Blog Posts

Posted in Ali

Countdown to Bus Life

So we’ve decided: We’re living on a bus.

Currently we’re in the final stages of choosing the right skoolie, and of spending every waking minute studying and learning all we can about the beginning steps. We talk about it, dream about it, plan and plan and plan. We are itching to get started, to get our hands on it and work.

This we know of our new home so far: It’ll be a full sized school bus, and her name will be Serenity, after the beautiful cargo ship on Firefly. If you’ve ever seen the show, I’m gunning to be Kaylee. It’ll be just as full of love and pictures and tea as our current home is now.

But until we have photos of our new beauty and the progress we’re making, I want to tell you the why that led us here. If you are like most of us twenty-somethings, you understand the struggle of living paycheck to paycheck, and then spending most of that paycheck on rent. Saving up for your dreams (of which we have many) is damn near impossible. You get stuck in this rut of making money only to spend it on the things you need to keep making money. It’s exhausting, and it wears you down mentally and physically.

So here’s the pro of the bus: no rent. Other than maintaining the bus, we will have solar electric and run our own plumbing, and the main thing we will be spending money on is internet. We can travel at will, live with only the essentials, and save money for land. And that’s our big dream: a beautiful stretch of earth to claim as our own. To carve out a home for us and ours, a place full of plants and love and hard work. We can roll our moving home right up on it and get our hands in the dirt.

We want a few acres in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by stars and trees and sunshine. We want to grow food and babies and stories. I’m a small town farm girl at heart and it’s all I’ve ever ached to have. We can cook around a big fire at night, laughing and passing around beer and mead and wine. I even look forward to the days that are too hot or too cold and we fall asleep so exhausted we can barely stand anymore. I want to dance under a huge harvest moon, shirtless and wild and drunk on the warm air. I want to ready the land for winter and rest with the seasons. I want to know when it’s going to rain by the way the air tastes.

Right now we are in the middle of a city. You can hear the cars and the people still restless and running in the dead of night. You can’t see the stars through the lights that never turn off. It’s all too loud and too big and too much.

I dream of nights full of fireflies and days full of dirt smudged faces and being thawed out by the sun. This bus is one giant step in that direction. And we are in the countdown days to making that dream come true.

We will document this journey here, every step. We couldn’t be more excited.

Posted in Rife

Life Outside the Lines

I threw my parents their first curveball in college: mom. dad. I’m gay. It was the first time I’d brought home anything resembling real disappointment, but saying it made me feel freer, if anything. Since then, I’ve thrown them several more, each a little more divergent than the last: I’m transgender. I’m poly. At this point, the only thing they can be sure to expect from me is the unexpected.

There’s something incredibly freeing about that. Having stepped off the yellow brick road, why, there’s anywhere you can go. And, like frayed hem, the whole thing starts to come apart. Once the questioning began, the floodgates could not be closed: Why must I adhere to gender roles designed to attract men? What is gender anyways? What defines sexuality? Why can’t I have more than one partner?

Crushed under a mound of debt and working an hourly wage job, I came to wonder, too: Doesn’t everyone deserve a real, living wage? Why must healthcare be so expensive? Who is being served by this economy? Why am I defined by my career? Is my labor the only thing I have to offer the world?

I guess my “why?” phase came about twenty-some years late.

So when Adam and Ali pitched their idea, let’s live on a bus, I didn’t want to reject it out of hand. Sure, it was crazy. But all three of us are a little crazy. We had to be, to arrive at this point in our lives. Had to stare down the barrel of a traditional life and turn away.

Now I’ll admit, strange as I am, I wasn’t quite crazy enough to love this idea right from the start. I thought about the lack of space, trying to fit all these bodies in 200 square feet. Everything that I would have to give up, like our giant couch or our beloved bookshelves.

But then, the more I thought about it, the more I loved it. Sure, there would be sacrifices. But once completed, our project would grant us a kind of financial freedom we’ve not known in adulthood. Freedom to save money, expand our businesses, purchase real estate, travel. We’d never be homeless.

So what if we’re the crazy queer poly triad with a bunch of dogs who live in a bus?

I like it.

Posted in Adam

To Bus, or not to Bus…

I have – at least to some extent – a nomadic heart.

While I can easily grow feelings of fondness toward places and want to maintain the ability to come back to them regularly, I have yet to feel any underlying urge to put down permanent roots in one place. For years I have dreamed of various ways for me to explore and travel. At times I dreamed of only owning what I could fit in a vehicle. I dreamed of spending my days camping and hiking and visiting all the national parks I could reach. Other times I dreamed of converting a van into a tiny little home on wheels. I’ve dreamed of summer days on the road, driving with the windows down, music loud, on some grand adventure to some remote destination I’d only ever seen in pictures…

But I had previously only ever imagined doing it on my own. Who would be crazy enough to do anything like that with someone like me?

Well, a similar bug has officially taken a big ol’ bite out of Rife and Ali, too.

Enter, stage left: Buslife

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, let me explain. Bus life is basically like the tiny-home craze that’s sweeping the country, except on wheels. People buy buses (sometimes new, but usually retired school/city/tour buses), gut them out, and rebuild them for long-term living. They install kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, dining areas… Think “RV” except built by hand in a gutted-out bus.

Photo from The Wild Drive – Click the photo to visit their page

I’m willing to bet that many of you already think we’re nuts. That’s okay. The way I see it, you have to be at least some kind of nuts for this type of thing. But let’s be honest – doesn’t it sound thrilling? We don’t intend to live and travel in our bus full-time forever. This is more of a stepping stone between us and our more distant dreams. We may possibly be living in the bus for at least some span of time, however. The goal with the bus is to get out of the ever-looming shadow of monthly, over-expensive rent/utility payments. That way we can do more than just slowly chip away at our boulder of debt over the span of 5+ years.

It’s daunting – to say the least – but even through everything we’ve found to be nervous about, our excitement has always overcome our fear at the end of the day.

So here we are; interestingly poised to possibly be ready to leap head-first into this dreamy new project, but also with a lot of things still unsteady and scary. Do we make the leap? Or do we find another safer but undoubtedly much longer route around to our end goal?

Time will tell for sure, but until then, we’d love to hear what you think! Have any of you ever had similar dreams? Have any of you ever actually done anything like this? Do you know someone who has? Let us know! Oh, and if you can spare any extra good vibes, we’d wholeheartedly appreciate them being sent our way. We’re gonna need ’em.

Posted in Adam, Ali, Rife

Our Love in Motion

Hello loves! Instead of a regular blog post this week, we decided to get a little more personal. As much as we love writing about polyamory and all the different ways it can work, we want the main theme to be a little more intimate: the beautiful alchemy that is our triad. We hope you enjoy this video and that it gives you a little more insight into our family. (Featuring a Humane Society’s worth of dogs.)

Posted in Adam, Ali, Rife

Inked!

Hello friends! So today we are sitting in Starbucks as we write this (and file quarterly business taxes which are due tomorrow). Let me tell you babes, there is not enough coffee in the world this week, but I’m so excited to be able to relax for a bit and write this post. We had a sweet follower ask about our tattoos over Instagram, and we realized that we hadn’t really shared our body art or the meanings behind any of the pieces! We are all pretty inked up, so we’re each just going to pick some of our favorites to share and elaborate on.

Ali

I love my wedding ring tattoos. Even though legally we can’t all be married, I know that these two are stuck with me forever. I have a leaf for Rife and a bear paw for Adam. They both have three dots under them (past, present, and future), and let me just say, finger tattoos hurt. But they are my favorite. I got them tattooed instead of just wearing rings because massage therapists aren’t allowed to wear rings while working and I didn’t want to take them off. I also have a triad tattoo on my chest, a triangle made up of purple (Rife), blue (Adam), and green (me) lines.

If you know me at all, you know Firefly is my absolute favorite show ever. It’s more than just a story to me, but a way of life, and it got me through so many hard times. When I got kicked out I watched the episodes on my phone repetitively, remembering to “keep flying” no matter what. I got the words “you can’t take the sky from me” (part of the theme song) across my chest while I was in a very unhealthy relationship. It was my small, rebellious way of saying, you aren’t going to keep me down. I will make it out of this. I can make it out of anything.

The very first tattoo I ever got was when I was 18. It was an autumn leaf on my left hip and I kept it a secret for years. Desperately in need of a touch-up, it’s still one of my favorites to this day. I also have an elephant with sacred geometry on my thigh, “I’m enough” on my inner arm, and a half sleeve on one arm and a full sleeve on the other of a woodland scene. We’re still working on the full sleeve but I’m crazy excited about it.

Rife

The first tattoo I ever got were the words “rescue is possible” across my right shoulder blade; I got it as a reminder that there was a light at the end of the tunnel, for when my mental health was too poor to remember on my own. I was 19 at the time, and a lot of things have changed since then; I can look back and see how much I’ve grown and the trials I’ve overcome, and know that I can make it through whatever I’m struggling with at the time.

On my left shoulder, I have a clock with gears, a symbol of the grandfather that helped raise and shape me into the person I am today. I feel lucky to have inherited his methodical and tenacious mind, and his giving nature.

The mandala on my calf is a symbol present in a great many different spiritualities, as well as various fields of discipline, from science to psychology. Carl Jung said, “a mandala is the psychological expression of the totality of self.” For me, it represents the sacred and constant work of my journey as a person.

I have a sea-themed thigh piece and a mountain-themed forearm piece, both revolving around my deep love of nature. The more tattoos I get, the less important it is to me that they mean something deep or impactful. To me, my mountain tattoo is one of my favorites simply because it is an aesthetically wonderful piece of art, and portrays one of my happiest places.

Last but not least, I also have a triad tattoo identical to Ali’s, but on my hand. The triangle is an equal and stable geometric form, like our relationship: together we are strongest. It’s a philosophy I strive towards all the time.

Adam

I have fourteen tattoos total. I got my first one at 18 and I’ve been addicted ever since. The range of meaningfulness of my ink is wide and varied; from my son’s name in his mom’s handwriting on the inside of my upper arm, to these two four-leaf clovers (that look like broccoli) on my collar bones just because I was bored and wanted more work done.

My favorites change a lot. Right now my favorite is the mountain scene on my upper right arm. It’s the beginning of a sleeve I’ve been planning for a few years now, though I haven’t picked an artist to finish it for me yet. I plan to make it themed around the rocky mountains, where my wild heart first learned to run free.

I think I’ve actually been the opposite of Rife, in that my first few tattoos were nearly meaningless. As a teenager I was impulsive and had no real concept of the long term future. I lived most of my life in the present and treated every day like I may not get another. But as I’ve grown older, slowed down a bit, and run out of space to put fresh ink, the meanings of the tattoos have become more important.

Though I don’t necessarily regret any of my tattoos, there are a few I plan on covering up when I can. Some are linked to parts of my life I’m ready to let go of, some are taking up space that I’d simply rather have something else, and some are just not very pretty or well done and I’d rather have something that looks better.


As you can see, we’ve got a lot of tattoos between the three of us. Tattoos can be based on anything from a deep and life changing event to just something you thought was pretty. Please feel free to share your own tattoos! Post about them in the comments below or send us an email. Either way, we’d love to see them!

Posted in Ali

Geeky Queer Saga, Part I – Clexa, Xena, and Bill, Oh My!

Let me start out by saying there is no way I can fit all of the amazing queer characters from science fiction and fantasy into one post. I asked for suggestions from friends and had so many wonderful responses. So, this is part one!


Geekery and the LGBTQ+ community go together like polyjuice and butterbeer. Like Kaylee and strawberries. Like Jack Harkness and literally anything that can consent. Just perfectly.

Both groups have spent at least some amount of time as an outcast, being misunderstood. I myself and a very proud member of both. I once went to a panel at DragonCon called “Queer Characters in the Who-Verse” and almost fainted of happiness. My heart has found a home at Hogwarts, in the shaky, wandering walls of the TARDIS, and in the quiet, calm warmth of a hobbit hideaway. But my first love will always be in that beautiful, broken-down cargo ship, Serenity.


In today’s post I wanted to look at some of our favorite LGBTQ+ characters in sci-fi and fantasy. 

L is for the ladies….especially Lexa

Let’s just be honest- Lexa made the hearts of many a fangirl flutter and swoon. I myself fell for that mysterious, dangerous, warrior woman. Who could resist those piercing eyes, that smirk that said she could kill you in a second and she knew it? But can we just talk about this picture for a minute?


Holy balls. No it’s cool- it’s just the heda of the grounders, the commander, on her knees. Begging for loyalty. I’m fine.

Moving on. The thing I love most about this universe is that no one even gives a second thought to Lexa and Clarke being a lesbian couple. It isn’t a big whoopty-doo when Clarke starts out the season loving Bellamy and ends up in the strong, muscular arms of Lexa. There is no uproar from the camp while sky children proclaim “but I thought you liked boyyys!?” Thank. God. It’s like they learn in the future that sexuality is fluid, bi people exist, and weirdly enough, it’s not a big deal.


On the absolute other end of the spectrum is Tara Maclay. Shy, quiet, and much less covered in daggers, this Buffy beauty was one of the first lesbian relationships to air on television. Their first kiss was the first LGBTQ+ scene I had ever witnessed, and I distinctly remember my southern baptist preacher father walking into the room and demanding I turn it off immediately.


Doctor Who has always been amazing about their cast of very diverse and occasionally very queer characters. The latest edition is the wonderful Bill, who tragically falls in love with a multidimensional lady water-monster. (But let’s be honest, who doesn’t have an ex that sounds exactly like that?) And of course we can’t forget Madame Vastra and her human wife Jenny Flint.


Nomi Marks is a character from Sense8 (which I sadly haven’t seen yet), and she is one of the only trans characters I could find in sci-fi/fantasy television. Ya’ll, why aren’t there more trans characters? From what I can gather from researching, her actual transition doesn’t occur during the plot, but there is some mention of it later on. She is engaged to the lovely Amanita Caplan.


Bo Dennis is a succubus from the world of Lost Girl. She is pretty non-discriminatory in her love, verging on a near poly relationship with wolfman Dyson and the sexy fae doctor Lauren. I love both the queerness of Lost Girl and the sex positivity the show provides. Not to mention, werewolves. Sexy, sexy werewolves.


And last but definitely not least, Xena. From the series Xena: Warrior Princess, she is a badass lady who is not-so-secretly in love with her companion Gabrielle. Even though it was never confirmed in the original series, it is said that Xena’s sexuality may finally be brought to light in a reboot.


Honorable mentions: no nerdy post would be complete without the mention of a few beautiful Firefly characters. The not-so-straight member of the crew, Inara, makes her debut with a woman on the episode “War Stories” with the Counsellor, saying she only sleeps with women who are “extraordinary.” You see a little bit of this side of her in “Our Mrs. Reynolds” when the sneaky and sensual Saffron tries to convince her to “take her into her shuttle” and very nearly succeeds before Inara realizes she is a no-good rotten liar.


In the next episode, our boys! From the definitely gay ones (hello Lafayette from True Blood and Renly Baratheon from Game of Thrones) to the ones that don’t give a damn either way, (Jack Harkness flirts with anything that moves and Deadpool is well…. Deadpool) we have some wonderful representation in these handsome hunks. Stay tuned for even more glorious queerness to come.

Posted in Adam

I am a Crazy Dog Person

I have always been around dogs. When I was a baby my parents had a Malamute/Lab mutt named Shithead (his real name was “Mr. Magoo” but no one ever called him that). Growing up we had various mixes of Malamute constantly. Mostly Malamute/Wolf crosses. I can’t remember a time frame longer than a couple months where we didn’t have at least one dog, but we mostly always had two at a time.


I have fond memories of all the dogs my parents had, and I have since grown quite the soft spot for the Malamute breed, but when I finally got a dog that was really mine I didn’t get a Malamute. For reasons unknown, I got a Dachshund.

I was used to having dogs that were 80 – 120 lbs and often mistaken for wolves at first glance, but somehow I fell for a 12-week-old Dachshund puppy.


I named him Zim (his full name was Invader Zimmerman Strauss) and he weighed all of about 5 lbs when I got him. Right from day 1, though, he had no idea how small he was. His heart was easily as rambunctious, curious, and determined as any dog 20 times his size. His voracious appetite for life was infectious and I adored him.

Zim and I got 7 years together before his health deteriorated to a point where it was kinder to euthanize him than it was to try to hang onto him. It was very likely poor breeding that ultimately did him in, as he should have lived much longer. He’s the only purebred dog I’ve ever had, and will be the last. He will also be the only Dachshund I ever have.

After he passed I got his paw-print tattooed on my wrist, and while I’ve had many dogs since him, he was the first to truly settle permanently into my heart in a way that no other dog had before him.

[Click to enlarge photos!]

I’ve had small dogs, medium dogs, and big dogs. I’ve had terrier mixes, bully breed mixes, shepherd mixes, and mutts beyond recognition. I want to take my dogs with me everywhere. If they aren’t with me, I’m thinking and worrying about them. I like to hide treats for them to find while I’m gone, or leave the TV on so they have something to watch. I give each dog I know about 100 different nicknames and call them by them regularly. I let my dogs on the couch. I let my dogs in the bed. My love for them all runs deep and I happily count myself among the crazy dog people. I couldn’t imagine a life without them.

As of right now there are currently seven bodies on our couch (me included) and four of them are dogs. If you’ve checked out our About Us page, then you’re at least briefly familiar with Rory, Ryder, Aspen, and now Zoe. Between the four of them, there’s a total of roughly 200lbs of dog. Many people would call us crazy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

[Click to enlarge photos!]

I hope that I never stop being able to allow a new dog to make a difference in my life. The bonds I have formed with and the lessons I have been taught by the dogs that have come into my life are all uniquely important and beautiful. I remember and cherish every one of them and yet still somehow have endless room for more. I figure the least we can do for an animal so full of love and forgiveness is to love them back in every way possible, and I’m gonna keep doing it for as long as I can.

Who knows? Maybe after our lives end here on Earth, there really is a place that we go. If there is, then I hope to be greeted by every dog I’ve ever had, because I’m sure all dogs really do go to heaven and I can’t imagine a happier greeting for the afterlife. 

Posted in Rife

Hidden in Plain Sight Part II: Depression

My wife is happy by nature. She has always been this way, for as long as I’ve known her. Barring outside intervention, she is simply… happy. Content. Joyous.

The concept is entirely foreign to me. My mental health has often felt more akin to a war, waged against myself. It is said that neural pathways are strengthened by repetitive use, so that the same thoughts crop up easier and easier each time:

I am worthless.

I am not wanted.

I am not loved.

The script it gives me changes, the only consistency that I am always on the losing end. Sometimes I am able to combat these thoughts successfully. Sometimes I lose. Sometimes my heart will not see reason, can only focus on the loneliness of that moment.

I was diagnosed with depression when I was in college. I could tell you what the DSM (Diagnostic & Statistical Manual, the bible of criteria on mental disorders) specifies must occur for that diagnosis, but for me, it has always been this: an uphill battle, happiness like sand slipping through my fingers.

As I’ve grown, this mental illness has presented itself in many shifting forms: sadness, hopelessness, anxiety, numbness. I have had panic attacks on the bathroom floor, I have looked at oncoming traffic lovingly.

I have also felt endless love. Boundless joy. I have felt so entirely filled with these things that I dared to use the word recovery.

Friends, it’s okay to need help. It’s okay to struggle, to show weakness, to reach out. It’s okay to be imperfect. You are worth love, worth gentleness, worth care. When I struggle, when I am lost, I try to summon the same unconditional love I have for my partners and turn it towards myself.

Then I get out my toolbox and I get to work.

Sometimes that means stepping into battle. Reminding myself that my brain is lying to me, tearing down each and every one of those traitorous thoughts with cold, hard logic. I am not worthless; if I believe every living thing on this earth is worth love and care, I must also grant that to myself. I am wanted; I have two partners who have chosen to spend their lives with me. I am loved; there are many people who have told me so, and it is my responsibility to trust them.

For those times when I simply cannot win a battle of logic, I care for myself in different ways. I take a hot bath, I drink a cup of tea. I pull a dog into my lap and marvel at the love in their eyes. I remember all of the times I have felt hopeless or lost, and the ways in which those feelings gave way over time to happier ones. I remember that my mental illness does not define me, and I grant it the kind of gentle understanding I would give to anyone else who was struggling.

I tell it: It is okay to hurt, my love. It is okay to feel lost and alone. You have made it through this and worse, and you are still here. You are strong. There are brighter days coming, as they always have before.

 

Resources:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
National Suicide Prevention Online Chat
Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386
Crisis Textline: 741-741 (Text HOME to begin)
Trans Lifeline: 1-877-565-8860

Posted in Ali

Hidden in Plain Sight: Anxiety and OCD

For as long as I can remember, people have always remarked on how happy I am. And it’s true; I am genuinely an incredibly happy person. I have never suffered from depression, never gotten discouraged for long when bad things happened. In fact, this was one of the qualities my ex hated about me. She would be angry or freaking out, and I would tell her that everything would be okay, and here are the reasons why! Yeah, that did not go over well. I love life, love the spring flowers, the autumn leaves, and the very sight of almost every book I’ve ever seen. I have my bad days like everyone else, and have my heart broken just like the next human, but all in all, I am wonderfully and wholly happy.

What people don’t know about me is that I have terrible anxiety and OCD. Not just the nagging, back of your mind anxiety, but the full-blown panic attacks, lack of sleep, and inability to eat anxiety. I can remember being a young child, maybe five or six, and pretending to have a stomach ache every night so I would be allowed to watch television until I fell asleep, desperately trying to drown out the horror movie in my mind.

Your parents don’t love you.
You hurt someone’s feeling because you did or didn’t do something.
What happens if everyone you love dies?
You make everyone sad and they’ll leave you.

Every. Single. Night.

This bled into my teenage and adult years, worsening as time went on. The story line of my racing brain changed with time but didn’t get any kinder or calmer. There are certain shows I can’t watch, or certain phrases that I can’t un-hear and will play in my head for hours after. There was a night a few weeks ago when Adam laid with me on the couch at 3am while I sobbed into his arms about something that didn’t even happen but that I couldn’t stop imagining and replaying in my head.

I am always afraid that I’ve done too much or not enough. It plays into my OCD so badly that I will make the same list over and over just to make sure I wrote it in the best, most efficient way possible. The OCD fuels my dermatillomania (obsessive skin picking disorder) until the skin between my fingers are dripping blood and I don’t even realize I’ve hurt myself. When my need for control takes over and I feel like the only thing I can control is my calorie intake, it drops well below 1000 while I count the calories in every single carrot I put in my mouth. I work out five days a week and will walk around the house aimlessly until I reach my step goal.

People don’t believe me when I tell them I have anxiety because I look so happy. They often say things like “yeah, everyone gets a little anxious sometimes.” I think about the night before, staring at the clock clearly stating that it’s two in the morning while my worst nightmares play out vividly through my head.

Anxiety is no small thing, my darlings. Take care of yourself and talk to someone if this sounds like anything you’re going through. Learn ways to ease the panic, see a doctor, take a walk in the woods. There is nothing wrong with the solution you find, whether that’s through medication or yoga. Do not let anyone shame you for seeking what you need.

Here are some of the things I do to help when my anxiety monster rears its ugly head.

  1. Crochet or knit. I have this huge blanket I’ve been working on for months. At this rates it’s going to be big enough for two king sized beds lined up side by side. It keeps my hands busy, and my mind focused on something other than my fears.
  2. Remember that there is nothing you can do about the past or the future. Most of the pain we experience in life is worrying about things that never even happen.
  3. Take a bath- for some people this is a great, relaxing experience, for other’s it allows too much free thinking time.
  4. Participate in consistent self-care; take days off, drink some tea, grab a coloring book.
  5. Two words: Weighted Blanket. Have something holding you to earth when your mind tries to fly away with itself.
  6. Plant something. There’s something about getting out in the sunshine, soaking up some vitamin D, and getting your hands in the dirt that soothes the soul.
  7. Hug a loved one. Sometimes I don’t even tell them anything is wrong, just wrap up in their arms and hold on tight.
  8. Set a bedtime routine. If anxiety is keeping you up, you don’t need anything else messing with your sleep schedule. Put the phone down an hour before bed time, drink some calming tea, and try to go to bed the same time every night.
  9. Teach your loved ones how to help you. Some people need their loves to tell them why everything is okay, and why your fears won’t happen. Some people just need tight squeezes and a safe place to cry. Make sure they know that trying to talk you out of your obsessive behaviors won’t necessarily help.
  10. Cuddle a pup.
  11. Be gentle with yourself.

Anxiety, like any other mental illness, is scary and hard. Know that there are people who love you, and that you are so, so important. Be patient with yourself while you figure out things that help, and take the time you need to take care of yourself. There is light at the end of the tunnel. For every night I’ve spent in an anxious blur, there has been a morning where I know absolutely everything is okay, and wonderful. You are not broken. Support yourself and support each other. And know that this beautiful world wouldn’t be as lovely as it is without you in it.

Posted in Ali

Queer Visability

The lesbian head nod. This was a right of passage I finally got after cutting off all of my hair, tattooing my chest, and wearing cargo shorts into Whole Foods. She was with her girlfriend, lazily picking through the kale, when I passed. Her hair was shorter than mine, she had a shirt that said “too queer for this shit,” and she nodded at me and smiled as I prodded every avocado in a three-foot radius.

This was a life changing moment for me.

I still remember the feeling of walking through the mall holding my girlfriend’s hand for the first time. I felt on top of the world and I almost wanted someone to say something so I could loudly and proudly tell them to suck it.

Coming from a small town where you did not come out, period, I did a complete 360 when I got to a bigger city. I traded my near waist-length hair and long skirts for a faux-hawk and seven different gay bumper stickers, one of which said, “sorry I missed church, I was busy practicing witchcraft and becoming a lesbian.”

When I came out, I came OUT. I went back to my hometown once in those first few years for a funeral and was told immediately by my dad, “for the love of all things holy, please act straight.” The next day I went to Pride in my new city with a rainbow painted across my forehead.

Being out was something I was incredibly proud of. After years of hiding in the closest, hating myself for who I loved, and letting everyone else tell me how to live my life, I was officially free to tell the world who I was. And as far as I was concerned, that was the most lesbian-y lesbian that ever existed.

Flash forward a few years, Rife and I had just gotten married. We went to a courthouse in Indiana because gay marriage wasn’t allowed here yet. We were sitting on the bed, discussing all of the logistics of his transition, and the doctor he would start seeing in a few weeks. There was never a moment we questioned him doing it. From the second he told me he wanted to transition, it was a done deal. His gender didn’t play a part in my love for him, and girl or boy I would always love him completely. There was only one single worry that ever crossed my mind: I was going to look straight.

I switched from saying I was a lesbian to saying I was queer, since technically my sexuality was now bi. And as the months went on, old people started smiling at us in restaurants again. There was a sweet old lady at our favorite breakfast spot that stopped on her way out the door to tell me how wonderful it was that I found myself a “good godly man” and to hang on to him.

Flash forward again to the wonderful life I now have. No matter which one of my beautiful boys I am out with, people see me as straight. My hair has grown out again, and even though I’m even more covered in tattoos, that doesn’t stop people from seeing what they assume about any strangers they see: they must be totally straight, normal people. We are far, far from normal, and we love every second of it.

 There may be many reasons why you want to be out and proud, or you may want no one to know at all, and neither of those is wrong. However, if there is a reason the world doesn’t see your queer side, and you really wish that they would, here are some things that might help:

  1. Connect with other queer people. Whether it’s in person, at meetings and support groups, or only online and anonymously, reach out to others who know the struggles that you do.
  2. If your family and friends can’t know, try to find just one person to be open with. There are no words for how freeing it is to finally say out loud, to someone else, “I’m gay.”
  3. Go to Pride. Put on your rainbow bandana, your “some chicks marry chicks” shirt, and strut your stuff.
  4. Stay connected to the community. Don’t feel like you are no longer welcome just because you’re dating someone of the opposite gender. This is how bi erasure happens.
  5. Put on the gayest outfit you have and go out for coffee. Go to the movies. Go buy some books. And be proud every time someone gives you that sideways glance of confusion.

Be proud of your beautiful, queer selves, friends. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you are anything less than the magical gods and goddess and gender-queer deities that you are.