The Marriage of Roots and Wings

My past and my future, intertwined

Two weeks ago today, I got married. The day was absolutely perfect. June in Colorado gave us a cold snap, dreamy fog, and temperatures that granted us lit fireplaces. We stood at the feet of mountains, said our vows, laughed, cried, and squeezed each others’ hands as we floated from engaged to married. The whole evening had a sense of magic that thinking of brings me to spirit-tears. We both felt so touched by the maternal canopy of Love, of Earth. Snow-globed into a sliver of light and purity, of the place where meaning, connection, breath, and breeze swirl together to form the cradle that holds all existence. It’s true what they say—that nothing can prepare you for the surrealism of that day. That somehow, underneath the soil, roots are taking hold. And that those roots, mingling and bonding like our guests, really do change you.

When I was little, my mom had an artist paint a mural in my bedroom of the words: “For you, my dear, I wish two things: To give you roots and to give you wings.” Those words watched me grow from child to teenager, from American Girl dolls to Nirvana posters; they heard my prayers, they witnessed my grieving as I packed up my room to move to California after high school. They read my bad, teen-angst (but oh so treasured) poetry and they, too, heard my dad call from downstairs when supper was ready. No matter how many times I changed the colors of my walls, the words painted above the fireplace had to remain.

I loved my roots. I grew up happy, sensitive, soulful, and free to explore the alleyways and creeks in my mind. I had loving parents that trusted me and respected and supported my passions. I got to perform in community theater (on school nights!) with my best friends, bathing in the god-touched light that only being on stage can spark. I found music that changed my life, I found ethics that shaped my life, and I found dreams that continued to propel my life. I felt fully me, whole, held. I had my roots.

My wings took me to California. They carried me through rejection, isolation, and empty bags of cookies. They carried me into auditions, classes, random jobs, activism, long talks on the phone to best friends back home, and to insanely amazing vegan food. They carried me through soy-latte stained journals and adopting the most challenging pit-bull ever. They carried me to strength, to self-esteem, to surrender. They carried me to courage. My wings carried me, windows down, to San Francisco where I met the person I would marry. The one who would build a home with me here in Los Angeles, the one who would introduce me to basil plants and unconditional, true love. Love inside of truth, and the truth that is love.

Wings inspire freedom and change, and their heights often call for growth among the roots below.

For the past three years, since “coming out” to my parents, and in a way the world, I felt a distinct segregation between the Childhood-Me and the Present-Me. The two parts ached to move as one but the wake of coming out kept them separated, disjointed, and thirsty for oil and union. It wasn’t even until several months after our engagement that many of my family members even knew I was in a same-sex relationship. The weight of having even a sliver of a double-life can be muffling, and I didn’t realize its effect on my shoulders until I felt the easy breath of unity that the wedding brought. This compartmentalizing of my life, of our life, would truly end. It wasn’t an easy road, but I am now a firm believer in the transcendent power of love.

So many family members, ones who I hadn’t seen in years, traveled across states to be at our wedding. Childhood friends, my spouse’s best friends in the world, my parents’ friends… a mix of old and new, of history and future. My dad’s cousin spent hours ironing my dress before the ceremony, my mom’s friends arranged our flowers for the reception, and everyone danced and sang (or, screamed) to Nirvana on the dance floor. To see so many shades of both of our lives blend together was like watching my deepest dreams seamlessly wake up alongside me. Yes, that’s what it was like: waking up.

For what felt like the first time in my life, my roots met my wings. And in seeing each other, face to face, we were able to walk onto this new land we’ve claimed. Where we are supported by the roots below us instead of restricted by them and where we are freed by the talents of wings instead of isolated by them. A place where I am seen under the conditions of my truest self, not the edited version I stood behind for years. Beside me is my love, the co-creator of my journey, and around us are two families, two histories, sewn together by the strings of our hearts. I am married, yes, to my spouse, to my past, and to my future. Love wins.

Stay tuned for Catherine’s mystical rocky mountain wedding this afternoon. It’s a can’t miss, as you might imagine.

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  • Sarah E

    I can’t wait to see the wedding. This is such a lovely telling of the story :-)

  • Fiona

    Congrats Catherine! So happy for you.

    • thank you Fiona :) I’m looking forward to your wedding posts in the near future (I HOPE)!

      • Fiona

        ME TOO! ;)

  • Lindsay

    Thank you for sharing this phenomenal, inspiring account of your beautiful day with us. To the author, to APW- thank you. Wishing all endless love.

  • Kristin

    gorgeous. thank you so much for sharing this.

  • MC

    Oh! This is beautiful. And as someone who grew up in Boulder County, that view of the Flatirons always makes my heart so happy. Cannot wait for more!!!

  • This had me tearing up, very beautiful. I’m so glad your family came through for you. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  • AH

    So need more! I’m getting married at that exact place next June!

    • YOU ARE? are you doing the reception at the dining hall?? It was seriously so perfect and the staff at the Dining Hall is impeccable!! I miss them all dearly. (this is the writer of this post btw)

  • JSwen

    Beautiful! Wonderful post – I hope I feel the same way in a couple weeks!

  • This was a beautiful way to start the morning. Thank you for sharing.

  • JAS

    What a wonderful story, thank for your sharing, just beautiful. I can’t wait to read the wedding post! Also, GAH that DRESS!!

  • macaroni

    Such a beautiful piece. And man oh MAN does that photo make me miss Boulder. Absolutely beautiful!!

  • Aj

    beautiful! so eloquent!

  • Meg

    Your writing is visceral, soulful, and so beautifully composed. My warmest congratulations to you and your spouse, as well as your families! True love is a magical thing.

  • KH_Tas

    Holy wow this post.
    Congratulations on your wedding + marriage, and huge props for your writing ability

  • meeliebee

    Absolutely lovely!