Monthly Archives: September 2010

It Gets Better

You may have heard recently about the teenagers who committed suicide recently because of the bullying they experienced in school because of their sexuality. Dan Savage and his husband Terry started a project on youtube called It Gets Better.  The channel has videos of gays and lesbians telling today’s gay youth that it does, in fact, get better.  Hang in there for now, because the other side is better.  After high school is better, getting out of whatever awful place you’re in – it really does get better.  Dan said,

I wish I could have talked to this kid for five minutes. I wish I could have told Billy that it gets better. I wish I could have told him that, however bad things were, however isolated and alone he was, it gets better.

But gay adults aren’t allowed to talk to these kids. Schools and churches don’t bring us in to talk to teenagers who are being bullied. Many of these kids have homophobic parents who believe that they can prevent their gay children from growing up to be gay—or from ever coming out—by depriving them of information, resources, and positive role models.

Why are we waiting for permission to talk to these kids? We have the ability to talk directly to them right now. We don’t have to wait for permission to let them know that it gets better. We can reach these kids.

Anyway, go watch videos; that’s what I’m going to do when I finish writing this.  But in the meantime, I wanted to talk a little bit about my experiences coming out.  This can be a long story, because it happened, for me, over years.  I think that it first registered for me around age 12, and I consider the summer before my senior year of college to be when I really came out, which was age 21 – so nine years. Nine years, you guys.  That’s a long story.

My mom with me, way before this story, because who doesn't love a good baby picture?

Anyway, here’s the short version, the major points (some of which is a repeat): when I was 12, I told my mom that I thought I was bisexual, and she tried to be supportive.  She told me that a lot of people go through that phase, or something along those lines.  I remember sort of sighing and feeling frustrated that she thought it was a phase, but not talking about it more than that.  We were driving, and I remember exactly where in town we were; my mom has no memory of this conversation.  After that, I told several of my good friends that I was bisexual, and within a few months, one of them told me that I was doing it just to get attention.  So I went back into the closet and shut the door behind me.

me, late middle school, dating the one on the left

Because, you guys, I wasn’t sure.  I didn’t know how to know.  If I could talk to 12 year old me, I would tell her to trust herself; that people who are straight might have curiosity, but (as far as I know), not the doubt that I had.  That said, I wonder how much harder things would have been if I had been out then.  I always felt this strange (er, what seemed strange then) affinity to people who were out, as though we could see something in each other; I still wonder if they saw that something in me.

me, high school, clearly mature for my age...

Fast forward, oh, nine years – I’m walking across campus to the library after getting dinner, and I’m thinking about a class I’m taking, Bioethics and Reproduction, and it crosses my mind that, if I have kids, I want to adopt.  And with that realization, suddenly, I realize that I will never have the perfect family: I won’t have a husband and two and a half biological kids and a Golden Retriever.  I want a German Shepherd anyway, and while we’re changing dog breeds and the biological origin of my potential children, hell, who wants a husband anyway?  And I go back to the library and send this girl I had a crush on (in the back of my mind) an email asking her out to dinner.  That’s a different story (and a short one at that).

Anyway, I then spent the whole summer agonizing over whether I might be gay.  When I was drunk (it was college, duh), I knew I was gay.  Of course I was gay – how could I doubt it? But sober, I wasn’t sure.  A lesbian friend of mine insisted I wasn’t, and I still resent that – I thought she was an authority on the subject, and she would know better than I.  You guys! You know better than anyone else who you’re attracted to. Better than anyone else.

pensive... pretty sure I'm wondering whether I'm gay in this picture. The button-down shirt, I think, should have given it away.

At the end of that summer, I ended up in the most wonderful housing situation I have been in until I moved in with my wife.  I lived with my former college roommate and two friends, a lesbian couple.  Susannah would send me instant messages – while we were in the same room, usually – suggesting that I might be gay in obvious but not-pushy way.  I blushed and laughed a lot.  She and her girlfriend talked me into going to various gay-oriented events, including one where various faculty and college employees talked about their coming out experiences.

best housemates ever; despite the downs, the ups were amazing.

fantastic college roommate

I wish this had happened years before it did.

It was pouring out and we were all clustered into this little room with students and faculty and staff, and I was sitting next to this one girl I’d noticed in classes and my hand was really close to her hand. Really close, and I had never been as fluttery and nervous as I was then.

Blah blah blah, within a month I was kissing her in her dorm room, and now here I am, married to a woman and ready to fight most of the WIC*.

Okay, and what is the point of this?

The point, for me, is that I had to see a lot of people in their normal, healthy, same-sex relationships to realize how okay it was, to realize how normal it was, to finally let myself recognize myself in those relationships.  I don’t know that this part of my story will help anyone else, but other peoples’ stories really, truly did help me.

happy. grateful. (photo by E. Leonardsmith)

What is your story?

Next up: on the couples that inspire us, and on being one of those couples.

*Wedding Industrial Complex



Filed under gay, Marriage/Wedding/Engagement, Relationships

Wifely Welcome Back

eep! we got married!

After Turtle and I got engaged, things shifted.  This was something that I had not expected – it didn’t occur to me that we would really *feel* different, just that we would start planning a wedding, that it would be exciting, that we would be and know that we were more committed.  But it did change: one day I looked around at our cozy little apartment, and everything suddenly felt more like home.  It felt more ours, more solid, more like a wonderful sanctuary of our home.

Well, then we done went and got married (hi! I’m back!).  And our wedding was amazing, perfect, and our honeymoon was wonderful and also perfect, and besides saying things like, “What would you like for dinner, Wife?” and “Wife? Where are you?” and “Good morning, wife of mine,” things didn’t feel much different, which I have to say sort of surprised me.

And then today, we got up, I made my wife lunch, I drove my wife to work, and I came home and it hit me.  You guys, we’re married. And home feels more like home.  Everything somehow feels more secure, more treasured.  How strange and wonderful is that?

Okay, blah blah blah, being married is awesome, you want to hear about the wedding?  Well, we don’t get our pictures for somewhere between 2 and 7 weeks, so you’re going to have to wait for the awesomeness that our awesome photographers captured.  I got to see one picture and it was amazing, so I’m trying to be patient and remind myself of how awesome it will be to relive our wedding day in a few weeks.

but in the meantime, here's a pretty picture for you (photo by s. merand)

What else can I tell you? It all came together wonderfully in the two days leading up to the wedding.  A friend of ours created our ketubah within 24 hours, and another friend drove an hour to get it printed on beautiful paper, and a third friend made all the little lines for people to sign, and it is beautiful.  We designed our programs perfectly and then found out that the soonest they could arrive would be Monday after the wedding… but my college roommate skipped class to come up and help us make new programs, which we loved even more.  Turtle’s best friend made our card box and our quilt box and a wonderful sign to show people where to go.  Turtle’s college roommate showed up and said, “I’m coordinating your wedding,” and she did, and it was amazing.  Our caterer was as fantastic as we had hoped, our flowers were beautiful, and on a whim I bought Turtle a wreath of hair flowers that she had drunkenly mentioned wanting to wear at her wedding someday two years ago.  I was an awesome fiancee, and I hope to be an awesome wife.  So far, so good.

one way to be an awesome wife: Hold the snake at the post-wedding festivities, but do not bring the snake home. Success! Bird=awesome wife. (Also, this should be a preview for our amazing post-wedding activities!)

Anyway, more wedding-day fun to come sooner or later, but in the meantime, I will regale you with tales of invitations, wedding rings, bachelorette parties (ugh, still feel nauseated – and happy! – thinking about it), and pre-wedding take-out feasts.

So, um, how was your last week, guys?  Hope it was awesome.


Filed under Home, Marriage/Wedding/Engagement


photo by Sara Merand

Hi everyone –

I just wanted to pop in and say hello, and that posting will be light for the next week.  And by light, I mean there will not be any posts until at least Sunday, because we are off to celebrate our marriage in the mountains and the woods and we are not taking the internet with us! Goodbye internet! When I return, lots of wedding goodness for you.

For now, let me just say that I spent a long time thinking that when people said your wedding was “the best day of your life,” they were cheapening other things and exaggerating and trying to force that “my one day as a princess” mindset on me.  But really, really, these last few days were possibly, and probably, the best days of my life.  The people who came made it magical, and my wife continues to help us both hold onto that magic.

So now – off to the woods! Enjoy your week, friends.


Little Mrs. Roughit 🙂


Filed under Marriage/Wedding/Engagement

Guest Post: On being married

Hi everyone! Right now we are running around like crazy trying to get everything ready, so this won’t be long, but here is a wonderful post from Mandi of AtVermont. This will post WHILE WE’RE GETTING MARRIED (technology is amazing)… so read, enjoy, and think good thoughts of us! Sorry for the lame intro, Mandi, and thanks for writing! Also, Turtle just announced that she loves your blog and has started spewing facts about you… “Yeah, I know about them.”


Let’s just get this out of the way… Confession: I’ve never met Turtle or Bird. Several months ago I was cruising through the blogosphere and some how came upon Bird’s blog. I’m not sure if it was a Google search, something like “lesbians getting married” or if I clicked on someone’s blogroll and ended up here. Either way, I’ve been reading almost daily since the first glance. I suppose my interest comes from being a newly married lesbian myself or from the openness and honesty that you get from reading Bird’s thoughts and ideas. If I weren’t already hooked, I would have been when she posted those favor ideas. They touched my inner hippie.

Just over a year ago my wife-who-I-call-wife-even-though-we-are-married-in-Vermont-and-live-in-Florida-where-our-marriage-is-not-legal and I were getting ready for our own wedding. Our wedding story is a bit different as we had our ceremony and reception at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida and shortly after got legally married in Burlington, Vermont, but the preparation and feelings going into the big day were similar. The day itself was amazing and everything we could have imagined. Sure there were little mishaps, the CD of music didn’t work, and a couple of guests got lost and had to be ushered in at the last minute, but when it comes down to it, our day was perfect because it was our day. To me, a wedding day is a time for friends and family to come together and show love and support for the two people that are making the commitment to each other. It is a day to announce and celebrate the beginning of two lives combined.

In the past year or so I have learned many things and from these things I would like to offer a little advice:

First of all, I have learned that despite being married, being an adult, and living a completely “out” life, I will perpetually have to “come out” to people. For some reason before the wedding I thought things might be different afterwards. Perhaps I thought it wouldn’t matter (as it shouldn’t) if I was married or who I was married to. As it turns out, it does. I work in a position where I meet lots of new people everyday, and I mean LOTS. In this position I am constantly being asked, “Are you married?” “What does your husband do?” “Do you cook for your husband a lot?” Can anyone say awkward? I’ve learned to deal with these questions by being open and honest. From my experience, “straight from the heart”, matter of fact honesty is the best weapon against hostility and I’ve found many supporters in places that I would have never expected them. For instance, the 85 year old volunteer from Wisconsin who recently told me, “Isn’t it wonderful when you are in a partnership with someone, like you and Ashley, and you can do nice things for them?” This brings me to another thing that I’ve learned. People are more supportive than you might think, especially when you live openly.

Another major thing that Ashley and I have learned together is that when things go wrong and arguments happen (and arguments do happen) it is probably because we are not spending enough time together or we are not communicating as we should be. This is why we try to eat dinner at the table together most nights. We designate that time to talk about our day or whatever else is on our minds. It’s a good habit to get into because over time you can start to relax and forget to ask about their day or wander off into your own little world.

Oh, and one last thing: The four kisses rule. Years ago we were listening to a local morning radio show and they were discussing longevity of relationships. The host read from a survey that couples that had been married for a long period of time had kissed on average at least four times per day. So, we enacted the four kisses rule. No matter what is happening, who is stressed, who is depressed, we always have to get in four kisses. And it sounds dumb but hey, it has worked so far right?

My congratulations to Turtle and Bird!


Filed under Marriage/Wedding/Engagement

Out of the woodwork (and into bars, dining rooms, and post offices)

Two weeks ago, a friend of mine who got married last summer said, “Just wait until the week before your wedding.  It is so full of love… that was the most amazing week ever.”  Well, two weeks before my wedding, I was all “WHAT WERE YOU TALKING ABOUT THIS IS NOT FULL OF LOVE.”  Two weeks before our wedding, things were effing nuts, stressful, we were bickering all the time, and I was crying in therapy.

Then Saturday happened, and marked the change from that week into this week – if you use the right kind of calendar – and DUDE. She was right.  The love, it is coming from everywhere. The love is coming from people I’ve never met, it’s coming from our bridal brigade, it’s coming from my family and Turtle’s family, and from people I’ve almost lost touch with. It’s amazing.

So here, my friends, is how it’s happening.

First, I had a bachelorette party. Amazing in and of itself, and I won’t ruin the recap for you with more teaser pictures now, but suffice it to say that walking into a room full of strangers and friends and a man named John ready to serenade me was a-maze-ing. And you would think that being violently ill for the next day might taint the experience, but no no no… it just showed me more love.  While I was like this:

My sister showed up to help Turtle make beautiful escort cards, like this:

AND, because they know me so well, they whipped out the camera to document the process so that I could blog about it later.

Moh and Turtle hard at work.

Then! You guys! I got home last night and found some boxes at my front door.  Not unusual when you’re getting married in, um, two days, but these boxes said “Perishable” on them, which seemed a little strange…

I got way too excited about what this could possibly be to document the entire box-opening experience, but look at what I found inside!

Could it really be... a pie?

AH! It really is a pie!

...with the sweetest note.

You guys, some bees sent us pies! THANK YOU, Mrs. Quiche and Ms. Snapdragon – you two are amazing. I am blown away by the sweetness. It took a lot of self-control to not eat this last night… who knows if it will make it until the wedding, or mysteriously disappear in the nighttime (What pies?? Crumbs around my mouth? Don’t know what you’re talking about.), but still: amazing.

Here are my deep wedding advice thoughts two days before our wedding:

1. What matters and doesn’t matter will be clear, and the combination of crazed and zen is really an interesting combination to experience.

2. Love WILL come out of the woodwork, and you will (probably) be ready to accept it. Bask in it, because a week isn’t very long.

3. If your wedding is still months away, and you think maybe it’s too early to start some project like decorations or cake toppers or your outfit for the afterparty… it is NOT too early. It’s not.  Because a month before your wedding and a week before your wedding you’ll realize there are all these other details that are WAY MORE important than how pretty your table numbers are.  So go for it now, and ignore people who seem to think it’s too early. Do what feels good for you.

4. Did I already mention bask in it?

The support that internet people have shown me and us in the last 9 months has been absolutely amazing, and far more than I ever expected.  Thank you for your comments and your messages and your good thoughts.  Writing has been such a good thing for me and for my sanity, and knowing you all are here reading is what keeps me coming back – so thank you for just reading, too.

And happy my-almost-wedding day!  Maybe I’ll be back here tomorrow.. but otherwise, see you on the other side!

celebrate! (um, NOT my wedding dress, don't you worry... also, doesn't it look good with my chacos???)


Filed under Marriage/Wedding/Engagement

Courtesy post

Things to not do in the week before your wedding:

Forget to take your anxiety pills for two days straight. Slash be unable to keep anything down. EVEN IF YOU CAN’T KEEP ANYTHING DOWN, TAKE YOUR PILLS. What are you thinking, dude. Seriously.

me, Sunday afternoon, trying to maybe keep some yogurt down. Have you ever seen such a sad face?

A long bicycle ride, tea with a friend, and a lovely therapy session had better fix this. I AM LOOKING AT YOU, tea with friend, bicycle ride, and therapist. Not “no pressure” – this is totally pressure. FIX IT.

Thanks, world.

Bird, who will be FREAKING CALM in four days. I swear.

(And because I’m being a lazy writer and referencing things without any photographic evidence, I give you a bachelorette party preview:

the front says Gay Bachelorette Party

Support Gay Marriage: a dollar a dance


Filed under Marriage/Wedding/Engagement

Hello from CrazyBrideTown, or This is Not My Life

Hello, lovelies! Did you miss me? Did you wonder where I was?

I was in CRAZY BRIDE TOWN. And now I am back. And by back, I mean poking my head in to say hello to the people who faithfully visit this page. Hello!

So here’s what’s happening, guys: that little countdown ticker dude on the right side of this page is counting down. It’s a stubborn little thing, but luckily I caught on a few weeks ago that it was counting down till midnight on the 17th, so it appeared to be a day ahead of time.  Glad I realized that when I did because otherwise I would be FREAKING OUT right now. Not that I’m not already.

So here’s what is happening:

1. I got my hair flower. It is amazing! I love it so very much, and try it on at inappropriate times. Hair flower drama: I thought I would wear it on the right side of my head, but now I have to wear it on the left, because it turns out Turtle always hugs me on my right side, and the flower would scratch her face. Oh the decisions!

my flower, made by a fellow bee! click for source

2. My suit, nearly perfect, disappeared in the mail on its way back to MacheteNSons for final alterations.  It appears that it spent 7 days sitting in a processing facility in Denver, CO, and is now making its way through Des Moines, IA back to me. They never received it.  But GET THIS! Well, before you get this, let me tell you that if you ever need a suit, you must get it from AJ and Lianna. They are amazing. Here is what you must get: they are making me a new suit, from scratch, RIGHT NOW. And then they will overnight it to me.  Seriously, folks, this is the best customer service I have ever gotten, ever, not to mention a really nice suit. Go buy yourself something.

3. I had a bachelorette party. There will be an entire post about this sometime soon, but in the meantime, here is a scene from Sunday: my father is at our house, watching football, and I am more or less passed out on the couch, possibly hungover, but probably still drunk from the night before.  Turtle walks in, looks around, declares, “This is not my life!” and walks out. Hilarious.  Also, her mom cleaned up my vomit.  If that isn’t a big ol’ “Welcome to the family, we really love you!” I just don’t know what is.

4. We, um, finished our ketubah/marriage certificate text.  And that happened about an hour ago.  And now we are in a desperate search to find somewhere that can make it look pretty on nice paper by Friday. Does such a place exist? Do you have graphic design skills and want to help us?

5. My vows make me cry, and I’m only reading them to myself, in my head.  My dress has pockets for tissues. Yay, good decision-making!

6. Do you want to write a guest post while I am on my honeymoon? Please say yes.

view from our future honeymoon locale! click for source.

Thank you all for reading, and sorry for the absence… but ZOMG. 5 days! Or 4, if you read this at a reasonable hour.  Strangely, or maybe not strangely, I am feeling both crazy stressed out and very calm at the same time. Not sure how that works.

Leave me your words of wisdom, your secrets to inner peace, and the contact info for your favorite graphic designer! And remember, dear readers: it is all going to be wonderful, even if it’s not what you had planned 10 months ago.


Filed under Marriage/Wedding/Engagement