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

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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.

You do you. We’ll Do Fat.

FATboys: A Mostly Ketogenic Health Journey. I named this category of Gays in the Life “FATboys” because the lifestyle we follow promotes a low carb, high fat diet.  We love butter, coconut oil, bacon, and all the (good) fatty things in between. When people hear “low carb,” they tend to freak out, and I’m not sure why. My husband and I have been following this lifestyle for almost two years, and have witnessed amazing results in each other. We have energy throughout the day, we don’t get that two-o-clock feeling at work, and weight loss is just a bonus. Like any diet out there, you can over consume, but when you’re living a ketogenic lifestyle – rounding out your day’s meals with a 70-80% fat to 15-20% protein to less than 5% carbohydrates – you don’t get hungry. Your body fills up on gloriously healthy fats, and you just don’t get hungry. Don’t believe me? Add a half cup of heavy whipping cream to your coffee, and see how long it takes before you’re hungry again. Try it! And keep in mind that the feeling of thirst is notoriously confused for the feeling of hunger.

We’ve learned to listen to our bodies, and not rely on the “calories in, calories out” concept. We don’t plan on counting calories for the rest of our lives, and with low-carb/keto living, we grasped a way to do just that. I know it’s hard to be open and change what we’ve been taught as a society; how we’ve been programmed as a society. When S first told me he was going low carb, I resisted. It took me a month before I got on board, and decided to try it out. Low carb is all I know now. I’ve seen the science in my own health. I’ve seen the change in my body – with weight loss not being the goal, but an added bonus – and am more and more hypnotized with the various stories I find on the internet, and in podcasts we follow. I work out for a half an hour each day, and do yoga whenever I feel like it, and see plenty results. We feel good, our bodies respond crazily – keeping us energized and sexy – and we aren’t killing ourselves with hours and hours a week on an elliptical or treadmill.

I won’t get into all of the science just yet, because my goal here is not to convert anyone. If you’re reading this, it’s because you enjoy Gays in the Life, and you’re taking a peek into another room in the house that is our life. Everything presented in FATboys will apply to our life, and our lives only. I’ve received some pushback on social media from old high school associates and close friends regarding the low carb world, and to them I say – and to any comment or reasoning that I’ve lived, read about, studied, and researched – “That’s fine. You do you, and I’ll do me. We’ll see who’s healthier in the long run.” I say that with humor, because we as a people are so stubborn; myself included. I’ve learned to listen to others, to give ideas a chance, and if the pro-carbohydrate police showed up on my doorstep, trying to sell me on their views, I’d listen and think. The science of the life I’ve been living for the past two years is too rich for me to seriously leave it now, though.

Today my husband shared this TEDx talk with me, and it made my day. Watch it if you want, and be open. We FATboys were pretty excited to see another doctor helping the low carb and keto communities spread awareness. The proof is in the (carb-smart) pudding!