More Barbershop Talk

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

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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

Mystery Blogger Award

Blogging has served as a way for me to condition my writing chops and break into the freelance and literary world. Little did I know this project of mine would start growing into much more than a way for me to practice writing. Gays in the Life has helped me process growing up for real. Sharing how career, personal experiences, and health factor into daily life as a pair of husbands has been more than interesting. At times I wasn’t quite sure where the blog was going – and still wonder this on a daily basis. It’s so easy to get caught up in the list of goals and projects I’d like to complete – and ideas come to me EVERY day. I’ve gotten much better at reeling myself in, focusing on what’s in front of me, and it’s been yielding positive results.

mystery-blogger-award

 

So thank you, Shop Girl Anonymous for the nomination! This proves to me that I must be doing something right. 

“Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion. – Okoto Enigma 

Rules for the nominees:

  • Display the award logo/image on your blog
  • List the rules.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to the nominator’s blog.
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  • Answer 5 questions from the nominator
  • Nominate 10 or more people
  • Notify your nominees by leaving the nomination link in the “comment” of their blog
  • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice, with one weird or funny question (specify)
  • Share the link(s) to your best post(s)

3 Things About Me:

  1. I’m a proud Scorpio and ENFJ. I love anything that will help me better understand and learn a person. When reading the traits of gay male Scorpios and people with ENFJ personality types, each line describes me to a T. Take the test and find out your personality type here! https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test
  2. I can play four instruments. I’m self taught on saxophone and electric bass and played Trumpet and Tuba for Indiana University – trumpet being my primary. GO HOOSIERS!
  3. I love all things spicy. If I’m at a Thai restaurant, chances are I’m ordering a level 4 to 4.5 out of 5 stars on the spiciness charts. It will be a sad day if the doctors ever tell me I need to stop eating spicy foods (lol).

5 questions from Shop Girl Anonymous:

1. What kind of customer do you think you are?  Or what are sales associates saying about you when you leave the store?

Because I’ve worked in Customer Service for most of my working life – starting in the retail world, American Eagle Outfitters for years –  I take the sales representatives into consideration. If I unfold a shirt for a better look. I can fold it back perfectly without using a folding board or paper. If there’s clothing in the dressing room, I bring it out when i’m done with my items and let the rep know. They’d say I’m considerate.

2. What’s your favorite spot for a little Retail Therapy? (Even if you only make the trip once a year)

I love any store that will help me get closer to the GQ closet of my dreams. I love H&M or the Gap for this. I know that’s more than one, but both of these stores enhance my rocker-chic style in or out of the office.

3. What is the best customer service you’ve ever received?

4. What is the worst customer service experience you’ve survived?  Where were your expectations not met when it came to the situation?

(I’m combining answers 3 and 4)

This occurred recently, actually. My husband and I were out on a Saturday shopping around for a possible new car. Betty the Bucket – my old vehicle recently reached her limit and I was NOT driving it anymore. Having your brakes go out while driving is terrifying – let me tell you. We stopped at one dealership and shared our desired budget with the salesman.

He immediately shot us down by telling us that there was no way we’d find a rate at which we wanted for monthly payments for what we were looking for. Mind you, We weren’t shopping for anything over the top. I just needed something to get me to and from work. I activated my Customer Service Supervisor (my current job title) persona and turned his act back on him; Immediately letting him know that we weren’t interested and thanked him for his time. Working in customer service for over 13 years will do this to you; you notice EVERY detail of the service and become annoyed when it’s not good.

The next dealership wasn’t even a full block away. My new car ended up being over our desired budget, but the rep who was helping us did such a good job taking care of us. Even knowing our budget, he was able to offer up some options, we went on a test drive, and we ended up getting the car. Austin was his name. He was very attentive, made sure we were comfortable, answered all of our questions and found an answer if he wasn’t sure, and we drove away completely satisfied. Had the other agent stayed engaged and made a stronger effort, he probably could have worked our budget up a smidge like their very helpful neighbor, Austin, did.

5. Weird Question:  What’s the oddest thing you’ve ever purchased?

Hmmm… My ears are a size 0G (8mm). One of my favorite pairs of gauges – also called plugs or tunnels –  are made of bone. They look fab. Most people never know I’m sporting bone jewelry haha. That may not be terribly odd, but I’m pretty plain most days – buying only things I need.

My nominees are as follows:

The Ninth Life

Scotties Toy Box

The Secret Diary of J. Alfred Prufrock

My 5 Questions for the nominees:

  1. What’s your sign?
  2. If you could fly, control the weather, or manipulate metal… which would you choose and why?
  3. My spirit animal is a Grizzly Bear. What’s yours?
  4. If you could travel to one place right now, all expenses paid and to blog, where would you go?
  5. What’s your go-to dance move?

 

A Link to My “Best” Post: Based on my admin stats, this Thank You note to my readers was my best ever 🙂

Y E A R O N E .

It’s been one year since I posted Sparks on Gays in the Life – my first post for the blog. Where did the time go?! I’m so happy with the progress I’ve made, amazed at the unexpected lessons I’ve learned through each post, and stunned that people actually still read this little project of mine.

So much has happened in the past year, and it’s been a welcomed creative challenge to keep the ideas fresh and flowing. I appreciate all of you so much, and thank you for your time and attention. Your presence as an audience keeps me motivated, and the result has been the production of forty-seven posts on Gays in the Life to date; there are fifty-two weeks in a year. I hope all of my readers have been able to apply every message that’s been downloaded into each entry, grown with me (and S), and have learned a little more about our everyday lives as a pair of husbands.

Some highlights within the past year include: Reaching a number of communities with GITL, learning more about myself and my husband (through planning each entry), hitting almost two-hundred views in one day, collaborating with fellow bloggers, our first marriage anniversary, NATIONAL MARRIAGE EQUALITY, substantial growth professionally, getting our puppy, and yes… FINALLY starting my book.

Most of me still wonders how I actually managed keep up with the blog, a fairly busy life, and a number of hopeful side projects I have stored in my head; why can’t I just pick one thing and stick with it? I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every brainstorming session, editing hour, and growing the project with each week. I wholeheartedly believe that none of this would be possible without any of you. If you’ve read one, or all, of my post(s)… thank you. If you’ve shared any entry with a friend or your followers… thank you.  And if you’re currently reading this jumbled mess of thanks… THANK you.

Love,

J.