Friday, April 15, 2011

The Part Where I Thought About Marriage (A Lot)

I am nineteen years old. I should not think about marriage as much as I do.

I can't even help it! Ever since my roommate got engaged I feel like I've had it on the brain. Although, if I'm going to be honest with myself it's been longer. Probably since not long after I came to BYU and realized that half of my undergraduate classmates are engaged/married. (And, just to make long distance relationships harder, all the people who aren't engaged/married are dating somebody. Fact.) Even outside of BYU, I am now in an age bracket where it is acceptable to think about marriage. Like, probably not at my age it isn't. But people on the upper end of my age bracket? Oh yeah, go for it.

Also some circumstances in my friend's life are making me think about marriage. Her brother and his girlfriend are accidentally pregnant and are hurrying to get married. I worry about that.  They used to be engaged but he called it off. But now they are so quick to get married. I mean, part of me thinks that's the right thing to do. But part of me is really worried that it won't work because they're hurrying into it.

My ideas about marriage have changed a lot over the years. When I was younger, the only kind of wedding I even considered was very tradition. You know, married in the temple (I wanted San Diego because it looks like a palace, but I probably would have wound up in Louisville or Nauvoo. Or it seems like a lot of the students at BYU get married at Salt Lake), big floofy white dress, everybody I've ever met ever at the reception.  

Beaming parents.

So proud.

The only weddings I've ever been to or interacted with have been LDS. I've never seen an actual marriage ceremony, just the receptions (because they were all in the temple). All my older cousins have had ginormous wedding receptions. Every time I picture a wedding, I imagine my cousin's.  They were both returned missionaries and she was so beautiful. And everybody was so proud. And there were approximately three million people there.

My family has this tradition where you have to pay to dance with the bride. You know, give her like a five or something. Just so that the young couple can have a little cash on hand because money is tight when you're first married.

I remember the first time I saw pictures from a wedding that wasn't Mormon. It was so sweet. This girl I had gone to high school with had a super small wedding. From the pictures it looks like it was at her house and the only people there were some very, very close friends and her and her husband's parents.  And I liked it. It was different. Different from any kind of wedding I've ever seen.

I think about marriage in the abstract, but I think about it specifically too. I think about me. I mean, I think that's reasonable. I've been in a committed relationship for a little over a year now. At BYU I could very easily have legitimate children after having dated this long. Doricha has a really different perspective on marriage than I do. It's been interesting to talk about it, to let my paradigms shift a little bit. Shift away from the floofy dress and everybody I know ever being invited.

I let myself imagine I'll marry her.

The "ceremony" doesn't have to be anything official, signed and sealed and whatever. The only part that's important to me in all that is the promise. When you get married, that's it. It's a promise that says there's no turning back. It says, "After today, I will never leave you. No matter how hard it is and no matter what happens. There's no take backsies anymore. This is for real. This is forever." I picture it being very very intimate. Either with just family and very close friends...or maybe even just the two of us. Promising. Making big promises, the kind of promises you never break. And they'd be sealed with something more than a kiss, which we share all the time. A "blood oath" is pretty archaic, but the right idea.

The ring would seal it. "With this ring I thee wed" is really overplayed, but I guess that's kind of the idea. You accept the ring, you accept the promise. You make the promise. The exchange of promises is symbolized in the physical exchanging of rings.

You know I was raised Mormon because abstract things have to have symbols.

And then after this intimate promise, there has to be a killer party. Invite all our friends, who have been so supportive through everything. Wear pretty dresses. Dance all night long. 

And get presents because getting married is like graduating only way cooler.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Part Where Juno Was My Coming Out Allegory

I am really really good at finding the metaphor in just about everything.  I am a really excellent Old Testament teacher.

A lot of times when I think about what it will be like to come out, I think of the beginning of the movie Juno.  I especially think of the part where she comes out to her parents.  But the whole beginning of the movie where she discovers she's pregnant and tells a few people can really easily be seen as an allegory for the coming out process.  

Especially my coming out process.

This is how it started.  I denied it.  I absolutely positively was not attracted to girls.  Well, maybe not.  Most likely not.  Probably not.  Hopefully not.

"I remain unconvinced."

But I couldn't keep denying it.  I was slightly upset that my doodle couldn't be undid.  But it was still there and I had to deal with it.  Like it or not.

The first people I came out to were three of my closest female friends: Cuddy, Dobby, and Wine.  Doricha and I were already a "thing"at that point and it was the five of us all at a sleepover.  It had been such a long week.  I had just come back from my first music school audition and I was exhausted.  Cuddy had been really upsettingly dumped by her cheating scumbag hoodrat boyfriend.

And so we were sitting around having Girl Talk which is capitalized because it's sacred.  And after we had sufficiently denounced every aspect of Cuddy's ex's manhood we talked about Wine and her boyfriend and then Dobby and her boyfriend.  But really we already knew most of what we talked about.  It was a basic, "So how are things between you guys?" talk.

And then I said, "Guys, I like somebody."

And they jumped all over that.  Because when you're a girl it's like there are two levels of being in a relationship.  You can be in an official relationship, sure.  But if you've declared to your gal pals that you like someone, you're committed to that someone.  And I hadn't officially liked anybody since Ginger (don't be confused by gender norms, Ginger was a boy) left.

"Who?!" they demanded.

"It's Doricha," I said, my heart racing totally unsure of how they were going to react.

And they burst out laughing.  I'm pretty sure that I remember Cuddy and Wine holding each other laughing while Doricha and I were all like, "No seriously guys, this is a real thing.  Stop laughing."  Maybe they weren't actually holding each other in laughter.  But they were for sure laughing.

It wasn't until I grabbed Doricha and kissed her full on the mouth that they stopped laughing.

It still took a further ten minutes to convince them that we weren't screwing with them.

I don't really have a direct correlation to this clip in my life, at least not nearly as direct as the first clip.  But this is kind of what happened after it all settled down.  After Doricha found out, after I told the girls. Every time.  After the initial reaction it's always, "What should we do?"

I haven't come out to my parents yet.  I want to soon.  I'm so tired of lies and secrets and sneaking around and freaking out every time something slightly "off" is said and watching my words and...all of it.

But I've kind of always pictured coming out going something like this.  

Especially the last part.  The "anything but this" part.

I do intend when I finally tell them to be just outside of hitting distance because it would be friggin' sweet if no one hit me.

I guess I kind of also hope it'll go like this.  After their initial shock and disappointment, Juno's parents are supportive.  I mean, kind of hurtful.  Clearly still disappointed.  But there's not even any harsh words exchanged.

One last thought.

You know what phrase I hate more than...just about any other phrase in the world?  "The gay lifestyle."  What does that even mean?  While I was in counseling, my counselor used that phrase all the time.  How I had to choose between the Mormon lifestyle and the gay lifestyle.  But I feel like what I wanted, want, is not that different from a normal lifestyle.  I want to settle down and maybe buy a house when we can afford it and have a job and have friends.  I don't have any plans to abuse drugs or get addicted to alcohol or sleep around, which I think are things that people associate with the phrase "gay lifestyle."

But what does that really mean?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Part Where I Had My First Kiss

My first kiss story can beat the pants off of most anybody's.  With first kisses, I have good luck.  My first kiss ever was good, my first french kiss was good, and my first kiss with a girl was very good.  I didn't realize until later that I'm super lucky that one of those was good.  All three?  I am some kind of statistical anomaly.  And okay, yeah, I'm aware that for some people all three of those happen with the same person or even on the same night.  Mine were spread out over about a year and a half.

I was sixteen years old.  Paul Bunyon was my second boyfriend, but the first that my parents knew about.  We met doing theatre.  He was a techie and I was an actor.  He actually remembers how we met a lot better than I do.  I don't remember the conversations he says we had, but I also have a notoriously terrible memory.  Especially around shows.

One day he asked me out.  He had probably been working up the courage for awhile.  I remember we were the middle of the hallway or something.  It's not as weird as it sounds!  I had kind of had a thing for him (but I was a little more focused on someone else...if I'm going to be honest with myself).  Anyway, he asked me if I was doing anything on Saturday night and if I would like to go to the Symphony with him.

Side note: I am a sucker when it comes to the Symphony.  I have gone on dates with I think five different people to the Symphony.

And so, even though my best friend's birthday party was Saturday night and I had already RSVP'd "yes" I told him I'd love to go with him.

And that was my first date.  Ever.

There's this picture of us before we left (because my parents were typical parents and took pictures) and I look like a total loon.  I'm grinning from ear to ear, thrilled to death.

You know, I always tell Mormon youth that turning sixteen is not some magic pill that automatically means people will start asking you on dates.  But it sure was for me.  Within turning sixteen I was asked out by four different guys and had two different boyfriends.

(Also I apologize right now if this is starting to get incoherent.  I started writing this post a couple days ago and just now came back to it and I'm really jittery and hyperactive because I took some pain meds.  But I can't sleep for the aforementioned reasons so I will carry on writing anyhow.)

Anyway, so after our first date Paul Bunyon and I became an official couple.  Actually, we made plans for a second date and then became an official couple.  Our second date was to go see his sister in her school's production of Fiddler on the Roof.  We decided to make it a double date.  Well, I decided to.  I was still a very good Mormon at that point and had been counseled for as long as I could remember to start dating in groups or at least on double dates.  So I think it was some combination of me wanting to do the "right thing" and my parents being like, "Um, hey.  Why don't you see if some friends want to go?"

Well as luck had it, I was friends with this really awesome couple.  They were one of those couples who were fun as individuals so you put them together and it was like a dynamite package of fun.  Hanging out with them didn't feel like hanging out with a couple, it felt like hanging out with fun in a can.  (Okay yeah I think the drugs are affecting my cognitive processes.  Not only did I write that sentence but I think it's a good one.)  They had both gone to the school that Paul Bunyon's sister went to, so I asked if they wanted to double with us.

Incidentally, half of that couple was Doricha.

So we saw the play (Paul Bunyon's sister was my favorite part, of course).  Afterwards, we went back to Doricha's house to hang out some more.  We played this game called Curses.  What you do is you draw these cards with challenges on them.  Things like "talk in a French accent" or "put your hands on your head and don't take them off."  If someone caught you not doing one of your challenges, they would ring a bell on you.

I drew one that said that I had to tell anybody who rang the bell that I loved them.  So first Doricha rang the bell and I professed my absolute and undying love for her on one knee.  (Haha this is an even funnier story now than when it happened.)  Then her boyfriend rang the bell and I declared my love for him (very carefully so that his girlfriend wouldn't beat me up).

Then my boyfriend rang the bell.  And we had only been dating for, what, a week?  I couldn't tell him I loved him.  That would be weird and lying.

So I kissed him.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Part Where I Learned About Time

After high school graduation before I left for BYU, Doricha and I had three months left.  Our days were numbered and we knew it.  When we got together, we knew that it would end.  We acknowledged and accepted that.  When we got together, we said that hanging on to high school relationships in college is a bad idea.  We knew that.  And we agreed that in August we would go our separate ways.

That summer was beautiful.  We grew in love and were attached at the hip.  I spent nearly every waking moment either talking to her or being with her.  I worked at a movie theatre and we saw free movies.  We saw much more of some of those movies than others.  I could not tell you now what actually happens in Robin Hood (the Russell Crowe one).

But our joy was underscored by the constant ticking of the clock.

I so desperately just wanted the moments to be longer.  I wanted time to stop.  I wanted that summer to last forever.  There was, it's true, a small part of me that was okay with time passing.  I was looking forward to going to college just like any kid would.  There was a small part of me that wanted the time to just pass quickly so I could get on with things.  But the vast vast majority of me wanted to stop time and stay in that happy paradise forever.

It didn't stop, though.


And again, I find myself making wishes with my time.  I'm preparing to leave BYU forever.  A small part of me just wants it to slow down and stop.  I will miss my newfound friends and my small niche I've begun to dig out here.

But most of me just wants the time to pass as quickly as possible.  I want to be home.  I want to see my brothers and sister and my parents.  I want to get started actually working on my major at my new school.  But most of all I want to see Doricha again.

It has been such a long four months.  Time cannot pass fast enough when I think of how soon I'll be able to see her again.

The book Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman is a fictional discussion, vignettes, on different ways that time might move.  One of them proposes "a place where time stands still.  As a traveler approaches this place from any direction, he moves more and more slowly...  [T]his is the center of time.  From this place, time travels outward in concentric circles—at rest at the center, slowly picking up speed at greater diameters...  [A]t the place where time stands still, one sees parents clutching their children, in a frozen embrace that will never let go... [They] move, but at the pace of glaciers" (70-73).

I feel like that lately.  The closer I get to it, the slower I'm moving.

But that's just how I feel.  If I've learned anything about time in the last year, it's that time moves always at the same pace.  Whether you wish it would go faster or slower, it pays you no heed and carries on at the same ever-maddening pace.