I’ve been super skittish about outing myself on this because frankly, it is about the scariest thing i’ve ever done in my life (and i’ve done some pretty scary things).
What is most scary about it I realize – what is actually flipping my stomach over and keeping me awake nights – is not that i don’t want to do it, or that i think it is a bad idea. I’m into it. What is scaring the living shit out of me is that getting married totally messes with the carefully constructed edifice of identity that i have spent 53 years building up. I swore I would never do this, and ha ha, the gods laughed. (The gods on their mountain snicker into their sleeves when they hear the words ‘never’ and ‘forever’.) I’ve ranted about marriage a thousand times, about how it is obsolete, patriarchal, neurotic, restrictive and destructive. In many ways I still believe that. But enough of my beliefs. There is nothing healthier than doing that very thing that makes everyone say SHE DID WHAT?! Carmen did WHAT?! That is the thing to do. And I’m doing it.
It’s the Pink Notebook, writ large.
I feel fully committed to Daniel as companion, helpmate, and lover. I am ready to take on the experiment of living in partnership, and I’m stoked for the adventure with all its challenges. We’ve done very well for the past year-and-a-half, maintaining the long-distance relationship with frequent border-crossings and rendezvous. But it is clear that this experiment can’t go much farther until we can normalize our relationship by living closer together, and so we will take this step.
So here is the deal, as it unfolds. On Sept. 24, in California, Daniel and I will be married (I’m still working on not rolling my eyes when I say that, and cannot allow the W-word into my vocabulary without invoking white gowns and flights of turtledoves). It’ll happen at Daniel’s mom Beverly’s place near Sacramento. Panther will be in attendance not merely as Good Dog, but as Best Dog. My brother Bennett will preside as Head Chef over the barbecue and salads. We are hoping Beverley will make her famous cheesecake. PattiPow may grace us with a tune or two on the ukulele. We will make our vows, and be witnessed and supported by a small gathering of our families, both chosen and blood.
There will be rings, and we’ll exchange them. Mine is simple hand-beaten silver. It’s weight feels good on my hand. Daniel’s is also silver, but a little more fancy and tribal. We have different styles. Mine fits best on my middle finger and that is where Daniel will place it. For me the ring is not a brand to exhibit, but a reminder to myself of our bond and my vows. I resist the notion that in taking this step I will somehow vault the fence to join the other team—the team of claimed and beloved people. I am already a well-loved and entirely valid person, owned by myself and my community. On September 25th, I will still be loved and valid, and I will still be me. I won’t be a Married Person any more than I have been a Single Person. I will just be this empty vessel called Me, moving forward on the path of partnership, casting aside old labels and assumptions that no longer serve me. At the same time, I am ready to be surprised at how these vows may work in me. When I took vows two years ago to accept Jukai (Lay Precepts of Zen) I experienced a chemical transformation that I could not have expected. Vowing is powerful and mysterious medicine.
Living by vow, not by blind habit—that is the goal. I vow to commit myself to this path of inquiry, with courage and curiosity. White doves be damned.