I had a coach tell me a few years back NEVER EVER to mix politics with my business. I remember her saying that my political opinions would only turn off potential clients, and that there’s no place for it in the work I do.
But there are times when us wild women must break the rules. And today is one of those times. Because one promise I have always made to myself is that I would only write the stuff that holds meaning for me. And because I believe, contrary to many out there, that success comes not from acting as someone who others want you to be, but by daring to live deeply grounded within your own truth, even if it shakes things up. Even if it means losing clients.
As many know, today is a sad day in North Carolina… an amendment to our constitution passed yesterday that not only makes it virtually impossible for a family like mine to be legally recognized, but also takes away legal protection for single women with abusive partners and takes health insurance and other benefits away from children whose parents’ relationship isn’t legally recognized. This is heartbreaking for so many. Not necessarily surprising… but heartbreaking nonetheless.
I’ve had well-intended folks tell me not to take it personally…. and I get that. I really do. I mean, you all know that I’m all for choosing to respond to one’s circumstances in productive and creative ways, and staying positive… la dee da dee da.
But here’s the thing.
I do take it personally that my relationship, my family, my love– is up for a public vote. Whose business is it anyway?
I do take it personally when I have to explain to doctors, teachers, and even my own kids that my partner and I are not (and can’t be) legal parents for both of our children. Having given birth to Zoe, she is legally my daughter. Having adopted Noah, he is legally Deena’s son. There’s no way, as it stands, to create a bridge between our two legally separate families– unless we leave our very precious life here in North Carolina behind and move to a state that recognizes co-parent adoption or gay marriage. Yes, we have wills and powers of attorneys and guardianship papers, but they only go so far. Try to explain this to a very sensitive eight-year old little boy.
I do take it personally when it feels like I constantly have to try and convince others that while our family may look a little different on the outside, we are really just like them on the inside. Every morning I pack my kids’ lunches and send them off to school. We eat waffles and scrambled eggs for breakfast. We take hikes and mow the lawn and clean the house on the weekends. We all snuggle on the couch under a big cozy blanket and read books out loud, we take the dog for walks around the lake, we deposit paychecks into our bank account, we worry about our kids when they cross the street and how we’ll pay for their college tuition. And I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything. There’s nothing here that needs to be fixed or normalized, redeemed or forgiven.
I do take it personally when I have to speculate whether or not my kids’ newer friends and their parents know that Zoe and Noah have two mommies, and wonder if I need to make it clear before inviting someone over for a playdate or if that’s why only two people rsvped for a birthday party. I do take it personally when it’s obvious that someone is trying to “figure out” our family when we’re simply trying to enjoy one another’s company while eating lunch out, or we’re given looks of disdain and disapproval from strangers who know absolutely nothing about us but seem to automatically assume that our children need to be rescued from us, their own parents.
And so today, I’m grieving. This is my truth. And while yes, I have no doubt that love will eventually prevail, it’s as though someone has slapped me in the face, or even worse, slapped my children in the face. I’m outraged. I’m heartsick. I want to run away. I want to scoop up my family and hide out.
The wild in me knows that allowing myself to feel this is an important part of building up the courage and tenacity and fire to keep up the fight… to feel the utmost pride and celebration around this wacky tribe that Deena and I have built from fourteen years of profound love… to soak in all of the tender support and encouragement from amazing friends and family… to hang on to the hope that this is only one teeny tiny part of a long journey… and ultimately, to pass every single bit of that along to my precious Zoe and Noah.
And so that’s why I’m writing this, I suppose. To give my truth a voice, and to refuse to apologize if it happens to rub someone the wrong way. To honor the possibilities engraved within it, even when it feels frighteningly close to devastating.