Come Out, Come Out…

Where ever you are…how ever you want…when ever you want. It’s really up to you.

Yes, it can be scary.

Yes, the words are hard to find sometimes.

Yes, it feels too hard.

Sometimes it will go well.

Sometimes you will cry….tears of joy, relief, and even pain.

Some people will cry with you.

Some people will hug you.

Some one will be shocked. BUT

Some one will say, “I knew.”

You may lose a friend.

You may lose a family member.

You will feel free.

You will sleep better at night.

You will move forward.

You will know so much love.

It was hard, scary and a very long process for me. BUT I DO NOT REGRET IT! The truth is I still come out all of the time. It is the nature of things still. People assume straight. Sometimes when I meet a new adult especially in a professional setting or another parent, I get to come out. I usually get to come out when I am asked about my daughter’s father. It is often in polite conversation or in reaction to my daughter’s very light blond hair in contrast to my very dark hair. I always feels slightly embarrassed on behalf of the asker as I say, “she has two moms.”

Once you’re out to the people who matter most, the other times will just become a thing you say.

So come out. We are all here waiting for you with open arms.

To Pour or Not to Pour…The Toddler Decides

During a rather idyllic breakfast on Wednesday morning, LADC asked to pour her water onto her grits. My gut reaction was to shut that mess down but instead I simply said, I don’t think that’s a great decision but go for it. It may not taste very good. 

Sounded gross. But totally harmless.

She poured.

She stared.

She tasted.

She gagged.

She waved her hand over it and muttered some toddler-ese which I interpreted as…”You were right, mom, that was a POOR decision.”

When I asked her if it tasted badly she said, “Yea,” connected to this half laugh half sigh that she does when she know something was so ridiculously silly. (seriously, it is the cutest)

We can call it a culinary experiment so it sounds really brave and smart. We do encourage exploring and learning at home. Making messes and doing the silly thing is kind of part of our every day life. Some of us shoot water cannons at others while they mow the grass just because it makes the toddler insanely happy. We will be cleaning up glitter for the rest of our lives.

If I had said no to pouring water on the grits, there would have been tears and frustration. I do not like to say NO all the time. Sometimes our instinct is to say no because of inconvenience, a bad mood, laziness…those times I have to stop myself and remember I am trying to raise a tiny human. I have to stop to remember that pouring water on the grits might just turn into a moment that I can tell her about when she asks about when she was a small. Saying yes to the silly odd random thing might just be the best decision I make all day.

I read an article once about parents who never said no. They discussed the good and bad consequences of decisions with their kids and gave them the choice. Keeping an open dialogue for when the tough subjects come up. I mean some things are inherently dangerous and require a strong NO. We have some non-neogtiables like brushing teeth. Has to be done even if there are tears and ear piercing screams. BUT Some things are just things that can be turned into a teaching moment. Some things are just silly so you do them anyway.

LADC thinks grits are the best breakfast ever. As most parents know, getting a toddler to eat can be challenging so having their favorites on had is essential. I have had to permanently add grits to the grocery list. I remember not liking grits as a kid but I also remember them being white and bland unless you put a slice of cheese in it. (We use Bob’s Red Mill Polenta following the suggested directions and also adding some nutritional yeast and flax meal to make it extra nutritious.)

Guess Who’s Back!?

Hello all (if you’re still out there)! I haven’t read a blog or written a blog in like 6 months. I have been momming, working and wifing hard…not always in that order but always doing all the things. If you follow us on Instagram, you’re fully up to date on her growth and what we’re doing now.

Working from home was hard. I made it work. I did some office management work for a about 6 months which demanded a lot of computer time. However, I am now back working in the real world…and by real world…I mean I play for a living and I love it. I was presented with an opportunity this past February and I seized it. My little one goes to work with me every day!

I finally have some room to give updating, writing and musing some attention.

I mostly want to hold on to memories that I know my brain can not possibly hold on to forever.

Like would I always remember that she laughed in her sleep the other morning. Then Lisa and I giggled back and forth. I wonder what she was dreaming about?

I want to remember the pee-pee in the potty dance she did for hours last night EVEN before she actually peed in the potty.

Or those moments when we have one big group hug and there are so many giggles, kisses and love is just oozing out of us.

Maybe moms always remember this stuff…Maybe I will remember it but just in case my brain gets so full of wonderful memories that some start falling out…I’ll write them out just in case.

Worry, Fear, Panic…

I woke up opened Facebook and burst into tears this morning. My wife held me while I cried and tried to come to grips with what I am feeling. I’m crying because we have a new President. They are not tears of joy or elation. They are tears of a broken heart, a battered soul and a head wringing with worry. (I’m not a crier so this is kind of a big deal).

I grew up thinking I was Republican. I wanted to be involved with the Republican party. I immersed myself in South Carolina’s political atmosphere. As I moved about the world my feelings on social issues changed but I could comfortably call myself a fiscal conservative. Then I met three attorneys who changed my heart and mind for good. They lived and conducted themselves professionally with such compassion and such pure hearts. I watched them tirelessly answer the call to protect the most vulnerable of our state. Working with people from every walk of life in our state with no hesitation. You see, I could no longer think only fiscally because there were lives hanging in the balance. Lives that have no voice of their own. Lives that time and time again get lost in the fray. When I came out, all of the sudden I became one of those lives. A person who suddenly had to fight for equality. I was a socially marginalized individual.

An election cycle that perpetrated worry, fear and panic, now has me waking on the day after the election filled with worry, fear and panic. Seems as if that platform was successful on all fronts.  I respect that people want change, to buck the establishment, to find a better way for their families and their businesses. Those are ideals I can get behind. Those are things we all want out of this life. If that is why you voted for Trump, I get it. Some things aren’t working and maybe he has a better plan. I can’t see it…though.

I can’t see past…

  • The people who can see that my family (LGBT community) is at risk but think that it’s OK, inconsequential or a great fucking idea,
  • The people who can’t see that my family (LGBT community) is at risk and don’t care,
  • The people who can see that women’s rights are at risk but think that it’s OK, inconsequential or a great fucking idea,
  • The people who can’t see that women’s rights are at risk and don’t care.
  • The people who can see that latinos are at risk but think that it’s OK, inconsequential or a great fucking idea,
  • The people who can’t see that latinos are at risk and don’t care,
  • The people who can see that muslims are at risk but think that it’s OK, inconsequential or a great fucking idea,
  • The people who can’t see that muslims are at risk and don’t care,
  • The person who commented on a photo saying to someone go back to Africa,
  • The people who think everyone in a hijab is a terrorist,
  • A Vice President who believes in conversion therapy for gays,
  • A President who spoke of Roe v. Wade as if it offers carte blanche abortion,
  • The Trump supporter in my news feed who posted a picture of a black man’s face superimposed on a white woman’s body that I’m pretty sure is racist even though I have no idea what it supposed to be,
  • The people who started yelling, “Lock her up,” during election night at the Trump rally,
  • The people who still think my marriage shouldn’t be legal,
  • The people who want to build a wall to keep out those escaping countries to be in the land of the free,
  • The people who are just plain and outwardly scared of the color brown,
  • The people who are scared of brown and don’t have the balls to admit it,
  • The people who think the political parties are Christian or heathens (or more accurately heaven bound or hell bound),
  • A President-elect who disrespected a sitting President over and over by challenging his citizenship,
  • A President-elect who speaks so callously of women, minorities, immigrants and the LGBT community,
  • The people who called Hillary Clinton, Killary and thought it was just in good ol’ fashion political mudslinging, and
  • The people who think they put God back in control of our country. You put a man in control of this country. Please remember that. (Quite frankly, the only person who actually personified what that means to me was Tim Kaine so I guess it’s subjective.)

I can’t see past those people. Those people do not represent an angry, disenfranchised and frustrated electorate who want change. They represent xenophobia, racism and general deplorable behavior. Yea, I used the word deplorable. It’s appropriate here. I am worried, I am scared…but I don’t have time to be past this moment. I have a wife, a daughter and the rest of the world to show who I am. It’s not someone who mocks or belittles or even the person who wallows in defeat. I have to be the wife, mom and person I need to be to show the people above what true compassion and love look like.

The beacon of hope is those who sent messages of love this morning and last night. Thank you.

Before She Turns One…

I am such a bad blogger mom…I skipped her 9 month update and her 10 month and now I’ve let 11 months slip through my typing fingers…but don’t worry there were photo shoots.

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This first year has passed by so quickly. She went from fragile baby we held firmly in our arms like she would break at the slightest movement to indestructible toddler who constantly falls on her butt and bumps into everything forever keeping a little bruise on her forehead. She busted her lip for the first time a few days ago which about gave this novice mommy a heart attack.  She cried for a minute and then was over it. Her little lip is healing nicely and she doesn’t even seem to notice. She was still giving kissing and sucking on her bottle like a champ.

The other morning when she woke up instead of pulling her out of bed to get breakfast and start our day, I just climbed in with her to snuggle. We laughed, made noises and said, “Hey”, with different inflections. It’s amazing all that can be said in a three letter word. She put her head on my chest several times just being still something you don’t get much of from a girl on the go. For those 15 minutes or so time stopped. We were just in the moment and it was perfect. I did it again yesterday morning because we have no where to be. We do not have to live by the alarm clock at the moment. The lighting was in just such a way that when I looked at her face I could see that baby from the sonogram picture. Being home with her has been the best decision we have made in a long time. I feel like it maximizes everyone’s time together. There is a financial cost to the time but the benefits are amazing.

So expect some happy birthday gushes later in the week!

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Momming So Hard – SAHWM

I am thirteen days in to my new path as a Stay at Home Working Mom and boooooy am I tired. As you know or may not know, I left my full-time position a little over two weeks ago to stay at home with our little #LADC. For the first ten months she had the best childcare a little baby could have – her grammy. But grammy needed to get back to doing what a grammy does when not being a grammy extraordinaire. So we made the difficult, easy, logical, scary, wonderful, cost efficient decision for me to stay at home.

So far I am rocking this stay at home mom thing.  We are working on our daily routine making sure to carve out time for play, learning, exploring, me to do some work, to clean up the house, and MAYBE carve out some time to write. I will be working from home. I have a few P/T gigs that I’ll be doing so I can pay back those evil minions at Navient.

So what do I think about my new role?  I LOVE IT! I think it is where I am meant to be right now. I GET to be with an awesome little human every single day. Plus with her as my office assistant it means nap and snack times are totally a work day must.

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Month 8 – She has Teeth

I skipped over month 7 because October was completely crazy…

Our photo shoot went a little like this…

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The Number 7 tastes amazing!

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7 Months was delicious….

So here we are 8 months in to this amazing journey as moms. Our little girl is growing and changing so much. She can stand on her own…DSC_0022

She has not taken her first steps on her own but she is so close. She loves using her VTech Sit-to-Stand Walker to cruise up and down the hallway. She stands up over and over again. It’s a good thing baby butts have so much cushioning!

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She can throw a ball and other objects. And she laughs just to laugh. I like to think it is because she hears laughter so often. She even has a fake laugh. It’s so funny that it usually ends in actual laughter.

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We are so in love with this child. Even though you hear it time after time, it’s amazing how one little person can come in to your world and fit so perfectly. The love just grows and grows. It is an easy, all consuming love.

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Of course, we have tantrums and sleepless nights but who cares. The memory of those moments slips away easily. The only evidence is the bags under our eyes and the frequent trips to Starbucks (and I’m not complaining about that!). To us, she’s just perfect. Most tear filled nights these days are because of those little teeth poking through. She has two now!

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She can play by herself but hates when mommies and grammy leave the room sometimes.

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She gives the best baby kisses of all time…all open mouthed and drool. The other night even with a sore mouth and a melt down happening, she looked up and then gave me a kiss.

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She may appear to be bald in some photos but she has quite the head of blond hair growing in. Little tufts of hair stick over her ears which remind me of little old men. It’s adorable.

Also, because I skipped a Halloween post, here is a little photo shoot we did in her giraffe costume.

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Bullying and Me – #SpiritDay

Most of us have been the victim of a bully and if we’re honest we’ve been the bully too. As a woman, a lesbian and a mom bullying is something I think about more now than I ever did as kid. I think about the times could have and should have taken a stand but did not.

I remember the kids who were bullied…daily…

For their hair…weight…height…glasses…clothes.

Who were called gay like it was a bad thing.

Those kids were my friends in early elementary school before we moved to the 4th grade playground.

Before cliques and social status became our overlords.

They were my friends before we all knew who had and who had not.

They were my friends before we knew who was hot and who was not.

I remember the kid who made fun of my weight even though I wasn’t fat.

I remember the kid who threw paper at me during lunch for no reason. He was just a jerk.

I remember that same kid called me pig and made piggy noises at me. Such an ass.

I realize that the little girl who was made fun of for her old lady clothes actually wore homemade clothes. She would be so in right now.

I realize the little boy who looked like he had leprosy actually had cigarette burns on his arms.

I realize I was lucky.

Bullying in all of its forms is harmful and dangerous. There are now even more ways to bully a person than there were just a few short years ago. As parents we have the responsibility to teach our kids that different isn’t bad or wrong. People and friends come in all sorts of packages.

All beautiful.

All worthy.

All with something to offer.

Day 13 – Shout Outs for My Homies

The BlogHer Conference is later on this week. It sounds like a fantastic conference with a lot of good information for bloggers. It’s the kind of thing I would like to attend at some point. Not this year though because babies and things…Today’s prompt was about the conference for those going…for those not going it is a chance to give a shout out to our favorite blogs. So here they are in no particular order.

  • The Chronicles of a Non Belly Mama – The ladies were due a couple of months ahead of us so they were my go to guide for all things pregnancy related…especially vegetable sized baby things. Great, fun family to follow! I think they may have been the first blog I followed.
  • Reciprocal Love – These ladies have an exciting time ahead for sure! Another blog I’ve been following from the very beginning.
  • My Kid Doesn’t Poop Rainbows – This is funny stuff right here. I don’t think I need to explain further…Her blog name says it all…but there are amazing drawings for the words too.
  • Fisticuffs and Shenanigans – She’s funny and seriously deranged in the best possible way.
  • Raising My Rainbow – A great look at parenting a gender nonconforming child. She is an awesome mom.
  • Life With Roozle – This blog ranges from simple smiley posts to deep thought provoking stuff. I dig it on a lot of levels.

Because it is almost 11:00 PM EST and I am super super super tired…Here are more blogs I love…with no explanation but they are worth a read!!!

No blog is the same and everyone has a unique perspective to offer. These are just some of my favorite blogs and I’m sure I missed some and I’ll have to come back and update.

Tuesday, July 14th, 11:20 AM – Already back and adding.

NaBloPoMo July 2015

“My Facebook Feed Looks Like the Confederate Army Declared War on a Skittles Factory”

The title of this blog post isn’t actually what my Facebook feed looks like exactly* but was posted by more than one person I know. I found it particularly hilarious being both Southern and gay. The past two weeks have proved to be quite divisive among people in my Facebook community. Social networking conjures up a lot of half thought out commentary on very complicated subjects. I would like to think my views are not best expressed in memes and 140 characters. Does everyone need my views on all the things? Probably not, but I think it is important to talk about all the things instead of making blanket proclamations across all the internet. I think that is why I blog because I do feel a need to get dialogue going even if only in my own head. My blog has become a bit more opinionated over the past year which I feel is partially because in the past couple of years I have taken ownership of who I am. I also used to fear social media a little more. Certain career paths dictate a need to be the Switzerland of social media which is great because it keeps me from going postal with all the words. People do get fired for their social networking missteps…it’s a real thing.

The Confederate Army Part 

The evolution started with the shock and grief over what happened in Charleston. My friends in Charleston and across South Carolina posting heartfelt tributes for those who lost their lives at Mother Emanuel AME and for the City of Charleston. I have followed along as so many participated in vigils and showed support as best they could. The world agreed that what happened was beyond comprehension. The world still mourns those victims. Then I watched as my feed turned to the Confederate flag, sparking debate on history and heritage. Arguments about losing focus on the victims too soon. Words said with pleas, empathy, love, irritation, disgust and staunch belief. It is true there is a lot of history out there. History that can not be undone.

I almost owned a Confederate flag t-shirt when I was younger. It was the thing to do. Everyone had them. It was a fashion statement of sorts. Luckily, my parents knew better and said no. I wasn’t even that in to “Southern heritage” but people were donning their confederate shirts with cute lab puppies and ribbons in their hair. I just wanted what everyone else had. So yea I kind of get where some people especially people in my age box don’t see the problem. We were taught young that it was a symbol of something sacred not something negative. BUT…I was a kid. I am an adult now. I watch the news, I hear people speak around me with adult ears, and the blurred lines become clearer.  Then just this morning I see an article about a rally planned by some faction of the Klan that will take place in Columbia in protest of the flag coming down. I read about the burning of six seven churches in the Southeast (at least two in SC) in the past few weeks**. Along with news of an AME church burning in SC just last night, there was also news of threats received by several female pastors in Clarendon County, South Carolina.

So does the flag need to be removed from the statehouse grounds, I think so. I think it is time. It belongs in a museum to be studied and viewed by those who wish to do so. Should the symbol be banned, no. I think that would be a free speech violation. However, if Wal-Mart and other corporations decide not to carry or adorn their products with the flag, that is also their choice. I think if you support Hobby Lobby not offering contraceptives as part of their medical care, then you should definitely be on board with at company’s choice not to carry items with the Confederate flag. Those two things are definitely not on the same legal level in my eyes but I think it is a comparison you can understand. Taking down the flag will not solve the problems of hate and racism in the world just as watching Gone With the Wind will not cause someone to be racist.

South Carolinians loves their state flag. South Carolina is a state proud of its flags and symbols. That is even evident here in DC when I can not go a day without seeing a South Carolina state flag on a car or a palmetto tree sticker. We’re a proud people. SC state pride and Southern heritage doesn’t depend on that flag waving down at the statehouse. My wife’s accent is proof that you can take the girl out of the South but you can’t take the South out of the girl.

The Skittles Factory – Taste the Rainbow

I was fortunate enough not to lose many friends after coming out. It was the one thing I feared. It was not really the fear of no longer having that person in my life, it’s that initial sting of rejection and judgment. I have never met anyone who enjoys rejection and being judged though so you can probably relate. The only “friend” I lost after coming out that I know of was expected. We did not have a big blow out or even a pithy exchange. She just up an unfriended me on the Facebook one day. Some people with closely held religious or even moral beliefs have a hard time with people not agreeing with them and feel personally attacked. That is out of my control. Also, I decided that if you can not like the pictures of my super cute child because of your religious beliefs, you do not need to be in my life at all.

Because of my Facebook purge of ’13, there are very few people who blatantly say, “I do not believe in gay marriage.” I know there are some and I know who they are. Some of them are peaceable people who kind of live and let live. A few others have felt the need to identify themselves as loving Christians who do not agree with homosexuality but love everyone just the same. I find that proclamation to be amusing as well as unnecessary because I don’t think the intended audience is me. It’s so the wrong person doesn’t think you support the homosexual lifestyle. I think if you’re having to make that statement, you’re super unclear on the definition of love. I also find that some people don’t realize that religion, gender, sexuality, race and political affiliation are not all the same thing. Somewhere in this country there is a Trans Gay Buddhist Republican who is looking for a place in this world.

I was listening to Rosie O’Donnell (I’ll pause so some of you can roll your eyes) this morning on Straight Talk with Ross Matthews***. She was describing the moment she heard about the decision last week in the marriage case. It was the best description of what it felt like. It is hard to explain how it feels to realize how being deprived of a right/privilege has weighed on you. I’ve been legally married for two years. Living in states with marriage equality for a good portion of that time so I wasn’t living with the inability to get married nor having my marriage be invalid at home for any length of time. When that marriage opinion came out still I shook involuntarily, I began crying and really had trouble not falling completely apart. I cried on the Metro all the way to the Supreme Court. It is a big fucking deal for marriage to be legal.

If you’re worried about your religious freedom, here are my suggestions. If you belong to a church that doesn’t support gay marriage, don’t perform them. It’s that simple. Churches have been marrying and not marrying people for years. Also, don’t marry someone of the same-sex. That should be really easy unless you are gay. If you’re a baker, a photographer, etc., you can’t discriminate on race, religion, gender and I think we should add sexuality to that. I just don’t think denying homosexuals service in a place of business is a deeply held religious belief. The words of John 3:16 are part of a deeply held religious belief. How to get yourself to heaven is a deeply held religious belief and I’m pretty sure it’s mostly the only one that matters.

Any civil discussion this post prompts is welcome! Keep it respectful. I know I am throwing a lot of thoughts out there. Some of these topics are scholarly article worthy. These views are my own and not personally directed to any specific person. I would never want to intentionally alienate or be dismissive of anyone.

*I committed FB suicide back in 2013 so I don’t have quite the array of views any longer. I emerged with a new page and have only added back good friends and a few family members.

**It is unclear if arson was involved in some of the fires but isn’t it super crazy that so many churches have caught on fire. 

***Rosie was randomly a guest on Straight Talk today and I realize the amount of gay Democrat cliche that your brain is chewing on.

NaBloPoMo July 2015