Apparently, getting married changes things

I got married last week. Thanks for the applause but it was the most stressful event of my life thus far. From the planning process until she walked down that aisle, I was filled with such anxiety and frustration that I hated people more than usual. I love individuals, but people get on my nerves.

Anyone who has planned a wedding and lived to tell about it will inform you that the greatest feeling is when everything is over. I told my wife, Trasie, this and we said a prayer of thanks for the silver lining. I’m sure we didn’t experience anything too out of the ordinary for every other engaged couple in the United States. However, we did have a few twists and turns during our journey to wedded bliss.

First, I’ll explain, if you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a Lesbian, so that means I’m married to a woman. This may shock you, but I don’t care. I proposed to my wife on our one-year anniversary. A few questioned why I did it so quickly. I replied with something about my age and knowing what I wanted in life. I meant every word, but I also knew that we wanted to get married in every “traditional” sense. We wanted a wedding and our family to participate. There were many obstacles against us but most importantly we live in Texas and marriage equality didn’t happen until three years later.

Fast forward to the exact moment Trasie text me about the Supreme Court’s ruling. I couldn’t call her so I called my sister and cried. She shared in my joy and asked the one question that set the wheels in motion.

“So when’s the wedding?”

Christian Lendl / Bridal Bouquet
Christian Lendl / Bridal Bouquet

Trasie and I were giddy for a full month afterward as we geared up for the wedding planning process. Trasie received a wedding planning binder as a gift and was immediately overwhelmed. The binder was enormous with tabbed dividers and glossy pages asking for the precise information about your dream wedding. This was a one-size-fits-all product, but we tried to tailor it to what we needed. The problem with a generic binder is that it also reminds you of what you don’t have while planning a same-sex marriage in Texas – supportive family.

I have an extensive family to the point that I’ve discovered relatives I didn’t know I had. Trasie’s family isn’t as large as mine, but they are close. In Texas, there aren’t too many Black families who aren’t entrenched in religion and ours is no exception. We put off telling certain members of our families for as long as we could. It was a rollercoaster of emotions for six months and definitely put a small cloud over our day. Thankfully, there were others who only see the love between two people and we barely noticed the absent faces. I’ll leave it at that.

We had other bumps in the road which were small in comparison to others. We had some financial hiccups. Wardrobe malfunctions. Bridal party rearrangements. Nothing too serious but we had to regroup after every situation and reassure each other that we would get through this. We did get through it. We emerged on the other side victorious – and married.

My question is this: when does “the change” happen?

With every congratulation from a married couple, we received the sage advice of, “Remember, marriage changes things.” Ready and eager for these wise words, Trasie and I would immediately question the changes. We received the same response over and over. “I don’t know. It just does.” Never a definite answer. Never something tangible. Just, I don’t know.

Trasie and I discussed this at length and of course, we took it as an ominous forewarning. Would our communication falter? Would we cease to appreciate each other? Would we end up fighting over the rearing of our four-legged child, Elijah? Cue soap opera music.

Still floating on the love that surrounded us, we joked about it after the ceremony, wondering if the “change” was instantaneous. It wasn’t.

A week later and we think we’ve changed. Maybe.

“I think we’re more considerate of each other.” Trasie said.
“I think we’re less stressed since the wedding is over,” I replied.
“And more considerate.”
“Yes, and more considerate.”

We know every relationship story is different, this is just the view from where we are.

Did your relationship change after your wedding? If so, tell me how.

The birth of a social introvert

I can no longer pledge allegiance to being an introvert.

In the past, I couldn’t feel comfortable in a crowded room without a strong margarita easing my nerves. I wouldn’t hold a conversation with you if we haven’t met before and even that may take a while for me to warm up to the idea. That all changed a year and a half ago. After some gentle prodding by my fiancee, I read a chapter from my self-published novella at a book reading. I needed more than the offered glass of wine to steel myself against a room full of strangers. Someone liked it so much, they wanted to see my words and characters brought to life as a web series.

I was terrified and determined. I considered myself to be severely introverted. It still takes me a lot to get out of the house and back then it was worse. Speaking in front of people equaled a slow-moving nightmare and would throw me into a nervous fit. Nevertheless, I had no choice but to sell my story and promote my dream because I refuse for anyone to tell me I can’t accomplish something.

by Brett Jordan/2014
by Brett Jordan/2014

So when I was called up on stage at various venues, I had to swallow my shyness and promote the series. When I had to corral 30+ people on a weekly basis, I had to step up to the plate and be the leader everyone else knew I already was. When different adversities appeared in various ways, I put on a brave smile and pushed forward.

Lord knows that producing #MaxisPlace has not been the easiest. I started off with nothing but a story and have encountered many obstacles along the way. From minor setbacks to major disappointments, I’ve definitely experienced a few trials. However, the one good thing from all this had nothing to do with pursuing my dream or seeing my name in lights.

This project has brought me out of my shell. Practice makes perfect because I may not like the crowds, but at least now I don’t retreat into the corners to people watch. I can hold a chatty conversation with more than monosyllabic replies. I’m more outspoken about my feelings, my views, and my opinions.

I guess that makes me a social introvert now. I scoffed when I first heard the phrase, but I have to eat crow. I enjoy shaking hands and working the crowd, even if it is terrifying. I still get nervous, although now I can flash a smile and get through it.

So where would I be without #MaxisPlace? More than likely, I would still be sitting at my desk, cranking out story after story with the impression that I was content. Now I realize how unfulfilled I truly was.

The daily routine of a self-published author

Paid time off doesn’t exist for a self-published author. An author transforms into a brand and their creative ramblings become the resulting product. Unlike traditional publishing houses, a marketing team isn’t waiting in the wings to push your product. That particular luxury falls on the writer’s shoulders. Social networking, online writing groups, book giveaways, and vaguely begging for reviews are a few of the everyday tasks of an independent author.

Did you post enough on social media today? Have you visited all the online writing groups? Have you emailed your portfolio for that freelance contract bid? Did you remember to research the mating rituals of the honey badger? I’m sure everyone isn’t curious about the habits of a ferocious mammal, all the same, research is always on a writer’s to-do list. chores can be overwhelming and if you’re like me, throwing a full-time job in for kicks, it is akin to treading water for several hours. At some point, exhaustion seeps through the brain and stunts artistic pursuits.

So is there truly a balance between business and creativity? Practice makes perfect with all types of learning and remaining steadfast is the most difficult part. I’ve read dozens of blogs on daily routines. I’ve studied the quirks of literary giants. I’ve yet to develop a writing schedule to stick with. Nevertheless, I won’t give up hope because I want to be the writer who follows a timetable to completion, giving each project the attention it deserves. Even though I constantly tweak my routine, I refer back to these important aspects.

What are your daily writing goals?
Unless you’re the type to wait for a Muse to whisper amazing alliteration in your ear, setting a daily word limit could be a foundational brick for a productive routine. Start off with a comfortable amount and then increase the limit every two weeks as a challenge.

What are your daily self-promotion goals?
As a self-publisher, there’s no escaping social media promotion. Promotion strengthens your author brand and participating in the many online writing groups you skim through provide vital support throughout your writing journey.

Decide whether to assign specific days/timeframes for each task.
If you crave more structure, complete tasks according to an actual schedule. There are plenty of time-tracking apps and software to assist in staying on track and completing projects.

Explore the best time for you to write.
This may be the most important. Some writers can crank it out first thing in the morning. Others are more nocturnal, requiring silent solitude for the words to flow. Schedule self-promotion around your creative moments and use downtime to check emails, social interaction, and/or research.

A writing schedule takes trial and error.
A successful writing schedule takes trial and error.

Here are a few article links to jumpstart creating a daily routine:

James Clear, The Daily Routines if 12 Famous Writers

Leo Babauta, Learn from the Greats: 7 Writing Habits of Amazing Writers

Amber Stanley, 9 Weird Habits that famous writers formed to write better

Kevan Lee, The Social Media Frequency Guide