People tell me that saying things out loud makes them real. Here is my letter to you, whomever you are.
You know the difference between being stationery and having stationary.
You know the importance of caffeine, and you will not give me shit about how much I drink.
If you are a Texan, you’ve got to be okay with not at some point. I am not planning on moving, just that my work moves me. As a writer, you go where the money is. This is getting less and less true as we submit electronically, but I think it would be weird if I was offered a book advance to spend a year in Kenya writing about elephants and we didn’t actually go. You can always go. You’re part of me. I’ll put it in every contract.
If you are a workaholic, then you cannot have jealousy issues and still be with me. If you don’t have time for me, don’t hate the people who do. If I say, “we’re going to Africa to study elephants” and you say no, don’t spend every minute I’m gone resenting the people who said yes.
You are fascinated by history, medicine, art, or just anything, really. I do not care what it is that you are fascinated by, only that you have passion for something and can explain it to the world. I do not want to be with you if you are not entirely curious about how the world works. People who are content to be Republicans because their grandfathers were Republican scare me. It’s not about politics. Be a Republican. But know why. It also wouldn’t hurt if you were a constitutional law scholar, because that was my favorite class in undergrad. Anyone that doesn’t want to know what SCOTUS thinks is probably not the right person for me.
You are fascinated with writing, and would never say that I don’t have a “real job,” because you know that now is not the time for fruit, but the seeds have taken their hold and as a Virgo, I am tied to the land. What this means in practical terms is that you don’t go behind my back and make excuses for my lack of income (I will always have a job similar to a grocery clerk, because I cannot give more of my time to making money with other things than that). If we were wealthy enough, I’d want you to be okay with letting me work from home and not make anything until that person that’s supposed to find my writing does and we end up on the cover of several magazines at once. That way, there’s someone to manage the house- my part of the bargain unless we have a maid. This dream is not negotiable. EVER. I am too good at writing already to be forced into giving it up because I need to make more money. It is not a conversation I am ever willing to have. I am willing to live in the motherfuckin’ projects so I can make it on my $10/hr, but I will NOT take on a job in which I would be miserable just because you need me to make more money. I am really talking to myself. I do that a lot. You’ll get used to it.
It is not necessary to be a Christian or even to believe in God. That being said, I’m a writer and theologian. If you haven’t been to church in the past, you’ll go with me. Not for any reason other than you love me, not that you agree with what is said. However, it will be our church. I am not stupid enough to think that you will not be my partner in ministry, because even though you may not play the organ, it is a burden to be my confidante. Ask every person whose ever had the job. I am tough shit.
You are convinced that couples should share one bank account because my money is your money is our money. If we break up, that’s why it’s called dividing assets. I want to take the fight off the table that I took your money or you took mine. No, bitch. It’s ours.
You have a working definition of what marriage means. I don’t care if you’ve ever fallen in love before. I need to know that you know that when you marry me, you are going into it knowing the enormity of work we have ahead of us, especially since I’m in my late 30’s. There are going to be things you don’t like about me. I want to know whether you can love me, anyway.
I want to know that you have the emotional capacity to live the type of life I’m creating. I am working toward being an author, and hoping that eventually, my words will have authority in the world of theology. If you know who Marcus Borg is and can quote “The Historical Jesus,” fuck it. Marry me. We’ll work it out (also my declaration to gay hairdressers). Ditto for Anne Lamott, Jim Wallis, and the rest of the mostly-ignored-but-getting-louder Christian Left. You have to be ready for us to be famous at any moment. I know this sounds crazy, but I’ve been writing for a long time. Within our relationship, I could take several phone calls that turn me from the sweet nerd you met to nationwide or worldwide recognition. I need you to meet me where I am, and love that nerd for all she’s worth, and grow with me.
You know that I know myself better than anyone else, and you are not threatened by it. You also have a big personality so that you don’t feel steamrolled by mine.
We have a dog.
Looking forward to dropping my pen at the bank, bumping into you at Starbucks, or asking you to move over at church sometime soon.