It's odd that as we celebrate our 19 years of togetherness this day, all we can think of discussing are the utterances of political candidates, on the ride to work. We are in the midst of the election season, and my thoughts now go into how the political and the personal intertwine.
Today, on our 19th anniversary, I feel despair. Not just for this country, but for how we are seen in this country. I despair because we have no legal standing in this country. We are not recognized by law, not a single piece of legislation acknowledging the life we have built together, the bills that we jointly pay, the troubles we jointly shoulder, weather and solve as best we can. If a couple's life is measured as the sum of all the small details, then we are worth nothing under the eyes of our laws.
Today, on our 19th anniversary, I feel hopelessness. Hopeless that I will be "allowed" to see you if you become hospitalized. Hopeless that even if we desire to be each other's beneficiary when a future but certain event comes to pass, our wishes will be discarded as hogwash, with the full strength of our laws. Hopeless at the possibility that everything we have worked for - together - may go into the hands of those who have actively and publicly declared us as abominable, who have openly announced their disgust for our life together,
Today, on our 19th anniversary, I feel ambivalent. I have come to accept that full equality will never be achieved in our lifetime. This is a country that has no problem thinking women are weaker, that sexual minorities deserve to be stoned to death, that anyone that deviates from the norm, or the expected, deserves to be scrutinized, ridiculed or shamed.
Wala ka paring asawa???
Tagal na ninyong kasal...ba't wala pa kayong anak???
Ano nangyari? Ang taba taba mo na!!!
Sayang, ang ganda niya dati...losyang na losyang na siya!
Ang tanda tanda mo na....call center lang ang na-achieve mo???
This is our backdrop. This is where we frame our lives against, a culture that prides itself in being conservatively cloistered, unceasingly unchanging, petulantly pious.
Today, on our 19th anniversary, I feel strange. Strangely hopeful, that despite the best efforts of those that disapprove of us, we have not only thrived, but we celebrate our togetherness, each and every day. With each text message, asking the other "Musta ang bb?" With each greeting, before we close our eyes, of "sweet dreams, my love." With each question, at the end of our work day, of "are we having our mini-date at home or outside?"
Today, on our 19th anniversary, I feel kilig. And odd. Odd for couples we know who seem to not have that feeling, what Carrie Bradshaw once described as the zsa zsa zu. Let me reiterate her very question, isn't that what gets you through the years? We will be the first to admit that a relationship is work. But it's work we love because of who we love. Which - was it Gates or Jobs who said it - makes it non-work.
Today, on our 19th anniversary, I feel comforted. Knowing that each squabble, each misstep, each roadblock, all of them have formed a patchwork spanning 19 years, with each achievement, each celebration, and each joyous event as the other bookend. Comfort in being comfortable with each other, and comfortably uncomfortable seeing the uncertainty of the horizon, but knowing - comfortably knowing - we will always get through it, together.
Do we have a perfect life? Far from it. But for each eye roll, sarcastic remark, copious shedding of tears, and hysterical ROTF laughter we constantly and consistently share, we become less enamored with perfection, knowing it really is all about the journey.
Happy 19th anniversary, my Beloved. The journey continues.