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    Pride

    Howard Stieremann (2)In addition to being Pride month, June is also the most popular month for weddings. The recent wedding of two friends got me thinking about what advice I might offer as they embark on wedded life. I came to realize my advice would be similar to what I might give someone coming out of the closet.

    The first thing I would share: Be yourself. Reflect yourself. We all know many people who have gotten married and/or come out. Everyone who goes through these life passages has their own experience and therefore their own perspective. While it can be helpful to learn from others, I think it is important to do what feels right for you.

    I would also advise people getting married or coming out that they don’t need to face this life transition alone. There are plenty of professional resources offering support: a wedding planner, therapist, as well as a multitude of books and websites.

    As tumultuous as a wedding or coming out can be, I highly recommend that people strive to be in the moment. This is helpful during the process, as well as at any event or ritual. Individual days, and particularly special ones, fly by and will soon only be a memory. Don’t try to think of what’s coming next. You can’t come up with contingencies for everything that might happen. Life unfolds and happens in ways we can’t imagine.

    When I came out, it was a relief realizing I could remain the same khaki and polo shirt wearing real estate appraiser I’d always been. The only thing that was changing for me was searching for a male rather than a female life partner. I didn’t have to become any of the stereotypes I had internalized about gay men.

    Similarly, individuals who get married remain fundamentally the same as they were prior to their wedding. After the wedding is past and all the out of town guests have gone home, the couple will go about most of the same daily routines they performed prior to getting married.

    Whenever someone shares the news they are getting married, my automatic response is “Best Wishes!” And when someone honors me by sharing they are coming out, I always respond, “Congratulations.” It is a personal pleasure sharing in people’s joy, due to getting married or coming out.

    Life’s transitions can seem overwhelming in the moment. By staying true to who we are and using the resources available to us, we help ourselves to live authentically.

    Best wishes and congratulations for all the special times in your life. Happy June!

    Howard M. Steiermann is an Ordained Ritual Facilitator based in San Francisco. For more information, please visit www.SFHoward.com