I’m choosing to end this series with the one who has been both the beginning and the end of all my stories, my husband.   Again, this is not a new story to many of you, but humour me anyway.

When I met him I had just started a new job.  I was seeing a few people, and while I cared for each of them I wasn’t interested in a committed, monogamous relationship.  It was on a trip to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire with one of those men that I met the man who would become my husband.  He is the cornerstone of our family, our tribe, our Ohana.

He was working for a booth that sold dragon puppets that sat on your shoulder, and he lured me into a conversation using raffle tickets as bait. He was cute, and I was still unaccustomed to being flirted with, so I followed, my confused date following behind us.   After convincing me to wave a flag in the parade and using that time to both question me about myself and critique my flag waving, the raffle began, and he was gone.  I bought myself a cute little dragon puppet and tried not to look disappointed as we headed for the car.  Before we left the gates I stopped off to use the Privvy where I tried desperately to push him from my mind as just another “could have been”, but something just wouldn’t let me leave it that way.

I told my date to wait where he was and took off running towards the puppet booth where I made up some story about losing my debit card.  It wasn’t until a year ago that I told him I had gone back just for him.  We struck up a conversation.  I was nervous.  So nervous, in fact, that I failed to notice when my bodice stopped functioning.  I was essentially topless.  “I’m sorry,” he said, eventually unable to focus on the work he was doing, “but it’s really hard to be a gentleman with you like…like that.”  After that I couldn’t not take his number.  Unfortunately, I took the wrong one, and it took me a week to figure out the problem. On our first date he bought me a pair of blue horns and a bottle of mead, which I had to open with a screw and a hammer because I didn’t have a corkscrew.  Within weeks he was spending every night with me, within months we were handfasted.  It was eerie how much we had in common, down to some of the same stuff, and how often we had most likely crossed paths in years previous.

When we decided to be poly we knew we were embarking on something big.  We both knew it was the right decision, and we both breathed a sigh of relief at finally being able to express ideas we’d each held for years, but we knew there would be growing pains.  We knew there would be mistakes on both sides, and we knew it would be the biggest test our relationship had faced to date.  We were right.  We fought.  We exposed fears, insecurities, and emotional roadblocks of every kind, but we kept pushing forward.  We fought some more.  It strained friendships, relationships, and for a long time we were that couple that brought tension to every social gathering like a side-dish.  It cost us more than we could have imagined, and it was almost the end of us.  Almost.

Ultimately we came out of the fire more closely bonded than ever.  The people who were truly our tribe rallied around us, and our families were able to see us stand tall as a team.  Whenever we have issues now it is those moments that we remember, that first victory that inspires us to keep trying, because those were the fires of truth that made us one.  No handfasting or legal document could have done that.  These new issues are never actually new.  They are simply echoes of the first, and they are generally fixed with the same tools.  I have learned a lot of lessons from my relationship with Hubby, and I continue to learn from him.

I have learned how to communicate.  I have learned better ways to control my emotional responses.  It doesn’t always work, but he has learned to try to see why I respond as severely as I do sometimes.  I have learned that I am stronger than I ever think I am.  Through sickness, money troubles, losing our apartment, and loss, we have thrived as a couple.  In times of trial, we have proven to be each other’s strongest ally.  Even when we have been against each other, the love we have has inspired us to fight for the life we have built together.  I have learned what it means to be humble, what it means to compromise, and what it means to forgive.  I have eschewed the I-would-nevers and the expectations of love and marriage that I held onto for so many years.  I have learned to accept that I don’t always have the answers and that sometimes we’re just floundering together in the sea of life, and that’s ok.  I have learned what it means to lean on each other and how to carry myself knowing it doesn’t mean I’ve been abandoned.  I have learned when to let someone I love fail or hurt, because his experience and lessons are not mine to feel.  I have learned the definition of unconditional love.  I have learned what it means to have someone’s support no matter what.  I know that on any path my journey takes I will carry the love and faith of my husband, even if he doesn’t understand or agree with it.  I have learned compersion and true happiness for another human being.  I have learned to accept that I am a lovable, capable, beautiful human being who deserves to be accepted and cherished by someone who loves her as much as she loves him.  I have learned to trust in love, magick, and hope above all other things, and when even those things fail, to trust in myself.   I have learned what it means to build a life with someone instead of just living a life with someone.

I have learned what it means to be Ohana.

To my Hubby.  Aloha nui loa.

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