From This Day Forward: Vows to Me, Myself and I

For the last three years, I’ve celebrated December 30 (my former wedding anniversary) as the date upon which I bring new expressions of self-love into my life. For this year’s commemoration, I’m writing a set of honorary and promissory vows to myself. It’s an exercise I assign to nearly all of my clients at one point or another; though I’ve conceptualized it for myself countless times, today is the first day I put pen to paper (well, fingers to keyboard) and formalized this message of love, loyalty and fidelity.

With gratitude for you as my witnesses,

G

*****
From This Day Forward: Vows to Me, Myself and I

December 30, 2021

From this day forward, I vow to pursue a balanced life, knowing that my soul craves wholeness and thrives in equanimity.

I vow to make choices.
I vow to take baby steps.

I vow to change course when it’s obvious I need to do so.

I vow that I will use my voice—sometimes to speak, sometimes to whisper, sometimes to roar, sometimes to scream, sometimes to sing, sometimes to shout, sometimes to debate, sometimes to stay silent. I vow to use my voice imperfectly in every situation, holding myself accountable and responsible to reinforce and refine my voice over time.

I vow that I will not abandon myself—especially not for the sake of remaining present or loyal to somebody else. To avoid abandoning myself, I vow that I will be honest about my values, my capacity, my availability, my preferences and my priorities. I vow that I will designate this fidelity to myself as an intentional act of sacred self-responsibility; it’s my most fundamental calling, and it’s my most essential birthright.

I vow to never apologize for my body—not for how she looks, how she functions, how she feels, how she suffers, how she struggles, how she sparkles, how she strives or how she survives. I vow to continue my quest toward treating my body with love instead of contempt, with tenderness instead of harshness, and with appreciation instead of antagonism.

I vow to practice what I preach, and to pursue for myself the healing I wholeheartedly assert is possible for others. I vow to be my own best cheerleader, channeling inward some of the collective love and support I passionately champion toward others.

I vow to live bravely.
I vow to love fiercely.
I vow to move forward.

I vow to take risks.

I vow to consider new ideas, to challenge my own preconceptions, to check my own privilege and to examine my own biases. I vow to explore possibilities I once dismissed as categorically unacceptable, and to thoughtfully release convictions that no longer align with my evolving awareness.

When overwhelmed by options that seem clear as mud, I vow that I will give myself time, space, permission and grace to settle upon my own inner truth. I vow that I will not succumb to analysis paralysis. I will make the best decisions I can at any given juncture, even if I’m not 100% certain about any given choice—even if I end up making choices that I later ultimately regret.

I vow to make hard calls.
I vow to make make hard choices.

I vow to do hard things.

I vow to let a LOT of stuff go, both internally and externally, literally and figuratively, on every single level and in every single category. I vow to appropriately honor and utilize my need for personal and powerful touchstones, while remaining willing to recognize the points at which those touchstones morph into millstones.

I vow to understand and enforce my own autonomous boundaries; I will not expect others to do this work for me, either by default or by dominance. I vow to walk away from people, places and scenarios that do not recognize my right to such sovereignty—without apology or explanation.

I vow to be myself.
I vow to grow myself.

I vow to nurture and protect myself.

I vow to explore and enjoy amazing sex—sex that is experiential and experimental, never performative or perfunctory. I vow to seek sex that is mature, meaningful, passionate and playful. I vow to pursue sex that is intimate and intuitive, loved and loving, enthusiastic and empowering. I vow to protect my sexuality from coercion or commoditization, and I vow to reassure my sexual self, as often as necessary, that no means no—period.

I vow to infuse my life with music and movement and nature and sunshine and earth and LOTS of time offline and away from my screens—to absorb and embrace the life that exists beyond the face of my devices. I vow to do puzzles, to take walks, to play with animals, to knit, to color, to dance in my pjs and to feel my blood pumping throughout my own body.

I vow to fill my life with softness and warmth and sensory saturation, emboldened by color and contrast, with particular attention to clever details and expressive nuance. I vow to populate my world with art in myriad forms, the kind that makes my soul surge and my eyes twinkle. I vow to “adore witty words and pretty things,” to “be my own kind of beautiful,” and to “stay wild, moon child.”

I vow to believe in something bigger than myself, to honor my experience of God—in all of the ways that I genuinely understand him and in the ways I admittedly don’t. I vow to maintain my belief in miracles, in providence, in traditions, in sacred synchronicity, in generational wisdom, in heavenly peace, in divine intervention, and in that most holy trifecta: faith, hope and love. I vow to use the intelligence and instincts with which I’ve been hardwired; I vow to never ask God to do for me what I can, could or must do for myself.

I vow to remember that HAPPINESS MATTERS. More specifically, I vow to remember that MY happiness matters, and I vow to make space for happiness within my own world.

Most importantly, from this day forward, I vow to continue writing my own story. I vow to recognize and materialize and actualize every single evolving plot twist—from mundane daily encounters to dramatic denouement moments—authoring each with dignity, determination and imperfection.

I vow that pain will not destroy me.
I vow that fear will not incapacitate me.
I vow that intimidation will not silence me.
I vow that anxiety will not immobilize me.
I vow that loss will not invalidate me.
I vow that injustice will not embitter me.
I vow that my work will not define me.
I vow that anger will not violate me.

I vow that romance will not consume me.

I vow to heal my trauma.
I vow to heal my trauma.

I vow to heal my trauma.

From this day forward… and to be continued… this is my sacred vow.

*****

PS: New to my December 30 backstory? You can read the original posts here: (2019) and (2020).

For more writings by Gaelyn Rae Emerson, click here or email gaelynrae@womeneverafter.com.