I’ve spent some time this week feeling real sadness that the concept of family & love that I was raised with is not my current reality. Mind you, I would not trade what I have for those old concepts – a nuclear family based on a monogamous heterosexual marriage with 2.3 children – but I still mourn it’s loss.
I met my future ex-husband when I was 21. We wed when I was in my mid-20’s – I was certain that what I needed to do with my life was to be a good wife & mother, and I had put all my energy into just that role. But after a few years, I realized that the cost was far too high; I had given up the core of who I was as an emotional, spiritual, and sexual woman in order to become what I was told that I should become. I made the very difficult choice to step out on my own, and eventually chose to end my marriage. My foray into the BDSM community started in earnest after my separation began, and it was there that I finally found some sense of sexual self esteem…followed by a sense of who I am as a complete, whole human being.
I cannot say that I would ever go back to what I had, or what I was supposed to have. But there are times that I look around and realize that the old training is still there, buried under the surface. The “what if’s” are like subtle echoes of ghosts walking through my home. What if I end up alone and unloved, because I never married or had children? What if I become gravely ill, and have no support? What if I never have another companion that shares my bed? What am I missing out on? The questions are dusty and dry; they blow through my mind like a dry wind across the desert, pulling the richness out of my experience of that moment.
I honestly do not know what will happen, or what I might have missed. I can only begin to imagine what my life as a married parent might have been like. I do not know what it is like to have a decades-long relationship with a life partner. But I do know that my life, right now, as it stands today, stands out in stark contrast to what I had before – I occasionally say that it’s like walking out of Dorothy’s black-and-white filmed house into a vibrantly technicolor Oz, full of lushness and brilliance. And I look around at the people in my life, and I know that while my family may not look like what it was “supposed to” look like, it is a group of people, both lovers and friends, that I am honored and astounded have chosen to be part of my life. And in my case, that’s the crux of it – my family is my family, and it is enough.
No, wait, it is more than enough – it is everything.