Real Romance

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Dear Seamus,

There have been many times in life when I thought that there were experiences I would not have. Given my past or my emotional barriers or my beliefs, there was a list of things I was certain that others would never catch me saying. Let me tell you that at the top of the list was “My wedding day was one of the best days of my life”. I heard others say it, often in romanticized contexts and the cynic in me would scoff. After all I was the girl who had nightmares about white weddings and who felt that marriage was nothing more than entrapment.

So can you imagine my surprise the day a little thought sailing through my mind caught me completely off guard. I was watching your Father pottering around the house. He was cradling you in one arm and prepping your milk bottle.

I found myself pondering the scenario of getting married. It almost shocked me out of the chair! Were all the medications messing with my brain? Where on earth did that come from?

Yet there is was, as plain as the nose on my face, just quietly sitting in my head. I shooed it away and went about my business.

A few days later, it sailed through once again. Such a foreign concept to me in many ways. But there was something undeniable about it, some kind of raw truth that could not be ignored and certainly would not be dismissed.

I gave some thought to this idea and before long I was stepping back to past moments, when odd things had happened.

The first time I ever met your Father was in early 2008. I was visiting your Nanny, on holiday from Sydney. A man in the community was turning sixty and there was a birthday celebration for him in the local hall. Long trestle tables were covered in table clothes and smattered with freshly cut flowers in jam jars. I sat with my Mothers neighbour and we chatted about my worldly travels, in particular my time living in Scotland. Opposite me, a tall well-built man with a beard appeared at the table, holding two plates with food. He handed one to his girlfriend before fishing in his pocket for the cutlery. I noticed the way he doted on her and thought, wouldn’t that be nice. Back in Sydney I was doing some serious internet dating. Lots of dates, no real substance. In a big city it’s easy to have the plenty-of-fish-in-the-sea mentality.

I returned to Sydney to my whirl wind lifestyle and by October of that year I was diagnosed with breast cancer and my life changed forever.

Just over a year later I moved away from my city life and all my friends, to live with Nanny. Thinking my life was now over, I was resigned to living to the end of my days at home with my Mum and my cat. However, life had other plans.

I began to spend time with a man shortly after I arrived and we became companions. We enjoyed one another’s company and soon saw each other most days. One afternoon he invited me to visit with his friends. When we arrived I noticed the man with the beard sitting outside and smoking a cigarette. He and his girlfriend chatted with us. They had a new baby who was sleeping inside.

I recall standing there but being aware that I was somehow outside of myself. Then I heard the words “You are supposed to be here”. It was so strange and so left field I thought I was going bonkers. Here I was standing on this man’s front lawn with my companion and thinking that I was the one meant to be in a relationship with a virtual stranger! I spoke nothing of it to anyone, such was its peculiarity.

I occasionally saw him around town in his beaten up old Toyota Hilux. You could hear it coming well before you spotted it! Later that year his relationship ended and I was genuinely shocked. I felt a sadness for the breakdown of his family.

It was almost exactly a year later when serendipitous circumstances caused us to gravitate towards one another in an intimate way. Our brief summer romance was guaranteed longevity when I discovered I was pregnant and we have been together ever since.

I want to take this time now to redefine the term romantic with you. By popular definition and understanding, romance is characterised by idealistic behaviours in the other. Grand demonstrations of love and symbolic tokens and gestures that we have all agreed on, somewhere along the line.

So here are some examples of my experience of romance with your Father.

He washes my dirty clothes. He dresses my wounds after I have had surgery. When you are in a mood and “only Daddy will do”, he coaxes you to kiss and cuddle me so I don’t feel left out. He puts my mobile back together after I have thrown it against the wall in frustration. He flirtatiously touches me when he knows I am feeling unattractive. When we are out shopping and I get tired, he carries my handbag. On my birthday cake last week he wrote in icing four words that define me; MELANIE, WIFE, MOTHER, FRIEND. He hovers over the stove to make sure the vegetables don’t get too steamed, because he knows I like them crunchy. He says things minutes after I have thought them. Whenever he is about to tell me something I may not like, he always starts with “You know I love you…”

He is my dearest friend. He is the Father of my child. He has loved and accepted me in ways I never thought a man could. He helped me dissolve my fears.

Therefore it all became easy. Easy to love him. Easy to see my life unfolding with him. Easy to marry him.

So on our wedding day, we celebrated with the ease and intimacy that comes so naturally to our relationship. We did it our way. The ceremony was in a beautiful garden. I wore a burgundy dress. We only had immediate family. Our wedding day was one of the best days of my life, because there are so many best days of my life with your Father. It was a beautiful day of celebration but it didn’t feel much different from any other day either.

My darling boy, one day you will be grown and your heart will yearn for another. I know that I am providing an excellent example for you in our home, of what real love is. You watch us always and I see your face light up when we are tender with each other in your presence. Listen to the messages from your heart and don’t dismiss them, for I promise you that it will surprise you in ways you have never known.

“Intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life” – Paulo Cohelo

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Love is the Absence of Fear

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Dear Seamus,

The purest, most incredible energy you can ever experience is love. You come from love so it is natural to want to express it freely and openly. However, our society has paired love with possessiveness and we wonder why we all have such a warped idea of what love is.

Some of the oldest of teachings, say that love and fear cannot coexist. It is freedom or captivity, you cannot have both. Yet our beliefs are that love is something that is to be possessed, contained and controlled. One of the biggest examples of this can be marriage. Most marriages occur out of fear. Fear of being alone, fear of being rejected, and fear of the other leaving us for greener pastures. For those that are fearful, putting a ring on some ones finger means you have license to keep tabs on them. You can make them accountable for your feelings and reactions. That tiny metal ring becomes a collar, a way to mark another as ‘yours’. Marriage is a legal agreement which can masquerade as a contract of love. The agreement can then become a weapon when the perceived love is abused or rejected.

When I was a very young girl I used to have nightmares about my wedding day. My fear associated with marriage was palpable. I never dreamed of a wedding and felt love, freedom and bliss. I was always desperately disorganized, had bridesmaids I didn’t know, didn’t know to whom I was getting married and usually didn’t have the right shoes to match the dress! I would wake from these dreams feeling incredibly anxious. I never had any logical explanation as to why I had these strange dreams but it put me right off marriage!

Please don’t misunderstand me darling, I am not against marriage. In fact I believe you can have a marriage without the ceremony. The commitment without the ring. The essence of a marriage made from love is to give the other complete freedom to be themselves. Love is total acceptance and fearlessness. If you feel resentment, jealousy and insecurity then you are living through fear. Not only that but you are missing out on the real connection that you can have with that person.

When you are locked in a cage you will only desire your freedom. Freedom and love go blissfully hand in hand. Fear and possessiveness are nervous and suspicious companions.

You will be with another and have a set idea of who they are, a perception. Then, one day, your beloved will act ‘out of character’ and you will be confused and quite possibly hurt by what they did or said. They in turn will have their own perception of themselves and another perception of you. So already there have been several versions of you and several versions of your partner existing in the relationship. Their behavior may well trigger some of your wounds and your old emotional scars will open up for you to pour salt into. An opportunity will arise to confirm some beliefs you may have about yourself:

I always pick the wrong person. I knew I couldn’t trust others. I knew I would get hurt again. I am unlovable. I am better off single.
And on and on it will go, depending on your previous life experiences and belief systems.

You no longer view the other with the eyes of love, you are seeing with fear. If you are seeing with fear then you are cutting yourself off from the source of all there is. The source of all there is, is love. Yet you choose to forget because if you remembered, then you would know that fear could simply not exist. When you remember that you are love you realize that you are connected to all things. When you accept completely that love is flowing through you and is of you and you are of it, you will no longer feel the need to seek it outside yourself. That is what happens when we have relationships, we are searching for that which we think we do not have. So when we find it in another, we want to keep it. We want to put it in a cage in case it should fly away one day and we are left with nothing. That is fear and not love. So first, you must love yourself. You must understand your completeness and perfection.

Then, when you have the opportunity to truly love another, you will love them openly and completely. You will want with all your heart for them to be an authentic expression of themselves. If they are not, then who are you really having the relationship with? You will only experience a perception of love and it is bound to breed fear. If that person you are having a relationship with decides to end it and move on, you will feel hurt. However, don’t ask yourself why don’t they love you, instead ask what don’t you love about yourself? Why do you feel lacking without the other?

Seamus, you will know if love is real when you continue to choose love above fear. You will not want the other to behave in a certain way, to think set things or to bear the responsibility for your emotions. You will want for them what you want for yourself, because you are them and they are you. Give them their freedom so that you can enjoy your own. This can take practice but it is the only way to love. If they must move on then let them go and know that if you are being love, it is inevitable that you will draw in another experience of sharing with somebody else. Whether it lasts forever is not the point because love is not quantifiable, it is a quality. It is an expression, a force so great it cannot ever be harnessed. It is only to be experienced.

“In the track of fear we have so many conditions, expectations, and obligations that we create a lot of rules just to protect ourselves against emotional pain, when the truth is that there shouldn’t be any rules” – Don Miguel Ruiz, The Mastery of Love