#1888

Holy Shit My Girlfriend is Awesome: An Essay

It’s February, which means Valentine’s Day, which means an overwhelming amount of heteronormativity being shoved in our collective queer faces. What better time, then, to write about the woman I am fiercely, ecstatically in love with? This is the classic story of awkward-asexual-girl-who-has-never-dated meets awkward-bisexual-girl-who-has-dated-too-many-bad-eggs. On Craigslist.

Our story doesn’t actually start in May of 2014, when Chriselle and I first started communicating via email. It starts years before – in early childhood for Chriselle, and early high school for myself. Being the budding queers we were, we found ourselves unknowingly following the same path to self-discovery. She habitually wrote letters to a mysterious figure she called her Stranger; I wrote longingly about an undefined girl I called Shakespeare’s Sister, after Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own. Years before Chriselle and I ever met, we both imagined this perfect person whom we wished would come into our lives.

Fast forward to 2014. After years of internal sapphic angst, I woke up one morning and thought fuck it, I’m going to post something on the Craigslist w/w forum. So I did. It was super vague and focused more on my search for a writing buddy than a romantic tryst. Chriselle answered and we hit it off immediately. We flirted, bonded, and eventually I asked her out – with about a thousand butterflies whirling in my stomach. From there, the story follows the lesbian U-Haul cliche embarrassingly close. We bought matching rings on our second date, were talking about marriage by the second month, and had rented an apartment together by the ninth. 44 months later, we’re engaged and planning an October wedding. Gross, huh?

I think I would love Chriselle no matter what, because of fate and soulmates and stuff, but she also happens to be someone who deserves to be loved for a thousand different reasons. She is passionate, altruistic, and unfailingly honest. She is intelligent, literary, and refreshingly open-minded. She is sarcastic, unapologetically queer, and one of the biggest geeks I have ever met. She is a dedicated daughter, a loving sister, and an extremely patient aunt. She is a beautiful, curvy, brown-skinned immigrant who is tough as nails and won’t back down from a fight (physical, emotional, or moral) she believes in. She works a job where she watches animals die every single day, and yet she always goes back because she can’t stand to not do something for them. She is more confident than she knows, and more capable. She is, above all, a truly good person.

But there’s more. Those are some of the big, overarching reasons why I love this girl so much, but some of the smaller, more specific reasons are just as important. I love the way she cackles when she kills someone in Assassins Creed. I love how irrationally angry she gets when I mention Paul Revere. I love how she can quote the Harry Potter movies by heart. I love how she calls her beanies “bonnets”. I love how she supports my various weirdnesses. I love that we can have long, in-depth discussions about anything from morality to Lord of the Rings. I love how she gets super loopy whenever she is sick or has taken pain killers. I love that she puts like a million sugars in her tea. I love that sometimes she forgets the English word for something, and only remembers the Tagalog one. I love that she drinks soda instead of hard liquor when she’s had a bad day. I love that she cries if you give her a gift for her dog. I love her freckles and her wavy hair and her callouses. I love her tattoos and her piercings and the little scar on her eyebrow.

I’m not naive, and our relationship isn’t perfect; we have our share of struggles just like everyone else. At the end of the day, though, a lot of those struggles come from us loving each other too much, instead of not enough. And no matter how neurotic or disappointing or frustrating I can be, I know nothing will drive Chriselle from my side. We may be planning to say “for better or worse” in front of our family and friends next fall, but we already made those promises to each other three and a half years ago. We spent so many years searching for our Stranger, for our Shakespeare’s Sister, that we won’t let anything come between us now.

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#1860

I keep trying to write something to show you how much I care something so beautiful and heartfelt it rivals, no, surpasses that which touch communicates wordlessly. But look, already I’m falling back on grandiose phrasing, anxious to craft each phrase to perfection. You’ve said before my words are like strawberries and cream. Are these words that simple? Are these words that humble? I don’t think so. Why is this so difficult?

but it’s not going well I guess what I really want to say is: I’m sorry. I’m sorry I’m one filament away from breaking from my body completely. I’m sorry it’s so hard for me to be present sometimes. It’s not you. It’s never you. It’s just me. Did the ancient oracles have such trouble drawing their minds back to earth? I don’t know. So, I’m sorry.

as you can see I mean, what I really want to say is that I think our love is perfect. It’s not so dramatically passionate or foolishly tragic that we’ll go down in history with Romeo and Juliet and all those other star-crossed lovers, but who wants to be star-crossed anyway? I like our life. I like the lazy mornings, the video games, the joking and teasing and cuddling

because none of these words are perfect What I think I’m trying to say is that I never knew love could be like this. I knew you could love someone so much it hurt, but I never realized love could also buoy you up, make you feel weightless and free. I never knew love could make you feel timeless, either, like you have always been and will always be living within that perfect moment.

and you deserve perfect. I guess I should just say: I love you.

#1835

when the storm surges and the waves crash, I will be your rock, I say
and you reply, but rock erodes until it’s no longer recognizable as what it once was
I do not argue, because that is true; even stone is not eternal

but you forget I have studied the earth, its cycles, its processes
and so I know that while stone is not eternal, its matter is
and can neither be created nor destroyed

if your storms weather me, I will become sand on the ocean floor
and perhaps from there the earth will push me up against the land
or perhaps drag me deep beneath its melting crust

either way I will transform, become a mountain once again
and when the wind and rain and time begin to carve me away
I will welcome that change as I welcome yours

#1740

When I first imagined her, only ever out of the corner of my eye, she was nothing like you. She was pale and fragile, like someone made out of glass and rose petals. I don’t know why I saw her like this, so demure and ethereal, when I felt no pull to that model of femininity. I suppose my subconscious had absorbed too many of society’s fairytale princesses with their skin white as snow and their lips red as blood. And that was fine for a time, to imagine her clothed in spider’s-silk and dew when she was something I never dared touch or hold. And how could I? I would have shattered her delicate form.

Sometimes I laugh, remembering her as I watch you. You could not be more her opposite, though you and she are one in the same. No fairytale princess, you; you are my warrior goddess, scarred and calloused, tattooed and pierced, muscled and curved. You’re not snow white or blood red, you’re black, brown, amber, bronze. No one could lock you away in a tower or fell you with one bite of a poisoned apple. You’d cut off your hair and use it as a rope; you’d trick the evil queen and defeat the huntsman; you’d befriend the wolf and run with him through the woods. You’re like nothing I ever imagined, like no one I dared hope for. My knight. My warrior. My goddess.

#1733

these days I tag everything
queer and pagan
because there’s no untangling them now
the hunger for skin is the hunger for blessing
and the surrender of body is the surrender of soul
and all the doors are open now
and all our arms are open now
and all the paths are open now
thus love is worship
worship is love
and I am yours
and hers
and his
and theirs

#1728

Like wheat from the chaff, we have sieved out those who could not understand; the leader who was a coward; the brother who was an oppressor; the unremarkable others who could not recognize the truth of divinity. There are not many left who are privy to this inner world anymore. Only one, really, and she saw clearly from the beginning. She saw to the scribe’s inner heart, past the Sun’s mask, through the Moon’s shadows. She understands the necessity of the Great Round, the ever-turning Wheel. She understands the necessity of blood and steel. All the rest were merely placeholders until her arrival and in her wake the memories of them fall away. Good riddance.