By: Brandy Black
I live in Los Angeles with my wife (I can say that because we truly did get married when it was legal for a hot minute), daughter of 16 months and dog Bailey. I am a “Next Family”. It’s funny to categorize myself in one way or another because I don’t really think of our family as anything other than your typical family. We fight about who did the dishes last, who’s more tired, who gets to sleep in, who didn’t put the diaper on tight enough, who works harder, who got the last night out, you name it, we’ve gone there a few times around. I call my girlfriends who are straight to vent about the latest battle and they always say “you’re lucky your married to a woman, my husband doesn’t even change the baby’s diaper, I’m lucky if he even notices that I need a break from holding this child all day long, he comes home from work and says he’s tired, how dare he…” I’m sure if you’re a parent you can imagine the rest of their bitch session. But the reality is, we all complain about the same things, I can’t tell you how often we commiserate over the same conversations with our spouses.
If you were to ask me when I was “straight” if I thought lesbians and straight people were the same, I would have certainly said no. Two women in a serious relationship seemed creepy to me, I can’t say why really. Maybe I always envisioned them to be in flannels chopping wood and coaching softball. I know that sounds limited but that was a picture that was somehow created for me. As I saw it, lesbians had no style, no care for fashion or shopping or Julia Roberts movies. They were sarcastic and serious and generally in my mind 40. Always 40. Granted I have some friends that fit this mold exactly and I love them dearly. Now as I try to describe myself to you by way of introduction I can’t help but wonder if you’re envisioning me in the very same way I pictured “lesbians”. Well I’m 36 although I feel 25, I don’t mean I’m still wearing skirts and tube tops (are those still in?) I’m just always shocked that I’ve gotten far enough in my life to own a house and have a dog and actually feed the dog (Ok I admit, my wife does that) and have a kid and feed the kid ( I really do feed her) and have a career, it’s just strange for me to be “that person” that you are when you are a grown up. I’m just me. I guess I don’t really identify with labels all together.
So out the door with the sticker that you may have slapped on my back! Let me officially introduce myself; my name is Brandy and I love to rent cheesy Meg Ryan movies and I sob every time. I love to shop and I prefer my seven jeans over a dress any day but a dress makes me feel pretty which I like and I crave on a sunny California afternoon. I never cut my hair short – even when I was accused in multiple gay bars of “not really being a lesbian”. I like to sip cocktails and gossip about things I shouldn’t. I like a “girls” night out, straight or gay, I have no preference. I stay up late shopping on the web with my best friend. I love men and many times prefer their company. I adore my daughter and can’t wait to braid her hair and listen to her stories about the kids at school. I love dates with my wife and mandate a good hour to get ready for them. I like to feel sexy although after having a kid I really have to work hard at that. I don’t want to let myself go and I fear it daily. I like walks in the park with my family, NPR in the morning, coffee at Starbucks and themed dates at night. I have a bookshelf full of New York Times bestsellers that I intend to read. I guess what I’m trying to get at is that I don’t fit a mold that one might have created for me given the life that I have been blessed with.
Don’t get me wrong, I grapple with issue ridden thoughts daily, some relevant to being a same sex parent and some not. I worry that my daughter will get teased at school for having 2 moms and I blush when I say the word “wife” sometimes. I occasionally feel uncomfortable in a room full of lesbians, like I don’t fit in even though I do or I should. But at the end of the day when all the definitions have melted away, I am a raw, genuine person living the same way I would have had my life taken a different path.
So welcome to my blog about myself and my “Next Family”.