Meg Smith, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
In October of 2008 I came out to Marty, the man who is now my ex-husband, after twenty-eight years of marriage. I had suspected years before that I was attracted to women. After coming out to myself it was several months before I could share it with him. The day that I came out to him I was driving home and I saw people working on a piece of property. There were a couple of small cedar trees laying by the side of the road. I had always wanted to turn a cedar tree into a bottle tree.
I was going to need Marty’s help to heft these trees home. I asked permission and the people said it was okay to come and pick them up. So, I went home and came out to Marty. I really wanted to get the trees and I thought I couldn’t ask him to do this huge favor for me and then tell him that I would be leaving him. So, this just seemed the right time.
At first, he was angry and confused but during this same conversation he looked at me and said, “This is really brave of you.” That meant a whole lot to me. Then I said, “By the way I have this favor,” so we went together to pick up the two cedar trees. It felt like my best friend was helping me.
A week after that we called each of our children who were both living out of state and told them I was coming out. They took it rather hard, my daughter sobbed and said, “I just can’t imagine you not being together.” My son said, “It is going to take some time to get my head around this but I am glad you are able to be yourself.” Since that time, they have come a long way around. My son has said that we are more of a real family now than we were when he was younger.
Marty and I had been part of a very conservative Christian community and there was a high expectation of what a Christian family was. It was stressful to try and meet that expectation so I think we were pretty hard on the kids. I know that I was hard on myself along with being depressed. When I was able to really be myself I became much happier. I moved out in November, 2008 and then on February 13, 2009 I met Ann.
Ann Keefe; Chapel Hill, North Carolina
That year there was a Valentines Dance benefiting the Common Woman’s Chorus. An email went out wanting to know if any of us wanted to meet for dinner before the dance. I decided to go. I had not been in a relationship for two years and I hadn’t really gone out and met anybody or done anything so I was in a good place to be social. I had also done some interior work. Prior to the dance, I had been to a Buddhist meeting and one of the leaders talked about how to attract the right person into your life. She advised to make a list of all the characteristics you want in another person and then chant to be that person because you attract the same person that you happen to be. So, I made a list of 65 very specific things and began chanting.
I went to the dinner and Meg sat across from me. I thought she was with another woman who had come in about the same time. They knew each other and they sat together. But, I was intrigued. We talked throughout the meal and shared things about our lives. At the end of the meal they came around and gave us fortune cookies. We went around the table reading our fortunes out loud and when it came around to mine it said, “The love of your life will appear before you unexpectedly.” I looked up and there was Meg sitting across from me.
I had had to park a distance away from the dinner and Meg asked me if I wanted a ride to my car. She followed me to the dance and we just danced. We were dancing a fast dance and she blurted out, “Do you like Joan Baez?” I said, “Yes,” and Meg said, “I just got two tickets yesterday, do you want to go?” That was pretty brave of her.
So, we made arrangements and then we slow danced. That was really nice. I then invited her to an Oscar party at my house and then she invited me out to lunch. We had lunch on a Wednesday and talked about how it can be confusing when you get together with another woman. You wonder if it is a friendship or if there is some romantic interest too.
I was on my way to a Buddhist meeting that night and I thought, “I am going to call Meg after the meeting and tell her that I am romantically interested and want more than a friendship.” The phone rang while I was driving. It was Meg and she said, “I just want to be clear, are we going to be just friends or is there a romantic intention here?” I told her, “I was going to call you and tell you that I have a romantic intention.”
We have had that connection ever since, sometime we think the same thing or say the same thing. It was an instant connection. Remember that list of 65 characteristics? Meg met all but one of them. After three years we decided to have a Buddhist-Episcopal commitment ceremony. This was before we could be legally married and two years to the day, Monday, October 13, 2014, the second day that marriage was legal for same sex couples in NC, we became legally married.
Debra Wuliger, figurative artist working with color, texture and pattern to celebrate life.
Image silhouetted with story. Ready for hanging.