Please prepare yourself, for what is about to follow, because it might sound a little far reaching and heady.. And I think, if I were to read this to you in private, you might look at me gently, and comment that, perhaps, I’m overthinking things a bit. BUT, that is good, and important, and I’ll get to that in a bit.
So of course, true to my post-modern self, I will begin my vows by talking about my experience trying to write them. When I first sat down, I decided to start with a poem, to get the ink flowing, you know, before I decided what life-long binding promises I was willing to make to you. I wrote about four poems, if you count the one that was one and a half lines long. And they were all bad, a special mix of boring, gag-inducing, and confusing. Part of this is my writing skills, and self consciousness, but most of the time I can get a poem out that’s at least half decent, especially if I care about the content. BUT, when I was trying to write about you, and what it’s like to love you, what it’s like to be loved by you, and how I know, without a doubt, that you and I will be together as long as these human bodies permit, I was drawing a complete blank. No image was coming to me. I couldn’t think of one metaphor. Our love is like… ?
It’s not sweet or savory, it’s not like the sun or like being suspended in water. It’s not a peaceful walk in the woods or is it like being born or like coming home or like falling or flying or anything like that. I was getting really frustrated. And it worried me. I couldn't see the face of our relationship. I couldn’t tell you exactly why we work so well. The same thing happened when Casey first sat us down to talk about our ceremony and figure out the content and the details. Both of us were at a loss. I think the only concrete thing we came up with was “We are always nice to each other.” I began to worry that we are dull, or inauthentic, or even that there was nothing there, if I couldn’t describe it or give it a name.
This is not true of course, and I know it somehow. The day after I met you, Jesse texted me, are you and Jeremy gonna get married? And I responded, Yes, and swear to God part of me already knew, and when I said yes, I meant it. But all that I know about the shape, taste, temperature and tensile strength of our bond, lies outside of my conscious mind. The curtain is drawn. And through my struggle to see it, and repeat it to you today, I realized what a gift it is that my judgmental mind is blind to what you and I created between us. Because self-consciousness wrecks that which it is focused on. The moment I begin to watch myself living, is a moment spoiled. But, magically, our love is protected from this glare that wants to evaluate and wants to draw conclusions. I can just have it, like a child has an open field to play. Happy without knowing what happy even is.
So I guess I'm still working on the poem, and I might be for some time. But I have some ideas now (some are mine, some are borrowed, I won't tell you which): Our love is like a sound amplified by silence, a flash of someone familiar around a corner, the boundary between a streetlight starburst and the night, and that feeling of knowing that you dreamed and you dreamed vivid but forgetting what about. It's like a long, gorgeous and overgrown path. I'll read you the poem some day when I'm done. We've got time.
On a more earthly level, I do love you, so many things about you all of which I cannot name now. But most of all that you are good and loyal and talented and are teaching me to let go and not get so lost in my own, inconsistently reliable, thoughts. You defy categorization. You're complex. You're not fearful or blaming. You're responsible for yourself. You are content. You are a chameleon, and somehow outspoken and steadfast at the same time. I just love you. How could I not?
And now finally, I've come to the part where I promise you things. My vows. Although, I'm not quite sure what to promise you. I suppose this is the appropriate time to speak about the work of a marriage, the right values, the importance of being vigilant and fastidious, how much attention a successful marriage requires. I should take a side in the debate about whether marriage is a compromise or not. And I suppose it is also the time I should acknowledge that there will be low points, such is life. Very well. Acknowledged. But, I can't just nod my head and hold my tongue... not without saying that being with you has never been work, despite what everyone says. I keep waiting for it. But it hasn't come. Loving and being with you is so damn easy. Again, it just is, and I don't know how. But if it ever does becomes work, I promise to show up on time and well rested.
At the end of the day, I don't know what a successful marriage takes. I've never been married. And I don't even want a successful marriage, because to me that sounds evaluative and dependent on standards and perceptions. Those are things I strive to shed. I just want to be around you for...like...a lot of the time. I want you to be happy. I want to be happy. And so, Jeremy, I promise to make myself happy; I'm good at that. And I promise to chose you again and again, every year, every day.
That's it. I know the rest will take care of itself.
I love you.