A: Our journey to each other was complicated. When I first met Ken, like any friendship destined to thrive, I. couldn’t. Stand. Her. Oh my God, she drove me nuts. Brilliant, beautiful, full of incredible wisdom, and something that I could tell was powerful from a distance, though I couldn’t name it… but wrapped up and locked away behind so many layers of insecurity and lack of confidence and fear.
K: When I first met Ali, I was afraid. I wasn’t afraid of her like most people like to think. Ali is strong-willed, stubborn, and fights for people like you wouldn’t believe. She has an incredible way of creating a space around her that is captivating and freeing. That’s what I was afraid of. When I was around her, the mask I had so perfectly cultivated started to fall apart. When I was with her, I was free. We spent the next few years fighting, fighting with each other, and fighting for each other. And I really believe that it was those years that created the rock-solid foundation we have now.
Ali and I met in college; we were both volunteering for a youth ministry group. Together with some of our friends, we developed a fantastic team that came alongside middle schoolers in their most awkward, terrible time of life. We were just really, really “good” friends, we would tell ourselves. We were both inundated with the lies that Christianity can tell. Being gay is a sin; it’s the worst thing you could be; you’d be unlovable.
But there was something inside us both saying, ‘this has to be more than just a “good friendship.”’ And then we kissed. And it was so good. We then spent hours and hours crying, reading- no, searching without abandon- for affirmation that this was actually good, contrary to what we’d both been told our whole lives by the church and the ministry and, yes, society. We didn’t really know why or how, but we loved each other a lot.
But ‘coming out’ sucked the air out of our lungs because so many people decided our voices no longer mattered. We lost so much during those years. We lost most of our friends, family members, and our footing in the world. Those years were so hard. I cannot begin to explain the deep soul aches we felt with every rejection and stabbing words of hatred. We cocooned ourselves in the last truths that we knew. “I love you. This love is good. Shame has no place here.” In our cocoon, our love and bond to each other grew and strengthened immensely. Our souls began to dance beautifully together, and they have never stopped dancing. We believe that our souls have always loved each other.
Now, we are married. The space between us continues to be a breath of fresh air. We do everything in our power to keep our space free and pure, and safe. Ali and I got married on July 21, 2019. It was the best fucking day. We had a beautiful brunch wedding in downtown Portland.
We live currently in a cute little house in Eugene, OR with our two cats and dog. I, Kendall, am a neonatal intensive care nurse, and I just got my dream job of working on a neonatal transport team that goes to pick up sick babies in an ambulance from rural hospitals in the area and brings them back to the bigger NICU in Eugene. Ali is in the process of applying to nursing school. She is currently working as a school counselor at a local high school. Our dream is to be travel nurses who can respond to crises and disasters throughout the states and world.
K: Ali, I love you, and I know the depth of what it means to love you. I know that love means I choose you– to see you as whole and good and worthy. I love you, the actual you, not the facade. The you that is the perfect intersection of your brokenness and ugly, messy, humanness and of the holy, clean, eternal soul that is deeply, deeply good.
A: And when I look at Kendall, I see a soul that is so powerful and good that I have no business thinking that I am capable of containing or holding or adequately loving her in her entirety. Being around Kendall, the air is suddenly sweeter. I am so in love with her. I would never choose a less complicated, painfully beautiful love story.
Photography by Mecca R. Photography