Thursday, August 13, 2015

Goodbye, Jennifer Nicole.

First off, I want to say that I've been blogging for years (like, before it was cool) and I've had several different blogs, with several different names, and subjects in that time, too. I started all of them with the best of intentions, but sadly, they all fizzled out.

Personally, I blame it on being an Aries, and the belief that we have tendency to go after new things with a ton of excitement, only to lose interest in them before we ever complete them. I can also blame it on a professionally diagnosed case of ADD. So, there you go, I have astrology and medicine on my side.


I've given this blog, a wannabe DIY blog, almost 4 years and (at least) 2 name changes, and it worked pretty well for me.

However, a few months ago, I started to grow out of the whole "paint-every-piece-of-furniture-that-I-own" phase and, at the same time, I also started to figure out that I do not have the talent, patience, or budget to continue to do project after project.

{Plus, it's also a little hard to fit a table saw into this apartment.}

As I slowly began to realize all of this, I began to contemplate what I should do with the blog, itself. I didn't want to stop blogging completely because I do love to write,
especially about myself, but the whole DIY thing just wasn't working anymore.

As I thought about all of this, I went back to my blog and wound up on the stats page. I started noticing what posts had the most views and the most comments, meaning that they were also the posts that people enjoyed reading the most. I also noticed that most of these were the posts that I had enjoyed writing the most.

There were other things that these posts had in common, as well.

They were all about events and experiences that I'd had. Many of them were the posts where I had opened up and shared some of the details of my life, showing my vulnerabilities and imperfections. All of them, written from my heart.

Some were funny. Some were anything but funny.

They weren't written to impress people or  just because I needed something to post.

They weren't written for anybody else, but me.

It was at that moment that I knew exactly what direction I wanted to take my blog in and what I wanted to write about.

I wanted to write about things that were a part of my life in some way, whatever way that might be. They could be experiences, observations, thoughts, hobbies, opinions...whatever. I just wanted to write for the fun of it, with no guidelines or boundaries to care about. I didn't want to have to stick to a subject. I wanted a blog that portrayed my personality. Basically, I wanted some type of diary of who I was, and what my life was like, and if people found it interesting enough to read, that would make it even better.

I also knew that I wanted whoever it was that read it, to not only be entertained, but to also feel like there was someone out there that they could relate to. In my own past, as a stay-at-home mom who is a
huge hermit little bit of an  introvert, it was the blogs that I read that made me feel less alone and more like a human. There were actually several different blogs that I read on a regular basis, but the blogs that I loved the most, though, were the ones where I felt like the blogger was authentic. The subject didn't matter as much as the bloggers authenticity and their willingness to show their own vulnerability.

This is not a difficult concept. In fact, a lot of  successful blogs are built on it, which is also probably part of the reason for their, most likely, unintended success. Unfortunately, it was impossible for me to build all of my previous, and most recent, blogs on that concept when I was too busy hiding who I really was.

Those days are over, though.

So, I decided that it's time to grow up, put my big girl panties on, and blog about what I wanted to blog about, not what I thought people want me to blog about. I wanted to blog about me and my life, not a life that I created because I didn't think people could handle the real one. I wanted to blog as myself with my true personality, not as a person with a made up personality that I thought people would like more.

With all of that in mind, I began the process of "revamping" my blog a few weeks ago. First, I decided on a new name and then created a new domain based off of that name. Then, I switched from Blogger to self-hosted Wordpress. I also added a new design theme in order to give the blog the "fresh start" that I think it deserves. It's still very much a work in progress, and I still need to migrate my posts over there, but eventually it will be finished.

(I hope)

In the meantime, I really hope you'll join me over there, even with all of the "construction" still going on, and I want to make sure to let you know that you don't have to be a single mom, or even a mom at all, in order to feel as though you can relate to what I have to say on it. You also don't have to have Adult ADD, be a cosmetic junkie, or be in a relationship with someone, and you definitely don't have to be a Lesbian! In fact, you don't even have to be a woman (although my demographics say that 90% of you are) to be able to relate to what I have to say.

You just have to be human.

That's it.

Hopefully, if you do decide to follow me over there, you'll find that to be the case.

If not, then you just wasted several precious moments of your life reading this, and you will never again get that precious time back.


P.S. - I almost forgot, the new blog is located at: 

Hope to see you over there. 


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

What You're Telling My Kids When You Condemn Marriage Equality

Before I get to the point of this post, I apologize in advance for the following reasons:

1. This is not the positive, feel good post that I had planned on writing 
(I'll do that in another 6 months next time.)
2. It's an emotional and angry post that will likely be offensive to some of you. 
3. I'm going to swear. A lot. If you don't like it, just pretend I'm saying fetch, crud, or darn, or even golly gee cheese whiz.
4. I'm pretty sure there will be several grammatical errors because I'm posting while upset and my editing skills become even more sub-par when I'm in this state.

Anyway, do you want to know what has me so upset that I had to begin this post with an apology?

What has me so upset that I am still shaking even though it happened this morning?

What has me so upset that I am on the verge of tears, and feel like I could break down and cry at any moment (which is not something that happens too often to me)?

And, most importantly, what has me so upset that I am contemplating the purchase of a punching bag instead of the new Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette debuting in 6 days, 3 hours, 12 minutes, and 24 seconds according to the count down calendar...(Yes, it's THAT serious!)?

Do you want to know, just, what is it that has me so damn upset?

I'll give you a hint.

What is something that seems to piss every single person off at one time or another, yet, we still can't get enough of it?

Facebook, of course.

Well, specifically, it's a link that someone posted on Facebook to an article written in response to the passage of marriage equality that has me so upset.


I read the article this morning, less than a week after the Supreme Court made its decision regarding marriage equality, and unless you live on Mars, you have probably noticed that the shit storm on Facebook that occurred as a result of that decision has remained pretty steady since then.

For the most part, I've been quiet (for me, anyway). I've "shared" a couple pictures that I thought were funny. I've commented on a few posts, but I haven't really come out full-force on the issue. This is mostly because I've been pretty damn opinionated and loud vocal in the past and so it's not necessarily a secret what my opinion on the matter is. I've seen quite a few posts and comments in support of the decision (Good hell, there sure are a lot of rainbow filtered profile pictures out there!) and I've seen quite a few posts and comments in disagreement with the decision. I've also seen posts from some people, pleading for everyone to stop this shit and get back to what's really important on Facebook, YouTube videos of cats.

For the first few days, I tried really hard not to read any of the negative articles I saw being shared because I didn't want to get upset about the same arguments that we've been having for years regarding marriage equality, that include hypothetical goat marriages and poor Adam and Steve.

I have to say, I was doing pretty good at avoiding the negative and focusing on the positive.

...and then this morning happened.

For the second day in a row, I read an article that included statements regarding the validity of LGBT families and the so-called harm done to children who have gay or lesbian parents and it infuriated me, much more than it has ever done in the past. In fact, I could feel my face getting hot and my hands starting to shake as I finished reading it and it wasn't because I was being attacked because of my sexual orientation.

It was because my children were being attacked because of my sexual orientation.

More accurately, they were being bullied.

Bullied? Yes, bullied.

(It may seem over-dramatic to use that term, but if you read the definition below that describes what bullying is, you'll see what I mean.)

Bullying is often defined as unwanted or aggressive behavior towards a person. It must also be repetitive and include an imbalance of power.

I think we can apply all of these to the current situation. The fact is, that children of  lesbian and gay parents are experiencing unwanted and aggressive behavior targeted towards them and their families on a daily basis from the media, as well as from people (often, adults) in their communities. Do you think they want to hear their parents, who they love, being talked about in a derogatory way, just because of who they are, or that they like being told that their family does not deserve the same rights as other families? That seems pretty unwanted and aggressive to me. This behavior towards LGBT families is nothing new, we've seen it over and over, so it also fits the 2nd criteria, which is that it is repetitive. The last criteria, the requirement of the presence of an imbalance of power in this situation is also painfully obvious. We are talking about the power of adults vs. children, and the power of religion and the media versus the power of a child. It's pretty easy to see who has the majority of the power in this situation.

Simply stated, my children, and others like them, ARE being bullied by those who want to assert their religious authority and/or political power over them and their family, who say things that are hurtful and often not true, and who continue to repeat themselves over and over in order to keep the power in their favor.

The people that wrote the articles I read, along with the more recognized Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Ted Cruz, and many others who are publicly condemning marriage equality and claiming that our families are less than equal to any other family, and that our children are somehow being harmed because of our sexual orientation as parents, are actually the ones doing the harm.

They are acting as bullies, and, whether they realize it or not, they are bullying children and profiting from it.

They are doing so by publicly declaring a lack of acceptance and tolerance for gay and lesbian parents and their children, through the use of statements that support what I mentioned above. This can be considered the same as if they were to declare intolerance for the children directly, because when you condemn a parent to a child, you are saying to that child that something is wrong with them, too. (I learned this well-supported concept in divorce and child custody 101.)

Quite frankly, it's disgusting to me, not as a gay parent, but as a parent, period.

In my opinion, it should bother all parents, regardless of  who they are. 

Telling a child (either directly or indirectly) that their parents and families do not deserve the same considerations and rights as other parents and families, or that they are somehow being robbed or harmed because they have a gay parent, or parents, is much more harmful to them than having a gay parent ever could be.

My children are not being harmed by their mom being a lesbian. They are being harmed by the words and insults used to describe their mom by other people. They are being harmed by people saying that their mom shouldn't be allowed to have the same rights as other moms. They are being harmed by the people that are saying that June 26th, 2015 was the darkest day in American history because their mom now has the right to marry the person that she loves, no matter the gender.

(side-note: Really?? That's the darkest day? I think 9/11 was a tad worse.You know, because a FEW THOUSAND people died tragically, at the hands of terrorists. If not 9/11, what about Pearl Harbor, or any other event that has ended with mass casualties? As far as I know, nobody has died because of a gay wedding, but plenty of people have died because of hate that has been justified due to religious beliefs.)

Now, I'm not asking for people who disagree with the fact that I have been given the equal right to marry who I love, to stand up and cheer about something they don't believe is right ( just like I don't think I should have to stand up and cheer for Crocs). I'm not asking for anyone to change their opinion on what they consider to be marriage. I'm not asking to get married in anyone's religious temple, and I'm not asking anyone's pastor to perform a wedding ceremony as a religious figure (In fact, I strongly support you and your church's right to not do so).

What I'm asking for, is that people think of my children and their feelings, before saying that our family is "wrong" or "against God's plan", or otherwise condemning us, while using religion as justification.

Before saying that I am causing psychological harm to them just because of the gender I am attracted to.

Before making a derogatory comment in front of their 9 year old, who sits across from my son in school, after finding out that his mom has a female partner.

Before claiming that they are any less happier, or that they will have any more problems, than their peers who have straight parents, just because their mom is gay.

My sexual orientation does not make my children, or their feelings, any different than your children and their feelings. They feel the same emotions as your children do, and my heart breaks just as much when I see them hurt and upset, as your heart does when your children are hurt and upset.

My children are not any less, or any more, valid than your children.

Please remember that before you say something that might be hurtful to them, or other children in families like ours.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

February 4th

Today my divorce was made final by the state of Utah after many months, if not years, of my marriage already being over.

In a few more days, on February 4th, another finality will occur, as I leave this home for the last time, never again calling it "my home", except when speaking in past tense.

It "is" my home will become it "was" my home.

My home, that I watched being built over a period of 9 months and that was supposed to be the place where we could finally settle down and where our kids could finally memorize our address.

 My home, where I agonized for weeks over what cabinets I wanted and what counter tops I thought would look best with them.

Should I go for the wood flooring or the more durable laminate flooring that looks just as good and would allow me to get the quartz counter tops I wanted?

{The counter tops won.} 

My home where paint colors were chosen. Carpet was decided on. A bigger front porch was added as well as french doors off the dining room so we wouldn't have to go through the garage to let the dog into the backyard like the original floor plan called for.

My home, where I fought for two extra feet to be added on to the kitchen area so there would be space for a drop zone for coats and backpacks.

My home, will no longer exist as of February 4th.

A part of me feels like I should be grieving at the loss of this home that I spent so many months watching, as it was constructed.

Grieving at the loss of my life, as I knew it.


A much bigger part of me recognizes that this home was all part of a facade.

A facade that I lived in for over 34 years and that was much bigger than 2,400 square feet.

A facade where I played the part of a housewife while at the same time doing my damnedest to hide my "terrible" secret, desperately trying to smile on the outside, while feeling as if I were drowning in an abyss on the inside.

 This bigger part of me also recognizes how much better my life has gotten since making the decision to tear down that facade, which included a doomed marriage and friendships that dissolved as a result of its demise. In truth, these things, much like the smile on my face all of those years that I was completely miserable, actually never really existed.

(Actually, the person that said "I do" over 15 years ago, who built a home based on distraction, and friendships based on a lie, never really existed either.)

As I type this, I am sitting at the kitchen table, looking at everything I still need to pack, and thinking about how funny it is that my worst fear for so many years was that the facade that I had carefully created would crumble all around me and that my life, as I knew it, would fall apart as a result.
Well, the facade finally did crumble all around me.

And my life, as I knew it, did fall apart.

But in a plot twist, I ended up being the one who held the sledgehammer that caused it.

And on February 4th, I will remove the last of the debris created by the destruction of  that facade when I walk out the door of this home and pick up my keys for my new one.

An honest one.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Our Family "Chaos Minimizing" Command Center

A few months ago (yes, I said months), as I was getting ready to go back to school for the semester, I decided I needed to a better way to manage our busy schedules, organize those endless classroom letters, and display those fabulous report cards that my genius kids are always getting because they take after me, of course!

Once again, enter Pinterest and about a thousand examples of these leave-it-to-beaver organization centers, referred to by moms much more organized than myself as "Command Centers". 

After days of pinning about a zillion of these so-called "command centers", I began planning my own version of one, which, let's face it, is really more of a "chaos-minimizing center" rather than a "command center". I knew I wanted to include a few things for sure: a monthly calendar (duh), a weekly calendar, some sort of sorting system for mail and homework, some place to write notes to each other, like "Hey mom, I'm -$16.00 on my lunch account because you keep forgetting to write the check and they said that if you don't give me one tomorrow, they will be sending me out to forage in the dumpster."

Anyway, once I had gathered all of my supplies, I began working on my "chaos-minimizing center".
I started with the monthly calendar first:

I knew a couple things before I started making the calendar. The first was that I wanted it to be magnetic, but that I also wanted to be able to write directly on it like a dry erase board.  I also wanted it to be fairly large to accommodate my rather large handwriting (and my failing eyesight). A 12X12 size like I was seeing all over Pinterest would not do.

 I decided on a size of 24X36, mostly because the sheet metal was already cut to that size and I didn't want to risk serious bodily harm by cutting it to fit a certain size.

Now, the sheet metal was not perfect. It did have some slight scratches and discoloration on it, which I take as being fairly normal because so did all of the other sheets. However, since I was planning on antiquing it to give it a rustic feel, I wasn't really worried.

After I got it home and spent even more time on Pinterest in search of an antiquing method to use, I found one that called for using a 50/50 vinegar-water solution and tried it.

which didn't work out too well...

After staining my hands a nice orange color when I picked the sheet up, I decided that it would be better to just cover the sheet in fabric and found a remnant of a neutral color fabric for really cheap at the fabric store

After covering the sheet with the fabric, I made the grid for the calendar next. I started by doing some not-so-quick math in my head in order to figure out the size squares that I needed. Then I used a level and ruler to help me draw the lines straight.

After I was finally finished tracing the grid in pencil, I used washi tape to complete it.

The next step was labeling the days of the week, which I did using these chalkboard style labels I found at Michael's:

(obvious hint: use a permanent chalk marker for labels that you plan on being permanent wait for it to dry. I used regular chalk markers first and they smeared badly when I was trying to slide the calendar into the frame) 

Next, I made the magnets that I would use for the numbers for the date. I used bottle caps that I found in the scrapbook section of the craft store where all of the embellishments are, round label stickers to write the dates on, and stuck them to the inside of the bottle caps. I used round magnets I found at Walmart on the backs (the strip ones weren't strong enough because of the fabric).

The original frame I bought was a cheap poster frame, and no where near strong enough to hold the sheet metal. In fact, it pretty much broke apart as soon as I lifted it up (I tend not to think of things like this ahead of time). I ended up having to take that one back and get one that was much more sturdy (and, unfortunately, much more expensive) so it would hold the weight of the sheet metal:

Here's how the calendar looks today:

(Okay, so it's actually how it looked back in November, but you get the idea.):

The weekly calendar that I posted about here sits below it and makes it easier to write the details of our week, rather than crowding up the monthly calendar with them. It also makes it easier for Diva and Destructo to know what's going on for the week as far, as what parent has them what day, since their dad's work schedule is unpredictable and his days with them change from week to week.

The next part of the command center involved a bulletin board on the adjoining wall where important notes and reminders could be hung, as well as a place where other papers and homework could be stored somewhat safely, instead of ending up on the counter top for more time than I'd like to admit collecting stains from various food and beverage items. 

The file organizer is from TJ Maxx and has a bin dedicated to each child. I like that it also has a shelf on the top where I can store items that we frequently use and that are needed often for homework. 


 Aside from the file folders used to organize homework and chore charts (which I have yet to make, let alone use),  I made each kid a binder to store the work they wanted to save and were most proud of during the year, along with their report cards and school pictures. I figured this is a much more organized way to store this type of stuff, rather than throwing everything into a plastic bin  like I usually do.

I also decided that the kids should each have their own magnet/dry erase board to to hang other things up that they felt were important or to write notes to remind me of things like this:

The magnet boards can be found at Walmart or Target and I found the rustic steel letters of each of their first initials at Michael's above each of them to add a little bit of decorative touch.

On the opposite wall of the calendar, I hung a mail organizer and another dry erase/magnet board that I found at Office Depot to write reminders for myself on (which I still manage to forget). I also hung something else that I find to be rather special next to the mail organizer...

The recessed area next to the mail organizer wall was planned to eventually be a built-in with a coat rack and bench, but since I'm not going to be here much longer, I just hung some hooks on the wall for backpacks and coats and put a shoe organizer on the floor below them.

I put the bench that I refinished a long time ago on the wall opposite of the coat rack, under the calendar, so someone could sit while taking off their shoes if they wanted to. The basket below the bench is supposed to keep hats, gloves, scarves, and other miscellaneous things nicely organized as well.

Too bad, it hasn't worked quite that well in practice:

Anybody need a toddler size life jacket in January?
However, despite the apparent difficulties my children have with walking two feet to hang their backpacks up,  I'm still really happy with the final product, which only took over 2 months to complete (and probably wouldn't have ever been finished if I hadn't had the help of my awesome girlfriend who hung everything up for me!)

It certainly isn't Pinterest perfect, but it works pretty well for us least in theory.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Life Since the Closet and What's Next:"Coming Out" Pt. 4

Coco Chanel had it right.

I've experienced a lot of beauty in the past three months, more than I ever thought I would in my life.

I've experienced the beauty in others (especially in those who commented or sent me a message on Facebook after I posted the link to my coming out post, as well as the many others who sent me a text or gave me a call after they read that first post.)

I've experienced the beauty of motherhood and how wonderful it is when you are happy and fully present for your children.

I've experienced the beauty of being in love with an amazing person who has stayed right by my side through everything these past few months and provides me with continual support.

I've experienced the beauty in myself as I continue to grow as a person, a whole person, rather than the shell that I once was.

Finally, I've experienced the beauty in understanding what those who have taken this journey before me meant when they said that it would be better once I finally decided to live my life honestly and without

However, that's just the beginning of what has happened since I hit "publish" on that first post while holding my breath, with my heart pounding.

(If you're new and not exactly sure what you've wandered into, you might want to read my previous posts, you can begin with part 1 here and then move on to part 2 and part 3 from there.)

Quite a few other things have happened since coming out as well, some of which were unexpected. One of those unexpected things was that I actually had to, and still do have to, "convince" people of my sexuality. I've heard the following phrase more times than I can count:

"...But, YOU don't look like a Lesbian!"

Mmmkay....First of all, what the hell does a Lesbian look like? I know I'm new to the scene, but I don't recall getting a memo about what I needed to look like when I was born and if it was, in fact, sent out then I'm not the only one that didn't get it because I know a lot of Lesbians that are feminine.We are not unicorns. We do exist. Yes, some women who identify as a Lesbian are more masculine than what we typically see in the general population, and some are, let's face it, really masculine. However, that's doesn't mean we all are. I like makeup, the color pink, girly glittery crap, and I'm a Lesbian. I'm not any less of a Lesbian than anyone who "looks like one" thank you very much. Yes, I realize that some people say it thinking that it's a compliment, but to me and many others it's really more of an insult because it implies that we are not "real" lesbians just because we might not own any flannel.

As far as the other things that have happened as a result of me coming out, I have to say that I've been pleasantly surprised for the most part.

Those who I thought would judge me because of their religious beliefs were actually some of the most accepting people, which was surprising and also a good lesson for me on the importance of not assuming what others think.

Most of my friendships have stayed the same or have improved since I came out and I have made even more friends as a result. 

Oh, and while we are one the subject of relationships, I want to address something that I said in an earlier post, which is that my family was less than thrilled when I came out to them. I think I need to clarify what their responses actually were especially because my sister was a wee-bit pissed off after she read that part of my post because it made her feel as though I was calling her homophobic when she isn't. Her reaction was less than ideal mostly because she was concerned about how everything would affect the kids and I can understand that. However, for the record, she's been pretty supportive since then and I really don't think she gives a crap about her sister being a total lez. 

My dad's reaction was actually kind of humorous. After I emailed him to tell him that I was gay (because I was too chicken shit to do it in person), his return email said, "What a coincidence, I like women too." and that was it. That's my dad for you. Brief and to the point. 

So, the only reason why I said that their reaction was less than ideal is because I wanted them to assure me that they still loved me no matter what and wanted me to be happy. I can admit though, that my expectation was probably too high, not because they don't love me or want me to be happy, but because we, as a family, tend to avoid sharing our feelings.

While their responses were less than ideal, they were still not as bad as what I expected. On the contrary, my brother's was much worse than I expected. It was actually quite devastating and probably the worst response that I've gotten from anyone thus far (and that includes my father-in-law who hated me anyway).

Unfortunately, I made the mistake of thinking that he would be the most accepting and understanding given that he has many friends that are gay and is pretty supportive of the community. It turns out that I was very wrong. He was not at all accepting or understanding. Instead of , "You're still my sister and I love you." It was, "You're a "selfish fucking bitch"  (which is actually a direct quote and something that he said several times throughout our conversation). He didn't stop there, though. He said many more really hurtful things, including that he believed that I wasn't really gay and that I just wanted attention. 

In summary, he yelled while I cried and then we hung up and I cried some more. 

According to him, his reaction was based off of his concern for my husband and children, rather than the fact that I was gay but even if that is the case, a simple "I have some concerns about some things I want to talk to you about later, but for now just know I still love you and you're still my sister." would have sufficed.

While I'm thinking about it, here's a little advice for those of you who will experience a friend or family member coming out to you. Please do me a favor and keep your reaction simple and sweet. The greatest fear that most people have is that they will not be believed or that they will no longer be loved, or both. Please just tell them that you still love them and then, for the love of all things that are holy, WAIT to talk to them about any other concerns you have. Choose your words carefully because they can't be taken back. I will NEVER forget my brother's reaction and the words he said to me and I don't think he will ever comprehend how painful it was for me to hear them. His reaction forever changed our relationship, and not in a positive way. 

It pretty much ruined it, actually. 

Okie-dokie. Now that I've clarified all of that, we can move on to the other things that have happened since my coming out post.

The first of them is that my marriage is now over. After a couple months of negotiation and many pages of paperwork, I officially filed for divorce on October 29th. It should be final at the end of January as long as things don't change (In Utah, there is a mandatory 90 day waiting period until a decree is granted).

As far as my relationship with my soon to be ex-husband and I, things are pretty up and down. He has a lot of anger towards me that tends to seep out sporadically, sometimes in a pretty vengeful manner. His anger is understandable, but the way he handles it is not always justified. I'm hopeful that this will eventually pass and that we will be able to become friends one day, but until then I'm just trying to roll with things and understand that he's acting the way he is because he's hurt, not because he's an asshole (although sometimes it really feels like he's being quite asshole-ish). 

In the end though, I think we can both admit that our marriage wasn't a happy one and that we had many problems aside from me being gay. I think that even though he might not see it now, the fact of the matter is that he was miserable as well. I couldn't make him happy and he couldn't make me happy. We gave it a good try, 15 years to be exact. However, it just wasn't meant to be.

Our current living situation is a little different than most. We have chosen to do what  is called, "nesting" for the time being. "Nesting" is a type of custody arrangement where the children stay in the family home and the parents switch off living in the home according to when their scheduled time is to be with the children. In our case, I stay at the home 5 days a week and then stay somewhere else for 2 days a week when it's his turn to be with the kids and vice versa. It's not easy and I don't know how long it will last before we eventually decide it's too much for both of us, but that's how it is for now, at least. I do have to say that I think there are some positive aspects of it. First, it has helped us see how hard it is for the kids to switch off at each parents house so when the time comes we can understand what they are going through a little more. Second, I think it's made things a little easier on the kids and is a good way to make the transition as smooth as possible. Last, we are able to communicate more with each other about our time with them and let the other one know any concerns that we have when we make the switch.

(I have to say that the one thing about our divorce that is nice is that we are in agreement that we need to do everything possible to put the kids first. We've had a few hiccups, of course, but we really are both committed to doing what's best for them, which is part of the reason why we chose the "nesting" arrangement for now.)

Speaking of the kids, I'm loving being a mom more than I think I ever have before. I was a pretty good mom before I came out, but I'm a much better one now. I actually do things with my kids and truly enjoy the time I have with them. Sadly, this hasn't always been the case. In fact, if you told me 6 months ago that I would be taking my kids to public places, let alone crowded public places, I would have laughed in your face. Just the thought of doing something like that gave me severe anxiety, enough that I would usually make up excuse to get out of it, or even just flat out refuse to do whatever required me leaving my house. Luckily, things are very different now. I still get anxious, of course, but it's gotten a lot better. I even went ice skating with Destructo a few weeks ago. Ice skating! That's a HUGE difference, people! Huge!

That brings me to my final update, which is about my relationship with M and how awesome it is. I can't express to you how much that woman means to me and how much I love her. She helped me find courage I didn't know I had and has held my hand every step of the way these last few months. My kids absolutely adore her and I love watching her with them. She's just...well, she's just fucking amaze-balls, is what she is!! I enjoy every minute that we are together and miss her every minute that we aren't. I'm one lucky-ducky for sure.

(Okay, I know what you're probably thinking because I've been asked so many times and the answer is no, we are not u-hauling it (google it if you don't know what it is), or getting married any time soon just because marriage equality happened in Utah. We both know we have a good thing going and don't want to jeopardize that by doing something we aren't ready for. We love each other and that's all that matters for now. ) 

On a final note, I want to say that I truly cannot believe how much of a difference coming out has made in my life, most of it being positive. Living as my true self has made life much more fun than it was when I was living a lie. Life is just better when you accept yourself as is and stop trying to be someone you aren't. It's not perfect of course, and there are some days when things are actually pretty tough for me, but the difference is that I can handle the tough stuff now, rather than just retreating to my room, which I nicknamed, "the cave" because I was in it so often before. I'm actually living my life now, which is a great place to be in.

It only took about 20 years for me to start (I'm a slow learner).

So that's it! The final post of my coming out story is now finished. If you made it through all of them, congratulations. If they helped you in any way, whether that be in developing a better understanding for what life can be like for those of us who are fabulous enough to be gay or regarding something in your own life, then it makes it that much more worthwhile.

Love those dimples!

P.S. It really did get better.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Why I (FINALLY) Removed The Closet Door:"Coming Out" Pt. 3

If you've read part 1 and part 2 of this post you are now aware of the fact that I am a Lesbian.

If not, Surprise! I'm a Lesbian!

For Reelz, Y'all.


Now that you know, and have hopefully absorbed it and accepted it, I wanted to explain why I decided to come out this way, on the internet, rather than just come out privately to family and friends.

Before I do that, however, I want to let you know that it was both an easy and a difficult decision. I actually went back and forth about it for quite a while before I began writing that first post more than a month ago.

Originally, I dismissed the idea of posting my story. I didn't really want to make a big deal out of the fact that I chose to finally disclose the fact that I am a Lesbian, because when it comes down to it, it's really not that big of a deal, or it shouldn't be at least. 

You see, being a Lesbian is just one part of what makes me, me and I felt as though making it "official" might be sending a message that I didn't really want to send, which is that being Gay is something that I'm confessing to, as if it is wrong or something that should be kept a secret when it most certainly is not wrong, nor should it have to be kept a secret. I wouldn't write a blog post about the fact that I have some weird red freckle on my right boob, so why should I feel it necessary to come out and talk about something else about me that just happens to be a part of my DNA, like my natural hair color, or that weird red freckle?

Then, something happened to me personally that reminded me of why I did need to post my story.


It happened in the waiting room of my gynecologists office when I was sitting with M who I made come with me because I am a big baby and hadn't been to one in about 8 years (Disclaimer: Don't do this! It is very bad to not get your vag checked out on a regular basis!). 

Anyway, as M and I sat there and waited for my appointment (which took a really long time because my doctor had to go deliver a baby) I started noticing something peculiar happening. It was something that I may not even have noticed if it hadn't been for the fact that I had been to so many OB appointments with my husband when I was pregnant with my two kids.

We were getting stared at.

A lot.

Not cutesy little stares like the ones I would get when my husband sat in the waiting room with me all those years ago when I was pregnant with Diva and Destructo, whether I was showing or not (you know, the kind where someone looks at the cute couple, breaks out into a little half-smile, probably thinking it's cute that the boyfriend/husband chose to come along?). No, these stares were not like those kind at all. Some were actually the same kinds of stares that I see when people are fascinated by the tigers at the zoo.

Umkay, so some of these people were probably just curious. I get that. It doesn't bother me if someone does a little bit of a double take when they see M and I out in public together, because we are damn good lookin'. How can they not be jealous of our cuteness? 

Okay, because of that and also because the truth of the matter is that "we" are not the norm, so I can see how people may notice us more than they would a straight couple. It's not like I never do the same thing. For example, on the rare occasion that I go to Walmart, I often myself staring at the interesting fashion choices made by some of the other shoppers. 

Before moving on with the rest of my story, though, I do want to make it clear that we were not making some sort of Lesbian scene out of ourselves by making out, or even holding hands. We were simply leaning into each other while we talked and we only really touched when I momentarily took my feet out of my flip flops and put them on her ankle because they were freakin' freezing and I needed to warm them up (because I'm polite like that). I didn't think it was a big deal. I've seen straight couples do a hell of a lot more than that without a second look from anyone. I guess it was enough to offend a couple of people though, because their particular stares were definitely not curious. Some were even downright rude. 

Who would have thought my cute little frozen feet could be so offensive? 

Anyway, at one point, an older woman sat down across from us, looked over at both of us, and immediately looked annoyed. I figured she was probably just in a bad mood and didn't think anything of it, but then I noticed the expression on her face had changed into one of disgust. Then, after a few minutes had passed, she stood up, still staring at us, gave a huge pissed off sigh and walked around the corner to another section of the waiting room and sat down there. When we walked by her on our way to the examination room a few minutes later I caught her eye again and she gave us the same look that she had before. 

Later, I asked M if she had noticed it and she said she had. I asked her if she thought it was because the woman had realized we were a couple and if that had happened to her before and she told me, pretty nonchalantly, that things like that were a pretty common occurrence. I was not only shocked but I was also pissed. In part because it's one thing to know that hate like that exists towards others, but it's another to actually experience it yourself.

Unfortunately, what happened in the doctors office that day, hasn't been the only time we've experienced homophobia as a couple, either (aside from the fact that we can't even hold hands or hug each other in public without being stared at like we just did a triple back flip off the high dive). 

We actually experienced it again when we went up to Sundance resort last month because M somehow convinced me to risk certain death and ride some rickety chairlift to the top of some mountain, which the resort opens up specifically for people to ride every full moon during the summer and fall. It actually ended up being pretty fun (except for the few times I thought I might fall to my death).  

Apparently, though, some jerks don't understand that the point of the ride is not to be a dick by yelling out slurs (which I won't even repeat) at people that you don't even know for sure are Gay. 

Unfortunately, we happened to end up on the lift right in front of some people who must have missed that memo and they did their best to ruin my perfectly executed anxiety attack as we crept up the mountain. Luckily, we were able to laugh at how ridiculous Douche Lord's homophobia was and didn't let it end up ruining the ride for us. 

Later, while M and I were talking about the major douche lord on the chair lift and his douche bag friends who joined in, she told me she has learned to tune things like that out over the years and that it doesn't really bother her most of the time. It was then that I realized that I was going to have to learn to not let experiences like this bother me, which is not something that is easy for me to do, but I am slowly getting better at it (even though it's definitely not right for anyone, regardless of who they are, to have to deal with crap like that).

Now, I'm sure that some of you might be wondering why I would risk experiencing even more homophobia by coming out, especially on the internet where everyone can see this post. Well, I do have an answer and it's quite a simple one. It's actually because I feel like it's a way for me to show others what the consequences are when they decide act out of fear. 

Yes, fear. 

(Do you hear me, douche lord and friends?). 

That might seem weird of me to say, but think about it for a second. We, as individuals and as a society, generally fear what we do not know. Therefore, I personally feel that by coming out and showing those who know me, as well as those who don't, that I'm a real person with real feelings, that it might help some people get over their own fear, which might even end up softening some hearts a little towards me and the LGBTQ community in general. I guess I feel this way because I've experienced it for myself on several occasions when I've gotten to know people, who I prematurely judged before getting to know them. 

Okay, moving on to the other reasons why I ended up making the decision that I did:


When I first realized that I was definitely a Lesbian, I made one very important promise to myself, and that was that if I ever found myself in a relationship with another woman, I would not hide her, or our relationship. I knew that it would be completely disrespectful and unfair to do that to a person that I loved. 

I have to say that I really didn't think this would ever happen in a million years due to the fact that I was determined to stay closeted for my entire life and the fact that I didn't feel that I would ever meet someone who would love and accept me for who I really am.  

However, as soon as I realized that I was in love and that I was entering into a relationship, it became clear to me that I needed to begin preparing myself to "come out" and I began to do so little by little. I did so partially because I wanted to be able to share my life with M and keeping our relationship hidden wasn't the way to do that. It would be like forcing her back into the closet, which just isn't right. 

Besides she's claustrophobic so she'd probably resist, anyway.

My children

Yes, despite what some might think, I really was thinking of my children when I decided to take the closet door off. This is partially because I knew that I was a complete hypocrite. Not only that, but I was lying to them every single day. As a mother, I am continually teaching them about the importance of being honest and being true to themselves and here I was, doing the complete opposite of that. 

I think this was definitely part of the reason why it became so hard to look at myself in the mirror each day and to feel like I was doing a decent job as a mother, as well as part of the reason why I struggled so much with anxiety and depression. 

If you’ve ever struggled with depression as a parent, you understand that it can be extremely difficult to give your children what they need from you, especially emotionally, when you are depressed, which does negatively affect your relationship with them despite your best effort to not let it do so. 

I knew this was the case with me, but it really hit me when Destructo started telling everyone that all I did was spend time in my room and sleep all day (which was only partially true, but still not right). I realized then that I had to do whatever I could in order to get healthy for my children so that I could be the mom I wanted to be. This meant that I had to somehow find true happiness, which is something that I really didn't believe was possible to do. However, I had to at least try, and the only thing I hadn't tried all of these years was living honestly, so I decided to give that a try and tell my children my secret. I ended up telling Diva first and Destructo a few days later.

It was scary, but they both handled the news really well. To tell you the truth though, I was actually a lot more nervous about how others, including their friends and peers, would handle it. 

Quite frankly, it was scary as hell to think that my kids may be treated differently or teased because of my sexuality. In the end though, I realized that being honest with my children was more important. They needed a mom that they could trust and who was fully present for them, and I really wasn’t that mom until the moment I made the decision to come out.

Before I wrote the actual blog post though, I wanted to make sure that it was something that Diva would be okay with, considering half my Facebook friends are other parents and dancers at the dance studio she takes at, meaning that she sees most of them on a regular basis. Outing myself was outing her in a sense and I needed to make sure she understood what that meant and what the repercussions might be for her and our family. 

I ended up approaching her the night before I hit "publish" as she was getting ready for bed. We talked about it for quite a while and I explained that I was hesitant about publishing the post because I was still unsure of what the impact would be and how it might affect her. She surprised me a little with her response by saying that it was my decision and she was okay with whatever I decided no matter what came out of it. She also said that she thought it would be a good thing for me to share my story, especially if it helped others and that if anyone had a problem with it, she'd just "tell them to go to hell."

Isn't she just super awesome?

Other LGBTQ individuals

They say that the single important thing an LGBTQ person can do is to come out of the closet.  Not only is it considered important for our own health, but it's also important for the sake of other LGBTQ individuals, and the community as a whole. 

One of the reasons given for this, is that it is generally thought that the more people who decide to come out of the closet and live openly, the more tolerant society will become because it's much harder for those who know and love us to justify inequality and discrimination once they are aware that someone they love is negatively impacted by it. 

It also gives the community more voices, therefore more power, to change and enact legislation to provide protection and equal rights for LGBTQ individuals and families. This is very important to me because, as most of you know, I am a Social Justice nut. It's why I chose to major in Social Work and it's why I'm considering a career in Social Justice related work. I have always been passionate about equality and human rights for others. There have been many times when I felt like a hypocrite for not being open about my sexuality while I was arguing for rights for my fellow LGBTQ friends.

remember one day as I argued about discrimination with someone, a thought hit me that ended up being yet another reason why I felt that I needed to come out. 

What kind of message was I truly sending to others like me by staying closeted? 

My answer to that went something like this:

"Hey everyone! I know I am fighting for your rights and defending our community and all, but I'm actually too good to join you in truth, so I'll just sit in my closet and pretend to be someone I'm not even though I'm telling you that you should feel safe living openly." 

Convincing, right?

Not really.

What I find to be most important about coming out though, besides the benefits to our health from living honestly as well as making a political statement in support of human rights, is that it gives others who are too afraid to come out of the closet hope and support so that they can one day be ready to do so if they desire. 

I believe that if I had known there was someone just like me who could understand what I was going through and who I could talk to when I first realized who I was, that I would have saved myself and my family much heartbreak by finding my courage much earlier.

(I probably would have done a lot less stupid things too, which would have been nice and saved me some of the money that I spent on therapy.)

So, It is because of what I experienced that I really wanted to use this blog to help others see that they are not alone in their journey. I wanted to be able help others out there who are struggling like I did for all those years, because sometimes we just need one person to tell us that we are okay and that we are not alone in all of this (I happen to have a thick skull, so I needed several more than that, I guess). Anyway, I know how deeply painful it is to feel all alone in the world because I felt that way for most of my life. It's not a pretty place to be in and it can create a lot of problems for a person. LGBTQ individuals, especially teenagers, are at a higher risk for self-harm, substance abuse, and suicide.


I just want to let that word sink in for a little bit. 

Can you imagine wanting to die simply because you feel as though you are not worth anything or that you are somehow defective because of who you are? That everyone would be better off without having you in their lives? I can, which is why I felt it so important to take the risk of coming out. If I can help just one person by being able to identify with them and give them hope through this blog, then this whole thing is worth it in itself, aside from all of the positive impact that it's had in my life. 

While I don't pretend to think that these blog posts actually have the power to end up saving a life or to help someone make the decision to come out just by reading them, I am hopeful that I might have the privilege of being at least one voice out of the many a person might need to help them as they travel along their own path to self-acceptance.

Although I can say that once you begin to get there, it really is a beautiful thing.

{Side note: I want to make it clear that individuals who identify as LGBTQ must be allowed to come out in their own time. It is not fair to ever force one out of the closet. There are many reasons why individuals stay closeted. In my own state, we do not have protection from housing and employment discrimination, which is a huge problem for many of us. I also live in a fairly conservative state, where there is a lot of homophobia present, another reason why someone might want to stay closeted. It is NEVER okay to try to force someone out of the closet, or "out" them to ANYONE without their permission. When I first told my husband 5 years ago that I was a Lesbian, he ended up venting to a friend and "outing" me. When we decided to get back together, it created a lot of awkwardness, which my husband did apologize for. If you know or love someone who is currently in the closet, please respect them and their choice. Instead, give them all of the love and support that you can. Let them know that they are okay and that they are loved. Give them time to find their own courage. Okie Dokie?}


This is definitely the single most important reason for my decision and, like I said above, I feel that it should be the case for all LGBTQ individuals who make the decision to come out. 

It took me over 20 years, from the time I realized that I was a Lesbian as a young teenager until the time I finally came to terms with it and realized that I was sick and tired of pretending to be someone I wasn't and that I really wasn't living my life. I was living someone else's life and that it had made me miserable for far too long.

Every single thing in my life had suffered in some way or another because of my secret. 

I had told myself far too many times that superficial crap would make me happy and it never worked. 

I had told myself far too many times that if I could "just be better" I would be happy and that hadn't worked either. 

The reality finally hit me that I really didn't have much to lose by coming out besides people who wouldn't be able to accept me for who I was, and for the first time I realized that I didn't need those people in my life to make me happy. I had to make myself happy. 

So I decided to take the chance. 

The chance that I spent so many years refusing to take. 

The chance that I never thought I would take.

The chance that would hopefully end in me finding the true happiness that I had never been able to find before. 

However, I did not get to this place of happiness alone. There were many voices and events that enabled me to get there. 

There were the voices of celebrities like Ellen Page, Portia DeRossi, and, of course, Ellen DeGeneres, as well as others who had shared their personal experiences and how their lives had changed for the better after coming out, the voice and support of my best friend who continually told me that she just wanted me to be happy, the voice of my long-time therapist who helped me explore what good could come out of living my truth, rather than what bad could happen, and the voice of another therapist who once said to me, "You can never experience true happiness when you are not living authentically." 

There was one voice in particular, though, that truly helped me find the courage that had been waiting so many years to be found, and that voice belonged to M. 

I can't really say why it was her voice that ended up finally getting through to me, but I can at least say that I realized soon after I met M that I actually liked myself whenever I was with her, which was a completely new feeling that I hadn't ever felt before. I wasn't even sure why I felt that way at first, but I eventually came to the conclusion that it was because she was somehow able to make me feel safe for the first time in my life, and in that safety, I was finally able to find me. 

The true me.

The me that I had spent so many years looking for.

The me that I had almost given up on.

And once I realized that I finally found this me that had been lost so long ago, I was able to take a deep breath and start writing.

Go here to read part 4!