The other day I was sitting down to watch Milk with my boyfriend. My boyfriend had never seen the movie, but knew the history of Harvey, and had lived in San Francisco during it’s filming. I, on the other hand, had visited San Francisco, certainly, and had seen the movie countless times.
In fact, my experience with Milk as a movie is an altogether beautiful tale, and illustrates how blessed I am. I went and saw it with my father the day after Thanksgiving a few years ago. It was just my father and I, and when it came out on DVD, my father surprised me with it as a “just thinking about you” sort-of gift. On that same theater visit my dad and I, the day after Thanksgiving, I showed my father my third tattoo, which is of an upside down pink triangle and has my uncle (my dad’s brother) right above it. This was a tattoo I had gotten around the 2008 election, when a gay marriage ban I very much worked my ass on trying to defeat passed. In my life, my uncle — though he is now dead and died of AIDS in the early 90’s — has always served as a sort-of pillar of strength to who I was. My uncle Joe and I have a great deal in common. He ran for City Council, I ran for Constable; he came out in his early 20’s, I came out in my late teen’s. He wrote. I write. My dad loved his brother a great deal. And he love his son unconditionally. Above all, though, my father uses that unconditional love to be my father. He has raised me to be who I am by taking care of me. He taught me how to not only care for myself (something I still struggle at from time to time) but also how to care for others (something I truly love to do).
While watching the movie the other day, I noticed that I was completely distracted, doing five other things at once, not paying attention and not providing that awesome experience I had to my boyfriend whom I am very much like. He teared up, and I missed it. Finally, I decided to just let him finish it, and I would go run errands I very much needed to get out of the way.
I felt bad that I hadn’t been able to give him the same experience as my dad had given me. Especially to something that we could enjoy together. But then I realized, thanks to him pointing it out, that it wasn’t my job to do that. It’s not my job to take care of him. It’s my job to care for him. And you know, he’s right.
In the past, as I’ve posted on here, I have always played the role of caregiver. This care has been demonstrated through buying food, providing rides, organizing their lives, and so on. I was always making sure that my partner has what they need. But this new boyfriend of mine, well, he takes care of me at times and I take care of him at times, and together, we take care of each other. But both of us are independent and capable of taking care of each other, as we’ve learned.
What we’ve also learned is that all the time we care about each other. And you know what, I’m liking that.