Thursday, September 23, 2004

We're Not Normal

"Normal is nothing more than a cycle on a washing machine."—Whoopi Goldberg

Last night after H. and I had been giggling on the couch like children for a half-hour, laughing at some silly obscure joke that only the two of us would get, speaking in our secret language, he asked me, in all seriousness: "Baby, do you think we're normal?"

I sat quietly, thought about his question, looked away for a moment, then answered: "We may not be normal, but I think we're pretty happy. Isn't that all that matters?" In response to which he smiled contentedly and the giggles started up all over again.

Having recently spent a holiday weekend with another couple, friends of ours whom we both love dearly, I reminded him that they were silly too, had their own secret language, sat up giggling late into the night in their tent next to ours. H. finally conceded that he likes our strange, exclusive couple-dialect, the goofy names we call each other, the private little world we create when we are alone. Why else would we be in relationships with other people (romantic or otherwise) if they did not evolve into deeply intimate, comfortable sacs of precious time and enjoyment? Isn't that what we get out of our best relationships?

No, H. and I aren't 'normal' by most standards: he's a queer man, I'm a queer-leaning woman, we're in what is on the outside a 'straight' relationship; he hates sports, loves shopping, and is the neatest and most obsessive clothes-horse I've ever met; I practice Kali, love basketball, and throw my worn clothes in a pile where they wrinkle immediately; we'll most likely end up having a child before we get married (if we ever get married); we're still living out our romantic ideals of our 20s (with a 30s-ish twist of responsibility) traveling often and going on road trips with friends to faraway places; we are radical activists of color; we communicate well with each other and actually work out our problems; and we are both artists, delving deeply and often into our creative efforts like fish diving through the ocean depths.

No, we're not 'normal'. I don't long for the 2.5 kids and the picket fence house anymore. I did once, but when I had it within my reach, I ran away from it like I would run from a pretty but poisonous snake. That life may have made me feel 'normal' for the first time in my life, but I realized it wouldn't make me happy.

And isn't that all that matters? Yes. Happiness.


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