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Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

Does that sound good? It’s been years since I wrote on this blog. Did you even know it still existed? So much has changed. I won’t boooooore you with the details. You can find them other places. Or you can ask me. Well, I suppose, a cliff notes version won’t take too long.

  • I started blogging with Kristl on Sustainably Queer in 2012.
  • We got married in 2013. I also got diagnosed with epilepsy after a grand mal seizure.
  • I quit my higher ed job to pursue Urban Agriculture in early 2014.
  • I did an awesome internship at the Chicago Botanic Garden that summer.
  • Kristl and I finally made it to Italy in the fall of 2014.
  • In early 2015, I start to learn about entrepreneurship, coaching, social media marketing, fancy stuff, and I tried to monetize Sustainably Queer.
  • In May of 2015, I had an emergency surgery because of a life threatening ear infection that went rogue, and it kind of turned our world upside down.
  • In the fall of 2015, Kristl and I left Chicago for Chapel Hill, NC and have been here ever since.

That’s the briefest of the brief. Oh the internal work. Oh the lessons I’ve learned.

Dearest friends: career changes, working for yourself, life threatening illness, not knowing where your support system will come from or your next money to pay they bills. These are significant challenges. I’ve been through some excellent times in the last four years and I have been through some significant trauma.

I can safely say I am coming back to myself, now with the help of some healers, some wonderful friends, and my dear partner who has been by my side through it all.

Want to test a young marriage? Try all of the above. Especially the part where you move to a new state and don’t have any money, any support system to speak of, and any jobs. That’s a goooooood test. Try it.

I’m not bragging. I’ve got only my heart to show for it. I’ve only really kept myself through it all, and I lost part of that for a while. Well, I didn’t so much lose myself, as I wasn’t able to see and access myself. It wasn’t safe for me to be me.

But here I am again. Ready to share. Ready to be vulnerable. Ready to laugh and play. Ready to post, show you my thoughts and hear your feedback. Because life is a give and take. It’s gotta be both. Stay in the flow, my friends. May you be well.

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Way back in January of this year, Kristl and I were discussing ways we could help fund our trip to the national GALA choir conference in June. We were very much new to fundraising and we didn’t really know where to start. Kickstarter seemed a little out of our scope of fundraising, but we came across Pledgie.com as a feasible alternative. We emailed our friends and posted on facebook and were able to raise about $1000 towards our trip. As part of our message to our donors, we promised to do one hour of service for every $10 we raised. We were hoping to start that service early in 2012 and complete our pledge by the end of the year, but as it often does, life got in the way. Today, finally we were able to start our “paying it forward” so to speak. Out of 100 hours of pledged service, we are 4 down, 96 to go! Woo!

That being said, this pledge to do service together to pay back by proxy our generous donors is not to meant to be an end all be all. The goal, really, is to start a tradition and a pattern of service in our household. We want to donate our time and our talents to organizations that we believe in and who need a couple extra hands every once in while. I have always admired those volunteers who were regulars in their organization. They were clearly there often enough to know the staff and patrons. They were established and invaluable. I want the spirit of service to be that ingrained in my life; that it is as much a part of my vocation as the work I do for money. It’s a long and lonely life to live for only your own gain. Serving others or working with others towards a common goals is the stuff the good life is made of. So, Kristl and I are committed to finding that part of the good life; to creating it and cultivating within our times of service.

We started our journey tonight by doing data entry for Equality Illinois. We are gay and hope to be married someday, hopefully in the United States, specifically in Illinois. So this issue is near and dear to our hearts. Data entry hardly has the immediate emotional payoff that, say, making a meal for the homeless does, but the whole time I had our goal in mind. The best part of the evening, aside from the pizza and the silly jokes of the coordinator, was the content of some of the data cards. They, of course, included contact information from individuals supporting marriage equality in Illinois, pretty standard stuff. At the bottom of the card was the payoff. People were given an option to explain why they supported marriage equality. Some were very simple and straightforward, like “I am a gay male,” or “We have a civil union, but want the same rights as everyone else.” Some were more personal, like “my brother should be able to marry his partner” or “my grandchild should be able to marry whomever she loves” or “our child should be able to see her parents legally married.” Some were a little funny, like “it’s not that bad” or “everyone should have equal rights no matter how they sex”. But most were moving and simply stated that they saw it as a matter of civil rights, equality, and at the base, fairness. The best part for me was that the majority of the cards we were entering were from Central and Southern Illinois, which are known to be much more conservative parts of the state. Honestly, if the question of gay marriage were put up to Chicago right now, I could assure you the measure would be passed. To change the law of a whole state, however, it will take a lot more movement and explaining, campaigning and changing minds.

As I was sitting there typing, I realized that I would do as much as was possible for me to do to make this a reality. Not only for myself, or for other gay couples in Illinois, but as an act of social justice. The comments on the cards made it clear to me that the people who support gay marriage are not merely making a concession; they see it as a necessary stop on the course of history. It is a destination on the arc of justice Dr. King envisioned. People should be set aside because of who they are or how they were born. I want to believe that even if I weren’t gay I would see this as a matter of justice and not misconstrue it as a matter of religion.

My mom always bristles when I tell her about one friend of mine or another who doesn’t get married in the church or doesn’t have a pastor do the ceremony. She very clearly sees the institution of marriage as a Christian institution. I hope that she is willing to open her mind to the reality of marriage as a civil institution outside of the church. I have no doubt that I would be able to find a pastor to marry Kristl and me, but for that marriage to come along with some real rights, we need to have the law of the land behind us. I grew up feeling like I would never be able to get married because I kinda already knew I was gay. Every straight child can spend their childhood dreaming in some way about their fabulous wedding day; gay children should also have that option. The goal Equality Illinois is working towards has been realized in other states and none of those states have dissolved. It’s going to happen and when the work is done, the solution is going to be relatively painless. In the mean time, we will continue to do the work. I am totally willing to head back to EQIL and do more data entry, or whatever they need me to do. If you are interested in helping too, I will include the contact info for the organization below.

One final note, we are going to start a separate blog to keep track of our volunteering activities. Please keep an eye out for when we create that blog and switch over so you add it to your reader and subscribe. Both Kristl and I will be posting on the service blog. The only holdup right now is deciding on the best name for the blog. Nothing has really jumped out at us yet. More updates soon! Lakeview Pantry is next! Thanks for reading!

Info for Equality Illinois:

Equality Illinois

Address: 3318 N. Halsted – Chicago 60657

Phone: 773-477-7173

Website: www.equalityilllinois.org

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/equalityillinois

Twitter: @EqualityILL

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