09 August, 2021

Katherine Hess

Katherine and Jasper.
Using online profiles makes meeting people so much easier. By the time of our first conversation, I already knew she was smart and funny. But it wasn't until we actually spoke that I realized the extent of her wit. She had this uncanny ability to connect disparate ideas in just such a way to make a joke or observation that was entirely new to me, and I loved it. Katherine very quickly became one of the most enjoyable friends I've ever had the pleasure of spending time around.

Romance, on the other hand, was not something that I was looking for at the time. I had only just arrived in the local area the day before, and I really just wanted to get situated first before looking for anything romantic. But, being polyamorous, I've always felt open to friendships becoming something more, and meeting a new partner has never been a bar to my meeting others, so it wasn't too much of a stretch when, after meeting Katherine a few times, I realized that I didn't just want the friendship.

At the Kennedy Center.
One aspect of Katherine that cannot be missed when you meet her in person is her size. Katherine is fat, not in the colloquial sense where thin people complain about getting 'fat', but in the sense of actually being big. She is the largest human friend I've ever made, and this life condition of hers is one that affects her public and social life considerably. While her size is not nearly the most significant part of her, it is definitely something that most people who meet her will notice first. In terms of a disability, it affects much of how she has to interact in this world, from what kind of restaurant tables she can sit at to how many plane seats she has to purchase in order to fly to a different city. But despite the clear prejudice against size in our culture, she's nonetheless been able to thrive due to her intelligence and humor, which makes her stand out considerably amongst her peers in the teaching profession.

As a friend, she was an obvious pick. Anyone who can overcome such adversity and find success despite it is definitely someone that any of us should hope for in a friend. But romance was different for me. Back then, I did not yet come to love her as I do now. I gave her the chance to win my heart, and she subsequently did, but I wonder: was it because I was polyamorous? Was the fact that entering a relationship never blocks the possibility of entering into others a key consideration to why I opened up and pursued a romantic relationship with Katherine in the way that I did? Could it be that, had I not been poly, I would have not been open to romance with her merely because of her size?

It seems a silly thought today. Today, I know her. I love her. She is so very amazing that to think something as silly as her size might have been the obstacle to me getting the chance to be with her is distasteful in the extreme. But, at the time, there was not yet the love that I feel now. Back then, I had not yet gained the knowledge of her that I have today: her personality, her charm... Back then, I only knew that she was well read because she would make witty references that I would catch; I only knew she was quick thinking because every topic we talked about would be highlighted with a joke or pun made at just the right moment. I enjoyed her company, and even if I had not been poly, that would have remained true. But had I not been poly, would I have remained open to romance with Katherine? I ask myself because I do not know. It is unsettling to think so. How lucky I am, then, that I did not think of relationships in terms of zero sum at the time. How lucky I was to think that no single partner has to be everything to me.

Thankfully, I did pursue her romantically, and I cannot stress how much this changed my life. Katherine is amazing. She is the closest friend I've ever had. She complements me perfectly: she's strong in the arts and in reading people, the two fields where I'm weakest, and yet she is still highly competent in the fields I'm strongest in: math and logic. She is an artist, but went to a liberal arts school and focused more on being a polymath than in learning to know any one field. She's read more books than I have, and that's quite a feat. She's a social wizard; she has to be, I suppose, in order to make up for the social prejudice against people of her size. She's a great teacher, but, more importantly to her career, she's an excellent leader of teachers. Winning high school art teacher of the year in the county and then the state was impressive enough, but following it up with the highest state award given to any art teacher here, the 2020 Maryland Art Educator of the Year, was enough to really solidify just how much she does to help others in her profession. She's also an amazing artist in her own right, having displayed art across five states, winning several awards for pieces both big and small.

My love, Katherine.
I cannot stress just how lucky I am to have found Katherine. My prior relationships pale in comparison to the things she's brought to the table in terms of romance, friendship, and deep support. On at least one occasion, she has already saved my life; I honestly believe that I counterfactually would have died had she not been there to know what to do. She's also helped to financially support me when I needed it most; after I left my last high-earning (to me) part-time for-profit job at $94/hour, I decided to look for the perfect nonprofit job opportunity before jumping into another for-profit position. This process took many, many months; had I just had my own savings to work from, I think I would have caved and taken a job elsewhere. But instead, Katherine supported me enough to allow me to start my own new effective altruism charity. Any utility our society gains in the future from this work would not have happened if not for Katherine. Most importantly, though, Katherine has supported me emotionally: she's comforted me at my lowest points; she's helped me soar during my highest points; she's cheered for me whenever I've succeeded and helped pick me up each time I've failed. She gives the most thoughtful gifts. She's always up for a video or board game. She's been the best partner I could ever have imagined that I would ever have, and she's accepted me entirely into her life just as deeply as I have accepted her into mine.

I could not be happier with Katherine as my partner. <3

1 comment:

  1. <3 <3 <3

    So heart-warming. I'm so happy for you both having found each other.