But What is a “Date”?

My girlfriend’s sister brought up an interesting question the other day: Why don’t Chelsea and I go out on dates? I suppose that’s what it seems like- that we don’t “date”. I would say the opposite, though.

After thinking about it and talking with Chelsea about it, I’ve concluded that we do date. We may not go out, but we make time for each other.

Both of our love languages are Quality Time, so it doesn’t require us leaving the house or spending money to have that fulfilled.

I do enjoy going out occasionally, but I don’t need to go out in order to feel like we’re being “productive” as a couple in the world of dating.

Here are some favorite ways that I like to spend time with my partner:

  • Watching movies and TV shows together
  • Cooking/baking together
  • Eating my cereal on the toilet while she brushes her teeth
  • Walking together to the mailbox [almost] every evening
  • Carpooling to the grocery store, events, my parent’s house, friend’s houses, etc.
  • Eating meals together

It doesn’t take much for me to feel happy in my relationship. Neither of us care for elaborate plans and as long as we’re together, anything can feel like quality time.

What’s your love language and how do you make sure your needs are met? How do you make sure your partner’s needs are met?

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Turkey Day is Rapidly Approaching

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. This means that most of us will be returning home to see family that we only see specifically during this time of the year. For me, this year is different because I am bringing someone with me.

I actually introduced my girlfriend, Chelsea, to various family members over the past 2 months and it all went surprisingly well.

In my last session, I spoke with my therapist about the holiday season and my own expectations regarding family and my obviously gay relationship. He told me to have minimal to no expectations and to be open-minded. At first, I reacted with, “WhAt?! You want ME to be open-minded??”

Buuuuut, then I realized that he was right. I was already anticipating the homophobic comments, questions, and uncomfortable stares months before actually being around family. I was making assumptions. I was judging. If I were to enter their homes with this attitude, it was going to be obvious and rub off on them.

In order for this to be natural and comfortable, I needed to let go of anything I thought before. I needed to act natural and comfortable myself. There is nothing weird or abnormal about my relationship and the more normal I act, the more normal it will be to family.

I’ve worked so hard to be 100% myself. I feel like I’ve only fully achieved that in 2019. I am ready to just have fun and enjoy this holiday season.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Putting My Dreams On Hold?

I was talking with a friend yesterday about the feeling of being caught between travel dreams and a good job (or meeting someone and settling down).

Long story short, my friend Blaire had plans to go on a month long trip to Europe with her sister this summer. Afterwards, she planned on joining another lengthy volunteer program or homesteading or just jumping in her car and driving across the US.

But she met someone in the first program she was in in 2018 and they now live together in Indiana. They both work and they’re both highly considering attending college after having not been in school for almost 2 years.

However, Blaire still has major travel dreams and doesn’t want to tuck everything under the rug just because she fell in love.

Additionally, she also fears finding an amazing job that won’t let her hit pause to travel every now and again. She hates feeling tied down and is concerned that a “normal” job will do that. In a sense, the relationship has tied her down as well, but she confessed that she is 100% okay with that at this point- she and her partner fit really well together and she loves coming home to her.

I told Blaire that my current job might be more of a long-term situation than I initially thought; however, I wasn’t concerned about not being able to travel because there are opportunities to travel through my company. They’re also just super flexible about all of their employees’ schedules and encourage travel and “you-time”.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have any concerns about not being able to travel as extensively as I’d planned prior to getting into my current relationship. There were moments of concern, yes, but after falling utterly and completely in love with Chelsea, I no longer wanted to travel with anyone but her.

One day, I hope we can take an extended trip (6 months-1 year), but, for now, I’m okay with mini trips scattered throughout the year. In fact, we’re taking our first trip together to North Georgia in about 3 weeks!

Are any of you experiencing worry about putting dreams on hold because of a really good job or because of a relationship? Share them with me!

Correcting Pronouns

So, my girlfriend gets mistaken as a guy sometimes, especially if she’s wearing a jacket or if she’s in a low-light restaurant. I hadn’t experienced her being misgendered until a few weeks ago at a German event in my hometown.

When the waitress asked, “What can I get for you, sir” I was quick to lean over and say, “SHE will have the Schweinebraten.”

Now, there will be different reactions from you all to me doing that, I’m sure. Some people might applaud me for “having her back”. Others might tell me I’m out of line and need to let her speak for herself. However, my reason for correcting her pronouns is actually for a very selfish reason.

I corrected her pronouns because I wanted the waitress to know that I was a lesbian. That sounds so silly, but let me explain.

I spent years becoming completely comfortable with myself and my sexuality. I pushed through internalized homophobia, as well as homophic behaviors and comments from “friends”, family, and people who I thought were on my side.

I came to realize that I was going to be the only person who’s opinion mattered when it came to who I was. I am proud to be gay. I am proud to be gay because it is only because of my being gay that I am as confident as I am. I wouldn’t have been this strong without having gone through what I went through.

And, sometimes, it felt like I was going through Hell. And I’m not giving all that up just to be perceived as straight at a restaurant.

On a last note, I don’t always “look gay”. I can pass as straight, no problem. I think femme lesbian visibility is so important and I miss chances to be seen as such when I don’t correct my girlfriend’s pronouns when we’re in public.

I want other young lesbians to not be assumed as being straight and I want them to see that you can be gay and still wear dresses. I rely on my same sex relationship [and my “gay looking” girlfriend] to make my gayness known.

Some people are still not going to understand, and that’s fine. I should also note that I’ve spoken with my girlfriend about this and she will let me know if she ever doesn’t want her pronouns corrected or if she’d rather do it herself.

With that, I leave you all. Have a lovely night!

Vocalizing an Unfamiliar Fear

My girlfriend vocalized a fear she had last night that I’ve been pondering myself for weeks now: The simple fear of losing your partner. I suppose it doesn’t really matter in what sense- loss is loss.

I’ve confessed to this blog, as well as to my girlfriend, that I’ve never feared losing a partner. I don’t believe it’s because I didn’t have feelings for them, but I do think it’s because I didn’t let my feelings get as deep as they undeniably are now.

When previous partners talked about not knowing what they’d do if we broke up or if something tragic happened to me, I really didn’t relate. Sure, I’d be sad and mourn them/the relationship; however, I had absolutely no doubt that I’d be back doing my same old thing in no time.

I’ve always had a way of treating unfortunate events in a very logical manner and that allows me to move on very quickly. I’m not so sure that I could deal with the loss of Chelsea so logically.

Lukas Graham has a lovely song out: Love Someone. I heard it for the first time months ago- before meeting Chelsea. It’s a beautiful tune, but there were lyrics that I heard that I absolutely couldn’t relate to. I will even go as far as to say that I thought they were stupid.

“If you love someone

And you’re not afraid to lose ’em

You probably never loved someone like I do”

Fast forward many feelings later, I, for the first time in my life, am scared to lose someone in the way that this song refers.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: this just feels different. It feels complete. It feels right. It feels like home. She feels like home.

A metaphorical death.

One of the first posts on this blog was about the issues with the mothers of my girlfriends that I’ve had. I also expanded just a tad on my relationship with a man. I went into great detail about the manipulative ex I dated for almost 2 years. One thing that I have not written much about was the first girlfriend I ever had.

I’ve decided to write about it now because it recently occurred to me that she does not actually exist anymore. The name I have used to reference her is Maya. I will do my very best to condense this story because it spans over 5 years.

Maya and I met in 2011 during high school marching band practice. We were both freshmen, but we came from different middle schools; we actually came from opposite ends of the town. Upon first meeting, I decided that she was too loud and too “in-your-face” for my liking. I hung out with my friends, mostly, and interacted very little with her. She caught on to the fact that I wasn’t exactly her biggest fan.

While I had a more serious crush on a senior at our high school, I also developed a crush on Maya. I can’t tell you how it happened, but I just knew I liked it when she “bothered” me. I liked the attention and she liked my reactions. At the final band concert of our 9th grade year, I told her that I, in fact, did not hate her.

That moment began a friendship. 10th grade came around and we had 3 or 4 classes together. I was pretty happy about it. However, the more we talked in class, the more I started to see a very sad side of her. She had a lot going on in her mind and at home. The romance began slowly and we were both so confused by the feelings we were experiencing. I think she was the first to say something about it.

Marching band caused us to reserve every Friday night to go to football games. I remember always being happy about a long bus ride to an away game because Maya would sit next to me and lean against my chest while I leaned against the window. That was about as much physical contact as I had allowed her. I had my own issues at the time.

I remember us hanging out with mutual friends on Halloween of 2012. I remember her arm around my waist as we walked through the neighborhood, not really trick or treating, but just enjoying each other and our friends.

I remember Maya’s mother suggesting that our group of friends should have a sleepover at their house. So we did. It was me, Maya, a few of our other female friends. We watched The Ring while all sitting on a couch. I sat next to Maya, of course. That night would be the first night we held hands. I can recall both of our hands doing the very movie-like slow crawl towards each other like neither one was aware of what was happening. The next morning, her mother gathered that we were together and that’s when shit hit the fan.

Over the next 2 months, I was blocked from her Facebook, email, and cell phone. Her mother also transferred her to a different school.

Between 2013 and 2014 we had minimal regular contact, but we still were “together”. She would text me from friends’ phones, create a new email, a fake Facebook account, and various free texting apps.

While me and Maya dated, there were a few suicide attempts (from Maya’s end), issues with abuse at home, and a variety of other mental health problems. We eventually did break up in 2014 “for good” because “long distance” just wasn’t working.

While I was in in my first semester of college, in 2015, I received a voicemail from a voice I didn’t recognize, “Hey, it’s me. Your number was the only number I memorized, so that’s why I’m calling.” It was Maya calling from rehab after a very serious suicide attempt. That day was October 15, 2015. That’s the day that Maya [metaphorically] died.

I’ve had on and off contact with “Maya” since 2015, but in 2017 I met a new person. Her name was Maya, but she didn’t speak like Maya or act like Maya. The sense of humor was still there, but she wasn’t as sad. 2018 rolled around and she continued to grow. 2019 held an even bigger surprise (but not really).

Present day, I am good friends with the person who inhabits the body of my first girlfriend. Their name is Max.

In a recent conversation with them, I told them that while I was very happy for them, I also felt like I was mourning the loss of my first girlfriend and how did that statement make them feel? They informed me that Maya had, in fact, died 4 years ago. They didn’t know who they were between Maya and Max, but they’ve finally arrived at an identity that feels more like home than anything else.

For me, these are complicated feelings I’m feeling because I know that the girl I fell in love with at age 15 disappeared, but to know that that person no longer exists in her entirety is just a sad thought. Max insists that Maya was “ego-centric, impulsive, attention-seeking, unstable, self-serving, and unable to see anyone’s perspective but [their] own.” But a younger me looked at Maya with nothing but love. I didn’t see these things and Maya never treated me badly. I knew she had problems that were beyond me (and beyond herself), but our relationship was an innocent one.

We were never very physical, I’d say. Most of our time together was spent just existing together side by side because being in each other’s presence was a rare occurrence. I think I spent more time talking her off the edge than anything else. It was rough. I don’t want to downplay the severity of her mental health struggles, but that relationship heavily impacted the way I looked at people, family dynamics, mental health resources, and relationships.

I never blamed Maya for “putting me through” anything. I put up with a lot. I went through a lot. But I never blamed her. When I spoke to Max a few days ago, they apologized on her behalf. They said, “I did love you, I loved you very much and I hope I never made you question that or feel otherwise with my words, actions, or behaviors. Even though I can’t go back and change anything now, I still want to apologize for all of that, and how helpless and confused it must have made you feel.”

Those words were the closure I didn’t know I needed.

So, to sum all of this up: Things were rough, but everyone got through it. Well, I suppose Maya didn’t, but that seems like it was for the best. Max and I are friends. We’re not “BFFs”, but I appreciate their existence and I wish only love and joy for them. They have expressed their happiness for me with my current relationship as well.

Until next time 🙂

Subject Line: Hey

“Hey, it’s Mary

I’m not sure you will even get this but you crossed my mind today and I just wanted to say hello and that I hope things are going well.

Sent from my iPhone”

For those who have read the earliest posts on this blog, you might be familiar with the name at the top. And you will also know that that person is not someone I currently have contact with or desire to have contact with ever again.

The sentence above that is in quotation marks is an email I received at 4:23AM yesterday morning. I didn’t see it until last night and that’s only because I was told to check that particular email by my boss.

When I read her name in my email, I didn’t register what I was seeing at first. I thought maybe it was old. Maybe I was reading it incorrectly.

Well, I wasn’t. There it was, this email. I just stared at the screen for a minute. I was actually just at a loss for words and emotions. I decided that I would not be responding and that I should go about the rest of my evening.

I was overcome with this built up anger and frustration, though. It was a delayed reaction, but the more my brain thought about the email in my inbox the more I felt like I needed to run, to scream, to punch a wall. Anger is not something I feel often. I shook my hands and arms like I would during a panic attack, when I have too much adrenaline in my body.

I ate some toast, I turned on a movie, and I waited for my girlfriend to join me. I’m at such a beautiful time in my life. My life is so good right now. There is no way I’m letting a shadow from my past dull this light right now.

A Big Move. Literally.

I won’t make this dramatic: I am moving into an apartment with Chelsea. Our leases both end on November 1, 2019 and we spend almost every evening/night together anyway. We live 30-40 minutes apart from each other and driving has taken a lot of gas and time, so this would eliminate that issue. Saving on rent is also a plus.

“But you’ve only known of each other’s existence for 64 days!!!”

Yes, thank you, I am well aware of the situation.

I am one of the most logical people that I know. I am level-headed. I am a planner. I follow [most] rules. I follow the law. I live my life adventurously, but also very safely. I am NOT a spontaneous person and change makes me uncomfortable. I spent much of 2018-2019 moving every 2-4 weeks with 7 other people and putting all of my stuff in my car and relocating isn’t something that thrills me. But I want to do it. I want to do it with her.

Since meeting Chelsea, I’ve wrapped up my sit-down therapy, I started exercise therapy, and I have found a new inner peace and joy about myself and who I am and who I want to be with her.

I’ve also come to terms with a lot of things. Because of therapy, mainly, I have been able to accept and embrace the fact that I am a very loving person; I just love love and I have so much to share. I have also come to terms with the fact that my college graduation will take longer than 2015 me had planned. I have been more receptive to people around me telling me to slow down, decrease my workload, and take a day off. I’ve made a lot of mental changes since May and it doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon.

A good friend told me not too long ago that she believes I have a very strong intuition and that I should lean on it more. Throughout this entire adventure with Chelsea, I have leaned into it 100%. I’ve been going with my heart and my gut; I have not let my over-analytical thoughts and fears control my actions or words. I consider the logical side of myself, but I wanted to experiment with being more vulnerable and open and I regret nothing.

So, an apartment application has been filled out and fees have been paid. In 48 hours, I will know if I will be moving on October 15, 2019. Woohoo!

“It’ll Never Be Easy”

I rolled up to the rental bike stand that I work at on the weekends and started setting things up. After I opened the register and pulled out all the rental bikes, I turned on some music, sat down on a bench, and started working on my homework.

After about an hour I got bored, so I took a lap around the stand on one of our bikes. I chatted with a friend and reviewed my calendar for the next month or so. Finally, a couple took a pit stop at the pavilion where the stand is located.

We went through the normal formalities of small talk and I asked them where they were coming from. They said they came from a few towns over and were trying to hit twenty-five miles. I continued to work on my homework and they chatted about where to ride next. I decided to interrupt their conversation with a question: “How long have you two been married and when did you know that you wanted to settle down [with each other]?”

The woman smiled and said she would have to take a minute to think back that far. The husband chuckled and started talking about marriage in general and said, “Well, it’ll never be easy, I’ll tell you that.” His wife followed with, “It’s more of the commitment to each other and the vows you make to each other. The things that annoy you about him, are those things you can live with?”

Of course, both of these individuals presumed me to be straight, so reference to a possible man in my life that I was thinking about marrying was definitely happening. I didn’t bother to correct them.

Her last bit of advice was that sharing the same religious values might be helpful; she said she and her husband are both Christians and that foundation has helped them a lot.

I thanked them for the conversation and wished them a good ride. As they were leaving, the woman paused, looked back at me, and said, “Good luck with your decision.” I said thank you and laughed because I hadn’t mentioned anything about me struggling to make a decision.

I Don’t Know What a Soulmate is, However…

I don’t believe that there is one single person for every one single person. I believe that we are all compatible with many people, and they are all scattered across this world. Anyway, if I ever thought I met one of mine, I think I was wrong. I feel like Chelsea might be one of mine.

It’s not about our similarities or differences. It’s not about our hobbies. It’s not even about her personality or her [amazing!] sense of humor. It’s the way I feel around her- the way I immediately relax into her being, her energy, her essence.

Silences between conversations and kiss aren’t awkward. There is an equally comfortable silent understanding between us, I think, that I don’t know how to define after difficult stories or touchy topics. Things that feel hard to say become easy.

I think we’re compatible. I think we have a great time. I want to travel with her. I want to experience life with her. I want to protect her. I want to support her. I want to be protected and supported by her. These are HUGE things. Like REALLY HUGE.

I’ve known her for 6 weeks. That’s not a long time, I know. I’m just as baffled as you are, trust me. I’m just trying to go with the flow and follow my heart-something I have never been good at. 2019 might be my most productive year yet between AmeriCorps, new friends, moving out, new job, tackling anxiety with therapy (FINALLY!), starting the first of my last three semesters of university, and, of course, meeting this incredible human.

Woohoo!