Why I’m Crying on My Wedding Anniversary
October 25, 2013 by Guest contributor
Post submitted by Michele Bickley, HRC supporter
Today is my wedding anniversary. It is 8 a.m. and I am sitting in my kitchen with tears of sadness streaming down my face. Thirteen years ago today, I married the love of my life. A boy I met when I was 17 as a freshman in college. I knew instantly that my life would never be the same. Since then, I have spent everyday with that boy. We have been through ups and downs and all of the in-betweens. I have watched him turn into a man and a father.
We have been together for 20 years now. I have been with him longer than I have been without him. We have a love that started as a whirlwind romance, and deepened everyday as we’ve walked through sickness, wellness, family strife, Hollywood bullshit, magical trips, quiet moments, deep heart-wrenching conversations, therapy, long nights, early mornings, financial success, being broke, pregnancy, babies, kids, moving, natural disasters, and the ordinary moments that are more beautiful than an ocean sunset. All of the things that make up a life.
I am blessed and grateful. I know that if I die tomorrow, I will have been one of the lucky ones to have experienced this kind of love.
So, why, on a day when I get to remember and celebrate thirteen years ago when we chose to honor our love by getting married, am I sitting here crying?
Recently, I attended my second HRC National Dinner. Just like the year before, I was deeply moved by the personal stories that were shared about the struggle for the LGBT community and the fight to simply be treated equally. Good people that are doing inspirational things in the world, yet they were not recognized by their shining hearts; they were being judged by their sexual preference or gender identity and expression. These kind and good people were hurt, pushed down, stifled, and shunned. Good people who were being punished because they were just being who they were born to be.
I heard person after person talk about how they too had the kind of love that I felt for my husband. They too had that chance moment when they made a soul connection with the person that they knew they would spend the rest of their life with. Yet, they were not allowed to get married. They were not allowed to be with their love when they got sick.
And, on top of all of that, there were actually people in this world that were cruel to them, harassed them, simply because of who they loved. As if this was a choice.
Now it’s my anniversary, and I just watched a video that mirrored how I feel about my love: a short little movie preview of Bridegroom, an eye-opening and heart-warming love story.
The video washed over me like a glaze of realization - how easy it is for me to be with my love. How the world smiles at us when they see us together. How the law supports us and all we go through as a couple. I was born this way. It wasn’t a choice. Thirteen years ago, we decided to get married and we did. It was that simple.
There are only 14 states, plus the District of Columbia, that recognize same-sex marriage.
My best friend is gay. He grew up in a small southern town, where he was terrified to be himself. This breaks my heart because who he happens to be is mind-blowingly amazing. The kind of person who brings out the best in everyone around him. Yet, he morphed himself into what he thought would be accepted by his family and church and swallowed his feelings and his true identity on a daily basis. He felt forced to lie because the alternative was unthinkable.
When he came out to me, I just said, “Well, of course. I love you,” and gave him a hug.
It’s that simple.
Love everyone: our gay friend, our straight friend, our unknowing grandfather, the people that get it and the people that don’t.
This Sunday, the Oprah Winfrey Network will host the television premiere of Bridegroom, the powerful documentary film about Shane Bitney Crone and Tom Bridegroom, whose loving, committed relationship was tragically cut short. Tune in at 10 pm ET/PT.