Saturday, June 11, 2005

Realizing Relief in Montreal

Mid-way through a banking turn over Montreal last night as we made our final approach--the bright lights of the city stretching out beneath us, the Olympic stadium reaching up from the city like the raised command deck of a futuristic starship--I grew tearful, and I didn't know why. I've always wanted to visit Montreal, a French-speaking slice of the old world within three and a half hours of Dallas. I'd heard it was beautiful, energetic, and gay friendly with great restaurants, and night life. Just minutes earlier I was excited to be landing. Why the sadness? What changed? My mind sifted data trying to find the answer. Then it hit me. I wasn't sad so much as relieved or maybe a bit of both, but for different even if related reasons. For the first time in my life, I was about to land in a country where I was truly free and truly equal. I had not realized how tired I was from fighting, how stressed I was from the constant struggle. It's not like I think about it every day, but living in the US, perhaps especially in a Red State, is like existing in a constant low-grade state of siege, and it wears on us. One of the psychiatric associations recently called for recognition of our right to marry precisely because of the added stress our relationships are under due to the social stigma and lack of support structures. It takes a lot out of us, whether we realize it our not. I didn't realize it until my heart and mind gave an autonomic sigh of relief. I was sad for my country and the state it is in, how it has lost it's way and perhaps even it's soul. And I was relieved to know that we would soon be touching down in allied territory.