This weekend, my computer crashed. Because of how I downloaded a virus onto it trying to watch a Scottish lesbian BBC series. Yeah, I know. So embarrassing. Of course it crashed exactly when I was sitting down to work, so I used the desktop while distractedly clicking at my laptop trying to get it to work. I'm not horrible with computers, but I'm not great, either. It got itself all into a tangle and now Windows won't start. Sigh. This is why people use Macs, I suppose. Or at least don't use Internet Explorer. Anyway, this crashing was the genesis of a larger feeling of uneasiness when I realized that there was something completely irreplaceable and of indeterminate value on the hard drive. My wedding pictures.
Yes, I was married before. It's something no one knows how to talk about with me. Whenever I mention my ex-wife, people try to change the subject or talk about her like she was my best friend who moved away or something. The thing is, no one knows what to do with someone who is 29 years old and divorced. But if you think that's bad, try being 29 years old and GAY divorced. If same-sex marriage is a taboo topic, try same-sex divorce. So far I have met one person in my entire life who can talk about same-sex divorce comfortably. And she's a divorce attorney.
In order to get divorced you first have to be married. One problem with our same-sex divorce is that many people didn't actually think of us as having a real marriage in the first place. These are the people who can't get the word "wife" out of their mouth when talking about two women who are married to each other, even though they wish they could. I think that there are lots of real allies out there. I also think that there are a lot of basically good people who can't quite get their mind around what it means for two women to be married.
The result is that, even though they mean well, many people minimize the pain inherent in a divorce when they try to talk to me about mine. I have been through break-ups before. I have even been through break-ups where we lived together and shared cats. I am a lesbian, after all. Divorce is worse. I did not "break up" with my ex-wife. We got a divorce. We stood up, in front of our friends and family, and made promises that we could not keep. It was heartbreaking, and humiliating, and by far the hardest thing I have ever done. It completely changed me.
So maybe you can see how just about the worst thing for me would be if everyone pretended like it didn't happen. I know that it makes people uncomfortable when I bring up my ex-wife or reference the fact that I got married. But I did. I don't want to erase that part of my past any more than I want to erase any other aspect of my past.
So, it may surprise some people that my wedding pictures are the thing I am worried about losing on my hard drive. I haven't even looked at them in years. But I don't see my ex-wife. We don't have any kids. Our social circles don't overlap, and our number of mutual friends is dwindling. I don't want it to be like the marriage and divorce that, to a large extent, shaped my thinking and feeling about marriage, and relationships, and myself, never happened. I don't want my ex to become a ghost, and I don't want the Erin-that-was-married-to-her to become a ghost either.