Jennifer McBride's

Touching the Trees Journal



Question: How often do you get to the brink of taking action and turn around?


Always -- I have a hard time taking action

Sometimes -- if it's really important, I'll do it

Rarely -- I know what I want and I usually take steps to get there

Never -- I do what I want when I want to!

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There was something compelling about when the little old, Puerto Rican, Betty White doppleganger (named Candy) looked me straight in the eye and said, "Give your body to Jesus and stop eating salt." She had so much strength in her conviction, plus a whole lot of heavily-accented medical testimonial, that I almost believed I should give up salt.

Then I remembered this new-found truth about my life: I get to be right, too. And my "right" doesn't include giving up salting everything from buttered bread to meat to salad to pizza. (As of yet, it also doesn't include giving my body to Jesus, although I'm trying to work out occasionally...)

I salted the salty paella and mofongo

Standing up for what I believe in hasn't been an easy job for me. Really, it shouldn't be an easy job for anyone. Standing up "for" means that you are also standing up "to" or standing up "against." It implies conflict, which I generally prefer to run away from, rather than face.

When I got divorced awhile back, I considered the fact that I may not ever remarry. I considered how freeing it would be to never have to answer to someone else or be consistently wrong. I thought how nice it would to be remove conflict from my life by removing the role of husband from my cast of characters.

Then I began seeing Huck and most of my previous assumptions about relationships changed.

During our vacation in March, I woke up to the idea that my relationship with Huck was entering yet another new, vibrant, phase of development. Though I'd thought of us as a couple prior to traveling there, I sensed a drawing together that I'd resisted before...and I resisted it because I didn't want to be someone's "wife," whether in name or in position. Then, looking around at all the other travelers, I realized that the only person labeling us was me, despite my frustration with being categorized.

When Huck and I shared those poignant, private moments on the Vieques beaches, I finally showed up, or in essence, caught up, to where we'd been headed all a completely committed relationship that included living together and growing old together. Keyword: together.

In the past, that's where my heart would start pounding a little and my heels would dig themselves in. I would think: How could I be part of a unit without losing part of myself? How could I maintain my personal journey of growth while simultaneously working on a relationship? Have I been divorced long enough? Maybe I need 40 more nights alone in bed? Maybe I need to write another book? Maybe I need to actually have money of my own? Maybe I can't give up salt after all?

Salted the fried cheese, too

But this time...this time something was different. This time I didn't stop at showing up and think "deciding" was good enough. This time I went all the way to "Let's get this done." We talked about the harsh reality that legally marrying would probably ruin us financially, and we talked about the tax implications of owning two homes versus owning one. We got down to the very nitty gritty details of what needs to be done to my house for him to move in. We even set a tentative move-in date, slightly dependent on how long it takes to convert a laundry room into a bedroom and sell extra couches on Craigslist.

Now, two weeks later, I'm still standing up for my unmarriage to Huck and our future together. And bless his heart, he's still checking in to make sure I haven't changed my mind. It's been a long time of building trust, shedding fear, and developing into my own person. The conversion from wife to independent woman has been difficult, but as rewarding as I'd hoped it would be. The fabulous news is that I know now that I can stay an independent woman and still be in an unmarriage that makes me happy and fulfilled.

I also know that taking action on moving our relationship forward means that I'm getting to have my salt and eat it, too.

Do you ever find it hard to take action once you've made a decision? Do you ever change your mind and go back to how it was before? How does that make you feel? 

Join me at and share your stories of Living, Waking, Looking, Showing, and Standing Up!


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