Our Father’s Anger, Our Lessons.

The men in our lives can shape us in ways we never realize. The recognition, and understanding, of the lessons their most honest energy projects, can strike as sharp as a burn to the finger. As a child you’re too young to recognize any damage adulthood has inflicted upon your father. As a teenager, you’re not allowed to comment on anything that is said between two adults. “Be seen, and not heard… Don’t speak unless you’re spoken to…” were regular instructions throughout my upbringing, and little did I know the effects of these instructions would only sharpen my understanding of my father’s unshared emotions.

In the world of adulthood, you tend to catch comments, expressions, and reactions of older members within the family; especially those of fathers.  My dad was an Army man with a tough exterior, social superpowers, and a strict confidence that ruled our household. He knew how to have fun, and we felt his love, even though we never really used the “love” word growing up. At the age of sixteen I watched him morph into another being. Divorce had blackened his insides, and bitterness flowed infinitely. Not knowing how to fully process this new man – a poisoned shadow that danced inside my father’s body – or his reasoning, I was forced to grow up and assumed that he was just setting a negative example for my siblings and I. We’re on good terms now, but it took us a while to get back to a settled place where we could begin to understand each other; although I still don’t get him all the time.

S’s father is a warm, honest, and gentle soul. I tried to offer him some of my hippy-dippy zen advice – after hearing enough complaints about something he and my mother-in-law had been left out of by his family – only to receive a sharp, and deeply planted response. “I don’t care to get over it.” My advice was to find a way to get over the issues he had with the family, for his own health. “Well, everyone handles things differently, I suppose. It definitely doesn’t help if no one is communicating” was my exit from the conversation. I know my boundaries, respect my S’s parents, and realize that you can’t help everyone, so I stopped responding to any opportunity to share my little bit of wisdom.  I still don’t have full details about what happened, but what was it that was causing him to hold on to that dark energy?

My dad is fifty years old, and S’s father is in his sixties. What I’ve learned from these two, completely different men, is more than I can fit into any closing paragraph. I’m only twenty-eight years old, and I know there are people out there that will say that I’m too young, and that I haven’t truly experienced life. Everyone has dark days, grey moments, and pitch-black thoughts in life at some point, and in mine, I’ve learned to let go. I search for the lesson in all of life’s curveballs and strikes, and try to move forward as positive as possible. Harnessing anger only turned me into someone I didn’t want to accept lived inside of me. The feeling was that of being stuck in quicksand with a speeding semi truck seconds away from barreling right through me; fear, uncertainty, and uncomfortable welcome. These gentlemen are a reminder to try. Try to accept, grow, and move forward. If happiness is faint, reward yourself in that happiness, and challenge yourself to gain more.

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A Peek Into Parenting?

Do you ever think about what kind of parent you will be? Would you be the spoiler, the punisher, the rule-enforcer, or the go-ask-your-father/mother type? Reynold has been home for about a month now, and with that has come this out of body experience of witnessing my (puppy) parenting skills develop.  “Jesus, I sound JUST like my father” is a common thought, and a scary one. If you ask anyone in my family, they’ll quickly tell you that I’m the crazy one; speaking up and correcting any nonsense that is presented to me in any moment, regardless of who you are.

My father was always more strict than my mother, and was the parent you feared if you knew you were up to no good. Don’t get it twisted though! Because mom would surprise you with some rage – if you pushed her too far – that would send you into an instant frenzy as you hustled to get out of dodge. When it comes to Reynold’s training and development, I’m the parent that’s constantly in his ass; making sure he isn’t eating some random rock, chewing on things that aren’t his toys or bones, trying to potty inside, and worrying about things that probably won’t happen. S is the parent who is more relaxed, and zen in all things puppy. “He’s a puppy! He’s fine” is what he tells me when I’m worrying about something as random as Reynold licking the floor, or vanishing behind the couch. “We have to stay on him so he learns… he can’t sleep with us until he’s been sleeping in the crate throughout the entirety of the night with NO accidents, for two months… DON’T FEED HIM TOO MUCH, YOU’LL MAKE HIM FAT!”

All in all we’ve been having a great time raising our first fur child together. Our parenting styles are very balanced, and in the end, we both spoil the crap out of him. I just ordered his Halloween costume… a handmade Yoda-ears hat from Etsy. Another thing I’ve started doing is making him homemade treats; eventually Reynold will be a paleo/low-carb pup, like his daddies. Yes, we’re THOSE dog parents. It’s been a fun preview into what I hope will be a similar experience when we have human children – minus the fact that human children can talk back, and I don’t do well with that, LOL. It’s only been a month, and I already feel like our lil pup is growing up way too fast. Slow down, mister! Your daddies love you.

Sister and a Puppy

Hello! Yes, yes, I’m still here, and I apologize. I know it’s been a while since you’ve heard from me, and that’s not anyone’s fault but my own.  The past few weeks have been filled with fun and excitement, with a touch of busy at the top of my schedule’s cake.  My sister came into town from Alaska – yes, my family is still up there in the way north – and we brought our puppy, Reynold, home! I’ve gotten a few emails, text messages, and comments wondering what the hell I’ve been up to, and where the next post for Gays in the Life was, so here goes; the update you all deserve.

Where do I begin? I’m so happy I was able to take a full week off of work to spend with my sister. The last time I saw her, and the rest of my immediate family, was last summer when S and I visited Alaska.  Tickets to, and from, Alaska are ridiculous – you might as well go to Europe or Australia with some of these prices nowadays – so I was extra pumped to have her come down to Indy for a couple weeks. The first day of her visit (a Thursday), we all just hung out around the condo, and S ended up taking the following day off. V had one single request as we passed through Bloomington, on the way down to the in-law’s and to get Reynold, and that was to stop for lunch at Mother Bear’s. Mother Bear’s one of the most tasty pizza establishments I’ve ever experienced and my Alaskan family agrees; always requesting a stop there whenever they’re in the state of Indiana. A few of my favorite people were able to meet us for that lunch, and it was a great way to break up the two-and-a-half-hour drive down to southern Indiana.

sisandpup

I remember the first time I visited S and his parents, and feeling like it was a completely different world. Sitting on the edge of a field of horses and a lake, is a charming home, complete with a huge garage, and barn for newborn horses. Indiana is flat, but pretty in its own way. The air is still, calm, and you can almost hear the bugs that are hovering nearby; until a local tears by violently down the country road on a 4-wheeler. The way I describe Anchorage, Alaska is if you squished Indianapolis together, surround the city with mountains and ocean, and you’ve got our hometown. V had seen pictures of the farm, S’s parents, the horses, and all the land, but seeing her experience everything I had, almost four years ago, was so exciting and enjoyable for me.  The parents are always so nice and would do anything for any of their kids; myself included.  V would be the first family member of mine that they’d met, because as mentioned above, plane tickets are out of control. The day was hot, clear, and gorgeous for V’s arrival to the farm. I love calling their home the farm because it’s completely different from how we grew up in Alaska as city kids.  We all had a great time together; checking out the local sites, food, and meeting some country friends.

Reynold joined the three of us on our trip back to Indianapolis at the end of the weekend. The little dude slept the whole drive back; which was awesome because we didn’t have to stop a number of times for new-puppy-potty-breaks. He’s been such an easy puppy thus far, and has made all my research and worrying seem all-for-nothing in a great way.  I could only take a week off of work, but luckily my sister was still in town for that extra week, and she continued the potty-training and getting him used to his new home. Currently, he’s about ten and a half weeks old, he’s learned how to sit and lay down on command, and we’re working on “stay.” He’s got the whole potty thing down at this point, we just have to keep an eye on him, and he’s pretty silent at night in his crate. I’m also so proud to say that there have not been any accidents while he’s in the crate, and he’s getting good at learning that the night is for sleeping, and I only have to take him out a couple times a night. Eventually we want him to sleep with us, but he WILL be crate trained before that happens. I can already tell I will be the parent that will be the enforcer (of rules) and punisher, but I’ll probably also be the one that spoils him the most.

reynold

Well that’s the update guys! From this moment forward, I will be back to my weekly postings, and plan on adding a new page to Gays in the Life! More details on that later, though. Until then, follow us on Twitter at @gaysinthelife, and follow Reynold – yes the dog has an instagram so I can freely flood feeds with puppy pics and vids – at @reynold_the_1st. Lastly, I’d like to shoutout a blogging buddy of mine for having me as a guest blogger on his page A Guy Without Boxers. Roger asked me to write a little about manscaping, and I was more than happy to share! Thank you for having me Roger!

Until next beaus and betties,

The Last Slice

“NO! You have to save that piece to eat on your first anniversary!” M’s voice filled our kitchen with both protest and excitement. The gluten-free, red-velvet, cream-cheese-frosted cake she had made for our wedding day was beyond delicious, and I wanted nothing more than to take another bite out of the lonely slice of its remains. This Saturday is my husband and I’s first marriage anniversary, and that last piece of delicious memorabilia – that’s been hiding under alcohol and frozen meat – has survived the year and would meet its end come May 16th.  I wasn’t familiar with the cake tradition at all until M shared it with us that day in our kitchen, and the pending arrival of our first anniversary has me wondering if holding on to that one, last piece of cake means something. Out of sight out of mind is the notion that comes to mind almost immediately. “The first year of marriage is the hardest” is what every tells you when you tie the knot, and much like our frozen slice of wedding cake, married life blinked right by us in a time-warped state of reality. Has it really already been a year? I guess this slice of cake will be even better than tasting it for the first time, because it’s serving as some kind of reward for getting through our first year as husbands. Our relationship has always been smooth sailing; crossing choppy waters here and there, but never truly rocking the boat. As I think about eating this cake, exactly a year from when I tried to finish it off, a dormant excitement is awakened. I haven’t taken the time at all to note, or keep track of anything we’ve done during our first year of marriage! We did move from our one-bedroom apartment to a lofted condo, AND we are expecting our first fur child – a rat terrier puppy we plan to name Reynold, and who’s a direct descendant of S’s family dog. This first year of marriage has been out of sight and out of mind. It was a good year, and eating this cake will give us a great excuse to reflect and really honor our first year of marriage. I want to thank M for sharing this tradition with the both us, because come this Saturday finishing the cake we started a year ago will mean so much to both my husband, and myself.

CHI to IND Interlude

Brutally crisp air smacks me in the face as I get out of the car at Union Station in downtown Chicago. The weekend was fast and filled to the brim with family, fun, and sadly, a funeral for my great grandmother. My mom had flown in from Alaska – my home state – and to be quite honest with you, I probably would not have made the three hour bus ride up to Chicago from Indianapolis if she had not been there.  I always miss my Alaska family terribly. I’m never home sick, but I have days where I miss the hell out of my brother, sister, mom, and even my stubborn ass father from time to time. As I hug mom and my favorite aunt goodbye in front of the quiet bus station, I feel a mix of emotions. I’m sad because I’m not sure when I will see the both of them again. I’m happy that I had the chance, and time, to get to see my Chicago relatives; beyond elated to be there with them during this tough time. I smile as I reflect on the amazing time I had with family I’d just met, and those of whom I hadn’t seen for at least ten years. Watching my Alaska family drive down the hollow Chicago street, I finish my emotional equation and become warm with the thought of returning to my husband. When I’m down – and feeling like some sad, soulful Adele song – he’s usually the burst of light I need on my dark, rainy days. He’s the answer to most of my emo-life equations, and I needed hug; anything to prolong the feeling of my mom and aunt’s arms around me before today was gone. Pocketing my glasses, I replace them with my prescription Ray Ban shades… a single tear making contact with the inside of the dark lens just as my bus to Indianapolis arrived.