I remember something my mother told me

(she’ll be shocked to hear)

It was the 4th of July and my mom opened the trunk of her Toyota Camry to pull out blankets and the picnic basket. She handed my older sister a blanket and I reached in to grab the rather large, overfilled basket of food.

My dad was still getting out of the car.

She stopped me, “you let the man do that, he can carry it for you”.

Now 15 years later the world has turned many times over and gender roles/identity are coming under much deserved fire, and I am definitely fighting the good fight on that. I am a supporter of proclaiming yourself, for yourself, by yourself. Whatever that may look, sound, or feel like.

But the message she gave me then rings true in new ways to me. Especially as I’ve been dating J.

He carries the basket.

but only when I ask him to carry the basket

J is one of those rare breeds of human, that really just is unconcerned with how people perceive him.

This works in my favor, because there are days where I want to be the sun, the moon, and every constellation, (including each individual star) and I want to shine so bright it illuminates the whole world. I want to proclaim my truths loudly and boldly. I want to wear my feminine independence on my forehead and challenge all those who dare look at me strangely, to a duel.

And those days J lets me carry the basket.

He doesn’t step in my light, he just lets me shine.

Then some days I fall apart. On the floor, in a dirty smelly heap of unwashed laundry. I feel frail like an old curdled manuscript, yellow and crispy round the edges. I question every decision I make, and stutter over my words. I feel inadequate and underwhelming in every way.

Those days J carries the basket.

His quiet stalwart support of my own personal cataclysm, allows me to weather the storm and come out the other side.

And so I know, what my mother truly meant, and I am so fortunate to have stumbled upon a person who will carry the basket for me, but if I want, will hand it over too.