THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID

Dif­fi­cult con­fes­sions

GA Voice - - Black Gay Pride - By MELISSA CARTER

There are some things you just don’t want to ad­mit to, but it’s time for me to con­fess some­thing. A big les­son I’ve learned in media is, the more au­then­tic you are, the more you con­nect with your au­di­ence. Even if you’re not cool with do­ing it. And I cer­tainly don’t feel cool right now.

Katie Jo and I called it quits. Af­ter 9 years to­gether, we couldn’t make our re­la­tion­ship fit in a com­fort­able groove that would pro­pel us into a life­long re­la­tion­ship. This isn’t a new de­vel­op­ment; I just needed time to ad­just to two ma­jor changes in my life that oc­curred at ex­actly the same time.

Katie let me know she wanted out as we trav­elled to bring our son home from the Ore­gon hos­pi­tal where he was born. Our re­la­tion­ship had been de­te­ri­o­rat­ing for some time, hav­ing noth­ing to do with Mr. Carter. In fact, in hind­sight I think he helped us stay to­gether longer than we would have with­out the hope of him. But know­ing it was over when our fam­ily had just be­gun was sur­real, and some­thing I don’t think I com­pletely be­lieved at the time. We both are equally at fault for our un­rav­el­ing, but I naively thought things might get bet­ter once we got more sleep.

We de­cided not to change how we lived be­fore the hol­i­days. We faked it with our fam­i­lies so ev­ery­one could fo­cus on Mr. Carter’s first Hal­loween, Thanks­giv­ing, and Christ­mas. But by the time spring ar­rived, Katie was out of the house and we were co­par­ent­ing.

To say this year has been a dif­fi­cult one is an un­der­state­ment. I have, on the one hand, had the most in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ence of my life get­ting to know and care for my son. At the same time I’ve had to grieve in pri­vate a re­la­tion­ship I thought would last much longer, and sim­ply en­dure the com­ments from oth­ers about how ex­cited they are for us as a cou­ple.

The hard­est time came when the United States Supreme Court le­gal­ized same-sex mar­riage. My ac­tivist’s tears of ac­com­plish­ment were mixed with those that saw a per­sonal dream un­re­al­ized. Good wishes poured in from peo­ple try­ing to guess when Katie and I would get en­gaged. Just last week­end sev­eral peo­ple re­ferred to her as my wife, and I sim­ply let it slide.

So, it’s time. It’s time to speak the words I never ex­pected to; I’m a sin­gle par­ent. Katie and I are com­mit­ted to rais­ing our son in an en­vi­ron­ment of in­cred­i­ble love and sup­port, and I’m grate­ful that our end can tran­si­tion into some­thing more mean­ing­ful than us. Mov­ing for­ward, though, I have no idea what to ex­pect from my new dat­ing life. I’m sure it will be the nor­mal mix of Hey She’s Got Po­ten­tials and the Oh Hell Nos. Re­gard­less of what comes my way, I can fi­nally say I look for­ward to the chal­lenge.

“To say this year has been a dif­fi­cult one is an un­der­state­ment. I have, on the one hand, had the most in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ence of my life get­ting to know and care for my son. At the same time I’ve had to grieve in pri­vate a re­la­tion­ship I thought would last much longer, and sim­ply en­dure the com­ments from oth­ers about how ex­cited they are for us as a cou­ple.”

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