The Man on the Bike

Where is he going? Every couple days or so I spot him leading the trail of cars that’s anxiously trying to get around him. Other oncoming traffic and myself keeps this from happening and deep down I’m glad. He’s confident, black, and moving at a slow pace down the 40 mile per hour stretch. I’m unable to guess his age and I worry that one of these crazy drivers will strike him; knocking off his Kangol cap and harming what I believe to be a good soul.

He looks like he could be someone’s grandpa. He’s dressed in khakis and a jacket that hangs on either side of his bicycle; a sweater or plain button-up underneath. It’s usually around 4:47pm when I spot him, just before I go through two more roundabouts and make my way onto I-465 South, a tad closer to home. I wonder where he’s going or if he’s just running an errand. Regardless of where he’s headed, I always enter that first roundabout hoping that he makes it to his destination safely.

We’re all in such a hurry at the end of the workday. Rushing home to whatever petty matter we feel is of the utmost importance. For me, that’s getting off the road and home to my yoga shorts. The man on the bike reminds me to slow down; to take my time. Slow and steady wins the race. Slow and steady keeps you safe. A piece of me smiles each time I see him, because to me, it’s him letting me know he’s safe.

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23 Very Tiny Things That Make Your Relationship So Much Stronger Than You Realize

Christopher Burns

1. Simply listening to them when they’ve had a hard day, and letting them vent and talk it out, instead of trying to fix it.2. Showing through your actions that they are your number one priority, instead of just saying it.3. Holding eye contact when you’re talking to one another.4. Doing little things (emptying the…

via 23 Very Tiny Things That Make Your Relationship So Much Stronger Than You Realize — Thought Catalog

It’s Been 3 Years!

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):

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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.

Cheers,

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.

Hello, There! Why is Vacation Over?

 

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Big thanks and WELCOME to all the new followers that joined us over the past couple weeks. I can’t express how much your interest and curiosity means to us as I grow the Gays in the Life platform.

 

We had some family visiting this past week from Alaska and Florida, so forgive the lack of content. Sometimes you just need to disconnect and enjoy the moment. Here are some things you can look forward to on Gays in the Life in the coming days:

 

  • More relationship and marriage discussion.
  • Interviews and topic reviews with S (and other couples)!
  • More vlog (video blog) content to highlight past, present, and upcoming topics.

Thanks again for all your support! Don’t forget to share Gays in the Life with friends and family, and to reach out on all social media @GaysintheLife. We look forward to getting to know all of you in the comments and the GITL inbox – gaysinthelife@gmail.com.

Let us know how we’re doing!

Stay zen,

Why I’m Canceling SheaMoisture.

After a lot of thought, consideration, and a recent purchase of a large bottle of Jamaican Black Castor Oil shampoo, I’ve decided to cancel SheaMoisture. By cancel, I mean I will not be buying anymore of their products or endorsing the brand to friends, family, or my followers. Now, I don’t plan on wasting any of my money. By the time the few SheaMoisture products I do have run out, I’ll have found replacements and will make the time to kick it fully natural again when it comes to my hair and skincare.

 

Earlier this week the brand released a video featuring young white women sharing their hair struggles. That’s cute and all, but seriously? Take a look at SheaMoisture’s cover photo on Twitter and tell me where all those women were in this commercial. I’m a black man who grew up in a mixed black family. When it comes to hair struggle? I know it all too well.

 

One young lady mentioned how she just couldn’t do anything with her pin-straight hair and the other went on about how she had to bleach her hair – leaving her natural red color behind. Girls – this includes you SheaMoisture – get out of here with that nonsense!

 

I’m all for a brand branching out and including all ethnicities, but black women basically made SheaMoisture the natural, fair trade beast that they are in the industry.  Why would you exclude the primary source of your coins and success from this commercial?

 

What made matters worse – because I was going to let this slide after their half-assed apology on Twitter – was thanking Tariq Nasheed. Tariq is an anti-racism strategist who got on the case of angry black SheaMoisture supporters for being upset about the flat and offbeat commercial.

 

Tariq tweets:

 

So yall don’t want 2 boycott businesses like:
*Asian nail shops that beat up BW
*Companies that support Trump
But Shea Moisture is the issue”

 

Excuse me, sir? Have you not been part of any post-election conversation since November 2016? We’ve got apps like Boycott Trump and a long list of known Trump supporting businesses and brands that we’re doing our best to avoid and guess what, the list of small, minority-owned businesses are just as long. Forgive us for taking our money and support to brands that support its community, and have marketing teams that are smart enough to find ways to include everyone without completely disregarding the customer base that gave you the most traffic and sales – the customers that put you in major stores like Target across the nation.

 

SheaMoisture responded to Tariq as follows:

 

“We can’t thank you enough for your loyalty and support.  It’s wonderful people like you that keep us going strong, Tariq!

 

They could have left that response in the PR crisis meeting. Wow. So you’re going engage this ignorance? One could ask Tariq how he feels, after he’s had more time to think on it; about how his ancestors would feel about all of this.

 

I’m fully aware that white women can have just as much trouble with hair and texture as any other person from around the globe, but why cast these young ladies with the lines they had in this commercial? You’re complaining about having red hair – red hair is GORGEOUS in my opinion – and having to bleach your hair? Okay, for one, bleaching your hair isn’t the best for it, but sure, go ahead and sell those restorative products; I love rocking blonde hair. What happened to nurturing the hair you have and maintaining that hair with products like SheaMoisture?

 

All these ladies had to do was get a cut and color. Where was the kinky-haired white girl chopping it up with other young ladies that have actual hair struggles? The struggles you use to sell your products currently. These ladies weren’t sitting under searing hot combs or feeling the rage of a screaming scalp as your mother, aunts, or grandmother untangled tight coils from each other. You want to talk about hair struggle? Talk to all the females in my family who have gorgeous and extremely challenging hair. MY hair is extremely challenging, but I’m going to let the ladies have this one for obvious reasons.  

 

So what good does canceling do? Well, it may not do much at first, but companies like SheaMoisture will get the picture when smaller companies, companies that started just like them, take their place at the top of the natural industry. On every bottle of SheaMoisture they share the story of how their grandmother gathered and sold shea butter and African black soap in Africa and transformed people’s spirits and changed her family’s life with her hustle. Where’s that commercial? Keep it simple, stupid. How’s that for some direction in your next marketing meeting, SheaM?

 

For some good discussion and reads on this topic, I recommend the following podcasts:

 

Gettin’ Grown, Episode “Shea Dry,” start about 14:10:00 into the show.

The Read, Episode “Plight of the Light,” start about 1:37:15 into the show.

Pepsi & Kendall Jenner Stir Up Controversy with New Jump In Ad

A fabulous wrap-up about the new Pepsi commercial featuring Kendall Jenner. Well said and presented.

Alexis Chateau PR

When it comes to public relations and marketing, Pepsi Co. is a brand to be reckoned with. Over the years, the mega-food company has attracted the endorsement of pop culture and music legends like Michael Jackson, Ray Charles, Britney Spears, Beyoncé Knowles, Aretha Franklin, and The All-American Rejects.

So why not Kendall Jenner?

The Backlash

But when Pepsi released the Jump In commercial, starring Jenner, on April 4, 2017, it was not to critical acclaim. Journalists and consumers alike labelled the ad “tone-def”, and called it an appropriation of the Black Lives Matter campaign to sell a can of soda.

Symone Sanders, a CNN Political Commentator said:

Literally, Pepsi just used Kendall Jenner to co-opt the resistance to sell a freakin’ can of soda. Okay?

There were no police pictured in riot gear as they often are when Black and Brown people are putting their bodies on the line…

View original post 422 more words

Day: 16 New Holland Dragon’s Milk Reserve

While just about everywhere out East is dealing with the last bits of Winter. (Hopefully) I’ve curled up with a nice warming stout. And what a stout I’ve picked to warm myself today! New Holland’s Dragon’s Milk Reserve Triple Mash. A bourbon barrel stout aged in New Holland’s own whiskey barrels. At 17% this is […]

via Day: 16 New Holland Dragon’s Milk Reserve —

Ink’d: The Grizzly Comes to Life

The North American Grizzly bear. This strong and courageous creature represents my innermost Alaskan self and breathes life into the soft and dangerous parts of my personality. I’m a very cool and cuddly person, until I’m not… Get into my latest tat in this video I pieced together – with the help of my sister, Lenci – on ink day.

Feel the burn and enjoy,

 

Big shouts to Kenny Slone and the crew at Ink Therapy Tattoo in Plainfield, Indiana. The customer service there is beyond great and you’re guaranteed to have a blast during your session.