By Melanie Bates
A few weeks back I was gifted a†psychic reading. Iím always a bit nervous before these calls. What will she tell me? Will her voice get deeper and more mysterious as she says that I am going to choke on a Teddy Graham on a random Tuesday night while watching Glee? My mind goes crazy for a moment. Will the invariably hot ambulance drivers come to pick up my body and see the skin of my throat stretched over those little brown sugar legs? Itís terrifying really.
My reading lasted about an hour and, more than once, I had to stop pacing and sit down because of the knowledge this woman had about my life and my thoughts for the future. She was just dead-on (no pun intended). And, to my intense relief, this†amazingly gifted woman didnít portend my death at all. No, it was much, much worse.
She told me I was going to get married.
After we hung up the phone I scoffed, snickered, ALMOST choked on my Biscoff biscuit, and then fell to floor laughing and thought,†when the state of Texas is turned into a glacial iceberg and the wooly Mammoth makes its return in San Antonio, then I will get married again.
But psychics arenít called psychics for nothing. In a coincidence to beat all the coincidences in the history of the Universe, I got married today.
To my Self.
Itís true. You see, Iím about to graduate from college after a perilous 12 year journey (on and off) through the halls of academia. I decided that as a reward for my accomplishment, I was going to buy myself a class ring. I searched online, in catalogs, at the college bookstore, to find the perfect bauble — and they were all BUTT-to-the-UGLY. As Iíve never been very good at complying with the traditional, I hopped in my Beetle, drove to a jewelry store, and ordered a custom-made 2.5 carat black diamond ring.
I decided, then and there, that this ring was going to be more than a class ring. This little rock was going to represent my journey over the past 12 years — through numerous college campuses, over the mountain of divorce, into the dark woods of leaving my family to move alone to a city 3000 miles away, through the cave of bankruptcy, and up and down the hills of funerals and surgeries for my endometriosis.
This tiny black trinket was going to be a wedding ring for a marriage to my Self, to all parts of me: the good and the bad, the positive and the negative, and to the love/hate relationship Iíve had with my Self over the past 40 years. And because the name Melanie means ďblack,Ē I chose a black diamond which seemed perfect too. Not just the ďblackĒ reference of my name, but the attributes of the black diamond itself.
Black diamonds absorb light, rather than refract it. They are essentially like a ton of little diamonds, mashed together at different angles that canít be carved to sparkle and shine, but they take in light and are strongly luminescent. My particular gem also has a small inclusion, a flaw, next to the 4th prong. Sounds just like me. Like all of us. We all have so many facets, so many angles to our person, and we all have flaws. And just like a black diamond I want to absorb as much light as possible in my lifetime and to be luminescent, to shine, from deep within.
But one can’t marry oneself without vows now can they? So I wrote them:
I, Melanie, take you Melanie to be my bride, my partner in life, and my one true love. I will cherish our friendship and love you today, tomorrow, and forever. I will trust you and honor you and love you faithfully through the best and the worst, through the easy and the difficult, through achievement and failure. I will be there, whatever may come, and I will ALWAYS love you, soothe you, and support you. I will always be kind to you, no matter how bad you mess things up. When you havenít showered for three days, I will see the beauty in you. When youíre lying in bed with a 700 kelvin heating pad over your one remaining ovary, I will comfort you and make you proverbial soup. When your heart is hurting, I will hold you in my arms and whisper ďIllegitimi non carborundumĒ (ďDonít let the bastards get you downĒ). When you take the ďroad less traveled,Ē I will walk beside you in a purple peacoat and galoshes. I promise to be your constant.
Today I came home with my wedding ring and (after saying my vows, shedding a few tears, wiping my nose on my sleeve, and eating a cupcake) I wrote to Lauren, Owning Pinkís Capín Editor Pants to tell her the great news. After some virtual hugs and high-fives, she told me about a Christmas tradition her mom started years ago. It was the Single Person Registry and every Christmas morning as an adult Lauren would wake up to a stuffed stocking chock full of gifts: one year it was kitchen stuff, the next year it was things for her bathroom, and so on. Her mom would say, ďF-ck! You need this stuff now, Iím not waiting for you to marry some idiot.Ē
I feel exactly the same way. The story of Laurenís momís brilliance couldnít have been more timely as I prepare to move across country in my sleek, black covered wagon to build a home for myself surrounded only by that which I love.
And who knows, maybe I will marry someone else someday — but Iíll always be married to my Self, Iíll strive to remember my vows every day, and each Christmas Eve Iíll fill up my stocking with cherished items from my Single Person Registry.
What about you? What vows would you write to yourselves? What would be on your Single Person Registry? What does your wedding ring look like and represent?
*†† *†† *†† *