This week I downloaded Pam Grout’s newest book, Thank and Grow Rich, onto my Kindle.
She’s not talking about amassing money by being thankful although that is, I’m told, a sweet side effect.
She’s talking about cultivating the deepest of awareness that everything is here for us. Every experience, every person in our path, every joy, every sadness, every anger, every perceived setback, all of it is here for us!
Thursday was the birthday of the man with whom I shared my first mutually agreed-on sexual experience in the back seat of his car on our first date.
He eventually became my first husband and then my first ex-husband. He’s the first man with whom I eventually experienced a very fleeting, very random orgasm. I experienced my first pregnancy and the first pregnancy loss with him.
I usually don’t give his birthday any more thought than a happy birthday spoken to the memory of him, but Thursday evening, I felt inspired to take some time to thank him for the role he played in my life – the role of first significant experiences. The thing about spending even a little bit of time in appreciation of the ones who’ve been in my life is that I can then let any baggage I am carrying around whatever it is float away.
It’s an important role, that role of first.
And while I wouldn’t call him a first love – or perhaps any love at all – I have immense appreciation for the fact that he took this totally naive missionary kid under his wings, 6 months off the boat.
I broke the rules. I had sex with him and didn’t know how to lie to the people I was living with so living in their home was no longer an option. There were conditions, boundaries, to my staying there. I crossed the line of those boundaries. My father flew back from Japan and offered me the option of returning with him. For me, that was not an option.
In my mind, I had had sex with him and having sex bound you to somebody forever.
Can you imagine what that had to be like for that man? Holy fuck! What a burden!
I can laugh now. It’s funny in a sick and sad kind of way. I did everything I knew to be a “good woman” for this man. Following the lead of my mom, who waited on my dad (I would say hand and foot) and did everything she knew how to do to keep his life smooth, I tried to do the same. It smothered him until I woke up and figured it out.
I have deep appreciation for the role he played in my first exit out of my childhood religion. I’m convinced that was a part of his role in my life. We had grand adventures. We fancied ourselves hippies, revolutionaries, rebels looking for a cause. I tried various recreational altered states with him. My love of the scent of marijuana comes from that time. My love of old time rock and roll comes from my time with him.
We hitchhiked halfway across the country and eventually back. We had fun, and I never worried about coming to harm when we traveled.
The time with him gave me the space to explore completely new ways of being in the world, to begin to know what I could be about, to give teeth to that deeper knowing that there’s more than the religious culture I was immersed in as a child, to what I suppressed at a very very young age to fit into the culture around me.
I’ve judged myself so harshly for this connection birthed out of one sexual experience in the back seat of a car.
(That story is in chapter 16 of Autobiographies of Our Orgasms Volume 2 by Betsy Blankenbaker)
Harshly because of my naivete.
Harshly because the choice caused pain for my parents and siblings and the people who cared about me.
Harshly because I bought into their stories of my rebellion and their prayers for my return, for my re-awakening. This story line of rebellion has been running subconsciously, right underneath my awareness, for all of my adult life.
There is a scripture in the Bible that says “Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft” that my dad loved to throw at me as a teenager.
Rather than a propensity to see the positive end of the rebellion spectrum I have gravitated to the “I’m bad for doing it” end. The word rebellion has connoted evil even though I consciously know it is essential to effect change.
In appreciation of the power of a thankful heart to facilitate deep release of this harshness towards myself.
Thank you man of firsts for your short presence in my life.
In deep appreciation for the role you played in my first exploration of life beyond what I knew. What a ride! And deep appreciation for tagging along in my mind on this exploration. Wherever you are, go well.