A Forest Bird Never Wants a Cage

So, I got married. Yeah. Some of you already know this news and some of you are shocked to read it. Trust me, had you asked me three years ago if I imagined myself meeting and falling in love in China (with a man, no less) and then agreeing to get married to him, well, I would have raised an eyebrow in disbelief and told you to go waste a buck buying a lottery ticket…

But here I am.

If I compare life to forests, in general, it would seem that I have already walked through many different kinds of forests in many different climates. I’m lucky for the journey, to be sure, but luckier still to be exploring new terrain with every step. And throughout all these differences, the consistent element has been: diversity. It’s the link. It’s the key. With that diversity sits an immutable beauty in every curve of every leaf and every angle of every branch that I have witnessed and passed along the way. Beautiful in its originality. Stunning in its oneness.

My partner is an incredible human being who has inspired me to be courageous and forthright in love. For the first time in my life, I’m being brave enough to “live love first.” That became our motto, actually, and it’s one of the best things I have ever done. And by this I mean not just done for myself, but done for the world around me and including me. I have put love above all else.

I’ve let love lead.

That has meant that sometimes the forest is not exactly inviting or easy to traverse, but I’ve trudged onwards and felt closer to the heart of it all as a result. There is a pulse in a forest not unlike the pulse in our bodies; it pushes life through us, and us through life.

Throughout the whole process of meeting a man and then suddenly doing the (formerly) unthinkable and falling in love with him (!), I have come to understand the important distinction between identity and relationships. Our identities don’t change based on the relationships we experience; more specifically, they expand. That’s certainly what has happened for me. I’m so grateful to be a part of an accepting queer community – one that is inclusive of many specific individual identities by virtue of its very definition – that understands fluidity, evolution, and this expansion theory. We all grow differently. That’s what keeps our forests so mysterious and lush, so dense with diversity.

Look at me now.

Maybe it’s the fact that civil unions have been sanctioned in Canada between people who love each other, regardless of gender, that I’ve opened my heart to the concept of legally forming a lifetime union. I rejected it when I felt excluded from it, but then softened when the ban was lifted! And then, overlay that new openness with my openness to a new culture, and I started to see marriage in a new light. In China, for instance, marriage is unaffiliated with religion, not to mention the fact that it’s a gift-free, non-commercial community event that surrounds a giant feast. I can get down with that.

And I’m in love. That’s the real point. Pretty damn sweet.

My partner’s name is Guo Jian.

We’re happy together. He’s never been with a queer person before and I’ve never been with a guy before, so we can relate to one another, not only in our unmistakable love for one another, but also in our humorous confusion as to what makes the other so incredibly confusing and, well, infuriating at times. It’s a perfect match!

I move into 2010 with a one-year Chinese visa in my passport (thanks to a marriage license – one of the bonuses) and a feeling in my heart that is new and lovely.

Erik Ibsen wrote: “A forest bird never wants a cage.”

Yes, such is the freedom of love.

(Still, I don’t advocate the buying of lottery tickets, no matter what the odds. Let’s protect the forests!)

Community Supported Agriculture
Album Project : Support Needed

©2017 Ember Swift. All Rights Reserved.
Design by Janine Stoll Media.