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Kissing Frogs, Goddess Emerging: My Search for Sacred Relationship by Cheryl Trine, is a book full of surprises, a few laughs, and a connection to the writer as the reader joins her on an adventure of powerful self discovery post-divorce, and through the online dating world we currently live in.
At fifty-three, Trine begins dating and describes her expectations, experiences, dating profiles, and responses through personal poetry. This unique combination allows for more than merely reading a summary of events, instead building a bridge to the emotions, a roller coaster of each attempt at a lasting relationship and the heartbreak that naturally comes with unfortunate dates that, for some reason, don’t work out. Where some writers may hesitate to be honest about what they want and their desires to find a connection, Cheryl Trine hesitates not at all in stating this not just in her book, but on the profile she posts for anyone to see. On occasion, the narrative jumps back and forth in the timeline of events, yet somehow that is overlooked as the intrigue of Trine’s own life sweeps the reader along.
Trine describes her physical appearance loosely, but her emotions and desires in detail. A defining moment in the book is the decision to obtain a body that matches the sexy, little red dress she wants, and failure is not an option. Even more fun is her real accounting of the online dating sites we see commercials for every time we turn on the television. While each site claims to be the best, her honest feedback provides anyone in the same situation a personal account and opinion without the phony actors gushing over the true love they found. In the end, the author stays true to what she wants, clarifying her desires and her intentions in dating. Until the perfect match is found, she doesn’t settle but stands firm with faith that she will find what she wants, but for now she is happy with who she is, who she has become, and the connection she made with herself. We should all be so lucky!
Q. What did your daughter think about your online dating?
A. When my daughter first heard about my intention to try online dating, she raised her eyebrows with that look of what-are-you-thinking-are-you-crazy, and then recovered a bit and said Mom, that’s great! She is in her early twenties and involved in her own dating adventures. I never dreamed that we would both be in this same situation at the same time. We have talked about my experiences here and there, laughed about similar experiences with guys, and she has stated a preference not to meet anyone until I feel like I get to someone long-term. Which is easy to accomplish because she is away at university and not around when I am going out. At Christmas we had a big laugh when we both found the other was experimenting with the smartphone dating app Tinder.
Q. When did you decide to write a book about your journey?
A. I started online dating at the end of August 2013 and by the end of November 2013, I had three friends independently encourage me to write about my experiences. At first I thought not because it seemed a bit like a distraction to my other writing and work. However by March 2014, I began to see the book take form in my imagination with a vague sense of organization. By May 2014, I had begun writing and within a week at the end of the month, the whole project came together. By the end of the summer 2014, I had finished the manuscript. A comment from a good friend about considering the lifecycle of butterfly guided me to the organization of four sections and the book took its final form.
Q. Did you keep a journal through this process, and did the poetry come at the time of the experience or as a reflection?
A. I don’t keep a personal journal. Instead, throughout this experience I kept notes about what I felt I was learning. I still have the scraps of paper with the quickly jotted notes about this guy or that date. At the same time I would also find myself writing individual pieces that expressed my thoughts and feelings about a particular event or experience and some of this writing would find its way to my blog. Often, I would get up in the morning feeling compelled to sit down at my desk, not really knowing what I wanted to express, and the words would just flow out. The biggest surprise in this writing adventure has been the poetry. I’ve not ever considered myself a poet. Very surprisingly, there were times when in the moment of the writing compulsion, instead of paragraphs, poetry would come out. Not something that I could force or even do intentionally. This is especially true of the poem I Do Not Want One Note. Whether verse or chapter, I feel a part of me is speaking through my pen to me, letting me view an additional perspective, giving my heart a place to sing and cry. And in this day of the digital word, much of this writing has been with pen and paper. Time wise there is no rhyme or reason. Some of the writing has been in the evening of or the morning after while other pieces have come in reflection days or weeks after. The first half of the book was written forward from past to near present while the second half was written backward, starting with the present and moving to the near past.
Q. Do you feel that your inner beauty creates your image now? Do you feel more self-confident?
A. I feel like I used to wear a big body suit that kept me from feeling like me – from feeling me. Since my divorce I feel like I have shed this suit and for the first time in a long time, I feel like me, I feel like I can feel me. While pre-divorce, I am not someone that friends and family would have said was not confident, post-divorce I have re-connected myself with me because the layers I used to have to swim through are gone and I now have a clear and direct connection. And through this connection of me with me, a surge of confidence emerges. I feel, see, sense, hear, and intuit the beauty that is me flowing through and out into the world. My inner and outer experiences of me are now one. I am amazed, thrilled, excited, joyful, happy, and thankful.
Q. The references to the Horned God and Hunter sound similar to those in the Greek Mythology. Did you have a connection to Mythology before your visions of them? Or did the visions create an interest to Mythology?
A. Mythology of various sources including the Greek has captured my attention off and on my entire life. However the image of the Horned God and the Hunter both came to me first in the visions of the last 18 months and then in the work I did with these images after their appearance. I have a broad understanding about the meanings and implications of both that I purposely only allude to in Kissing Frogs, Goddess Emerging. Why? Because the related explanations and discussion belong rightfully in my next book! This current book is about my search and finding sacred relationship within myself; the next book is about the manifestation of sacred relationship and will include the relevance of the Horned God in my life with a partner.
Q. Overall do you recommend online dating? Why or why not?
A. Yes, I do recommend online dating especially if you can see it first as a method to learn about yourself and what you want in partnership, and then, when the time is right, know you will meet the right person for you. My best advice is to think about dating as a process that is going to take some time and effort. Sure, you might get lucky that your first date becomes your next partner. However, I think most of us need time to explore ourselves and what we want in relationship. Every person you interact with is an opportunity to learn something about yourself. In the beginning of the process, it is all about you and what you are learning. Laugh, talk, have fun! Find out who you are and figure out who you want to become. Then you are ready for partnership within your fullness and not from your brokenness.
Q. At what stage did you feel content with the ability to enjoy your own company without feeling as if being single meant alone?
A. At some point, I realized that instead of being alone, I was on my own. If I were alone, I would have no one in my life. And that wasn’t true. If anything I had more friends than before, people that really mattered to me, and who had shown over and over that they cared deeply about me. As I look back, moving to this realization happened in stages that were partly related to the events of the divorce and partly related to the progression of my inner journey. Also being on my own helped me bring into focus that it wasn’t the being by myself that I missed as much as the opportunity to share life experience with someone else. I came to the conclusion I am not looking to be completed by someone. Instead I am looking for sharing experiences, which completes my life. Right now I am able to do this sharing for and with myself. I am also confident that in the future I will be able and willing to share with a partner.
Q. While you did describe your divorces, you seem accepting of them in the book. Did you feel that working with a trainer helped you manage the stages of grief and enable you to better get through them without holding on to the anger many women have to their ex-husbands?
A. My trainer, my lawyer, and my family and friends provided the support and reassurance I needed to see truthfully and let go of the animosity which leaked out in different ways. My divorce was not pretty and was unnecessarily very traumatic in many ways. My lawyer with over 20 years of experience in family law provided an amazing reality check that it was not me being the crazy one. He brought sanity to the inhumanity of the ordeal. In my trial prep, he told me to think of myself as a lighthouse and know that my light always shines! My friends not only provided a shoulder to cry on but also listened to me talk out my feelings and thoughts, helping me to let go of that which did not serve me so that I could make choices for myself based on the depth of my personal desire. My trainer took me through strength training and cardio work that brought me into my body and allowed me to physically release pent-up emotion and anger. The MMA/boxing classes I took added another dimension to the physical sense of myself as I learned to punch a heavy bag. There were many classes where I just let my anger, frustration, disappointment, sense of failure, and overwhelm go through my entire body to my arm and hand and into the bag, punching and kicking over and over until I was exhausted yet cleared and opened. The bottom line: it was not just one thing or person which got me through, it was the integration of each experience, each friendly smile, each shoulder offered that made the difference and made it possible for me to turn from defeat to wonderful, exciting adventure in this new life I create for myself.
Q. What advice do you have to tell other women in similar positions? Do you have any suggestions for how to feel good about themselves and confront failure in a successful manner?
A. My first piece of advice is to ask yourself this question: What do you want? Women spend a good part of married life doing a whole lot that has nothing to do with what they want. Kids, husband, home, pets, school events, after-school activities and more, while wanted often distract from the individual focus. Divorce provides the opportunity to return to a sense of self and allows the space to create a new life based on what you want. I know for me this was an alien perspective and took me months to really allow this to be my own view. However, as I look back over the last three years, I know without a doubt that allowing me to focus on myself, and what I want has made all the difference. In the beginning of separation and divorce, I was overcome at times with a strong sense of failure or at least a sense that I should have known better earlier. With time I have been able to see the dynamics of my marriage and how I let go of myself even in the first year of our relationship. I see my motivations then and feel that what I want now is a hugely important perspective because I am less likely to make other people’s wants more important than mine. As for knowing earlier, I see that there was a way I knew, I just wasn’t able to name it and was getting no help from the then-husband. I can also see it wasn’t so much failure as it was an issue of my commitment. I was committed to the relationship. My questions to myself were not about whether I wanted to continue the commitment; my questions were about how I could improve the relationship. There is no failure in that perspective. And it is certainly not my fault that it took my ex-husband so many years to let me know that his feelings about me and our partnership had changed.
Contact Cheryl Marlene Trine at http://www.kissingfrogsgoddessemerging.com/
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