“Our Savior is our true Mother in whom we are endlessly born and out of whom we shall never come.” — Julian of Norwich
Today a friend told me, “we need to get you married.”
I hear this often from friends, in various ways, that the right one will come along, that my life will be better with a partner to make me whole, nuptials marking something extraordinary that I’m missing out on.
“You deserve someone special,” is a wonderful sentiment, but detached from more compelling realities.
I already have someone special: myself. Any other relationship echoes my primary relationship, of my self to Love. If Love is my first relationship, everything else comes from the primary relationship, in the most delightful and unexpected ways, because Love is creative, dynamic, and evolving.
Love infinitely expands, nuptials need not be included.
My friend means well, concerned that I am moving yet again, and he believes that marriage would give me “security.”
But I am always surprised by the claim that I’ll be happier and safer married: there are no guarantees.
I am safe in Love, not marriage.
I decided this past year that I was a nun in a past life, and my life as a sex worker entailed the same calling. I am serious in this claim, believing that the echoes of our past lives stick to our behaviors in this lifetime, in subtle ways.
In medieval times, nuns were the only women with the luxury of an education, and they had more autonomy than any other woman of their time. The first English language book written by a woman was Julian of Norwich’s Revelations of Divine Love (did you catch her first name). Not only was it probably the first book in English written by a woman, it was rather heretical in its quiet mysticism and emphasis on God’s goodness. Julian wasn’t taken to task for heresy, according to some scholars, because she was a cloistered anchoress, and not a threat to church authority. Her gentle theology dovetails with our great mystical traditions in its luminosity and outpouring of Love, and its refusal to subject God to our egocentric infantilism of condemnation, judgement, hell, violence, etc.
In what some would call a prison of monastic seclusion, she was certainly the freest woman of her era, and her influence and respect have grown over the centuries.
Education. Autonomy. Love of Self. Selfless service. These I believe I previously lived, and these I have sought in this life. Ergo, from nun to sex worker. Because what most people don’t realize is the degree of selfless service that goes on in most working class sex work, stereotypes and morality slinging hyperbole to the contrary. Pleasure is a catalyst to the soul, sometimes a temporary insanity of hormones or repression or psychic pain or a gazillion other impulses working themselves out, if one knows how to read the narratives and behavior. Of course, one need not know how to read them, being available for another is enough.
Like a nun, much of what I have done involves listening, and then listening through. As sex workers often live on the fringes, they safely hold secrets, they are the invisible secular psychic dumping ground of culture’s hatreds, biases, class divisions, and a host of other repressions. Specifically, phone work is often like a confessional, myself being a secular confessor and psychotherapist of desire.
Every story has stories, traces, clues: nonjudgement mandatory.
Just like a nun. In fact, more so.
My life is an adventure. I wouldn’t trade myself or the wisdom I’ve gained for anyone’s version of how they think Love, spirituality, sex, or morality ought to be; and I wouldn’t marry someone who didn’t serve my Life’s greater purpose, my soul’s yearning for Love and its creative fulfillment: it’s the difference between knowing one’s deep Safety and hanging onto an illusion of security.
And, as I write, it occurs to me this impulse is also about the call to art and her many redemptions, the freedom of spirit to express itself in ways that four walls can never contain, and may, in fact, encumber when those four walls are shared with the wrong person. Julian of Norwich had four very small walls to her anchorhold, but they enlarged into a grand magnitude because she shared those walls with and in Love, and Love alone.
I appreciate my friend’s concern, but to me packing up and moving again is part of the journey’s joy. I know that I am being led where I need to be for the next part of the gig.
I believe the dictum is to serve something larger than one’s ego if one wants to live on the landscape of peace and freedom.
Marriage may or may not be part of creating that landscape, but it’s not a given to security.
I have Love. I’m fine with moving again.