Out & About Today Nashville Channel 5
Latest On Outvoices
Trending around OUTvoices
Without any surprise, one of the most commonly determined goals for this year is to be happier. It doesn’t matter what you secretly want, such as to lose a couple of pounds, build up your muscles or find the love of your life – the ultimate goal of every single one of us is the same – to be happy.
After all, anything that we want from life, we want so that it could bring us happiness. But happiness will not come to whomever, as every person needs to work hard and think long about all the things that make them happy and actually earn that happiness. The end of every year is the perfect time to start thinking about that, to reflect on the previous year, see the negative points that you never want to repeat again and then see what the aspects you need to focus on more are. Take a look at some of the ideas that will help you become a happier gay man in the next year.
Who cares what others have
The first and most important piece of advice would be to be who you are, but since this is as cliché as it can get, let’s say that the first thing to do is not to compare yourself with other gay people. This is something that can create so many different issues – first of all, with your self-confidence and image which can have a big effect on your life, and secondly, it can affect your relationship with other people. There are certain things that are always “expected” from gay men, such as having abs, being very handsome, having crystal clear skin or dressing up in the latest fashion. Well, be who you are and never try to be someone else so that you can stand out. This is the most important tip you should follow as this is the only way you will truly be happy.
Make yourself a routine
Creating a routine for yourself and having activities that you enjoy doing on a daily basis is an essential thing for your happiness. What is important to know is that your habits create your mood, and the more interesting habits you have, the happier you will be. It is always a good thing when you get to come home from work and have certain things that you can get up to. However, it would be good that your routines in 2020 revolve around everything that is natural, healthy and organic. So, buying yourself a gym membership or taking up a sport are two great ideas. If you want to be bolder, you can always hit the best kratom shop and turn to natural products that will make your daily routine much more pleasant, and you happier. Remember that this doesn’t have to necessarily be a daily routine that you have to create, but rather have several things that you like doing and can do from time to time when you want to feel better.
You are enough for you
Next up, we should turn to one of the biggest issues of unsatisfied people – the fact that they’re single. Now, not all single people are unsatisfied, but the majority of people feel dissatisfaction once they have nobody by their side, which is one of the traits they definitely have to change. You do not need anyone else to tell you are perfect or amazing or pretty or beautiful, you do not need anyone so that you could feel validated. What you can do is spice things up, and if you are a sexual being, you can always find someone to spend several hot nights with. However, if you are looking for a relationship, you need to start with yourself and stop feeling sorry for yourself because you are single. This is what shows, and nobody wants to hit on someone who has a lot of negativity going on.
Socialize with positive people
Photo by Ba Phi from Pexels
There’s nothing that works better for your own happiness than surrounding yourself with people that you love and people who are positive (obviously, you get the most of it when you combine these two and spend time with people who are both positive and very important to you). In 2020, it would be best to ditch negativity and leave it behind – even though it might be difficult, limiting the time you spend with negative people can definitely do wonders for your own mood and overall state of happiness.
Finally, focus on yourself. It is 2020, so whatever you choose to do for your own well-being is definitely not something you should be embarrassed about. If yoga is something that is going to calm you down, take your stress away and thus make you a generally less unsatisfied person – so be it. You can also turn to meditation or simply spending time with your friends and laughing. Laughter is also one of the strongest remedies. You know what they say – when life gives you lemons, make a lemonade. Beyoncé made it and it’s the best album of the decade.
Hopefully, you will be a better person in 2020. After all, it doesn’t matter what you do and how others perceive you – if you like yourself, that’s what matters. So, make the following a New Year’s resolution – love yourself.
The 2020s been bending us over for a couple years now – time to switch positions.
What’s our motto for the new year? No-effing-more. Starting now. Here’s what we’re not gon’ do in 2022.
Allow straight guys to gay-bait us for profitPhoto by Dylan Sauerwein on Unsplash
I get it: Straight men are hot. And they’re arguably even hotter when they’re dipping their hairy toes in the musky man waters. But you know what’s not hot? Pretending to be queer on social media for likes and clicks that translate to real-life profit. Because the likely truth of the matter is that this growing army of online gay-baiters are using that extra cash to take their opposite-sex girlfriends out on dates, supporting anti-LGBTQ+ causes (wittingly or not), and referring to us as cocksuckers and faggots whenever the cameras aren’t rolling. Are we gluttons for punishment? Of course we are. Why do you think we text our exes “You up?” every time we’re fucked up? Regardless, it’s time to break up with these no-homo narcissists once and for all. They’re taking us for a ride – and not the kind we douched for.
Live in fear of COVID-19Photo by Elena Koycheva on Unsplash
Guess whose business it is whether or not strangers are vaccinated? Nobody’s – and especially not yours. If you’ve received the vaccine, congratulations! You did your part. That’s it. You’re done. You can’t do anything else to prevent the spread COVID-19 from anyone else but you. Accept that, and get on with your life. This virus is here to stay, and all of us ought to start learning how to live with it. Starting now.
Allow toxic people to destroy our self-esteemPhoto by Abstral Official on Unsplash
I struggle with depression and anxiety as a result of trauma – trauma that stems from my childhood, past relationships, alcohol and drug abuse, and various other contributors. While I’m in control of some of those contributors, I can’t control other people and what they say or do to me. What I can control, though, is their access to me. I’m cutting ’em off this year. Kickin’ ’em to the curb. Doesn’t matter who they are – parents, siblings, boyfriend, boss. I’m fed up. Had enough. Fuck with me in 2022 and you’re gonna get the boot right out my life. Take a similar stand (and stop drinking so much while you’re at it) and you’ll surprise yourself in myriad ways.
Pretend like everything’s OK when it’s notPhoto by Calvin Lupiya on Unsplash
Mental and emotional wellbeing is a collective topic of conversation much more now than in the past. Open discussions with friends, family and professional therapists help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety but it doesn’t remove them altogether. And that’s OK. It’s also OK for everything to not be OK, and for you to admit that. If you’re feeling down, let yourself feel down. But if it lasts too long, it’s your responsibility to identify why you feel that way and work toward a resolution or at least seek treatment. In 2022, we all deserve happy days to be here again.
Pay more while doing morePhoto by Liam Martens on Unsplash
Prices are out of control all over the place, including the supermarket, and it burns my biscuit that not only is my wallet taking a beating but now I’m also expected to do the jobs of employees. Like cleaning up carts from the parking lot or bagging my own groceries.
What else is the cashier doing, besides scanning my items, if I have to bag them? That’s their whole job – just beepin’ shit across the laser? Meanwhile, I’m tasked with paying the bill and dodging the next customer’s purchases coming down the line before I’ve removed mine from the collection end of the belt. That’s not to mention that in California we pay 10 cents per bag, a fee that’s promoted as helping reduce the amount of plastic in the environment, but which is really just another way for corporations to dig into our pockets. And that’s even if there are bags to offer. I was at a Walmart recently that had no bags to provide customers – the second separate store where I’ve encountered this issue – forcing me to throw dozens of loose pantry staples and produce all over my trunk.
This year, join me in my crusade to not do anything that somebody else is getting paid to do – unless we’re getting a check, too.
Rest on our laurels
Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash
If you’ve been coasting through the past couple years by living off unemployment money and taking full advantage of on-again/off-again lockdowns, 2022 is the year to get your ass back in gear. Rest period is over. Grab these first few months by the balls and return to normalcy. Create changes, too. Big ones. Make a physical move, take a few risks, apply for a new job or enact a whole new career change. Just do something besides hang around the house in your jammies and field Zoom calls day in and out. There’s still a wide world out there, and it wants you to be part of it.
Mikey Rox is an award-winning journalist and LGBT lifestyle expert whose work has been published in more than 100 outlets across the world. Connect with Mikey on Instagram @mikeyroxtravels
Because pets usually have shorter life spans than their human caregivers, you may have anticipated your animal friend's passing. But what if you are the one who becomes ill or incapacitated, or dies first? As a responsible pet owner, you provide your pet with food and water, shelter, veterinary care, and love. To ensure that your beloved pet will continue to receive care should something unexpected happen to you, it's critical to plan ahead.
LGBTQ folks may want to focus on the issue with extra emphasis, since pets are classified as property. Problems could arise when one partner passes away. Without any written document to back a claim to a companion animal, a surviving partner may not be able to maintain ownership of the pet should the deceased partner’s next of kin wish to take possession of the animal. But estate planning documents can rid a gay or lesbian couple’s fear of such an occurrence taking place.
Make sure you learn what steps you can take to plan and provide for your pet's future without you. The Humane Society of the United States offers a free kit, "Providing for Your Pet’s Future Without You," complete with a six-page fact sheet, wallet alert cards, emergency decals for windows and doors, and caregiver information forms. For the full kit, please visit www.hsus.org/petsinwills, call 1-800-808-7858, or write to email@example.com or Rob Blizard, The HSUS, 2100 L Street NW, Washington, DC 20037.
NOTE: The following information is intended to provide a general overview and to stimulate your thinking about providing for your pet in the event of your incapacity or death. It is not intended to provide legal advice and is definitely not a substitute for consulting a local attorney of your choosing who is familiar both with the laws of your state and with your personal circumstances and needs, and those of your pets.
Preparing for the Unexpected
In the confusion that accompanies a person's unexpected illness, accident, or death, pets may be overlooked. In some cases, pets are discovered in the person's home days after the tragedy. To prevent this from happening to your pet, take these simple precautions:
- Find at least two responsible friends or relatives who agree to serve as temporary emergency caregivers in the event that something unexpected happens to you. Provide them with keys to your home; feeding and care instructions; the name of your veterinarian; and information about the permanent care provisions you have made for your pet.
- Make sure your neighbors, friends, and relatives know how many pets you have and the names and contact numbers of the individuals who have agreed to serve as emergency caregivers. Emergency caregivers should also know how to contact each other.
- Carry a wallet "alert card" that lists the names and phone numbers of your emergency pet caregivers.
- Post removable "in case of emergency" notices on your doors or windows specifying how many and what types of pets you have. These notices will alert emergency-response personnel during a fire or other home emergency. Don't use stickers; hard-to-remove stickers are often left behind by former residents, so firefighters may assume that the sticker is outdated or, worse, they may risk their lives trying to find a pet no longer in the house.
- Affix to the inside of your front and back doors a removable notice listing emergency contact names and phone numbers. Because pets need care daily and will need immediate attention should you die or become incapacitated, the importance of making these informal arrangements for temporary caregiving cannot be overemphasized.
Ensuring Long-Term or Permanent Care for Your Pet
The best way to make sure your wishes are fulfilled is by making formal arrangements that specifically cover the care of your pet. It's not enough that long ago your friend verbally promised to take in your animal or even that you've decided to leave money to your friend for that purpose. Work with an attorney to draw up a special will, trust, or other document to provide for the care and ownership of your pet, as well as the funds necessary to care for her.
Choosing a Permanent Caregiver
First, decide whether you want all your pets to go to one person, or whether different pets should go to different people. If possible, keep pets who have bonded with one another together. When selecting caregivers, consider partners, adult children, parents, brothers, sisters, and friends who have met your pet and have successfully cared for pets themselves. Also name alternate caregivers in case your first choice becomes unable or unwilling to take your pet. Be sure to discuss your expectations with potential caregivers so they understand the large responsibility of caring for your pet. Remember, the new owner will have full discretion over the animal's care—including veterinary treatment and euthanasia—so make sure you choose a person you trust implicitly and who will do what is in the best interest of your pet.
Stay in touch with the designated caregivers and alternates. Over time, people's circumstances and priorities change, and you want to make sure that the arrangements you have made continue to hold from the designated caregivers' vantage points. If all else fails, it is also possible to direct your executor or personal representative, in your will, to place the animal with another individual or family (that is, in a noninstitutionalized setting). Finding a satisfactory new home can take several weeks of searching, so again, it is important to line up temporary care.
You also have to know and trust your executor and provide useful, but not unrealistically confining, instructions in your will. You should also authorize your executor to expend funds from your estate for the temporary care of your pet as well as for the costs of looking for a new home and transporting the animal to it. The will should also grant broad discretion to your executor in making decisions about the animal and in expending estate funds on the animal's behalf.
Entrusting Your Pet to an Organization
Most humane organizations do not have the space or funds to care for your pet indefinitely and cannot guarantee that someone will adopt your animal, although some may be able to board and care for your pet temporarily until he can be transferred to his designated caregiver. There are, however, a few organizations that specialize in long-term care of pets of deceased owners. For a fee or donation, these "pet retirement homes" or "sanctuaries" may agree to find your pet a new home or care for your pet until she dies. Be aware, however, that pets are companion animals who need lots of care and affection; they may suffer from long-term confinement in such facilities. Your pet will not want to be institutionalized any more than you would want to be.
Before making any formal arrangements, visit the organization to see how animals are cared for, where they are confined, who looks after them, when they are socialized and exercised, and what policies and procedures exist regarding care at the facility and placement with a new family. Also consider what might happen to your pet if the organization were to suffer funding or staff shortages. If you decide to entrust the care of your pet to an organization, choose a well-established organization that has a good record of finding responsible homes quickly.
Requesting Your Pet Be Euthanized Upon Your Death
Being concerned about what will happen to your pet after your death is normal. But some people take this concern to extremes, requesting that their pet be euthanized out of fear that no one else will care for the animal appropriately. When an owner puts this request in his will, that provision is often ruled invalid by the legal system when the animal is young or in good health and when other humane alternatives are available.
There are some cases when euthanasia may be appropriate. If a pet is very old or requires extensive treatment for a health condition, for example, it may be unfair to both the pet and your designated caregiver to insist on indefinite care. That's why it's important to choose a responsible caregiver and thoroughly discuss the animal's condition and needs so that the caregiver can make the best decision after you're gone.
Seeking Legal Assistance
Before making formal arrangements to provide for the long-term care of your pet, seek help from professionals who can guide you in preparing legal documents that can protect your interests and those of your pet. However, you must keep in mind the critical importance of making advance personal arrangements to ensure that your pet is cared for immediately if you die or become incapacitated. The formalities of a will or trust may not take over for some time.
Although your lawyer will help you decide what type of document best suits your needs, you should be aware of some drawbacks to wills. For example, a will takes effect only upon your death, and it will not be probated and formally recognized by a court for days or even weeks. What's more, if legal disputes arise, the final settlement of your property may be prolonged. Even determining the rightful new owner of your pet can get delayed. In other words, it may take a long time before your instructions regarding your pet's long-term care can be carried out.
This doesn't necessarily mean that you should not include a provision in your will that provides for your pet. It just means that you should explore creating additional documents that compensate for the will's limitations.
Setting Up a Trust
Unlike a will, a trust can provide for your pet immediately and can apply not only if you die, but also if you become ill or incapacitated. That's because you determine when your trust becomes effective. When you create a trust for your pet, you set aside money to be used for his care and you specify a trustee to control the funds.
A trust created separately from your will carries certain benefits. The trust can be written to exclude certain assets from the probate process so that funds are more readily available to care for your pet. Additionally, it can be structured to provide for your pet even during a lengthy disability.
Which Is Right for You—A Will or a Trust?
There are many types of wills and trusts; determining which is best for you and your pet depends on your situation and needs. It's important to seek the advice of an attorney who both understands your desire to provide for your pet and can help you create a will and/or trust that best provides for him.
You and your attorney also need to make sure that a trust for the benefit of one or more specific animals is valid and enforceable in your state; Tennessee currently offers honorary pet trusts, which are different from enforceable pet trusts that allow courts to monitor the care received by pets named in these types of trusts.
Even if your state law recognizes the validity of such trusts, keep in mind that tying up a substantial amount of money or property in a trust for an animal's benefit may prove to be controversial from the point of view of a relative or other heir. Moreover, trusts are legal entities that are relatively expensive to administer and maintain, all of which underscores the need for careful planning and legal advice.
After you and your lawyer create a will, a trust, or both, leave copies with the person you've chosen to be executor of your estate as well as with the pet's designated caregiver so that he or she can look after your pet immediately. (The executor and caregiver may or may not be the same person.) Make sure the caregiver also has copies of your pet's veterinary records and information about her behavior traits and dietary preferences.
Powers of Attorney
Powers of attorney, which authorize someone else to conduct some or all of your affairs for you while you are alive, have become a standard planning device. Such documents can be written to take effect upon your physical or mental incapacity and to continue in effect after you become incapacitated. They are simpler than trusts and do not create a legal entity that needs to be maintained by formal means. Provisions can be inserted in powers of attorney authorizing your attorney-in-fact—the person designated to handle your affairs—to take care of your pets, expend money to do so, and even to place your pets with permanent caregivers if appropriate.
Like any other legal device, however, powers of attorney are documents that by themselves cannot ensure that your pet is fed, walked, medicated, or otherwise cared for daily. Legal devices can only complement your personal efforts in thinking ahead and finding temporary and permanent caregivers who can take over your pet's care immediately when the need arises. It is critical to coordinate, with more formal legal planning, your own efforts in finding substitute caregivers.
Courtesy of the The Humane Society of the United States.
by Sarah Daren
It wasn’t a new phenomenon that anxiety levels amongst people of all ages were rising - and then the past two years, which were fraught with the COVID-19 epidemic, increased political upheaval, and more sealed the deal. Anxiety is at an all-time high for people young and old. Adults, though, can sometimes experience unique challenges when they feel prolonged or clinical anxiety. Stigmas, stereotypes, lack of awareness or recognition, and inadequate support structures (especially for those who live alone or don’t have healthcare access) can make anxiety a particularly difficult adversity for some. It’s important for every adult to have a working understanding of anxiety, its causes and effects, and strategies for coping with it.
Anxiety as a Form of Mental Strain
Though nearly everyone experiences stress and anxiety at points in their life, experiencing anxiety in high severity or for prolonged periods may indicate an anxiety disorder of some kind. Anxiety disorders fit within the family of mental illnesses along with conditions like clinical depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.
A number of anxiety disorder subtypes exist that range from separation to social anxiety disorders. Most of these are clinically diagnosed and can often be treated with medication, psychotherapy, or both. Anxiety disorders can be very serious. Left untreated, they often begin to interfere with living life normally and, in moderate to severe cases, require interventions or treatment in order to make daily life manageable for people who suffer from them.
To determine whether you might be at risk of having or developing an anxiety disorder, it’s important to understand the common symptoms that accompany this type of condition. If you experience increased or enduring bouts of any of these symptoms, consult a doctor or medical professional about the possibility of an anxiety disorder: increased heart rate, rapid breathing, restlessness, difficulty falling asleep, or trouble concentrating.
Anxiety attacks are also a sign of anxiety disorders. An anxiety attack would be experienced in a scenario or setting when you were likely already feeling anxious or thinking about something that was making you afraid. These attacks can involve experiencing faintness or dizziness, shortness of breath, sweating, dry mouth, chills or hot flashes, extreme worry, restlessness, distress or fear, or numbness or tingling.
Any of these experiences are enough to raise with your primary care provider to determine whether you might suffer from an anxiety disorder of some kind.
The Ramifications of Leaving Mental Illnesses Unaddressed
Just like physical ailments or cancers, mental illnesses can be very serious. They require treatment and attention to lessen or mitigate. When left unchecked, mental health difficulties can escalate and have increasingly negative effects on the quality of your life. A strong correlation exists between experiencing mental illnesses and people who are homeless, experiencing or have experienced drug addictions, or who have served jail time. Without management and treatment, mental illnesses can become debilitating and even life-threatening.
Tools to Combat Anxiety and other Mental Stresses
A number of “tools” or strategies exist that can help you boost your mental health and fortitude. These strategies can be employed any time and can almost always provide benefits that can strengthen your mental health. If you are experiencing prolonged symptoms of anxiety or are worried about the possibility of having an anxiety disorder, there are several steps available to you that you can employ to lessen the effects of anxiety on your life and wellbeing. Whether you have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or have simply felt increased effects of stress and anxiousness in your life, take some time to incorporate some of these tools into your regular routine.
One way of incorporating mental health strategies in your regular routine is by incorporating simple actions that can be accomplished alone (or done with other people as well) and that provide a sense of accomplishment, bring calm, and/or allow you to engage in physical movement or artistic creativity. These elements can all aid your mental health. Ideas include bike riding, walks (especially in nature), breathing or mindfulness routines, drawing or painting, accomplishing a rote task like washing dishes or putting away laundry, allowing time for a quiet break, reading, and more. These can all serve as effective ways of improving your mental state and contributing to stronger mental health.
Similarly, activities that are communal or group-oriented in nature, involve fun and play, or incorporate things you naturally enjoy make up another family of mental health-boosting activities that can also contribute significantly to your mental state. These can include walking with a friend, attending a weekly event or support group, taking classes, volunteering, playing a recreational team sport, and more.
By being aware of the signs of anxiety disorders and proactively engaged in activities that will boost your mental health, you can mitigate your risks of having your life adversely impacted by anxiety.
About the Author
Sarah Daren has been a consultant for startups in multiple industries including health and wellness, wearable technology, nursing, and education. She implements her health knowledge into every aspect of her life, including her position as a yoga instructor and raising her two children.