Nine on the 9th

In reading other peoples' blogs we realized that we really enjoy posts that allow us to get to know the bloggers better. So we've decided to start a (hopefully) regular feature called "Nine on the 9th" where we share nine things about ourselves, both individually and as a couple, on the 9th of the month. Let's get started! 1. Rachel's favorite food is pretty much always tacos. She has gone to great lengths to eat at delicious taco joints, both in the city of Chicago and out-of-state. She even has a "Favorite Tacos" list on her Yelp! profile and we made tacos for our wedding lunch!

2. Kristl is from Hawaii, where there is a big car culture. She used to have a list of all the mods she wanted to do to her car to soup it up. That all stopped when she moved to Chicago in 2004. Now she and Rachel share a 2005 Hyundai with a cracked center console and no spoiler.

3. We met in our local LGBTQ community choir, Windy City Performing Arts, in September 2010, but we didn't notice each other until 6 months later when we both got cute, queer-ish haircuts. We didn't actually go on our first date until June, 2011.

4. Rachel is a constant and avid reader and frequently has at least three books going at once. She also is a frequent library-user and forced her host brother to help her get a library card when she lived in Tokyo for 2.5 months.

5. Kristl loves baking (and is really good at it), but she hates eating cake. She has been known to spend hours baking and frosting a cake for someone and then not even try a bite.

6. We rarely watch movies and almost never watch TV, even though individually we used to watch a lot of movies and Kristl in particular would spend hours watching TV. We usually can't name three (or any) movies that are out at a given time. (We did, however, see The Hunger Games in the theatre in 2012. We waited so long to see it that it was only playing in ONE theatre in the entire Chicagoland area, so we drove over an hour each way to see it. We haven't yet seen Catching Fire, and are likely to wait until 2014 to do so.)

7. When she was little, Rachel loved catching frogs, lizards, and grasshoppers in the swamp by her house in Pensacola, FL. As an adult she tries to avoid the aforementioned animals.

8. Despite having lived in Chicago for nine years, Kristl still gets inordinately excited about road trips, big or small. Having grown up in Hawaii, she is just not used to the fact that you can hop in your car and end up in another state. Her road trip experiences have grown a lot since dating Rachel, as they've driven to Florida, North Carolina and Virginia in the past year and a half, not to mention numerous weekend trips to other states in the Midwest.

9. Kristl knew she wanted to have a lifelong commitment to Rachel pretty early on in their relationship, but Rachel took her time. One thing she was adamant about was not having  a long engagement, saying she didn't understand the point. At the beginning of this year, Rachel was pretty sure she wanted to marry Kristl, but thought about it in terms of "five years down the road." Then in late August, she proposed to Kristl, and in early November they got married in Iowa. Guess she got her wish of having a short engagement! (And Kristl got a road trip as part of her wedding! W00!)

Goofing off on our wedding day

Hope you enjoyed this first installment of "Nine on the 9th"! Let us know if you have any questions you'd like us to answer in the future.

National Coming Out Day: Our Coming Out Stories

waytobegay
waytobegay

In honor of National Coming Out Day, we have decided to share condensed versions of our coming out processes with you.  Please enjoy!

Rachel: I started to come out to myself and my friends in the last year of college/first year of graduate school.  I definitely fell in love with a girl about the minute I hit puberty, but I didn't really understand that my feelings for her were more than "really wanting to be her best friend." I had many of these friendships that tore up my heart in a number of gruesome ways, until I started to realize that this condition was not going to disappear one morning and I would suddenly desire all things male.

Growing up in a very conservative (as I was growing up, I didn't feel particularly conservative, now I realize just how right of center I was) household, I was encouraged to avoid any form of sexual conduct, so it never occurred to either of my parents that I might be following their rules by pining after my female friends.  As I began the process of accepting myself, the looming specter of coming out to my parents and getting them to understand the process I've been through became more menacing.  I finally began to transform that amorphous fear into a reality I could face when Kristl and I became serious.  The fact that I was hiding a major part of my life from my parents was wearing on me, and I am terrible at lying, so it become nearly impossible for me to cover up the intimate relationship between us.

I came out to my parents just over a year ago, and the conversation definitely changed the way we relate.  Now, every conversation has a barely concealed layer of tension, which occasionally surfaces in the form of my mother impatiently explaining scripture to me, and asking me what I am telling God. So, as far as being a candidate for the "It Gets Better" campaign, my application would be fairly incomplete.  My parents have not had any impressive breakthroughs or a-ha moments, but I am holding out hope for them. I do have supportive extended family members, and as you'll read below, Kristl's mom is more than willing to bring on a "second daughter."

Coming out was hugely important to my personal development.  I have nothing to hide from my parents or anyone else. It lifted a weight off my shoulders, and gave me the courage to move forward with marriage to my life partner and my best friend.

When I was in the third grade...I had a mullet and wore muscle tees.
When I was in the third grade...I had a mullet and wore muscle tees.

Kristl: Well, my coming out story is a little (a lot) different from Rachel's. I grew up in a liberal, rather non-religious family. I pretty much always knew I was interested in women, but didn't feel the need to "come out" unless I was actually in a serious relationship. That didn't happen until I was 27. A friend of a friend pursued me and I went with it. While it wasn't perfect by any stretch, I felt a much deeper connection than I'd felt with the few men that I'd dated. She was the first woman I dated and within a month or so, I felt compelled to officially come out to my mom. I was super nervous, even though my mom is incredibly progressive and open-minded. I called her on the phone and it went something like this:

Me, crying because I'm so nervous: "Mom, I'm dating someone and it's a woman."

Her, unable to understand me through the tears: "You're dating someone and you love him?"

Me: "No, it's a woman!"

Her: "Oh, that's okay, honey! You know, you don't need a man to have a family. Also, your sister and I were just talking about how we thought you might be gay."

Later that night, I spoke with my sister and told her what our mom had said, to which she responded, "Nope. We definitely never had that conversation. We definitely have not ever talked about your possible sexual preferences." Whatever happened, they are both totally on-board and could not be happier for me.

(Funny side-story: When my mom met Rachel for the first time, she liked her immediately and told her that she was like a second daughter to her. Um, what about my sister, your actual second daughter?!)

We're here and we're super queer.
We're here and we're super queer.

Rachel and I come from very different backgrounds and have had vastly different coming out experiences. We want to support everyone in their coming out processes and recognize that some people are unable to come out at all. We don't know how far-reaching this blog post will be, but if you're struggling with coming out and/or need someone to talk to, please feel free to email us at sustainablyqueer at gmail dot com.