donderdag, februari 10, 2005

Love

Love is a strange thing. I have a really good friend here in Utrecht who has asked me many times what love actually means. I always find it so difficult to answer. I know exactly what it means to me, but then to put that into words and say what that means for someone else or even to explain to someone else what that means to me is so difficult. That was until I met Scott (by the way, as I’m writing this (my third post!) Scott is already in bed and I’ve just come back from swimming).

When I met Nancy Maxwell in Italy in June 2002, it was my first conference with a gay theme. I was really excited. I had kind of given up trying to find my “soulmate” in Utrecht. I know that I didn’t exactly look all that hard, but still. My standards were quite high and I was looking in the wrong places. I’m not at all a snob, and I think that many of my friends would agree (at least I hope they would, especially since the majority of them make fun of me for coming from Liverpool!), but I just wasn’t finding someone who I could interact with on an intellectual level. It’s not that I need someone who I can discuss the intricacies of my PhD with, but I do need someone whose opinion I respect for being well-rounded, rational and substantiated. I need someone who I can ask questions and expect answers. I need someone who I can work with on the same level. Anyway, I’d given up, not entirely, but for the meantime.

Well, back to the story. I went to Turin, Italy on my first gay conference full of expectations. If there is anywhere in the world where I will meet the man of dreams it will be here. Unfortunately I didn’t, but I did meet the woman of my dreams – Nancy! I talked to her long and hard about my position and also the fact that I had begun to give up on ever finding someone who I could spend the rest of my life with. Maybe I was still so indoctrinated with the idea of a stable “heterosexual family life” that I was living in a dream world. It was Nancy who brought me back down to reality. Of course, I wasn’t living in a dream world, I just hadn’t found the right man yet. All nice and easy to say, but where do you find such a man. Well, through Nancy!

When I first clapped eyes on Scott, my heart skipped a beat. I know that is such a corny saying, but it’s true. I remember it as though it were yesterday. I was sitting at the bar in Nancy’s kitchen with my back to the wall and face to the door. Scott walked through the door and I thought, oh my God, this is him. This is the man I have been waiting for. This is the man for me. But then my rationality kicked in and I started to think (very quickly!) of all sorts of reasons why this wasn’t even worth wasting a second of time on.

Anyway, we talked all night and I was a gonna. I could have spent all night talking to him, and in fact we did spend a large portion of the night talking. He was so easy to talk to and so easy to listen to. He had so much to tell and yet so much time to listen. His honesty, calmness and sincerity blew me away. The next day we had to teach and as I listened to him talk about his practice I realised that I was thinking about things which I really shouldn’t be thinking about: “I wonder if he’s single?”, “I wonder if he’s interested?”, “I wonder how old he is?”.

Well, after he had given his class and I had given mine, he had to leave. I was really disappointed and decided straight away that I wanted to stay in touch with him. But how? This was my first ever academic trip and I very aware of every move I made. Not exactly very stylish to ask one of the best friends of your host professor out on a date! So I decided to try and find his e-mail on line and send him a e-mail saying that I needed his help to find a gift for Nancy and Terry. True, but a total lie (or a smoes as we would say here!) to get talking to him. Within minutes I had a reply and we were talking. Since that moment in time, there has been less than five days when we haven’t talked, and every single one of them was in the summer of 2003 when I was in Russia on holiday.

So, why am I telling you all of this? I’m not sure. What I actually wanted to talk about was what I feel. But this was the story which ended up coming out. Since that meeting, my life has taken on new shape and life. I’m 26 and I cannot begin to express in words how lucky I feel. I am getting married to a man who means more to me than I can ever begin to express in words. I had never truly understood the expression “words fail” until I met Scott. But it’s simply true. The feelings which I have for him run so deep and are so complex that I cannot even begin to describe them. Maybe that’s an easy way out of trying to pinpoint what I do feel, but I don’t think so. When I think about a time without Scott, I find it difficult to breathe. The idea that he would not be here is too difficult to even comprehend.

When I first came out and I told my mum that I was gay, she cried. That was 6th December 1998. After we had both stopped crying, she asked me what I thought about children and marriage. I told her that they were now forbidden topics for me. The manner in which I had been raised was, in that respect, very traditional. When you grow up, you get married you have children (and as was the case in my family, normally get divorced! But this wasn’t compulsory!). The idea that by saying the words “Mum, I’m gay”, I was somehow leaving all that behind, was too difficult to deal with. I said “One step at a time mum. I’ll get to that some day”. Well, that day has arrived. And has brought a whole host of new feelings and emotions. What I cannot understand, and have the feeling that I will never understand, is that the feeling which I experienced when telling my mum and dad that I was gay, that feeling of being overwhelmed from all directions and having no more control of your body, is exactly the same feeling I have when I think of a life without Scott. It’s just too difficult.

I am, but a half of a person without him. I learn every day more about myself, by interacting with him. He’s not only my boyfriend, but my mentor, my guide, my love, my spiritual conscience and my support. Sometimes I wonder whether there is such a thing as fate, as destiny. If someone would have said to me that I would find in a 48 year old American born gay lawyer, the man of my dreams, I probably would have laughed, and yet there he is. The man of my dreams. The man of dreams that I have yet to experience, because my imagination is not ripe enough in order to imagine them yet. A man with whom I do want to spend the rest of my days with. To me that is what marriage is about. That statement: I want to be with you until I die. There is nothing that I will allow to separate us and I will work through every obstacle in order to try and make our relationship work. To me that is what love is. Marriage is simply the public expression of that love.

I love Scott more than I ever thought I could love someone. Sometimes, when I’m at work and I get a message from him, I get a ball in my throat and it’s hard to breathe. I know it might sound strange, stupid or sentimental, but it’s true. The idea of losing him is simply unbearable. I never thought that I “truly” believed in the vows of marriage, but I have changed my mind. I believe in them now more than I have ever done so. I am more than ready to say “I do”/”ja” on the 23rd April.

I simply cannot believe how luckily I am.

I love you.

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