Freedom of Dreams

This artwork, Freedom of Dreams, was created sometime in 2004.

I still remember how it came to be: I’ve laid out a stack of collected magazines on the floor of the first apartment Andi and I have just moved into together, and picked out the brightest pages in my collection.

I was a Western Illinois University student, working on my Master’s degree in Computer Science. Andi and I were incredibly poor and immensely happy, together at last! Full of joy and hope for the future. That was the emotion I tried to convey in this piece, untroubled dreams flying free, overlooking the rainbow sky.

The floor was the best available space to work on. I had trouble finding the right colors, and Andi joined in, tearing up the pages into tiny scraps of brightly-colored reds and browns, golds and greens, blues and purples, combining them into neat piles until I used the glue to add them, like a rainbow mosaic, to the blank bristol board sheet.

There’s one thing I wish I’d known with certainty back then: fighting for your dreams to become reality is always, always worth the risk.

But it’s not enough to dream, if you don’t stand up and raise your voice to share it with the world, and make your dream count!

Today, eight years after the creation of this artwork, Andi and I have repeated our marriage vows twice: once in Illinois, and later in Iowa, which became a marriage equality state, long before our state, Illinois, passed its civil unions bill. We have attended our green card interview in Chicago this summer, calling for our marriage to be recognized. Because all families should be treated equally.

Today, with 2013 just around the corner, marriage equality in Illinois is on the horizon and within reach. The constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act is about to be reviewed by the Supreme Court. Andi’s and my dream remains the same as eight years prior: to live together and to travel freely, as untroubled and effortless as only long-cherished dreams can fly.