Choosing one another

Dear Nora,

I have to confess.. I’ve been avoiding you a little bit. Not really deliberately, but if I’m being totally honest it’s because as I’ve been thinking about the question “why marriage” I am having trouble coming up with a good answer for you.

So instead of waiting to reply until I can offer a nicely packaged response, instead I will offer you just my scattered thoughts on the subject. First, a few quotes:

“that’s the most beautiful thing in the world: when two people become fluent in choosing one another.” -HB

“Why do we choose partners so different from ourselves? It’s not fate, chance or clichés like ‘the heart wants what it wants’. We choose our partners because they represent the unfinished business from our childhood. And we choose them because they manifest the qualities we wish we had. In doing so, in choosing such a challenging partner and working to give them what they need, we chart a course for our own growth.” – Modern Family

That I can tell you—if I know anything about Elise and I, it’s that she helps me chart my course for growth. But somehow, simultaneously accepting me, 100% as I am in this moment. I just think marriage offers you “security” (I know divorce…  people break promises and are human and fail… all that crap…)—but it is someone saying to the world, I choose this person to be my closest of kin. I choose to work through the hard parts of life with them. I choose to share the best parts with them. This person is my anchor. This person is my home.

spring

Spring <3

Elise signed her first ever lease with me. She had previously just rented rooms, or lived with someone who owned a house, or somehow just got by with out ever having to make that legal commitment. So it was a big step for her to enter into a binding contract with me. NOT that she couldn’t get out of it, there is always a way out if you really want out. But by her taking that step with me, it demonstrated that she was “in this” with me. That’s what marriage is, x1000. Not a one year lease. But looking around at this crazy world and crazy life, and saying “I’m in this with you”. You could do it and mean it just the same without the paperwork, and there is always a way out, contract or not. But the act of publicly and legally binding to that person, it’s a demonstration of that commitment. It’s the act of doing that that adds the meaning, not the paper itself.

I know what it’s not. It’s not someone responsible for your happiness. It’s not your “everything” (no one person will ever be able to fulfill all your needs, nor are they supposed to). It’s not a fairy tale.

One more quote for you. Actually, this one is a poem:

What love isn’t

It is not a five star stay. It is not compliments and it is ever ever flattery.
It is solid. Not sweet but always nutritious
Always herb, always salt. Sometimes grit.
It is now till the end. It is never a slither, never a little
it is a full serving
it is much
too much and real never pretty or clean. It stinks – you can smell it coming
it is weight
it is weight and it is too heavy to feel good sometimes. It is discomfort – is is not what the films say. Only songs
get it right
it is irregular
it is difficult
and always, always
surprising.

– Yrsa Daley-Ward

I’ve been fighting some of my more infuriating and possessive demons this past week or so. God, how I long to be free of them. Jealousy is like a puppeteer that laughs at me fighting my strings and makes me look like fool. I’m tired of the game, and I want out. I want ownership of my thoughts and feelings again Nora. Do you think I can get that back? I am determined to.

Your panic attacks sound terrifying. How do you handle that? Those moments of losing control, and knowing you’re not crazy, but also knowing something is sweeping over you that is bigger than you—something that can’t be reasoned with?

Have you come up with a new game plan to help with stress?

Trace sounds like a lovely person, and I’m glad you have them as a support, as well as some good and growing friendships. I think owning the identity of agender seems brave and beautiful and freeing. But also probably really hard, in practice, because our world is so binary with gender—even our languages! People get so uncomfortable with things they can’t categorize in a clearly labeled file folder.

I have people that feel permanent in my life, namely my family, especially my siblings who are my favorite humans in the world and get me and accept me in a way that I could never replace. I know permanency is an illusion and no one is truly permanent in life. People come and go and change and grow together and apart. Or sometimes a friend moves away and falls off the face of the earth (I’m so sorry that happened to you, friend), or gets married and has kids and everything changes. With friendships, I’ve had people revolve in and out over long timespans, and I think that is ok. A few have really stuck in my heart, and I think will be around “for good” in one way or another, but I guess time will tell. That is one of the bigger things I am learning to accept.

My dear, your story is anything but boring! I can literally not even imagine my 16-year-old self handling everything you went through. Sixteen-year-old Ruth was just going to youth group, swim team, and obsessing over The Lord of the Rings and Princess Diaries. My greatest challenge that year was AP U.S. History. So, if that tells you anything…

I want to hear about your trip back to Colombia! Details please.

Your friend, Ruth

P.S. Seeing pics of Toby makes me miss the little fur babies who’ve been part of my life. I am currently petless, but I know Elise & I will remedy that hopefully sooner rather than later. She wants a yorkie. So… that probably means we’ll be getting a yorkie (the girl gets what the girl wants).

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