Baucus Endorses Marriage Equality

Say what you will about Max Baucus- and we have- but this gives me a moment of pride:

Fair is fair: he hasn’t always done what I would have liked (and it might take something much more major to get me over the healthcare debacle) but mad props for being the first elected statewide Montana official to stand for marriage equality. Thanks, Max. Click the link above to follow his Twitter feed.

Now for a Pride Present, I’d like to hear the other statewide elected officials following suit.

Hell, better yet, I want to see them in the parade this Saturday.

They’ve all been invited.

Update: Reader Karl Olson reminded us that “Pretty sure Justice Nelson came first, however, and by several years, and more openly. Nelson proved you could get a statewide vote with an unwavering pro-equality stance. Its history, but still relevant in the current fervor.”

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Cinderella- Again.

 

In gratitude for life, love and surprises, I’m re-running this.

It’s all still true.

Cinderella I Ain’t
Originally published March 15, 2009

We were at the Black and White Ball last night in Missoula to benefit the Western Montana LGBT Community Center. It all started out fine. My clothes fit, I looked pretty good, Ken was handsome, a great circle of friends- dinner with people I love very much, and a ballroom full of people who supported me and my relationship as much as I supported theirs (or their desire to have some such). The atmosphere was nurturing, mostly. There were a few people obviously avoiding other people, but it wasn’t ugly or drama-filled or really at all awkward.

I was enjoying myself and my partner and my friends and the party immensely, and then something happened.

It crossed my mind later that the old cliche’ “there I was minding my own business, when suddenly…” seems to apply here. I really was. Minding my own business, I mean. I was talking to Hobie about something sort of innocuous but interesting, when Ken grabbed my hand and said to Hobie, “Could you excuse us for a minute?”

I was confused. Ken doesn’t really do that. Interrupt, I mean. And he hasn’t ever just grabbed me and pulled me aside for any reason that I can remember. I thought, “Oh shit, I’ve had a few drinks and maybe said something that I shouldn’t have and this is his way of telling me to keep my big mouth shut. That’s sweet- and a little embarrassing. I wonder what I said?” He was pulling me toward the front of the ballroom- toward the band, which was playing “A Rainy Night in Georgia” and the less crowded area of the dance floor. I figured I should ask him what was up. “Is there something wrong?” I said into his ear. He just grabbed my hand tighter and took me out onto the dance floor. “Nope,”he said. “I love this song and just wanted to dance with you.”

I was stunned.

Ken doesn’t dance. Or so he says. I’ve tried to get him to dance with me, but he’s always refused saying he feels he looks like a big, awkward bird and has no rhythm, is accident prone and etc. I always say it doesn’t matter, I don’t care what you look like or how you dance and still, he’s not been up for it.  And so, we haven’t danced.

I didn’t push it, because there are certain things I don’t like to do- long distance running for instance, that Ken enjoys. I figured if I let some of mythings go I wouldn’t be pressured to go jogging or spend six hours in a shoe store. It’s that compromise place you reach when you love someone so much you realize that part of what you love is their difference– there’s no need to be exactly alike or enjoy the same things. Otherwise, why bother having a partner at all? I want someone who shows me the view from their life, through eyes and experiences not my own. And this he does. Sometimes with a grace that takes my breath away. Sometimes it’s more akin to blunt force trauma. Mostly it’s somewhere in between. But tonight-

He pulled me close and kissed me lightly and we gracefully moved to the music. In a room filled with people that didn’t see us as freaks or perverts or abominations of nature, we simply danced.  A very normal thing for people in love to do in a public place where there’s music….

It was wonderful. Stunning. Perhaps one of the best moments of my life. I felt safe and at ease and excited and, well, just right. I still do.

And as the music ended, and I felt all warm and happy, full of love and grateful for the surprise of this man, I found myself thinking, ever so briefly, “I’m going to return the favor someday.”

I don’t think it’ll be running, though.

Be Your Guest

I’m not cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year.

For the first time in over a decade, I am not hosting my cadre of family- chosen and biological, to partake of the fruits of a month’s worth of careful planning, shopping and calculated cooking. I am not obsessing about cooking times, allergies, social tensions, wine, vegan alternatives, keeping children occupied, allowing for left-handed eaters, children, pets and making sure to allow for fluctuations in the weather. I don’t have to worry about having enough toilet paper, serving dishes, utensils and glasses. I don’t have to remind myself to breathe. I don’t have to do a NATO-style diplomatic seating chart, wonder about people being left out or included or hit on. I’m not making my famous fig stuffing, cooking a 22 lb turkey, mashing cranberries, potatoes and making that gravy right after the bird comes out. I’m not enjoying the crazy, wide, beautiful variety of my people from the comfort of my own home. 

I’m not doing any of it this year. And, as much as I love all of the above, I’m kind of glad about it.

I’m ready to take a year off and celebrate the blessings in my life with someone else doing all the fussing (my sister’s mother-in-law). I’ll watch football (blankly, I’ll admit), swap stories with my brother-in-law, talk to my Dad about the weather and my Mom about the hell of growing old. My sister and I will catch each other’s eyes at exactly the same time after a crazy comment at the table. There will be other in-laws and outlaws talking delightfully about their childhoods and how kids used to be, while completely fawning over the kids that are there. There will be wonderful smells and  sights and tastes and touches and sounds. I’ll probably eat too much and have dessert anyway. I won’t be alone in that.

I’m going to mindfully, gratefully take it all in. Every cheesy, predictable, ordinary moment of it.

Time was, I never thought I’d live this long. I also didn’t think my family would be so fantastic to me and the man I’ve chosen. I’ve suffered through so many of my own misconceptions, misperceptions and straight-up craziness that now I’m simply deciding to pay attention to the truth: the beauty of my life, my family and the ordinary ways I am loved- without working for it.

It can get lost sometimes, in the craziness. The love of being the perfect host/cook/cruise director is still there, but I think I need the reminder of being the guest in order to appreciate the fulness of life. I want to experience the other side. I remember a saying I once saw in a bed and breakfast:

“It is the host’s responsibility to make their guests feel at home.
It is the guest’s responsibility to remember that they are not.”

There’s graciousness involved on both sides. I think I know how to be a host. It’s time to learn how to be a better guest. Because really, like it or not, it’s actually my primary role. I’m a guest in so many different ways every day of my life- we all are.

And a little practice couldn’t hurt.

I wish you all a very beautiful Thanksgiving.

It’s My Party

So I’ll be 45 on Sunday- and I’m kinda freaking out.

Not to worry, it’s the good kind.

Frankly, I never expected to live this long. Don’t get me wrong, I’m delighted to be here. I’ve just done so many things to my life that should have ended in complete and utter disaster that I’m finding the event of my 45th birthday a bit surreal. I’ve survived serious illnesses, drug abuse, major depression, bad relationships, treating friends like shit, treating myself like shit, spiritual desolation and disappointments (to myself and others) too numerous to mention. I’ve poisoned my body, mind and heart. I’ve alienated people, let down colleagues and clients professionally and worked very hard to isolate myself out of embarrassment, shame and fear.

It didn’t work.

Today, I have a loving family who support me, a partner who brings me joy daily, friends who humble me with their love and support, work that’s fulfilling, and kids and dogs who love me without question. Despite everything I did to prevent it, my life is fantastic- and I can’t really explain it all. The only thing I know is that life is unstoppable, especially when it’s appreciated. And I’ve worked hard at that.

So I’ll continue to accept it and to live it. Gratefully. Every day. Maybe even for another 45 years….

And for all of you who’ve enriched my life by allowing me to be part of yours, thank you. I couldn’t have imagined it any better.