There is nothing I detest more than the middle seat on an airplane. I paid for extra leg room on my flight to Puerto Vallarta a few weeks back but I’m still baffled at the idea that most people sitting in the either the window, or aisle seat, are unaware arm rests belong to the middle seat. Let me clarify further, it’s belongs to me!
Despite a stop in Dallas after departing Newark International airport, and two very uncomfortable flights later, I arrived safely in Mexico. To my delight, the most challenging moments of this trip were behind me. After venturing outside to see a smiling gentleman with the name of the wedding party I was here for holding a sign, I securely placed my fedora on my head and adjusted it accordingly, put on my ray bans, and was whisked away to the Hard Rock Café Resort hopefully to a waiting very strong cocktail!
I love to travel but this time the stamp on the passport was about something entirely different. Something I’ve never witnessed before, a gay wedding. I didn’t know what to expect but was open to possibility. I was more than ready for love, hangovers, fedoras, and a dash of Mexican Sunshine. I was not disappointed.
The happy couple I was here to celebrate was two of the most beautiful people on the planet both inside and out. There are certain people you meet in your travels that give off such an incredible energy that you can’t help but want to be around them. It’s infectious, like an unexpected hello and smile from a stranger while bustling down a busy New York City street. You didn’t ask for it, but you truly needed to have your spirits lifted.
A few days passed before the wedding which included catching up with old friends, multiple calls to room service, and sadly a few margaritas too many. It was finally time for the big day. I was excited! There isn’t anything I love more than being at the beach. It was almost near sunset and the guests were beginning to assemble themselves into their seats. I looked out onto the water and couldn’t help but become intoxicated by the sexiness of it all.
I was comforted by its peace and left with a new appreciation of what it takes to not only fully commit to someone, but stay true to who you are regardless of naysayers, disapproving family members, friends, or society at large.
A quick glance over the crowd and I saw a beautiful array of brown and cream colored faces all attached to souls who were about to experience a moment like no other. It wasn’t just the beauty of the people that filled me with a sense of pride, it was the amount of couples, many of which were married, some straight, and several same gender loving men and women of color. WOW I thought to myself. Is this for real? How is this all possible? How is it that there are so many couples that share facets of my story, and I didn’t know them all? I was humbled by this moment and I was proud. I was also very much inspired.
I cannot give a blow-by-blow detail of the wedding because it is not my story tell. I can promise you however, that straight folks, have nothing on this particular destination wedding on the beach. The happy couple seemed to dazzle us with the element of surprise right up to the very end. As the night deepened and the music, laughter, and dancing feet began to dissipate, the sound of the ocean once again made it’s presence known. I was comforted by it’s peace and left with a new appreciation of what it takes to not only fully commit to someone, but stay true to who you are regardless of naysayers, disapproving family members, friends, or society at large.
I have been in the company of people who looked like me who were defying the odds and choosing love over the comfort of invisibility.
I was lost in my thoughts that all seemed to focus around who the person I needed to be to be able to share this moment with someone. I felt somewhat validated that my choice to live fearlessly and unapologetically was worth it if it meant that I too could be in the company of loved ones in the most intimate and authentic of circumstances.
A smile began to pierce my face and fill me with warmth all over. I looked again over the crowd that was now beginning to retire to their rooms. I wanted to savor this moment. I wanted to let those I care about the most at home to know that who I am, who we are, was visibly present and in abundance in this celebration of love. This union broke any remaining limiting beliefs I’ve had that we, people of color could exist so profoundly and honestly outside the traditional heteronormative concepts of love and marriage. We showed up and showed out and left it all out on the dance floor.
The next morning as I awakened to CNN and the daily updates of the president’s most recent antics, I was still on a natural high from the showering of love from the night before. I walked to the window to pull the shades back to expose myself to a dash of Mexican sunshine. I felt good, about everything. I didn’t know why but I felt in that moment that anything was possible from this day forward. I’ve seen with my own eyes, which historically not that long ago was impossible. I have been in the company of people who looked like me who were defying the odds and choosing love over the comfort of invisibility. Now that I know what is possible, what WE are capable of, how could I go back to ever thinking anything I desire is unobtainable?
After an order of room service complete with waffles, coffee, and a quick shower, I got dressed and was ready to take on the day. I grabbed my fedora and ray bans but this time, I didn’t need to make any adjustments to them because just like the lessons learned from experiencing the joy of others, it all just seemed to fit perfectly. There wasn’t anything additional needed.