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Not only is it ok to be me, it is preferred

December 13, 2015

This has been an amazing weekend.  On Friday I turned 50.  I started my day by performing in A Christmas Carol at Beef and Boards.  That afternoon I spent some time doing some last minute things for my public marriage ceremony.   That evening we went to  dinner.   That dinner was interrupted with some texts from work, texts answered that things would be taken care of on Saturday.   Finished a fun dinner then saw friends in Mary Poppins at Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre.   It was a very nice production.   Then home to bake more biscuits for the next days reception of Biscuits and Gravy.  Went to bed at 1:30.   Awakened at 7am to bake one more batch of biscuits.   Loaded the car and arrived at Unity at 8:15am.  Started setting up and other friends  arrived with the cake and mimosa fixin’s.  at 10 am I had to let go of the setting up and get myself dressed.   Ed and had some quiet time getting ready and pinning our boutonnieres it was quiet and peaceful.   As we left the room I saw my oldest sister, I was so happy to see her there.   Then I saw people from church and then there were folks from CSz.   Some friends from Beef and Boards were there.   A cousin showed up.   Some of Ed’s family, some people from Footlite and the Indy Community Theatre world were there.   My Aunt and Uncle walked in the door.   I was overwhelmed.   I underestimated who would actually come to this event.  I am 50 year old gay man who is having a public ceremony with his 51 year old spouse, who were legally married a year and a half ago.   Almost every aspect of my life had at least 1 representative.  No one from my high school was there.   But, some of my closest and dearest friends from college were there to show their support.  Our friend Thomas Puckett from Unity started singing a beautiful song.   Ed and I looked at each other and said we should get in there.   We walked into the sanctuary and I grabbed his hand.   I realized at that moment that I needed him to go through this.   I knew that it was with only him that I could do this.  I knew that only with him did I want to do this.   Thomas finished his song. I was in tears as we sat there and Paul another Unity friend sang a song about growing old together.   Again beautiful.   Then Claire Wilcher​ and Ivy Bott​ step up to their microphones.   Claire, we’ve known for many years.   I have performed with her in musicals and Ed and I have performed with her for over 10 years at CSz.   Ivy, was one of our kids.   She was in the summer musicals for the Young Artist program at Footlite for 3 summers.   We’ve seen her grow up from a teen to a wonderful young woman.  These 2 women have amazing powerful voices and the 2 of them together singing “For Good” from “Wicked” was amazing.   Tears filled my eyes as they sang.   Then it was time for Ed and I to take the stage.   Here is what I remember.   I remember looking out into the sanctuary and seeing so many friends and family and feeling the love that was there.   As we spoke our vows and exchanged rings I could only look into Ed’s eyes.  There was no one else there.  The vows were perfect as if written for us.   Then Noel Outland​ , the 1st person I met at BSU sang my favorite song by Daniel Nahmod, “When I Pray”.   All week just the thought of him singing this would get me all misty.   I was afraid I would totally lose it and full out cry when he  sang.  I did not.  This song and Noel singing it helped to ground me.   It was truly a prayer.  We did it!   We had a public ceremony and people showed up.   At the end Claire then sang “Christmas Wishes”  this was an Anne Murray song that Ed asked to be sung.   This song was important because Ed’s sister Pam loved it.   Pam passed away a few years ago.   Ed and my legal wedding was on Pam’s birthday.   She was there with us.   We greeted everyone as they left the sanctuary and heading into the friendship room for biscuits and gravy.   The room was packed.    I still was so surprised as to the number of people there.   over 100 people were there.   There were several that wanted to be there and couldn’t.   My parents could not be there.   They snow bird to Florida every winter.   Here is something else I learned this weekend.   Don’t ever under estimate the love of your parents.   I was so ashamed of being gay.   I came out to my mother when I was 19 only because she asked.   I didn’t want to be a disappointment to them.   I’ve held this desire to not be a disappointment all these years.  Ed and I have been together for over 12 years and married for a year and a half.   We have their love and support, but to me having a public ceremony is a reminder that I am gay and not the perfect son (my thought not theirs).   I knew that they would be in Florida so, if they didn’t want to see me publicly expressing my love to another man they had a good out.  What I did instead was made it possible for them to miss seeing their only son marry the person who he loves.   The person who makes me the person I am today.   The person that they are proud to call their son.  You see they wanted to be a part of it.   They wanted to be here and be the support for their child as parents are.   My Mom and I talked for over an hour on the phone after the ceremony.  I confessed my need to protect them and she her desire to protect me.   She said she has felt she needed to protect me from this evil world.   After seeing pictures on Facebook of our ceremony and reading all the comments and the statements of love, she said I’ve felt I needed to protect you from this evil world, but the world you live in is not evil it is full of people who love you.   She and I have agreed to stop trying to protect the other.   I told her I can not hide anymore.   I wasn’t hiding from them or the world.  I was hiding from myself.    Ed has helped me become the man I am today and I am grateful.   Ed and I then took care of the work issues yesterday afternoon, because that’s what we do.  We put aside our personal live often for the need of the business.   We were about to have dinner when, texts about work showed up.   It took a few texts back and forth to put out that fire, but it finally was.  Again, even though it was our wedding day, we put aside our person life to take care of the needs of the business.   This is the normal, not an unusual happening.   I’ve been learning to let this go and not let it control whether or not I am happy.    We had a wonderful dinner, then home.   We opened the cards from our wedding and the gifts.   We read every card aloud.   More tears were shed as the love that was being given us was honest and true and deep.   Today, we went to Unity as we do every Sunday.   We had a guest speaker who also did the special music.   She took care of 99 percent of the service.   All I had to do was the parts of the service that we do every Sunday.   There was very little work for me to do this morning.   Kim Belew​ was our guest.   She spoke, sang and rapped her Truth.   She spoke from her heart.   I was in tears the entire time.   Her words spoke to me.  Our story is not what other put on us.  Our story is ours.   I now shed the chains that I’ve been forging in my life.   I have made them link by link and yard by yard of my own free will.   I am free to be who I am.  I now give myself permission.   I am stepping out of my shadow and into my golden shadow.   I am now ready to live my life as it has been given to me.   Bring it on!