With the holiday season upon us, my sentimental heart fills with warm and fuzzy thoughts, and I want to shout from the rooftops how much I love thee.
You are the one I want to fold socks with for the rest of my life.
"Lucky" is an understatement when I think about finding one another. Many people go through their lives feeling like something is missing, yearning for their "other half," for the soul that they can walk through life with, for better or for worse. They enter into one bad relationship after another, each time with hope that they may have finally connected with someone who matches their sensibilities, who gets them excited without letting them down.
I found that refuge in you.
We've both seen our share of dysfunctional relationships plagued by drug abuse, mental illness and infidelity, to name a few problems; we'd both all but given up on the possibility of meeting someone halfway decent, let alone someone who would inspire us to see beauty within and in everything around us, as we've experienced with one another.
Sure, things aren't always perfect (I'm sorry I complicate laundry day by balling my clothes up into incomprehensible knots), but even when they aren't, I'm still forever grateful that I have you. The connection that we share runs deeper than words can describe. You are my best friend, my partner, my lover, my soul quencher. Every morning that I have the pleasure of waking up next to you is a day well lived. Your laugh fills my life with happiness, and your kindness fills this world with hope. I am proud to be your woman.
Our life is more mundane than I ever thought I'd find myself enjoying, and more traditional than many couples out there. You cook and clean, and I go to my 9-to-5 to keep food on the table and in the cat's bowl. It's somehow very 1950s breadwinner/housewife, a life I never thought I'd model for myself, but I enjoy every moment of it with you.
However old-fashioned our routines might be at this juncture, there are a lot of people out there who think we're radical and unruly, even nefarious. There are many folks out there who can't see the sautéed kale and G-rated footsy on the couch while watching Discovery Health as heartwarming or wholesome. They choose not to recognize us as equal, and certainly not as valuable members of society, despite our volunteer hours at the homeless shelter, the way you pick a sickly bird off the cement and place it on the grass so that it can die with greater dignity and comfort, or the worldly and positive influence we have on our 8-year-old nephew when we encourage his love for learning. They don't care about any of that, solely on the basis that we're lesbians.
Our love is not celebrated by some of our nearest and dearest, nor is it recognized by many community members, hell, even by entire states and countries. What's strange is that it all comes down to their not accepting our life simply because of what's between our legs. They call us perverts, but frankly, who are the real perverts: the ones serving their communities with love and respect for diversity, or those obsessing about people's private parts and what they choose to do with them in the privacy of their consenting, adult bedrooms (or kitchens or living rooms or hallway floors or hotels or safe-sex-positive clubs or anywhere else)?
Complete strangers claim authority over our private life and deny us equal rights as a result.
I worry about what might happen if one of us falls ill while traveling in any of the dozens of countries or states that don't recognize our love, and how we might be denied access to one another in our greatest times of need. I hate filling out the customs forms and having to check off that I'm traveling alone when you couldn't be more my family than if our DNA did the tango for all eternity.
I fear for our safety with the most innocent shows of affection in many places, including our own backyard of New York City. A scant subway car late at night, a straight bar with drunken men around us, a neighborhood less known for its tolerance than for its machismo, make for potentially dangerous scenarios. I picture my innocent hand on your knee turning into a hate crime because someone else who has no business passing judgment decides to play violent homophobe.
I fear that even when we get married next year, our status in the eyes of many won't change. In some cases we may face more challenges. Our marriage will be recognized by the state but not federally. I have yet to fully understand what that will mean in terms of rights that we'll be denied, but I know that the list is pages long.
I promise to protect and shield you and our love from as much of the ignorance and hate as I humanly can. I promise to continue to educate others and to never stop fighting for our equal rights. I want the soul mates of tomorrow to feel unadulterated joy and the freedom to celebrate their love without the cobwebs of discrimination tugging at their heartstrings. I will continue to fight for us and for them. At the end of the day, though, I know that love ultimately defeats hate, and I know that our love is stronger and more resilient than any person, group or even entire country can mess with.