When Daniel posted this article on healthy snacking to my Facebook wall:
I responded appropriately:
Joking aside, I’m usually a healthy eater. But sometimes you just have to indulge in a candy bar or three.
Recently we were at a restaurant with friends, and we walked past a group of women by the entrance.
“Ew, did you smell that?” a friend of ours asked.
“No, what?” I responded.
“It smells like cherries with a little bit of fish,” he said.
I smelled the air and caught a whiff of something cherry-ish. Not exactly cherry, but I suppose that was a close enough description. I didn’t smell fish, but it was a restaurant, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I did smell it.
“That’s what vaginas smell like when women are on their period!” our friend said.
“You’re making that up. Why would a vagina smell like cherries and fish?” I said with skepticism.
Our friend is somewhat colorful at times, and I often think he makes up stories to get us laughing. But he insisted the smell was permeating from the group of women.
We ended up standing in that area for another 10 minutes while we waited. The whole time, I could smell cherry and wondered if I was basking in the scent of menstruating vaginas. It certainly made the evening interesting.
And I will never think of cherry the same way again. Thanks, friend.
Learning how to apologize is one of the first social cues we’re taught as children. “Sorry for breaking your crayon,” “Sorry for not sharing my toys,” “Sorry for hurting your feelings.” Although it’s something we’ve had most of our lives to master, most adults suck at it. Are apologies a lost art?
The intention of an apology should be to express regret for our actions and then follow-through with a sincere effort to make it up to the person. But so often, I’ve observed that people really just want to get it out, get it over with, and skip past it without really taking the time to care how the recipient feels.
Have you ever heard a person sigh and say, “Jeez, I said I was sorry. What more do you want from me?” Or worse yet, have you ever been the one to say that? It’s important to note that apologies do not erase the actions and they are only the first step. After hearing an apology, the recipient may still be hurt or upset by the actions. That’s okay. Let them be upset, and be willing to listen to why they feel that way.
Another common mistake is when someone apologizes, then immediately starts explaining or justifying why they did it. The problem with this approach is that it’s focused on one’s self. Rather than pausing to let the recipient process what’s been said, the attention remains on the person who’s apologizing.
It’s good to explain the actions that caused offense, but it should be done later in the conversation, after the recipient has had time to work through things.
Perhaps the worst apology of all is the non-apology apology. I often hear people say, “I’m sorry you were upset by what I said.” Look closely at that sentence.
I’m sorry you were upset by what I said.
This is not an apology at all. In fact, it adds insult to injury. The first problem is that it deflects ownership. The person isn’t saying they’re sorry for what they did. Instead, they’re saying they’re sorry the recipient got upset, as if it’s their own fault. This is about as selfish as it gets when it comes to poor apologies, and yet I notice people say it all the time.
So what’s the ideal way to apologize?
A few days ago, I was watching a children’s TV show with our son, “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.” Since he’s a baby, he’s too young to understand the dialogue, but we do watch TV with him every once in awhile. We believe TV is okay in moderation, as long as it’s not a dependency or form of parenting.
The episode (#26: Daniel Says I’m Sorry) had a great lesson on apologies and a mantra to go with it:
Saying “I’m sorry” is the first step / Then, “how can I help?”
This simple but effective quote was repeated throughout the episode to help it stick, and I think it’s helpful even for adults. Maybe we could all learn something from children’s television!
Apologizing is just the first step. It’s important to ask how we can help when we’ve hurt someone, inquiring on how we can make it better, and taking the time to really listen to how they feel.
Apologies can be uncomfortable, and it’s difficult to admit when we’ve done something wrong. I think perhaps that’s why so many adults are bad at apologizing. But discomfort can be good. It’s your mind’s way of stretching and dealing with conflict, and sometimes we have to ride it out and be present in the moment so we can grow and learn from it.
If we skip through apologies with insincere and half-hearted words, we’re robbing ourselves of having a healing experience and robbing the recipient of the opportunity to find closure on an event.
So let’s all say we’re sorry and mean it. Apologies are an important part of emotional well-being. We all make mistakes and we inevitably all hurt other people. We can’t prevent this, but we can always improve how we deal with it.
“As a gay dad, do you ever get harassed for raising your child without a mom?”
That’s a popular question many gay dads are asked, and my answer is YES—but we’re not harassed by the people you’d expect.
So far, we’ve never encountered any problems from straight people. When we’re out with our son, it’s very common for strangers to ask us, “Are you his dads?”. We always smile and tell them yes, and they say something nice, such as, “Well he’s so cute” or “Congratulations guys.” Heterosexual strangers have always been very supportive of us.
But within the gay community, it’s a different story. At some point, almost all of our friends have made a joke about one of us breastfeeding, or called one of us “mom.” Some friends are persistent about it too, teasing us almost every time we see them. (Time to get new friends, perhaps?)
This is an ongoing problem that many gay dads deal with. If you go to any gay parenting forum, you’ll find that a lot of men report the problem, and really hate it. We have a dream to be fathers and it may take years to accomplish. When we finally get there, we just want to enjoy the title of “Dad”, and yet the people who are supposed to be part of our own community want to force a maternal stereotype onto us.
Two men really are raising a baby—without a mom. We’re not “playing house” or being “mom substitutes.” We’re two dads.
I’m working on clear and concise ways to convey the point to gay people when they make a mom joke. When you have a baby there in your arms, usually squirming or grabbing nearby objects, it can be a challenge to make a firm point to someone. This will be a work in progress.
Ten years ago today, I was moving from Raleigh, North Carolina to Nashville, Tennessee. Now on the decade anniversary, I’m in California with my husband and our baby, making plans to move here.
It’s been humbling to reflect on all the places life has taken me and all the ways I’ve changed and grown since I was 23. Now at age 33, I feel excited and ready to begin the next chapter.
I love my life and the family we’ve created. I love this state and can’t wait to be a citizen of my favorite place on earth.
California, here we come!
Yesterday was Father’s Day (or in our case, the plural, Fathers’ Day) and it was our first one celebrating as a family with our baby. It was very rewarding and humbling to wake up knowing we’re parents. Daniel and I had a good day with our son.
The first time I saw Mika perform in concert was in 2008 at Terminal 5, a music venue in Hell’s Kitchen, NYC. The 24-year-old singer was alive with an infectious energy and passion for self-expression. He was colorful and loud, with so much to say about everything. The stage was filled with larger than life props and characters, many of which spilled out into the audience, breaking down an invisible wall that usually exists with performers.
I was lucky enough to meet him after the show, although just long enough to shake his hand, tell him I loved the show, and take a picture with him. I was surprised at how reserved he was, with a bit of a shy quality. I guess I imagined him to be surrounded by a legion of friends, laughing and carrying on, making plans to go to some big after-party that involved glitter and drugs. But he wore a modest white t-shirt and black cardigan, and seemed more likely to be returning to his hotel room to eat take-out and watch TV alone.
I’m coming up on ten years since I started this blog. I was 23 at the time, and my first blog post makes me cringe because it reads like something a 23-year-old would write.
A part of me wants to erase it because the post seems immature somehow. It embarrasses me. But on the other hand, I admire my honesty in the post. I don’t open up like that anymore, at least not unless it’s to someone I know and trust.
That’s the difference between being 23 and 33. Now I’m just pondering this… Do we really mature or do we just self-censor?
With age, we realize our words and actions will be heavily judged and scrutinized by others. It starts when we’re children, a time when we express ourselves so freely. Then the older we get, the more we water down what we say to conform to society… To blend in and be “normal.”
Even though the first post I wrote is embarrassing for me to read, I can’t argue with its sincerity. And I feel exactly the same ten years later. I’m just less likely to share those feelings openly.
So have I matured at all, or just learned how to censor and hide everything I feel from the world? Aren’t we all self-censoring anyway?
Over the past month, our baby has been working on learning to laugh. He’d made “laugh-ish” sounds a couple of times. Well this week, he finally made a breakthrough and had a full-on gigglefest with Daniel and me. It was so rewarding to hear his sweet laughter for the first time.
Check out the video below: