A few weeks ago I hosted a super informal and unscientific experiment on my Facebook page. I asked my friends, “when you and your partner are out to dinner (without kids) and it comes time for the check, how often does the server ask if this will be on separate checks or all together?”
My answer: every single time. Continue reading “Will This Be Together or Separate?”→
This week has been incredible. I just wanted to pop in with a few sundry thoughts that I’ve had since my last post.
The way you’ve all come along side me in the past few days is incredible. I don’t think I understood the joy that I was subjecting myself to when I came out to you all on Monday. I knew that I was opening myself up to criticism. I knew that some people would say, “you go girl” (which is one of my least favorite phrases). I thought that was as far as it would go. But I was selling you short. I didn’t get either of these responses. There are a few people who have been notably silent and while that is not lost on me, I’m okay. Because for the most part, since Monday I have been getting texts, comments on Facebook and Instagram, direct messages, two emails and a partridge in a pear tree. And you’re pouring your heart out to me and I’m just so humbled. And grateful.
Grateful for this community and grateful that I listened to the drumming in my heart that told me that it was time to say something. Time to put words to this. Time to shine light. I’ve gotten so many messages that say, “me too.” Some of you only recently discovered a new part of yourself. Some of you have known your whole lives. A lot of you have been living with secrets. But I’m so glad you’ve told me. I’m so friggin’ glad you told me. It’s been a bit of a lonely summer (albeit an exciting and life-giving one) in this regard. I thought I’d maybe hear from one person who said they could relate to what I’d said. I didn’t expect a dozen. So, thank you.
I know that some of you still don’t really know what to say when someone comes out to you–and that’s okay. We’re all in a perpetual state of learning. I want to share with you something that a friend of mine wrote on Facebook a few days ago:
How to respond when someone comes out to you (from someone who has come out):
1. Make sure the first words you respond with are I love you. Full stop. No buts. Say it first, say it last, and keep saying it. Coming out feels like standing there with no skin on and begging someone not to slap you. Give them some skin back by making sure they know you care. If they’re trusting you with this information, it is clear you’re someone they care about. Honor that.
2. I know this is going to be hard to believe, but you don’t have to tell us how you feel about homosexuality. We know what you think, we’ve been listening to you. Having you reiterate it to us is not going to change who we are, and in that moment it only drives a wedge between us. We aren’t telling you because we want to convince you of something different. We are telling you about this important piece of who we are because we love you. Keep this in mind.
3. It’s okay to say that you don’t understand. It’s okay to say you don’t know what you think or feel. I’s okay to tell us how uncomfortable you are. This is where the I love yous come in handy. Use them a lot, sprinkle them between the I don’t know what to says.
4. It’s okay to ask questions. We probably are hoping you will. There’s likely a whole lot that we don’t have answers to, but we can tell you that. Ask us how we are holding up, how we feel right now. Be open and listen well. Hearing us out makes you a caring person, it doesn’t mean you agree with everything we say.
5. Check in on us! This is likely the most emotionally exhausting experience of our lifetime. Even if we are met with only love and support, we could still use more (we all can!). It takes a lot of energy to interact with everyone’s emotions in response to this truth about ourselves. It takes a lot of energy to stay present in our own emotions and processing. It takes a lot of energy for all of us to just live whole-hearted healthy lives. Let’s support each other while we do that.
And finally, for fun, I put together a playlist of all the girl-songs I’ve had crushes on throughout my life. It’s on Spotify–it’s public and collaborative so add your own!
I love you and I’m grateful for your love.
September of 2011:
We’d been doing this back and forth with, “I like you, do you like me?” for most of the summer. To make a very long story deceptively short, one day, he came to my apartment in the middle of the day and told me that he wanted me to be his girlfriend. I could feel a pair of invisible hands on my shoulders holding me–as if to say “I know this feels like a perfectly ordinary day but everything is changing right now so let this sink in.” I took my time. I listened to every word he said. I was cautious with the words I said as I was telling him “of course”. Band of Horses was playing in the background and I still feel a pull in my heart when I hear Marry Song.
There was nothing hasty in our deciding to team up–any one of our friends can tell you that. But I’m glad that it took so long. If there was one thing that I knew about Ryan by then, it was that he never did anything that he didn’t really want to do. He doesn’t exactly bend to obligation very easily. And while, at times, that can be challenging–in our early days, this knowledge was my savior.
Summer of 2013:
We started moving all of his stuff into my apartment. We were lucky to meet and fall in love while living as neighbors. It’s a lot easier to move in, that way.
We didn’t have a porch, but we did have a rickety, old, wooden staircase that made everyone except for us nervous. He’d make us gin and tonics and sit behind me on the steps and kiss the top of my head.
I used to hate summer time. I’d melt and whine and complain in the dry, hot winds of Kansas. But something about loving Ryan made me really enjoy the way it felt to experience my body in the summertime. I didn’t run away from it–the way it looked, the way that it operated, the way that it would sweat. I just started wearing shorts and tank tops and moving around in the heat. Ryan made me love summer–which is great because now I love all of the seasons and there’s no part of the year that I despise. Ryan made me love every single day.
We started talking about how maybe we’d want to get married. One day he suggested that we go to Wichita and go look for a ring at antique stores. We both, erroneously, thought this would be a good idea. It wasn’t. It was overwhelming and fruitless. And I had a panic attack on the way there because of the reality of it all. The pressure was strong. He just pulled the car over and held my hand and told me how much he adored me and we can buy a ring today or not buy a ring today and either way it didn’t matter because we’re together forever no matter what anyway.
We didn’t get a ring. But I did learn something about myself–turns out I did want a diamond after all. I thought I could be this cool girl with a pearl or a ruby or something. But the minute there was a sparkly diamond on my hand I was like, “Oh wait! Look at that! I didn’t actually know myself at all. I want one of these!”
A few days later, I mentioned that we could try shopping for rings again sometime and he was all, “Oh, actually…” So I didn’t press it, understanding he’d bought one in secret.
But guess what. A few months afterward, he still hadn’t proposed. Have you ever been in this situation? When you know that your person is going to propose but they haven’t yet and every time you have a vaguely romantic moment you get yourself all amped up, like, “This is it!” followed by, “Oh… maybe this wasn’t it?” It’s exhausting!
Finally, one night during dinner time and I just told him how hard it is to be in this position. I just would love it if he’d just put me out of my misery. He argued–saying that he needed a beautiful, romantic, grand gesture. He just needed to think of something. I explained that while I appreciated that, I’m not really a grand gesture type of person. I think everyday life is the most romantic. By now we were not quite fighting–I wouldn’t let it go that far because I was already feeling like quite an asshole for bringing up the subject in the first place. He wasn’t believing me.
“You’re telling me,” he said, “that you would want me to just pop down on one knee, one day, and propose to you right here in the living room?!”
“Yes! Oh my God, that would be the greatest! I would love that.”
“So you’re telling me,” he nearly shouted at me, “that you want me to walk over here to this little drawer…”
Me: *confused face*
“and open it and pull out this little ring box…”
Me: *shocked and confused face, still holding my dinner plate btw*
“and open it and tell you how much I love you and ask you to marry me?”
“Um… yes? I would like it if you would do that.”
“Will you marry me?”
“Are we doing this right now?”
“Are we really doing this right now as I hold a plate of chicken fried steak?!”
“Yeah.” He looked so happy and he was tearing up so I knew this wasn’t a cruel joke. “Will you marry me?”
May 16, 2015:
It rained all that week and all day and our plans for an all-day, outdoor, music-festival/ yard-game wedding were basically ruined. It’s taken two years but I’m finally past the bitterness of not getting the wedding I’d planned. I can see it for what it was–adaptation. Insanely romantic adaptation. What ended up happening was that we got married very quickly under a tent that was flooding, ate very quickly under a tent that was flooding, and everyone left very quickly from under the tent that had flooded because their cars were all getting stuck in the mud.
In the end, it wasn’t really that bad because we got all that we wanted. We got married. We walked one another down the aisle to a really beautiful Copeland song. We had our families and our best friends all around. We had my mom’s cinnamon rolls. More than anything else–I still can’t believe that we had friends who stuck around afterwards and cleaned it all up for us. This is the part that still gets me choked up when I think about it. All that hard work. In a thunderstorm.
We didn’t take a proper honeymoon–which was one of the smartest decisions we made, I think. We got a beautiful hotel in Wichita and slept for three days and two nights. We arrived in our soaked wedding clothes. I felt like a child in a costume. The next morning, I woke up and wrote down everything I could possibly remember about our wedding day. I wrote 15 pages, taking note of every single tiny detail I could possibly remember.
Ryan… it feels like you came up to my apartment just last week. But at the same time, it feels like you married me a century ago. It’s forever and it’s hardly any time at all. I don’t know how we keep making it through in this bizarre time warp but I’ll go through every single twist and turn if it means that I get to hold onto your sturdy hands throughout it all.
I love you.
“She just got married and decided to quit her job and stay home? Must be nice.”
“She doesn’t even have any kids to take care of, who does she think she is?”
“I thought she was a feminist…”
The side eyes. The sneers. For months, it was more than I could take.
And the worst part of it all is that I was doing it to myself. No one said those things to me. I don’t know if they even thought them. Truth be told, there wasn’t one person that I talked to who, when they heard what I was doing, said anything other than, “that’s awesome! I’m so excited for you!” Continue reading “The Hardest Part”→
I was in Kansas City twice this month. Both for very quick, but nourishing, trips. I feel blessed to have several friends who still live there and welcome us with the most open arms. Kansas City is the most incredible city I’ve ever known. And maybe it’s because I’ve lived there and maybe it’s because it’s probably the city with which I am most familiar but I think that it really is just because Kansas City is phenomenal. Kansas City loves itself and holds itself as dearly as I do.