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Getting Married Today … NOT! 2 comments

One of my heros, Susie Bright, wrote a blog entry today about the enthusiastic tidal wave of queer marriage overtaking California at the moment.

I wrote the following in response.

It is posts like this that make me such a fan. Thanks, Susie … your common sense is SO HOT!

I've done the long-term monogamous gig that ended, rather predictably, in tears and eventual friendship. I've done sort of "open-ended, dancing on the edges of poly" dating. I've been single. I've watched so many others come together and come apart.

The legal partnership agreement that my same-sex partner and I drew up at the beginning of our long-term relationship worked perfectly when it came time to end it. We also had powers of attorney for property and health care put in place. Interestingly, these are still in place for both of us as no one has come along in a permanent sense to fulfill that kind of role.

This business of being "owned" or "belonging" to another person irks me, not surprisingly, but I'll leave that whole feminist anger management piece aside for now. More pressing it seems is the question of "What do you want out of marriage"? A scary question for people to whom marriage is an end point, a target, a life goal to be reached. I  worry that people "work" at their relationship up to the point of "I do" and then figure, well, my work here is done. Got'em! No one moves forward, no more growth … stagnation.

That is my nightmare scenario. On the upside, I do know of many long-term couples, straight and not, married and not, who see commitment, however they define it, as a signpost rather than an endpoint of that strange and fantastic voyage of "relationship". Their continuous improvement efforts warm my heart and give me hope.

I applaud that my American friends are, in some states, being at least offered the choice of perceived social equality. It is validating to be included, to be on equal footing, with one's neighbours. The power of this cannot be overstated within a community that has long felt excluded and ostracized, often by our own immediate families, by reactive and hysterical community members and by religious institutions.

And, of course, I too am a sucker for the romanticism of it … what fool wouldn't want to imagine that there could be some decent, kind, adventurous individual out there who'd be willing to say "yes, and for the rest of my life, yes".

However, when I breathe deeply, and remove the wedding-induced tears from my rose-coloured glasses, I know that the confetti biodegrades, as does the rice, and reality boils down to how you treat each other at your worst, and best, when you are together and when you are apart. No vow, no piece of paper, is going to guarantee consistency from we  frail and flawed human beings. We can promise to do our best for each other and ourselves, and to behave respectfully and with honesty. I'm not sure, if the opportunity should ever arise for me in the future, that I could ever commit to more than this, given what I've seen and what I know to be true about human behaviour. 

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Winds of Change 2 comments

Identity … a fluid, amoebic thing. Or maybe a "same old, same old" security blanket for some. Something to keep the boogeyman of change away. So far, 2008 seems to be the year of multiple identity shifts for me. For example, I'm apparently shifting away from being a person who opens my blog entries with complete "Queen's English" sentences to someone who does not.

I'm enjoying some of the identity shifts but it does make me feel like I'm on quicksand. I can't get much of a toe-hold in this state of re-definition. It ties me up emotionally. Apparently, I can't even blog properly when I'm in flux like this.

Of course, I've had the obvious struggles in the distant past around sexual identity and politics. Straight or lesbian? Or queer (whatever that means)? Out, or closeted? A little bit out, or a LOT out? Monogamous or poly? At the moment, I've settled into happily well-adjusted single lesbian who doesn't take every overture as something that needs to be responded to. I'm not resistant, I'm just pickier. Now I can clearly see when I'm choosing between "potential heart-wrenching dramafest" and "quietly harmonious single life", and I prefer the latter.  I fear this also means I'm becoming "set in my ways", as my mother used to say. If "she" does come along, will I get cranky when she gets up earlier, or later than me, or if she likes her eggs done differently than I do, or if she is vegan when I am clearly not?

Now that I'm 44, I'm suddenly noticing the vastness of the generational gap between myself and those who are 15-20 years younger than me. They make me feel old, or definably older, and this is the first time I've been quite sensitive to it. There are dozens of times when I have no idea what they are talking about, or what the joke is. I can feel my face freezing into a

wide-eyed, glazed look that I've seen on the faces of those older than me when they have no idea what is going on, but don't want to be excluded. Although I gave up several years ago on being able to recognize the blond celebrity-singer-actress-flavour of the month, and I've completely lost my ability to be fully abreast of the latest musical trend, I usually mostly know what is going on. Except … sometimes … apparently … I really don't.

On the upside, I'm shifting from a largish-person to an almost regular-sized person. I've lost a total of 48 lbs and it is nice to see photos of me now, esp. when I can compare with a year ago. I have 42 more lbs to go and am adding lots of cardio to achieve the next phase. I'm meeting with a trainer at my gym on Tuesday to add some weight training to my routine. So, hockey three-four times a week plus cardio plus weights. Plus diet. Should do the trick.

The angry feminist in me has an issue with the fact that as I lose weight, I'm getting more – um – attention. I'm the same person, after all. Aren't lesbians supposed to be more "evolved" (HAH!) and generally avoid judging people by their exterior size and shape? Someone pointed out to me that as I've lost weight,  I move differently, and I present to the world with more confidence and energy … that the attractiveness shift isn't entirely about the visual. I buy that. In any case, where my anger makes me particularly uncomfortable is in the realization that I am not especially attracted to large women myself. Given this, any self-righteousness I may have about finding myself to be more "in demand" rings a tad hollow.

Just an aside about this business of lesbians being more "open" with regard to the type of women they are attracted to … a quick trip to Womanline will dash all remnants of this belief. Women there are incredibly specific about who they want to have sex with  date. Only femmes need apply … only butches need apply … only into cute sporty types … must not weigh more than me … must be fit … would prefer a woman who likes to go mountain biking three times a week … I like blondes with long hair … I'm into ultra skinny goth-types and Shanes … it can be jarring and depressing. Whatever happened to "Hey, let's meet up for coffee. If we click, we could have dinner …" ?

I seem to be morphing from a cumbersome, slow awkward hockey player who could, between bouts of collapse on the bench in search of the oxygen tank, occasionally show off some decent stick skills and display an impressive wrist shot to a faster skater who can often get to the puck in time to do good stuff with it. I still collapse on the bench and search for a hit of oxygen, however my recovery time is way faster. Hockey is way more fun this way, I reckon.

Finally, I'm struggling with my workplace identity. Self-employed consultant … business owner … hit'n'run help … leader-for-hire … productivity facilitator … marketing consultant … technology consultant … business planner/strategist … some days it all fits and some days none of it fits. I think it is going to take me the better part of the next few months to really settle in, or even to find a way of thinking about this shift. I'm trying not to push it and am praying for patience but, of all the shifts, this one gives me the greatest trouble. I have always identified closely with whatever I'm doing for a living. When my profession-du-jour has been a bad fit, then I've been profoundly uncomfortable and motivated to change. When I am having a hard time defining my career direction at the most basic level, then I feel like I'm walking around with a giant question mark tattooed on my forehead.

Unresolved, this is.
I make my way, gingerly.
Do stay tuned for more.

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