So I've been reading Jung. I admit it. It sounds kinda highbrow, but hear me out: my therapist and my 'groups' keep offering me all these readings with easy-peasy titles like "He Loves You, He Loves You Not". Seemingly facile ideology from the pop-culture phenom craze of my parents' generation. Truth is: a lot of these tomes are actually steeped in good, literate, intelligent psychology and not so psycho-babble spirituality, drawing from Jung and The Upanishads and Buddhism and Yoga and Melodie Beattie and AA and loads of philosophy. So there's worth in the paperbacks I'm given. But this morning, as I sat in my sanctuary (cause a girl's gotta create a sanctuary and mine is my porch with chimes and hanging plants and comfy 1/2 price off Target club chair deck furniture from off-season, and my $50 vintage find of an antique plant rack with my herbs and begonias and violets and petunias, an old fake-persian rug where my dog June will lay spread in front of me, facing Fatherland, with my greeneries of Cardinals and Robins, songbirds and crows...) reading, meditating, journalling, I decided to read some Carl Jung and went directly to the back of the collected works, to "Marriage as a Psychological Relationship" and was schooled, maybe a bit too early, the coffee hadn't settled in. But it got me to thinking about Princes and Princesses and taffeta gown and trumpets. And soul mates.
I remember the last big 'Royal Wedding'. I'd been grounded severely. My whole family had gone off on vacation somewhere. A beach, probably. Who knows. But I was grounded. Probably for insubordination. That's what it always was with me. I fought the law. The law always won. But I kept fighting. Usually I was talking back ("sassing" they called it) to some moronic elder with a playground sense of justice. I'd call out the injustice. I'd get cut down by "you shouldn't talk back to adults" and I'd counter with "if the adult had something to Say..." and of course, I'd get punished. Truth be told: nine times out of ten I was right. But who likes a smart-ass 8 year old? So I'd get the punishment. This time: I was sent to my cousin's house. My mother's cousin. My godmother Mary Ellen. Now, Mary Ellen's house was no punishment. Mary Ellen and her husband John were the coolest. Washington insiders, they were intellects, and later I'd find out that, at least John, was the sole liberal (amongst myself) in my extended family. So I could talk to them. And in their house: Reason ruled. So there was debate about Right and Wrong. And I loved my cousins, Mary Ellen was like my Aunt, but my favorite Aunt. My Mom's childhood best friend. And her husband John was smart as shit and funny as Robin Williams and really really liked me. Made me feel like I belonged and cared. He was like the coolest Uncle ever. He was like a college professor, smoked a pipe, drank scotch, wore suede padded tweed jackets. Knew the President. And their kids, my 3rd cousins, were awesome. All Irish red and freckles.
So on that weekend, I was grounded, I remember being woken up at like 5am or something, coffee being served and we all parked ourselves in front of the television (no cable at this point in the 80's, just rabbit ears). And I remember the dress: the pooofy sleeves, the red of the carpet. She was ordinary. I loved it. I had her haircut. Bangs and short hair. Brown in a really dirty water way. She was nothing special and that's what made her gorgeous to me. An ordinary girl. Like me. And she was a princess. He was nothing special. Who really cared anyway about Prince Charles. It was Diana we all wanted to be. To be like. To be.
My sister got married in 1997 and the after party of the wedding was at our hometown's Sheraton bar and I was sitting in the booth with one of the red-haired freckled cousins, my brothers and my soon-to-be-husband and the news came on that Princess Diana had died in a car accident. The shag carpeting of my Virginia cousins' house where I watched her wedding came back and I felt sad for time passing and sad for a life, a waste really of time and so much, gone in a tunnel chase. I missed that girl with the brown hair and the bangs. I'd stopped caring once she became a glamour queen.
So to tomorrow's wedding. I won't wake early. If I had a daughter, I'd probably not wake her. Fairy tales are nice, but they can screw you up. Jung wrote his essay, which reads like empirical truth, on the wake of a late life affair with a younger woman. Of course he wanted to break apart the 'myth' of the Soul Mate. Its best to read the Greats with knowledge of where they were coming from in their personal lives. Sometimes Great Insight is really just the rantings of a pissed off lover dumped.
So I may not watch the wedding and certainly my belief in fairy kingdoms and castles is long gone. As is my belief in the 'soul mate'. That was a sad one to let go, and I don't mind admitting that. We all make our choices and we find ourselves in lives we didn't expect or anticipate or plan for, but here we are nonetheless, and there's no use in building sand castles. All kingdoms crumble. Its for the best and doesn't have to be a nihilistic argument for not caring and not trying. But if we know that really, under the poof and taffetta, there's just two people who survived a few breakups and getting back together, two ordinary people with some money who will do their best. And that's enough right? We do our best, knowing our own flaws, our own misguided beliefs in false fairytales, but also, knowing the wanting those myths to be true guides our poetry.
Oh hell. I'll put the coffee on early...