When I was struck speechless by beauty that spoke to my soul,
in words of line and color, patina and composition,
he grew impatient, angry, scornful.
“It is confronting to me,”
he said in the beginning, when he was still making an effort to be kind,
“when you delight in things.”
Never pledge your life to someone who seeks to shame you when your soul expands.
when something in this world calls to you and has your heart lift, gives you wings,
if the person whom you think you love, whom you think loves you,
If you are in such a relationship now,
Do whatever it takes.
The right person won’t tell you that you’re extra, too much, you’re too sensitive, you feel things too deeply.
The right person will not seek to smother the flame burning in you.
They’ll delight in your light and they’ll even add fuel.
“Wonder” was to be engraved in our wedding rings.
He called it his word, but no- it was mine.
It could have been ours- I was willing-
But he shamed the wonder in me.
Wonder was to be “our intention word,” but not really mine. My “wonder” that was allowed in his eyes was a highly controlled substance.
It would be doled out by him; only approved in small drips, in the way I echoed him, admired him, stood in his shadow as his acolyte.
My wildish, Celtic, dragon heart was to be dampened, shamed, caged, silenced.
Then after he broke up, he gave the word to a procession of blondes that followed. I’m sure it was his own version, though – hemmed in with a lot of rules, defining them as “summers” or “springs,” manipulating, “fixing,” and telling them who they are allowed to be, telling them how to be “Queens,” in a trite, dull, petty, utterly shallow way of controlling women, which any thinking person can see through rather quickly – and so it has nothing whatsoever to do with MY intention word, and the way I walk in this world.
Someone who has all the answers, and goes through life giving them, filling the silence with his determinations and taking up space, never leaving a pause for something else to come in, never giving air to something outside his echo-chamber, will never be able to live in the questions, which is wonder. Will never be able to truly discover, without his own pre-conceived definitions, another person. With curiosity, with openness, with … wonder.
I could have shown him that, but he wasn’t interested in learning anything. He was interested in controlling, while he supposedly yearned for wonder. I feel profound pity for him.
But did he ever once feel any remorse for the way he treated me- no.
I learned to accept the apology I was never given, so that I could forgive.
Wonder- in the rings that were to symbolize our union- was not for me in his world. Support his wonder, perhaps, but my own? Absolutely not. Too dangerous. Never too much wonder, don’t be too alive, don’t sink into Breathing in the line and color and examining the negative space, shadow shapes and patina like you did with your beloved grandma when you were a tiny girl-
Don’t speak the language you knew before words,
and above all, do not feel too much.
My heart is how I see. The questions are where I live.
I will never again be with someone who wishes to blindfold me in this world, to shrink and stifle my life force,
who sees my dragon wings unfurling and throws a net on them to shrink me, and attempts to dominate by silencing my power.
And oh – wonder! – a spirit-igniter that is available to all, and is only the more joyous when it is shared, was to be squashed and bullied, belittled and mocked out of me. And of course, we would both focus on his. Celebrate his, whatever wonder could twist itself into small enough, predictable enough shapes to make it past the security laser beams in his controlling, rule-bound brain.
There was one rule for him, and another rule for me. I could hold him while his emotions racked him; I could hold space without judgment for every one of his emotional and thought experiences, as is my gift, but I was not allowed to feel, (unless the feelings were shame, guilt, and brokenness, of course) or break out of the confines of the little, boxed, polite, beruffled yes-doll he wished me to be, so he could feel powerful.
The great knight, who convinced the dragon to shrink herself and bank the fire of her questioning, limitless, expanding heart, so he could conquer her, but oh, she had to be small, shrinking and beaten, before he could.
I tried to explain to him, over ice cream in Clarabelle’s, after he had told me that people were laughing and making fun of me when I was gazing so long at the marketplace, falling up into that jewel-bright creation, learning its lights and shadows, absorbing the rich colors and soaring, free-
“They wanted to take a picture, and you were standing there, just looking, for the longest time. They were all laughing. I was ashamed.”
“You were ashamed of me? For looking at the marketplace?”
“None of them thought to ask for what they needed? To ask me to move? They laughed at me instead? You, instead of asking me to move or telling me what was up, stood there by them and felt ashamed? of ME?”
I cried as I tried to tell him, to defend the exquisite joy that he had smashed with his mockery, joining with others to throw stones at the lovely, fragile bird that was my heart in the marketplace, “you don’t know what I’m doing when I do that,”
“No. I don’t.” He said. And, impatiently, “why are you crying?”
“It makes a jagged tear; it is painful, to hear you join the people making fun of me, rather than stand up for me, believe in me, communicate with me, be curious about what ignites my soul. It would have been so simple for you to come to me and say, ‘they want to take a picture of this area.’”
but he never did hear what my grandmother had taught me to see. He never did hear how lovely it was to see, and see again, and see even more deeply, and to imprint things on the heart so I could paint them, later, capture the energy, not just the outward form. He didn’t hear, because he was NOT interested. Not interested in the magic and mystery and – wonder – that makes me, Me.
My ring is engraved with wonder
Because I have a vow that I will honor my heart first. Anyone who shames the expansion of my spirit will be shut out of my inner sanctum.
They will not be allowed to know my heart. They will get only so far as the surface, and no further, for the rest of my life.
there are dragons guarding my gates, now.
If I am too big for someone, too much, “I’m so sorry, but it looks like you’re not on the guest list for this party,” the ever-so-polite guards at the door will say. “Do you have an invitation?”
That person will hold out the invitation they once had, and the guards will look it over.
“Oh dear me,” they’ll say, shaking their heads in sympathy (and warning),
“It appears this has expired. Kindly leave, we wouldn’t want to make a scene, now, would we.”
If something ignites your heart and spirit in this world, drink it in. If something lifts your heart, fly, unapologetically.
This is some of your gift. Take it. Be it. It is your ability to wonder, and your soul’s path to soar above this society where threatened ones would seek to keep us controlled, within their approval, homogenized, mediocre, non-questioning.
Exile anyone who seeks to silence, shame, dominate, own, or control your fire. Shed them ruthlessly. Fall into the limitless sky and soar, and never let anyone weigh you to the ground.
Do what you have to. Whatever it takes, to follow your own wonder.