One week ago today SCOTUS happened. It was a surreal moment. One that I certainly never thought I would see in my life at all. I was packing my vehicle for a weekend camping trip when my phone started blowing up with my family and friends sharing the news.
One would think I would be thrilled. I was. I am. I am proud.
And yet… it brought up pain. Years of pain when I was not strong enough or honest enough to come out. Years where I thought if I could JUST GET MARRIED to a “good man” then I would be happy. The years of hearing the biblical view of marriage and all that came with it. The years of having an abusive husband and dying inside because I knew I was meant to live a better life… yet hearing constantly from the church that I just needed to pray more, submit more, love more. If I did that. I would be happy. Content. Fulfilled.
Countless nights were spent lying on the bed desperately trying to remove all memories of the women I had loved. Trying to not dream of women I may love in the future. Nights were the dreams would come and I would wake racked in sobs because I honestly did not know if I would ever be free to love a woman again.
And the guilt! OH the guilt when I finally did free myself from that marriage. As a single “Christian” mother with five kids, one does not simply go back to dating women. No…. my family and friends were clear to remind me that my early years of dating women were “a phase” and that I was just “influenced by those dykes”. No indeed… I was not going to do that again.
But I did! The first lady I dated was my mothers boss. That was a bad choice. Then a few others came. It was a time that I had to transition from the role of stay at home Christian mother to a woman who was building a career, getting a college education, raising children and loving women. There was guilt and tears and battles galore.
Under all this was the concept of marriage. What is marriage? It wasn’t really ever a possibility in my mind… not that I would marry a woman again and marriage was bound up in roles. If I would ever think about marriage I saw the strong gendered roles – Husband works, makes the rules, has the power. Women cook meals and have babies. Even though I was clearly on my path to becoming the Dyke I am, I could not figure out how marriage and queer could go hand in hand. It made no sense. I was so caught in my binary that I could not see out of it.
I put marriage out of my mind completely. I figured I could date… and I did… a lot…. and build my own path in a relationship. I could decide what things I wanted to do and she could decide what she wanted to do and it would be a fun experience.
Never did I think about marriage with another woman. Now… with one long awaited ruling… I can. What does that even mean? The whole concept of marriage is so foreign to me that I can’t even foresee it ever happening in my own personal life. Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled for couples that want marriage, that want commitment and connection, that want all the benefits of marriage. I just recognize that even the very word marriage catapults me back to a place in my life that was so full of darkness, secrecy, guilt and shame. I recognize that I would not even know how to conceptualize being married at this point.
Maybe … this is a time of healing for me? I think I had forgotten my own story until this came about. I had forgotten my own pain. The wounds and scars that led me to being the independent, slightly obnoxious, over the top feminist Dyke that I am today. Sometimes, I suppose, its good to question our thoughts.
Like I tell my clients – Don’t believe everything you think!
Time to take my own advice.