I first saw the word on a sign in a small shop in Dingle. Dingle is now Hollywood-famous thanks to the film Leap Year, though it looks nothing like the way it's portrayed in the film. The Irish aren't the way they're portrayed in the film either--alcoholic, angry thugs who intimidate and use women. Quite the opposite actually. The Irish are warm and welcoming people. My people. Perhaps that's why I found it problematic that the male lead in Leap Year was supposed to be Irish, yet was played by an English actor...over-played, to be specific. But I digress.
The charming little shop amidst Dingle's brightly colored houses was filled with beautifully-crafted silver jewelry made by the couple who owned it. As I wandered among the many hand-hewn treasures, a text message from Mo Gra appeared on my phone as I chatted away with the wife. She saw it and said, "Ah...love! Looks like you have someone who cares for you very much." She abruptly turned, walking over to the shop window, and in one deft motion, picked up the sign and handed it to me with a smile, "This sums it up, I'm sure."
I knew "Mo Gra" already...it means, "My Love." And, I had heard "Mo Chroi" before as well--"My Heart," I had to look up the other two words though:
She was right. That did sum it up. I didn't buy the sign, but I did buy bracelets for nieces, and a pin for my mother. Before I left the shop, I typed out:
Is ciel mo chroi thu....
You are my heart....
As Valentine's Day approaches, I can't help but think of that moment (and many, many others) from my time in Ireland. It is in the unexpected that the best memories are made. And yet, as Shakespeare himself wrote, "The course of true love never did run smooth."
That quote is from my favorite play, "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Lysander, an impetuous youth, is trying to encourage his beloved, Hermia, by explaining that, despite the significant obstacles before them, they will be together one day. Sadly, the two get separated shortly thereafter. During their separation, Lysander falls for another girl. Hermia is completely confused by this--one minute, Lysander is basically telling Hermia she's "the best sex of (his) life," and the next, he's pushing her away because he's gone back to an "ex." My head would be spinning, too. But Hermia's heart remains true to Lysander, even though a tall, handsome, and wealthy man tries to court her--a man her family and friends actually like and encourage her to be with.
Hermia is clearly a glutton for punishment. If a man can't handle five minutes of separation early in the relationship, what's going to happen after the honeymoon period wears off? He'll be running around naked, chasing some bony-assed tramp all over again. Hermia is a hot-ticket, too. So much for being "the best sex (his) life." Guess Lysander is willing to settle for adequate sex and an ordinary life. Proximity is more important to him than his own heart. Lysander's inability to think beyond the short-term is his biggest weakness. More's the shame for Hermia....
By the end of the play, Lysander manages to come to his senses, making amends for his bad behavior. Hermia somehow forgives him and the two marry. Happily-ever-after is guaranteed with the help of a Faerie King and Queen. All the legal troubles Lysander was facing magically disappear, too. He and Hermia are even in favor with the Duke, and have a royal wedding in a majestic castle. Now THAT's a Hollywood ending! After all, "The play's the thing." Of course, Shakespeare wrote that line for Hamlet, where everyone is totally miserable--most of the characters eventually die or kill themselves in the name of love. A tad more realistic than Faeries blessing hapless fools who can barely tie their own shoes yet somehow achieve wedded bliss!
In Leap Year, Amy Adams plays an American who travels to Ireland to propose to her doctor-boyfriend, attending a medical conference in Dublin. Her character ends up falling for this brooding, suspicious and very difficult Irishman who gets her into more trouble than he's worth. By the time she finally finds her BF, she is completely in love with the Irish git who has been unforgivably rude, narcissistic, belligerent, not to mention, is also incredibly poor with massive amounts of debt--a real catch. And yet, despite going back to America engaged to a successful, well-mannered surgeon who has bought Adams's character a home, very expensive LV luggage, 2-carat diamond earrings, and, a 2-carat diamond ring, Adams gives it all up to return to Ireland with nothing but the hope that the ingrate she fell for somehow loves her back.
I can't help but shake my head and wonder, "Why on Earth would she want him to???"
Once again, there's a massive disconnect. We see a woman chasing after a man who has not shown her nearly enough respect (or love) to warrant a return trip to the Emerald Isle, let alone a proposal...but, since it's a movie, that's exactly what happens:
When Adams unexpectedly arrives back in Dingle (which is clearly not Dingle), the audience thinks she's been rejected when her ornery Irishman turns his back and walks away after Adams's impassioned plea. Rude! The obvious insult aside, thanks to the magic of Hollywood, there is a miraculously happy ending. Personally, when we see Adams standing on the Cliffs of Mohr (nowhere near Dingle btw...), I was kinda hoping she'd fling herself into the cold sea below. But alas, the writers had other plans.
Whether a Shakespearean play or a 21st-century rom-com, it seems women have to put up with all kinds of shenanigans before "true love" rears its' (sometimes ugly) head. I can certainly relate to this dynamic. What woman can't??? The classic push-pull, yo-yo syndrome:
Guy: "I love you, but somehow, also resent/hate you...until I love you again. And, no matter how awful I am to you, you have to keep loving me. #Winning #TigerBlood"
Girl: "Of course, Baby...it's not like I'm an international best-selling author who's sold hundreds of thousands of books around the globe, have celebrity pals that include freakin' Thor and Aquaman, own multiple businesses, a home, a car, or, have killer tits and a Hollywood smile on a beautiful (naturally) wrinkle-free face...oh, and did I also mention that I have the repertoire of a porn star??? I'm the total package, but I'll happily put up with your bad attitude, nasty behavior, lies, insults...and then, after you finish punishing me for loving you, you'll love me back and we'll live happily ever after???"
"Delusional" doesn't even begin to adequately describe the above, but it is what women are expected to put up with--both in fiction and in reality. Many women go along with it, too. Because, who else could ever possibly want or love a gorgeous, hawt, generous, funny, smart, kind, talented, ambitious, financially-independent, and fiery woman like me???
*rolling my eyes*
For the record, I am not a rehab facility--I'm a human being. I don't need anyone to fix me...so, why would anyone expect me to fix them?
A man who takes a worthy woman like me for granted is mentally-ill. Plain and simple. That's not an insult--it's the truth. If you're straight and single, find me attractive yet don't pursue a person like me with everything you've got, you have latent insecurities, probably a little paranoia, and even though you love and want me, are so plugged in to self-destructive social patterns, you'll sabotage any chance you ever had through inconsistent/dishonest behavior. You likely have addiction issues as well. Any woman who makes you want to be a better version of yourself is someone you will ultimately reject--usually by projecting your own worst traits onto her as justification to push her away. Why? So you can continue to be the "victim" of your childhood, or whatever trauma you think made you the hawt mess you are today. Easier that way. Being a victim allows you to avoid responsibility. Nothing is ever your fault. Except, EVERYTHING is your fault if you're a healthy adult over 30 with a job, a car, and live somewhere that isn't your parents' basement. This is basic Psych-101 material. If you're even remotely literate, you can recognize what is entirely predictable, unoriginal behavior.
Because I am stable, loving and intelligent, I will never choose a person who doesn't have those same qualities. That should be the case for every woman and man in any love-relationship. The moment Lysander started lapping at another woman's heels, I'd be done. Even if a charming Irishman with perfect teeth spoke a single rude word to me, I'd also be done. Choosing to love people who clearly want to hurt us is a sign of self-sabotage. Stop accepting bad behavior. If you really like the person, speak up! Tell them your concerns. Sometimes it helps, but not always. You have to be prepared to walk away. It's about self-respect. Desperation is unbecoming. If you lower your standards because you're lonely, it will eat away at your confidence. When you're with a person who isn't on your level because you believe that somehow guarantees they'll stay, think again.
If you don't love yourself enough to walk away from the users and takers, how can you expect anyone of value to stay?
Here's what REAL happy endings look like:
Instead of marrying her fickle beau, Hermia tells Lysander to go fuck himself. She moves to Paris, writes best-selling novels, has as many handsome, young lovers as she wants, and never utters (or writes) a single syllable about that asshat again. She grows old with a smile on her face, a fat sack of gold coins in her vault, a stocked cupboard in her fabulous home on the Seine, and, even at 90, has 30-year old men fawning all over her.
Fast forward 425ish years:
Amy Adams's character realizes she should never have to chase a man...ever. And, instead of making the same mistake twice, she goes back to the States, buys out the boyfriend, and franchises her staging business. Eventually, she even gets her own show on the DIY Network. She ends up meeting Orlando Bloom on the studio lot, and after a whirlwind romance, marries him on a private island near Fiji.
Are you clapping? I am....
When I think of "sonas" or "happiness," I will always think of Ireland. But there is no man on Planet Earth who can write my happy ending. Only I can do that. It's the same for each of you, too.
Whether you are looking for (or perhaps already found) a man or a woman this Valentine's Day, I hope you will also look for (and find!) yourself. Dream for yourself. Work for yourself. And, most importantly, LOVE yourself. That's real happiness.
Have a fabulous V-day, y'all!
Post-script: Here are some tips on the red flags of self-sabotage in love-relationships--transcript in the comments, and also, in the description: