Category Archives: Relationships

Day 8

Alicia Rizzi and Marcy Taylor

We met in jail.  You read that right!  We both worked for Weber County Sheriff’s Office, as correctional officers, when we struck up an intense friendship.  From that friendship the most magnificent relationship was forged.  For the last 9 years we have had the privilege of not only being partners, but being best friends as well.

When thinking of how to put on paper our story, it felt impossible.  How do you show the middle of the night comforting sessions for our children when they get sick or have bad dreams?  How do you render, with proper timbre, the family singing songs in the car while traveling across so many states for family vacations?  How do you articulate the pain of homophobic slurs being hurled at a family of five minding their own business in a bookstore?

Instead of using my words to explain our relationship, I reached out to family and friends to explain who we are.  This is what they had to say:

“Two people who love, balance, honor and respect one another just as they are. Never trying to change the other, just completely supportive and unbreakable!!!”

“You are two of the most supportive, strong hearted, encouraging, nurturing women I’ve had the fortune to meet, making a life together against the odds. The beauty lives in the way you approach life together and it overflows to those lucky to know you.”

“Two souls entwined, balancing and complimenting each other. Two people who love, honor, respect, support and challenge each other and in doing so, touch all who know them. They make me smile and get a warm glow in my heart.”

It was on a December evening, as I sat with friends at a local pub, that Rizzi asked me to marry her.  I was unaware of the changes made by the Federal courts, invalidating Amendment 3.  It took no thought.  Of course I would marry the person I had already committed myself to.

On Christmas Eve our family (kids, parents, sister and her family) arrived at the home of Amy Wicks, a city council member for Ogden City.  It was a bitter sweet day.  The rush to marry, before a stay was put in place, had me angry.  This is not how I imagined we would marry one another.  I wanted a party.  I wanted a Halloween wedding, with costumes, black cakes and an open bar.  I wanted written wedding vows that would make my parents cry.  I wanted to be treated normal.  I wanted to be something more than a rush job.  But as we faced each other, staring into the eyes of the woman I have loved for nine years, the wants disappeared and the realization that we would be protected legally set in.  I cried.  She cried.  And as we kissed and our tears intermingled, I realized our family was protected.  As I hugged our kids a new notion of taking care of them was born.  Our kids would no longer be relegated to status of “other”, as they could proudly proclaim their moms as married.

But the euphoria would only last 17 days.  The insurance card in her wallet, that claims she is single, will remain a lie until the court process is completed.  Our children hang in legal limbo.  But what is sustained are the very things my friends and family wrote about our relationship.  We still love with a fierceness that can never be defined by paper.  We still respect, love, cherish and enjoy our day to day family life.  That euphoria will remain much longer than 17 days.  It will take an eternity for us to be apart.

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Filed under My thoughts, Relationships, Story Time

Investment in friendships …

Too many thoughts rattle through my mind when I hear the word friendship, as of recent.  The first thing I ponder is what is friendship?  Each person has a different idea of what friendship should be.  In the past I’ve been carefree about how much time or energy we invest in other people, as I’ve proudly stated that I am a low maintenance friend, yet I find myself questioning my past ways of doing things.

Many of my friends come from an old career and since leaving, I have felt those friendships drift.  Perhaps it is because I don’t have the daily interactions  that working forces us to have.

Perhaps it is because I have changed.

Yeah, the last one is more accurate.  I find myself seeking more meaningful connections.  Connections that involve more than general chit chat.  I crave being around other “thinkers” who question every assumption we hold.  Sure I care about your day and what work is like and how bills are kicking your ass.  I also care enough to send texts, messages and invites to the big events in my life, but like so many others, these friends are “busy” with so many things that fostering a friendship is proving low on the totem pole.  My expectation isn’t talking everyday.  My expectation is just checking in with each other, seeing how life is going and having dinner every now and then, but this seems impossible for so many.

The sad truth is many of my friends seem more like strangers these days than close companions who seem invested in a give and take.

I find it ironic that I tend to be a great friend to people in need, always available when life is difficult, but when things are good in these peoples lives I am rarely a priority …

I’ve been struggling on how to deal with the situation.  Call up these friends and express my hurt feelings?  Sure, but isn’t that just a symptom of the sickness?  Is that not begging the very questions this raises?  Or, like I’ve been doing for months, continue in silence and just go along with the program?

Dave, a friend of mine, explained it well many years ago.  Those that care will put forth effort, those that are fair weather friends will slowly drift from your life, and perhaps that is for the best.  He is usually right.  And he’s stayed in contact all these years later.  And that truly is the answer isn’t it?  You continue to invest in those that invest in you.

Thank you Mike Coyle for your care, concern and presence in my life.  Though it may only be a few words on facebook every now and then, a meeting in Salt Lake for lunch, or money for London trip, TRULY, it meant a lot to me.

Thank you William Hobbs, you continually make effort to be a part of my life, even if I can be flaky and forgetful.  Thanks for not giving up on me!

In closing I’d love to know what expectations you each have about friendship.  Are there boundaries you have and if so what is a deal breaker for you?

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Filed under Frustration, My thoughts, Relationships

To Wyatt and Cheyenne

I want to feed you the whole world

Not missing out on one little bite.

You can’t walk, in your blanket curled

So instead we’ll take a trip by flight.

Riding through the universe on a friend

I’ll feed all this to you by hand with love.

And should you find that you need a mend

I’ll always be by your side, silent as a dove.

When you shed your innocent wings

And your feet stand on solid ground

I’ll still be around to hear your things

For I will not be far, I’ll always be found.

And then you can feed me your world

While I’m in my old blanket feeble and curled.

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Filed under Family Time, My kids, My thoughts, Poetry, Relationships

Sonny Ricks

“What’s so new about Mexico”?

That is the question Sonny posed to me while driving down Washington Blvd.  Though I was no geography expert, at 16 I knew the states pretty well.  I was laughing, assuming he was making a joke.  When I turned to look at him he was staring at me seriously.  “Are you being serious?”  I said laughing.  “Yes!  What the hell is so new about Mexico?”  I couldn’t breath I was laughing so hard.  “Sonny, it’s a state!”  I replied.  “No it’s not.”  Sonny was two years my senior and definitely a smart guy.  Why this failed to make sense to him still has me laughing today.  He didn’t believe that New Mexico was a state until I went home (to my parents house) and looked it up in the set of encyclopedias my parents owned.  Even then he thought it was some conspiracy against him.

Or the time he came home from the police academy and was complaining of his calf hurting.  We looked and he had two small red marks on his calf.  Sonny looked at me with all sincerity and said, “I think a snake bit me.”  I started to roll around on the carpet in laughter and said, “You didn’t get bit by a snake.”  Sonny’s retorted, “You DON’T KNOW, you’ve never been bitten by a snake!!”  I was in tears from laughter and said, “…Neither have you!”

Sonny always had the ability to make me laugh.  His sense of humor was off the wall and his wit was quick.  We spent so many hours just driving around and talking about what we were going to be when we grew up.  We’d listen to police scanners, knowing that this would help us learn the 10 codes, and just dream of the day we’d become cops.  For me it was a way to show every teacher that said I couldn’t be a cop I could, but for Sonny it was a way to help those less fortunate.

When Sonny was finally hired on as Salt Lake City Police it was one of his most proud moments.  Unfortunately it would be our marriages downfall.

I met him when I was 13, married when I was 21 and divorced when I was 22.  Those 9 years were pivotal in shaping who am I today.  We both taught each other so much about life and though he couldn’t take the strain of living anymore, I’ll always remember him as the “Dr. Pepper” guy.  It wasn’t until our divorce that Sonny turned to alcohol to medicate his emotional traumas.

In our numerous conversations in the last few years I would encourage him to get help.  Hell, I even wrote to the TV show Intervention hoping they could give him the help the rest of us couldn’t.  But in true Sonny fashion he refused help and bull headedly claimed he was doing fine.  But those of us that really knew him where aware this was a lie.  Knowing the pains he suffered as a child, the pain of our divorce, the suicide of his wife clearly led me to believe that Sonny, yet again, was suffering.

I’d take his calls at 2am and listen to his woes.  I’d listen to him speak about work, the meaning of life, the downfall of people in general.  In all of this I’d know, and tell Sonny, that he was hurting.  On numerous occasions I told him that he was acting tough when he just wanted to be weak.  Most times he’d mock me for saying such things, but I stood strong in my opinion and usually, he’d concede that he was lost.

He’d ask me over and over why I loved life.  I’d try to explain that it’s the people, groups we involve ourselves in and passion for anything that keeps people going.  I tried explaining that his love of animals could be a passion.  I told him to volunteer to anything he liked, but he just didn’t seem ready to involve himself in anything.

We spoke frankly about Aimee (his wife who committed suicide) and on most occasions he’d try to down play this traumatic event.  Well downplay isn’t the word, he’d try to act as though he were ok with it.  We all knew better.

 

On Dec. 16th I got a text from a friend that grew up with us asking if I’d heard about Sonny.  Immediately I knew.  I knew that the burden of living was just too much for Sonny and that he had taken his own life.  When it was confirmed that he was dead I didn’t even need to ask how, I knew.  I’d known for years that Sonny wasn’t meant to remain here with all the trauma he’d endured in his short life.  But even knowing this, I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d done everything I could for him.  Could I have called more often?  Could I have had him over at the house more?  Could I have text him each day to make sure he was ok?

And then reality hit me.  It wouldn’t have mattered.  None of those things would have helped Sonny.  Those things would have helped me cope better.  Only Sonny could help Sonny and he was tired of trying.  And truly, who am I to judge another person and their decisions?  Who am I to say this was the wrong decision for him?  Selfishly I wish he would have chosen some other way to cope, but that’s not for me to decide right?  Selfishly I want to get more phone calls from Sonny (even the annoying early morning ones).  Selfishly I wish I could have had the perfect words to change Sonny’s life.  But none of us have this power.

So with tears in my eyes I will say goodbye to you.  I still have every single letter we ever exchanged, and when I won’t become a slobbering mess, I’ll go through them and think of you when you were happy.  I have a lock of your hair, and I’ll touch it remembering how safe you used to feel.  I still have a motorcycle key from the accident, and I’ll remember how endearing and protecting you were when tragedy struck.  I still have every picture from every high school dance and I’ll protect and preserve them for the remainder of my days.  But most of all, I have 9 years of incredible memories from when we were kids to becoming adults.  I had ALL my firsts with you.  First road trip, first dinners out, first date, first hand holding, and my first sexual experiences.  You’re an amazing man Sonny and my life would never have been the same without you.  Thank you for loving me.  I consider myself lucky that I had the chance to love you back!

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Filed under Bein a kid, Family Time, My past, My thoughts, Relationships, Thinking of Friends

Catching up …

Going back to school is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself!  But in doing so, I’ve found less time to write in my blog.  With writing critical analysis and making chapbooks (look it up it’s really cool!) I’ve found less time to write about what’s going on with general life.

Wyatt and Cheyenne are doing amazing in school (straight A’s) and both are spending the weekends with their dad.  Makes me sad not to have them here on their days off school, but I know that their school work is getting done.  I hate that we can’t just pack up the car and head off to the museum or planetarium … we did get a telescope so my spaced out (in the good way) son can enjoy the night sky.  Cheyenne is obsessed with duct tape and making wallets with it.  It’s amazing to watch them grow up and find their interests.  Wyatt has his whole life mapped out, ok he’s had it down for at least 3 years, and he’s determined he will get his PhD in geology (he’s going to be a Palentologist of course!)

Rizzi is still at the S.O, but it’s worked out really well.  Rizzi is my constant, my best friend and just amazing!  I’d be lost without her and quite frankly she’s put up with more than she has too!  I’d be so damn lost without her!!

I start the U of U in Jan and I’m so excited!  It’s amazing to follow your dreams!  Don’t let fear tether you from your life … that is my best learned lesson this year!

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Keri Lynn Jones

I was scared for her.  Rizzi was the non-bio parent to her son and I, being “new” to the lesbian world, was unsure of what could happen to her rights as a parent.  I was scared that she would lose her son.

I love research, always have and always will.  It began with a phrase in the Google bar, “Non-bio mom Utah.”  A name that I will never forget popped up.  Keri Lynn Jones.

Once I double clicked the story my heart was pounding, I was afraid of what this article would tell me.  As I read, I learned that Keri was a non-bio mom fighting to keep the rights to a little girl, who happened to be the same age as my Cheyenne.  The Utah Supreme court was reviewing her case and no decision had been made.

I became obsessive.  I would check weekly for news about this stranger’s case.  What was she feeling?  Was she optimistic?  Was she as scared shitless as I felt?  All those questions would be answered on 16 February 2007.

The Utah Supreme Court told her she wasn’t a parent.  They had the audacity to say that all the plans she made prior to her daughters arrival meant nothing.  They told her that the taking turns to feed and diaper this beautiful girl were all in vain.  But most of all, the Utah Supreme Court told Keri Lynn Jones her love for the little girls she’d spent years raising was not enough.  I was stunned.  I read the whole entire dissent and cried … and cried … and cried.  I found comfort in my daughter, but I couldn’t help but think that Keri, a complete stranger, was robbed of this comfort.

I wanted to hug her!  I wanted to fight with her!  I wanted to do ANYTHING to help this mom.  This feeling was so overwhelming that I began researching more about her.  I found out she worked at Equality Utah and, lucky day, they had a listed phone number.

I slowly picked up the phone.  I set it down. What would I say?   This woman knew nothing about me.  I picked up the phone again and set it down immediately.  I couldn’t very well call and start crying right?  I picked up the phone and began dialing.  Talking to myself (and yes it was out loud) I said, “there is nothing you can say or do to make her feel better!”  I stared at my phone.  Perhaps I was doing this to make myself feel better.

I hit send… no going back now.  My heart was racing.  I had never randomly called a stranger to let them know how bad I felt for them.  Would she be receptive or annoyed?  Would I only make this harder for her?  As these thoughts were racing through my mind I kept reminding myself not cry.

“…Hello??”  Oh geez, I missed her answering the phone because I was so wrapped up in my pep talk.

“Can I speak to Keri Lynn Jones please?” I asked.

“This is her.”

She sounded little, that was my first thought.  She sounded so young and sweet.

“Hi Keri, my name is Marcy and you have no idea who I am…”

I’m sure she had these calls numerous times and I assume that my call didn’t have a big impact, but for me it was the beginning of being involved with something larger than myself.

I can’t remember everything I said but I do remember telling her I’d hold her hand through hell to make sure she could hold that little girl again.  I remember crying, breaking a promise I made to myself prior to my call.

Since that first call so much has happened in her life…good and bad, but I’m so glad that I get to be a part of it all (even if it’s a blog post at a time.)

I think of her often, speak of her often and fight for rights on a daily basis.  Keri has taught me how to deal with adversity with grace and dignity.

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“This blog is open to invited readers only ….”

“….Please contact the blog author …”

I wish I could!  You see she left this world on March 09, 2011 and I can’t seem to delete her blog, even though I no longer have access because she isn’t here to moderate her posts.

I met her in 1997 at the Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office.  She was leaving to go to Weber County and I was taking her spot … she actually gave me her badge on her way out the door.  We worked together only one day at Box Elder but our futures would be intertwined.

Come to find out numerous cops rely on rumor for truth, and the stories about Jewel had me scared of her when I was finally hired at Weber County.  I actually avoided her in the beginning, but that all changed when we were sent to training together, sharing a hotel room in St. George.

I’m an ass clown.  I’ll admit it.  I like to break the ice with humor and I didn’t change that tactic with this beautiful Polynesian co-worker.

After settling in the hotel room I wanted to take a bath and freshen up, I was sweaty from the heat of Southern Utah roasting me in my long car ride.  I entered the bathroom, started up the tub, while Jewel was meticulously unpacking her bags.

It was unreal how put together this woman was.  I had my overstuffed bag of cosmetics; deodorant, make-up  and other potions flopped out on the counter.  She had unpacked her toiletrie bag and everything had a set place on the counter.  Hairbrush, then face lotion, next to the body lotion, next to the cosmetics.  It was in order of use.  This was in major contrast to my sporadic, uncoordinated way of getting through life.

As I undressed I could hear her unpacking her bag of clothing and actually hanging up her clothes.  I had no fucking idea people actually used those closets.  I had assumed, up until this point, that everyone was like me and lived out of her bag for the few days you were thrown into key card living.  This made her interesting and uptight in my hastily formed opinion.

The bath was full of hot water and just right to relax my aching muscles.  Feet first, sit down and slip back, letting my face submerge in the water.  I slowly lift my head out of the water, like a mermaid breeching the water and close my eyes and begin to think.  Bath time for me is the best time for thinking.  On this day I couldn’t help but concentrate on breaking the ice with a co-worker I knew nothing about.  Should I start out with a little chit chat about work?  Boring!  How about recent social events in the news?  What am I thinking, I hardly keep up with world events and if she was the worldly type her assumption would be that I was a complete idiot (perhaps I was at that age.)  All the while I kept hearing the light clinking noise of hangers being hung in the small box otherwise known as a closet.

My mind wondered and I opened my eyes too be greeted again with marvel in the line up Jewel had created on the bathroom counter.  I glanced at my mess next to hers and it hit me … I didn’t bring my damn lotion!

That’s it!  That’s how I’ll open the door to conversation.  But how does one go about asking an essential stranger to borrow something?  Will she think I’m weird to be asking to use her stuff without knowing one another?  Will she assume that I’m just a person without boundaries?  Fuck I hate being a girl sometimes!

No, I’d take the path of humor and to this day I’m glad I did!

While lying naked in the tub I mustered up the sultriest voice I could and said, “Heyyyy Jewwwwel.”  At this point a smile spread across my face and it took everything I had not to laugh.  You see once those words, drenched in sex, came out of my mouth that light clicking noise of clothes IMMEDIATELY stopped and a very unsure and shaky voice answered with, “yeah??”  One thing I knew about Jewel is that she was a strong, and obviously, well put together person and I had just thrown her for a loop.  Once that shaky response was given I changed tactics.  With a voice that can only be described as “Barbiesk” with all the perkiness of a cheerleading squad, I said, “Can I borrow your lotion.”  You heard the relief in her voice.  I heard her sigh and she responded, in much the same voice as mine, “of course you can.”  That’s all it took.  That one moment of ass clownery changed our whole dynamic.

I let the water out of the tub, draped a towel around my body and walked towards the counter, spying all the delicious flavors of lotion to choose from.

TBC ….

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Filed under My past, My thoughts, Relationships, Thinking of Friends