A Day to Celebrate!
April 9, 2017
Today, I celebrate my marriage with my Florida friends and family. This is a day celebrating not only my marriage but the marriage of every diverse couple now married—from famous couples now able to come out of the closet to the guys next door who had to live in separate homes to protect themselves from getting fired from their jobs.
My husband and I (still getting used to saying those words) decided to do the celebration in two parts: once in Florida, then a month after in Nashville, where the majority of my friends live. Besides the feelings of joy, I cannot help thinking about how long I have waited to be able to feel as if I have the same rights as every straight person, or person pretending to be straight. It’s an honor, privilege, and a victory that has taken my entire lifetime to see and to finally experience.
Forty-five years ago, I remember a time when I was curious about what gay meant. I looked in the only book I could find that would dare to define it: The Joy of Sex. The definition of gay went something like this, as it is no longer in print and has retracted all of its old, negative and unrealistic ideas about homosexuality: “Homosexuals often meet in mall restrooms, passing notes to each other under the stalls to meet and then have sex in the stall.” Again, I apologize for not getting the words perfectly, but this is what my young mind took from the definition from that book.
At 16, I decided to see if I could meet one of these “homosexuals.” I got to the restroom, my heart pounding in my throat. Each step I took forward felt as if I wanted to run ten steps away. Yet, I needed to know who I was and what I felt inside so badly that I proceeded.
I sat in the stall with my pants down, as the book said and waited. Indeed, someone did put his hand under the stall. I thought to myself, I don’t even know what this guy looks like. Am I supposed to be attracted to him simply because he’s gay, like me?
The man in the next stall made a few grunting sounds and pushed his foot under the stall to touch mine. That’s when I decided to get the hell out of there. As I pulled my pants up, I guess the guy thought I wanted to go somewhere with him. Out from the stall next to mine appeared a very disheveled, old man with a few teeth and looking as if he had crawled out from a cave. He grinned. I felt vomit in the back of my throat as I literally ran for my car.
For the next year, I would not even think about being gay. It would never be a choice for me, if what I experienced in that stall was what gay was.
Fortunately, for me, I had gotten a scholarship to the Governor’s School for the Performing Arts the next year, when I was in 11th grade, which gave me a more realistic view of what gay was. I met not just one, but about 20 guys that could help me destroy the old images in my head about what I was, so that I could rebuild a healthier image of myself and the word gay for the years to come.
So, we come to this day. After so many failed attempts at a lasting relationship—some wonderful for a long time, some rather horrible from beginning to end—I stand next to the man who looks at me in my eyes and says, “I’ll never leave your side. I’ll love you until the day you die. You’re my best friend, my love, my soulmate!”
The transparency that is between us is beyond any definition of “gay” relationship. What we have is simply a sound relationship, built on love, truth, and a mutual respect for all things, including spirituality and artistic expression.
Today I celebrate the man with whom I have chosen to spend the rest of my life, David Menton. He is my love, my best friend, my spiritual guide, my helpmate, my support system, my security blanket, and my partner in the truest sense of the word.
I quote Kahlil Gibran today on Marriage:
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.
GIVING AND RECEIVING IN LIFE IS OFTEN DIFFICULT. I have been giving from my heart about 2-3 hours a day for 7 years to create advice–spirit, mind and body for millions of readers. Recently, I have been led to ask people to give back as a way for me to learn how to receive.
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