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A Dress, A Ring, Promises to Self

an unconventional wedding planner for one

Read the little book that (hysterically) has been disparaged from Australia to Zimbabwe. 

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Apparently this little book has stirred the tiniest bit of controversy. Since the book was published years ago, and since "sologamy" has become a thing (I'd never heard the term when I performed my little ceremony years ago), several articles, in several countries and on several continents, have appeared describing self-marriage as "The pinnacle of the culture of narcissism." Dress, Ring, Promises - and yours truly - are mentioned in almost every article. I am both amused and exasperated by the fact that anyone actually thinks we are confusing a symbolic gesture with the institution of marriage. Sigh.

I responded to one article as kindly as I could, reassuring the author that those of us who "married ourselves" (term applied loosely, thank you very much) were simply making a commitment to love, honor and care for ourselves so that we could better love, honor and care for others. A commitment to self isn't about narcissism; it's about putting the broken pieces back together.

Ah well. Rest assured, friends: the institution of marriage will prevail.





BR: You wrote A Dress, A Ring, Promises to Self: an unconventional wedding planner for one, nearly a decade ago, and just published the book last year. Why did it take you so long to publish and distribute it?

SS: Maybe the simple answer is that self-publishing is easier now than it was when I first wrote it. The more complicated answer is I was more than a little embarrassed by the book for a long time. I gave it away to friends, over the years, but beyond that it didn’t seem like anything I could or would seriously consider marketing.

BR: Embarrassed, why?

SS: Because as important as my ceremony was to me, and as much as I love this little book, it is very self-helpy, and for a long time the concept struck me as vaguely silly. Also, the story is inward as opposed to outward looking, and I judged it to be a bit frivolous – especially in light of the FAIRVIEW Project and other work of mine. When I performed my ceremony, all those years ago, I wrote and made Promises to myself, which I grew into only very slowly. I planted seeds of self-care long before they bloomed and grew. The importance of this part of my story dawned on me equally as slowly. Only after I had given away my power for nearly two decades, and found myself sick and tired and incapable of being helpful to anyone, did I realize how important it was to take care of myself, first and foremost. Then the book seemed vitally important as opposed to silly.

Eventually I gave a copy of Dress, Ring, Promises to a young, twenty-something friend of mine who fell absolutely in love with it and insisted that I make it available to other folks. I put a little blurb about it on Facebook in December of last year, and immediately received so many orders that I essentially took the month off to fill them. Who knew? I was building beautiful, handmade books at that point. And then I had another friend who offered to help me self-publish, and the entire thing seemed to take on a life of its own, so I went with it. I think you never know what’s going to resonate with people. When I read it now, my forty-five year old self shudders a bit at some of the writing I did a decade ago. Then again, I’m sort of amazed at how clearly I was writing about claiming my own power a decade before I actually did. And it’s interesting and not surprising, ultimately, that once I did come into my own, the book jumped off of my personal book shelf and out into the world. 


Read the article in its entirety HERE.

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