I am getting married on Saturday, May 30, 2015 to the wonderful man in the photograph above.
Matt and I met at a conference (Web of Change) in September 2013. I was one of a few fundraisers at a conference for political organizers. To say that I was out of my element is probably a bit of an understatement. But I learned so much, had some of the most interesting conversations of my career, and started rethinking how I thought about fundraising. But it wasn’t until I was in the airport in Austin, TX getting ready to head back to California that I talked to Matt.
As it turned out, Matt and I grew up in towns next door to each other in Northern California. Later we discovered all of our other similarities like our love for critical theory, feminism, and board games.
At the time Matt was living in San Francisco and I was nomadic, though mostly based in Vancouver. Soon after Web of Change, I headed down to San Francisco to visit one of my college friends. That weekend turned out to be amazing. I met Claire, Mazarine, and Shanon for the first time. I also had brunch with Matt, and what turned out to be an all-day date. After brunch we spent the day in Dolores Park talking. We talked for hours, just sitting out in the sunshine together and taking in the views of the city.
Everything has changed since that day in San Francisco.
Matt moved to Vancouver in July 2014, and we got engaged in February 2015.
I learned a lot about storytelling when we got engaged a few months ago. Matt and I decided that we would propose to each other. We planned a whole day of ritual and celebration together.
For many months before Matt moved, we wrote each long emails and lots of snail mail. We both went through all of the things the other person had sent to us, and pulled out sentences and words that were especially meaningful to us. We then put them on pieces of paper in a basket, and throughout the day before we proposed to each other we read them to each other. It was really special to revisit parts of our own story together.
One of the things that struck me the most about this process was how much we forget overtime. Some of the things that I wrote to Matt sounded so poetic and I kept thinking, “When did I write that??” But alas I did.
Putting together my proposal for Matt was also very special. I went through my 10+ Moleskin notebooks that I had accumulated during our relationship to read what I had written at different points. I pulled out pieces of the story to string together a new story. This new story was about why I wanted to marry Matt.
Going through the process of putting that story together, I realized that the process I went through is the foundation of storytelling. We take moments from the past and string them together to tell a story. Sometime we add in parts in between the moments to make them more fluid – commentary, analysis, perspective, and so on.
Returning to the basics though reminded me that storytelling does not have to be complicated. In fact, it can be a very enjoyable process. I think the trick is being able to easily access those past moments. In my case, that was the result of copious note taking and reflection for 18 months.
As I think about our wedding on Saturday, I am very excited to embark on a new story with Matt. Who know where this one will take us, but I’m happy to be patient as it unfolds.