11 June 2017

Toaster Strudel Hair, Graduation and Sandcastles

I graduated!

If you didn't see on social media, a few days before my birthday I walked across a stage in order to receive an empty display book. In full honesty, I had a great time. My parents flew out from South Carolina for the event, along with my sister, brother in law, nephew, father in law and his fiance.

 
My pre-graduation selfie and said graduation stage

The final two weeks before graduation were hell on earth, and the two 4000-level classes I was taking felt like a massive burden. I'm not sure I felt any specific weight off my shoulders when I graduated, but I can definitely feel a general ease in my day to day life that I haven't had in a long time.

Said family who came into town for my and Jake's graduation.
It was great to have my family there for such a big event. My parents supported me every step of the way through my undergrad and I owe so much to them for it. And then just a few days after graduation, it was my birthday!


My father in law Don made me this cake, which was absolutely lovely. I haven't had a big cheesy cake covered in candles in a few years, so this was really nice. We actually flew out to Denver to spend the weekend away from SLC. When I got back home, my diploma arrived, so I think that means I'm a definitive graduate now!


I'm going to briefly fly through the events of the next few weeks. There were a lot of small things that happened. For example, going to the Utah Pride festival and parade!



 Dying Jake's hair to a summery blonde shade. When I first put the stuff on his head, I realized I had just made him a human toaster strudel.  He was very patient with me as I laughed and tried to snap a photo of it. Also, a Great Salt Lake sunset featuring me.


Going to Great Salt Lake AGAIN, this time with warm weather AND warm water. I built this lovely sand castle, with its own reflecting pool and everything. I was pretty proud of this little number.

 

 While building it, a tourist came over to chat with me and Jake, and lo and behold he is from North Carolina! He even had an aunt who lives in Clemmons. After we left, I saw a young kid, maybe 5 or 6 go over to start playing with the castle. It was a very tender moment seeing someone else take a little bit of joy from my favorite hobby.

Jake taking a nap above his plot at the Hooper Cemetery on Memorial Day.
Another big event in my life is that Jake and I have started seeing a marriage therapist together. Senior year was very hard on both of us, and after graduation we realized that we had a lot of things we wanted to work on. 

I want to mention this in part because I enjoy documenting my life on this website, but also because I want to point out that relationships can be hard. In the gay community, and in Utah's gay community specifically there can be a kind of fetiziation of relationships-- the idea that they are some kind of ultimate end goal that will make you unconditionally happy. My relationship with Jake has made me happier than anything else in this world, but to erase all of our disagreements, miscommunications and the work it has taken to make things right would be to vastly oversimplify things. 

Jake and I are two very different people with very different life experiences that are now inhabiting the same 400 square foot apartment day after day, year after year. That has brought us all kinds of joy (and also our cat, Joy) but it has also brought out habits and traits that can make coexisting difficult. I think we are both feeling very optimistic that our therapist can help us deal with some of our tougher issues and give us a stronger foundation to deal with challenges down the road.

And finally, Joy:


A tiny cat meow, or a ferocious roar? I'll let you decide.

Thanks for reading about my life! 
All the bests to you and your loved ones.

-Browne