Well, I should have given in at 9.00 when I was yawning and gone to bed. Now I'm up too late and as I was trying to fall asleep I became very aware of my upstairs neighbors enjoying themselves in their bedroom, which is directly above mine. So, feeling a bit uncomfortable at how well I was beginning to know them, I decided to come out to the living room and make a new post instead.
I'm going to delve into the realm of the self-indulgent, so bear with me if you like or go investigate the blogs of my followers: they're worth looking at. (My followers - saying that makes me feel as though I were some sort of sage or prophet when I am actually someone sitting next to her cat in her badly mended pajamas tapping away on a laptop in the middle of the night.)
After splitting up with the girlfriend in July, I have now come to the end of the obligatory six month celibacy. It is own-made obligatory but I began to impose it years ago because it seemed fair neither to myself nor to others for me to engage in any kind of dating so soon after. It never seems to really be six months, though. That is, it is always at least six months but once it turned into four years and usually it ends up being ten months or more.
At this point I feel like I have gone far into a relationship too often and that it would be better to lay off, perhaps altogether. I'm tired of the normal pattern and if espousal of some permutation were not the mutually desired end of the relationship, I can't quite see the point. Espousal is my own neologism to avoid both the weakness of the terms 'partnership' and 'commitment ceremony' (ugh) and yet avoid offending the sensibilities of those who would object to calling it marriage. Those objectors come from both sides, by the way. Those who take a conservative view of the idea of marriage may not realize it but there are many gay people who are also against marriage for gay people. So I have happily settled on espousal as my term of choice, which can also eliminate the "who is the bride, can I call her my wife, or is she really my husband or what" related confusion by tossing those terms out and replacing them with spouse.
And so I ramble. I did have something like a point. Ah yes, espousing. For me it is a question of it being one of the Sacraments of the Church and that is that as far as I am concerned. If I'm going to be committed to someone, then I would like the church to have a hand in it, just as I go to confession and would want to receive the Last Rites.
This makes it very hard for me to find anyone to date. The heavy handed way in which the Church has dealt with homosexuality has driven most of us screaming away. I myself was a conscientious objector to church attendance until Gene Robinson was made a bishop. Now I delight in going and doing the flowers and singing in the choir and leading the rosary and working with the social justice committee and the prison mission. But most church-going gay people are some sort of very wishy-washy protestant: Unitarians and non-denominational semi-Christians. Dear me, that's very judgmental. At the same time, if Buddhist meditation comprises part of your Sunday service...well...I'm glad people are going to Sunday services but without most of the Sacraments and the Eucharist, I do feel that they are missing out. I wish they hadn't, some of them, been made to feel that they deserved to miss out.
My point, to drag myself back to it, is that it is hard to find a church-going young woman who shares my proclivities and is also not on the far side of protestantism; harder still to find someone who isn't Low Church. I want to be espoused/married but it is so difficult to find anyone who is willing even to consider it, especially if it involves church.
I think that I would rather not be in a relationship at all if religion will create constant tension and half of the relationship has a principled stand against espousal/marriage for gay people or against church marriage in general. Of course, technically I can't be married in the Church (or the civil state for that matter) but only have a blessing. That is enough, though, for now.
And there I went on another klonopin induced ramble around but not to my point. My point is that I would like to fall in love but it seems impossible. I would like to embrace celibacy but I fear that I do not have the strength nor the temperament. Having been in love (still quietly pining after seven years) I understand how wonderful it can be: there is no substitute for requited love.
Now, with the bipolar disorder, I also feel at times unworthy of love, that I am damaged goods. It is a lot to ask of someone, yet I know from my own experience of looking after people whom I love that there is no resentment if the love is true. Ubi caritas.
Hearing my upstairs neighbors put me in mind of what seems unlikely to be a part of my life. How happy many people are to be able to choose a husband or wife and have social and sacerdotal approbation or to make a free choice to forgo it. How happy am I, too, to live now when though I might be damaged goods, something can be done to help repair and though I might face many obstacles to finding a spouse/wife, I'm at least no longer an outlaw.
To my Catholic readers who have stuck it out this far, thank you. Same to the atheists and agnostics among you.