tap. tap. tap. Hey, is this thing on?
I feel that at least a short summary on all the things that have been going on is long over due.
By October of last year work became intolerable to the point of triggering my PTSD and my Mother flat out told me that she didn't want to work with me/us to live together or even have a relationship with me. In early November 2013, as I was trying to put on Ignite Portland, Mother pulled the granddaddy of all tantrums in order to get her own way and strike out in one massively hostile, abusive, dangerous action. And I? Well, I just had to stop and was encouraged by HR to go on short-term disability.
I was granted the benefits for two months, but instead of personal recovery I had a couple of frantic months where I was still dealing with Mom's stuff and hostile behavior. I also frantically looked for another job. Then day came where I was supposed to go back to work and I really just kind of halted, the human equivalent of a core dump. My health care providers told me to stop all of it and sleep, take walks with the dog, make art, read and take lots of hot baths. There's new medications too, which have helped me to start sleeping again and keep my PTSD at a more manageable level. I have also officially left my position at my old company.
So I run errands during the weekdays and have been working on organizing more things around the house. Spending a couple of years constantly dealing with my Mother's stuff has had me taking quite a few trips to Goodwill to get rid of things I realize I no longer use, read, wear, etc. A friend of mine and I created two new flower beds in our yard last month, one in the back and the other right outside the front door. I love that whenever arriving home or leaving, the first thing we see now are flowers.
My health care providers remind me that I am doing the necessary work of healing after years of exhausting work from being on-call for so many years and the even harder work of healing the wounds from the abusive relationship with my Mother. Lately there's been more good days than bad, which helps me feel like there's "progress".
Still, there are days were I find it hard to get myself to leave the house. Seeing old co-workers causes panic attacks. News or contact by my Mother causes a week of nightmares and days-long anxiety. Finding yet another box of her hoarded, expired medication exhausts me. I'm told that the level of breakdown and extreme exhaustion I was at in December was pretty severe and recovery may take a long while. I have been strongly encouraged to "retire" early from high tech positions and instead teach yoga and start selling my artwork.
If I were to be hoping to return to tech, my doctor has said that she would consider releasing me to that kind of work until January at the earliest. However, my care providers have enthusiastically released me to start teaching occasional yoga classes. I'm going to be trying to get on the substitute teacher list at some of the community centers, athletic clubs, and yoga centers.
I also am now legally married to CK, which is amazing and wonderful. In early June Oregon's ban on same-sex marriage was overturned and we got our license within hours of the legal ruling. On June 14th we were legally wed in our backyard with a few close friends, CK's Mom & Step-dad, and sister were in attendance.
I've been adding a few new recipes to Vegan Nosh. I love that my food photography has improved so much from the class CK and I took together last year. I've found a linoleum block carving class the day before my birthday and have broadly hinted to CK that I'd love us to go together.
This weekend I will be attempting to spend some time at the World Domination Summit. Ticket was bought a year ago, when spending a crowded weekend with a few thousand people sounded fun. Giving myself permission to just go for the things I want to go to.
I find myself making a point to use the word "wife" when referring to CK. It still can be scary.
I've written before about what I feel is the need to normalize these words as applying to marriages, regardless of the genders of those who have wed. I've found it can be a good type of social litmus test. A way to screen people and environments for how welcomed we'll feel.
Other times I've carefully avoided it. Sticking with non-gendered words like "spouse". Granted, then the immediate assumption is that I'm talking about my husband, but sometimes it doesn't feel safe until I've more input to go on. A moment of safety to offset fear that we'll be denied services because we're queer.
We've been interviewing new service providers. I corrected a person we were considering for helping with house cleaning every other week. Pointing out to this person that I hadn't said "partner", I'd said "wife" and that it is important. There was a pause and the person responded, "You're right, it is important. Your wife..."
Last Sunday I stood up in front of a group of complete strangers with CK at my side and introduced her as my wife, despite the sound of my heart pounding in my ears. We've found that we're very close to a Unitarian fellowship community in our new neighborhood, walking distance even. Newcomers were invited to stand up and introduce themselves to everyone.
We had that near-silent, small-gestured, nuanced-look kind of conversation ahead of this moment. Were we going to stand up? OK. Who was going to introduce us? Me.
So there we were standing. I'm sure none of the other couples, all heterosexual, had any kind of struggle about how to do the introduction beyond the awkwardness of standing up . Women introduced themselves and their husbands. A man introduced himself and his wife.
We were last. I took a deep breath, looked around, looked sidewise at CK, and introduced myself and my wife.
In those quick moments until it came to us I just decided I'd just do it. I'd step off proudly into sunlight, not looking back.*
I'd call CK my wife in front of all those strangers. I figured we were checking them out as a spiritual community and there was no time lime the present to decide if we'd be welcomed. I just didn't want to discover after my heart was more engaged that they really didn't include us, that they just accommodated, tolerated our presence.
Later a couple of different people commented to either or both of us that they were impressed with how brave and inspiring it was.
Here's the thing that kind of bugs me. It is really lovely that those people told us that they thought I'd done something courageous and that they were grateful for it.
What sticks with me is that it shouldn't have to be something worthy of notice. I shouldn't have that moment of fear every time I call CK my wife in a new, public setting. It should only be a joyful reminder of the commitment I've made to the woman I love, not feeling like I'm leaping off into potential danger every time.
I guess that's why I keep saying it.
Not out of the hope that I'll get used to the dizzying feeling of the fear, but that it will become normal.
Not my Gay Wife. Just, Wife.
Not Gay Marriage. Just, Marriage.
*Here's the rest of bit of Rumi I'd referenced in this post. This small bit of poetry is rather a kind of koan that found me. One of my old Zen teachers said sometimes it happens that way with koans. I think I may be noodling with this one for many years to come.
proudly into sunlight,
not looking back.
Take sips of this pure wine being poured.
Don’t mind that you’ve been given a dirty cup.
I spend most of my time working on the "dirty cup" in this poem, but sometimes, like using the word "wife" is all about the practice of stepping off proudly into sunlight, not looking back.
My wife has had her life threatened on the internet. (trigger warning on that link)
Yes, really. It happened Friday, while she was away at Grace Hopper.
I haven't really said much about it yet because it has upset me so much. Perhaps more so because I was alone, on the opposite coast, and feeling especially helpless. However, she's been home for a day now and I'm still really very upset over it.
This has been a hell of a year for CK at her new job. She's tried to exceed expectations despite all the stuff happening with my Mom, not to mention the stress that has put on me, making me less available to help her out. She's succeeded too despite a hostile work environment.
I want to call attention to the hostile work environment expressly. This death threat starts back in March with CK logging into work and as part of her everyday job activities, coming across a blog post from a community member, a contract employee* at her company, asking for support to keep "traditional marriage" safe from people like us.
To restate, in case anyone missed it: CK started a day at her job by viewing, on a web site hosted by her company, which is part of her job to keep current on, a post stating that very nature of our desire for marriage equality makes us a threat to this man's way of life and expression of his faith.
Her company didn't act on this in a timely fashion and didn't already have in place a code of conduct for community members. Clearly time was being given to think through the response the company would make, but there was a very long stretch without updates from leadership. CK drew attention to her company's lack of response to her having to face a hostile work environment on her blog, following up a post she'd written about the start of the situation.
Bringing attention to this lack of action garnered a threatening comment from another co-worker letting her know that she and another queer co-worker weren't welcome at the company.
Her company eventually responded, again taking rather a long time, and the person has been reprimanded, but without being revealed publicly. I've seen the person's apology email and I feel the person spent far too much time excusing threatening behavior than actually owning the gravity of their actions and making amends for it.
In response to the whole situation CK wrote a post about the importance of accountability in communities and for this post she's received a death threat via the comments to her blog.
I really don't have a lot to contribute other than to draw attention to the fact that my wife has had to face a hostile work environment. Because she's refused to ignore it and because she's taken steps to document the broken community and processes at her company she's had her life threatened.
Think about my wife, and think about the rights we're denied because we're queer. Think about the violence we're threatened with if we speak out.
Next time you say that the open source community is free of sexism** and homophobia, is filled with people of such good standing there's no need for codes of conduct, and that fostering a culture based upon respect is unnecessary because everyone is just so awesome and smart... take a moment reflect upon the fact my wife, a recognized leader in the open source community, has received a death threat for refusing to just keep quiet over the hostile environment in her workplace, an open source company.
*This man has actually been made a full-time employee since this all started.
**Not to mention a whole lot of other -isms against other under-represented minorities.
I never thought of the words "wife", "wedding" or "marriage" as terribly political or radical until CK and I celebrated our wedding and met our lack of marriage rights head on.
Since our marriage last September I've been using the word "wife" to refer to CK. I mean, she is the woman I'm married to, so it doesn't seem really far-fetched at all. There's a part of me that doesn't think much about it at all.
Why should I think twice about referring to the woman I married as my wife?
Then there's the rest of the time when I'm aware of just how political using the word "wife" to describe my female partner is. It is in the reaction I get from people, ranging from delight to confusion to disapproval, that I'm reminded that we've done something that is still considered very political.
I bridle at the suggestion that we had a "commitment ceremony". That phrase strikes me as just as dismissive of our relationship as "domestic partnership". Really all marriages are ceremonies of commitment, but we don't call them that. We call them wedding ceremonies and currently people have a tendency to categorize a wedding as something only heterosexual couples have.
When I refer to our wedding ceremony and our marriage I am often asked where we went. Our home state voted in a constitutional amendment defining marriage as being something only allowed to heterosexual couples. Invariably I will be asked about marriage being legal in Oregon when I say that we held our wedding in the bandstand in a park near our home, "But I thought you couldn't marry legally in Oregon?"
And that is sadly correct. We cannot be legally married in Oregon, however, that doesn't mean that to us and to the gathered witnesses there that day, that what we celebrated was any else but our wedding. We often clarify that we were lovingly wed since we cannot currently be legally wed. Eventually the legality of the situation will catch up with what we know we celebrated with 70+ of our close friends and family.
We didn't invite our loved ones to our "Registration", we invited them to our wedding. We've never said happily that we were "Just Registered", we have instead told people we are newly wed. Quite honestly, I don't even recall the actual day we officially registered as domestic partners. It is easy to track down, I know we both made comments on Twitter about it. It isn't as important as the day we were wed, that's the anniversary we will celebrate.
I love thinking of CK as my wife, using that word to describe both myself and her. Each time I use that word I am reminded of the vows we made to one another, of our beautiful wedding day, and of our love for one another. I imagine this isn't so very different from a heterosexual couple referring to their spouse as "wife" or "husband".
I reject words like "partner" and "commitment ceremony". Those words do not apply to the marriage shared by my wife and I. If I say "wife" to someone and they respond back in calling CK my "partner", I will compassionately, but firmly correct that person. I find myself having to remind people that what CK and I have is a marriage, regardless of it being legally recognized by our state or country.
In rejecting those words I seek to normalize the idea that words like "wife", "spouse", and "marriage" should not be restricted to heterosexuals. When someone calls our marriage a "registered domestic partnership", calls my wife my "partner", or refers to our wedding as a "commitment ceremony", it hurts, it is disrespectful, and feels as though the speaker seeks to diminish the importance of our union.
As a further reminder about how same-sex couples feel about having their marriages legally recognized, check out some photos from recent marriages taking place in New York.
The entire time we've been working toward our ceremony CK and I have known that we wanted to include the first five Grave Precepts. Both of us have spent a lot of time with these vows. We've each written about them and have taken them in a public ceremony with our community (sangha), friends and family present. At those times we looked at how these vows informed our own personal practice.
Including these vows as part of our marriage ceremony would reaffirm the most basic of the vows of our Buddhist practice together. Ultimately we sat down with several translations of these vows to write ones that we felt truly reflected the practice we share together in marriage. Of the many wordings we looked at, we were strongly influenced by the vows we both have taken within our Zen community, the writing on the precepts by the late John Daido Loori Roshi, and the interpretation of the precepts by Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Naht Hahn.
During the ceremony we each recited the following vows to one another:
- In the practice of our marriage, I vow to affirm, cherish and protect the lives of all sentient beings.
- In the practice of our marriage, I vow to be generous with my time, energy and material resources and to take only what is freely given.
- In the practice of our marriage, I vow to be aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct and to cultivate my responsibility to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families and society.
- In the practice of our marriage, I vow to manifest truth, to cultivate loving speech and deep listening. I will refrain from using words of discord and will make every attempt to resolve conflict, great and small.
- In the practice of our marriage, I vow to cultivate good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming.
We each then wrote our own vows we were taking in our marriage. After reciting our own writing of the first five Grave Precepts we then gave our own vows. Here are mine to CK:
I will always remember seeing you on the first day of 2008. It was merely the third time I had seen you in person, but in the bright light of early afternoon I suddenly knew with certainty that my life was about to change in a significant way.
So it did, and here we are today in front of friends and relations. All of us gathered to honor the power of publicly taking vows to love, honor and cherish one another. It has been a mad dash to get to this dazzling finish, complete with unexpected news, arguments, wild passion, laughter, and tears. I’m told this is perfectly ordinary even though it feels to me rather extraordinary.
In addition to the precepts, which I have vowed to make a fundamental part of the practice of my marriage with you, I offer these vows from my heart:
- I vow to nurture unbridled joy in equal measure with gravitas.
- I vow to great each day with loving-kindness.
- I vow to nourish my health so that we may explore many more years together.
- I vow to create art, write, sing and cultivate playfulness together with you.
- I vow to admit when I am wrong.
- I vow to offer you cheer, humor, deep listening, and wise counsel. Whenever needed.
- I vow to challenge myself and you so we continue to grow fully into who we can be.
- I vow to read you poetry.
For my birthday last year you gave me a collection of Rumi’s poetry translated by Coleman Barks; an edition I did not have. It had been an amazing day spent celebrating my birthday and you fell asleep early. I stayed awake longer to read poems and enjoy my cake. One poem in particular really caught me; I knew I wanted to say some of the words from it to you at our wedding. Although I feel rather presumptuous playing with Rumi’s words, I do so as an act of love and from a deep honoring of the original poem, “The Self We Share”. These words especially speak to me of you and of this moment when written in this way:
The Prayer of Each
You are the source of my life.
You separate essence from mud.
You honor my soul.
You bring rivers from the mountain springs.
You brighten my eyes.
The wine you offer takes me out of myself into the self we share.
Doing that is religion.
I am a prayer.
You're the amen.
My dearest Sherri: You are one of the most generous, compassionate and courageous spirits I have ever met. From the beginning, you opened your heart wide to me and while cautious at first, I have learned to take great refuge in your presence.
In addition the precepts we have already shared, I offer a few of my own vows:
Because our life together will not always be easy, I vow to meet challenges in our relationship with a sense of compassion and adventure.
Because our family is but one piece in a very large puzzle. I vow to live a life of service to you, to our marriage and to our community.
Because while love is not scarce, many resources are, I vow to make sure you always have the things you need most such as food, water, shelter and art supplies. I vow to utilize our resources wisely.
Because I want to spend the most amount of time possible with you and grow old together, I vow to care for my body and mind.
Because play is just as important as work, I vow to cultivate playfulness, laughter and lightness in our relationship.
Because what I was hiding, deep inside, you brought out into the light, and even thought it is terrifying at times, I vow to stand bravely in the light of your love.
My dearest Sherri, You are the first person who made me truly feel loved. I look forward to sharing a life of practice with you and I am truly honored that you are making this commitment with me here today, in front of our friends and family.
When we exchanged our stunning, one-of-a-kind wedding rings, handmade by local artist Barbara Covey, we each said the following words to one another:
May our marriage be nurturing, intimate and supportive throughout the years. May our marriage be a refuge to us as we cultivate kindness and compassion toward all sentient beings. I give you this ring as a symbol of my vows and commitment to you with body, speech and mind. In this life, in every situation, in wealth or poverty, in health or sickness, in happiness or difficulty.
There's been so much going on, joyful (our wedding) and hard (Mom being in the hospital and missing our wedding) that sitting down to write has been a far lower priority. I'll be getting back to it more since there's been a lot I've wanted to write about, but for now my return to posting is to share the three poems we had read during our wedding ceremony.
Oh, and a great picture taken by a friend after the ceremony!
CK's mother read this poem:
I Want Both of Us
I want both of us
To start talking about this great love
As if you, I, and the Sun were all married
And living in a tiny room,
Helping each other to cook,
Do the wash,
Weave and sew,
Care for our beautiful
We all leave each morning
To labor on the earth’s field.
No one does not lift a great pack.
I want both of us to start singing like two
About this extraordinary existence
You, I, and God were all married
And living in
One of the Zen priests, a dear friend and inspiration to our practice, read this:
Entering the Shell
Love is alive, and someone borne
along by it is more alive than lions
roaring or men in their fierce courage.
Bandits ambush others on the road.
They get wealth, but they stay in one
place. Lovers keep moving, never
the same, not for a second! What
makes others grieve, they enjoy!
When they look angry, don’t believe
their faces. It’s spring lightning,
a joke before the rain. They chew
thorns thoughtfully along with pasture
grass. Gazelle and lioness, having
dinner. Love is invisible except
here, in us. Sometimes I praise love;
sometimes love praises me. Love,
a little shell somewhere on the ocean
floor, opens its mouth. You and I
and we, those imaginary beings, enter
that shell as a single sip of seawater.
Another friend from our Zen community read this:
The Plum Trees
by Mary Oliver
Such richness flowing
through the branches of summer and into
the body, carried inward on the five
rivers! Disorder and astonishment
rattle your thoughts and your heart
cries for rest but don't
succumb, there's nothing
so sensible as sensual inundation. Joy
is a taste before
it's anything else, and the body
can lounge for hours devouring
the important moments. Listen,
the only way
to tempt happiness into your mind is by taking it
into the body first, like small
As I navigated the best decision around my date to leave work CK and I looked carefully into the question of health insurance. Ideally it would have been great to stay at work until May, I'd have had time to wrap up some projects neatly. If I left at the end of February I'd be part of a federal subsidy to pay %65 of my COBRA costs.
What stopped us was not only the expense of covering me under CK's work-sponsored health insurance plan, but the hard fact that if we opted to choose that plan the employer-paid part would be considered taxable income for her federal taxes. So many people seem to be unaware of this tax burden. When I tell them about this they are surprised and point out that I'm her partner.
Partner. Not spouse. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) makes it painfully clear that a domestic partner is not a spouse. Since I can't be a spouse I'm not entitled to a long list of spousal privileges that come with recognized marriage. Not being taxed for an employers portion of health insurance is on that list.
In Oregon we have the option of registering as domestic partners which affords us some privileges within our home state. Thanks to DOMA none of the privileges afforded to us in Oregon are required to be recognized by any other state. Thanks to Oregon's very own voters, including many in Multnomah county were we live, the State constitution was amended to declare marriage as being restricted to a single man and a single woman. Constitutionally making it clear that while we may be partners, we're not allowed to be married.
Many of my loving, wonderful friends remind me that it doesn't mean we can't get married. We can have the most beautiful ceremony possible. It will be filled with friends, family, delicious vegan food, and wonderful music. It can be just as good, no matter the legality of it.
Unfortunately I'm really very painfully stuck on the legality of it. I find myself struggling with the conflicting information that while this very body may well be the body of a Buddha and this land the Pure Lotus Land, a majority of the citizens of this world believe that I am not entitled to the same rights and privileges as anyone else. I'm welcome to what mostly unaffected heterosexuals have decided, at times very grudgingly, is "just as good" as civil marriage.
Why does "just as good" smack of the old "separate but equal" party-line?
Domestic partnership is not the same as civil marriage. It isn't. Yes, we can exchange vows in front of our friends and family. We can make a public commitment of our intention to practice and share together a wholehearted life. We can have a gorgeous reception filled with joy and dancing. It will be wonderful when it happens. I will most assuredly cry.
But at the end of the day we will not sign a marriage certificate. We will not have the same rights as the married, heterosexual couples who wish us well. It will not be fully equal.
Mom was in and now back out of the hospital again over the weekend. Has made for some rather up & down energy for me. I reminded myself, as Hogen has so often reminded me, that at least this is a stress I'm rather adept at dealing with. Mom's been sick that majority of my life. I've been to so many doctor's appointments and into so many hospitals over the years. It never is comfortable, but the knot of anxiety in my throat is familiar, known.
Sunday night we went up to visit her after having been out at Great Vow all day for service, a Jukai ceremony, lunch, and CK met with DT. It was a very long day and we were a bit tired up at the hospital. Mom's pastor and his wife showed up to visit her. I am uncomfortable around him, perhaps even more so these days. He represents a stress that is more new, but it brings up old, familiar pain.
During Mom's wedding ceremony a few years ago her pastor made a point to include his opinion on marriage. As we all stood there, I was Mom's maid of honor, her pastor went on about the importance of marriage being between a man and a woman. It brought pain to the entire day for me.
Right now with the trail of Proposition 8 in California I feel even more sensitive to this issue. Sitting there on Sunday with the person I love, but am constitutionally barred from marrying, I was aware of anger and dislike arising. These stress emotions take me right back to childhood feelings of not fitting in, not being wanted. Old stress, new triggers.
When I am around this man I try to stay polite, not giving rise to the anger I feel around this man, just watching it inside of me. I also try to focus on the compassion and concern he shows my Mom. In some ways it is more confounding and painful that this compassionate, loving person is so wrapped up in his own fear and judgment that he vehemently denies CK and I the right to the same benefits he enjoys.
I don't linger too long in my Mom's decision to stay with this congregation despite knowing how they feel about me and my partner. I know she's made a point to tell many people, including the pastor, that they are being narrow-minded, yet still some hurt arises for me that she continues to share spiritual practice with these people. I can feel the angry hurt of a child who feels abandoned, betrayed arise in this.
These feelings make this one of those times when I recognize that the most important thing I can do is Metta practice, to offer loving-kindness to myself and to CK. If all I can do is be polite to him and mindful of the need to offer love to the hurt I feel, then that is OK. When it doesn't hurt quite as keenly I can even try to offer him loving-kindness in hopes that if he is freed from his fear he won't feel the need to judge and deny couples like CK & I.
It was so nice to be back with CK this weekend, just enjoying each other's company. We went to see Milk, which was very good. Although I already knew the outcome of the movie the telling of the story was riveting. I felt tears in my eyes during the last minutes of the movie.
Being reminded of the past helps. There is more acceptance now for same-sex relationships. I am very grateful to be living in Portland where that acceptance is even more widespread.
Afterward CK & I walked around downtown for a little while -- enjoying the lights in the tree at Pioneer Courthouse Square, having a coffee at Powell's and picking up a few things at Whole Foods to round out our belated Thanksgiving Dinner. The feelings of gratefulness and frustration at how same-sex relationships continue to be discriminated against stayed with me while we were at Powell's. We had been looking at books about parenting and observing all the notes and special cases about trying to secure the rights of the non-birth parent made my head ache a little. Absolutely worth the effort, without question, but it acutely highlights the unfairness of marriage inequality.
We had fun in the kitchen making mashed potatoes (note -- NOT in the Kitchen Aid food processor next time, the consistency was rather pasty although it was still very tasty) and heating up the leftover pumpkin I'd made on Thanksgiving day. The next day I taught my class and we spent the day talking, being close, and cooking more. Today she went with me to a doctor's appointment, making time to be with me when I was anxious.
How utterly ordinary and simple. I am biased; being that I'm part of a lesbian relationship of course I think same-sex marriage is fair. However, I know I'd think this way where I in a heterosexual relationship. There is nothing usual for partners in a loving relationship to want to pursue commitment, publicly.
CK and I love and live our lives together in such perfectly usual ways. We go to the movies, stroll around holding hands, we shop for groceries, and occasionally kiss each other lightly when we're stopped at a street light. We make meals together, answer emails, love our pets, and pay taxes. There are many other ways in which we are each extraordinary, but our relationship is as simple and ordinary as any other couple. That we should somehow not think we are not worthy of marriage because we are "different" seems beyond absurd. Or at least it would be absurd if it didn't hurt so much.
Today seemed to bring a lot of news of deaths. In between trying to get phpMyAdmin running I updated the merit list for Thursday's service with the names that kept arriving in my email today.
I was happy that today brought the lovely news the George Takei finally was able to marry his partner of many years. It has been so beautiful to read news of so many people able to wed legally, even though at times there is great sadness mixed with the joy. It continues to astound me that people choose to be so narrow in their religion as to deny marriage to people, how this isn't so simple.
And then there's me. Married to a man, just what many of those same religious people would pray to come into my life. That I be "straightened" out by the love a good man. Only that isn't what happened at all. A good, even if flawed man, could see immediately I wasn't straight, wasn't even truly bisexual. He said to me tonight that one of the first times he really watched me look at a woman he knew I was a lesbian.
But here I am, I love my best friend but we can no longer ignore the (lesbian) elephant in the room. It is not the only reason he and I have drifted apart these past 4+ years, but my experience with it has changed and made it obvious the ways in which I've still be playing along. Maybe this time I've been doing it, working around my unhappiness, not because I'm tired of being yelled at. Still, doing it because I don't want to hurt someone isn't right either.
I have little hope that the people who currently would deny the right to marry to gay and lesbian couples would stretch even further to not judge me and my relationships. A lesbian married to a man in love with a woman. In a relationship with them both. Our middle way, but to the view of most people it was a path far out on the fringes. Regardless of that, I have to judge the way for me.
More people from my sangha finding me on Facebook. I am again reminded that I am not ashamed of my choices nor what I've written about, however, I am aware of the need to approach this with care. I never really entertained the idea that it would just be college friends, current friends (many in San Francisco) who I enjoy keeping up with. I am so glad to have spoken to my teacher some weeks ago now as well as speaking to the head of our community here in Portland. I am considering what steps I should take. Perhaps an email acknowledging that questions may arise and that I welcome them? Perhaps meeting with the Harmony Committee as was suggested by RP, progressing from there.
The biggest change for the house today was Bodhi finding a new home with a friend of AM's, J. This is a big relief and yet sad too. Bodhi was just too big for either AM or I with our physical limitations, he easily knocked AM off his feet several times. Because of it AM has felt himself growing into his depression. To top it off, Bodhi has just been unhappy. He loves us, but he loves being around other dogs more and has seemed to suffer being away from the kennel environment because of it.
J really loves big, playful, boisterous dogs. He stood there playing with a rope with Bodhi for several minutes, both of them looked utterly thrilled. He has a dog about the same size, but about 16 years old. J has apparently been quite at a loss at his dog's aging, no longer being able to play and get around as well. He's wanted to get another dog for some time now. It really seems to be a good fit.
It inevitably leaves me thinking of Juno, my last dog, an Alaskan/Siberian husky mix that was all energy. I have never been able to shake the feeling like I did the wrong thing by her and in the end she disappeared into the night, never to be seen again. I wasn't even there and, during a moment of pre-teen anger, DW once told me it was all my fault since Juno ran away clearly trying to find me. No matter how often I tell myself it wasn't my fault it is hard to really let this go.