I always thought that I’d never be married. I grew up around so many divorces, had witnessed so many bad marriages (including that of my parents), that I had a natural skepticism of the institution. Happy marriages were like winning lottery tickets- they may happen, but not to me. Hell, I couldn’t even imagine that I’d be lucky enough to fall in love at all.
Mostly though, I just could not picture myself in a loving, committed relationship. I desperately wanted to be happy and knew that I wouldn’t accomplish that alone but was positive that I would never be part of a couple. Turns out, my biggest problem was not the concept of marriage but the picture of the “perfect couple” that I had created in my head.
Ironically, as a kid and young adult, I thought of marriage in the same terms that I fiercely fight against now. As a child, I learned to picture marriage in the context of heterosexual partnerships. But, I’m not heterosexual. That was why I couldn’t seem to fit myself into the paradigm that I knew.
It took me so long to change the framework that I was working off of. It’s made me appreciate how hard it must be for those who are against same sex marriage to wrap their heads around people like me.
First, there came the awareness that I was romantically interested in females. Then, the realization that I could act on my attractions, the anger at realizing that some people thought of me as not only an ‘other’ but also a ‘less than,’ the fierce belief that lesbian families can be important and beautiful. Finally, and most slowly, the understanding that the right person could love me, would love me, does love me.
Only after all these pieces fell into place could I finally see myself getting married. I actually prefer the idea of public, legal commitment in other terms, with less religious connotations: civil union, partnership, etc. However, I use the word marriage because my government uses it and I think it is important for this term to be able to apply to me, should I so choose. And, I do choose.
I choose to put away my fears and self doubts in order to be the partner that my Caroline deserves. My road to self-actualization includes the acknowledgement that I love and am loved as well as the understanding that you can’t win the lottery if you choose not to play.