Friday, March 8, 2013

VOWS (Unwedding) 2010

I was going through some old writings on my computer and stumbled across my initial vows to my beloved.  I wrote these for our unwedding over three years ago.  I did not read these exact words; I wrote some other ones influenced by the draft here.  But, I thought I would share these now, cause I like them.

Family picture from late 2012!

Vows from February 2010

I do not want to keep you standing in the cold for too long, but I have a story to tell.  It is a story of a love deeper than those dark mountains lurking far from human eyes at the bottom of the ocean.

It is not a mushy, syrupy love (okay maybe sometimes).

It is a love that is hard and sinewy; sometimes it is dirty.  Sometimes it sparkles.  Mostly it is bound in a friendship that will move from this cold night and the cold evenings of our past forward in years, minutes, seconds for as long as Kristen and my lungs pull air. 

I could tell you the story of how we met over ten years ago in a Women in Film class at the state school up the road—where we both received excellent educations.  And the story of how a few short months after that meeting in class, February 11, 2000 became our anniversary. 

But mostly I want to tell you about what we have built together since that night ten years ago when we saw Angela Davis at Wayne State and then spent that night and the night after and the night after and the night after curled in one another’s arms talking and whispering and barely sleeping.  

We have grown a radical love that is fertile and dedicated to bringing more and more life around us.  When I was younger, I never really new or understood that your lifemate, your lover, your partner, could also be your best friend—the person you desire to spend your fun times with, your deep and joyous times with, your down times with, the moments when you feel embarrassed or ashamed or panicked or itchy with.

But that is what my kk is to me.  

I guess I have to go back to that night when I ended up in kristen’s arms for the first time, This physical placement—the fact that we ended up entwined around one another—matters to us and it matters to other queer people making their lives together in the midst of laws that favor some groups of people over others because of who these groups of people choose to have sex with (or a romantic relationship).  

Oh, but that is not what this is about—wait, yes it is kind of.

Anyhow, why that night—February 11, 2000—why did we choose that one night as our anniversary (which it will remain after today)?  That night long ago, we did go hear Angela Davis passionately and persuasively talk about dismantling the prison industrial complex in the USA and the discriminatory practices that lead to the over-incarceration of poor people and people of color in this country, and then we ate dinner with some of you who are here and some of you who are not, and then we were smitten and intrigued and tangled up in all that newness that falling in love brings with it.  That staring for long minutes into the eyes of an almost stranger who you are now discovering intimacy with for the first time. 

From that night on, Kristen’s body and mind became a map to me—a map larger than the great and colorful and over-bearing North American world map hanging on the wall of my 2nd grade classroom.  The stories bottled up in her mind and heart became landscapes and topographies for me to piece together through the deep voiced tellings of her orange headed self.  Her skin became territory for me to explore through smell, taste, touch; my skin the same to her.

That night 10 years ago, I embarked on a new journey with the most unique and beautiful person —a voyage of devotion and discovery.

For nearly seven years (now it is 10 years), I have devoted my working life to trying to reform the prison system in Michigan and Kristen, for the last 3.5 (now it is 6.5 years) years, has worked to end housing discrimination in the Michigan.  We are committed to working for social justice and to striving toward the greatest good for all people and the earth.  

But, more importantly, we are committed to community—to building and growing a loving and beloved community that includes humans, soil, non-human animals, trees, rivers, fungi, rocks, bees, lakes, skies.  We have put down roots in Ypsilanti that are long and thick and sink into the wet slope of the valley toward this river next to us; this river that we love—the Huron.

As Angela Davis stated, “Radical simply means  ‘grasping things at the root.’”  And Kristen and I have worked on both a theoretical level and literal level to do just this.

I have witnessed my love—this beautiful bird before you all—become, day after day, more loving, more poignantly powerful, more dedicated to growing our own food, more self-sustaining, more community sustaining, more committed to all of this living we are doing together.  

I have seen her grow into her own body and discover her resilience and athleticism.  Before K and I were together, she walked around—hiking here and there, but exercise and sports were not her cup of tea.  And then she began to share in the joy of the invention that is more amazing than the automobile—the bicycle—the two wheel kind.

She is so strong on her bicycle; she has amazing endurance.  In the last one and a half years she has put more than three thousand miles on her Surly long haul trucker and many of those miles we have pedaled side by side.  

This mutual love of community and bicycling lead us to founding with a handful of good people who are here today, Bike Ypsi—a community bicycling and bicycle transportation advocacy group.  

We love this town; we love all of you who are here today.

At this juncture, I want to let you know that it is a cold night in January when I am writing these words—and I have had a couple of beers.  We have just survived a week of being without heat at South Normal; k has been through the 8 year anniversary of her mother’s death; together we went through the first anniversary of me having a miscarriage after very suddenly and unexpectedly becoming pregnant.  So, this writing is impaired—heated with melancholy, sentimentality, and a new boiler.

But it is also fueled by clarity and distinguished by the weathering we have been through together over the last many years.  There are days when I wake up to the soft body next to me totally mesmerized and terrified.  Terrified because I do not know what I would do without this love in my life—both in the physical sense and the emotional sense.  Mesmerized by the sweet skin and courageous soul nestled next to my chest, legs, belly.   

“Some day, some day men and women will rise, they will reach the mountain peak, they will meet big and strong and free, ready to receive, to partake, and to bask in the golden rays of love. What fancy, what imagination, what poetic genius can foresee even approximately the potentialities of such a force in the life of men and women. If the world is ever to give birth to true companionship and oneness, not marriage, but love will be the parent.”
Emma Goldman

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I haven't been doing my own blog for ages, but I keep meaning to pick it up again, and sometimes I stop by to look at the other folks who used to read my blog. Even though interpersonal connection through the internet is tenuous, it makes me smile to see the snippets of other people's lives growing and moving forward. And your daughter and my daughter are close enough in age that I can imagine all of the joys that you are going through because I am feeling them with my little one, too.
Your family is gorgeous, all of you!