So yesterday we all had a good laugh at the fact that my whole life is a lie and my marriage is a sham. Good times. And while I have to say, as far as shitty things go, this IS a pretty funny experience, in that it’s so unheard of, so random and so nonsensical that laughing is the only reaction that seems to make sense.
But there is a flip side to this coin; a more serious, a slightly romantic (ugh, I know) and somewhat poignant story that goes along with the laughing and the absurdity of it all. And I’d be remiss not to talk about it, too.
When I got the news from old Haggy McStinkbreath that our “marriage wasn’t valid,” I absolutely did not laugh. Like, at all. I felt panicked. I felt the floor fall out from under me. I started sweating and I’m sure I went pale. I actually hung up on that miserable woman and immediately went out to my car and screamed and cried. And not even because my trip to London was up in the air (although I’d be pretty upset at that, too). I was devastated to be told I wasn’t married.
To say I had taken this fact for granted is an understatement, but really, who could blame me? I mean, I was proposed to, filled out all the forms (OR NOT APPARENTLY) and said “I do,” so why wouldn’t I think I was married? We SHOULD take that for granted, really. And if this had never come up, if I had never needed this form, we could have potentially lived happily ever after never knowing the difference and maybe no one would have been the wiser.
But that’s not the case, and it’s a horrible, horrible feeling.
To be told by this horrible woman that “you may feel married, but you aren’t” was one of the saddest things I’ve ever heard (and once this is resolved, she will be HEARING FROM ME ABOUT THIS). Because I DO feel married. I DO feel committed and loved and part of a team of two members: Me and Paul. That is a REAL thing and no, no piece of paper can change that. Except for when it CAN, and the feeling of invalidation is, well, yucky.
And this brings me to the poignancy of this whole situation.
I am a huge believer in gay rights. Huge. I’m that annoying person on Facebook that celebrates every new state that allows gays to marry. I turn my profile photo to red. I will argue with ANYONE who thinks this denial of civil rights is ok, or not that big of a deal. And not because I’ve even been that personally affected by the lack of equal rights int his country. I have some gay friends, but not even THAT MANY gay friends. I have no close family members who are gay. It’s just one of those things that seems so OBVIOUS to me, so IMPORTANT to me, because it just DOES. It’s my heart and my soul speaking and I can’t even see the other side. Like at all.
So when this horrible woman told me that my marriage doesn’t count, all I could think is how horrible it must feel for the many, many fellow citizens of ours who are told that every. single. day.
All I could think of is the millions of couples who have committed decades to each other, going through life’s ups and downs as a team only to be told by society, by laws, by our leaders that “You may feel married, but you aren’t.” And I wish this situation that I’m in could happen to those people, honestly. That they could feel the urge to defend their marriage to someone who can’t change a thing. That they could say “But look at the life we’ve built! Look at what we have done! We are married! Isn’t it obvious?”
But no, it happened to me. And lucky for me that at any time and at any location in our country, I could remedy this problem by filling out other forms with my opposite-sex partner in tow and Bippity-Boppity-Boo, married. But not so lucky for our gay friends and family members. At least not yet.
The good news in all of this is that the mere thought of not being married to Paul made me sick to my stomach. The fact that we were suddenly faced with an actual OUT, a loophole, a trapdoor, made me recoil. Despite the monotony of life after 8 years of marriage and 2 kids and jobs and mortgages and car problems and grocery stores, I saw an escape route and wanted to puke. Not a chance would I take it. And that is an amazing feeling, really, that I hope in the not-so-distant future ALL of us can experience.