Music / Real life

be there when i feed the tree

Note: You should not text when horny. You should not call someone when you are angry. You probably shouldn’t blog when you are sleep-deprived, either, but here goes… with apologies because my defenses are down and i’m about to word vomit all over the blogosphere. Then? i’m going back to bed, but i couldn’t sleep with all of this swirling around in my brain.


 

i laid in bed last night trying to figure out what commitment means to me… y’know… in the context of romantic and loving relationships.

Two friends of mine recently tied the knot – in two different ceremonies on the same day. Prior responsibilities kept me from attending either wedding. In both weddings, the officiants were also friends and i have all manner of warm fuzzy thoughts about those events and the people that created them… but i digress.

One took place at the front of the pride parade and involved cursory vows and set the framework for a monogamous marriage.

The other involved heartfelt vows – written by the partners – and theirs is an open marriage; it is an intentional non-monogamous union. They are polyamorous. Some work associates reacted to my news of the second wedding with a resounding “Why?”

Why marry someone if you aren’t going to be exclusive?

People who are wired for monogamy can’t seem to wrap their minds around that one but i certainly can. Do i wish to get married? NO.

put a ring on heri repeat… hell to the No… Fuck No… Wild horses couldn’t drag me to the altar… that’d be a big old negative, folks. Thanks – no – thanks. You really need not put a ring on it.

Hm. It would seem i have an opinion on this. Sure, i do. i’ve even talked about it before.

But i DO want and enjoy commitments. So what does that mean to bat? With Master and His House? There is an actual contract. We have negotiated our relationship and made honorable promises to each other. i like that. i’m a person who understands the social constructs, the importance of roles, the connections forged between people and their people and their people.

Love-is-patientWe all have notions of what it means… this “joining together” or “being equally yoked” or saying to someone “whither thou goest, i will go” even though that had nothing to do with a man and woman pledging their devotion to one another.

my father officiated at many weddings and i wish i had a dime for every time i heard someone read the passage from Corinthians (Book One) that begins… “Love is patient…” because i need ammunition… to pelt everyone who reads that without understanding its context: That the entire book of First Corinthians has nothing to do with romantic love whatsoever. It’s a letter to the churches of Corinth… to the church… the body of Christ  in that city. It’s a bit of a written smack-down from Paul, actually. Ya’ll need to shape up. Ya’ll need to LOVE each other… and here’s what love is and what it isn’t. Period.

So it’s been co-opted… i probably shouldn’t get my panties in a bunch, right? We take the useful bits we hear and read and we incorporate them… we weave them into our lives and our stories.

What would vows look like, if i made them?
What would i include in promises i make to those i love… to those with whom i partner? What would i wish for them to promise me in return… standing before our friends and family?

If i had to write those vows now? They’d go something like this (though a bit more polished, to be certain):

i was a complete person when i met you
i promise to continue to be a complete person who is responsible for my own actions
i will seek continuing growth for myself

i love you here and now
i do not see an end to that love
i will respect those you love and their place in your life
i will not accept less than respect for myself and those i love… and their place in my life

i will honor the boundaries you have as a person, the ones we create for our relationship, and the ones i have set for myself

i will be open, vulnerable, and honest in my dealings with you

i vow to support your growth as a soul and your endeavors as a human being
i will honor your dreams – even if they are not mine – and i will do my best to help you reach them or to get out of your way if i am a hindrance 

i will share energy with you and come to you when my supply is diminished

If i have it to give -be it time or money or action or passion – it will be yours

i will feed you and be nourished by you

i promise to be present for the good shit and the bad
i want you there to share when i accomplish greatness
i’ll need you by my side when i fuck up

If the time comes that we can no longer share the same footpath, i will give you as much honor and dignity in my leaving as i did in my staying

And last, but least… when they plant me in the earth… when i feed the tree…i want you to be there in spirit – if not body – because i can’t promise you that we will be together until death splits our path, but i can promise you that i will love you – now and then and in the in-betweens.

Feed the Tree (by Belly)

Band leader Tanya Donnely, who had played with her stepsister Kristin Hersh in Throwing Muses (the short-lived Rhode Island invasion of the ’90s) and in The Breeders, was quoted in The Illinois Entertainer as saying this song was about commitment and respect. The metaphor is the tree that would be planted on large farms as a point of reference to getting around (the only tree sometimes). Because nothing would grow under the large tree, the family would be buried under it. Hence: “Take your hat off, boy when you’re talking to me and be there when I feed the tree.” (thanks, Wolf – valparaiso, IN)
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