1986. A beginning.
Stella was a waitress. Vica joined the team as a breakfast cook. Interest. Infatuation.
Workplace romance became love.
And stayed love year after year.
And that is the absolute truth. Except that, in the beginning we were not yet Stella and Vica. Back in the then, we were Marsha and Mark. A girl working her way into herself past abrasive parents, learning to believe in her own power. And a girl who could not yet admit that she even was a girl. Ever since she was in kindergarten, she’d learned that the world would not believe her. Deep habits pushed in by the entirety of society—not an easy nut to crack.
In those early years, we strove to become what we dreamed. An artist. A writer. And along the way life did what life does—we found our dreams did not pay for heat or for rent. Marsha worked odd jobs, the best being in plant nurseries. Mark got a degree in elementary education and fell in love with teaching, quite absolutely by accident. She grew a beard. She played a role.
Over the years and decades, our love became strong. Then stronger. Marsha became Stella Steel. A chosen name. A true identity. Mark slowly revealed herself in the safety of her wife’s love. And finally found she could admit to the world, and admit to herself, that she was not a man and never had been. It’s the sort of realization that breaks some marriages—“My husband is a woman!” Shocking!
But it didn’t break this one, didn’t even dent it. We built our love on growth. We built our life on change. In our lives, we have rarely looked back. Don’t mistake me. We remember who we were, and we love those people. But they do not hold power over us. They do not stop us from growing and changing. We love who we were, but our life is now. Our dream is tomorrow.
When Vica came out, Stella was there. Embracing. Welcoming. Loving. And when Stella struggles, Vica is there. Embracing. Welcoming. Loving. How could we be other than what we are?
And so we come to the year 2021. We celebrate 35 years together. We celebrate our love. And we know that 35 years into our love, we are still, a beginning.
2021 Love List
- Staying is an Act of Defiance: Malik & Whryne Rasheed
- The Dreamer & the Realist: Daniel Beechler & Michael Lynn
- Our Life is Now: Stella & Vica Steel
- Quarantine Engagement: Dotti Jacob & Kimberly Rose
- The Love They Share: TeKema Balentine & Megan Bentley
- A Lifetime Together: Erv Uecker & Ross Walker
- Dreams Come True: Patrick & Ryan Platta