Loving Someone Long-Term and Long-Distance

Loving Someone Long-Term and Long-Distance

Andrew, the wonderful human I get to do this relationship with, lives in Toronto, Ontario, and yours truly lives in Richmond, Virginia. If you do the math, we live about 600 miles from one another, and the first nine months of our relationship we lived closer to two thousand miles from one another because Andrew lived in Edmonton, Alberta. It was not what either of us planned for our lives, but something about what we saw in one another clicked with each of us. We were both kind of oblivious and not on the hunt for a partner, but things switched quickly, and now we can’t get rid of each other. Despite the distance, we’re like most other couples; it’s just that our quality time is spent through texts and FaceTime as opposed to movies and nights on the couch.

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Queer + Christian // National Coming Out Day

Queer + Christian // National Coming Out Day

Cue the rainbow colored lights, cue the glitter, cue the legend herself Ms. Diana Ross with all that fabulous hair, wearing the neon purple sparkling bodysuit, singing "I’m coming out, I want the world to know, got to let it show!" Cue all my friends and family together in one room clapping wildly and waving pride flags and holding signs that say things about Jesus being over the moon about me, as I stand on the stage making my announcement in the most dramatic way I can dream, that “I am here and indeed queer!” Tears of joy stream down my face, and I feel free and celebrated and embraced. Ms. Ross puts her arm around my waist and holds the microphone in front of my mouth. The wind swings her hair in my direction, covering my face, and she tosses it back with her hand as iconically as she always does. We sway side to side laughing, and then we sing, "Reach out and touch, somebody’s hand, make this world a better place, if you can,” and it is everything….

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Enough with the Penis Straws at Bachelorette Parties

Enough with the Penis Straws at Bachelorette Parties

A few months before the wedding, I started receiving texts and emails from members of the wedding party, asking what I wanted to do for a bachelorette weekend. Since I had been using Pinterest to find wedding inspiration, I started searching there for ideas.  

After an initial search of "bachelorette party ideas," I quickly realized that Pinterest—or any other mainstream source—would not be the place for me to plan the feminist weekend with friends I had been dreaming about. 

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Queer + Christian // How A Christian-First Identity Causes Further Oppression

Queer + Christian // How A Christian-First Identity Causes Further Oppression

When I enter church, I don’t get to take off my womanness or my blackness or my queerness and just enter as Christian. I enter as all of me, which includes the parts of my identity that our society privileges and the parts of my identity that our society oppresses. Shout out to Mother Lorde who preached to us all that, There is no thing as a single-issue struggle, because we do not live single-issue lives.

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How Instagram Encourages Comparison and Worsens Anxiety and Depression

How Instagram Encourages Comparison and Worsens Anxiety and Depression

As a S.A.D. sufferer, summer is typically my jam. There is plenty of sun, which means plenty of Vitamin D. I thrive at the beach, and I live in jean shorts. It’s really my ideal state. Except that depression and anxiety know no seasons, and comparison isn’t reserved for the cold months. Recently, an artist I follow on Instagram posted an illustration and said, “is reverse SAD a thing?” I always look to summer to lighten my moods, but I find sometimes, like this summer, specifically, I have spent a lot of time feeling pretty shitty about what I don’t possess or what I’m not doing, or about the beach pics I am not sharing with the Instagram followers I don’t have. Because, suffice it to say, nothing is sufficient in the comparison game.

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6 Ways to Approach the Challenges of Being the Non-Biological Parent in A Two-Mom Family

6 Ways to Approach the Challenges of Being the Non-Biological Parent in A Two-Mom Family

I am typing this while our little dude naps in my arms. I know, I know, there are probably a dozen reasons why that will cause detrimental habits with his sleeping or may cause him not to go to college. But, for now, I am not worried about that. I just picked him up from daycare, and those cheeks burrowed on my chest are exactly what the end of the day calls for. One thing I have learned in eight months as a new parent is that there is an abundance of information, personal opinions, and stories about how things used to be in terms of raising a child that inundate us (and feed our anxiety) every day. However, with the abundance of information available about parenthood, there is a major gap in information and resources available for same-sex parents. I have thought about writing up a bit about our experience and chickened out a few times, but I struggled a lot with becoming a mom (by way of my wife), and I am hoping to give voice to the growing complexity and great diversity in what constitutes a family.

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On LGBTQ Acceptance in the African American Community

On LGBTQ Acceptance in the African American Community

As I was driving home, my head swirled with thoughts of "the Truth" and how "Christians" can sometimes be the least likely to draw people to Christ. I began to ponder why is it that the African American community (most of it) has not embraced and affirmed LGBTQ individuals? Truth be told, there are those family members that we always knew preferred the same sex, but it was never discussed. Not only was it not discussed, they just never seemed to bring anyone to the family dinners or get-togethers.

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Showing Love in the Little Things When Practicing Non-Monogamy

Showing Love in the Little Things When Practicing Non-Monogamy

There are many things I love about non-monogamy, but what I love the most are the little things that you do to let your partner(s) know that you’re thinking of them, be it while you’re away at another partner's house, or on a date with someone else. This is something I’ve realized is crucial for myself and for those I’m dating. I was thinking about this while I made the bed for my partner when I was going to be sleeping at my other partner's house. It was important to me that while I was away, he was still feeling my love. Usually chores like making my bed, or doing the dishes, drive me insane, but that day, I was happily walking through the house picking up clothes, folding laundry, and making sure the kitchen was clean. It felt like every action I was doing was filled with love, and that was important to me. It's become a part of my routine, making sure that my partners are receiving and feeling tokens of my love, even if we are apart.

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Tulle & Fury // The Joy of the Oppressed is Political

Tulle & Fury // The Joy of the Oppressed is Political

I often felt like I wasn’t fighting hard enough. I wasn’t doing enough to combat the trauma and distress of racism and institutionalized hate. I felt like I was hiding. But then I sat down and looked at the work that I do. It’s beyond the details. The core of the work is facilitating joy. As I heard David Tutera describe it, the burden of wedding professionals is to create a “bubble” moment that envelopes everyone and allows them to escape.

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Queer + Christian // Facing Internalized Oppression While Attending Church

Queer + Christian // Facing Internalized Oppression While Attending Church

For the LGBTQ community, when we internalize this oppression from the Church, it can cause us to act, feel, and think in the ways listed above and much more. Even when we become increasingly aware that the things on the list aren’t true, they can still lurk in the back of our hearts and minds. This is a dangerous and heavy load that we were not meant to carry. It understandably drives many of us out of church for good and sometimes away from God. But when I step back from the earthly powers that be and actually consider God, I remember that Jesus said this:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. ~ Matthew 11:28-30

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Divorced at 23

Divorced at 23

I was so desperate to believe I had found this person that I began to excuse the red flags erecting themselves faster than I could ever imagine. His disdain for my parents (and my parents’ disdain for him) was simply birthed from situational misunderstandings. His lack of motivation in education and work was an intentional (and brilliant) slap in the face of “the man.” His unwanted advances and coercing were a testimony of his attraction and devotion to me. Everything that soured my gut was immediately soothed the moment he kissed my forehead or proclaimed his endless love for my being. And I bought it.

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My Feminist Wedding // Long Distance Engagement

My Feminist Wedding // Long Distance Engagement

Next summer, I will marry a man who has never lived in the same state as me. My fiancé, Greg, and I met on Tinder two years ago, and since then, we’ve taken turns to visit each other every weekend at my home in Natick, Massachusetts, and his in Manchester, Connecticut. 

Even getting married won’t guarantee that we can live together, as school and work tie us to our respective states for the foreseeable future. While there are times when this arrangement is difficult (mostly when I’m sitting on the Mass Pike in traffic), it has strengthened our relationship by making us truly appreciate our time together. Besides, you don’t pass up the love of your life because he’s geographically undesirable.

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Black BeauTEA Talk // When Diversity is Cool, Black Women Are Still Ignored, Tokenized, and Used

Black BeauTEA Talk // When Diversity is Cool, Black Women Are Still Ignored, Tokenized, and Used

Diversity and representation are important, but before you send out that model call, stop and ask yourself these questions.

1. Why is diversity important to black women?

2. What do I do regularly to help fight against the white supremacist world we live in?

3. What will this black woman gain from doing my photo shoot?

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Queer + Christian // It's Okay to Congratulate Your Friends Even If You Disagree With Them

Queer + Christian // It's Okay to Congratulate Your Friends Even If You Disagree With Them

Since being engaged and now married to my wife for the past six months, I would say that the word “congratulations” has trended in my life. Used to express good wishes on a special occasion, I’ve come to really appreciate how this one word can express love and expand a sense of community when spoken over those who are celebrating an important time in their lives. Given the influx of “congratulations” to my wife and myself, it has also made the lack of this expression glaringly obvious and painful by those in our lives that we love. The pain is increased in knowing that some justify their lack of “good wishes” because of their Christian beliefs that being gay is a sin, and marriage is only legit if it involves one man and one woman.

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Autostraddle Stories // Love and Mental Heath

Autostraddle Stories // Love and Mental Heath

When I was 16 I explained to my partner how emotions feel to me. Physical, like warm sun on cold skin or kissing someone for the first time and smiling the whole way through. Overwhelming, like drowning in a shallow pool and forgetting how to walk, let alone swim. Beautiful, like seeing the ocean for the first time and knowing you’ll never forget the look of the sunset against the waves. Being bipolar means falling in love with everything and, just as easily, resenting it. Falling out of love.

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Tulle & Fury // People Are Politics

Tulle & Fury // People Are Politics

Why does a wedding planner want to talk about politics and identity? As a Texas-based business owner, you can imagine how often I get asked that question. But the answer is always the same: because politics and identity affect everything I do: my choice of hairstyle, who I work with, the very fact that I’m a black-owned business that loves working with same-sex couples in a state that makes its position on that very well-known. I could go on. But ultimately, do you know why? Because people are politics.

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Autostraddle Stories // Is Love Enough?

Autostraddle Stories // Is Love Enough?

One of the downfalls, I think, is how few cultural representations we had to measure our relationship against, no bar with which to size up our own emotional truths and figure out what was left wanting. All around me, and inside our little cocoon, was suffering. Every queer or LGBTQ+ identified person I knew was pursued by the shadow of mental illness, a harsh result of the culture than denies our existence in one breath and villainizes it in the next. And we were not excluded, our soft holding cocoon became an echo chamber, our issues and unhappinesses playing out over each other, a battle for breath in a finite space. My love for them began to wane and lose its voice under the onslaught. (Lesbian Bed Death seems funny until you experience it yourself. It starts to unravel at the thread of the bedsheets. Why doesn’t she want me? Doesn’t she love me enough to try?)

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Autostraddle Stories // Digging Up the Truth Through Fiction Writing in Trump's America

Autostraddle Stories // Digging Up the Truth Through Fiction Writing in Trump's America

Fiction is about truth, in a deeper sense. And in the political times we’ve brought ourselves into, in this age of Trump and fake news and alternative facts, we are in dire need of the truth. Now, it could be said that “alternative facts” and fiction are technically synonymous — both are factually inaccurate or completely invented versions of events. But the important distinction is in the intention. The intention of spreading alternative facts is to obscure the truth. The intention of writing fiction is to reveal it. Fiction is about radical honesty.

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Autostraddle Stories // The Value of Intersectional Community

Autostraddle Stories // The Value of Intersectional Community

When I moved to Poland about a year ago, I knew that I was saying goodbye. I knew that I was moving to a country that wasn’t all that LGBTQ-friendly and that language barriers were going to make it difficult to re-establish a close network of friends. What I didn’t realize was the giant hole this was going to leave in my heart.

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Autostraddle Stories // Self-Care is Political Warfare

Autostraddle Stories // Self-Care is Political Warfare

Just over a year ago, I finished a senior undergraduate honors thesis about self-care as an anti-capitalist act. As part of my thesis, I created and released a zine version of my outlined arguments, written in first person, with stories of my own experiences with depression as an activist. Ever since then, friends and acquaintances have looked to me as some sort of self-care expert, as though I must have it all figured out—after all, I spent a year spending about 50% of my waking hours thinking about self-care, didn’t I? Unfortunately, one of the (ironic) results of releasing this zine was that I now have difficulty being as honest about my mental health as I was before.

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