08 September 2009

100 Issues for 100 Days: #23

#23: You Must Know ...

Amelia Earhart has always been an uninspiring figure for me. She's never really rated on any scale for me as an icon or a feminist, but today on Jezebel there was an interesting article about her in which they quoted a letter she gave to her husband on their wedding day:

You must know again my reluctance to marry, my feeling that I shatter thereby chances in work which means so much to me. . . . In our life together I shall not hold you to any medieval code of faithfulness to me, nor shall I consider myself bound to you similarly. . . . I may have to keep some place where I can go to be myself now and then, for I cannot guarantee to endure at all the confinements of even an attractive cage. I must extract a cruel promise, and that is you will let me go in a year if we find no happiness together.*
(*emphasis mine)

In the past few days, I've had two friends get engaged, and even more in the past few months. It made me wonder, what parts of myself am I willing (or unwilling) to give up in a marriage? What would my letter look like? I think it would be something like this:

You must know again my reluctance to marry. I've seen this end in spite and sorrow. And I've seen it tear down the self-esteem of everyone involved. In our life together, I hope that you can be honest, because I value that above all other virtues. I consider myself bound to you but if breaking bonds helps us both to live than do not hesitate to cut the cord. I am not your cage and you are not mine. I may have to keep some things for myself to be myself but everything else I wish to share. I must extract a promise and that is that you will let me go when holding on becomes too much. If we end, I hope to end in love.
Although I don't count Earhart as one of my personal heroes, I have a lot of respect for her entering a marriage with a clear vision and a clear intention of what she wanted and didn't want. Too often women are caught up in the dream rather than the reality beyond the wedding. I hope when I get married, I'm not planning for a day but instead for a lifetime.

No comments: