Saturday, January 21, 2012

Stop bugging yourself, stop bugging yourself, stop.....

My brother Jason emerged from our mother's womb with a PhD in bugging the shit out of people. And he has developed a real love for the discipline with age. Don't get me wrong, I love Jason. Everyone loves him. Even if he's pestering you, you can't help but want him around. Even if you could stop his bugging, you wouldn't want to because somehow you're enjoying yourself. Having said that, he is the master bugger. He was the sibling that would hold his finger centimeters from your face and say "what, I'm not touching you." Or the sibling that would make you forcibly slap yourself and chant "stop hitting yourself."

This is Jason with his little family. They're cute.

This is one of my nieces that Jason teased to tears.

And this is Jason.

I bring Jason up, not to harp on him, but to explain my own self-bugging. Apparently I got so used to the pestering and now do it to myself. Do you ever have those days where you think, "god, I have to make it a whole lifetime living as THIS person? Can I have someone else's personality, if even for a little bit?" Some might label this as "self-loathing" and, by the information I've given they'd probably be right. I, however, prefer to label it "my man period." I thought of coining the phrase "man menses" because I love alliteration, but let's be honest; the word menses is gross. Plus I'm describing the emotional/hormonal (ups-and-downs) equivalent of a period, not the physical equivalent of - well... let's not get into that - of a menses.

My man period begins with a day or two where I just REALLY bug the shit out of myself. Everything I say or do gets the internal mental response of "that's what you've got to say? Really? What a dumb ass." Or "Man, you really just keep on trying don't you? Like a mosquito sucking on a mummy." This is followed by a day or two of turning my annoyance to the outside world. Weep for Ammon, dear reader. He takes my man period in stride every month. Internalizing my Jason-like "stop hitting yourself, stop hitting yourself" is one thing, but turning it on poor unassuming Ammon is rough. Eventually I get tired of being an unmitigated asshole to everyone, and continue with another day or two of internalized "you fail at life."

After that, it's smooth sailing where I love life for about three weeks. Not to say that little things don't bug me or that I'm a master of my emotions three - four weeks out of the month (or ever for that matter). I have just noticed that if I allow myself a little time to wallow in my own self-bugging, I eventually get sick of it and return to my normal happy state. I don't know if others' man periods are as regular or pronounced as mine, but I guarantee most men have one. I won't say Ammon's schedule for the sake of marital cohesion, but trust me, he's got one. So do most of the men I know. I can get a brisk look up as an acknowledgement rather than a hello from a male co-worker and know "that guy's on his man period."

The Miner Brothers (Jacob, Jeremiah, and Jason) with Sierra at her wedding.

So Jason really has nothing to do with my "stop bugging yourself, stop bugging yourself" cycle, it's just because he is a master of his bugging craft that sometimes he's the voice I hear in my head. I am probably that voice to my two little sisters. Come to think of it, I wonder who Jason's "stop bugging yourself" voice is. I bet it's Dad.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

When straights meet the boss

I had an interesting moment this week that made me think about how much people actually put themselves into other's shoes. I wondered, what an amazing world we would live in if people did that more often. This is not to say that I'm not guilty of the same, but I try and think of it more now that I'm part of a marginalized segment of our society. Well, at least SOME are trying to marginalize us...

This week Ammon got to meet my boss. She has wanted to meet him for some time which excited me because I actually quite look up to my boss. A while ago, when I confessed to her that I was gay and explained my trepidation in coming out to her, she said something to the effect of "this company accepts anyone who does their job and works hard regardless. If you ever have any problems I want to know about it." When Ammon and my boss met it was the typical "nice to meet you" "likewise" interaction that you would expect when a spouse met the boss. I was so ecstatic to be at this point in my life I could hardly stand it.

I am fortunate beyond what I thought was possible. I'm open about who I love and am building my life with, and even those that don't like it don't let it interfere with our day to day interactions. Because (and I've heard this from people that are religious and don't agree with my life), it doesn't matter to them. To quote someone who put it slightly less eloquently: "I think it's gross, but that doesn't mean it's ok to treat you differently." This all got me thinking. I thought about my life in Utah and how people make it matter to them despite the fact it really is none of their concern. Utah is certainly not alone in this. I would never have dreamed of introducing Ammon to any of my bosses. Up until recently, had I lived in Utah (or other states), it would have been legal to fire me for it.

To all the straight people who read this, do you worry about introducing the love of your life to your boss? In most cases, I would assume not. Do you worry about being told you can have no family, biological or adopted? Probably not. Do you worry every day that one day your loved one might have an accident and they would have to die alone in the hospital because people in your state voted that's how things should be? I'm going to venture a guess and again say no.

The next time you step into a voting booth or even discuss rights of LGBT people, if just for one second, think of these things. Realize that you are not just voting to say that I DON'T DESERVE marriage, you are voting that I DO DESERVE to die alone, that I DO DESERVE to lose everything Ammon and I spent a lifetime building, and that I DO DESERVE to live without a family for the rest of my life. I have nothing against conservatism or religion, I think both can be beautiful things. I understand your problem with it, because I myself struggled. But when you use your political or religious leanings to tell 10% of the world that they DESERVE a more stressful, sad, and lonely bereft life than you because of it, I wonder how you dare call yourself a Christian with a straight face.

I want the same things you want. When I was about to choose death in order to escape my sexuality I turned back because something told me "you get one life. Even if this is bad, what lives inside you, you can spend the rest of your life putting good into this world." I want to be a good husband, father, and person. I want to leave the world a better place than what I found it. If ever you're in a situation where you're in a job you love, and your wife/husband is meeting your boss for the first time and you can practically feel the joy bursting from you, please think of all the other good people in the world who can't experience the same thing. Think of how you possibly brought that upon them just because you didn't understand what it was like to be them and either voted or showed that they didn't deserve it.

God forbid, things could change and one day whatever genetics were handed to you might make people think you deserve less than them and now you're the one who DESERVES a more difficult, in some cases tragic, life. I hope you don't experience that ever and when your spouse meets your boss that the moment is as pleasant as mine was. All I'm asking (and those who stand with me) is that right now you can hope the same for a group of people you may not entirely understand.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Weekly, no wait, yearly priorities

First night! Had plenty of drinks at this point...ready for food...

All the pictures this week are from our New Year's Eve party at Hollie's. We partied hard, slept in late, and made an awesome breakfast. Great way to end a great year.

Every week at my work, my manager asks me for a "weekly priorities" email. It's a sign of how nerdy I am, that I actually enjoy this exercise. I write the three biggest accomplishments of the week and then the three biggest tasks I hope to accomplish the next week. Since it's a new year, I thought I should document the priorities I've set for myself in 2012. My hope is that by changing from a resolution, to a priority, I'll somehow manage to keep my priorities a little more than I have resolutions in the past.

Before I start my yearly priorities I want to acknowledge the things about 2011 I will not miss. Social drama; I had a lot of it at really intense levels this year and I'm glad to leave it in 2011. Uncertainty; I spent half the year worried about finding a job or finding a house - hoping that 2012 is a little more stable.

This is our friend Melissa with her dog Harley, a tibetan terrier. Love them both.

Accomplished this year:

1. Started a career. I finished graduate school, the two hardest working years of my life. I sank my teeth into graduate school and pulled hard. Generally speaking, that's how I approach everything. The rest of 2011 I focused that energy towards work, since I felt I'd gotten as far in my academic education as I'd like to go. I found an awesome job, and hated it immediately. I won't say why, but suffice it to say that I was bizarrely depressed in my first big job out of college. I refused to get used to how I was feeling so I looked for work elsewhere and found a job that I'm lucky to have. Working for Camden National has been an awesome experience and I hope to accomplish a lot next year. I look forward to work everyday and I acknowledge that blessing often.

2. Bought a house. I've wanted to own a house since I was 18. Yeah, I'm the kid that would drive around calling on cool houses for sale; pretending that I actually had a job and a life that justified having a house. I've always hated paying rent. I find it fundamentally offensive that I spend my money paying someone else's mortgage. Renting is a necessary evil and I've never viewed it as anything but. Not to offend anyone who rents...this got awkward, didn't it? Anyway, now that I have my house, I spend most of my free time and money on making it a home. Painting, building, gardening, cleaning, and stopping to admire each project as it finishes.

3. Started my family. We have been dating for a couple years, but this was the one where Ammon and I really solidified that we are a family. Some people don't understand that, but it doesn't matter. We are a family whether or not people understand it. Our goals are shared, everything from family to finances bound together. We would have been legally married this year but unfortunately the people of Maine voted that we don't deserve the same things as straight people. But like I said, that doesn't matter. We built our family as best we could AROUND marriage because we weren't allowed actual access. The time will come when we are given equal access and Ammon and I know that we'll be one of the first couples there to have the ceremony performed.

Hollie and Ammonoid. We squeezed her a lot because she'd been gone for weeks.

Next year's priorities:

1. Visit more family. A trip to Utah and a trip to Hawaii have been made priorities for 2012. We miss our Utah and Hawaii family real bad. Hopefully, I will have some of my sisters out to visit us here in Maine and Ammon has one sister that might also visit. We have our home/family and now we want family to come and share in our happiness. Of course, this priority comes with a heavy cost so we will see how much we actually get accomplished on this front.

2. Add to the family. Geneva needs a brother. Being one of those weird people that thinks of his dog like he does one of his children, it makes me sad knowing Geneva sits at home alone all day. Also, I just love dogs and would like another one. Again, a dog is an expensive priority so who knows if this will actually happen. That's the nice thing though about a priority versus a resolution. I'm not dead set on this, but I'm going to work my hardest to have a puppy with some kind of crazy Hawaiian name (there are so many vowel combinations in hawaiian the words sometimes make me laugh). I named Geneva so Ammon gets to name (anonymous) and it's a safe bet he'll pick some deep meaning hawaiian word. I'm allowed to put a syllable limit on said name though, so no worries.

3. Be more active in other areas of my life. Exercise, volunteering, politics, hobbies were all pushed to the side as I focuses on finding a job and a house. 2012 will see me more involved in life outside my work and involved in my community. The only place I've ever loved living more than here in Maine is Germany. Since I'm not moving there any time soon, I want to make the absolute most of my time here in Maine. Give back to the place that gives so much to me. 2012 has a lot of intense stuff happening; London Olympics, Presidential Election, Armageddon (if you go by the Mayan calendar anyway). I'm going to sink my teeth into 2012 and get what I can out of it, while stopping to enjoy all the other awesome stuff happening in the world this year.

This was our hangover breakfast. Blueberry Cheesecake Pancakes and bacon. Stupid good.