Weekly Audit 4: Face the Scary Stuff

Every couple goes through a rough patch at some point in a relationship. Maybe it isn’t a rough patch, but a period of discovery. What’s the topic on the table? Do you have something you’ve been meaning to ask your partner but just can’t? Why is that?

S and I have learned to communicate whenever possible if there’s conflict. Communication is still probably the most important key in a relationship, but just because you can talk doesn’t mean there isn’t any lingering darkness from time to time. Maybe you’re just in your head, right? Get to the bottom of whatever it is. 

Don’t get me wrong, every talk doesn’t have to be sitting around having therapy sessions every night, but it’s important to check in with each other. Go on a walk and chat. Explore a new bar; someplace vibey and romantic.

Not every conversation needs to be heavy, but addressing any hurt feelings, disagreements, and new territory in your relationship is of the utmost importance if it’s going to last. 

There’s always a slight feeling of, “ugh, I don’t want to talk about this yet…” but you have to get over it – come into the light! Face the scary stuff in your relationship. If love is present, the support and love of  your partner should help you through the conversation.

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN! ANSWER THE QUESTION WITH YOUR PARTNER OR FRIENDS, AND SHARE YOUR RESPONSES IN THE COMMENTS. Ciao!

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Weekly Audit 3: The L Word

How do you say I love you? Is it the way you look at each other or in the little isms in your day to day with each other? Think about this for a second. How important is it to you that you hear the words I love you, and if this does matter to you, how often?

S and I aren’t terribly expressive in person. We say I love you here and there – sprinkling the phrase throughout the week, but not necessarily each day – and this isn’t something that’s been an issue for us.

 

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(This picture was taken the night we first told each other we loved one another… Awe.)

I tend to show love with physical contact, while S translates the little things as me caring for him. For example: I’m not a big toucher… Family, friends, I won’t really hug you unless I haven’t seen you in quite some time. I’m the complete opposite when it comes to S. I’ll mess with his hair or sneak up on him in the kitchen; hugging him from behind. My favorite is holding a free hand while he’s driving or resting my hand on his leg.

S usually tries to bat me away as he’s got a different love language – acts of kindness. He stays pretty busy so I try to accomplish whatever I can in our home – chores, errands, taking care of our fur-child – before he even has to think about it. Whenever he has a moment to relax and decompress, I make sure he can enjoy it fully. 

Don’t get it twisted though… I usually save the hardwood floor cleaning for him 😉

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN! ANSWER THE QUESTION WITH YOUR PARTNER OR FRIENDS, AND SHARE YOUR RESPONSES IN THE COMMENTS. OFF YOU GO!

(If you haven’t already, I suggest you dive into finding out what your love language is… do that here.)

Who Doesn’t Love Baby Horses?

Happy Easter, everyone!

Is everyone enjoying their families and friends? Cool. S and I were able to make it down south this weekend to visit the parents and spend some time with other members of the family. Weekends go by entirely too fast, but even a day or two with family – whether that be blood or chosen – is a treat.

We’d all had pretty busy days prior to this weekend, so the bunch of us found ourselves going to bed at 10pm – struggling to get through the Villanova and Kanas final four game. Just before we put our phones down for the final time that night and the lights went out, mom informed us that a new baby horse had been born.

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I’ve always found it so fascinating how newborn animals are up and walking mere moments after they’ve entered the world. This calve is the mother’s first and all is going well. She wasn’t sure at first when it came to letting the baby nurse. She kept circling the newborn, not letting him get close enough to nurse. Dad was able to hold the mother still until she fell into the role of mother. Cool, right!?

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And look at this one. What a face!

I hate to get back to the regular work week, but alas… I hope you’ve all had a gorgeous weekend.

This isn’t Spring.

Mother Nature decided to cancel all our plans this weekend, and I’ve gotta say, I’m not mad about it. The calendar tells us that we’re currently in the first days of spring, but the six inches of snow S and I got in our area suggests otherwise.

This was going to be one of our busier weekends in a long time. It was S’s birthday weekend so we had Saturday daytime activities planned, a friend’s 90s party that night, and a baby shower on Sunday. I already hate driving, so once the snow confirmed I wasn’t going anywhere this weekend, I refilled my champagne and got cozy on the couch.

 

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Recommended Snow Day Items:

  • A cocktail, wine, or bubbly adult beverage.
  • Netflix, Hulu, or your preferred streaming service to start a new show or play catch-up on something you’ve already started.
  • A short “to-do” list: Don’t be all the way lazy. Try to get some things done around the house!

I was able to get a head on some chores and now I have extra time to work on personal projects – which is always nice. S got to have a very relaxed birthday weekend filled with video games. Reynold is happy to have had all of his dads’ attention this snowy weekend.

Have a good day!

— J

What’s the Tarot Say?

A Cinderella reading for real! What do the cards have in store?

1.Past. The Nine of Swords. This card represents dark visions or a period of depression. Only now do I feel like I’m off the roller coaster. At least for a moment. I was fighting to breathe before.

2.Present. The Six of Pentacles. Growth, prosperity, generosity. S and I are both on a roll in career and personal life right now. This current moment in time is a humble reminder to keep working hard and not take advantage of any opportunities that come our way.

3.Future. The Four of Pentacles. Control, possession. This is fabulous news for the home and bank account. Be mindful, however, of becoming too controlling or possessive. Wealth is but a concept, so don’t let material foolishness drain your soul. Noted.

Weekly Audit 2: What Do You Love Most About Yourself?

This week’s audit question is… “What do you love most about yourself?” Let’s see.

Something I find most interesting in society are the amount of stories there are to be told. My story is what I love, as it’s produced countless gems that have morphed me into the individual l am today.

The writing’s on my wall are what keep me driven and what give me the capacity to learn from any hiccups life may conjure. Through all of the tough times I’ve experienced in life, I’ve learned to welcome failure.

You see, with each mistake comes a lesson learned; another gem.

I’ve had plenty a lesson in my thirty-one years in the land of the living. Those lessons, and the evolution that comes along with them, are what keep me on track.

 

Now it’s your turn! Answer the question with your partner or friends, and share your responses in the comments. Off you go!

Weekend’s End

The weekend never truly feels long enough. Even more so when it’s the weekend we lose an hour of our days due to daylight savings time! Whether your weekends have been filled with chaos, great surges of productivity, or long, glorious hours on the couch in your favorite pajamas… we hope it’s been a good one!

(And, we don’t wish chaos upon anyone, but you know how it is… sometimes you just can’t catch any chill!)

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(Wine pictured: Oliver Winery’s Creekbend Vineyard – Chambourcin Rose & Traminette. Pure deliciousness.)

Hopefully you’re relaxed and calm as you enter the work week. S and I will be enjoying some of this lovely, low(er)-carb wine from Indiana favorite Oliver Winery. We always support local if we can, and we encourage you to do the same 🙂

(throws peace sign)

Weekly Audit 1: What’re the Best Qualities You Bring to a Relationship?

The time has come to look in the mirror. What is it that makes you you? No relationship is the same, but there’s one thing I know to be true: That in order to have a successful relationship, you must first know yourself. The beautiful part about people and the relationships we experience, is that we’re constantly evolving; flourishing as individuals and elevating our relationships.

There’s probably not one person that has entered a relationship completely knowing themselves. And if they have? I’d dare to ask how many relationships they’d been in previously or what they learned from their last relationship. The point is that part of our evolution as couples is learning as we go; learning from mistakes and applying the changes as we work through it together.

Welcome to your first weekly audit with Gays in the Life! Now it’s time to focus on you for a second as I give you your first assignment. Here goes…

  • I’d like you to sit down with your husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend, and discuss the following topic: What are the best qualities you have to bring to a relationship?

If you happen to be single at the moment, feel free to gather some friends and discuss this amongst each other. I want us all to have fun with this. Please please please let me know how your first audit goes in the post comments or on the Facebook page. I’m always so delighted when I hear from you all.

Ready, go!

You didn’t think I was cutting out without sharing did you? Some of the best qualities I believe I have to offer in a relationship are:

Wisdom – I haven’t had as hard a life as most people in the world, but I’ve been through enough to be grateful for so much. My experience in life as a young, black, gay man has afforded me the ability to approach any bump in the relationship road with an open mind and clarity. I’ve had my fair share of questionable guys and have made terrible decisions in the past, but I’ve grown from each lesson. The ability to process issues and communicate clearly with S helps us thrive. S was not a communicator when we met, so I’m proud to say I’ve helped him morph in that way and I’ve learned much more about myself in the process.

Spice – I’m a spicy personality and there’s no getting around that. I present as a cool, zen queen that isn’t bothered by much. In relationships though, I tend to be the outspoken one and will keep you guessing. Bland has never been part of my brand, so don’t be surprised if one day my look suddenly changes, I want to go dancing, or you hear me schooling someone for something stupid they’ve just said. I love my couch and pajamas, but I love a good party and a bit of excitement too. Did I mention I’m contagious?

Strength – I stand firmly by those I love and think of myself as the foundation of the majority of my relationships. Whether it’s tough love, providing a sense of calm and support, or lifting you up when you’re down, people know they can count on me. In my marriage, I’m able to keep our foundation strong because I can go to my husband and check in; letting him know I’m there regardless of what. It’s the little things that have the biggest impact, people.

I hope you all enjoy your first assignment. Please feel free to share the assignments with friends and family, and let me know how it goes!

— J

Coming Next Week! Weekly Audits.

Hey there,

How often do you check in with your partner and yourself? When is the last time you both sat down and asked yourselves “are we happy?” A couple that’s cohesively existing together, under one roof and in a good place with their relationship would say they are happy.

Now don’t go looking for problems in every nook and cranny of your relationships! All I’m saying is that it’s important to talk about your relationship with the person you call your other half. Couples fear asking the hard questions because they’d have to be honest with themselves. It’s amazing how grown people freeze in the face truth.

“What makes you most happy about our relationship (or marriage)?”

“Are you okay? Honestly, how have you been?”

“What’s something we need to work on as a couple?”

These conversations don’t have to be hard at all. Put on some music to set the vibe, mix a couple cocktails, and chat about your relationship. This person is supposed to be your best friend, you know… And this should be fun! Think of it as free weekly therapy sessions.

If you’re a couple in a more turbulent relationship or going through a tough time, I suggest you face the issue(s) head on. Trying to dodge and avoid what needs to be faced will only cause your mental health harm. Get everything on the table, hash it out, and make a plan for improvement.

Starting next week, Gays in the Life will post weekly audits. These audits will consist of questions and thought provoking activities – to be done with your partners – that will inspire conversation about your relationships with one another.

Answering the questions together, listening and processing every word shared, will encourage openness. These audits only work if you’re honest and open with yourself, your partner, and your relationship.

I can’t wait to get this going!

Cheers,

 

Stanning for Black Panther

I’ve got to get this out my system. The Black Panther movie was so great. I don’t know how else to say it. This movie was the superhero movie I didn’t know I needed.

Marvel is a franchise that does very well for itself, but there’s one thing we have to admit… the storylines and faces of epic white men and women somehow merge into one blob of the same ol’ story.

Getting to see a movie of this magnitude with a society  and a hero made up of people who look like me was a pretty cool experience. Not only did Director Ryan Coogler manage to get so many strong, black messages on the big screen, but each and every character was fun to get to know and kept the audience interested.

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As a viewer of color, I appreciated the timing of this movie. It’s already pretty tough to navigate life as a black, gay man, but doing it in Trump’s America is even more exhausting. The Black Panther was the motivation and push that I needed – a reminder to love myself, cherish my history and heritage, and to be the best version of myself.

Sure, it’s just another Marvel movie, but this is a huge deal! Never before has the black community had something like this. Representation in all avenues and facets of life is so important because it inspires future generations (of all colors and backgrounds).

Inspiration is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the glory of this cast and their performances. All this black excellence! Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett, Chadwick Boseman, Danai Gurira, and so many more. So much female strength and empowerment throughout the movie. And the attention to detail! All of the tribes were designed and styled based on authentic African tribes.

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Okay, so I’m stanning a little bit. Stanning is when you’re “being overzealous or an obsessive fan of a particular celebrity.” All jokes aside, yes this movie is amazing to me because it was based in a black society with a black hero.

Most of the black roles we see on the big screen play supporting roles of some type or there has to be some sad undertone. Not all black stories are rooted in pain, suffering, or slavery. While all of those stories are important and a major part of my history, we as a people have been waiting for stories that are brighter and share successes; our triumphs.

In the Black Panther movie we see tough, all female warriors, a thriving black society with crazy tech and scientists, and heritage and tradition challenged. As a black dude who just recently received his AncestryDNA results, this movie made me want to dig more into my heritage and also made me think about what tradition meant to me.

I appreciate this movie so much.

Black Panther nailed it.

Ok, I’m done.