My international man of mystery

IMG_6015My partner and I just completed a meeting with our friend who is marrying us, discussing details of our rapidly approaching wedding ceremony. When I began having visions of our wedding back in the Fall, there were a couple of things that were crystal clear about it. The first was that it would take place on 3/24/18– five years after our first date. The second was that our dear friend who introduced us would be the one who married us, because in my partner’s words: “this is all his fault.”

I first met my soon-to-be husband six years ago on a random day in February. I was at my studio around midday. I wasn’t in a session, but sitting at the front desk, when the studio door opened and in walked my friend with a handsome and mysterious stranger. The stranger had a blue bandana on his head and a scruffy face. The second he stepped into my space my eyes were riveted to him– and alarm bells in my head began sounding loudly. My friend sauntered in casually, stranger in tow, as if midday stop-ins were something he did all the time. (In actuality he had never before stopped by my studio unannounced). He introduced the stranger, giving absolutely no context for who he was or what he was doing there.

We stood in the entrance to my studio talking for several minutes. To be honest I have absolutely no idea how much time passed– it could have been five minutes, it could have been forty five. All I know is that I was singularly focused on this human being who had just walked into my sphere from out of nowhere with absolutely no warning. And he was having a profound affect on my entire nervous system. I found myself talking to my friend about I-have-no-idea-what while Mr. Mysterious talked to my friend and colleague who was also in the the studio at the time. I was aware of the tenor of his voice as it rose and fell in conversation and I felt literally drawn magnetically towards him. It was all I could do to resist the force of the attraction, and I’m still unclear on how I was able to maintain a conversation. The details are blurry, the gestalt is what is crystal clear.

At some point conversations wrapped up and my friend and Mystery man left the building. I IMMEDIATELY texted my friend: “Who IS he?” (As in, give me some context for this handsome stranger, please.) His response was “He’s an international man of mystery.” EYE ROLL. Really??

That evening I decided that we needed to take some of my daughter’s dresses over to my friend’s new baby– Mr. Mystery’s god-daughter and the reason for his visit. I was determined that I would see this beautiful, magnetic man as much as possible in the indeterminate amount of time that he was in our fair city. I packed up a bunch of baby clothes and my two children, who were 5 and 9 at the time and headed over to our friend’s house for a “casual drop in” just like the one my friend had staged earlier. (Again, this “drop in” was unprecedented.) I soaked up as much as I could of Mr. handsome while my children ran wild around my friends’ living room– a joyful representation of what these new parents had to look forward to.

I managed to see Mr. International again the next night at a party. (I completely arranged this– it was not random.) This was probably more social interaction than I had had in months– I was a single mom and a complete introvert. It was during the party that I casually arranged for us to do a bodywork trade while he was in Portland. BOOM.

I worked on him first. Putting my hands on his body was intense. He was completely stalwart throughout the session– saying next to nothing and maintaining complete external composure. But I felt his internal energetic monologue and it was far from composed. There was a storm brewing just beneath the surface of this mysterious man which despite his best efforts he could not hide from me. I made him a flower essence at the end of the session, sitting right next to the table and again I felt his gravitational pull tugging on me. I wanted to settle into him. (I realized this was inappropriate and resisted). He worked on me the next day. His hands were firm and strong and somehow familiar. I fell into an ease with him that was unlike anything I had experienced before.

We talked a bit about his plans and where he was headed next– ultimately back to Thailand. And then he was gone. We exchanged emails a couple of times over the next year and chatted over the computer. I read his blog and was immediately turned off by the grammatical and spelling errors. (curse of an English major). And then a year later I received an e-mail that he had moved into town and he wondered if I wanted to start up a bodywork trade.

ALARM BELLS!!!!!!!!!!!!

When he first reached out to me I was in the midst of a long-distance whirlwind romance with an old flame from high school. I remember thinking– what? now? Mr. Mystery? “WHY ARE YOU TOYING WITH ME UNIVERSE??” And then my old flame abruptly ended our long distance affair. I saw Mr. Handsome for a couple of trades and then decided what the hell and asked him out on a date. My kids were away for Spring break in California with their dad– and I realized I had nothing to lose.

On 3/24/13 Mr. Mystery and I hit the town and painted it red. The days and weeks and years to follow have been a consistent process of building and strengthening a massive foundation of trust, friendship and love. He did not walk easily down this path in the beginning– for years he fought me– but some things are worth fighting for. “Consistency over a period of time” is how he first defined love for me– and that’s how we have ultimately defined this relationship. It is consistent and it continues to stand the test of time. Whatever comes our way I know he’s got my back as no one else ever has or will.

15 days from now I’m marrying an International Man of Mystery…

And I can hardly wait.

 

 

wearing our wedding boots outside for the first time

Ladies and Gentlemen… It gives me great pleasure to announce to you that: I found my wedding dress!!

And I LOVE it!!

I picked my daughter up from school today and our mission was clear: FIND THE DRESS; (no pressure, of course). We stopped by home before setting out, to fuel up properly before our expedition. When we got home we found a package waiting, a dress I ordered on Amazon Tuesday morning in the midst of my mini I-need-a-wedding-dress panic because it looked potentially okay and– I needed a wedding dress. It was a definite no– but got us primed for our dress-seeking journey. I’ve been itching to go to this new vintage dress shop a few blocks from our house since it opened several months ago– there’s always something that draws my eye as I walk past it. The last two days, since I’ve been in the dress market it’s been calling to me day and night. We set out on our mission both of us wearing our wedding boots outside for the first time.

We walked into the store and gave the woman our parameters; knee(ish) length, size 6 to 8,  (the only color directive was NOT WHITE– no need to go through that again). I told her we were getting married in the forest and the boots were a part of the package. We went through and chose several different dresses– nine in total, she put them into the dressing room for me. My wedding dress was the second one I tried and I fell in love with it immediately. It fit me LIKE A GLOVE (a very tight glove). It has a rust-colored cummerbund that I’m not wearing in the picture because it too is glove-like. But again I cannot stress enough how much I LOVE this dress!!

I tried on every dress that we had taken into the dressing room– the last one I tried was a several-inches-above-the-knee, not-vintage silver piece of awesomeness. The shop owner called it a disco dress when I walked out with it on. I loved it as well and realized that my like-a-glove wedding dress would not necessarily be a gettin’ down and dancin’ dress. I made up my mind at that point that I would buy both dresses, one for the ceremony, one for the reception. YES.

I was all set and ready to make it happen and buy my beautiful dress(es) when my practical 11 year old maid of honor stepped in. (She does not get that practicality from me or her father– that is all her step-father– my husband-to-be). She asked if they would hold the dresses and told me that we really needed to go to the second shop on the list, the one where we found the original dress. I grudgingly agreed with her and we left the shop with me saying “see you soon!”

We walked back to our house and grabbed the car, the second shop being a bit more of a hike from our house. As we were driving I started thinking out loud about how incredibly different my daughter and I are. I also wondered out loud why we had left my dress(es) in that shop? “That’s my dress,” I distinctly remember saying to her several times. We drove to the other shop– she asked me if I could be open to other dresses– I told her I would try but… “that’s my dress.” We parked and got out of the car, walking the half block to the original scene of the dress buying crime…

It was CLOSED. The shop was dark. My heart leapt in celebration. “I’m coming for you!!” I shouted to my dress(es). My daughter annoyed, said, “I KNEW it was gonna be closed and then it would be a sign that it was your dress.” We walked back to the car and drove back to my dress(es). We were only away from them for about ten minutes. (Ten minutes too many in my world)– but they were there patiently waiting for us when we returned. I bought them happily and found out that the little silver number was on sale. SCORE. The numbers in the total price of the dresses added up to nine. (That’s my favorite number. It’s magical and I’m a little weird about it.) Seemed like kismet to me. And that’s my second dress story. I would say very few people get to successfully go wedding dress shopping with their maid of honor twice for the same wedding. But I have that privilege.

16 days from now I’m getting married.

And I know exactly what I’ll be wearing to do the marrying… and the dancing afterwards.

And that is a massive relief.

 

before I head to the land of matrimony…

It’s 17 days now till the BIG EVENT.

Having the dress drama sorted at least to the point of understanding there is a dress to procure, I find myself turning my focus to the ceremonial aspects of the approaching nuptials. Yesterday I found myself humming a song that I hadn’t heard in years while I was teaching– the melody wouldn’t leave my head. I got home with the song still turning circles in my mind and finally found the song and played it. I realized as soon as I heard the first few notes that it was the processional for our ceremony. Check another detail off the list. BOOM.

I’m an interesting human being– difficult to precisely categorize. I’m incredibly detail oriented, but also operate much like a hurricane or tornado while in the midst of a creative process or project. I run in several different directions at all times. You could call me easily distracted, but I’m also capable of intense focus. I’m not much of a planner but I actually have an aptitude for creating very detailed order and structure. Hard to pin me down exactly. I’d say I have a very non-linear method of planning which would probably make anyone trying to plan this wedding (or anything) with me slightly crazy. Luckily– I’m heading up this one person committee, with my partner cheering from the sidelines and my daughter assisting when necessary. We seem to be going gangbusters.

The thing that is most present in my mind over the last day or so is the importance of calling together all of my womenfolk before the ceremony. I’m not really much of a “bachelorette” kind of girl. I’m not a big drinker and I don’t feel the need to go out and sew my wild oats. They’ve been sewn several times over. I’m a homebody. I feel happiest in my house, surrounded by the people I love. HOWEVER, I am about to get MARRIED, for REALS and I need to amass my women in some form before setting off into the forest for my nuptials on March 24th. As I began to sit with the idea of doing something with my women beforehand– what I was most struck by was the IMMENSE power of all of the women in my life and how amazing it would be to call them all together ceremoniously to give me their blessings before I head to the land of matrimony.

As much as I might like to play it cool and act like this wedding isn’t a big deal– that is completely untrue. It is a HUGE deal. Getting married to the man who is sleeping six inches away from me as I write this (yes, we’re living in sin– but only for 17 more days) is a MASSIVE acknowledgement. I have known quite honestly since the moment I laid eyes on him six years ago that our souls were intertwined in such a way that defied logic or explanation. But rather than get swept up in emotions or intangible intuitions, (that would never fly with him anyway) we have built a massive, sturdy foundation rooted in consistency, friendship, kindness, consideration and love. We have walked through fire and brimstone to get to the place where we stand now– and I am a witchy, witchy woman. I am going to CEREMONIALIZE the crap out of this event. So, all the more reason I need a super dose of magic from my ladies beforehand.

As my visions of the blessingway have been coming through what I am most struck by is the number of incredible women I have had the privilege to have come into contact with over the eleven years I’ve been residing in Portland. Each time I think about it, more of them pop into my mind, and I realize I can’t possibly miss the opportunity of calling them all together and harnessing their energy and love towards blessing the acknowledgement of this union. So– the blessingway IS HAPPENING!! I just texted a friend tonight to enlist her help in turning my visions into a tangible reality. She is DOWN. For those of you who don’t live in Portland and would like to join us remotely (yes, that is a VERY REAL thing)– it will be happening on Thursday, March 22nd at 9 pm pst. But you can send your blessings WHENEVER you like!

We are always open to receive!!!

 

 

It was a YES from the moment I stepped out of the dressing room

In just 18 short days I will be married.

That’s not a word I necessarily thought I’d ever use to refer to myself again. I’ve taken the ride on marriage train once before. My partner has also had his own previous experience with said train. Neither of us felt particularly motivated to jump back on any sort of quickly moving vehicle. Rather we’ve taken a very slow and steady walk hand in hand towards this ceremony of matrimony. And now I need to find a dress.

This is not to say that I have put off getting a dress until eighteen days before my wedding– because I have not. Back in January (WAY ahead of schedule if operating under my usual parameters) I procured a wedding dress for myself. It was a 60’s knee length silk brocade* (more on this later) with a matching knee length jacket. (think Trinity from the Matrix, but in white silk brocade*). It was a YES from the moment I stepped out of the dressing room. The only slight problem with it was, it was white, not the blue that I had envisioned myself getting married in.

I bought it anyway. It was too close to perfect not to– and it was on sale. My rationale was, either I get married in white, or I have my best friend (a seamstress, artist, designer and all around bad-ass who lives in Asheville, NC) dye it. No big deal. It’s silk*, it’ll dye fine. I took a few days and hemmed and hawed over whether to dye or not to dye and ultimately realized that yes, undoubtedly the dress needed to be dyed to fulfill my vision. I sent it to North Carolina along with a love letter to my lady. A few days after she received it alarm bells rang loud and clear when she sent me a text with a picture of a few swatches she had dyed which barely registered any pigment.

She explained that there were a few reasons the fabric could not have taken the dye– maybe it was a blend, perhaps there was some sort of chemical on the fabric– she had solutions lined up, not to worry, everything was going to be fine. I proceeded with picking out the dye colors and she ordered the dye along with the solution she needed to wash the dress in. She also ordered a blue dye that was specially made to dye polyester, “just in case” my beautiful silk brocade* was actually, not.

The dyes took their sweet time but finally arrived. Shortly thereafter my best friend found herself stirring over a boiling blue-watered pot for over an hour, laboring in love as only a best friend can, because, you guessed it, my silk brocade* was actually a classic 1960’s polyester. She used the one blue dye available for polyester and boiled my dress and jacket in it. Then she pressed them, attempting to shape them back to their former glory. She sent me a picture of the blue, (I will say the dye job is beautifully even). She sounded stressed when I talked to her on the phone that night. In retrospect, I’m certain the dress must have been at least a small factor in that.

Yesterday morning I found the dress at my door, complete with a love note from my lady. The hour of boiling really took its toll. There are probably very few things that can withstand boiling water for an hour without having some very tangible alterations occur. My lovely silk brocade* wedding dress is no exception. The fabric is drastically different– thinner, the “brocade” has faded into the background, and the one shade of blue dye available for the dying of polyester eerily resembles the bright blue of the mats in my Pilates studio.

So, after talking to my best friend on the phone this morning– and getting her blessing to leave behind this labor of love, I find myself in the market for a wedding dress. This is not exactly where I thought I’d be eighteen days from my wedding– but I’m actually pretty excited about it. I no longer have any clear vision for my dress, I just know that I’ll know it when I see it (and that moment will be magical). And I am perfectly clear about that fact that whatever color it is the day that I buy it will also be the color it is the day I get married in it.

I don’t necessarily have a metaphor for what this dress is in the process of my wedding countdown– but I do know that I appreciate when the universe throws what might be considered adversity at me. It always feels like an opportunity to dig down a little deeper. A younger version of me would have “made due” with a dress that I didn’t love and didn’t feel good in because of the labor of love put forward by my best friend. I would have felt “obligated” to wear it because of her sacrifices. Now I understand that her labor of love was the gift, not the dress. The process and the story are the important things, not the product that came forth. My best friend doesn’t want me to wear a dress that is anything other than absolutely perfect on my wedding day.

And now I get to find a new DRESS!! Tastes like lemonade to me.

*polyester