The inconstant moon… and love

O, swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon,
That monthly changes in her circled orb,
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

I just had yet another lesson or epiphany or whatever you want to call it. I’m wondering if I’m going through a ridiculously fast period of emotional growth or if this is normal when you’re open to hearing what the universe says. Hmmmm

While I was cleaning today, I found a story that my 11 year old son had written. I was stunned. It was VERY good. Particularly for a boy who doesn’t always have that much to say and keeps his nose far too often in video games. I know my son is intelligent and extremely capable, but I had no idea that he had such a fantastic hidden talent. I think he writes dialogue better than I could.

I was at my ex-husband’s this evening to celebrate one of our daughter’s birthdays and asked my son about it. He had the same reaction I used to have (and still often do) when I learn that someone read my writing. He was embarrassed and said he wished I hadn’t read it.

We talked more and I poured well-deserved praise on him. If nothing else, I hope to build up my son’s self-confidence. “If God gives you a gift and you imagine doing something, you should pursue it,” I told him. I explained that it took me 42 years before I had the courage to really let people read my writing. I still cringe every time I hit “publish post,” but he doesn’t need to know that. I want my kids to have the courage I’ve lacked for so long.

My ex said that he hadn’t read the story our son wrote because our son asked him not to. He then brought up the fact that I won 2nd place in a recent writing contest, congratulating me. But, under his breath he mentioned that no one ever lets him read their writing. I can see his perspective and I think this is my lesson for tonight.

I spent so many years hiding what I wrote from my ex-husband. He wasn’t an encouraging type. In fact, I stopped singing around him quite early in our marriage because he mocked me. Once. So fragile is my ego. I sang all through school and was in a show choir in high school, so I know I’m not tone deaf or horrid, but his criticism cut me to the core. My writing is something I’ve held so close to me because of my own fear and I was afraid he’d make a comment that would devastate me. So, during our 18 year relationship he read probably only a total of one or two pages of my writing – and it was only because he found it. Only after our divorce was final last winter could I take the leap and put my thoughts into the universe via this blog. And I’m so incredibly thankful that I did. This has been a wonderful experience. Nail biting and nerve wracking, but incredible.

What does all of this have to do with the moon? Well…

As I was driving the long one mile back to my house from my ex’s, I was admiring the gorgeous full moon and those lines from Shakespeare played over and over in my head.

During my marriage I felt like the ground was always shifting beneath my feet. My husband’s love seemed always variable. I never felt like I did the right thing or enough. I wore myself into the ground trying to make someone happy who just wasn’t able to be happy – not the kind of happy my family was, not the kind of happy my friends were. I know he loved me. I know he still does. But, it was so difficult. And because I felt unsteady and unsure and insecure and all sorts of other things, I was not able to give him all of me. I hid my thoughts, my dreams from him because of the many experiences of being shot down. It was a defense mechanism.

I recognized this in a sense last year when I decided that any relationship I enter into from here on out will be open, inclusive and supportive. I’ve let the last two men I’ve dated read my writing. One I wrote for in a business sense and he read my blog. The other I actually wrote for and he was quite a muse for me. He still is even though we aren’t together. Both of these men brought out confidence in me that I hadn’t experienced in years. And it felt amazing to share that part of me. I am a writer. I always have been. But, could I have called myself a writer when I never let anyone read my work? hmmmmm

I sit here on a Saturday night, alone in my house except for the constant presence of our mini-zoo, contemplating the words of Shakespeare, promises made in the moonlight, the inconstant love I’ve experienced and how I will continue to dream of love found beneath a full moon someday. I finally understand that unless I am all in in any relationship, sharing everything about myself and being true to me, I’m cheating myself out of fulfillment.

 

What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss  that separates us from ourselves? This is the most important of all voyages of  discovery, and without it, all the rest are not only useless, but  disastrous.
Thomas Merton

The moon is a loyal companion. It never leaves. It’s always there, watching, steadfast, knowing us in our light and dark moments, changing forever just as we do. Every day it’s a different version of itself. Sometimes weak and wan, sometimes strong and full of light. The moon understands what it means to be human. Uncertain. Alone. Cratered by imperfections.
Tahereh Mafi, Shatter Me

    

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5 thoughts on “The inconstant moon… and love

  1. I really appreciate this post, and how you fleshed out Shakespeare’s connection between the moon and inconstant love. I have become a lot more comfortable showing people who I am, but I still feel insecure when someone else’s love seems variable and undependable. I can see better now that I can no more control someone else’s feelings for me than I can the phases of the moon.

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