Love, And Why I Deserve It
I was sitting in a big creamy colored armchair. My feet felt weird to be out of my high-heeled boots I’d worn around all day, it felt silly, like I was walking on something squishy and soft as I moved from the door to the middle of the room to shake hands with a psychotherapist in about her fifties. The room was set funny. A big couch lay right in front of me, the armchair, in which I was supposed to sit, set next to the wall so that it was out of my view stepping in. So naturally I made the awkward move toward the couch before stepping back towards the armchair. Tricky therapist be tricky.
“Where were you going?” she asked me as I’d settled in the chair, unable to get comfortable. I was in a skirt so I couldn’t hug my knees or cross my legs, as I’d normally do in a situation like this. I didn’t have my scarf either, or anything else to play with. I found this very unsettling, surprised of myself of not preparing better. I hadn’t even thought of it.
“Start where you want to,” she said. About to embark on the silly soap opera that had been the last five years (an eternity) I couldn’t help feeling queasy. It wasn’t as if I hadn’t done this before. Especially with the first few years and their occurrences I was a professional storyteller. I’d always gotten the feeling, though, that every time I told my story I would, in turn, lose a part of it. It was essential I chose my words carefully.
Just five or so minutes earlier I had been studying French verb conjugations on my iPhone. Virtual study cards. I could feel my voice come from somewhere deep, a different tone than it was usually. I felt like I had a point to prove. Thinking back now, I wasn’t really talking to the woman six feet away from me but more to myself.
I don’t like looking people in the eyes as I speak. It makes me anxious, especially if it is a person I do not know well. I have very few people I can maintain eye contact with while speaking. I could feel tiny jolts of panic each time my eyes passed hers. I spoke, she commented. My story isn’t exactly long if you tell it right. I guess this is why she chose to end the session ten minutes early and still have me hand in my full 85 euro.
“So you fell in love, huh?”
Being my age she had naturally brought up the question of whether or not I was seeing anyone. I spoke briefly of my fiancée, my voice a little crackly since I wasn’t exactly certain of how she would take it. I hate that. Having to think, on my part, whether I am out of someone’s comfort zone by answering a question about my love life, a question they have asked, but which still leaves me in that mixture of guilt and shame that I have so many times told myself not to feel.
My language does not specify gender when speaking of a person. Our word for he/she is gender-neutral, as is the word for fiancée, which in English could sound gender-neutral except on paper where that silly little “e” comes to turn the tables. So the awkwardness of waiting for a reaction is lengthened. You do not need to specify the gender of your significant other, unless you wish to do so.
The reaction from the lady therapist was somewhat expected. The raising of eyebrows, the little tick of the head stating their surprise or disapproval, the verbal or non-verbal “oh” — I bit my tongue as I let her speak, my insides in that little knot they make every time I have to do this. I watched the indecision and doubt in her face as I spoke of our future plans and how I’d fallen for her the first time we spoke. I have built a cage around that feeling of hurt I get when I see these things in somebody’s face. Nevertheless that feeling was making the cage rattle and squeak and cause unexpected spasms in me.
Why am I so different? Why are we so different? Why does my fiancée’s family suddenly treat her as an outcast all because she accepted my proposal? Is it because, due to the jurisdiction in both our states/countries, extending our engagement into marriage is currently not possible? Does that make it void? Are we not worthy of wearing rings on our fingers? Are we not worthy of society’s approval? Do we not, as human beings, deserve the happiness of loving and caring for one another and so spending our lives together?
Every day, I look at myself in the mirror to remind myself that it is not needed of me to consider whether or not being myself is in the comfort zone of the person I am currently engaging in a conversation with. Every day, I still feel that jolt of embarrassment and pain and anger and confusion when it crosses my mind that to this evolved society of ours, the unity that is the love of my fiancée and myself is very close to null. I constantly fear that by the day we have our lives settled together in that house we want and with the jobs we want, it will still remain this way, and that if something were to happen to one of us or our future children (yes, there will be children) we would not have the same rights as a heterosexual married couple would.
And I fear that when the time comes that we are, in fact, allowed to get married in the same form as man and woman could, that the place will be half empty. I do not want to be the cause of my fiancée’s family abandoning her all because I am a woman and that she is a woman and that we are, as truthfully and honestly and genuinely as anyone else, in love and wish to spend our lives together and have our own house and doggies and babies when the time is right.
I want there to be a day without that filthy painful jolt up my spine. I want to feel human and equal, and not an anomaly. I deserve this wonderful love I have found, just as anyone else. We deserve the acceptance of society. Too many nights I have cried myself to sleep, thinking this over, wondering whether or not it will affect the kind of profession I can have or the kind of profession she can have and whether or not it will remain as this big oh-my-god anomaly.
All I want is to be treated equally, to be able to speak of my life without seeing that doubt in a person’s face or hearing that gasp or that almighty “oh”. I am not brain-washing people, I am not a person to talk openly about their private life or love life out of the blue, I am just like that average person who likes to be able to speak of their own life in an honest and casual way that makes them feel part of society.
I would just like to start seeing some light at the end of this very long tunnel.
Even an inch-by-inch LED light is okay.
Because too many things have happened to make me lose hope.