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The Right to Fail at Marriage

2021-06-23 | 🔗

In 2004, the comedian Cameron Esposito sat on the steps of Boston City Hall and watched as some of the first legally married same-sex couples in the United States emerged victoriously as newlyweds. Thirteen years, three boyfriends and 10 girlfriends later, Cameron was ready to marry the woman she assumed she would be with forever.

“I expected to perfectly navigate marriage like some sort of lesbian phoenix that never stops rising,” Cameron wrote in her 2019 Modern Love essay. But when she found herself alone and knocked down, failing at marriage, she developed a new understanding of the privileges she had long been fighting for. You can find more information on today's episode here

Featured stories: 

  • “New Hope, New Pain, Same Old Divorce” by Cameron Esposito
  • "Here’s a Chair for You” by Gayle Brandeis
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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and tensions, and make the best effort yeah it's about the equality of love, but also the equality of heartbreak. The is called new hope, new pain, same old divorce its both ribbon and read by Cameron. Esposito. One of the last things I did before leaving the home we had made together was pull the five foot portrait of our faces out of the closet. What is one supposed to do with oversized portraiture in the event of adversity, the picture was a gift. Bestowed by network executives when we became the first married same sex couples,
to co star in and co, create a television show take my wife. It went up on our wall as a joke. Who would for having such a gaudy object, but I quickly got used to it. I love that gaudy object? I thought sipping seltzer from one of our misses. while that is. I got those barrel where I am our vote, that there were selling equality ephemeral, like MRS. His ring dishes already had a ring dish and never took my ring off. Instead, I went with the highball glasses, so pardon my surprise. When, a few years later there I was ring lists, pulling a giant photo of my gay face from our closet. Well, my closet, ugh. I am not going to make a closet joke
After they moved out, that's a singular they, the closets stayed closets. In my mind, if now only populated by my stuff, spaces. Were there, things had been seemed to glow, as if lit by the sun of my sadness, here's where the hell were dvds were, and this cleaner than the rest rectangle of wall was formerly covered by an art print. They got in college It was like living in a relationship, pain, museum. I was the docent giving tours to no one. I hate this worse because a really loved being married and I hadn't rushed into marriage. I waited thirteen years and ten partners to marry the person. I thought I would be with until one of us croaked or
preferably until we croaked simultaneously at ninety holding hands and listening to Tegan and SARA Back two thousand and four. I sat on the steps at Boston City Hall with my then girlfriend watch. hang and cheering as a steady trickle of pioneering newlyweds emerged victorious and after a while, I gave up all throughout Massachusetts are celebrating a day. Many might never the first legally married same sex couples in the whole country. Twenty two years old and a week from college graduation. I girlfriend inside just do it She was the woman whose kiss opened my eyes to my own queer heart, but ever rational. She said no, I didn't push as to tie the not the mood was powerful, but I felt fairly
certain pre graduation marriage wasn't for me, but within a year which felt impossible at the time. few girlfriends. Later in two thousand and eight, I also didn't marry the woman I loved we met when she was on a student visa. Which turned into a work visa, which then was set to expire the time in immigration lawyer said, there was no way to extend her stay. We were living together. We couldn't legally Mary in Illinois, where we lived in any pre federal marriage benefits, wouldn't have Paul at her for a green card. Anyway. Went home to another continent and I briefly followed her there, where we could have been heard before I could have stayed, but I came back. My stand up. Crew was blooming in Chicago, and I chose stand up
in twenty ten. I met my future spouse at a stand up show we started as Co. Workers became friends. I fell hard committed, harder and Sumi move to LOS Angeles the day, Doma was overturned. My father heard it on the radio and pulled over on his way to work, to call us with congratulations. and later, on top of a mountain, wicked hike to from our beloved starving artist apartment, my features got down on one knee, and I said yes. We married two years later at a rock club alongside friends, family and a buffet of Chicago style, hot dogs when pronounced thousand spouse. We raised our clasped hands. Just like I'd seen this first legally married queer couples
over a decade before, after our first dance, we Did on the dates for all night friends and fair, We kept asking how long we practised our slow dance, the spinning flicking flinging and dipping we hadn't, that's just how well suited we are, I thought and we were both in suits. Thirty five I didn't marry to young or commit because of extenuating circumstances. I took my time, chose well and was the best gay, I could be along the way out, proud and social justice minded with an aggressively queer haircut. I fought for our space and our rights. alongside so many others and in the end, none of that kept. My marriage together. Somehow the only part of my catholic upbringing that seems to have survived my youth is the feeling that,
What is wrong preventable and my fault- So I've wondered shit. Haven't? Gayer wade Longer chosen not too dates. I wouldn't have to feel this pain married everyone. I did it. this wouldn't be such a shock. Humiliating, as this is for me to admit as an artist I grew up in he serious stable home, my And had been together for over fifty years are, asked friends and share one pair of gardening clogs have no frame. Preference for dissolution except what I've seen in movies- and there isn't a beyond song about being too independent adults who share a friend group, a business interest and a button down shirt collection, but can't make it work. Do you know how scary it is to exist beyond the edge of the beyond, say, catalogue, terrifying, a lot of that terror,
from fear that I wasted the moment in which I get to live. My adulthood lined up with the fastest civil rights movement in history, one that applies to me directly, I expected in my personal life to match our strides and freedom. I expected to perfectly navigate. Marriage like some sort of a lesbian, Phoenix that never stops rising. Then I remembered the phoenix combust again and again, maybe the across story is more appropriate. All I know is my wings broke. I'm tired. And my life isn't what I thought it would be for the first time I am down for the count. I took the initial rejection of my queerness by family friends and my faith and used it to become famously gay. My past is rife with moments where they got cut from the swim team and the next year made captain
Or more seriously wrote an hour of material about my own sexual assault to raise money for rape crisis intervention, my life has been typified. by my obsession with being a survivor, the comeback kid, but this year has been a full stop. I miss the person I trusted with my squishy small in herself and MR safety. That came with being an example of queerness done right. In our own side, the home life, I can't sleep When I do, I relive the loss in my dreams, awaking. I drag myself from place to place, unable to force a purpose or a lesson, or a next chapter This is the year of my life when I put an Alka Seltzer into a Lacroix to see if the extra bubbles would help with my nervous indigestion when I die.
The dose of my dogs, cd oil, during particularly bad insomnia, and when I took a spoon carving class to see if spoons and carving could solve my pain. I guess in some ways this is what I was fighting for. The right to be queer and human, Have the privileges straight people enjoy like the privilege to be imperfect and fail. my queerness lives within a larger history of adaptation. Over perfection. Ours is a history marked by new kinds of families, new kinds of trauma, new kinds of healing new pronouns new moments of hope. new types of pain. We are chosen family, your friends with our exes. We are marked by lives filled with many loves
We are human. I am human knocked down. On and flawed and sad and gay and proud and sometimes free. The MRS glasses are gone. The ring is off The giant portrait is in storage, because how can you throw thing like that out, but at least my closet, feels like it's truly mine. and maybe in the future. I'll share it again. The The
Cameron is sharing her closet again. This time with her New wife, Katie Nishimoto couple was recently married at their home, in LOS Angeles after the break will hear a tiny love story about a small gesture that help to heal the wounds of divorce. Is progress, disappointed by better help online therapy relationships? Take work, especially the most important when you have your relationship with herself. Most will drop anything to help loved ones and go out of the way to treat others were but how often do you do the same? For yourself? Therapy is a great way to show up for yourself and better help. Online therapy makes it so convenient offering video phone and live chat sessions with her therapist give it a try see why over two million people have used better help. Modern love listeners get ten percent off their first month of online therapy, a better help, dot com, slash modern, that's better h, e l, p, dot,
slash, modern, hey, it's Lauren Dragon from Wirecutter the product recommendation service from the New York Times and I test headphones. Sweat is actually conductive because of the saline content in it. So we basically make our own fake, sweat and spray it over and over on these headphones to see what happens to them over time. This is eighty five db of airplane noise: the noise cancelling headphones and see how well they actually block out the sound on the ground and kick them over there go. Are they broken? the I have three thousand one hundred and thirty six entries in my database, kids workout running. Does it have a connector, that's lightning or usb seed? What version of Bluetooth is? It doesn't have fx, hd ones that track at wirecutter. We do the work, so you don't have to for independent product reviews and recommendations for the real world. Come visit us at N Y Times dot com, slash wirecutter. We even have one. That's solar powered, hi Gail. I have to go
good? How are you doing pretty well? This is one of my favorite tiny love stories ever I'm gale brand eyes, and I wrote the tiny love story. Here's a chair for you,
I was excited for my eldest son- said Gatesman Party. I was also nerve as having not seen my ex husband and I've year is mid celebration. I looked up from my cup of cold cocoanut soup to see my eight year old Son Asher from my second marriage, carry a chair over to my axe, who was standing next to his second life, my ex startled at the sudden chair behind him. Then he turned to Asher a child who wouldn't exist. Had I not broken my ex husband, heart and smiled fell lovely to wrote that your son Asher would not have existed. Had you not broke
your Ex husband's heart. Can you tell me the story behind that sure I had been with my first husband for twenty years, starting from when I was nineteen, we met when I was a sophomore in college and poor together for twenty years, but in that time I was growing and changing, and I realized that I wasn't the same person who had fallen in love with him, and I had this unusual experience where I took my daughter to an audition for play, and the assistant director asked me if I wanted to audition too, because they needed more adults in the production. And ended up with the leader all to myself. Amazing. What play was it. It was any get you So I played Annie Oakley, very unlike me, I'm a really quiet, quiet side
we sin, and here I was playing this written tooting sharpshooter. It just brought me way out of my comfort zone, and the whole experience helps me realize I was capable of more than I gave myself credit for, and so I just felt these shifts inside of me and I, interestingly, the the man who played my co star is my husband now, and I had no sense that something like that, You know what happened some day, but there is a scene when he said I'm going to marry. You Annie and there is a voice inside of me. That said, yes, you are which is so weird, because there was no reason to think that is the case, and I have had this Sort of hidden reservations about my marriage for a while that I haven't list- and I started acknowledging the things that I had not been allowing
myself to really face in my own marriage, and it was a big surprise My husband said at the time my first husband that I was unhappy. She was pretty blindsided by by the whole move away from him yeah. So we just kind of come Lee drifted away from each other and then land. This engagement party came around. I felt really nervous about seeing him having not even heard his voice for five years, and so what was it? I like to to see him for the first time after so long. Well, it was not just an engagement party, it was a layout, engagement ceremony as well my daughter my parents are from loud and they had this wonderful traditional ceremony and I was running late,
soon, as I got in the door I had to participate in this, only where it had to stand side by his head with my ex husband, and so we stood side by side and we had to walk into as it was my daughter in law's parents house, and we presented these offerings to. Our daughter in law to views parents, but we didn't. We set a clear love it. Didn't really. You know talk to each other at that plans and then sort of butter separately, as at the party which was just a beautiful backyard party, did just happened to look over and I had to trying not to look towards my ex husband very much during the time. Just because it made me nervousness him, and I saw this beautiful scene of my little eight year old son, just you know giving this gesture of kindness carrying the sea it over to the man who had been my husband's.
So my ex husband had sat next to his wife and seeing my ex husband smile at this boy who, like I think the peace wouldn't exist, had I not say delay from that marriage. It fell very healing yeah, and so then what happened next it something in my heart, just kind of relaxed at went point where I felt like this Parts of my life could we ve together in a way that there could be a bridge between us and it was. It was so beautiful tat. My son created that bridge is through this little sweet, simple act of generosity, so that you know once we got to the wedding it felt like everyone was happy to be in the same space, and I was just such a beautiful celebration of love, so beautiful and healing. Thank you so much for sharing others. Thank you,
I'm not sure. Having me, it's been a true pleasure. Modern love is produced by Julia Botero with help from HANS Butoh and Alyssa Dudley. It's edited by SARA Sara said. The executive producer is Wendy Door.
This episode was mixed by Korea shrapnel this week's as I was written in red by Cameron, Esposito and Gale Brandeis wrote are tiny love story, special thanks to Julia Simon Mohammed Bonnie, Vicki, Merrick Bonnie Worth Time. I must remain SAM, don't neck Corsica and Rhine Wagner at autumn. I'm Dyin Jones and I merely we'll be back next week with more stories from modern love. Thanks for listening.
Transcript generated on 2022-03-27.