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Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

I am a dancer with Minneapolis based James Sewell Ballet, a small, contemporary ballet company. I also choreograph independently.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Ties that Bind

Is it the finalty of divorce that hits like such a shockwave, or more like the feeling that it’s the end of an era? I’m thinking probably both.

My tether to J has been cut. I can no longer lay claim to him in any way. All dealings now are voluntary, not obligatory. Given the nature of our relationship, I know this distinction will not matter; our fondness for one another will inform any future interactions. But there’s something about that piece of paper, about the phrase “Dissolution without Child”, that matters.

Marriage matters. It is a circumstance set apart. It is a tie that binds, and if severed, burns like hell.

This mattering is what breaks my heart about the GLBT community not having the right to do it. (As if we “straight” folks set such great examples.) We get to do it, and I do not take that for granted. We have the right to go for it, to fuck it up, to succeed, while others do not. No good.

It’s because of this mattering that I and my heart are not taking this lightly. It’s a big deal, and I’m sad. Even as I’m all about my new changing, pieces of me break all over again at this dissolution. It is a death.

My Buddhist practice tells me that life and death are simultaneous. I do believe this, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t mourn. Indeed, I do. Yet my mourning will beget new life, I know.

It has already weirdly opened up my dancing. I have a general sense of increased fearlessness about the whole enterprise. If I can withstand this coming through to the other side of the severing of a marital tie, I can certainly put my ever-changing body into a leotard every day. I’ve let go of some primal baggage and thus am lighter.

That being said, my soul feels the fresh burden of a new heaviness. Perhaps it’s only temporary as I figure out where to stow it. Or maybe it will remain, integrated in a transparent way. However this comes out, in the meantime I am in an environment where any outcome will be accepted. I am blessed to be dancing among humans, not bun-heady robots where I’d have to stuff my circularity into squares.

While at the end J expressed an absense of marital love, there nevertheless was a loving partnership. Now that I think about it, that concept carries a lot of weight. At the end of the day your partner is the person you can count on unconditionally. At the end of this day I uphold that concept, it’s just from afar now. And I know it’s reciprocated. I do.

In the absence of marital rights the GLBT community forges partnerships, and through this writing perhaps I’ve changed my own mind. Perhaps a partnership is the strongest thing. From where I stand, it’s what I have left: a binding tie that defies paper.


Anonymous Erin said...

Penny, know that you are not mourning alone. You will always remain our sister-in-law, aunt, and friend.
Erin, Roy and Morgan

5:55 PM  

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