Double Digits

mood: celebrating | drinking: water, for now

bruce_lo_engagement

Exactly ten years ago today, there was a giant blizzard in Chicago that dumped several feet of snow on the city and outlying suburbs. The white stuff fell all day, delaying flights, wreaking havoc on the roads, and turning the whole landscape into a soft white dream.

And at 7pm that night, as the snow continued to drift and fall, Boy and I stood in a candlelit chapel and solemnly said our vows.

Ten years. Sometimes I feel like it’s impossible that so much time could have passed already. But then I think about how many lifetimes we’ve lived in the past decade, and it’s hard to believe that it’s only been ten years.

We’re celebrating tonight with a fancy dinner at a schmancy restaurant overlooking the ocean. And then, in a couple of months, we’ll celebrate more properly with a trip to Prague.

But for today, I’m going to remember the girl I used to be, the girl who stood there in white and pledged her heart forever to a boy. Seriously… look at our engagement picture up there. We were such babies! (Still a gorgeous picture, thanks Patti!)

We’ve done a lot of changing over the past decade, and a lot of growing up. I feel lucky every single day that we’ve changed in the same direction, that we continue to want the same things, to strive for the same goals, to dream complimentary dreams. It’s no small feat, I know.

And we’re going to need all our shared history, all our commitment, all our love, for the next ten years, and the next ten after that. Life never stops changing, stops moving, stops upending your best-laid plans. I couldn’t imagine, on my wedding day, what 2010 would look like, anymore than I can imagine 2020 today.

But we’ve taken it one day at a time, and discovered that’s a good way to live.

I always used to hear couples talk about how they loved each other more and more as the years went by. Standing there in front of all our friends and family who braved the snow (and thanks, again, all of you, for doing that, even if it meant crashing your car in the parking lot to do so *cough*Graeme*cough*), standing up there on that snowy Friday night, I thought I was full of love. But I’ve learned that there’s always room for more, and it’s true… I love Boy so much more now than I did when I put a ring on his finger. He’s become more than my husband. He’s my family.

And it’s not just feelings and hope anymore. We’ve worked on this thing. And that’s why, I think, it’s working.

Apparently anniversaries make you babble… I’m not sure any of this will make any sense to anyone but me. But I wanted to put something down in words, on this day. I wanted to say, “I love this man, and I don’t regret a thing.”

I think the girl who was me all those years ago would be overjoyed to see how well it’s all turning out.

-Lo, ready for ten more.

Change without Choice

Mood: Cloudy | Drinking: Yes

empty

We all knew change was coming.

It was the big slogan, after all.

And I’m not necessarily afraid of or opposed to change. Change is necessary. Inevitable. Good, even.

It’s just that I’d rather be prepared for it. I’d rather ask for it. I’d rather be the one who decides when and where and if and how.

Lately, that’s just not happening.

There have been so many changes already in 2009, changes that I did not want, did not ask for, did not sign my name on a dotted line to say, yes, I am on board with all of this upheaval.

But it’s happening anyway.

For me personally, it began with my grandmother’s death followed immediately by the job layoff last November. But with the perfect vision of hindsight, I now see the rumblings that began long before.

Last summer, even while I was cheerfully ignoring any news of impending doom, my friend Michael was reading the New York Times cover to cover and slouching in our living room shaking his head, saying, “We’re all doomed, sweetheart!”

I chose not to believe him.

But change is the kind of force that requires neither your belief nor your permission. It happens, with or without a by-your-leave, and you find yourself getting swept up and carried along whether you like it or not.

Your only choice becomes to surrender to the current or drown.

So I’m surrendering. I am. It’s too exhausting to fight my way upstream, and there’s nothing left back there for me anyway. But I don’t have to be cheerful about it. Not yet.

I continue to wake up crabby that the job I had for four years, the job I picked out all by myself, is gone — washed away. And the job I now have, though I’m grateful for it, is not a job I would have chosen, if given the choice.

I also would not have chosen to wash my favorite wee silver cell phone in the pocket of my grubby jeans after a long day of yard work on Monday. But since I didn’t stop to think about it (or check the pockets), it got sudsed and rinsed and spun and ruined. And now I have a shiny new blue phone and it’s fine and all, but it’s one more change that I did not choose. And therefore I’m slightly disgruntled.

(The phone, in fact, is what made me think about this whole topic.)

But when I bottom line it for myself, I hit the hard and simple truth that this is just life. This is how it goes.

You don’t get to choose everything that changes you. That’s not how it works. So at some point you begin to learn to make the best of it, to accept the new things graciously, to find the good in the midst of it all and to move on.

I’m working on it.

-Lo, making like a chameleon.


A postscript that has nothing to do with change: February 18th is my wedding anniversary. It’s been nine years today since Boy and I stood in a chapel in the middle of a Midwest snowstorm and exchanged vows. Amazing.

Created Equal

Mood: Convinced | Drinking: Diet Dr. P

hrc

Talking politics gets me in trouble, usually because of my horrid debating skills.

I can’t argue convincingly. I get weepy and incoherent. Arguments make me lose my head entirely and forget my original point. It’s not pretty. Just ask Boy. Or my sister.

So I’m not going to talk politics. Or argue. Or debate the pros and cons.

I’m just going to tell you why I care.

No one can argue with that.

Here in California, we have a hotly contested proposition on the state ballot — Prop 8, which, if passed, will eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry.

The more paranoid proponents of this rights-elimination proposal say that all hell will break loose if the gays are allowed to be normal people with normal rights. Children will be forcibly taught that Todd can have two daddies, churches will be sued, and Armageddon will be ushered in, they say.

I call bullshit.

I voted early this past weekend, and happily checked the box for No on 8. First of all, we shouldn’t be eliminating rights for anybody these days. Least of all the rights for two consenting adults who love each other — and in many cases have been together for decades — to be legally recognized as partners.

Some of my friends were discussing this issue over the weekend, and one of my gay friends put it in very simple terms. He said, “I don’t care as much about being able to get married as I do that the government is telling me I CAN’T get married if I want to.”

Some of my closest friends are gay, and I’m feeling their anxiety very deeply as this election looms nearer. But I also have close friends who believe the Bible tells them that it’s wrong to be gay. They’re not fanatical. They’re not cold-hearted. They are intelligent and compassionate.

But, obviously, I disagree with their interpretation of the Bible.

Is a lesbian couple less legitimate than a heterosexual couple? Is a man less of a citizen simply because he wants to marry another man? Is the love between a woman and a woman or a man and a man any less real than the love between a man and a woman? No! No! No!

A vote for Prop 8 is a vote against equal rights. To me, equal rights ARE a moral issue. And it’s immoral to deny a people equal rights based simply on sexual orientation.

“All men are created equal.” Therefore, all rights should be equal, too.

It’s that simple. And that important. That’s why Boy and I have the Human Rights Campaign‘s symbol of an equal sign stuck to our car. Because we believe in equal rights for all.

After seeing the HRC sticker, my friend Michael said, “You guys are the gayest straight couple I’ve ever known.”

I take it as a compliment.

-Lo isn’t gonna back down.

The Good Wife

forkyouMood: Grumpy
Drinking: Nope

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the whole wife thing. What it means to call yourself a wife. What it means to be one. Not so much because I’m fresh off an anniversary celebration, because I don’t really think of myself as Boy’s “wife.”

Let me shove my foot in my mouth a bit further in an effort to explain…I don’t think Boy and I have a typical all-American marriage. I mean, we’re not out there on the swingers limb or anything truly avant-garde, but I don’t wait at home crocheting doilies and watching the Bold and the Beautiful while he brings home the bacon.

Like most couples today, married or not, we both have a share in the bacon-bringing. And the cooking (him) and cleaning (me). And the budgeting (him) and scheduling (me). And all the other stuff of sharing a life. We make it work together. We are equals. Neither of us is better than or more important than or more powerful than the other.

And maybe it’s because I’m surrounded on all sides by San Francisco (yay!), but I don’t think of myself as “wife” so much as “partner.” I fear I’m making nothing but nonsense, so I’ll leave the word obsession and move on to my pet peeve of the post…

There’s a blog I’ve been reading lately which I really should probably run far away from, because it makes me all cranky and violent, but it’s like crack — conservative christian crazy crack — and I just keep going back for a fresh fix.

The woman who writes this blog is only a few years younger than me, but she lives on a faraway planet in a galaxy that’s light years from this one. Like myself, she grew up going to a conservative christian (baptist) school, but that’s all we have in common. I had fairly liberal, open-minded parents. Her parents were baptists to the core. (Her dad was a pastor. I knew him. He was a big bully.) I graduated and left that school far behind, opting instead for a state university and passport to the real world. She did the good baptist girl thing and went from baptist school to baptist college to baptist camp to baptist husband. She’s so scared of the real world, she can only peek at it through fingers and then run off and repent and bemoan the state of her “deceitful heart” all over the internet.

(Side pet peeve: Isn’t that what diaries are for? Spilling your most intimate secrets to a book with paper pages? A book nobody else gets to read? You know, the ones with the lock and key?)

She’s been writing lately about how she met her husband, and in addition to it being one of the most boring love stories of modern times, it has elements that are so weird, they are freaking my sister and I out. More than once, one of us will read the latest post and then call the other to say, “Can you believe it’s 2007 and people actually think this way?”

An example: This woman writes about her graduation from college and says, “Since I wasn’t dating anyone my senior year, I had NO IDEA what I was going to do after I graduated.” (screaming caps are hers)

I had to read that a few times over to make sure that was really what she said. I had forgotten that people in that world, the fundamentalist baptist world, actually think like that. The girls go to college for the express purpose of finding a husband. Their mothers and grandmothers and all the ladies back at the church pray every day that little Curlieque will find her mate, a good-God-fearing-christian-boy, preferably a preacher or missionary, somewhere in Bible-Believing Baptist Collegeland (the coveted MRS degree). And then she can finally fulfill her purpose for being on this earth by being a good wife, a “helpmeet” for the all-important male.

Not that there’s anything wrong with meeting your man in college and getting married, but most people go to college for a career, or at the very least, an education. How is it possible that a woman in this country can still measure her success by her marriagiability and then lose her shit before graduation because, even though she has a degree, she isn’t married, or *gasp* isn’t even dating! What — you can’t go out and get a job? You have to wait to have a husband to tell you what to do? But I digress…

The rest of her story goes on to describe her meeting her future husband while working at a christian camp and how they used to hang out at WalMart with a chaperone and how he wouldn’t talk to her until she finished her camp-prescribed Bible-memorization project and how he asked her parents’ permission to date her and told her that if her parents said no, he would never speak to her again.

It all just seems so quaint and so completely insane.

Especially when you consider that she had to be at least 21 when all of this stuff was happening. I mean, this is a girl who counts swear words in movies (The Guardian has 15), making special note of those that “take the Lord’s name in vain.” This is a woman, a nearly-30-year-old woman, who gets excited when her husband gives her 20 bucks to buy stamps for her craft projects, even though she has a full-time job (and paycheck) of her own.

I know I don’t know the whole story (although her blog seems to take care in recording every single last detail), and I know I just got back from a weekend of telling everybody who would listen to stop judging and just love each other. So — pot, kettle, and all that.

But really, it’s 2007! If your idea of a hot date is a stroll through the soulless aisles of WalMart, past the polyester sweatshop merchandise, wearing your best denim knee-length skirt, keeping at least six inches between you and your husband-to-be while a watchful chaperone dogs your every step, well, I’m sorry, but you’re a little off your nut!

I certainly don’t think everyone has to live their lives the way I would live. I have lots of friends who are all over the map with their relationships, their marriages, their lifestyles, and I’m all for lots of variety and people figuring out what works for them and what makes them happy. But come on — it’s got to be unhealthy to live a life of such repression and fear, to second guess every thought that’s not quite pure, to do things only when your husband gives you leave because “he is the spiritual head of the household”, and to beat yourself up for your imperfections by saying things like, “I’m trying to be a good wife, but it’s hard when I’m so selfish and lazy!”

The only explanation I can give for my addiction to reading this woman’s blog is that it’s like watching a Discovery channel special about an exotic tribe in a remote jungle who run about totally naked save for the gigantic clay plates stuck into their lower lips. It’s completely fascinating and utterly mystifying. I mean, I know the super-fundamentalist baptist church I went to when I was a kid still exists, and I even know who some of its current members are. But since I have removed myself so far from that world, and since I have proven myself to be such a black sheep to them that none of them would ever befriend me (unless they were trying to save me), this girl’s blog is a window inside these people’s world.

No wonder our country is in the state it’s in when there are people out there who still think the 1940s were the best of times.

So yes, this post is completely judgmental and very likely hypocritical and features a photo of forks for no good reason, but that’s what’s on my mind today, so that’s what you get. Enjoy!

-Lo, whose favorite Tori lyric used to be, “I wanna smash the faces of those beautiful boys, those Christian boys…”