How A Pastor’s Kid Survived Sexual and Emotional Suppression, Came Out Gay and Got Married at 44 Years Old

Okay, this is going to be a bit lengthy, so if you need to make some popcorn or pour a glass of wine, I would suggest doing it now. This is Netflix material!

In 2015 at 40 years old I finally came out. I came out as a loving human being who decided to be authentic and BE ME. For those of you who need labels…I am GAY.

On the first days of my 40th week in June, I spent a week at my Dad’s planning my birthday and helping him and my step-mom around their 30 acres. During this week he had a side job he was finishing. I invited myself to go along with him and finish the little shop he was building for FauxyFurr. (I love time with my pops.) We got to his side job and this was the first time I met Chrysta.  I invited her to my 40th birthday party and she came as my newest friend.

Fast forward to July and I reached out to Chrysta to see if she wanted to vend her FauxyFurr business at the Winthrop Blues Festival. She said “Hell ya!”, and showed up with garbage bags full of vintage boots, a little hand-made wooden structure, and her squad. (This is another blog post in itself.)

Fast forward again to November 2015 and Chrysta and I started doing Kundalini Yoga. It was here that our friendship began to flourish. Every Sunday for months and months we would meet for Yoga at 8 am and follow it up with the Union Street Bakery. We spent hours and hours talking about life. Sharing the good stuff. Pondering the unknown, questioning our purposes and sharing our desires with one another, as friends. If you know me, I like to have deep conversations about life and being present, so this was meaningful and life-giving.

Over the course of 1 year, our friendship blossomed. Chrysta helped me with my first Tinder profile and consoled me during and after my first heartbreak with a woman. We called each other daily to talk about life and laugh. We laughed so much. We would laugh ’til our sides hurt. We learned to depend on each other for love and support, but most importantly we listened to one another and encouraged each other to continue creating our lives.

After this year of sweet friendship, I joined Chrysta and her family at the Chateau St Michelle Winery to listen to Paul Simon on the green grass.  After several bottles of wine, some dancing on the hill and lots of silly fun, the show was over and we were walking towards the exit when Chrysta grabbed my hand. She said, “I’ve had the biggest crush on you since we met.” My jaw hit the ground. I had no idea she had these feelings for me. All this time of developing our friendship, I had never felt anything for her other than great affection as my best friend. She explained that she waited and waited and waited to say anything because she placed so much value on our friendship. Needless to say, my heart was awakened to her when she told me this. I loved that she wasn’t quick to jump on her emotions and forego our kindred friendship. I instantly respected her even more because I realized that she really cherished our friendship. She waited to share her feelings until she could no longer hold them in.

The fact is, I have written in my journals for 20 years that I wanted to marry my best friend. I wanted to be in life with the person that I could be completely myself with.  Someone I could look across a crowded room to and silently know what each other needed. I longed to be with a partner who not only loved me for who I was but also challenged me to be my best self.

So, here we are at the beginning of 2019 and after 3 years of dating, we had been considering the idea of getting married.  In February this year, our dear friend and business mentor was losing his 3 year battle with pancreatic cancer and I said to Chrysta, “I want to get married while Fred is still alive.” She agreed. She followed up my question with “how long do you think we have until Fred passes away?” Intuitively, I answered, “No more than a month”. 

We moved quickly.  I have been a bridesmaid in 13 weddings and saw the tumultuous and sometimes elated emotions that brides went through. Neither Chrysta or I wanted that crazy rollercoaster of emotions. We wanted simple and intimate. Something we would feel every moment of and remember. We rented a house on Camano Island, just a couple of miles from Fred’s house and we set the date. We invited our other dear friend and business mentor, Shinobu to officiate the ceremony. We asked Nicole Knutson, Chrysta’s kin and FauxyFurr’s marketing/brand strategist/photographer to capture the intimate event. I called my best friend, Suzanne and invited her. She screamed with excitement! Six of us were scheduled for the intimate event…then I thought, I want to surprise my soon-to-be-wife. So I secretly invited our friend and talented musician, Alie Byland, to surprise Chrysta and play some of our favorite songs. We gathered at the beach house and cooked wholesome food, made flower crowns, danced to music, smoked cigarettes on the beach and talked until the wee hours of the morning.

Chrysta & I got married at sunset on March 13, 2019, on Camano Island, WA.  Shinobu and Suzanne made our wedding alter sacred, beautiful and divine by scouring the beach that morning in search of shells and driftwood and by raking our pathway to oneness with love and intention.

On the morning of our wedding, I sensed that I needed to go see Fred and share a portion of my day with him, seeing that he wasn’t going to be at our wedding after all. Chrysta suggested I bring my wedding suit to show him. And so I went. Our sweet friend was on oxygen and in his adult darling onesie to stay warm. He was a mere 120 lbs. He sat on his couch as I conversed about our wedding and I got to show him my custom wedding suit that Chrysta made me. He smiled and joined me in excitement as much as he could. He expressed how sorry he was that he couldn’t be a part of our wedding ceremony. I kissed his forehead and hugged his frail body and said, “It’s okay. We know you are with us.” Just as I suspected in my gut, that was the last time I would talk to our dear Fred. He would pass away just two days after we got married. (That’s another blog post in the making.)

And so, I said “I will” to my best friend on March 13, 2019. I had woke up one morning a few weeks earlier to write my vows to this phenomenal person. It wasn’t hard. It just came. No hesitation. In the flow.

There you have it. Our friendship, our marriage. Our loveship. I don’t have anything to hide in our story. Sure, we have been through a lot, any couple who is strong has. I will tell you that through all the ups and downs being human has made me glad to know this person, my ally, Chrysta Colebourn Cash. Yes, we changed our name to Cash…chang…ching…

Cheers to you Fred! You were an extraordinary friend to us and we know that you are influencing us every day. Thank you for being love and light and HUGE support to us. I wouldn’t have put just anyone’s handwriting on my wrist in permanent ink.

And now for some wedding photos…