In the summer of 2012 I got married, on the beach at sunset. I had only one guest with me– a woman I cared very much for. I did not marry her, I married me. I was ready to commit for life to myself. I was ready to promise to Love, Honour and Cherish me. Forever. It was time. I was 56 years old. It was one of the pivotal moments of my life and I loved every second.
It is not that I have never been married. In fact I have been married a few times before and who knows? I might do it again but this one is forever. This is a commitment to love, honour and cherish myself. In all future relationships, I will put myself in a place of importance and of value.
We started the afternoon with a little shopping and then an early wedding supper at one of my favourite “all you can eat sushi” restaurants located in Toronto’s annex. We were meeting another close friend and would share my wedding plans with her. Dinner was delicious and we laughed and enjoyed the whole idea that soon I would be marrying myself on the shore of Lake Ontario.
My companion and now wedding planner and wedding photographer guided me in building a circle of stones drawing on Indigenous practice. I chose 16 large stones for my circle. Each stone represented something in the tradition of the medicine wheel. She explained the meaning of each stone.
After I built my wedding circle, I chose to use the lake as my Mikvah ( a ritual cleansing bath from my Jewish practice). In Judaism, our tradition teaches that impurity can be relieved by immersion into any body of natural flowing water. I completely immersed myself 3 times as the sun set and the sky darkened. I sang the Shekianu – Boruch ata, Adonai, Elohanu Melach Ha’olam. Shehekianu, vikimanu, vihigianu, lazman ha ze, Amen – a blessing for a special or new occasion. My companion had placed burning incense upon the stones at each of the directions – north, east, south and west. I changed into an off white gauzy dress that I had bought in Aghios Nikolas, Crete the summer before.
When I came out of the lake, I entered the circle. With tears streaming down my cheeks, I said my vows. I promised to always love me, to be good to Me, to hold Me, to realize that I am never alone because I have Me. I promised to protect Me and care for Me.
That night I committed to wearing a ring that I had bought in Eilat on the Red Sea. I had gone away that weekend on a getaway – yes, alone. A much needed getaway from activism and a few unhealthy relationships. I traveled on an overnight bus from Haifa across the desert. I bought myself this beautiful silver ring with crystals, delicious perfume, and ate great food and drank lots of wine. I swam in the sea and walked along the shore. This ring – 6 years later, became my wedding ring.
We finished my wedding night drinking gin and lemonade on the beach under the stars and honouring this momentous occasion of independence and self loving.