This morning I walked with Phoebe. We took a late morning walk in some very mild November weather. Walking with Phoebe always gives me pause. She is the type of dog who likes to stop and smell the …everything. She is also very thorough in her smelling, which means we can be in one spot for a very long time. Sometimes my mind wanders when my feet can’t, and today it’s filled with gratitude for my life.
Yesterday was a dream day for me, one of those where you think when you wake up in the morning ” did that really happen or did I dream it?”
The day started with the news that Governor Quinn would be signing the right of marriage for same sex couples into law in Illinois, on a desk that Abraham Lincoln once used. This is when I think history is so cool, and government – when it recognizes and gives rights to groups of people. I sometimes can’t believe this happened during my lifetime.
I knew I was gay in grammar school, but I didn’t know what that meant for the future of my life. There were some givens – I would have to go away from my family so they wouldn’t find out, I would have to hide my personal life from work so I wouldn’t get fired, my religion would disown me, and I was doomed to a life using substances to cope with all of this, while I wasted away in dark and closeted bars just to be around people like me. So, when all of this came to light on me in high school, I chose the path of least resistance and dove into sports as a coping mechanism and a hiding place. I also began dabbling in substances because it was just too heavy to think about at that time.
Once I made it to college, I found hope in gay women professors, who lived monogamously together, still closeted – but the closet had some light. They were out in the open enough for those who cared to know without repercussion. Hope for a future, I now had one extra choice.
Fast forward to today – when I say I can’t believe my life I really, really mean it. I have a house, a long term partner who I can now call “my wife” out in public to anyone because we got married in California five years ago, a family that loves and accepts me, and I am retired from a wonderfully successful 28 year career that I loved. With friends, I have participated in rallies and marches, signed petitions and letters, whatever it takes I’ve tried to do my part for the cause and finally, finally hope is starting to become real.
Fortunately, there was a generation before me never giving up and always fighting for hope. I sincerely thank them today for their courage. There has also been a generation after mine, demanding hope, living out loud and proud, refusing to settle for less than perfect. I thank them as well. Some may say it is happening too fast, faster than any civil rights movement before. I say, it can’t happen fast enough. We need this one for the kids. Kids should always have hope.
Speaking of hope, I also went to a concert last night. I saw Pink and she is one outstanding, out of this world performer. Her songs inspire and her warm personality seems to genuinely love what she does. She really tries to get close and personal with the audience. At one point during the concert, she put herself into some sort of “cirque de soleil-esque” flying contraption in which she glides and tumbles in mid air all around the arena. She soared right by us like a tinker bell without wings. It was amazing. She also acknowledged a fan who had 12 years of sobriety – I thought that was so very cool.
Yeah, I still can’t believe yesterday happened.