Tonight I cry.
I cry because I’m grateful.
I am grateful for the LGBT activists and allies who fought tirelessly to change the course of history. Those like Marsha P. Johnson and Harvey Milk, who were brave enough to be themselves. Those who were strong enough to stand up for what was right and fair. Those who fought to change laws, advocating for LGBT equality.
I am grateful that I do not have to fight this same fight. I do not have to live in a closet of fear, but rather live with pride outside of the closet. Because of the LGBT saints who have gone before me, I can be my authentic self and not be ashamed. I can one day legally marry the man I love. Life is easier for me because many people have fought for me.
I am grateful that my community accepts me for who I am. I have a growing family that continues to love me. I have friends scattered all over the country that encourage me and laugh with me. I have a boyfriend that makes me smile, and makes me feel appreciated.
For these things I am grateful.
Tonight I cry.
I cry because the fight is not over.
The fight for equality continues. We fight for the brave LGBTQ individuals serving our country in many forms, despite an administration that clearly does not support them. We fight for equal rights in the workplace, and fair housing opportunities in places that discriminate against sexual orientation and gender identity. We fight for LGBTQ youth who are bullied and are unable to find protection in their schools or families, and therefore think that suicide is the answer. We fight for full inclusion within our communities of faith, and not just partial acceptance.
I cry because I still feel the stares from people as I walk through the mall holding my boyfriend’s hand. I cry because someone I once respected and looked up to as a child sends me a hurtful message on Facebook outlining my “sinful lifestyle.” I cry because the church I called home for so long now feels so cold and unwelcoming towards me.
Tonight I cry, but tomorrow I will choose to smile because I still have hope.
When my older sister got married in October of 2008, I was introduced to her wedding planner, Sharon Osborne. Sharon was the owner of the Added Touch, a full service wedding planning business. I remember my sister’s special day with fond memories. The sanctuary of the church was decorated beautifully, the flowers were bright and perfect for the occasion, and the ceremony was executed without any glitches. Sharon and her design team had done a fabulous job!
While the Added Touch took charge of the wedding ceremony, I had the privilege of designing the reception hall. This was the first wedding in which I had such a large role. My sister trusted me to design and plan her reception, and I loved every minute that went into doing it! The Added Touch had planned a beautiful wedding ceremony, and I had created a lovely reception space, perfect for this fall wedding. At the time, little did I know that this unplanned partnership was one that would last.
Soon after the chaos of this wedding was over, Sharon contacted me to see if I would be interested in working for her at the Added Touch. Because I enjoyed being involved in my sister’s wedding so much, I said yes. Also, I was a broke college freshman at the time and I needed the job!
Fast forward to today, and I have now been working for Sharon for eight years. I have loved every minute of draping miles and miles of tulle, arranging centerpieces, dealing with (only a few) crazy mothers of the bride, and even officiating a wedding for the first time. Wedding planning has grown to become one of my greatest passions.
Here comes the big news… after eight amazing years of working for Sharon, I am now officially one of the new owners of the Added Touch, along with my business partner, Lee Pence!
Lee is a very talented designer and florist who has also been working for Sharon for over ten years. I am thrilled to be starting this new journey as a business owner with her. Between Sharon, Lee and I, the Added Touch has over fifty years of combined wedding planning experience. We will continue to function as a full service wedding and event planning business – offering planning, coordinating, directing, floral, decorating, and rental services.
The Added Touch is located in Richmond, KY and has serviced couples mainly in central Kentucky for the past thirty years. This past year I have been involved in weddings all across the south east and even a wedding in Baltimore, MD! We are excited to continue this pattern of growth by expanding the Added Touch to service brides all across Kentucky and out of state.
The Added Touch is known for it’s excellent service and eye for detail. Lee and I will do our best to carry on this legacy. I am positive that there are many unknowns ahead in this adventure, but I am so excited about this transition, new partnership, and the year ahead in 2017. 2017 is my year of new beginnings and this is the first of many new beginnings to come. Stay tuned for more!
To learn more about the Added Touch check us out on Facebook or on our website added-touch.net.
The stiff ladder back chair that I am sitting in has never felt so uncomfortable. My lace-up boots are pressed flat against the floor like a ton of bricks in an effort to keep me grounded in a room that seems to be spinning. My stomach is doing somersaults. I am trying to control my quivering body on the outside, while my inside temperature continues to soar.