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Tossing Glitter… Marriage
“You don’t have to be perfect-perfection is a myth!” With those words a sense of healing and personal value began to bubble up inside me. Somehow, in just a few short weeks, I knew this was it. Jeff told me he wanted to share a happy life with me. ME!!! He believed happiness was attainable for us- together.
It’s hard pushing negative voices out of your head. As a boy my father said I’d never be happy being who I was, and I believed him. The voices at church – my church that I loved- warned of this abomination called homosexuality. I didn’t understand what that was, but understood it was the worst thing you could possibly be. I remember a time everyone thought I was wonderful. But I knew better. Because I was simply pretending to be the person that I believed I needed to be.
Pushing into a new world as a gay man I hoped to find my place as my true self. But those voices continued.
I knew absolutely nothing about gay life or relationships. I remembered hearing how gay people were incapable of commitment and incapable of being with one person. And I remember thinking “Am I incapable of that? Because that’s what I really want.”
Jeff had a beautiful and infectious smile. His take-charge personality gave me a combined feeling of safety and strength. He extended a genuine kindness to people – not just to me but everyone around us. His way of being in the world filled me a sense of love and gratitude. As the years began to pass, I found myself falling deeper in love. When you’ve grown up believing yourself unworthy of everyday happiness, you simply don’t allow yourself to take love for granted. But somehow, I eventually relaxed. I began to believe that I was worthy of happiness, that happiness belonged as much to me as to anyone else.
Marriage means different things to different people. We’ve all known someone who shares a seemingly volatile and unproductive life with their spouse and we shake our heads – it just makes no sense to us. How did they get married in the first place? But it’s their marriage, and only they know the truth of it.
But I think people see my life with Jeff and understand why we wanted to be married. After nearly twenty-eight years of a shared life together, marriage brought a renewed sense of adventure and freedom. The ease and comfort that comes from deep commitment is something that Jeff and I both value. And we feel a sense of accomplishment in our commitment, knowing that we share an authentic, happy life. Knowing that we are a family.
The voices still exist. They will always exist. But when you’ve found your own voice and created your own narrative, those voices can’t hold you captive. They can still hurt but they cannot rob you of what you have. Your own inner voice is more important than the shrieking of others. You begin to understand that biting criticism reveals more about the critic than you. They want their truth to be the only truth. But that simply isn’t true. You have to remind yourself that nothing hurts more than hiding in the shadows. And you need to look those critics in the eye and declare that your own ability to have a happy and productive life with your chosen partner is wonderful. It is fulfilling and life-enhancing. And you are not falling short of anyone’s ideals because your own happiness isn’t identical to theirs.
I once made a list of the things I hoped to accomplish in my life. It was a short list but a good list. Growing old with the person I love was number one on that list. And I simply can’t imagine a bigger accomplishment than that. To experience the magic that’s created through a shared life of truth, love and commitment…
That’s strength, that’s glitter, that’s marriage.