I wrote the following speech in Ruse, in a hotel by the bus station, just a week before my wedding.
In short, my wedding went well. In “long” – you’re going to find out a bit later. It didn’t really go by plan. Not at all, actually. But it did become the first serious proof of my thesis that reality is everything but a mirror image of what’s in my head. On the contrary, while the world inside my head is spacially and temporarily unlimited, the one outside is nothing more than a frame I need to account for. But it’s also a frame which holds part of the ideas in my head together – albeit a very small part – and turns them into a viewable work of art. In something you can touch. Something I can co-experience with 58 more people, one of whom is most special.
I decided to considerably shorten my speech about half an hour before the beginning of the ceremony. Earlier, I spent a few hours in the Ruse hotel to think it up (although it went quickly) and a lot of time to translate it to English, sitting in a foldable chair against the moon rising over the Kara Dere (or, to be precise, Byala Reka) beach, occasionally sipping from the rakia can that was circling all the people around me. But it wasn’t just me. And with this post I’d like to express my gratitude, even if it never reaches them, to Jiří Dvořák and Maca from the Czech Centre who worked under the scorching sun to help my speech reach the Czech part of the guests although a great deal of it never did.
The whole time I was thinking about my speech I was afraid I had to read all this in front of the guests not because it’s long but because it’s too revealing. My fear turned out to be strong enough to “save” me from this stripping. But in spite of it I decided to share the words I wanted to say under the sunflower wedding arch. Because they’re related not so much to my wedding itself but to me and the soul I carry inside.
Who knows. Perhaps this speech was never meant to be listened to but rather read.
Or perhaps it doesn’t need readers/listeners at all.
Anyway, just like with everything that comes from my soul, I feel obliged to share it.
Last week I was at a wedding where the people found out I was getting married. They were happy for me and asked me if I was looking forward to the day where my dream would come true. ‘What dream?’ I asked. ‘Well, don’t all girls dream of becoming brides since a very early age?’ I thought about it for a while and I said, ‘But I never wanted to be a bride. My dream was to be Ariel, the Little Mermaid.’
My child dream hasn’t come true yet but I think a wedding by the beach is as close to it as it can get. This introduction isn’t random because in the next few minutes I am going to talk about two things – Ariel, the Little Mermaid and dreams.
There’s something in common between me and Ariel but unfortunately it’s not that we’re both good swimmers. I also don’t have red hair, which I’ve always dreamed of. The joke aside, now I will tell you why my story and the story of my love for Lukáš resembles that of Ariel.
Please, have a little patience because I like to start from afar.
Ariel is a weird mermaid who seems to be unsatisfied with the wonderful and full of colour sea world she lives in. Something always pulls her towards the surface. She collects objects among the remains of shipwrecks and makes her own museum of the upper world. She likes singing and wandering across the sea with her friends and, as a whole, people consider her unserious and frivolous.
Well, I am something like this, too. There has always been another world that will interest me more than the real one. The world of ideas and feelings. The only difference is that this world is inside of me – this is where all celebrations and shipwrecks happen. It is this world that gives me the biggest inspiration so very often, instead of living in the real world, I’d rather sink into my own imaginary world where everything is always alright. Now I’ll tell you a little secret: sometimes, when I’m alone and I know that nobody’s listening I play music really loud and I start singing out loud and this activity engages me to such an extent that if nothing in the outside world makes me stop I would keep doing it until I run out of voice. You remember that Ariel loves singing, right?
This inside world thing is really important and I’ll go back to it later.
Let us however go on with the story. Ariel isn’t really fond of sea men. In fact, in the Disney movie we see no fish-tailed contenders for her heart. Perhaps she lives in her dreams too much and doesn’t notice the men around her. Besides, she’s already in love with the image of a man made of stone who she saved in a shipwreck. She has an ideal that the rest can’t live up to.
I was something like this.
Well, there were some men but the only good lesson they taught me was how to stay away from men like them. Anyway, it was hard for me to find someone because the man I was in love with was a wonderful image, made not of stone perhaps but of some abstract matter, and he was part of my inside world. It’s very difficult for anyone to live up to such an ideal.
In fact, there was a moment where I had stopped looking for this ideal in the real world and I completely accepted the idea that perhaps my fate is not to discover love in this lifetime. It sounds sad, but actually this acceptance took a huge burden off me and really, for a certain period of time, I was really happy to be alone, to design my life on my own and then to live it with a song on my lips. I was really one with my soul.
But then there was a shipwreck.
In Disney’s movie, Ariel saved Eric from the stormy sea and then brought him to life with her song. She realized that the man made of stone in whom she was in love really existed. And then her life became a celebration.
The same thing happened with me, too. When you suddenly meet the person who you’ve been waiting for your whole life, there is an incredible fusion of this sacred inside world and the outside one. The colours of the inside world just flow outside like a firework or a rainbow and turn this whole ordinary and boring outside world into an incredible fairytale. As if your soul, which is always locked in your body, finds a way out and starts dancing.
We all remember, however, that Ariel paid a huge price to be with Eric. She gave away her voice. She lost exactly what made Eric fall in love with her. What had saved him.
A similar thing happens to many lovers, including me. It’s the easiest thing to fall in love with a free person. He lives led only by his own strives and usually has the freedom to do what his heart dictates him to. He has his own voice. Free people, if they’re conscious enough and have realized that their happiness shouldn’t depend on another person anyway, have a particular charm about themselves thanks to their freedom. We fall in love with this charm. We fall in love with bird-people who look as if they can spread their wings and go wherever their soul – their only navigator – leads them. We fall in love in them and then lock them in a cage. And so, just like Ariel, they stop singing.
Something like this happened to me, too, and without the intervention of an evil witch either. When I met Lukáš, my inside world mingled with the outside one; my soul went out to dance but when I wished to get it back I realized it had run away. I had lost my own voice. The voice within. And this has nothing to do with him.
Losing your soul is the most dangerous thing because we all fall in love exactly in the souls of people. That’s why, regardless of Ariel’s beauty, Eric was convinced he was saved by the evil witch which had got her voice. This can mean something simple such as: if we lose our inside voice, the person who we’re with will simply fall in love with someone else’s. But it also means: in order for the things between two lovers to be okay, they must preserve their souls.
The Bulgarian word “dusha” is wonderful because apart from that invisible thing which, along with our complex physiology, gives life to our bodies, or, in other words, our “spirit”, it also means “a person”. And to me this is the most precise definition.
Which, of course, doesn’t mean love isn’t important. On the contrary, love still is the most beautiful and important thing that may and have to happen in someone’s life. But the soul – this little piece of us which bears the imprint of the Big Bang – is immortal. Our bodies serve us so that we can transport our soul from age to age. The more we take care of its comfortable journey, the better for it. Our souls will inevitably thank us for helping them in its endless journey.
So, before I turn directly to the person I love, I want to give everyone this little message of mine (still an unproven theory, of course): take care of your soul. You know how. There’s another wonderful Bulgarian word – “vaodusheven” – excited. What makes you excited are the wishes of your soul come true. The more excited you are, the better. For you and for those around you.
All I said up to now isn’t accidental.
You’re the person who managed to touch my soul. It recognized you in the image it had made itself. You set it free but I failed to bring it back. And you know this well enough. When I tell you ‘I don’t know what I want’, that’s exactly because the inside voice I used to have before is no longer within me. But I don’t regret it. I don’t want to turn back the time. On the contrary. I know that if the soul can get out of the body it can also go back. And I promise you – yes, you – that I will get it back.
Traditionally, the wedding is a vow. The lovers vow in front of the law and often in front of god that they will live up to their duty. However, I don’t want us to make a vow. The vow is something we make to keep some outside duty that we have, be it institutional or religious. The bad thing about outside duty is that it might look unbroken, while in the same time we don’t account for it. So I don’t want to make a vow – in front of the state or god – to be with you forever, in joy or pain. Until death do us part.
No, I want to promise it to you. In front of all these people here. I promise I’ll be always there for you, in joy or sickness until death do us part and, who knows, maybe after that, too. Not that promises can’t be broken. But every single person here will have the task to check whether we really stick to them, better than any state or god.
However, that’s not everything I want to promise.
I promise I will try to give you the freedom to be exactly what you want to be.
I promise I will remember that, although your body and heart belong to me now by law – and so do mine to you – we have two different individual souls which don’t necessarily need each other.
I promise that my soul – on whose return I am working on – will do its best to live well with yours; that it won’t interfere with yours or try to change it. That it will allow your soul to fly to where it wants to and when it wants to.
I believe our souls can be two beautiful birds, which often alight on one and the same branch so that they could tweet wonderful things to each other. I also believe if we lock them in the same cage they will lose their voice. So, allow me to give you everything I have – my heart and my body – which belong to you already anyway – and all the material things I have. Allow me to own your heart, body and all the material things that you have (well, okay, maybe without your stuff : )). But let us both allow ourselves not to own our souls. We need them immensely – not just like artists. Like people. Like “dushi”.
I promise you that if we do that we’re going to have a beautiful long life in store for us which will be full of happiness. We’re going to know exactly what we want, we’re going to be free in our union and we’re going to raise children who will grow up knowing that people can be themselves even when they’re together. Like ying and yang. You will see clearly where one person begins and where the other ends and nevertheless, the shape we’ll form together will be perfect. In fact, it will be perfect exactly because of the distinct borders in our wholeness.
I promise you this because I feel it’s the only thing we lack. And I want our wedding to be the starting point from which we’ll start attempting – yes, at least attempting – to stick to our promise. I, deep inside, have been married to you for a long time and I know what it is to live together with you. And it’s difficult, sometimes very difficult, but it’s worth it. I know we can make it lighter and I promise I will try doing it. Every day.
I promise you to be patient and understanding.
I promise to listen to you and not interrupt you while you’re talking.
I promise to bake you a cake each Sunday.
I promise not to ask you too many stupid questions.
I promise you not to go to sleep so fast.
I promise to drink more so that I am not that boring.
I promise not to take or break every thing of yours.
I promise to be a better housewife.
I don’t promise, though, that I will keep all my promises.
I am a human after all.
Actually, there’s just one thing in life I am completely sure of. And it’s scary, because almost every person in the world has tens of convictions – religious, political or moral – and I have a single one.
And I want you to be happy that this thing is related to you.
The only thing I am sure of is I love you.
I loved you yesterday, I love you today and I will love you tomorrow. I can’t swear I will love you all my life but I can promise you that while I love you I’ll do my best to let you know. Every day.
The Little Mermaid movie ends with a wedding. Ariel has got back her voice and marries her Prince Eric. And you know, I might never get her fish tail and red hair but now, in this moment, after saying all this (which wasn’t easy at all), I think my child dream will come true. I think with this honest statement I opened the door to my inside world so that my soul can get back home. In fact, I think that all this time I’ve been talking with it – with my internal voice. And now I can marry you a little bit more whole than I used to be.
A little bit more like the girl I was when we met.
The girl you fell in love with.
And I am asking you:
Will you take me as I am?