Memories, Barbies and WWF Wrestling. In that order.
29 Oct 2015
Memories are valuable things. We each have our own collection of them that make us who we are and who we are not. As adults we selectively remember things that make us seem like we were really cool and awesome kids. Or maybe that’s just me?
In any case, the more embarrassing memories, memories that would certainly challenge my status as a post-modern-meta-feminist get pushed to the place of the brain that is the opposite of the pre-frontal cortex. But for the sake of today’s blog post I am going to tell you the all-encompassing plastic truth:
When I was little I played with Barbies. Like a lot. A lot. A lot. Like, more than maybe any child should play with anything a lot.
The lives of Ken and Barbie (as directed by me) were wonderfully glorious and heterosexually normative. Ken and Barbie would meet, go on a first date and then, as the hours of my suburban afternoon drifted away, they would continue on a Disney prince/princess like path of love and serenity; with the final outcome (of course) being a marriage proposal (Ken asking Barbie obviously). I would then change Barbie and Ken into their perfect wedding outfits, and Barbie would walk down the aisle and they would declare their love for one another in front everyone, including my brother’s ThunderCats figures and my cat Fleabag (yes, that was his real name). And then (and only AFTER the wedding) would Ken and Barbie consummate their love (I was raised a Roman Catholic).
And I remember so clearly wanting this very fairy-tale kind of ending for myself.
An aisle to walk down.
A vow to say.
A husband to say it to.
Something borrowed and blue.
And then I was 19 and I fell in love for the first time. With a woman.
<Insert SFX of breaks screeching to a halt>
The sentence above (the falling in love with a woman one) might make it seem like the discovery of my sexuality was super laid-back and blatantly obvious. Well, it wasn’t (aforementioned #raisedromancatholic). I had no idea what was going on. All of a sudden I was feeling what Barbie felt for Ken FOR ANOTHER BARBIE. This was not the way it was supposed to play out.
Fast forward through a couple years of sexual self-discovery and you’ll find me: gay as the day is long, and harbouring a very specific piece of knowledge: the happily ever after I played out hundreds of times for Barbie and Ken was not going to play out for me.
Gay people didn’t get married. Or, more accurately, gay people weren’t legally allowed to get married.
And I was a gay person.
So there you have it.
See ya later aisle walking. Peace out white dress. Ciao chicken dance at the reception.
Was I sad that my childhood dream of getting married was crushed the way Hulk Hogan crushed Macho Man Randy Savage against the ropes in WWF wrestling matches? (Yes, I liked wrestling and yes I really didn’t know I was gay until I was 19). Was I upset? Sure. But the crushed dream came at the cost of discovering who I really was. And so I gave it up willingly. If it meant that I was able to know myself, I would forgo wanting what every little girl is taught to want. I would fight against the hetrosexual program that had been imbedded in my mind like I was the lesbian version of Jason Bourne.
But then our great country changed a law (Thanks to Paul Martin and the Liberals!) and all of a sudden the dream was alive. The Civil Marriage Act ensured that as a Canadian gay person I could get married to the person I loved.
This moment of accessibility to a dream that I thought was lost was the inspiration for our new PFLAG spot. I was able to access this dream. The dream of sharing my life with someone and having my country validate that love legally.
But what about all those gay people before me, before us, that weren’t able to access the dream? All those little girls and little boys who dreamed about their wedding days only to realize they were gay, and consequently, would never have a wedding day. Our new PFLAG spot is dedicated to those people, and to all the memories those people were never able to make.
Memories are valuable things. As an adult who selectively remembers certain ones, I am so proud to live in a place where, as a gay person, I have the chance to make a wedding a part of my collection.
Thanks for reading.