Monday, June 1, 2015

Cages of our own Making

Yesterday, as I drove off of the Fountain Valley School campus after dropping off my second load of belongings (which is all my life consists of at the moment), I observed a meadowlark sitting on the fence wire next to two wire sculptures of birds (made this year by freshmen students). I have always had an affinity for birds. As the meadowlark took flight, I reflected on my decision to get divorced. My first marriage lasted hardly a year; my second was 14 years long. In both cases, upon the moment when I knew what I must do to pursue my path in life, I felt as though I were a bird escaping from her cage. My heart felt a bursting forth. Despite the paperwork to be filled out and the money that would need to be spent, the choice--that moment of sure decision--liberated my spirit. 

Zorig with Pushkin
This is not an uncommon metaphor in life. Maya Angelou wrote the acclaimed memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. We have pop culture references like the movie, The Birdcage

My previous husbands were not tyrants nor abusive in any way. Quite the contrary, they were good, hardworking men and kind people. But they were NOT men that inspired me or connected with my soul. Neither of them forced me to stay or limited my activities in life. I had plenty of "freedom" to come and go and do as I wanted. And yet, when I came to the resolution that I needed to leave, to be divorced, to be free.....I felt liberated. Liberated from a cage of my own making. 

While I KNOW there are men and women who feel trapped--literally--in their relationships, because of abuse, lack of finances, or other such circumstances, this was never my situation. Rather I allowed myself to become caged ..... in my spirit, mind, and soul. I allowed myself to be less than I was. I squelched my self expression. 

Relationships begin simple enough. You want to know everything about the other person. You talk late into the night. Physical attraction is strong, and lust can overpower. Months or years down the road you can realize that you quit opening up to your partner. That you hold back or share your internal thoughts, worries, ideas with trusted girlfriends instead of your mate. Perhaps your partner stops inquiring about your thoughts and needs, and you quit offering them up--thinking the other doesn't care to know. It goes both ways. 

Essentially it boils down to trust. Trust that your partner will always be on your side, will stand beside you, will protect you. This does not mean they will always agree with your point of view or your choices, but they DO believe in you and love you and want your happiness above their own. You are one another's Number 1 to speak. 

In Zorig and I's early communications, he referenced pictures of dad and I on our trip in Mongolia, pointing out that I was alive and energetic, but also a little sad in the eyes. He could see in me things that I had been ignoring or denying. Over the years I had become resigned to my state in life. While I was rich in friends and work, my primary relationship lacked depth, understanding, any sort of soulful connection. And so, he was right--I was sad (but unaware for so long). I had allowed myself to become caged, trapped. There is no one to blame but myself.

While I have talked about how the love between Z and I is different than what I've known before, I haven't talked about how it liberates me. I feel free in this relationship. Free to be fully myself. There are differences between he and I, more so than some relationships because of our cultural and racial differences. Perhaps this is something that motivates us to understand one another more clearly--we can't assume as much as others. He wears a Mongolian lens through which to view the world; I wear an American lens. These are different filters, views, ways of understanding. We won't always initially understand why one another does or says something. But we can ask and learn and expand our understanding and world view. This is what we can provide for one another. We both believe strongly in growth and development and being active in pursuing ones life and dreams. 

We talk intentionally about never caging the other, never pushing the other down or back. But rather to accept and love one another fully and completely. He must go and hunt and be on the land. I won't always accompany him. But I would never hold him back from doing what he loves. As I encourage him in those pursuits, I can only gain from the results. We have to love one another and trust fully that we keep one another first in our hearts and souls. Thus far, that has come easily and naturally, despite the 9 months we've spent apart and alone on our individual continents. Because we have faith that the relationship we have built, and are yet building, is important. It must be tended to in each interaction, each thought. Love should feel freeing, opening up and not a closing down. 

And so, I will publish this last May blog post--the last one I will make from my apartment at 1584 Gatehouse Circle S, #104--and end with a question: Do you feel free to be yourself in your relationships with others? If not, who could you be or become if you were?


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Thanks for being thoughtful; I no longer live at that address. I posted just as i turned in my keys.