Thursday, September 17, 2009

Happy Anniversary to the You of All My Love Poems


Two years ago Dustin and I spent this upcoming weekend in Atlanta celebrating our then four year anniversary. While in Atlanta we went out to a gay bar, had a few drinks, and the man standing beside us started talking with us. He asked where we were from (at the time we lived in Tallahassee) and we told him that we were in Atlanta celebrating our anniversary. The next question was of course "how long?" Dustin said, "four years." The man looked confused, held up his four fingers, and said "four months?" "No," we said, "four years." He was shocked, as many people we meet are (especially in bars). 

I wonder what that man would think now. Today is September 17th and six years ago a young boy of just 18, Dustin, agreed to be a boyfriend to a 20-year-old version of me. Yes, it has been six years. Not six months. Not six days. Not six minutes. 

I know the longevity of our relationship does surprise many. Party because of our ages. We are young and at different times this has bothered me. Did I miss out on something? But you can't choose when you fall in love and I found it at 20 and don't regret it for a minute. Party people are shocked because they believe gay people are somehow incapable of long term relationships. You will find this in both straight and gay people. They have bought into the stereotypes. And finally people are shocked/surprised because it seems these days few relationships of any kind hold up. In many ways I enjoy the reaction we get when people find out it has been six years, but at the same time I don't really want to place myself as a role model for all gay relationships, because there is no one model for how a relationship should work.  

Dustin and I aren't prefect. Our relationship hasn't been perfect. Why? Well, because relationships are work, which is why many fail at them. We often don't want to admit that relationships take effort on all parts. In many ways we are still a very immature society when it comes to love. We think it should all fall into place (or at least fall into place after a few funny or awkward situations) and we think that anytime something happens we have to throw our hands in the air and give up (believe me I have done my fair share of hand throwing, but never giving up). 

Now, I'm not saying my relationship with Dustin is like a job, but I'm saying we have made huge efforts to keep our relationship alive and moving forward. We have changed so much in the last six years that at times I'm not sure I would recognize the silly boys who first met in my dorm room in September of 2003. We have grown, we have reshaped our relationship, and we've become men together.

One day (I'm not sure which) we both woke up to the fact that we love each other more than anything, but that our relationship was our own and it didn't have to match the picture we both had in our heads (a picture that was very heterosexual based). From there we forged our own definitions. We found what worked for us. In many ways this is the beauty of being gay. I'm already breaking the mold, the tradition, so why does my relationship have to pretend it is something it is not. I have no set model to follow.

The secret to a good relationship is easy: you have to make it your own. Dustin is not only my partner and my lover, but his is truly my very best friend. To be honest I grow tired of people and I've never been someone that can be with the same person all the time. I like my alone time and space, but Dustin is that one person that I never tire of and that I want to be with all the time. He knows me inside and out (he should after six years, right?) and I know him. 

With each year our relationship alters. Part of me longs for those first weeks of it, when everything was new, but then part of me revels in the maturity and fun we are having right now in our sixth year, but the biggest part of me can't wait for what is yet to come, because I trust it will be challenging, amazing, and worthy of my love.

4 comments:

  1. First, congratulations! And second please take a sec and sign my petition asking Canada to include animal rights in the constitution. You can find the link at my blog.

    Cheers!

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  2. First, congratulations! And second please take a sec and sign my petition asking Blueballs, Arkansas, to move their annual Blueballs festival from November to July. Warmer weather supports nudity better, don't you think?

    I'm so happy you guys have stuck together and made it work. When you say, "One day (I'm not sure which) we both woke up to the fact that we love each other more than anything, but that our relationship was our own and it didn't have to match the picture we both had in our heads" - boy, you hit the nail on the head. You guys are so cute together. Maybe my Chris and your Dustin could have a "writers' spouses out" night and talk about how hard it is to be with a poet/writer - because it has to be hard. That you've found someone who will support your art is crucial. I love how you call him your best friend. I recently wrote a poem about our wedding where I called Chris and myself "each other's best men."

    You're a lucky man, and so is Dustin. Here's to many more years and any excuse I can to have a drink!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I would love to sign your petition. Where can I find said petition? I always support nudity in any season, but think warm weather makes the most sense.

    I appreciate your comment and I know I am very lucky to have a partner that is so support and so willing to let me use his life. I'm a very autobiographical poet and while I often play it off or let people wonder about the truthfulness of my poetry, he always knows what is and what isn't. He doesn't mind when I tell the raw truth or when I twist our lives around.

    I think our partners might have quite a bit in common. We should plan a meet and greet. Coming to Florida anytime soon? We have lots of gay clubs and Mickey Mouse, what could be better?

    ReplyDelete