This is an essay that will be published in my fifth book, Passing Cars. But due to people wanting to know the story of how Aiden and I got together, on the five-year anniversary of the day we met, I thought I’d share it here as well. Enjoy!
I make no secret of the fact that my husband and I are both polyamorous. If you think that’s had some impact on our relationship or passion for each other though, you haven’t been around us at all. As I sit right next to him as I write this, on the day that five years ago, we happened upon meeting each other, it’s hard to believe we’ve come this far in a relatively short amount of time. I’ve written and been very vocal about our relationship, marriage, and how much he means to me, and while I told the story of our wedding itself in The PC Lie, the story of how we met is quite the event itself.
In October of 2012, my sister was getting married. Not my blood sister, but someone I’d called a sister for a good portion of my life. The joke was that we were separated at birth; something her birth mother would later claim she had no memory of, but we were as close as siblings would be, and her family treated me as such. Our group were among the only people traveling to North Carolina for her wedding, and since I wasn’t out yet, that wasn’t nearly as dangerous of an objective as it would be now.
Details about my date that evening aside, we were wandering back to our room to catch part of the Ohio State game when her grandmother pulled me aside. I suppose for clarity’s sake, I should specify that Becky was adopted, but her birth mother went on to have two more kids. Her birth grandmother was the one who recognized me from Facebook, where I’d often be the big sister to Becky and jokingly tell her husband why not to say certain things. In retrospect, there were a lot of behaviors in place that were very indicative of my true self, even if I didn’t connect the dots at the time.
Standing next to her grandmother was this cute, adorable person who I would later come to know as Aiden. It was only in passing, but we connected on Facebook under his deadname, and didn’t really say much until a year later. For my YouTube show at the time, we were filming a game of Cards Against Humanity and were looking to get several different personalities to join us for the event. Our conversation on Facebook began about our mutual love for the Nostalgia Critic, but ended up being an invite to come join us. My partner at the time, the same one who went to the wedding with me, fell asleep and left the game early, and the moment everyone remembers from that night was him picking a random winner over a set of two cards that I had strategically and logically placed for a perfect combination. Stupid pennywhistle solo…
We became closer over the ensuing few months, despite our seven-year age difference. That never came into play, except with his mother worrying about him being out with someone older at times. But we were both partnered at the time and laughed at the worrisome manner in which people treated our friendship. Well, I guess we weren’t really fooling anyone.
We both broke up with our respective partners in April of 2014. Mine involved being broken up with via email after a two-year relationship and a dishonest move from our house, and his involved… realizing I was available, I imagine. I only partially claim a joke in that regard. The first night that we ended up spending together involved Bailey’s and a lot of repressed feelings coming forth. We ended up sleeping until 4PM the next day, with both of us awkwardly trying to make sense of everything.
Being that I’d just had my heart broken (again, but that’s a story for another time), I wasn’t in any hurry to rush into things. He stuck with me regardless of my best attempt to pretend our feelings weren’t as strong and mutual as they were, but the more time we spent together, the more I fell in love with his heart. The age difference was never a factor. He was there for me regardless of my mood or what was going on, and the more he was, the more I wanted him there in the difficult moments.
That summer, before certain events transpired that delayed everything, he saw me as my true self for the first time. We had a weekly theme for our game nights at my place, and he’d picked a drag night. Subtle, I know. I saw this as the opportunity to officially come out to the entire group, and it’s quite obvious in the picture we got together that he was smitten.
I’d built up a protective layer of callous until that point, but I realized when I was out as Marissa, not only was I completely vulnerable, but I felt everything that much stronger; including how I felt about him. I felt alive, motivated, and like I wanted to kick the closet door down and be out as his girlfriend (we called it a lesbian thing at the time because he wasn’t out yet at that point.)
He came out to me about six months later, in the most off-handed and awkward manner possible. Again during a game of Cards Against Humanity, he mentioned to the people we were playing with that he was trans, and my surprise at the moment wasn’t that he was, but that was the way he chose to tell me. Despite not being attracted to men, it took me about a day to adjust my thinking in regard to him because I’d fallen in love with his heart first, and that didn’t change no matter what gender he was. If anything, we were more connected and open with each other this way than we ever had been. He started taking on some of the more “traditional” male roles, but our relationship as equals only changed in what we called each other and the petnames that resulted from that sweetness that gives others the diabeetus.
He also proposed via text message after a long night at a con, so it was only fitting that everything that transpired in our relationship was surprising and awkward. Especially since we both are anyway. I wrote about our wedding in The PC Lie, so I won’t cover that again, but if anything has strengthened as much as my resolve for justice and equality, it’s my love for him.
The pinnacle of this was at the 100th episode of Inciting Incident, which was held in the same place we got married about five weeks short of a year to the day that we got married. We’d gotten married under our dead names, because we weren’t out to some of our family yet, but most of the people there knew. Nonetheless, a wrong needed to be righted. After planning it with the theater rep, who was by no coincidence the same person who ministered our wedding, I had a shotgun wedding renewal in front of our closest friends and contemporaries, hitting everyone right in the feels in between Rissy being so nervous about the show that she drank while forgetting to eat. I think that was the most memorable part of the show for everyone.
The best part of the story is that I grew up calling Becky my sister, almost hyperbolically and the way that close friends feel like siblings in their relationships. However, once I married her younger brother, suffice it to say that she became my legal sister-in-law, so there’s a real sense of irony and foreshadowing retrospectively. Sometimes life has a way of working out in ways you’d never expect, despite the evidence and planted seeds being right in front of you.