More Barbershop Talk

Reflecting on LGBTQ discussion I overheard (and joined) while I was at the barbershop.

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Some of My Daily Tools

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Just a few items that helped me start my day today. After a shower and quick cold-water rinse of the face, I dug into some of my fave daily tools:

– Now Solutions apricot oil for a flawless glow. Yes gentlemen… you too can glow. Skincare is essential.

– Murray’s pomade (mixed with coconut oil) to lay down the frizz.  My hair is crazy, crazy I tell you! Even at this short length. A good brush comes in handy for my hair type.

– Wilma Schumann collagen eye patches (before apricot oil is applied)

– Bath and Body works Bourbon Shea Butter Body Cream. Don’t sleep on these body creams, gentlemen.

– Burberry London cologne, because, duh. Burberry is my favorite!

– A good trimmer to touch up the beard and hairline in between haircuts

Life’s Candle: Interlude

The flame meets room temperature wax and their controlled chaos is stirred. One solid and unwavering, and the other performing a fiery dance with breezy spontaneity.  Together they are resilient and unmatched in the levels of patience they’ve achieved. The past couple of months, the cylindrical glass home they inhabit had been restless with ambition – proving to be a real test as the rewards of hard work presented themselves. Together they’d burned a shortcut into shared destiny’s plan for success and the journey was exhausting. Each night they’re thankful for well-deserved rest. Wax hardens from it’s tired liquid state, as the flame becomes one with the night’s air. Both the wax and the flame enjoy smokey relaxation before sleep – a vacation from life’s heavy rotation. There’ll come a day we don’t have to burn towards our goals so fiercely. Sit back and relax will just come another day.

Meditative Monday Mindfulness – 11.5.18

Good morning, readers!

 

I’m super proud of myself. Wanna know why? I managed to get to bed at a decent hour, after doing homework and things for the podcast, woke up at 4:30 a.m., and got my ass to the pool for open swim. I know, I know, 4:30 a.m. is crazy early, but I desperately need to be back on a regular workout schedule.

After about thirty-five minutes of swimming this morning, I spent a good fifteen minutes in the dry sauna.  I really enjoy the heat of a sauna, especially after a workout. Your muscles get a nice, relaxing blast of heat and the restorative benefits are pretty great. The feeling in the dry sauna reminds of me a hot yoga session – except you aren’t doing a series of poses. I like to sit with myself, in silence, and roll my neck and shoulders gently as I enter meditative thought.

I’m not particularly social in the mornings, so it’s a bonus that by the time I get to the sauna, that I’m the only one there. This makes it easy to meditate. I closed my eyes and let the thoughts flow. In two weeks, I will be thirty-two years old. The past few years have been very formative for me as a young professional and young man. I feel like when you enter your thirties, you truly enter your adulthood. I decided this morning that as I push forward with any personal goals, projects, or career moves, that I need to keep it light. It’s amazing, the amount of pressure you can put on yourself without realizing the true weight it exerts.

I spent the majority of my fifteen minutes in the 120-degree heat processing how I accomplish this: Take baby steps and go forth with confidence. Not putting too much pressure on myself if something proves to be more difficult than planned. Being as supportive as I can be to everyone supporting me. And remembering to be patient. What is meant to be, will be.

I plan on starting every Monday this way, so I can keep myself on track throughout the week. It’s easy to get caught up in the crazy, maybe sharing these little blurbs will help some of you remain centered and focused too.

 

Have a great Monday, everyone, and a gorgeous week 🙂

 

“Why we Broke up”

The ebbs and flows of life can be such a whirlwind at times. Adventure and massive success in relationships, while exciting and inspiring, can threaten the connection; the spark that started it all.

Mark and Ethan are a couple that has found huge success with both their YouTube channels. The energy that flows between the two of them is infectious and they shoot absolutely amazing content for their channels.

We’ve followed them on numerous explorations around the world, family visits to the lake house, and my personal favorite, a little town called Bloomington – Go Hoosiers!

I wanted to write a little note about one of Mark and Ethan’s more recent videos, “Why we Broke up.” The title alone shook me. I quaked, honey. These two can’t possibly be separating!

False alarm. There’d be no breakup, but the two did share why Ethan had recently moved into his own apartment, five minutes away from Mark in LA. Some words the two shared hit me like a speeding truck:

Ethan: “We need to re-evaluate how we’re doing individually, because everything was just so habitually together.”

Mark: “Something that you had said, and that will always stick with me is that ‘you want to appreciate my love.’ There are days that I don’t appreciate him, and I don’t want that to be a thing. I just don’t want that to happen.”

This couple has shared so many good times through their lenses and YouTube channels with us. What we as the viewers forget is that these are real people, in real relationships.

It’s amazing that these two have been able to build their platforms together, but what happens when your relationship and business blends too well? Mark and Ethan explained how they need to focus back in on how they’re doing individually, and what a word this is.

Ethan goes on to quote RuPaul.. “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else?”

Obviously, I don’t know these guys from Adam, but I get what they’re saying. You need time to focus on you; to take care of you. Without a strong sense of self-love in place, you won’t be able share that with the ones you love.  

I’ve talked before on Gays in the Life about making time for each other and not forgetting to take care of the relationship. A big part of that is taking care of number one so you can continue to be that support system for whoever it is on the receiving end of your love.

I want to thank Mark and Ethan for taking a moment to share these thoughts with us, and to remind us that relationships are work. The highs can be really high, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be low lows.

Put in the work, people! And don’t be afraid to face and enter the shadows – It’s the only way you’ll find that light in the end.

 

Miffed Auras

It appears that S and I both have tempers. Those of you who know me have figured out that it takes a pretty good amount of nonsense to push me over the edge. We have a WiiU at home, and it is the source of fun and decompression – along with our pup, Reynold – after a long day of work.  I’m not sure if the amount of hours we’ve spent playing Mario Kart 8 and Splatoon is embarrassing or impressive. Yes, the machine actually tracks the amount of hours you play each game, and provides dates and times; in case you wish to deny your gamer status.

We both have gamer rage when something doesn’t go our way during a race or a battle session. “JESUS CHRIST…. COME ON… GOSH” are regular exclamations when we’re both on the couch. I tend to be more of a slow-cooker when I’m getting frustrated with a game, while S will vocally rage during the first minutes of playing. I find this hilarious and I had to think to myself, where has this been? This fiery, competitive, passion that had manifested just a couch cushion away from me had gone unnoticed, by me, for the longest time. Whenever he’s playing a game and I hear outbursts of objection, I quietly chuckle and ask “…are you okay? It’ll be okay.”

Let me apologize to you now if you’re a biking enthusiast, or regular cyclist. It drives me beyond crazy when I get stuck behind someone on a bike, traveling on a one-lane road, and there’s no possible escape. Whenever this happens to me, there are always cars coming in the opposite lane, and I can’t get around the individual on the bike. Apparently it’s a law in Indiana that no bicycles are allowed on the sidewalks. Are you kidding me? I appreciate the fact that these people are out exercising, but jeez! I just want to get home at the end of the day. Are there no other biker friendly routes? My car horn is broken, so there’s not even the slightest bit of a chance that I can angrily honk at the unaware nerve-crusher. I usually scream profanities in the car or send rude Snapchats to my friends to share the annoying moment.

Where does our rage come from? Was it our parents that did this to us, or are we just those people who are instantly set off in these specific situations? After sending my angry snaps to my followers on Snapchat, I laughed at myself. “Wow, is it that serious?” Rushing is usually what gets drivers into accidents, so the fact that I was forced to focus on something other than getting home, was probably a blessing in disguise.  From now on I’m going to make it a point to focus on my zen, and harness the rage. When it comes to S… Well, I’ll just leave that alone for a while. He’s entertaining as all get-out when he’s screaming at the television screen, and teammates who can’t hear him.

A Letter to Myself. An Ode to Self-care.

 Dear Jamal,
First of all, calm down. What are you doing getting yourself all worked up about nothing? When things are out of your control, remember, they’re out of your control. Do your best in the moment to ground yourself, dig deep into self, and use that energy as fuel. If you don’t like something, change it. If a certain environment or group of people aren’t good for you, or helping you achieve your goals, cut them out!
You’re a stubborn Scorpio, so you think you have all the answers. There’s something you’re forgetting to do, though, in all this misery and darkness you’ve been hiding from the world… Take your own advice. MAKE A CHANGE. I mean, seriously, bro. What are you waiting for?! Be responsible in your decisions, of course, but you’re too young and full of inspiration to waste away in your current state. Go for it.
In the end, you have to remind yourself that you have a beyond supportive husband, family, and friends who would slay anyone who got in your way. Spend too much time pondering on the “what ifs” if you want, but you’ll only have yourself to blame if you stay here. You have a tendency to put others before yourself, but it is to your detriment most of the time.
You can’t be a man of the people if you’re not taking care of yourself. I charge you to make a change and to fight through these dark clouds you’ve been surfing. Look forward to brighter days, greater love, and more adventure than you can ever imagine. The time is now, Jamal. It’s your time.
With love,
Jamal

Let’s Take it Outside

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Going on a walk is one of the best things you can do for yourself.  You can clear your mind, get some easy, low-impact exercise, and enjoy some fresh air. If you were a fly on the wall in  our household, you’d notice that we’re very scheduled and don’t take much time for ourselves outside of the living room. This has improved with time. I tend to play with my schedule a ton, and most of the time it’s to my detriment. I do my best to fit in any tasks I have to complete, worry way too much about when I will hit the gym, and never end up getting through all I want to accomplish. Today I’m focused on being active. Screw everything else for a moment. Today, I will go on a walk, get some fresh air, and get to what I can when I can.