I went to the wedding of my friend April last night and I must say that it was the best wedding I have ever attended! The service was entertaining and downright funny; very true to the personality of my spritely and quick-witted friend. I hope that they will enjoy a lifetime of that humor and affection. I was so happy I was invited to witness their union.
My invitation was addressed to me, plus one. There was an empty seat at table four because I attended minus a plus one. Yes, I sat alone at table four as the DJ played the slow romantic tunes for the couples and I happily watched them dance. I so enjoyed watching the joy that the couples shared with each other. When a handsome young man asked me to dance you might be surprised to learn that my answer was, “No thank you. Thank you for asking.” I am not a couple, I am simply me. I have committed myself to a solitary life. I have taken a vow of chastity.
I have observed that my vow has disturbed many people. The most common response is, “But you’re so pretty!” Does that imply that if I were ugly, my vow would be more acceptable? Ironically, I receive the same response when people learn that I am a police officer. That to me seems to imply that a pretty woman is somehow incapable and inferior.
I have struggled with being inferior my entire life. I craved acceptance in a world that judged me on my appearance and demanded certain things from me. At twenty-one I was still a virgin and after too much teasing from my friends, I chose a man in a bar to “de-flower” me. In college I was focused on my studies, I had no interest in dating. But unwritten society rules dictated that there was something wrong with me if I didn’t have a boyfriend. I chose an abusive partner that alienated me from my friends. Then, like all women, I got married. I had a baby. Isn’t that what we are supposed to do? My husband told me I wasn’t friendly enough, that I dressed terribly, and that I was lousy in bed. Thankfully, he divorced me. Unfortunately, I spent the first four years after my divorce trying to convince myself that what my ex-husband said wasn’t true…particularly that last part. Ironically, my desperate attempts to prove my self-worth made my self-esteem plummet further than before. I chose men that did not take care of their finances or their bodies. I chose them because they “loved me” and I thought I was supposed to be grateful. I did not love them. I wanted to; because I thought it was what pretty women were supposed to do. It was unacceptable for me to be alone. At least that was the message society was conveying. I wonder now if I even loved my husband. He often told me that I “didn’t seem to need him.” I do know that I never felt for him what I feel for the son he gave me.
Motherhood has been the most profound experience of my life. The love I feel for my child has inspired me to be a complete person. I chose to give up writing and singing in an attempt to please my husband. My child, my lovely son has coaxed me to tell him “stories from my head” and he must have me sing to him every night. Now I perform regularly in public with an album on the way. Dragon’s Eye Artistry snapped a picture of me during a performance and I was amazed by the photograph; because just like the pictures of my son and me, I could see love on my face.
Apparently, I needed my husband to teach me that I really didn’t need him. I now know what love really is and I am no longer afraid of being alone because despite what these unwritten society rules may say, I am not alone. My voice instantly connects me, when I sing I have confirmation that I am a part of the universe. I am so grateful to my son for helping me to learn this. I am not a couple, I am simply me. I have committed myself to a solitary life. I have taken a vow of chastity.
I have learned that I cannot choose to give up part of myself in attempt to please a partner. That is not love. I have learned that I must choose my own path. I am not inferior just because I make a different choice from the common society standard.
If I could go back in time, I would go back twenty-nine years to that bar with my so-called friends and I would tell that younger version of myself, “You don’t need that man Amy and you don’t need these people who say they are your friends. You are worth more. If you keep singing, I can promise you a lifetime of profound love.”
The only problem with that is that my son would have never been born. This is why everyone learns different truths at different times. I do not believe that our fates are predestined. I do not believe that everything happens for a reason…but I do believe that everything does have purpose. I cannot change my past and I know that I wouldn’t want to. But I would like to teach young people that they don’t have to get married just because it is common in society. I would like to teach young people that real love is not about sacrifice. Real love should inspire. I would like to teach that no one is inferior, no matter what they look like. I would like everyone to know, you are not alone.