Monday, September 30, 2013

Tessa is growing up

And when I say she's growing up, what I mean is that she is currently two years old, but acts like she's about thirteen.

Two cases in point:

So, I kind of have this thing for singing in the car. I know I'm not the only one... in fact my friend Lindsey recently posted a status update about this that almost made me want to stop singing in the car forever. Backstory: she's a first-year professor at a university in the area and she looks really, really young.

Her status:

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Kidnapper with a ransom note. Or a fan. One of those two things

I just remembered a hilarious thing that happened at the airport recently.

Lolly and I were coming home from our trip to Utah in August. We had just spent a week with my extended family that had gone unexpectedly well and we were feeling pretty awesome. We drove our rental car to the airport, removed our 473 bags from the car, strapped them all over ourselves and our children, and made our trek into the airport. Then we got to security.

Let me tell you a little something about going through security with 471 (two were checked on, you see) bags and three daughters under age eight. Have you ever seen an ant hill? How about a college football game where someone gets tackled, only that someone is a three year old trying to walk under the railing to freedom? Okay, combine those two concepts. And then add having to pee, having to make sure you don't have liquids in any of the 471 bags, listening to the soothing sounds of your five-year-old melting down about not being able to adjust her headband while holding her suitcase as everyone else in line looks at you like you're the worst parent on earth. Also add the smell of feces in your youngests' diaper. Multiply that by having to take your shoes and belt off, then subtract all the metal from your pockets. Divide this by having to get all of your crap onto a conveyer belt into multiple bins. Take that total, and then multiply it by having to go through metal detectors where you lift your arms up and have your entire body scanned, then put your clothes back on, and get all of that same crap recollected on the other side without losing one of your spawn. Would you like to know the total of this complex equation? It is 666. See? Now you understand how math works, as well as what it's like every time I go to the airport with my family.

Anyway, after getting through security we did a very important thing: we ate at Cafe Rio. The timing was perfect. We were going to finish our meal, and then we would have about 30 minutes before we boarded our plane for home. The food was delicious, and the timing was perfect. And it was while we were sitting there relaxing, enjoying our pork salad heaven, basking in a very successful trip, that we got a voicemail. A voicemail from a number we didn't recognize. It came to both of our phones. I picked up my phone and listened.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Hunger Games (aka FFAQ)

Hi there.

It's Friday. Do you know what that means?

It means I go to Weightwatchers with Lolly. And then out to lunch.

(I forgot to mention--you know how I lost my keys a couple of weeks ago? Well, guess where they were. Weightwatchers. Oops.)

It means I spend the day writing.

It means Lolly and I will go out together tonight and reconnect after a long week

But most importantly of all, it means it's time to ask some questions for FFAQ!!

If you're new here, let me break it down quickly:

FFAQ (Friday's frequently asked question) is a chance to either pose a question you'd like answered, or vote on another person's question that you find interesting by commenting with the word "ditto". The question with the most "dittoes" is the one that I am obligated privileged to answer. There aren't a lot of rules, and the system works pretty well. Don't cheat. You can ditto more than once, but only once per question. Ask your question early. Don't be afraid to post a question that was posed previously. Winning questions are usually asked within three hours of the post going up, and tend to be simply worded, relatively short, and very clear. The winner gets a shout out, so be sure to link to something you want pimped out. (It always makes me sad when, like last week, the question-asker has chosen to be anonymous and I can't highlight any of his or her stuff.)

Questions can be about anything really. Most of the time they are about gayness, but some of my favorites have been about other random things as well. And don't worry if you ask a question and it doesn't get a bunch of dittoes--I've used various questions with very few dittoes as the basis for later posts simply because they were excellent questions. Moods change. One FFAQ a particular question might get only a few dittoes, only to get enough dittoes to win the next FFAQ. There is no rhyme or reason here, and it's probably better that way.

Oh, also, the winning question will be answered on Friday of next week. Then the next week we ask questions. And so on and so forth, into perpetuity.

Are you ready for this?

WAIT. We need our logo. *rustles notes to find it*

Okay. All is right in the world now.


(Is it weird that I just felt a little bit like Effie Trinket on The Hunger Games right then? Be careful out there guys. Don't accidentally murder each other with your dittoes.)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Oh hey, VH1 friends.

This is my second post today and it's not a real post, so if you're look for a real post, read the other one, but apparently our episode of VH1 just aired again and I wanted to welcome anyone new to the blog.

Hi there!

Things get a little interesting here from time to time, and... basically I'm sure to disappoint you at some point because it's in my flawed nature. But there's also a lot of love and a good community here, and we generally have a good time.

So, pull up a chair and stay a while.

Or follow the haps on Facebook. Or Twitter. You know, if you're into that kind of thing.

But most of all, WELCOME.

Tessa's new skill

The other day I was home with the girls and suddenly I heard something we all know is ominous: silence. I could hear Anna and Viva playing downstairs, but it was Tessa I worried about. She is taking after her older sister these days, doing highly destructive things and then disarming us with a smile.

Anyway, I suddenly realized she was missing. I called her name several times, and nothing.

Then I started getting nervous. I searched every room in the house. She was nowhere. I went out to the garage, hoping I'd find her there, but to no avail. Finally I went outside, praying I would hear her voice, my mind filled with images of brutal traffic accidents and kidnappings.

And then I remembered: the day before, she and I had been playing hide and seek together. And I had explained to her how the game really works. She wanted to tell me her hiding spots--she wasn't getting what the game was about. But I told her that the secret to a good game of hide and seek was to hide where nobody knows where you are.

Suddenly, I knew what she was doing...

Monday, September 23, 2013

Snippets on a Monday

Here are a few of the snippets rattling around in my head. None large enough to a be a full post, but together? They totally count as one.


In Portland over the weekend, we went to the Institute Building where my dad works. I was browsing through his office and found some pretty remarkable things. I read a letter written by my dad's dad--which was totally weird because I'd never seen his writing. He died when he was 47, and barely had contact with my dad after my grandma divorced him when my dad was three. It was surreal to read his words in his own handwriting. He actually had a decent writing style and good grammar.

Then I encountered this photo and had to laugh:

Saturday, September 21, 2013

One of these things is not like the other

So, we're on a small trip to Portland.

We are staying in a hotel, which the girls love, and this morning we all rolled out of bed and decided to get breakfast. We were up for maybe five or ten minutes before heading out the door. Yet when we got to Burger King (which was selling Cinnabon--the ultimate breakfast selling point) I noticed that Viva looked a little bit different than her sisters.

Pajamas on Tessa, nightgown on Anna... and Viva totally dressed with leggings and hair accessories

We've discussed her love for fashion before. She is our little fashionista, and continues to be. But this is getting out of control. I didn't even notice her get ready. She barely had time to. Yet, somehow she not only assembled her own stylistically coherent outfit, she did it in the time it took the rest of us to roll out of bed.

Tiny toddler, cute little girl, and... sassy purse-bedecked 16 year old striking a Paris Hilton pose

I think it's safe to say I've got my work cut out for me as her father. 

We sure do love that Viva. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Marriage advice + talk of mixed orientation marriage

Caveat: I have a really bad cold. So my brain feels really foggy. But I wanted to get this out there.

So, last week's FFAQ question came from Anonymous. She asks:

Being married to a wonderful man, who happens to be gay, I wonder if you have any advice? How common are mixed orientation marriages? How are they different, how are they alike?

I'll break my answer to this excellent question into two parts: discussion of mixed orientation marriage, and then general marriage advice.

So, how common are mixed orientation marriages? The truth is, I have absolutely no idea. Nobody really knows because most mixed orientation marriages are not usually public. But I do know this: they are much more common than I ever imagined.

Lolly and I at our Portland wedding reception.

For the first years of our marriage, Lolly and I felt totally alone. There was nobody out there doing "this" that we knew of. We had a sense that we couldn't possibly be the only ones--a couple  who was in a mixed orientation marriage, but one that was working well--but gayness (at the time, and even still to some extent) was so taboo that there was no way we would ever hear about these people. Instead, in those days, you'd only hear about mixed orientation marriages as they fell apart. The gay spouse would have some period of self-realization, decide to leave his or her family, come out publicly and thus reach other people's radar, drawing attention to a sometimes messy aftermath.

We felt completely alone. Completely isolated. We would look at each other from time to time and ask "Are we crazy? Are we insane to be doing this? There have to be others out there. There just have to be. But where are they?" We knew we were doing what was right for us, and we knew our marriage was wonderful, but there was this sense of aloneness.

Eventually, through the internet, we found some people who were in our situation. It was very refreshing to realize that we indeed were not alone. Some of the friends I made at that time have continued to be very close friends, many of whose mixed orientations marriages are thriving. 

But after the coming out post? That's when it became really clear that this wasn't an isolated thing. Many, many people have found love in mixed orientation marriages. Even still I'll get the occasional message from a mixed orientation couple who says something like "Hey guys, thanks for posting your post--just want you to know there are others out there in really happy marriages." There are lots of people who are living in happy mixed orientation marriages under the radar--in your wards and stakes, enjoying their lives. I'm not sure how many, but more than I ever would have imagined. 

At the same time, I also got a lot of responses from people in failed mixed orientation marriages--so there are a lot of those too. Obviously, there is going to be success and failure in any marital subset.

The statistics struggle. With the secrecy of this type of marriage (Lolly and I were totally under cover about it for ten years--most people had no idea I was gay, and so statistics obviously didn't reflect people like us) it's difficult to get accurate numbers. But there are people trying to ascertain this data. There is a study happening right now that I think will help gauge this to some extent, though I still think secrecy will mask a large number of successful mixed orientation marriages.

If you are in a mixed orientation marriage or have ever been in one, consider taking this survey: click here to take survey

It doesn't matter if you have positive or negative feelings about your marriage--it's just important to try and get as much information as possible, so please take that survey if you haven't already. 

Now, the fun part. Advice.

I'm a marriage and family therapist, so I really do love marriage and think it can be such a beautiful thing. It's always amazing to me how resilient people are as couples as they face hard things. I'm also amazed at how small patterns of thinking--feeling entitled, feeling like a victim, feeling like it's okay to be in contact with past lovers--can completely and totally undermine what would otherwise be a really healthy relationship.

I don't actually see a lot of differences between mixed orientation marriages and other marriages in my own life, nor in my work as a therapist. The same things that will keep a mixed orientation marriage vibrant and strong are the exact things that will keep any marriage vibrant and strong. I don't mean for that to be a cop-out answer. I even started writing this list as it specifically pertained to mixed orientation marriage, and then as I wrote, I realized that the things I was saying were universal. Marriage is complex. Love needs to be nourished. Marriage requires forgiveness and patience. These are realities that will exist in any marriage.

So, I decided to be more general. Here are several tips that I have to keep your marriage happy and healthy whether you find yourself in a mixed orientation marriage or not:

1. Be totally honest and transparent with your spouse. Even about the really hard things. Even when you know it will hurt them, or you're having feelings that are painful and unwanted, or if you've done something you wish you hadn't done. Each partner must be totally transparent with his or her feelings and actions. A marriage thrives on honesty, transparency and connection. It will wither and die if you keep secrets. Marriages cannot survive secrets. I see this over and over and over.

Being honest about hard things taps into true vulnerability. It gives your spouse the chance to accept you for everything you are. It honors your spouse, and lets them know you love and trust them totally. If you can't be honest with your husband or wife about the deepest, darkest most obscure places of your heart, your mind, and your past, who could you ever be fully transparent with? The answer is nobody. We as human beings have the fundamental need to be known completely and fully. Marriage is where that happens.

I cannot emphasize this enough. Be honest. Always. Totally and completely. No matter how difficult it is or how much it hurts. It will open up pathways of understanding and empathy, and trust will be the bedrock of your relationship.

2. Do not let isolated circumstances bleed into every problem. Lolly and I are in a mixed orientation marriage. If we aren't careful, we could start to make the mistake of viewing every problem we have as the result of being in a mixed orientation marriage. "You didn't take the trash out last night. Because you're gay!" I know that's a hyperbolic example, but this type of thing does tend to happen from time to time if a person isn't careful. So your husband has depression. So your wife struggles with an eating disorder. So your husband is a sports fanatic. So your wife really loves to shop. That does not mean that every issue that occurs is directly tied into one of these notable characteristics. Let isolated issues stand on their own, and be careful not to conflate them with other issues.

3. Recognize that every marriage has "perpetual problems." If you notice that you have the same fights with your spouse over and over and over (and over and over) you are not alone. In fact, every marriage has what John Gottman called perpetual problems--or difficulties that persist throughout a marriage and that are largely unresolvable. These perpetual problems arise because they are tied to intrinsic personality characteristics of both partners which will remain static over time. In other words, we are who we are, and we can't change our personalities, which ultimately is a good thing.

When you find yourself in a perpetual problem, it means that both parties have a legitimate perspective based on real things. Your job is not to change your spouse to see things your way. Your job is to see things their way, continue to own the validity of what you think, and then compromise around the edges. If you like vacations to be long, lazy and unplanned, and your spouse likes vacations that are scheduled every minute, neither perspective is wrong (even though your family probably sees things your way and validates it because they see things in a similar fashion!). You find a way to compromise around the edges while honoring both perspectives. Perhaps you take turns having vacations your way and then their way. Perhaps you split a vacation in half. The goal with perpetual problems is to see them for what they are, and then find ways to compromise that don't dishonor yourself or your spouse or his/her perspective. 

4. Finally, think positive things about your spouse. There is a lot of literature out there that demonstrates that we control how we feel about things and people by the thoughts we allow ourselves to have. You can literally change the tide of negative feelings towards your spouse by actually changing how many times in a day you think positive things about him or her. It sounds so basic and simple that many people never do this, but there is a five to one ratio to making this work: for every one negative thought about your spouse, you need to proactively think five legitimate positive thoughts to counteract the negative feelings that brings. I have certain things I do every single day that help keep my thoughts about my wonderful Lolly as vibrant and positive as possible.  

I could go on and on, but I think those are four really basic and important steps to building a good marriage. They will work for mixed orientation marriages, or any marriage at all. 

Thanks for asking such a great question. Tune in next week for the next voting poll...

And have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A birthday post for Lolly

Yesterday was Lolly's birthday. She turned 35. I have known her since I was 3 and she was 5. So that's 30 years. 30 years of knowing one of the most amazing people on this planet.

I'm freaking lucky.

Here, in no particular order, are 35 things I love about Lolly Shea.

1. She has an obsession with blue plastic. Especially globes that are blue and plasticky. She loves it so much when she sees it she says she almost craves to eat it.

2. She is really smart. When she was invited to skip a grade in elementary school she didn't want to be the youngest in her class when everyone was turning 16 and able to date, so she decided against it. That decision is what made sure we were only one grade apart, which in many ways is what led us to falling in love.

3. She is beautiful. Inside and out.

4. She loves to talk. And everything she says is interesting to me.

5. She is also one of the best listeners I've ever met. This is what helped me to open up to her at crucial times.

6. Her pain threshold is way higher than mine. When we used to do circuit training together she put me to shame.

7. She loves Halloween. A lot.

8. She also loves every other Holiday, and makes each one special. Without it, I would probably just let them slide by without much fanfare, and then I'd really regret it.

9. She's very clever. What she says and does never ceases to delightfully surprise me, which I really appreciate. I'm never bored with her around, ever.

10. She is always willing to sing for me, even when she doesn't know the tune.

11. She is hot. Good body, good hair, looks good without makeup. She is exactly the type of woman that I wanted/needed.

12. She is so patient with me. And she's really nice about it.

13. She's also very appreciative as I slowly learn how to do things that come really easily to other people. (Like navigating the complex geography of Provo, UT. That kind of thing.)

14. I really like her taste in clothes and fashion. She's also a really good artist.

15. Her favorite pastimes are to eat and talk. My favorite pastimes are to eat and talk. It works out well.

16. She is fearless. When she knows something is right, she will do it without hesitation. She knows how to do hard things.

17. Her faith in God is pristine, and her connection to him is very deep and very apparent. He loves her a lot. When she prays He listens. When He speaks to her, she listens. And then she does what she knows she should do. I would not be married to her today without that pure, genuine connection.

18. Related: when talking about getting answers to prayers she'll often say things like "And then Heavenly Father told me...[miraculous insight]..." I love that her relationship with God is so personal.

19. She is the best. possible. mother. to our three daughters.

20. When she decides to change something about herself, she goes for it full throttle. And it sticks.

21. She isn't afraid to admit if she's wrong. She's also not afraid to stand her ground when she's right.

22. She can entertain an entire roomful of people with her storytelling. I admire that in a person because I kind of suck at it.

23. She is incredibly thoughtful and concerned about others.

24. She is also very healthy--she doesn't get wrapped up in problems that are not intended for her. She has very naturally clear boundaries. (The therapist in me really appreciates this.)

25. She is accepting of everyone and always has been. If you are a human being, she will accept you and love you. No matter what. In a way that is special.

26. You will never meet a person who says "I'm sorry" more than Lolly. I remark on this quality in one of her junior high yearbooks, and it's still the case. Literally, I'm not kidding, as I wrote this sentence she yelled in an "I'm sorry" for something. It's totally endearing.

27. She is ambitious, but in the perfect way--in a way that's totally true to herself and her own self-improvement. It's never about what anybody else thinks.

28. She is the best editor a blogger could ever ask for. She is the perfect litmus test for whether things are funny, and she is also a very good copy-editor. She provides really good ideas for blog posts, and then can tell when they've been well-executed. I rarely post something before passing it by her first.

29. She's good at pretty much anything she decides to do.

30. She is not overly conventional. She's the type of girl who contemplates one day the idea of doing an entire semester of school abroad, and the very next day is getting her passport. She is spontaneous and not afraid to do things that people might consider weird or risky if she feels good about it.

31. She is also very traditional in a lot of ways--but not to conform to outside institutions.

32. She's generally unconcerned about what people think of her. Which allows her to be the wonderful woman she is. She naturally does what she does in a very congruent, true-to-herself way.

33. She loves me unconditionally. She fell in love with me when I was a 300 pound gay kid who hadn't gone on a mission and had no idea what he was going to do with his life. That love has never shifted to any degree as the years have passed and I have lost weight, grown up, and found my path.

34. She is a great cook.

35. She is selfless and wonderful and everything I've ever wanted in a partner. I cannot imagine my life without her. She is everything to me.

I don't know if a husband has ever been more in love with his wife than I love my Lolly.

Happy birthday sweet girl!

This is my all-time favorite picture of Lolly. I love it because she looks gorgeous and sultry, but what you can't tell looking at the picture is that she and I were totally joking around and having fun, and this was her being ridiculously silly. I love all that this picture represents about her. (It's in Cafe Rio, which she loves. It shows her deep blue eyes. Her love for me. We're having fun. We're eating food. She's drinking water to be healthy. Etc, etc. etc.)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Boating (in which Lolly pretends she is in a music video)

I went boating. I boat now. (Name that movie. (The movie reference would actually be "sailing."))

So, Lolly and I had a really nice weekend. Spent time with friends. Showed the girls how to do some hard work by participating in a service project clearing out ivy at a local park. Went to the the Puyallup fair where the kids went on tons of rides and ate cotton candy and kettle corn and giggled and laughed and I had a Krusty Pup and curly fries and Lolly got scones and we built memories. (We built good memories until the major Viva melt-down of 2013 as we went home that resulted in me questioning why I thought it was a good idea to bring children into this world in the first place, and that led me to actually utter the phrase "If you don't stop acting like this you will never go to a fair again." At that point, the memories were not so good.)

But one of the major highlights of the weekend was boating...

Friday, September 13, 2013

Return of the FFAQ (which you should sing to the tune of "Return of the Mack") UPDATED WITH WINNER

*See below for results

Do you have that song in your head now?

If not, let me help you:

Who is surprised that this is one of Lolly's favorite songs? Knowing her fondness for black men, I'm certainly not... 

All right, now that we got that out of the way, let's get down to business.

It's time for FFAQ (Friday's Frequently Asked Question)!

I'm actually really excited to do a FFAQ again. It's been way too long. Thanks for helping to remind this week what a fun, important part of my blog this is. 

If you're new here, here's how this goes down: ask a question in the comments. Any question. About anything. People will vote on the questions that accrue by placing the word "ditto" under the question they most like. Whichever question gets the most "dittoes" I will answer in a post next Friday. And so on and so forth into perpetuity. It's not the most elegant system, but it does work.

Questions that get chosen tend to be somewhat short, very direct and clearly written. The earlier in the day you ask, the more time you have to get dittoes. I've been tempted in the past to do two separate days (one for asking questions and one for posting dittoes) but I've decided against it because I don't want things to get too confusing (dittoes happening during the question-asking phase and such). Historically, questions asked hours into the day have been winners, so I think there is plenty of time to get a question out there in time to win. Also: many of the questions I've answered so far have won only after having not gotten enough votes in previous weeks, so recycled questions are a really good idea, and you definitely shouldn't feel bad if yours doesn't get dittoes this week--people's whims change. There is no dumb question ever, and I've occasionally used questions that got very few dittoes in the past as a diving board for non-ffaq posts.

Your question can be about gayness, or it can be about anything else that might intrigue you (ADD, counseling, family life, llamas, etc.). I try to be as real, honest, open and vulnerable as I can as I answer these questions, and they have the tendency to go pretty deep. However, some winners have been light-hearted and fun as well.

All right folks, let's do this thing. Good luck, and let the questions begin!!!

UPDATED: The voting is over (and in fact no votes after 1:00am this morning--24 hours--count). The winning question has been selected, and I will answer it next Friday. Thanks for yet another great FFAQ! This one was a really close one--the winner won by one vote--so definitely recycle the runner up. 

Next Friday I'll be answering the following question: Being married to a wonderful man, who happens to be gay, I wonder if you have any advice? How common are mixed orientation marriages? How are they different, how are they alike?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A cloying mess of thank you + a video made by Lolly

Well, wow.

I'm not sure what happened yesterday. I wasn't expecting to write such an insecure-sounding post. But I'm glad I did, because your comments and emails were so, so refreshing and helpful. 

I'm probably not going to be able to describe to you how relieving it was to have so many of you share your thoughts yesterday. The answers varied, but there was a general theme of people being truly kind and welcoming and open and patient and accepting and loving. As I read your responses and suggestions, I realized that many of you guys actually know me. Thank you for that. Thank you for reading and for getting to know me. Thank you for being supportive and kind. I consider you all friends, and I have really, really fond feelings for you. (Sorry to be so cheese-dog, but I'm really feelin' it right now.) There have been times over the last year when I felt like I was a laughing-stock, where I felt like I was bearing my soul to an audience ready to pounce on me and attack anything I had to say, just looking for the first thing to criticize--and it's no wonder I didn't feel safe posting with that image in my mind. Your responses yesterday proved that to be so, blessedly wrong. Your comments were a like tender conversation with a good friend--kind and loving, filled with good advice and acceptance, ending in a warm hug.

I can't tell you how much I needed that right now. 

Yesterday gives me the courage and comfort to pour myself into this blog. It gives me the courage to speak. It gives me the courage to open up and continue to be vulnerable, putting my words and pictures and family and precious things and deep thoughts and not-so-deep thoughts out there. There is more I have to say--I have more to offer than humorous ditties. There are posts that are written, important posts, that are in my draft folder because I was starting to let fear overtake me. I was forgetting you exist--this group of people that is so kind and giving and wonderful. This group that actually cares about me and my life; that wants what's best for me and my family; that wants me to reach deep and just be myself. Knowing you are out there, even if things get dicey and controversial, helps me to feel the courage I need to keep "keepin' it real". And I know that, statistically, for every person who left a supportive comment, there are many more who are silently supportive and loving and caring and amazing. Thanks to all of you as well.

I hope nobody has gotten sick to their stomach reading this cloying mess of "thank you" but I wanted to make sure I expressed it and expressed it well. Thank you for being you. It helps me to be me. 

In closing--and completely changing the subject--here's a video of the girls after they find a dead bird. 

I love how Viva doesn't want to show me at the end. She probably knows it would make me sad, as the death of birds generally it weird that I also take spiders outside and let them live instead of squashing them?

All right peeps. Sleep well. And thanks again. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Blog Mission Statement

It's official: I forgot how to blog.

I open the draft page almost every day, and then can't think of what to write. Then I write HUGE long posts that are really, really boring and over-the-top that I could never publish. Then I start hundreds of teeny drafts that are just... dumb.

Today I realized what the problem is. This blog has forgotten what it was. Or it maybe never really knew.

It started out in '10 as a blog about ADD. The main goal at that point was to write every single day for a month just to prove to myself that I could do something like that every day for a month. I think I achieved that goal? I can't remember now. Maybe I missed the last day or something, but I got really close at very least. And then after that, it started dying off. I had told a lot of my stories. It just didn't feel right. 

Then, strangely, you get to this post, where I was somehow feeling the winds of change. I was ready to start letting my humorous side show. The thing I love about that post is that you can tell I have no idea whether I'll actually continue blogging or maybe have it crumble into nothingness. Like, I could feel some shift was happening, but I also knew that there was just as good a likelihood that I would get distracted and do something else.

And then the very next post, everything was different. It was connected to the old stuff, but the tone changed. I became more myself. Or at least the light-hearted version of myself. 

Then last year happened and the blog became about gayness. And that was important. But now... I have this feeling like that the aftermath of the coming out post has petered out. It feels like something that happened in the past, as opposed to a hurricane that I am in the middle of. Things feel less urgent. The discussion has shifted. My life has shifted, normalized. 

And now I don't know what I'm doing here anymore. 

I don't know what this thing is supposed to be.

Ideally, it is an extension of myself and my thoughts. But there is such a mish mash in my head that I lack a clear focus. A purpose. Like, when you come to The Weed, what are you going to get? What is the endgame? What am I trying to accomplish? What governing ideas keep this thing going?

(And even right now, my brain is saying "this isn't funny. Shouldn't this be funny? You're being too serious right now. Too bland. People are falling asleep. YOU are falling asleep.")

Sometimes the voice in my head needs to shut up.

I am going to write a mission statement, and then I'm going to press publish, and then I'm going to get ready as fast as humanly possible so I'm not late to work, and I'm not going to over think this.

Mission Statement: Here at The Weed, you will see the thoughts of Josh Weed as he reflects on his day, his life, or on current events. He will try to post daily. Except when he doesn't. And he is going to try really hard to be real and be himself and not try to be anything he is not. Sometimes he is funny. Sometimes he is boring. Sometimes he is angry. And sometimes he's kinda lame. 

But he is pretty real.

So, that's what you get here. 

*Contented sigh*

That feels nice.

(Side-note: It's funny that this post landed on being "real", because one year ago, we decided the tagline for the blog was "all kinds of real". That is serendipity and a signal that all is right in the world and angels just started singing and I can hear the Hallelujah chorus in the background right now at the sheer simplicity and majestic inevitability of that coincidence.)

I'm gonna be so real that I'm leaving that ridiculous parenthetical that the voice in my head is telling me to cut out.

You're welcome. 

You'll be hearing from me again tomorrow. Probably.  

In the meantime, I'd love your thoughts: what do think of the mission statement? Also, what do you enjoy reading here at The Weed?

Monday, September 2, 2013

The definition of "intimacy"

Today I was busy writing in my office which, if you'll remember, is actually just an antique sewing machine shoved into the corner of a small walk-in closet.


Lolly had been having some quiet reflection time in our bedroom. I could tell as I passed by on my way to my office that she was pondering deeply. Reading. Saying prayers. Meditating. Gaining insight. I tried not to disturb her and quietly ducked into my little room and got busy writing.

After an hour or so, she opened the door. "Sweety," she said lovingly. "I was just thinking about you and how grateful I am for you." She looked at me tenderly.

I was touched. I was there in that little office working hard, writing, trying to focus. It was nice to think she had been reflecting on her love for me. "Thank you," I said.

"No, thank you. Thank you for working so hard for our little family." She came in and gave me a tearful kiss and a hug. I could tell she had been having very warm thoughts about me, and about us. Her hug was meaningful and heartfelt, and I felt so glad to be married to this wonderful, beautiful woman.

The moment was sweet and very tender. And then she started laughing. "Also, you should probably leave this closet."