#personal-essay

That Time I Married Myself

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5 min read

That Time I Married Myself Photo

by English Taylor | February 08, 2018

A few months ago, I stumbled across an article about Laura Mesi, a woman who threw herself a wedding. But here’s the thing: She didn’t marry someone else. She actually married herself. Mesi invited nearly 100 loved ones to the ceremony, bought a white dress, placed a ring on her own finger, cut her three-tiered cake, and even took a solo honeymoon. “I firmly believe that each of us must first love ourselves,” Mesi told an Italian newspaper.

Turns out, she’s not the only one who believes the fairytale can exist without a prince or princess to marry. Self-marriage is rising in popularity across the globe. For example, Erica Anderson wrote to her wedding guests, “It wasn’t an easy decision. I had cold feet for 35 years. But then I decided it was time to settle down. To get myself a whole damn apartment. To celebrate birthday #36 by wearing an engagement ring and saying: YES TO ME. I even made a registry, because this is America.” Hell yea! Is it too late to send a gift?

To support this growing trend, companies like I Married Me offer self-marriage ceremony kits on their website, complete with vows, a custom-made ring, and affirmation cards. “A self-marriage ceremony is symbolic,” explains Bonnie Powers, I Married Me cofounder. “It's not an indulgence nor is it a replacement for a relationship or marriage between two people. It's a necessary conscious reflection and ritual. Everyone needs this.”

Dominique Youkhehpez, a self-marriage ceremony leader, has conducted over 250 ceremonies for men and women. “For my own wedding, I held a quiet ceremony with candles in my bedroom when I turned 22,” she recalls. “I vowed to be kind and compassionate to myself, especially when I make mistakes. For a ring, I went with a nose ring, so I still breathe my vows every day.”

I learned from Bonnie and Dominique that self-marriage and sologamy isn’t just for singles. It doesn’t mean you can’t have romantic relationships with others, either. Rather, the idea is to become your own lover, best friend, parent, etc. This, in turn, can improve your relationships. “Self-marriage opens you to your own wholeness,” Dominique explains. “Instead of expecting others to fill your gaps and bring you deep love, you learn tools to be that love for yourself, so you can enter relationships from a place of fulfillment rather than from lack. When you know your own wholeness, you can interact with your friends, family, spouse, or lover already overflowing with—rather than begging for—love.”

I mean, damn. Sign me up.

I’m in a happy and healthy romantic relationship, but there are absolutely moments when I find myself craving external validation or my partner’s approval. After scrolling through the 9120352166439+ engagements on Instagram over the holidays, I experienced fleeting feelings of inadequacy and lack (which I totally brought into our relationship). And don’t get me started on my mom. I can let some criticism roll off my shoulders, but her disapproval often leaves me devastated. (My whole world changed when a therapist patiently explained “codependency” to me at 16 years old.)

Could formally committing to being my own lover and mother make me a better partner, daughter, or future mama? Curious to embrace my wholeness, I pressed “Buy” on this self-marriage kit from I Married Me. A week later, I held a private ceremony for myself, surrounded by cardboard boxes in my empty studio apartment. My partner and I are moving in together at the end of the week. I couldn’t have picked a more symbolic time or place for my ceremony.

The kit came with guided instructions, which suggested I first create an environment worthy of the occasion. For me, this meant filling in my brows, swiping on lipstick, and wrapping myself in a silk robe. I turned my “Angry Women of the 90s” Spotify playlist to a low volume. Then, I plopped down cross-legged in front of a mirror leaned against the wall.

The ceremony began with a deep breathing exercise. With each inhale, the instructions encouraged me to think about how special I am. With each exhale, I discarded any self-judgment, and that which no longer serves me. Inhale love...exhale negativity. Repeat.

Still following the instructions, I proceeded to place a silver ring on a left-hand finger—my “giving” hand. According to I Married Me, the circular ring has no beginning and no end, just like self-love. Over the next five minutes, I slowly read the self-wedding vows aloud to myself from the cards, giving myself plenty of time to let each sink in.

Vow 1: Forgiveness

I promise to do my best to forgive myself and whatever I see my failings to be, and have compassion and empathy for myself as I navigate life’s hardships.

Vow 2: Honor

I promise to do my best to honor myself by looking in the mirror and saying, “Yes! I’m awesome!”

Vow 3: Love

I promise to love and adore myself, and find myself fabulous.

After repeating the vows, I carefully moved the ring from my giving hand and slid it onto a finger on the “receiving” hand. Lastly, I took a pen and filled in the date on one of the provided cards, almost like a marriage certificate.

To be honest, reading the vows out loud felt a little awkward. But there was something undeniably powerful about intentionally creating a space to verbalize them while staring at myself in the mirror (with Alanis Morissette’s “You Learn” playing in the background). It felt more...serious. But hey, shouldn’t I be in a serious relationship with myself? It was about time I defined the relationship (DTR—yes, it’s a thing), said the “L” word, and put a ring on it.

So, I did it. I married...me. My self-wedding certificate sits in a folder where I keep important documents and meaningful mementos. My ring is on my right hand and serves as a daily reminder to forgive, honor, and love myself. TBD if this solves mommy issues. But so far, I have noticed that the more I keep doing these three things, the less I feel like I need others to do so.

English Taylor is a writer living in San Francisco. Her work has been featured in publications like Refinery29, NYLON, LOLA, and The Atlantic. English is originally from Nashville and her interests include women's health, yoga, and jewelry design.

by English Taylor

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