Gays in the Life

building our white picket fence.

Category: GITL

Unpack with These 3 Tools

What’s next when you reach the point of feeling like two bumps on a log? There’s talk of this and talk of that, but how can the message be received when it’s coated in moodiness.

Interpretation can be a very helpful or disastrous factor when it comes to this. A joke that’s taken the wrong way after a long day can feel like sandpaper on a fresh sunburn. A half-smile or a noticeably thoughtful demeanor could be an opening to ask “hey… you okay?”

It’s best to process these signals without ego though. You’ll quickly enter a downward spiral if ego is your focus. Be wise and truthful in your interpretation.

Or maybe it’s action… it all comes back to action really. Because what do you have outside of what you’re doing – what you’re both doing together – to inspire growth. A lot of us talk extremely well but drag our feet when the time comes to perform.

Is this you? We’ve all had our moments, so be honest with yourself.

Be present. Be present in your interpretation, your actions, and your relationship as a whole. Not every moment together needs to be filled with words or deep thought, so keep that in mind if you feel like you have just one more thing to say.

Let love breathe, let whatever nonsense go, and remember these few items when things seem a little foggy.

SunDIY: Baby Shower Decor Pt. 1

I’m so pumped to begin decorating for my sister’s baby shower. Of course, I’ll want to do most of the decorating myself. It helps that our living room is colored denim blue… she’s having a boy 🙂

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My first project will be a display that spells out the word “baby” to be placed somewhere in the center of the loft space. Yep! I’m hosting at our place here in Indianapolis, so you know I’ve gotta do it up right.

I’ve started by drawing some bubble letters on cardstock paper, and painting them a metallic gold. While the paint is drying, I sprinkle a dash of salt – yes, salt – on each letter to create an explosive particle explosion effect in the liquid gold.

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Once the letters are completely dry, I’ll place them on the fronts of these empty boxes I’ve wrapped to appear as oversized gifts. I’ll place bows and loosely-curled ribbon upon each box before putting them in their final resting place – a ladder will probably be required. Pics to follow!

The shower is this coming Saturday, so I’ll be sure to check in with some more things I’ve put together for the event. I’m even more excited that our Mom will be here Thursday afternoon. She’s where I get all my decor skills from and she can help me with food prep! Praise be.

 

*Reblog* You Take Out the Trash, and I’ll Do the Dishes.

Original entry here

“Who’s the girl in the relationship?” is a popular inquiry among curious heterosexuals I’ve met in the past. Like a gust of wind, the gender roles within my marriage lean towards societal normativity, but depending on the day will quickly whip in another direction. Society has programmed most of us to think that men and women have specific roles when it comes to households, jobs, and various other avenues of life. I always have to laugh when the questioning of roles within my relationship comes up in conversation, because you’d think that here in the year 2015, that there would be a better sense of freedom within any relationship. Relationships and marriage are both partnerships, and at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who did what chores. Views of how a relationship should work will vary, and not everyone will agree. I believe this disagreement is important because not only does it encourage learning, it promotes individual growth that could can potentially be shared with other relationships and marriages.

I’ve always joked that – stereotypically speaking – I’m the woman within my marriage. Pinterest is one of my most used apps on my iPhone, and I’ve known how to crochet since I was twelve. I’ve never liked getting dirty, I enjoy a good outfit, and I absolutely love a good bag. My mouth waters over a good-looking messenger or weekender-styled bag, and sports have never been my thing ever since I could remember. I only learned how football truly worked when I joined marching band at Indiana University – Did I mention I played football one year in high school? Yep, now read back those last couple sentences, and collect that laugh.  Over half of my work experience was spent in retail stores, so I’m cursed with the ability to organize any closet, and I actually enjoy it. Every outfit and accessory has a place, and when things get cluttered my mind nearly explodes; there’s instant stress when I come across clutter in my home. When we moved into our condo, I told my husband not to touch anything that was going to a closet. All the traits I’ve mentioned above – things I love about myself – would typically be matched with the gender labeled “female.”

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My husband does not mind getting dirty, and this is a result of growing up on a horse farm.  He had real chores: cleaning horse stalls, moving haystacks, breaking horses – the act of socializing a horse to the point of being able to ride it – and various other farm chores that would make most city kids cry. I believe my husband to be the most handsome man in the world, but his wardrobe can be pretty plain – nothing against the plain and simple types.  It’s easy and refreshing most of the time. He’s a t-shirt and jeans kind of guy, and I love any opportunity to play dress-up with him before going out with friends, or heading out to a dinner. I watched him change the oil on his own car some months back. I ended up retreating to the house, and probably ended up playing on Pinterest, but returned to the garage to find quite the mess. Outside of the dirt and simple manliness that makes up my husband, is his love for Indiana basketball. He can talk college basketball like no one I’ve ever heard before, and gets completely into the games. He’s most emotional during an IU basketball game, and when players from the team make the news because of some coach drama, or team scandal.

While most of these gender role stereotypes are entertaining and fun to identify within any relationship, they’re not the norm anymore.  Sure, back in the day women had their roles, and men had theirs, but in today’s world, you can identify ALL gender roles within a single gay relationship. So what does this say about gender roles in general? Like sexuality, these roles within a relationship are fluid and ever-changing. One person doesn’t have to do one specific chore, or act a certain way because of their sex. For S and I, all that matters is that our condo – and life – isn’t burning down. I imagine this to be a similar and common thought when it comes to other relationships and marriages across the globe. There are plenty of straight, uber-masculine men that can sew, cook, and clean, and a great deal of women who enjoy getting their hands dirty, and who could teach any man a thing or two inside a garage. The traditional views of the inner-workings of a relationship are slowly fading, and my hope is that by acknowledging the fluidity of gender roles – across any type of relationship – we can stop answering a question like “So, who’s the girl in the relationship?”

The Key

Gays in the Life

Communication is the key to life. Communication is the key to love. Communication is the key to us… Will you communicate with me? – TLC & Dallas Austin. “Communicate-Interlude.” Fanmail 1999.

Communication will make or break any relationship. What do people fear when they’re finally in their own relationships, or marriage? One thing I knew I would have to respect – maybe “fear” is the wrong word – within my relationship was the communication aspect.  This stems mostly from growing up in a two parent home, up to the age of sixteen, just to watch it all fall apart because my parents did not communicate properly within their situation. Do I think my parents would have stayed together if they did communicate effectively? No, probably not, but I think they would have gotten to a better place as peers – raising their three children together – faster than…

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Loser

I’m such a bad loser. Most of the time I can feel myself getting angrier if I’m not doing as well as I’d like to be.

Back in high school I was on the varsity bowling team and I would be so annoyed if I scored anything lower than 175; my highest game bowled is 257.

 

I can remember every sour note and terrible solo performance from my high school band days and still haven’t revisited those recordings since then; I graduated in 2005.

Flash forward to today. The people playing Mario Kart online today are ruthless and I’ve been stuck at the back of the pack.

As mentioned above, I could feel myself growing angrier with each shell that met my cart; with each explosion I run into. My subtle bitching turned into silence. Still doing my best, I could see it just wasn’t happening for me today and I’d lost way too many points.

 

I could feel S looking out the corner of his eyes to gauge how agitated I’d become. I suppose it was my turn to be full of rage because of a video game today – usually it’s him!

Oh well. We like to have a couple drinks and play video games to decompress when we’re hanging out at the house. Maybe I’ll do better later.

He’s still playing at the moment. I had to step away.

The Little Things Interlude

It’s the little things.

Like watching him get ready and realizing

How handsome he is right before a night on the town.

Damn.

Can’t we just stay home?

He never wants to skip anything productive with me.

That says more about me than it does him, ha.

But, come on…

Who is this monster?

Crispy button-up shirt and fitted jeans,

Appropriate accessories and casual Vans.

I did that.

And don’t forget the coffee.

(A queen’s gotta survive the night and keep the Zs away.)

Homie didn’t drink coffee OR eat spicy food before me.

(Enter dramatic sigh here)

It’s the little things.

But seriously…

Netflix and chill?

 

Not It!

I open my eyes slightly to see if Reynold has clocked my being awake. “I’m in the clear,” I think to myself as he stirs at the foot of the bed. “If I’m lucky, S will be on early morning potty duty.” Puppy dog already knows this is a fight he’ll always win, it’s just a matter of who will be accompanying him.

S and I brought Reynold home when he was only eight weeks old and from that moment on it was game over for me. Because I was the one doing most of the crate training and taking him out at all hours of the night, I immediately became the hey-dad-I-have-to-poop dad.

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I remain in my statue state. “Make eye contact, and you’re done.” I remind myself as I strengthen my act. When Reynold catches your eye it’s like facing Medusa, but instead of turning into stone, you end up taking him out or fetching the ball that’s stuck under the couch. The dude has an iron stare, for sure.

I make the mistake of twitching a bit, but S begins to move more than I in this moment. “YES.” You see, S messed up here because now Reynold begins to climb all over us and barrel roll his way between us; basically telling us to get our asses up so he can go on his morning stroll.

 

S slowly swings his legs over the side of the bed and I know I’ve won. Reynold is going on and on at this point. He does this weird mix of a growl and snort – it’s odd and hilarious – when he’s talking to us. I’m almost positive that these sounds paired with his raspy bark translates to “Hurry the EFF up, dad! I’ve got to go!”

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S makes his way towards our closet and Reynold begins to bounce uncontrollably all over the room. He knows he’s minutes away from getting to patrol the perimeter for birds and chipmunks. NOW I can open my eyes and play with him right before S takes him out.

“I Win. No morning poop duty for me today.” I revel in my small victory and enjoy the 15-pound monster that’s darting all over my bedroom. I love my dog, but this dad needs a break sometimes. So under these sheets is where I will stay until he and S are out the door 🙂

Reflect, Recharge, Repeat.

Work is just something we all have to do, and we’ve stopped fighting that fact. No one has to settle by any means, but it doesn’t have to feel like a death sentence. I’ve realized this recently whilst dealing with a mess of a scheduling issues and curveballs at the 9-to-5.

Before last week, I would come home in a drained state of mind. No activity sounded interesting and my drive to work on side projects suffered. S has always been better at managing this kind of energy. I’m so used to being upbeat that when any hint of darkness presents itself, it flourishes in no time at all. 

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I’ve been letting work consume my spirit. Good days fly by and the bad ones linger; why is that? Because in my mind there is always another version of the way a scenario could have played out. At the end of the day, if some customer is pissed or you aren’t seeing eye to eye with the boss, don’t bring that home. Who wants that under their roof? Keep the clouds outside.

I’ve been really into the following quote from RuPaul lately:

“Don’t take life too seriously and have fun. Don’t waste your time on things that your ego will try and convince you are important.”

Over the past handful of weeks I’ve dug deep into myself to work through this uncertainty. Uncertainty about whether to stay or go. Uncertainty about the person I’m morphing into in this role. Uncertainty about if I can do this and chase my dreams. Queen Uncertainty seemed to be stirring the pot and mixing a fierce trouble stew.

 

You’ve all heard me go on about work life and balancing life outside of the office. It’s taken some time – even after those previous posts – and self-reflection to really get to the bottom of that. When I come home now, I’m only focused on the positive. My focus and energy after 4:30 PM go toward my goals that need a little more nurturing, S, and our pup.

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It’s been nice not worrying about mediocre days at the office or dwelling on nonsense that I can’t truly impact in the moment. I’m in control and in the end, I know what’s next for me and that’s exciting. Banking this focus and energy has provided me the ability to laugh at a not-so-stellar day at work or elsewhere. Did I mention S thinks my moods at home have improved greatly? (laughs out loud)

So, everyone, “don’t waste your time on things that your ego will try and convince you are important.” Because wasted energy is wasted life. I know I do a great job at work, so I’m not going to sweat the little things. Passion haunts anything I’m a part of, including work, but I finally see how I need to manage that moving forward. This was a long one! Thanks for reading.

J.

Zen Managed.

Every now and then I need to step away from a project to let the creativity breathe. A couple of things happened during my little WordPress hiatus: (1) Work became a bit busy for S and I – duh –  and (2) we decided not to let that bog us down.

In older GITL posts, I’ve discussed how work had a huge tendency to impact our spirits and motivation. Maybe it’s the effects of our vacation just now catching up to us, but we are completely unbothered these days and I think it feels pretty damned awesome.

We spent Memorial Day weekend with friends and family in Southern Indiana. The Flecks showed us around Evansville and introduced us to a couple breweries and a new restaurant. Carson’s Brewery had this amazing banana beer and The Dapper Pig’s crab cakes were SO good.

 

Beer is the one item I miss being a low-carber, but like I’ve said in past, “If I want some? I’ll have some.” The trick was ordering flights – each flight being four, 5 oz servings –  instead of multiple 16 oz glasses of IPAs. The 5 oz flight-size remained an option to consume more, so we stuck to this and didn’t feel like absolute trash the next day for dipping in the carb pool.

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The campsite on the family farm is where we spend most of our time together during a long weekend like Memorial Day. S’s parents have the area set up so two campers can park and be used comfortably, along with any tents or big toys for the kids. The edge of the camp is rounded out by wire fence, giving the horses access to the occasional snack from the family and to say hello.

Time spent with the family down south is always a good time and a great way for us to calm down. The strong sense of calm that lingers after coming home to Indy is undeniable and gives us a good boost for the days ahead. The forecast is showing clear skies and being unbothered for a good while. Now! Back to side hustles and creativity.

 

Cheers,

3 Years A Husband.

Anniversaries happen every year, yet I’m still unsure where the time goes so quickly. “So, does being married feel any different?” I’ll ask good friends after receiving a save-the-date magnet – I know they aren’t technically married yet, but come on – or during their wedding receptions.  It’s a question we got from family and friends after our courthouse ceremony.

Being married feels no different to us and I never expected it would. We’re the same two schmoes that met in a wild and crazy bar during our college years, but sure, we’ve calmed way down in the party category. While we now have a legal title, everything feels as it did when we first became boyfriends in Fall 2011; fun and mostly light (lol).

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Remember, not all relationships are the same. Having each other and keeping up with our joint goals is enough to drive our relationship and keep us flourishing. Nine times out of ten we are on the same page when it comes to any topic within our marriage. And if we aren’t? We take some time to discuss and get to the bottom of it.

A big factor that’s been adding to our relationship recently is encouragement. We’ve always pushed each other to do our best in all aspects of life, but it became extremely important this past year and a half when we ran into challenges in the corporate world. Wishing anything for an opportunity to run away from angst and frustration, we were able to keep each other focused and sane. I’m not sure how I would make some of the decisions that come my way without S.

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We truly take each day at a time. If there were some super secret to share, believe me, I would. I can count on one hand how many fights we’ve had in our almost six years together and we won’t be adding to that number anytime soon. I will say this: Keep each other level. It’s amazing what happens when balance is present in a relationship.

We’ll see what new lesson I’ve learned when year four is upon us.