I met my husband at a New Years Day brunch in 2011.
He sat across from me as I scarfed down two full breakfasts. The first words I remember him uttering were, “did you eat that all yourself?!” I responded with a big grin.
Legend has it that he went home that night and announced to his roommate that he had met the girl he was going to marry, but that she lived with her boyfriend and he wasn’t sure how that would work out. I went home to my then partner of three and a half years and continued in the struggle of losing one of the other great loves of my life.
Six months later, I left that relationship, picked up my battered soul and stepped out into the light again.
There I found myself, and my now good friend waiting for me.
We were married four months later.
We got married after a 10-day engagement in a small Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan. A priest, a photographer, a wedding planner and us.
It was the fairy tale wedding that I had never dreamed of…And we lived happily ever after.
Not so much.
If anyone has ever read the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm they’ll know that they are often filled with things like cannibalism, deception, child abuse and death.
My marriage was not that bad but I suspect as Elizabeth Gilbert describes so beautifully in her recent interview with Oprah, that my husband was one of my soul mates. The catch is that the only way that we could have stood through that much fire was to be bound by the contract of marriage.
We tried to love each other. We tore each other apart through that love. We would go through cycles of me feeling him pushing and questioning and him feeling me rejecting.
I remember standing in the middle of his bed screaming one night, wanting to rip off my clothes and run through the streets of Chinatown to prove that I was not the repressed, closed minded little girl he seemed to be trying to get me to accept that I was. Other times he would look up at me with those big, child-like eyes, crying out to be held and seen, but I had become too protected, stripped and frail to meet him there.
Eleven therapists, three valentine’s day blanket forts and one cross country conversion van trip later, we got better at not destroying each other. We started to learn to hold back pieces of ourselves from each other to protect each other but the quick start and early pain always seemed to be there.
I remember looking into his eyes and seeing how many of his words and how much of himself he was holding back, just to be with me. I remember feeling my own fear of moving, of speaking just so that we didn’t trigger each other.
We were both holding our breath, had been holding it for a long time.
When the words, “I think it’s time to let go,” were uttered, what rushed in was not complete devastation but relief with a tinge of sadness and heartbreak.
My marriage had ended when I called my husband my death.
I was sitting at a festival with a friend watching the morning light increase and he asked if we’d ever tried a Tantric workshop. I looked at him and said that it seemed so past the point. We had so much to heal before stepping further.
We could barely speak without hurting, touch without burning. My marriage was like a minefield where we had gotten really good about not stepping on land mines—but they were all still there, restricting who we were.
I looked at my friend and said, “With someone else, that would be easy. We would just sync in and expand, but with him there is so much possibility, so much that it makes me feel small. There is what I am alone, which is too much to fathom and then there is us together. It is hard, infinite, cosmic; it is everything. He is my death.” I fell silent and those words reverberated in my head for days after that.
I agree whole-heartedly when Elizabeth Gilbert said that your soul mate is not necessarily the person you spend the rest of your life with.
I will never regret marrying my husband. I will never regret loving him, fighting with him or burning with him.
My husband was my fire. He burned me and he ignited me. I will always, always, always love him. He helped to re-write my soul. He forced me to stand up through all that fire and trust in parts of me that are so true they can never be destroyed.
He was the death of so many parts of me that now as I step into my future alone I am choosing life.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Melissa Tamura
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Youtube Screenshot