The Voice In Her Head Was On A Roll
After her reading from Mick, Joie sat in her car angry with herself. Once her reading ended, she realized she’d never started the recording.
The belittling voice in her head was on a roll. Joie had long called this voice Becky after her Mom’s name. But today, she accepted full responsibility for her self-loathing.
Joie’s perspective changed since her Mom’s Spirit visited her. She saw how she’d made her Mom the scapegoat for everything wrong in her life. But now, Joie saw that she was both the villain and hero in her own story.
Joie’s mind was home to both Jekyll and Hyde. Mr. Hyde began running the show after her “revival summer.” Her anger climaxed with a primal scream as she slammed her hands on the steering wheel. Her black BMW SUV shuddered from the force. Berating herself again, she thought, “Why the hell didn’t I start the goddamn recording?”
Joie couldn’t recall how she got here.
Joie started the car and drove mindlessly. Her thoughts were flowing at gale force speed. The next thing she knew, she was waiting to turn left into the beach parking lot. Like so many times before she began meditating, Joie couldn’t recall how she got here.
With her mind back in the present, Joie smiled, thinking, “This is where I need to be.”
Joie parked and rushed to her favorite picnic table. It was open.
She sat down and began writing in her journal. She tried to remember everything about her reading. She wrote manically trying to keep up with the flow of information. She felt desperate, afraid of missing some vital detail.
When she looked up, Joie was unsure how long she’d been writing. Her head was empty. She felt serene.
Standing up to stretch, Joie noticed the surf was flat. The sun had begun its descent below the horizon. Tonight, there were no spectacular sunset colors. A smile came to Joie’s face as she thought, “Any day watching the sun setting over the ocean was a mighty fine day.”
The Last Fight With Her Mother
Joie smelled several bar-b-que grills burning. Her mind flashed back to the last big fight she had with her mother. The night before moving to California.
Her Mom’s boyfriend had shouted, “Beck, how’n fuck’s name did the charcoal get wet? It won’t start. Send the girl to the store to get some more. Have her grab me a sixer of PBR too.”
Joie and her Mom had been in the kitchen preparing for supper. Her Mom mouthed, “Sorry.”
“It’s okay Mamma, I don’t mind. You need anything else?” Joie had asked.
“Naw, I went out earlier. But get whatever you want,” Joie’s Mom replied, handing her seven one-dollar bills.
Joie put the cash in her back pocket thinking, “This won’t even cover the charcoal.”
“Thanks, Mamma. I will.”
Joie’s anxiety had been off the rails. She was afraid to tell her Mom she was moving to California with her boyfriend. But she had to get out of the South. She had to get away from guys like her Mom’s boyfriends.
“What is this one’s name? Hank? Bo? Bubba?” She couldn’t remember. Lost in thought, Joie didn’t see the truck until he was right on her tail. The four-wheel drive truck, with three-foot tires, wasn’t about to back off.
Get The Hell Outta Dodge
Joie tried to speed up, but her old Toyota was on its last leg. So she pulled to the shoulder to let this guy pass.
He passed shouting, “Buy American you asshole!”
“Yep, time to get the hell outta Dodge,” Joie thought.
The night ended with the usual outcome. Hank drunk on the couch yelling at the Braves on the TV. Joie and her Mom cleaning up the dishes, not speaking. But this time her Mom was crying big crocodile tears caused by her daughter’s imagined betrayal.
“Joie d’Sprit, I’ll never see you again, will I?” pouted her Mom as the tears continued to flow. Joie swore her Mamma’s only talent, besides dating losers, was crying on command.
When she left that night, Joie planned never to return.
Back in the present, a cool on-shore breeze gave Joie a chill as she watched the sunset. Joie started thinking about whether she should marry Samuel.
Samuel, You Pretentious Prick
Joie thought, “Samuel my ass. Your friends call you Sammy, you pretentious prick.” Joie smiled, recalling meeting his golf buddies the first time. She called him Samuel and his friends mocked him the rest of the night. Joie could still hear their condescending, fake effeminate voices from that night.
His true colors came out when he informed her they’d be getting married in Vegas this weekend. Joie saw Samuel for what he was….
Samuel was a pretty, west coast version of Hank, Bubba or any of the countless other men her Mom had dated. Joie had again attracted a “Becky’s type” boyfriend. But Samuel, not Sammy, had a fancy education and smelled terrific but still was cut from the same cloth.
Joie noticed the harshness of her thoughts and judgments. She took a breath and performed a quick reality check. After all, a few days earlier, her connection with Samuel was the best experience of her life.
Joie quieted her mind for about two minutes. Still quiet, Joie imagined their first-anniversary celebration, but nothing would come. Instead, there was only an empty feeling in the pit of her stomach….
Something had changed. Joie didn’t know what, but there was now a barrier between her and Samuel.
An Ambush Was Likely
Thinking back, she hadn’t felt any connection with Samuel since much earlier in the day. Her disconnect from Samuel caused her defense systems to reboot. Joie was on high-alert. She knew an ambush was likely tomorrow when she met Samuel to buy their wedding rings.
A formation of pelicans glided a few feet above the waves as the sun disappeared below the horizon.
“The Mexican Air Force,” as her friend Jenn would say. Joie smiled thinking about Jenn.
Joie returned to thinking about her impending nuptials. Her fear, anxiety, and confusion were front and center. She started taking deep belly breaths and exhaling with “HHHH” sounds to calm her nerves.
“Hun, where’s the T-bones?” someone shouted a few tables away.
“That’s it! The Franklin test.”
Joie picked up her journal and drew a big “T” on a clean page. Above that, she wrote “Marrying Samuel.” Then she wrote a plus sign above the left side and a minus sign above the right.
The Pluses And Minuses About Marrying Samuel
It took her less than ten minutes to write all the pluses and minuses about marrying Samuel. She finished as dusk faded into night. Turning on her phone’s flashlight, Joie read the list.
Pluses: Samuel was hot. He made great money. He had family money and drove a Land Rover plus three other cars and a motorcycle. Continuing down the list, they were sexually compatible. He had great personal hygiene and always smelled good. He could cook. He supported her career in Real Estate by making his friends buy and sell using Joie. He was decisive. I love Samuel.
Minuses: Samuel is into man-grooming way too much. He is smart but superficial and spends all his money on fun, play and clothes. With no savings, he relies on his folks to bail him out financially two or three times a year. He’s irresponsible and insincere. Samuel fantasized about having five kids.
There were more pluses than minuses. But the minuses were far scarier than the many pluses.
Joie realized she was cold. The on-shore breeze was steady now, and she was only wearing a blouse. Closing her journal, Joie walked to her car. Getting in she realized that her head was ready to marry Samuel, but her heart was vetoing that decision.
Déjà Au, All Over Again
Joie sent a text to Samuel, “We need to talk.” Joie didn’t leave the beach yet. Her decision made, she felt a great weight lift off her shoulders.
Joie remembered the last time she considered leaving Samuel during her previous dilemma. That day she decided to stay with Samuel. She liked the consequences, the karma, of that decision. She’d discovered how to connect mind to mind with another human being. Joie learned to lower her walls. By staying with Samuel, she felt alive and worthy of love. For the first time in her life, Joie felt honored and cherished. More importantly, Joie saw that she could love, honor and cherish others.
“I should marry Samuel. I know I can make it work,” Joie thought. Then something her friend Gene said in class a while back popped into her head.
Partnerships Are Built On Mutual Respect And Trust
“There is a difference between love and partnership,” Gene had stated. “We can find something to fall in love with and adore in anyone we meet. But choosing a mate is also choosing a partner. We’re selecting someone with whom to build a life. Mates are romantic partners. Each partner accountable and responsible to the other based on their agreements.”
Stopping to gather his thoughts, Gene had continued. “Partnerships are built on mutual respect and trust. There is also the business end of building a life together. Marriage is a state-regulated contract between two individuals enforceable by law. When you tie the knot, you’re creating a business entity. It’s not romantic, but accurate.”
“Bingo,” Joie thought, “now I know.”
Joie continued, “Having kids with Samuel was the deal killer. Samuel would be a good father, but he wasn’t Daddy material.” Joie sighed, as another layer of uncertainty fell away. Joie remembered the promise she made herself on her ninth birthday. “I will never have kids unless I can guarantee they have a Daddy.” Deep within her being, Joie feared Samuel would never be the Daddy she would want him to be.
Joie flashed back to Gene’s partner speech. “Every partnership needs an agreement. A written agreement created while everyone likes and loves each other. The agreement creates the rules of the game in a marriage partnership.”
“Do you mean a prenuptial agreement?” Jenn asked Gene.
“Something like that. But more like a statement of values, roles, goals, and responsibilities. Creating agreements about acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. Something that spells out each other’s wishes in a worst-case scenario.” Gene replied.
Joie thought, “That’s it. I will create a draft of marriage agreements and get Samuel to do the same. It’s not fair to assume he can’t be a good Daddy.”
Joie opened the business dictating app on her phone. She recorded the initial draft of the: “S + J Matrimonial Memorandum of Understanding.” She would edit and print it out in the morning before meeting with Samuel when they met.
Joie reviewed the three-page document, and she was pleased. Her proposed intentions for conscious-coupling with Samuel. There was a section about acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. Another part speculated about how various family matters and circumstances might be handled. The financial section contained proposed wealth goals, savings plans, and expense guidelines. The final part described their wishes in case of tragedy and end-of-life matters.
The document contained blank spaces to insert Samuel’s wishes.
She decided to set the tone of her conversation with Samuel by talking about the rules of golf. By creating a golf setting, Joie would set the context for her agreements proposal. She was nervous, but Joie was sure it would work out.
They’d been on different schedules the past few days. When they met to go ring shopping, each seemed distant. Before they kissed, Samuel handed her a legal-sized envelope that was quite thick.
The Beginning Of The End
“What’s this?” Joie asked. She slid her agreements back into her purse. Knowing this was the bombshell, she became nauseated.
“Something from our family lawyer. We have to sign before we can buy the rings.” Samuel said.
Joie opened the envelope and withdrew a twenty-plus page prenuptial agreement.
“Is this what you want?” Joie asked.
“I dunno,” Samuel replied.
“Yes, you do!” Joie said, thumbing through the document.
“It’s a standard prenuptial agreement. We have to get it signed and notarized,” Samuel said.
“That’s what they told me.”
“Okay. We can sign it tomorrow unless I see things I don’t accept.” Joie said.
“We need to sign, notarize, and return it today. I don’t get the money to buy the rings until it’s returned.” Samuel said.
Joie was speechless. She stared at Samuel while he fidgeted with his phone.
“How do you feel about this agreement?” Joie finally asked him.
“It’s something we have to do, or we can’t get married,” replied Samuel.
“I thought you said you had the money to buy the rings,” Joie stated.
“I do, but it’s in my trust, and the lawyer won’t release it to me without the prenup.”
“So, my back is against the wall?”
“I hate this too, but that’s the way we play the game, and I want to win,” answered Samuel flippantly.
“I’m not signing today. I must read it to see if it’s fair. So where does that leave us?” Joie asked.
“Not getting married, I’m afraid. No prenup, no marriage. It’s not negotiable.” Samuel said.
“Okay,” Joie said as she stood up. “Here.” Joie dropped the prenup and the envelope on the ground next to Samuel. She turned and walked away.
A Massive Sense Of Relief
Walking to her car, she hoped to hear Samuel coming after her. But that didn’t happen. She refused to look back at the man she loved but who wasn’t partner material.
When Joie started the car, a massive sense of relief came over her. She felt like she’d escaped a life of absolute misery.
As Joie d’Sprit drove away, she realized Becky’s little girl, her “Spirit’s Joy,” was all grown up. More importantly, Joie’s inheritance, her family’s legacy of anxiety and fear hadn’t won the day today. Joie had stood her ground and done what felt like her next best step.
What lies ahead of Joie d’Sprit on her Spiritual Journey? Join us as Joie enters the great void. Joie finds herself at a crossroads. Filled with fear and uncertainty, she’s unsure which direction to take.