The Actual Engagement Post

I’ve been beating around the bush about Ben and my decision to get married.

Some people have asked about “the proposal.” There wasn’t one. That’s not really how we do things.

Periodically, marriage comes up. Usually we decide we have no interest in it. In the last couple of years, mostly since moving to Portland, we found we were slightly less opposed to it than usual. Then in our latest conversation we decided it was time.

2016 may be the year we buy a house. A few years after that we’d like to start the adoption process. The plans we have don’t require marriage, but it does make things go more smoothly. I’m not so opposed to the institution that I would willingly make my own life and Ben’s life harder over something so trivial. Also, gay marriage is legal now, so I won’t feel like a complete tool getting married when some of my closest friends wouldn’t be able to, or wouldn’t have federal recognition if they did.

It’s simple math. It fits with our plans and it makes sense. Our accountant more or less agreed. We won’t be making that fat tax break money (damn me finally earning more), but its a smart move for us and what we want to do.

And that was basically the last rational thought I had.

I am so freaked out right now. Not about being married. I’m already married. I’ve been married. This man and I have been planning our lives together, and supporting each other and standing by one another for nearly 12 years. I don’t need the state to tell me what I already live every day.

I am freaked out about the pig-blood waterfall of cultural and personal baggage that has just been dumped on my unsuspecting head. I haven’t felt this judged and scrutinized since I was deciding which college to go to. In fact, I feel more judged and scrutinized now because–wonderfully–I have so many more friends than I did then.

My ideal wedding has always been a court-house affair. I’m an independent, pragmatic person. The idea that someone would want to come to my wedding makes absolutely no sense to me. Which is really ironic since I love going to all your weddings. I’m not being facetious. Even if I might seem withdrawn or tend to hide in the corner with one person or small group at a time, I love a wedding. It’s like a party, but there’s an agenda.

Lots of people are saying I should “do me.” I wish it were that easy. Both in the single and double entendre. I like to be alone. I like to do things for myself. I don’t ask for help and I rarely seem to need any. I prefer to help people move rather than attend their housewarming parties (although I appreciate invites to both, I just find the moving less awkward because there’s something to do). I almost always duck out of parties early because I have to work, and I work so much because I have this sucking hole of worthlessness in my chest that I have to fill with something or it might cause a spacetime singularity which would murder us all and collapse our entire dimension.

Or at least our planet. Despite it’s place at the core of my identity, I really don’t understand how this thing works.

I like to think I act pretty normal. Maybe even to the extent that people tend to forget I am a garbage person.

I am not supposed to live in this house, to own a business, to have these amazing friends, or this wonderful family, both chosen and genetic. I am supposed to be dead. I was supposed to turn out like my mom. It was definitely never intended for me to be this happy or this safe ever in my life.

I’m too smart to think it was anything other than sheer luck and stubbornness that put me here while literally millions of other garbage people are thrown away in the foster system, in prison, and on the streets.

Usually this gives me an edge. Especially in nicely structured environments like work. I already don’t belong here, so I’m going to come to the table with everything I have and I’m going to get what I want or die trying.

But that’s work. There’s a clear avenue towards proving yourself. Even when I’m working for myself where the lines of success and failure are murky, I can get something to hold on to and prove that I qualify for this.

In social situations I find it harder to justify my admission. My last four birthdays were so successful that I usually don’t even think about the three terrible, anxiety ridden birthdays before them where I was trying to figure out how to give myself a birthday party that didn’t make me want to die. This is like that.

I’m always going to be a garbage person. In the sense that, like garbage, we generate too much in this world. So much, in fact, that we throw most of it away instead of using what we have and being grateful for it. It’s just more convenient to let the excess we generated in the first place become waste. That’s what we’re doing with the 7.2 million Americans in prison right now. That’s what we’re doing with all the kids in foster care, and the kids who would be in the head-start programs we’re not funding in favor of tax cuts for the super rich. We’re throwing them away because we’d just rather not have to deal with how gross they are. How gross we made them.

I am always going to be a person someone made and tossed away when it got too hard for them. I don’t think I’m ever going to feel like I actually belong in this world, and from what I can tell, almost no one ever does. We all have some reason burning inside of us that makes us feel separate and alone. We have all been wounded and we spend so much time just trying to crawl off and die that we forget to see that everyone else is either doing the same thing, or fighting that impulse in some way.

So, for this reason I won’t be having the courthouse wedding of my dreams. I won’t stay on the edges of my life. At least in this instance. I’m going to call attention to myself, and I’m going to have a ceremony. Because it doesn’t matter what I was supposed to do, or what I am supposed to do now. It doesn’t matter what other people expect, or what they think. What does matter is that I live my life, not according to the fear that I don’t belong, but by the spirit with which I fight that assertion.

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