15 July 2012

Day 30: Equality

Before my ex-husband and I got engaged, we dated for about five months.  Then we were engaged for about the same amount of time before we were married.  Then we were married for a year and a half before we separated.  Then four months later, we were officially divorced.

I don't count the four months of separation as part of the time we were together.  After all, as is implied, we were separated.  I was with him for two years and four months, give or take a few days.

Next month, my girlfriend and I will celebrate our three year anniversary.  This means that we've been together longer than I was with my ex-husband.

This is by far the most meaningful relationship I've ever been a part of.  I didn't date much in high school, having been a "good girl" and waited until I was sixteen to even have my first kiss.  I can count on one hand the number of guys I dated.  One, two, three, four...and the fourth one I married.  My girlfriend and I have more care and concern for each other than was ever present in my other relationships.  We laugh more.  We have more in common.  We also have more that is opposite, which in our relationship means that we complement each other better.  We can sit with each other in complete silence and be absolutely happy, just because we're with each other.

She's absolutely amazing.  She's my Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way.  I can't imagine life without her.  But it isn't enough.

Not enough for lawmakers.  Not enough for religious leaders.  Not enough for conservative Christians. Not enough for my family.

I sometimes wish I could be a fly on the wall and watch what goes on in the relationships that my family has (g-rated, of course).  I wonder how much we have in common, when it comes to interaction and emotion with the people we love most.

I bet it's more than they think it is...or more than they would admit.

And I get it.  I don't like it, but I get it.  To have to admit that my relationship with my girlfriend is just as important to me as my sister's relationship with her husband is to her would be incredibly difficult for my sister (either one).  Because then we're equal.  The way I love is just as important as the way she loves.  And that's not how it's "supposed" to be.  That's not what we were taught.  That's not what we continue to be taught.

My sister says she wants to spend time with me, can I please come alone and not bring my girlfriend?  But when I get there, I'm with her...and her husband and her children.  Apparently, that's not infringing on our time together.  What's the difference?  Why is my girlfriend less family than my brother-in-law, nieces, nephews...?

One day at a time, I know.  Patience is a virtue, I know.  Good things come to those who wait, I know I know I know.  And to say it hasn't gotten any better would be a complete and total lie.  It has.

So here we are, three years later.  The fight for equality will surely be a political point in this election year.  And we'll continue to fight on whatever front presents itself, whether that be in D.C., or in state legislation, or upon the doorsteps of family gatherings.

I am equal.  My relationship is important.  My girlfriend is practically perfect in every way.  And we have to fight for our love to be recognized.  But it's worth it.  Because I love her.

Day 29: Watermelon Memories

We have a new watermelon margarita at work. I haven't tried it. But because we have this new drink, we also have watermelon in the restaurant. We use a slice of it to garnish the rita.

If you've never worked in a restaurant, let me introduce you to a simple truth: servers like to snitch garnishes.

The first time we got to eat watermelon, it reminded me of summers as a child. I have this memory from when we lived in the Salt Lake area, when our family and a few other families were having a neighborhood barbecue. There was a house a few doors down that was still under construction. Some of us neighbor kids took our watermelon slices and played between the beams of this skeleton house. I'm sure the people building the house weren't excited about the watermelon seeds the next day.

I think about the time we spent in that neighborhood with quite a lot of fondness. I remember feeling happy and safe there. Summertime thrived on watermelon, popsicles, bare feet, and the hope that if the ice cream truck came around, dad would buy us a treat.

I wasn't expecting those memories to return to me when I bit into that watermelon. But it's nice to have them back again. It's a bit of happiness in an adult summer, filled with responsibilities, and a reminder of carefree simplicity to that kid who still lives inside of me.

13 July 2012

Day 28: The Things You Learn About Yourself

There are some situations where you don't know how you will be until you're actually in that situation.  Sure, you can imagine what you would do, you can try to set up a plan so that you're better prepared.  But sometimes you don't find out what you would do until you're actually doing it.

This applies to all sorts of situations.  Certainly, the ones that immediately come to mind are situations of a serious nature--some sort of emergency or the high stress type.  Maybe the type where you have to assert yourself and stand up against something you think isn't quite right.

But it's also true of small things.

For example, I am much more domestic than I thought I would be.

This has been kind of a revelation of sorts to me, because I just flat out thought that this wouldn't be the case.

We got our own apartment at the beginning of the year.  This is not the first time I've lived "on my own," having been married and divorced and having lived with a friend for four years.  I really enjoy having a space that is mine.  And I really enjoy having a space that I share with my girlfriend.  We've made this little space ours, and we're comfortable here for the most part.  We could stand to have different neighbors, but who in an apartment building doesn't think that at one point or another?

When I lived with my ex-husband, I was the one working.  I had two jobs.  He went to school and had a very part time job during the summers.  So he stayed home and took care of the house.  He did the laundry.  And I brought home the paychecks.  Kind of a role reversal in the typical Mormon household, but that's how it was.

When I lived with my friend, we just did our own thing.  She insisted on doing most of the cleaning, being somewhat of an OCD sort when it comes to germs (she's a nurse), and I just tried to get through the days and the nights.  Not the brightest of times for me in terms of mental health.

But now, living with my girlfriend, whom I plan to live with until the end of all my days, I'm finding that I've kind of got a bit of housewife in me after all.

We divide up the chores.  I hate laundry and vacuuming, but fortunately for me, my girlfriend insists on doing the laundry and doesn't mind the vacuuming.  She hates dishes and cleaning the bathroom, and I'll volunteer to do those chores over vacuuming any day.  It works out pretty well.

But I also do most of the cooking.  I make breakfast.  I make dinner, on the rare occasion that we're home in the evening.  I write the shopping lists and plan out the meals.  Which is really nothing new to me.  My mom was the Stay At Home Mom, and we helped her cook quite a bit.  Not always willingly, but my mom made sure that we could plan a meal, follow a recipe, and know our way around the kitchen.  I don't mind cooking, now that I'm not entirely forced to participate.  It just somewhat surprises me how much I don't mind it.

It's not always fancy, but it's definitely edible.  Simple is good.  My girlfriend says I make the best eggs and toast around.  I'm glad she thinks so.

12 July 2012

Day 27: Little Bird

We live on the third floor of an apartment building.  There is no one above us.  And currently, on our balcony, is a little bird.

He's been sitting there since yesterday.  He kind of looks like a sparrow, but I'm not sure.

He can walk.  He's been pacing.  Other birds come by from time to time and it looked like one was trying to feed it, but I'm not sure.  He can move his wings but it doesn't seem like he can fly.  If he could, I think he would have flown away by now.

I feel badly and worried for this little bird.  He sits and he watches.  Sometimes it seems like he's crouching.  Below us there is grass and a courtyard and above us there is only a little bit of roof, and then nothing but sky.  Birds were meant to fly.  But here he sits, just beyond the glass, just below the railing, bring to stay out of the sun.

We know that if we try to help him, it will probably only hurt him.  So we're just watching through the door, hoping that if he is hurt, he will heal soon.

Day 26: Revelation

Revelation has a lot to do with the LDS Church.  Without it, the Church wouldn't exist.  Joseph Smith Jr. received and founded the Church based on revelations.  That's why he was considered a prophet of God.  That's why the Church continues to have prophets today.  Those prophets receive revelation for the Church as a whole and pass it along to the members.

But I also remember that primary lesson where we learned that any person can receive revelation from God.  God hears and answers prayers.  He will listen.  And if you ask with a sincere heart and in the right spirit, He will answer you.  Personal revelation, they call it, and it's available to anyone.

So which revelation outweighs the other?

If the President of the Church offers a revelation from the pulpit that is designed for the Church as a whole, and I pray about the same issue and receive a different sort of revelation, which is correct?

And perhaps more importantly, which do you follow?


11 July 2012

Day 25: Brothers

I am the oldest of three girls.  I didn't grow up with brothers in the house.  Besides my dad, the only boys were the dogs we had.

Now that my sisters are married, I have two brothers.  I don't see them much.  They are good men.  I think they are good husbands and fathers.  I think they treat my sisters very well.

But in truth, I don't call them my brothers.  They are my sister's husbands.

I do have brothers though.  Or at least, I consider them my brothers.  They are my girlfriend's oldest and youngest brother, and they too are good men.  I love spending time with them.  We laugh, we enjoy each other's company, we talk about serious stuff, and then we laugh some more.  It isn't awkward and none of us have to be on guard.  It's easy and it's fun.

I like being friends with my sisters now that we're adults.  I also like having brothers.  It was worth the wait.

09 July 2012

Day 24: 32 Years

Today is my parents wedding anniversary.  They are celebrating 32 years together.

I'm really proud of them.  So many people just quit these days when things get rough in a relationship.  It's easier to get divorced than to stay married.  And I know they've had their rough patches.  Any relationship does and will, no matter what people say to keep face.

Three kids and six grandkids later, I wonder if their married life has gone in the direction they thought it would, once upon a time in 1980.

Regardless, I congratulate them.  Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad.  Here's to at least 32 more.

08 July 2012

Day 23: Cleared

Google has cleared my blog and no malware has been detected.  *GIGANTIC sigh of relief*

According to the company hired by the FBI, my computer is also cleared.  I was really glad, because the last thing I would ever want is to be causing problems for other people, their computers, their internet, their whatever, because I decided to blog about my life.

I'm kind of disappointed that my 30 day blog idea had to be interrupted, but under the circumstances, I think it was a good idea.  Better safe than sorry.  And I'm going to finish what I started, even if it wasn't exactly sequential.