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May 13, 2018

St. Louis

My Dear Friend,  

    This is my fifth attempt at this third issue of my friends newsletter.

    So much has happened, is happening, since the last letter I wrote you. The task of trying to summarize it in a respectfully concise yet still amusing and meaningful way has paralyzed me -- four times already! But not this time! This time I'm spitting it out!  

    But first, I must confess that another reason for my stalling has been fear.

    I am standing at the threshold of yet another new life, yet another new unknown. Upon this operating system I call myself, I have pressed firmly down on "ctrl" and "alt," with a third finger poised confidently upon "delete."   

    But this time, that third finger is not my own. This time, my plans for the future are completely and totally attached to another person. 

    Knowing the fickle and unpredictable nature so common among humans, especially this human (me,) I have kept my news secret more than a month. As though holding in my hands a powerful talisman with the power to manifest once-in-a-lifetime transformation--but only once in a lifetime!--I temporarily morphed into a ferocious pirate vigilantly shrouding and guarding my treasure.

    But pirate is not a pretty look for me. I love to share my treasures, my joys, and to be carefree and confident! Enough time has passed, and enough evidence has joyfully mounted for the inevitability of this decision. I am free of my fears and here to announce: 

I'M GETTING MARRIED!!!! 

 

 

!!!

    If you are like everyone else in my life, you are very confusedly wondering, "To who?!"

    Rainier Andrés is a Venezuelan architect and professional tango dancer who I met while living in Buenos Aires. 

    Yes, we met just a few months ago. Yes, it is definitely moving very quickly. And yes, I agree, this is an acceptably logical criticism.

    I assure you, I respect myself and the sanctity of marriage tremendously. I would never treat marriage like an experiment. I see marriage as a lifelong commitment. I understand that I cannot change my mind later. That's why it's called commitment.

    So why choose to make a lifelong commitment with someone I've only known a few short months? How can I be sure? Is that not irresponsible? Naïve? Foolish, even!? 

    To these valid concerns I have wrought from the smithy of my soul, through the ink of my pen, what is to me abundant relief. 

    It is this diary entry I now share with you here. 

    I pray to have your support and blessings. I hope that you will love and accept Rai (pronounced 'rye') as you love and accept me. Having extensively traveled 3 continents for more than a decade, I assure you this is the best specimen of man I've ever encountered! You're gonna love him! 

Love,              

Your darling,    

Cassandra   

    

  

Dear Friends, 

Issue 3  (2018) 

and now...

from the diaries 

of Cassandra Darling...

May 9, 2018 

St. Louis, Missouri, USA

          Well, I am being tested by God again. At least by now I know one the most important thing about these tests, or "ordreals" as the gnostics call these bottlenecks of transition and transformation: Failing is not an option. We will continue to be tested with the same lessons, in different forms, until we demonstrate learning.

 

          My situation is that I am engaged to a professional dancer who is embarking on a 10-week long, multi-city tango-tour of Europe. He will be going with Elise, his dance partner and ex-girlfriend of two years. I have been assured many times that the romance between them is long dead, and that she is as wildly in love with her new man as he is with me. They are professional partners. 

          Okay. Sure! I do believe them! However! During this time I am living in a rural suburb of St. Louis ~ Missouri ~ rent-free in exchange for elder care, in a literally windowless house whose thermostat I cannot figure out for the life of me and am therefore always uncomfortable, while simultaneously working 4 jobs.* This is my life while my fiancé is dancing the tango across Europe with another woman. 

          My ongoing joke is that "Even the Bible considers 40 days and 40 nights ample torture. Nearly double this is how long I must wander the desert of my own bad feelings: Jealousy, resentment, fear, doubt, wrath..." 

          For me it seems as though everything I have never even allowed myself to dare to dream of! ~ Marriage, family, true love ~ It is all there on the other side of this desert. I can see it on the horizon, and I have been invited there, and I have accepted the invitation. But, barely two steps in, the white hot sand is scorching my feet and I am screaming and screaming and the heat of hell rips through me like a comet ripping me apart from the inside out. 

          I have violent fantasies of spitting heinous threats in that stupid-looking face of Elise. That French bitch. I want to stamp her face with my foot! 

          Yes, the same Cassandra who's previously felt her calling to be a mortal goddess of love now fantasizes of stomping a human head into a bloody pulp. 

 

          Worse, my impulse is to try to put a flirty little frock over the head-to-toe plate armor I'm dressed in while stumbling through this torrid inner desert of demons, (those immortal evils that dwell within each human heart, those deadly enemies of virtue!) "Oh me, darling? I'm just catching a little tan! Totally at ease, I support you in all you do!" (A green monster seers my chest with fetid breath.) "Have fun my love, I'm doing great!" I'm a liar! 

          I just don't want him to see me struggle, especially when I know very well what I "should" be feeling. I should be feeling happy that he gets this experience. I should consider his joys my joys. I should recognize a good thing in how my man has healthy relationships with other women. I should take comfort that these two have "been there, done that," and that Rai has a beautiful and strong woman with my love's best interest at heart. 

          I'm trying to get there, but I'm just not there yet! And this is my journey. He journeys Europe. I journey my torrid inner desert of demons. 

          I'm afraid if I talk about my journey too much I will contaminate our relationship with ugliness that grows exclusively on my own spiritual failings. In short, I don't want him to see the truth: I am not perfect! I am not pure! I am raging breathless in a gruesome war!  

          And if I bottle it all up and keep playing pretend? We all know that bottle comes with a 100% guarantee of detonation. I will explode and I will destroy everything. It's only a matter of time.

          So, rather than conceal from my future husband the truth of who I actually am ~ a lowly, struggling mortal ~ reluctantly I did expound my concerns, yet again, over FaceTime this morning.

          What I started with hopeful logic I eventually ended with incoherent Spanglish cursing. Rai smiled at me as he brought himself to his feet. He sighed and looked at me so lovingly.

          "Okay." He said, "First: You must tell me all your problems, because your problems are our problems. And I want to help you because maybe I am the only person who can!"  

          And for the first time, Rain fell upon my desert. Through the hinge of my iron faceplate its drops cooled my red upset and brought relief the mouth bittered by the voice given to all those awful feelings. 

     

          "If you tell me one day that you don't want to be with me," he continued, "I won't think, 'She doesn't want to be with me.' I will think, 'I didn't do enough to make her want to stay with me.'" Always calm, he is my rock. "I like to make you happy," he said with casual certainty. "I will do everything I can to make you feel good. And you will come with me on my trip.You are always with me my love."

          The monsters grew weary as the air cooled, and little shoots of grass began to stir beneath the sand. 

         "Well, I feel the same!" I said, ELATED. 

          For so many years I have been soaked in a philosophy of love propounded by Burning Man extremists and Buddhism-appropriating wannabes who equate the ideal of love with pure detachment: "You take care of yourself and I'll take care of myself, and sure I'm here to help, with some vaguely supportive lip-service or whatever, but I will not be taking responsibility for you!" Oh, America! How I adore my Venezuelan Rain! 

          Of course, this detached love between individuals has its own flavor of beauty, no doubt. Indeed I have myself savored and relished this flavor many times! But a love where each person sincerely vows to the other, "Yes, you can rely on me. I am here for you. Your problems are my problems. I don't want you to struggle alone. I want to bear half your weight. I want to help you. This is what I want for myself: to give myself to you." 

          This is an entirely different cuisine. This is the cuisine I have hungered for from the depths of my soul for my entire life. This is the nourishment that only works for both people when they provide to each other in equal measure. And I can love this way. I was born to love this way. My whole adult life it seemed impossible that I would a man who can truly receive and reciprocate my love. The love unique to my heart. 

     

    

     

     This is my lifework of becoming. This is who I am. This is not the worst part of me; this is the best part of me! I do not stop fighting. I do not stop becoming. 

     Already, after today, we are so much closer to success. Before today I felt that If I exposed the fullness of my being ~ this pre-perfection state I like to believe is a temporary, "under construction" sort of "phase," he would see ugliness in the muddied tarps and exposed beams. What he actually sees is how hard I am working. He doesn't ask me to be perfect, he asks me to be honest.

      Rainier is the first man I have ever met who encourages me to explore ~ in the company of his innocent curiosity and total acceptance ~ my defects, my insecurities, the wrath they cause, my wicked impulses. He will listen to me talk for as long as I want or need to. And the more he listens ~ unaffected, unperturbed, unafraid ~ the less I have to say. 

* My 4 jobs: 1. My office job; 2. Wedding videography on the weekends; 3. Piano lessons; 4. Renovating the basement of the sickly elder who is housing me. 

Hello beautiful, I'm answering you in Spanish because I understand English perfectly but I express myself better in Spanish! I understand very well your concerns. The only thing I can tell you is that Ray and I decided together to stop being boyfriend and girlfriend, no more possibilities for that exist. And the "romantic" situations you imagine are going to be for us moments of work. Nothing romantic! Also so you know, I am in a relationship with the love of my life. Like you found Rai, 6 months ago I found the love of my life. The man I have been looking for for years! So relax! It's going to pass much faster than you imagine, this trip! We can stay in contant if you like. hugs. Good luck with your work!!!  

My favorite NEW tango!(2015)

The video of me dancing silhouetted in the window of a hotel in Panama City - projected 3 stories tall on the side of a building in Buenos Aires! Thanks Fernando! 

I wrote 5 love poems in Buenos Aires, en español. Read them now, under the writing tab! 

Bonus Material! 

Little Morning Prayer-Poem:

Please relax, this is just a word. It can mean whatever you want it to mean. (Hence "my God.")