Laugh all you want.
Telling my mother that I was getting engaged to myself, took balls. I didn't expect such a long silence on the other end of the line. The tricky part was explaining that this major life event would be televised on ABC Nightline.
My mom's been married three times. I thought she'd at least welcome me to the club. Yet she reacted like I'd handed her a thorny flower.
With this ring...
This all started when I bought myself an engagement ring on holiday in Tulum. It wasn't just retail therapy; I had my reasons. I did it because I'd made it to my midult years without marrying or divorcing anyone — My autonomy had been a mix of choice and circumstance, and it deserved recognition. I wanted to honor my indie-self — the fulfilled person who'd finally arrived.
Wearing my ring felt awesome; it send a signal to a judgy world. Maybe people would treat me with more respect if they knew I'd gotten engaged to myself?
Right after my holiday, I heard about an open call to appear in the news segment about self-marriage. I never thought I'd get picked. It turns out lots of people want to marry themselves in 2017 — Boomchakalaka!
But 24 hours later, Nightline contacted me. They said I'd have a week to prepare for my segment — and BTW — congrats on getting engaged!
Wow. That was a little too easy. But my heart did an itty bitty flip of joy.
Then, at 4am:
Fuck. What fresh disaster have I signed up for? What if people think I'm that sad bride wanna-be, throwing a selfie-wedding to get *likes* on snatch-chat. (Leave the spelling, auto correct.)
What if I get trolled by Steve Bannon?
After a few sleepless nights, I might have called it off. Luckily, an expert in the field – Sasha Cagen, author of Quirky Alone, and leader in the self-marriage movement, put things in perspective; Sasha helped me realize that my fear was classic — the fear of deep commitment. If self-marriage is a radical act of kindness and acceptance of one's wholeness, then why should I be afraid to go public?
Because announcing my engagement to the world... made it fucking real.
And also, people might laugh.
Laugh all you want. Part II
Becoming a whole person takes balls. Trust me, I'd rather be pigging out on chick-lit and chocolate, while I blame everything on my free-range GenX childhood. Becoming whole is a messy, thankless job. Society won't reward or encourage your DIY wholeness; Society promotes the idea that traditional marriage is the goal, and the only path to fulfillment, especially for a woman.
If only it were that easy — Just plan a wedding and honeymoon in Bora Bora. Done.
Trust me. I've spent two weeks in Bora Bora, surrounded by clueless newlyweds, and sorry, I just don't buy it that life begins after a honeymoon — Life begins when you're satisfied with the person you've become, AFTER you've been dumped by the fuck-tard, AFTER years of sliding-scale therapy.
THEN you can go to Bora Bora and swim with the big fish.
But if even if you've earned it, where's the ceremony that celebrates becoming an indie-person? There isn't one; Our culture only has weddings.
Once I acknowledge that marrying myself would be a noble ritual of self-compassion and self-actualization, I was ALL in.
For better NOT worse ... Laugh all you want. Part III
ALL in, and yet when my day arrived, nothing could stop me from biting off my fresh manicure. I'd prepared my notes, which ranted about the stigma of being an unmarried woman — bla bla bla. Ignacio, the Nightline reporter told me to scrap them, "Just be yourself." he said.
Going unscripted on camera was hard. I tripped over sentences and occasionally went off topic. But in the end, I got comfortable being me.
We filmed in a redwood canyon until sunset — when it was time to crack open a bottle of Pino Noir with some friends, who'd kindly agreed to drink on camera. (They had no idea what was coming.) I took a few sips and waited for the right moment.
And then I did it — I announced my engagement — To myself. On National television.
Seriously. Nobody needs to get self-engaged in their life.
But it's liberating.
It challenges the snooty institution of matrimony. After all, nobody — gay or striaght, needs to wed their sweetheart — Right? If wearing a ring is a choice for everyone, then singles can wear one too.
And it's empower-ring.
Putting a ring on did not make me feel like a different person; I felt more like myself, without an apology or lack. I felt energized, and ready to face my future, with or without a parter.
But don't take it from me; take it from a much wiser empathy-guru:
Break out the popcorn.
Before the show aired, I still had many questions. How would two hours of footage get edited down to a few minutes? Despite my faith in Ignacio, Would my mom ever understand? Would Steve Bannon be sharpening his troll teeth? Would the ring make me look fat?
You never really know how an ABC Nightline engagement is going to go down...
Rx Killer B/side song: I believe I can fall in love — Stevie Wonder
From the 1972 Album, Talking Book. (A/side hit: You are the Sunshine of my life)