It was so great to get away, disconnect, and recharge in Brown County this weekend. Never underestimate the power of a quiet weekend in the woods – with limited connectivity – to put some zing back into your zen. The weather didn’t feel like fall at all, but that’s okay… We’ll keep our soup recipes and sweaters handy for a future fall cabin adventure.
Gays in the Life turned three years old yesterday. Can you believe that? I was listening to one of my favorite podcast this week when I found myself triggered. You see, the conversation centered around how perfectionism could be the cause of procrastination or the reason some people never go after their goals. Needless to say, The Friend Zone podcast struck a chord and it got me thinking about what growing the Gays in the Life platform has taught me. I suffered some major writer’s block this summer and wasn’t as productive as I would have liked to be. Large part of that was due to me being unable to get out of my head. Here are a few items that have contributed to both the darkest and lightest lessons over the past few years (and especially the past few months):
Productivity. When I started Gays in the Life I had more time and endless energy to put into ideas and content. Fast forward through a couple promotions, a busier work life, and time juggling personal projects and you’ll notice all that energy and time has gone out the window.
Today I’m slowly getting back into my groove and making time to fidget with the blog every couple days. If writer’s block is getting the best of me, I’m maintaining tasks for my side hustles or tweaking ideas to improve the GITL platform. The secret for me has been to remember the fun. Once the fun is gone, I’ll truly be doomed and none of you will see another blog post.
Next is my relationship; my marriage. Three years of diving into my marriage through the blogging medium most definitely shed some light on strengths and weaknesses – things we need to work on and things we can celebrate. Gays in the Life has become an ever-changing blueprint for our relationship.
Going through old posts, we recognize opportunities to learn and grow beyond the lessons we’ve already shared on the site. We jump at any chance to improve below average scenarios and capitalize on shared victories. My heart dances because S and I have been able to share our experiences and paint a realistic view of what it takes to survive the early years of marriage.
Balance has been trying and tricky the last few years. I touched on it lightly at the top of the post when I mentioned having a busier work life and juggling personal projects. Navigating my perceived lack of availability was exhausting and began to eat at my creative process. My life was evolving in other areas and keeping it all together and on track was a challenge.
Instead of getting caught up in the sludge of life I do my best to keep to the schedule and goals I set, and don’t beat myself up about missing any desired deadlines. Another helpful trick to keep your cool when you feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, is to reflect on the things you did accomplish that day. A quick reminder that you aren’t completely worthless never hurt anyone – and remember, you have the same amount of hours in the day as Beyonce.
With all that being said, I’m happy and appreciative for how Gays in the Life continues to morph. From the early stages of focusing on content only and maintaining the basics of the site, to present day where I’m digging more into GITL social media analytics and elevated site design… I’m challenged, inspired, and feel the next phase of evolution on the horizon.
We’ve got some fun things coming your way on GaysintheLife.com and it only works with your support. So thank you all for hanging in there with us.
S refuses to go to Alaska with me during winter. I’ve been haunted with the biggest urge to ski recently, and home – yes, Alaska – has the most gorgeous views you’ll ever see. Snowy peaks and bourbon… Wine by the fire… I think a ski trip back home could be a sexy time.
Mountain views have always held a high position in the romance category for me. Taking in the sight of nature’s first castles with that special someone has a way of inspiring a love at its most peaceful. Massive and majestic… range upon range… mountains stand as a representation of the best and worst relationships in their makeup and existence alone.
(us on our way back to Anchorage from Seward in Alaska, summer 2014)
I picture us in a scene from some GQ magazine shoot taking place at a modest mountain resort. Warm lighting enhance our grins as we settle into broken-in leather chairs. With a Maker’s Mark (neat) in my hand and a tequila soda in his, we’d enjoy some of our favorite tunes and make the most of our chilly backdrop. S genuinely hates the cold – I’m not a big fan either – but as I write this I’m realizing this is a vacation fantasy I’ve had for quite some time now.
Snowy peaks and bourbon after a few hours on the slopes… I was never the best skier but it sounds therapeutic at the moment. Some of you may think that sounds awful, and S would agree, but the rest of you are already picturing yourselves in a similar setting. A workout, views, drinks and a little romance? There’s no way this wouldn’t be a trip to remember.
*goes to drawing board and checks available air miles*
October 23, 2017 will mark the 6-year mark for S and I’s relationship. “Where has the time gone?!” would be the common response to this fact, but you can’t ask me where all this time has gone so quickly. What you can ask is how we’ve managed to keep things pushing forward.
Six years is like 20 years in gay years. All jokes aside, and in my opinion, this amount of time in a relationship can be defined as “long-term,” or at least be bordering the category. Some couples stay together for one to three years and consider that to be long-term, but that’s a blip of time in the grand scheme of things.
So how have we lasted this long? We put in the work. From first days of our relationship, communication and being open with each other has been the sole requirement and expectation for each other. Sure, there are other factors to consider – like not being a shitty human being – but communication ties to every aspect of our relationship.
You’ve all heard me go on and on about the importance of communication’s presence in any relationship, but I won’t bore you with those points for hundredth time. Where things get interesting is when you’ve been together for an extended period and you check in on your relationship.
How are things going?
So many couples get caught up in the ebb and flow of their relationship routines and lose sight of the work it takes to maintain a solid partnership. This is a lesson S and I learned recently. For the most part, we’re a pretty easygoing pair of husbands; handling any issues as they arrive, if we have any at all. So when we discovered a couple of glaring blind spots, we knew we had to take action.
The past handful of weeks have been dedicated to just us. We’ve been social here and there, what with the baby shower and all, but our attention has been on each other. We noticed that we’d been stuck in our relationship routine; if you can even call it that. Work… work… tv… more tv… sleep… more work. We were very much together but caught up in the chaos or our individual worlds. It’s no wonder some relationships don’t survive when spouses have higher-level careers – there’s no time to put in the work.
Flipping the script and focusing more energy on things like date night, versus corporate fatigue, has kept us engaged and energized. Instead of complaining about work and becoming a prisoner of exhaustion, we put time into activities and entertainment we can enjoy together. Things like: going to dinner, playing our favorite video game together, our low-carb health, organizing our house, or exploring Indy.
S and I weren’t so far gone that we couldn’t recognize an opportunity to build a stronger foundation. Becoming that disconnected couple who puts on a show when friends and family are around can never be an option for us. I’m grateful for our drive and for the focus we harbor. It shows us that no matter what, and for many many years to come, we’ll have each other’s support in maintaining us.
If you’ve made it to the end of this post, turn to your partner and surprise them with a kiss. Ask them something other than how their day went. Hold their hand and meet their eyes with a smile. That feeling you’re experiencing? Don’t ever let go of that.
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.
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 🙂
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.
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.
“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.”
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?”
“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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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.
It’s the little things.
Like watching him get ready and realizing
How handsome he is right before a night on the town.
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.
Netflix and chill?