See what I did there? That was a pune, or play on words, because this post has nothing to do with campanology at all! Très drole. But it does have to do with change, and it does have to do with rings. My partner and I got unmarried last weekend.
When my partner and I started admitting to and exploring our different sexualities a few months ago, so much of who we thought we had been fell away. Our lives changed, we changed. I’ll spare you the details, but that change wasn’t, isn’t, always easy. I started a journal, and most of the pages are full of positive, excited things, but there are other pages smudged with tears that just have fuckfuckfuckIcan’tdothis written all over them. But I’ve sat with my feelings of hurt, of despair, of insecurity, and I’ve come out the other side a better, stronger person, and I know that I CAN do this. And that whatever “this” is, it’s totally worth the struggle. I had some good chats with my friend Allegra about this, who then wrote a great blog post about “The transformative nature of discomfort”. Well worth a gander.
Aside to this, I had been unhappy for a long while with my boring gold wedding band. I never wear gold, and I only wear pretty. It seemed to me to be less like jewellery and more like a badge, or a stripe of office – I’m married to someone, I’m taken, I’m a respectable traditionalist and allowed to have children. I’m not saying this is what I think when I see someone else wearing one – I love all you marrieds out there, I want to give you a squishy hug and bake you a cake full of rainbows and smiles; I’m just saying this is how I felt I had been labelled.
Anyway, I digress.
We both decided that to mark our shedding of the old ways and embracing of the new, whatever either of those may be (though ‘open relationship’ is certainly a big one), we would get new rings made, and we would get unmarried. We would dismantle the vows we had made all those years ago and start again. We ummed and aahed about making a ‘thing’ of it, but after much thought decided we would keep it just us. Who would come, who would have to miss it, who would feel left out, and most of all, how would we explain what we were doing, without some people thinking we were completely weird, and dismissive of “marriage”, possibly their marriage. So we kept it just us. It is a very personal thing, relevant only to ourselves, and as we’re still walking this journey, it’s hard to explain to people who want to know where we’re headed. We don’t know!
We walked out (and those of you who read my last blog post about weddings will be pleased to hear I went barefoot!) to a meadow near our house, with our amazing son (our amazing daughter wasn’t quite sure about the whole thing, so she chose to stay at home. She’s thirteen, she’s allowed to stay within her comfort zone), and moved from the old into the new. The full moon is a time to let go of things that no longer serve us, and whilst she remained above the grey clouds, we knew she was there.
And in the same way, even though our friends weren’t there with us in person, you were all there with us in our hearts. We both know we have such wonderful, amazing, caring, brilliant and supportive friends, and we love you so much. This is is the soppy stuff you missed:
[Mark] Abi, Nearly fifteen years ago we promised ourselves to and for each other, only for each other, for better or worse, til death do us part. Every day since then I have come to know you better, and to love you more deeply.
Today, this evening, as the sun goes down, I release you from those promises. Those promises were our training wheels, never needed. I set you free, and hope that you will love freely, wherever your heart leads you. Our togetherness is now pure choice, renewed each day, with no need of bond or contract.
As I give you back the ring you gave me that day, I give you myself again, which is all I have to give. I am broken, I am incomplete. But all that I am, and all that I will ever be, I wish to share with you for all the time that life gives us.
You are my dearest friend. I love you.
[Abi] (Something something I give you back your ring too but I didn’t write anything down I forgot about this bit mumble something)
Mark, I love you with all my heart, and I always will. I will love you through sun and through storm, through famine and feast, through strength and through frailty.
I give you this ring because of the love I have for you. It carries no obligation, no bond; it is just a reminder.
I give you this, and I set you free.
And now I want to give a big shout out to Rebecca, of Silver Scatterlings, the geologist-jeweller who crafted our new rings. Silver cast from slickenside (a rock marked with the heat and pressure of an ever moving, ever renewing tectonic plate edge) for Mark, and from hawthorn bark (my favourite tree, symbolising protection, love, balance and duality. A tree of contradictions) for me. Apparently Rebecca got scratched to biggins finding the perfect piece of bark to cast from, but she didn’t let it put her off! How beautiful are these?
So there. That’s it really. So starts a new chapter in our story. It certainly is an exciting read, I can’t wait to see what happens next 🙂