Wesley, Where Are You? Love, Buttercup.

Mawwiage.  That Bwessed Awwangement.

“Man and WIFE.  Say:  ‘Man and WIFE!'”

Whoa.  What a hot button.  We haven’t spoken much about it on SameSides.  Well, we talk about marriage and the lack thereof, but specifically we haven’t said much about same-sex marriage.  We aren’t scared of talking about it, though.  We have refrained in order to keep our blog on the subject of amicable divorce and getting along with your ex.

But, it’s time to say something now, especially in light of the SCOTUS ruling and all that stuff.  You know, Pride marches, celebrities and athletes coming out of the closet, etc.

Devon is certainly more of an expert about it than I am, however.  I mean, he and Felipe are registered Domestic Partners in Nevada, where civil marriage isn’t legal for them yet.  They wear wedding rings and all that, and even though Domestic Partnership is supposed to be a concession and similar to marriage, it doesn’t quite work that way.  Just ask us about filing our taxes this year.  What a friggin’ nightmare and completely NOT the same as two people filing jointly as married.  Seriously, it was a HUGE pain in the arse for Felipe and Devon.

I have alluded to my opinion a few times on this blog, but I will state it very clearly here in case you have any doubt:  Same-sex marriage should absolutely be allowed.  Also, to be clear, I am very well versed in what this actually means for marriage in our country: it means equality for all people who desire to be married, regardless of sexual orientation.

It DOESN’T mean that men are going to be allowed to marry boys, that sisters can marry brothers, that a group of 15 poly-amorous people can have a giant wedding at the courthouse, that heterosexual marriages are in danger of becoming extinct, or that churches will be forced to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies in their houses of worship.

Inconceivable!

And let’s be brutally honest, here.  Heterosexuals are endangering the “sanctity” of marriage quite effectively all on their own, thank you very much.  Much of the hype from the “right” is fear mongering straw-man tactics, plain and simple.

So, let me bring this back to the marriage that Devon and I shared for nearly 13 years.  Devon didn’t want to be gay.  I mean, who would want to be gay in a society where it’s just not cool?  Things may be getting better, no doubt, but 13 years ago (hell, he’s 38, so back then, totally NOT cool at all), he didn’t want to face his stuff.  I will let him speak for himself, but he didn’t want to admit he was gay.  I’ll bet he ignored his feelings and thoughts or justified them as insignificant.  I remember thinking, when I first found out, that he used me as a cover for his “gayness.”  It was a real feeling, and valid in some ways, but he didn’t use me.  He really did love me.  In other words, it wasn’t a malicious, intentional act.

We loved each other.  So, it was mawwiage for us.

Let’s just say, though, for the sake of argument, that he did marry me to cover up who he was.  That’s not an excuse, but really, can you blame him?  Have you read the horrible comments people make every second on the internet that are horrible, hateful, unloving and even murderous?  If you haven’t, then maybe you’ve been turning a blind eye.  I mean, I am talking disgusting things being said about people who are gay.  I remember Devon being terrified about the people in our church finding out about him coming out to me.  You know why?  Because he was horrified to think that the parents of the kids he pastored as a Youth Minister would believe he was a pedophile preying on their young boys.

This was a reality for him, people.  And I don’t blame him for wanting to keep things on the DL.  Thankfully, in the end, things have worked out.  If you want to read more of the details of our story just go to our “Media/Press Releases” section.  You can find the deets there.  We’ve been dang blessed with the opportunity to encourage others through our story.

I am thankful that we did get married, though.  I wouldn’t have my awesome kids, the memories and growth I gained by knowing Devon, the opportunity to continue to be close friends with he and his family (and Felipe)… and my scrapbook collection is really friggin’ sweet, too.

Image

LOVE me some basketball.

I read an article in Cosmopolitan about Jason Collins (NBA player) coming out and how his ex-fiance was affected.  Carolyn Moos is someone whom I like to think that I look like to others and what I see when I’m in the mirror (of course, the reality is I’m shorter and squishier than her, but she is a beautiful blonde athlete who played college basketball at Stanford and in the WNBA).  Jason broke off their 8 year relationship and engagement in 2009, without giving her a clear reason.

If you read her article (and any interviews) you will hear the pain in her story.  It’s still pretty fresh to her.  It’s been several years since her breakup with him, but the unanswered questions as to why have been very recent and public.  Honestly, he didn’t handle it very well in my opinion, but when is news like that ever handled well?  It wasn’t for me.  I made a joke.  Devon thought I was serious.  That’s how I found out.  Lovely, huh?

But she is trying.  She’s trying so hard to be as gracious as possible.  Kudos to her.  Should he have told her well before the article in Sports Illustrated came out this spring?  You bet.  Kinda dumb of him.  But that’s on his conscience, not hers.

(Here’s the link to the article in Cosmo.  Don’t forget to come back.)

Jason Collins Is My Ex-Fiance by Carolyn Moos

THANK GOD they didn’t get married.  It’s always the famous people who get dragged through the mud by the media when a spouse gets caught cheating… let alone when the husband gets caught with another MAN.  Governor Jim McGreevy, Tim Haggard, Senator Larry Craig… all men in the media who lived a double life.  In fact, they lived a completely antithetical life to seemingly cover up for their homosexual stuff.  Blech.  Just imagine if Carolyn Moos had gotten married to him.  First of all, Jason Collins would be one miserable person… not because of her, but because of him not being true to himself.  Secondly, the betrayal would be 10 times worse for Carolyn.

Trust me.  It royally sucked.  Thankfully we have chosen to bring our story willingly to the public in small ways.  We’re not famous.  We’re not infamous.  But we’ve had the privilege of helping people because of it.  I didn’t have that when Devon came out.  I vowed that I would make sure to help others because I didn’t have the support of people who really understood what I was actually experiencing.  Don’t get me wrong.  People helped.  But no one really knew what I was going through.

I know that Carolyn needs to go through her stuff.  She needs to be angry, betrayed, hurt, distrusting, work through insecurities, etc.  These are all things I needed to work through, too.  But she doesn’t have kids with Jason.  She doesn’t have to go through a divorce.  She doesn’t have to cover for him… because he came out all on his own to the media.

Things could definitely be worse.

And now, she can still find that one true love.  Get married if she wants to.  Have babies.  Be a stay-at-home-mom or a working mom.  She seems to have a wonderful career in California with training and fitness and charity, from what I can tell.  She’s got a lot going for her.

And Jason can do the same thing.  No hiding.  No shame.  He can marry a man if he wants to, raise kids if he wants to, coach their basketball team, start a business, be a man in a society that accepts him for who he is.  All of it.

Who are these people who fight so strongly against others who are gay and want to get married?  I guess I used to be one of them in many ways.  I thought being gay was a sin.  I thought God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.  I thought that marriage was between one woman and one man.  DOMA seemed perfectly okay with me at one point in my life.  But I’ve been humbled.  Really humbled.

My husband came out.  That makes you face your stuff pretty quickly.

So, while I’m still looking for my Wesley, waiting for him to sweep me off my feet, mawwiage is possible for everyone.  It is no longer inconceivable for two men or two women to have the same rights of all people as guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States. People don’t have as much of a need to hide to protect themselves from hatred and bigotry these days, even compared to 13 years ago.  Sure, we still have a long ways to go, but I am thankful to be a part of this time in our history.  Now everyone can fall head-over-heels for their Wesley… or Buttercup… and have that Bwessed Awwangement.

May You Receive Everything As You Wish,

Emily

How Emily Got Her Groove Back

How Emily Got Her Groove Back

Click here and turn to page 90!  The May Issue of the Reno Tahoe Tonight magazine just came out online and our monthly article “SameSides” was included.  Learn how I got my groove back after life as a married woman and mother of three children ended in the amicable divorce that Devon and I make work so beautifully.

SteppingOut

Pick up your hard copy in the next few days.

Peace and Grooving,

Emily

*image taken from beccajcampbell.com/writing/7-steps-to-get-your-groove-back-when-youve-lost-your-writing-rhythm/

Two Dishwashers

abraham_prayerHere’s one of THE best prayers ever written.  No kidding, either.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

My dad, whom I respect with every ounce of my being, had this hanging above our sink in the kitchen.  I can still picture it on the wooden plaque with the creepy image of some saint that looked like a malnourished Santa, gazing angelically up into heaven with his palms squeezed together in desperation.  My sis and I would do the dishes every night (my dad insisted that we didn’t need a dishwasher, despite our daily pleas, because we “already had two”) and I would look at it and wonder what the hell it really meant.

I wish I had a picture of it right now so I could show you.  I also hope I remember it correctly.  Maybe it was a picture of Jesus and I’m being super irreverent, calling the guy creepy.  Oh, well.  God’s forgiving.

Do you even realize how many times that prayer has gone through my head in the last eight years?  You don’t… but I’m telling you, almost daily.  Thank you, Dad, for hanging that thing there, even if it was a little creepy.  It reminded us that it was beyond our control that we didn’t have a dishwasher and that it was our fate that we had to do the dishes everyday.  So, we accepted it.  Begrudgingly.

The plaque’s words did come back to influence us later in life, though.  I won’t speak for my sis, but she will likely agree with this sentiment: Our lives would have things that happen that we could and could not control.  Dad knew this.  He experienced it himself, and he knew we would, too.

The word “accept” is a beautiful and often difficult thing, but I learned it early because of that plaque, and I practice it often.  Once you accept something that you can’t change, it’s freeing to let go and figure out how to work with it as opposed to against it.

You know, like the situation I found myself in with Devon.  The “I’m gay” thing.  The thing that went against every fiber of my being as “wrong.”  I worked through that one, which took me nearly a year and a half (and even then some).  The peace I felt once I simply accepted our situation and that I couldn’t change him, only myself, was pretty indescribable.

Isn’t it interesting that a synonym for “serenity” is peace?  Yeah, I thought that was pretty cool.

“Courage,” though?  That’s a tough one.  Blech.  Sometimes it’s just easier to stay where you are, be it a mindset or an actual location.  If you know something needs to change and you CAN change it, it can be a scary thing to take those first steps.  What if you’re wrong?  What if the outcome isn’t what you expect and you’re disappointed?

For me, it was: “What if Devon’s ‘lifestyle’ and my acceptance of it harms the kids?”  Seriously.  I really thought that way at one time.  I don’t think that way now, as you already know if you know our story at all.

I had to have the courage to move forward on that.  I had to trust that my acceptance would count for something: that the changes that would be coming would not be as horrible as my past thinking would imply.

Obviously, things have worked out beautifully.  I’m in love with my family, my Rainbow Family, and things rock.  You already know what my kids are like.  Awesome, of course.

“Wisdom”?  Some say it comes with age.  I agree.  Wisdom develops and we can apply it more and more to what life brings us, like understanding the things we can change and the things we cannot.

I couldn’t change my cancer.  (Stupid Crusty the Colon, may you forever rest in hell.)  I accepted it, fought it (‘cuz that was my choice) and I kicked it’s ass (thanks to that glorious derivative of Mustard Gas, steroids and anti-depressants).  The wisdom to know what I could change and what I couldn’t came in pretty dang handy when I heard the “C-Word.”

What situation are you in?  If you’re reading our blog and found us under the search term “amicable divorce,” then you’ve probably done some praying, pleading and crying.  Maybe you’ve prayed, “Lord, change her.”  Or maybe even, “Lord, take this away.”

How ’bout you start praying:  “Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”?  I don’t know how it will help you in your situation, but it certainly can’t hurt you.

So, thank you, Dad, for your penchant for creepy pictures and beautifully worded prayers.  Not only do I think of those words everyday, but I think of you.

I’m about to load my dishwasher right now, and I’m giggling, picturing Sis and me on stools, washing and drying those plates.  Yep.  Changed that one.  Score one for the dishwasher.

Emily

doing-the-dishes-1

Kiss My Big White Butt

That’s it.  I’m actually going to write a post with a little anger behind it.

Generally, I try to keep all of my posts super positive, as you can tell if you’ve ever read anything we’ve written here.  Our main goal with this blog is to encourage, but maybe through what I’m about to say, you will backhandedly be encouraged.

I’ve been receiving some negative feedback lately in comments and emails to Samesides about my changed stance on homosexuality.  It’s a super hot button right now, which is fine, but I think because our story is branching out into local and national publications, the trollers are starting to pick us up on their radar.

I’m learning to not get butt-hurt, which is tough for me because I’m a people-pleaser at heart.

I have heard in some form or another several times recently that our children appear happy, or that it’s fake happiness.  Apparently this is because Maddie, Kate and Thomas have two gay daddies and myself, a fairly recent Ally.  God’s Word has been used against us, sometimes in subtle ways that I know is written from the heart of people who probably really do care.  Other times, it’s been downright nasty and overtly judgmental.

Whatever.

And I mean “whatever” as in kiss my big white butt.

I’m sorry… Have you lived my life?  Have you talked with my children?  Has your husband or child ever come out of the closet?  If you can answer yes to any of these questions, then maybe we can have an adult conversation about this.  Otherwise, you don’t know what you’re talking about.  Period.

I’m guessing, if you don’t surround and shelter yourself with people who are exactly like you in every way, which is many people’s want, you know people who are in:

1) heterosexual marriages that are happy and healthy with amazing children.  Christian or not.

2) heterosexual marriages that are happy and healthy with screwed up kids. Christian or not.

3) single-parent families with children who are happy and healthy. Christian or not.

4) single-parent families with children who are royally screwed up. Christian or not.

5) same-sex parents with children who are happy and healthy. Christian or not.

6) same-sex parents with children who are royally screwed up. Christian or not.

7) divorced parents with children who are happy and healthy.  Christian or not.

8) divorced parents with children who are screwed up. Christian or not.

9) Do you get my point?  You should.  Otherwise, stop reading right now.  And don’t even bother commenting.  It’s my blog and I can block you and your comments forever and ever.  Amen.

I’m not even going to discuss gay marriage right now.  I don’t really care what anyone thinks of it, simply because why the hell does it matter if people do or don’t get married?  Let people get married if they want to.  Marriage ain’t easy, and divorce really sucks.  No matter who you are.  It can also be wonderful, so have at it.

And don’t give me that “brothers are going to start marrying brothers” or “men are going to start marrying little boys” thing.  That’s an argument?  Aren’t things legislated in this country?  That will NEVER pass.  It’s gross and everyone knows it.  If you think two men or two women together is gross, then that’s your own personal idea.  Don’t do it then.

As a side note, most pedophiles identify as heterosexual.  Case closed.

The Ward and June Cleaver thing.  It’s good.  Seriously.  I came from a great traditional home and I turned out awesome.  My parents are still together, love each other, love us, and it’s beautiful.

But so is my life now.  It’s beautiful.  My kids are turning out awesome.  And… they have two dads and me, Wonder Woman.

Will my kids make mistakes?  SURE.  I did.  Could my kids turn out royally screwed up?  I hope not, but they could.

But what does that have to do with our parental situation?  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.

So let’s just say it like it is, trollers.  You think being gay is wrong.  Perverse. Against God.  Going to hell.

Whatever.

As In, Kiss My Big White Butt,

Emily

bacon_marriage

This is my way of making a statement, with bacon, of course.

The Pyro Bird

Confidence, strength and beauty are born from ashes.  I’m officially convinced.

I’ve had this sick fantasy, of fire and burning things, running through my mind the last few weeks.  Seems like even my lesson planning for my classes has taken this theme recently.  I had a student of mine make a coffin out of a shoebox for a special activity during Halloween last week to place written (grammatically correct) negative memories in it, intending to burn that thing to the ground.

Of course, I couldn’t burn it on school property due to pesky rules and stuff, but I still fantasized about it.  My students would have rallied around me like the Man at the Burn and thrown some huge rave, wearing weird costumes while I lit the thing on fire.  “Burn, burn, burn!” they would chant.  I would maniacally dance around the flame, feeling the power of old things changing to ashes.

The activity was a hit, sans the fire.  If you’re a high school teacher, you should do it.

Come to think of it, I actually burned something in effigy to my marriage once: my leg garter that I wore on my wedding day.

Why the hell I even kept that thing is beyond me.  It’s not like I would ever wear it again.  I think the gaudy lacy thing only cost me $5.00.  It was still in my drawer even after I had decided to get a divorce, was about to move out of our beautiful home, and had pawned my $2500 wedding ring for $400 (I am ashamed to say my kids were with me at the pawn shop.  This was definitely one of my finer Mom-of-the-Year moments).  The twisted thing is that I used that money to buy a ticket to Burning Man, on purpose.  I suppose it reflects my rebellious priorities at the time in some way.

As it turned out, going to Burning Man in the middle of the Black Rock Desert was one of the best decisions of my life.

Burning the Man

For those of you who don’t know what Burning Man is, I encourage you to Google it.  Anytime I try to describe it, my attempts fall pathetically short of the experience and setting.  You have to go at least once in your life to understand.

At the end of the week-long event, most things (including awesome art pieces) are burned.  People gather around dressed in strange and scantily clad clothing, celebrating refining fire through burning a giant structure of a man.  Music blares, people party, and a unique community is experienced.  The next night, an enormous temple (and I mean huge) is also burned.  During the days and nights leading up to this inferno, people are welcome to meditate and reflect within the temple, and many Burners place objects, messages and energies inside of it to be offered up for a renewed life the night it is arsoned.

When I learned of this ritual before I journeyed there, that leg garter was the first thing that popped into my mind.  It symbolized my attempt at trying to cling to my old life that would never exist again. I guess I had kept it for reasons unknown to me until that moment.

I burned that sucker, along with a note releasing my anger and hurt, right to the ground.  It was honestly one of the best spiritual experiences of my life.

The Temple before it’s burned to the ground.

That night, I felt forgiveness and acceptance teem over me.  While it wasn’t a permanent feeling (because forgiveness often has to happen time and time again), it was an amazing step in the right direction.  Out of those ashes (which I still have some in a small box), rose a new Emily.  A stronger one.  A less judgmental and accepting one.

And now, I have accepted my new life and beautiful things have come from it.  The fact that I’m sitting here writing about the hope that I’ve found because of the things that have happened to me is amazing.

What are you holding on to that’s causing you to reflect too negatively about your life and your circumstance?  I’m guessing you can think of something that symbolizes what you wish you could return to but can’t in this lifetime.  Maybe it’s just a memory.  Maybe it’s a picture or a gift given to you in the past by the One Who Has Broken Your Heart.  Little things can trigger hurt: a song on the radio, a love letter from your early days of dating, an angry and spiteful email.

Release it.  I say: “Burn that shit to the ground.” (Thank you, Patty, for this insightful quote.)

We are guaranteed one thing in this life: troubles.  Jesus even said something to that effect.  He didn’t say “if” you have troubles, he said “when” you have troubles.  Crap happens.  It just will.

I love the legend of The Phoenix.  This mythological bird (in numerous cultures and religions) is said to live hundreds of years.  It takes its own life eventually, burning itself with the power of the sun and rising into a new being, born from its own ashes.  It takes its experiences and makes something brand new and beautiful out of it.

A rendition of The Phoenix, born from its own ashes.

I am The Phoenix.  So are you.  Take your old crap and burn it (literally or figuratively) and see what the Universe can do with your ashes.  If you expect something beautiful to come out of it, it simply will.

But fire’s painful, people.  It’s bright, it’s hot, and it can leave some scars.  I mean, it’s fire.  Duh.  But it’s also comforting, warming and primal.  There’s just something about fire that attracts people.  Remember, too, that fire refines gold.  It gets rid of the impurities and makes the metal more precious.  It can do this for you if you let it happen.  You are gold.  You are precious.  Let the Refining Fire do its job.

You are The Phoenix. You are precious.

So take up the banner of The Phoenix.  Be renewed.  Have hope.  Believe that your circumstances will cause you to rise from the ashes as a new and more complete person.

You are The Phoenix.  Burn that shit to the ground.

Blessings from the Pyro Bird,

Emily

Way Cool

Hot off the presses!

It’s here! The November Issue of Reno Tahoe Tonight, including the new column that Devon and I are writing. Click below, turn to page 79, enjoy, and share with your friends! Check out the great pics of Devon and me as Ward and June Cleaver. Thanks, Oliver Ex. Woo-hoo!

Same Sides Column Reno Tahoe Tonight

Blessings,

Devon and Emily

Wrapped Around His Finger

While I love my girls deeply and would kill any little chipmunk that threatens their livelihood, having a boy is quite a treasure.  When Thomas was a baby, we had two little toddlers, one of which was still in diapers, so I carried that string bean kid in a front carrier for the first two years of his life.  Thomas was nearly 9 pounds when he was born, but was as tall and lanky as an awkward 16-year-old center on the basketball team.  When he started to become mobile, my friends would gasp in horror when I called him “Gollum.”  He never really crawled, and with those long skinny legs of his he ran through the house on all fours faster than a waterbug.  So I graciously corrected myself to my prudish friends and called him “Smeagol.”

He’s so tough. We did a road trip this summer together and had a blast!

Thomas is awesome.  He’s a peacemaker and a leader, and while I would NEVER call him a mama’s boy, that quick cute athlete has me wrapped around his little finger.  Don’t let him fool you, though.  I know he stirs up trouble for his sisters.  It’s those dang puppy dog eyes that get me every time, even though he’s almost 10.

1.  What kinds of things do you like to collect?  I’m thinking about your meticulously arranged bookshelf in your room at my house.

I like to collect snow globes, cool rocks and books.  Some of the rocks came from Iowa (like the geodes I collected with Uncle Troy and Cousin Isaac) and from the back yard at our old house.  My favorite book is Harry Potter and I like to look at the Guinness Book of World Records.

Thomas and Cousin Isaac from Iowa. We love the ice cream at Isaac’s Creamery in North Liberty!

2.  You have told me before that you don’t like to have sleepovers with your friends when there is more than one friend over.  Why?

I don’t like to have sleepovers with more then one person because everyone wants to do something different and no one can agree on what to do.  It’s easier to take turns between just two people. There is too much fighting when there is more than one person.

Thomas has lots of friends, many of whom are part of his sports teams. The families we’ve met through him are awesome!

3.  Describe to me five things that you consider polite behavior when speaking or meeting other people, especially adults.

One thing is shaking someone’s hand and introducing myself.   Making eye contact is important also and you should always say please and thank you.  Using Sir, Ma’am, Mr. or Ms. shows respect.  Interrupting conversations is rude.  You and Dad always taught us to lay a hand on your shoulder and wait patiently until we could interrupt.

Thomas is a great athlete, obviously, and the coaches that he’s had have really been a great influence on him.

4.  What book are you currently reading, what part are you reading in that book and what has been your favorite part of that book so far?

I’m reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.  I’m on chapter 23, the one where Harry sticks his head in the magical water and sees a vision.  My favorite part is when Harry beats the first task and gets the Golden Egg.

Devon has been an awesome influence for him in so many ways and one of them has been his intelligence and love for reading.

5.  Name two athletes, two from basketball and two from football, that you admire the most.  What is it that you like about them?

Basketball:

Kobe Bryant.

            I like him because he works so hard.

Michael Jordan

            I like him because he played even when he was sick.

Football:

Andrew Luck

            I like him because he’s super smart AND athletic.

Robert Griffin III

            I just love watching him play.

6.  What are two of your favorite things about your dad?  Felipe?  Me?  YOUR SISTERS?

Dad:  He’s a clean freak and we don’t have to clean as much at his house as we do at yours.  He’s not afraid to laugh about himself.

Felipe:  He’s always there for me.  He’s not always thinking just of himself.

Sisters:  Awww.  Do I have to?  They talk too much… I really love that [he said sarcastically].  Kate likes to play with me.  Maddie helps me out on my schoolwork.

Mommy:  I like how you like to take my side about things.  You always listen to me, too. [Who, me?  I would never just take YOUR side, Thomas.]

See? Your sisters aren’t so bad.

7.  What is the best thing about having two homes to live in?

That I get two Christmases!  Also, I like having an old house like yours and a newer house like Daddy’s.  It adds variety to things.

Is it obvious that I’m biased?  I love this boy and it’s awesome being his mom.  Devon and Felipe love being the guys in his life.  Per my usual request, won’t you shoot him a comment?  He’ll love it!

Blessings and Little Boys,

Emily and Devon