Earlier this month I got to be a bridesmaid at the wedding of one of my amazing partners. I was talking to someone about this and joked, “always a bride never a bridesmaid”, since I’d been married four times and this was the first time I was officially a bridesmaid with the dress and everything. This got us talking about my marriages. They asked if I regretted my four marriages and as someone fairly intelligent and together was I disappointed in myself for making four mistakes (I don’t remember the exact wording, but this was the gist of it). My immediate response was no way did I regret any of the marriages. In fact, all four of them gave me amazing gifts.
Michael, husband number 1, was my hippy dippy guy who was responsible for many fun adventures in my life. Most importantly, I would never have ended up in Seattle if it wasn’t for him.
Gary, husband number 2, was my shortest marriage (10 months). He was probably the dickiest of my husbands and yet he also gave me many gifts. The biggest gift was when we split up, he moved in with my best friend and they had an amazing daughter (their marriage was also short-lived. He was not a great husband and he is an awesome father). Their daughter, my goddaughter, is one of the most capable, smart and funny women I know. She is the closest thing I’ll ever have to a daughter of my own.
Fred, husband number 3, was the first person who bonked my over the head with New Relationship Energy. I never had before or after anyone wow me like that. And that wasn’t the gift he gave me. The gift he gave me was Tony, my stepson. I never planned on being a parent and having Tony in my life changed me forever. And an added and even more wonderful gift was after being out of my life for over twenty years, Tony came back into it bringing with him a beautiful wife, Mandy and my incredible, delightful, intelligent, artistic, amazing (I’ve got hundreds of other adjectives by the way) granddaughter, Jocelyne.
And finely, Steve, husband number 4. Without him I would never have really discovered my kinky poly self. I would never have found the communities I belong to. I would never have had Beyond The Edge Café. There’s a good chance that the Center for Sex Positive Culture would not have existed. And I could go on and on.
After talking about them with my friend it was only a short jump to talk about how people come into our lives for a reason and all of our encounters and experiences have the potential of giving us gifts. Sometimes they don’t feel like gifts. Bad things happened to me as a child and as an adult and many of those things didn’t feel like gifts at the time. Now that I’m older I realize that among other things, I got the gift of resilience and strength from those bad things.
Being diagnosed with cancer in 2011 didn’t seem like a gift; however I got amazing gifts from my journey with the big C. I met people I would never have met. I found out how amazing my polycule is, as I never had to be alone during the experience. I was able to be a resource for others that were going through the same journey. And that’s just a small portion of the gifts cancer gave me.
I can truly say I have no regrets about anyone or anything that has happened to me on my 63+ years. I am full of gratitude for these gifts.
I urge you to look at the people in your lives, even those who caused you pain and suffering, and see what gifts they’ve given you. Those times when the world was crashing in on you and you survived; what gifts did you get from those experiences? By examining these gifts it may give you a different perspective of the world around you. It may even lighten your heart and free your soul. I sure did mine.