (Part of me wants it to be so much) I choose to be Wendy. To hold tender those moments of play, single life, adventure and youth but also to grow up. It does not mean that I cannot visit whenever I want.
I hope to incorporate all the play and adventure into married life and I choose to move on from the last chapter. Don't worry, I'll be fine.