Friday was my fourth anniversary with my partner. The day we first met face-to-face. It was supposed to have been our wedding day as well. But in a twist of Fate like those in my books, that momentous occasion had already come and gone – an anti-climax of sorts.
So, on Friday, I poured my heart and soul out into my other blog. Then I got up and went on, working in the garden, even sharing jokes and chocolate heaven ice cream cake with Alan and @PanKwake.
Our story so closely mirrors some of the ones that I have written – moving so quickly so to provoke censure in some and questions of our sanity in others. Like Kirsty and her guys in Ægir’s trilogy or Jill and Daniel in The Arrangement (renamed Solid Ground on Amazon) or even Sergeant Mike and Esther in Shared Burdens, we went from that first date in a London coffee shop to living together in the space of a week.
This particularly shocked and appalled some of his friends since his wife had died less than a year before. But as another of our friends remarked, her cancer had meant that they had done much of their grieving together, even before her death. She wanted him to move on, even encouraging him to begin dating before her death (he would not).
As for me, my older daughter did not and does not accept our relationship. And it caused challenges with my ex-husband over our move to Swansea.
I often say that our love story is the one that if I ever wrote it, no one would believe.
A fifty-year-old single mother of an #ActuallyAutistic daughter meeting and falling in love with a millionaire Daddy dom?
I forgot to add plus-sized, zaftig, curvy, whatever is the currently popular or politically correct word for fat to that description.
And, of course, Crazzy with two-Zs.
We have never fit the mold that society has for couples, romance, or love. We do not adhere to expectations as individuals either.
So, why then did our ‘wedding that was not’ come as such a shock to me?
As I ask myself that question, I realize that the wedding is not the issue.
The issue for me as I believe it is for all of us is much bigger than self-isolation, a microbe, or even the economy. The real issue is…
As much as we may not like our lives, our governments, or society, we fear the unknown even more.
Yet change is inevitable. Babies become children, children become adults, they marry, have more children, we grow old, and we die. Life is a circle. Punctuated with happy moments and sad ones.
Change can be good, too. The birds are singing. Whether that is because there are more of them, there are fewer people to scare them off, or less noise to drown their song out does not matter as much as their sweet music of hope. Bees, too, are buzzing, at least in our garden.
And that garden is filled with seedlings, sprouting, or as I call it splotching. For those of you who have read Rings of Fire or Fall of Man or the first chapter of my latest Tears for Avalon, you might guess that I have prepper tendencies. That combined with my fond memories of the backyard garden and canning from my youth has surged to life in these troubled times.
Do I really believe that life as we know it is gone?
Yes. But as I said, life has always been a circle of birth, death, and renewal. We as humans have celebrated that forever.
What is to come is uncertain. Some will undoubtedly be bad. Humans, after all, are flawed. But some can be good.
Some of that is beyond our control. What corporates and governments do can affect every last one of us. And there is virtually nothing that we can do or say, short of the Reign of Terror in the French Revolution, which will make a hill of beans worth of difference. (And I think we all recognize that guillotining people is not a good idea?)
But there are still things over which we still have total and complete control. Things like the way we spend our surplus time and money. Do we comfort buy as we have been trained to do by Madison Avenue? Or do we invest our time, money, and effort into things that are sustainable like my garden, nature, and people?
I stumbled across this quote from the ancient philosopher Epictetus in my @Medium fed the other day:
“Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things are not. It is only after you have faced up to this fundamental rule and learned to distinguish between what you can and can’t control that inner tranquility and outer effectiveness become possible.”
No, I could not have stopped that infinitesimal strand of RNA which has grounded planes, reshaped health care systems, and changed how we all view those in service industries. I am not sure I would even want to. For a wedding?
What we leave our self-isolation and lockdown with in the coming days and weeks is our choice. Is it a mindless need for ‘normal’? Or is it a renewed appreciation of that cycle of life?
Our wedding day might not have been what we planned. But life seldom is. I would have never, not even in my wildest writer’s imagination believed as I walked those London streets, lost and cussing, four years ago what awaited me in that coffee shop.
One of my biggest frustrations as a writer, especially in the erotic romance genre, is the concept of Happily Ever After. Real-life does not work that way. When you meet the love of your life, it is not the end of the story. It is only the beginning.
That is why you find so many of my characters reappearing in other stories. My insistent need to unfold the rest of their stories.
No, none of us know what is to come. Change is uncertain. And that uncertainty scares us.
But the truth is that ‘normal’ we used to know was an illusion. As this crisis has shown governments are not prepared. Medicine is not all-powerful. And for me especially this crisis has shown who my real friends are. And what is important.
Weddings are not. Marriage – that is debatable. It is expedient for certain.
But love and commitment – that is important.
My writing has always centered around what I call Tara’s Rules for Life and Love:
Love is the only thing that makes it worth living.
Great sex is the best way to show you love someone that you love them.
Nothing done in love can ever be wrong. (Consenting ADULTS)
This crisis in modernity has made me even more certain of those things.
You will continue to see those themes play out in my stories in the weeks, months, and I hope years to come. They are the only legacy that I have to leave this world. In my writing and my life. Because yes, I practice what I preach.
May the goddess bless each of you with that kind of love,