By: Byron Flitsch
Every single time I think about my impending wedding day, I get cold feet.
Oh, not the kind of cold feet that makes some people flip their brains all “Runaway Bride” style. (PSH! I’m one of those gay guys born with like, two bazillion wedding genes…)
I keep getting cold feet when it comes to the ability to tell people to shove off.
What I mean is, NO… that’s exactly what I mean. I don’t have the innate ability to tell people that if they don’t understand the love I have with my partner, then they don’t have to be apart of our big event… or any other part of our life. Even after the momentous end of DOMA, we’ve still had to suffer painful prejudices…from the ones we love.
Long story short, my boyfriend of five years and I are getting married—You know, as married as two men can be. Many family and friends have been beyond supportive with us in regards of the occasion, yet there have been a some incredibly important people in our lives that have been bringing us down with their beliefs. Here’s the break down of types of scenarios we’ve had to deal with those aforementioned important people:
• The “We won’t call it a “wedding” because it’s not in our socially acceptable vernacular” people. This sounds like this: “Well, we’ll be more than happy to come, but we can’t come if it’s called a wedding…” Or it sounds like this: “I just can’t call it a ‘wedding’ — its’ a party! Let’s just call it a ‘party,’ is that all right? Good. Now I feel better about it.”
• The “Why are you doing this in the first place? It’s creeping us out judging by the subtle looks and lack of communication about the topic” people. (Clearly, these people have never seen an episode of “Glee” or “New Normal” or, my God, read the news that THINGS ARE HAPPENING ON THIS PLANET THAT GOES BEYOND their front step.) That discussion sounds like this: … Actually, it sounds like nothing. It’s usually passive-aggressive silence about the topic.
• Finally, there’s “We want to make you feel guilty about our personal religious reasons”. Their personal reasons we can’t attend by crying our confused and ignorant tears” people. This sounds like this: “We want to come but we can’t because we’re not allowed to believe in it…SOB SOB SOB…It’s been eating us alive…SOB SOB SOB…we feel so heart broken and confused, and it’s so hard. SOBBBBBB!”
Psychologist Carl Rogers believed that humans had one basic motive in their lives and it was to be the most human he or she can be, however we must be self actualized before succeeding. Lately, I can’t think of a better way to become more self-actualize than screaming at all these “loved ones.” I just want to get on this gigantic bullhorn so I can scream:
“IF YOU DON’T LIKE WHAT WE ARE DOING, THEN DON’T BE A PART OF IT. ALSO, YOU SHOULD PROBABLY REEVALUATE OUR FRIENDSHIP/RELATIONSHIP WITH US. THANKS AND BYE!
Mainly I just want to “X” them off our invite list and pretend they never existed in out lives. Because, here’s the deal: I act as if I’m OK with the whole “haters gonna hate” mantra, but then it hits me. It’s a feeling that equates to the same feeling you get when you slice your finger on something sharp, and right before the blood reaches the surface, the pain is almost distant and there’s a sudden numbness. But, then, the blood suddenly arrives and its an instantaneously obvious reminder that your hurt yourself and you feel it all over again. And it hurts. Like. Hell.
Yet, we know this whole situation isn’t a lost cause. So, instead of sitting around waiting people to come around, I remind myself that this is a time celebrate! This is why we’re doing this! Not for the haters! For us! ” It’s become a kind of mantra, I keep repeating to my self: “It’s a celebration. It’s a celebration. It’s a celebration.”
But how do you celebrate the joys in love when your heart aches?
Instead of seething, I have been trying to read everything about how other people’s life struggles. First, can we talk about how there are many angry people in the world (like, A LOT). However, many wise people have lived their lives, aren’t angry, and have instead have used their own lessons to blow the minds of the lost people of today. Cheryl Strayed, she’s one of those wise people and I was re-reading one of her essays (By the way, get on anything by Cheryl. Trust.) where she says: “You will learn a lot about yourself if you stretch in the direction of goodness, of bigness, of kindness, of forgiveness, of emotional bravery. Be a warrior for love.”
“A warrior of love”—let’s all just picture that for sec. Just take a moment to imagine what that would be like to have real troupes of warriors of love. But instead of envisioning warriors as buff men and women bombarding people with aggressively hugging people under the threat of pointy sticks—imagine these warriors being, well, you (Extra credit if you’re also buff!): Someone that goes in to the world with the intention to not make others feel like they are doing something wrong when it is making them beyond happy. Imagine that your weapon, instead of dangerous fist or aggressive judgments, they are words of encouragement for others that you may not understand, but you know that it’s not your job to understand.
It could go like this! We’d march together in rows and rows and rows as far as the eye can see while someone leads with a sort of army-like cadence. They say: “I don’t know what I’ve been told!”
And we’d all repeat back: “I don’t know what I’ve been told!”
“But life’s too short to be so cold!”
And we’d all repeat back “But life’s too short to be so cold!”
“So here I am with arms so wide!”
And we’d all repeat back: “So here I am with arms so wide!”
“So let’s end this hate and stand side-by-side!”
And we’d all repeat back: “So let’s end this hate and stand side-by-side!”
Then, we’d invade the cruelest corners of world and the harshest moments of hate and ignorance with our brashness of hugs, high fives, handshakes, and smiles! You’re a warrior of love, and your only mission is to share that feeling. CHARRRRGE!
That’s what it feels like, what soon-to-be-tied-by-the-knot-partner and I are slowly becoming professionals of—being actual Warriors of Love. Through our many years of hardships of carrying the heavy weight of guilt for being “different,” we’ve finally become strong enough to punch through the brick walls of ignorance surrounding the hearts of certain people in our lives with the only way we know how: to share the love we have for each other, onwards and outwards. Why add more hate in to the world when you have been trained for years otherwise?
Those people who have made us feel like we’re doing something wrong, strange, or weird by getting married, we still invited them to attend. They can make their final decisions because it’s not going to be our choice to leave them out of our love. And those people that have said some hurtful things to us in expressing their religious or moralistic beliefs, they’re still invited. It’s not a Warrior of Love’s mantra to let ignorance win a battle, at least not without a fair fight.
So we’re going to march with this warrior-like stance in to the days of our wedding, and what our future brings to us in our man-and-man matrimony in hopes that everyone can find the true happiness we have found in our lives even if some don’t believe it truly exists.
Heck, I’m not saying it’s going to work, and I’m not saying it’s easy (Can I get an AMEN!?). Has it been easy even getting as far as being able to talk about gay marriage? I’m just hoping that this can be us doing our part to warm the hearts of those that are have been left out in the cold in regards to the truth about real love.