One year and eleven days ago, we got married.
“We.” I felt that word was really important to use. This wasn’t something that just happened to me; this was two people deciding to officially and completely team up, for real and for good, and deciding to throw a big party to celebrate it.
I can gush endlessly about Sonya. My life is genuinely better with her in it than it was without her, and being married to her is something I take constant joy in. Many, many times, we’ve been sitting around doing something, and one of us has turned to the other and said “we’re married!” in a tone of pleasant surprise, and that pleasantness is always genuine. She’s fun and she’s interesting and she’s smart and she’s sweet and I’m fortunate to have her as my partner for life.
But I also want to say that that’s true when things are hard. This has not been an easy year, all things told. Just before our wedding our cat got very sick, and now he will be on medication for the rest of his life — a life that is high-quality, the vets assure us, but also high-maintenance, and that is always dealing with the specter of the possibility that he’s gone back to his old issues that forced us to take him to the emergency vet. Since January, I have not successfully sold a single story despite attempting to submit more regularly. Over the summer, we both got diagnosed with type II diabetes. Throughout the year, we have been dealing with the slow but inexorable realization that trying to raise a family in the place our friends live is going to prove incredibly difficult, if not nearly impossible. And threaded throughout all that has been a ribbon of failure-flavored caramel: the usual but still awful galaxy of breakdowns and meltdowns and anxiety attacks and sleepless nights and sickness and fights and every other terrible thing two humans can go through that doesn’t actually require bodily harm.
And we’ve survived it. Through all that, Sonya is here for me; and through all that, I am here for Sonya. We’re committed to our fitness goals and arriving at them together; we’re stumbling through our dietary changes with minimal stumbling; I’m writing more than I did last year. We’re finding the little joys that life brings even in the dark moments, and we’re sharing them; and when the moment is just too dark, we’re there to hold a lantern and wait for the other to be ready to come back out of it. Because I’m with Sonya, I got to take my first ever trip to Hawaii; I got to go to my first live wrestling event and see my first Wrestlemania; I have a bi-monthly board game night that never fails to make me smile, and we have a Wild Talents campaign going that is one of the best roleplaying game experiences I have ever had, bar none. Heck, she made the call that got me an appointment with a therapist who may finally be able to help me get this mess in my head sorted out (or at least to a place where I can live with it). And together, with some help from our community, we are figuring out a way that we can strike a balance between the life we want and the people we love.
A metaphor here, in the form of an anecdote: I have anxiety. That means I freak out sometimes. Like, really badly. Angry, screaming, crying, denigrating myself in every way I can, acting as though the problems of our lives are impossible and insurmountable. When those end, which they inevitably do, I am left with what we call the anxiety hangover — the period of being unsure it’s actually over, and of the flood of regrets about my behavior when in the throes of my mental illness. I talked to Sonya about this problem, and we agreed that there should be some way for me to definitively say it’s over and I’d like to go back to acting normal (barring any fallout I need to discuss with her). We settled on the Dinosaur Rule: when I’m done freaking out, I give Sonya a picture of a dinosaur to look at, and we can both enjoy a cute dinosaur picture to celebrate the fact a storm has passed.
That, right there, is how I see our relationship. Most of the time, it’s comfortable; a lot of the time, it’s wonderful; and I am always glad I’m in it. But it’s not always easy, and it’s sometimes really terrible and messy; but through that bleaker part of the ride, we will always find our way to something cute and fun that we can celebrate, and we will always do all of it together. Also it’s very likely said cute and sweet thing will technically be representative of something incredibly dangerous. Reference: our cat.
I could go on, but I want to save something for next year, and the year after that, and the year after that; and I need to get back to working on my job, and on myself, and on my relationship. So for now: sweetie, I love you. And also: