The Queer Joy Podcast; two relationship therapists exploring what it looks like to see joy in queer relationships.
In this episode we interview Kayla the normie and Gretchen the kinky jock. We discuss respecting differences when opposites attract, learning from each other, and growing from each relationship.
Magnus Strength and Conditioning: www.magnussc.com
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Connective Therapy Collective: www.connectivetherapycollective.com
Melisa: this one's really keeping me on my toes, which is great. I feel like I've learned and grown so much. It's incredible. So thank you. Welcome Keely: everyone back to queer relationships, queer joy. I'm one of your hosts, Keeley C Helmick. Melisa: I'm Melissa De Seguirant. Keely: Welcome. And we are here with our guests today. We'd like to let you introduce yourselves. anything you want to just introduce about your dinner, demographics, so welcome. Gretchen: Great, great. Yeah, my name's Gretchen. I use they and she pronouns. I'm white and bisexual and yeah. Kayla: Great. Kayla, I use she, her pronouns. I'm also white and I, I get. Yeah, get into it. Yeah. I'm queer. Yeah. Cool. Well, I didn't get into Keely: get into it as well. Gretchen: Yeah. Keely: So I, and for, you know, we always say you can go back to the first couple episodes, but you know, I am white queer non-binary queer. Non-conforming. Currently solo. I'm using the term solo instead of single that's like my thing right now. Cause I feel like there's so many connotations around the term single like, oh, you're supposed to-. If you're single, then you're actually looking for a partner. And I'm like, well, I mean, no. I'm just solo right now, do my thing, whatever that means to everybody. Yeah. To me, it means still having sex, but that's another issue. Kayla: Love Melisa: it. And I'm Melissa. I am a white cisgender female, bisexual polyamorous lots of different things. I'm also solo. Solo poly is how I'm identifying right now. Gretchen: Awesome. Keely: Let's hear about the two of you and just jump in about your relationship and how you met. Gretchen: Want me to go for it? Yeah. Okay. So Kayla and I, I guess to preface, she's Kayla: going to tell this poorly, I just want to put that in there. I was Gretchen: just going to go where we're at now, and then you could tell the backstory. Okay. So where we're at now, we are in love. Could identify our relationship as monogamish. Uh, Well let's just say we're opportunists. Yeah. But we are more or less monogamous by choice. We that was something that we came to it really intentionally together after coming from a different backgrounds, relating to styles of dating and styles of love. We've been together for almost three years. Yeah. I dunno, we were firmly monogamous for a couple of years in the middle, but by the pandemic, you know, but we did, we, we were dating for a year before the pandemic hit too. So that was good. We got that. We got the roots laid there. But I'll let Kayla tell you about how we met because okay. Kayla: I have to go into a semi-personal backstory. I had just gotten out of a seven year, very monogamous relationship. I don't know, really heteronormative, even though we were kind of queer, but we weren't really, you know, Gretchen: to be fair, it was two women were Kayla: two women, but like, other than that, right, like our storyline and the life we were living. Didn't have very many queer elements, needless to say that fell through. We're all grateful. But I, I had, I honestly like that started when I was 22 and I understood, oh, I'm a lesbian, kind of. Like this one woman, I was like my understanding of my own sexuality, very baby feelings. And then as after that relationship ended,I was pushing 29 and I was like, wait, oh no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Like I'm queer, queer, gay, gay. Like, it's not wasn't anything too personal there. And that's when I , feel like I came out, even though I was in a seven year relationship with a woman. And I was devastated. Of course I was tough. You know, my twenties were spent thinking I was doing something else. But that ended and. I always went to the gym where it worked out Magnus strength and conditioning, shout out. And I saw Gretchen, I had been working out at the gym for a while. And then, so like a halo and like, oh my gosh, I can date someone from the gym. Keely: This is great. That's so gay right there. I have so many lens. Like how do you meet people? Kayla: Well, I'm not, I don't identify as a jock, but I'm sounding pretty bad right now. So jockey babe. And I was like, yes. And I try over the course of two years to talk to Gretchen. Wouldn't give me the time of day. I was like, Hey, how she's busy. I'll just keep it moving. And at one point I swear, I was doing this exercise. And I was like, oh, this is so hard. , Ooh, I'm Gretchen popped over. I didn't know. They even knew my name. I was like, oh, what are you doing? Let me try those. , Ooh, thanks. Gretchen: Yeah. Kayla: So I really tried. I just need to put that out there and then Gretchen's gonna pretend like they tried, but Gretchen: that's not well, so then fast forward a couple of years, I became a coach at that gym. I'm still a coach at that gym. Thanks, Magnus. And uh, we every year have a holiday party. The week of the holiday party had shown up another gay element here. I'd shown up at Kayla's other gym. But where she it's a climbing gym, she's a rock climber, but I went on a date. But with someone else. I just, I recognized her from Magnus and it had been awhile. And I, for some reason, decided to be chatty instead of shy, which is what was happening. All of those two years, she was trying to talk to me. I'm very shy. I just don't come across as very shy. And sometimes it works in my favor that I seem cool and aloof, but in fact, just shy, but I decided to talk to her. And I was like, Hey, you went to Magnus, right? We're having a holiday party. You should stop by , come on back. I don't really know what I meant by that. It happens in know, drop the invite. And she says that she forgot. I did forget. And a different friend invited her, but ultimately she showed up at the holiday party Keely: at the same holiday party. But with. Gretchen: She didn't come with them. But as a friend, Kayla: like a friend who was like, Hey, look, I'm at this holiday party, you got to get here because my wife is busy and I need you to come talk with me. And so I went to see her and Gretchen: then I was like, she came, when I invited her Kayla: Gretchen was doing some really babe-ly stuff. And I was like, Everyone, everyone. I knew to the two people who I was like there with. I was like, you guys, you gotta tell me everything you can, what's Gretchen's deal? I knew nothing. I didn't know if she was queer. I didn't know anything. And they were like, we don't really know, not so sure, but like you might as well ask. And I was single at the time. And I was looking, I was dating and looking to date and I was like, you know what, I need, I need to get turned down. , that's what needs to happen. I need to , put it out there and just, I didn't think it would happen. And I was like, I'm going to ask Gretchen on a date. And so after a little bit of flirting at the gym, which was the babiest window of flirting, where someone was like, oh Kayla, we haven't seen you in awhile. What happened? And Gretchen. I invited her Keely: to say it wasn't like the eye contact. I Kayla: was just like, there's something, I don't know if maybe she's just being nice or if there's slid into the DMS, I was like, you're hot. Let me buy it. And I was like, Keely: you had direct that's awesome. Gretchen: You don't know necessarily, Melisa: you don't know, like,, is this a friend thing? Is this not a friend thing? Am I flirting? Like what's happening? Gretchen: I really, and I really appreciated it. It was very direct. She's asking me on a date. And at the time I was practicing polyamory and I was I involved in one serious relationship and I was dating a couple of people. But I was in kind of a weird place with those relationships where even though I like it had been a long time, but since I had added some new to that dynamic and things were a little bit rocky. But I, you know, talked it through and was like, I can use a little fun and who's this cute little normie here who wants to go on a date? Keely: Wait wait wait, what do we mean by normal? Gretchen: I mean, it's a really good, it actually is a really good segue to how I was feeling leading up to that first date, because I was feeling all kind of hot shit and excited and being like not ever, I'm going to go on a date. That's fun. And the thing that I do, and then as it got closer, I realized that I knew nothing about her and Kayla: And she wasn't even thinking about me! Gretchen: And then I was like, wait, and then I was like, oh shit. I was at a time in my life where I had a lot that I realized I needed to come out about. I had been dating people in the kink community and in the polyamourous community. And I'm a sex educator in my, I work in personal training and in sex education and I'd been dating people that knew me through that work. So then it was just like, yeah, I'm bisexual. I was like, I'm a sex educator. I XYZ like those kinds of things where we're a little more run of the mill, or people already knew them. And then entering this date, I was like, had this moment where. I was raised in a really affirming place for my gender and my sexuality. I never really had a big coming out moment. , and I'd had one of these moments of being. What if she's not okay with all of these things of who I am and what I, yeah, that's real. Instead of just, you know what, I had my own thoughts and judgments in my head of being like, what is a normal person going on a date showing up and getting like, I work in IT. I was divorced three years ago. Here's Kayla: the like that I, especially then I probably still would say , I'm pretty vanilla in that regard. , I'm like, oh no. I was , just kind of being a basic white girl who's kind of. And to other women? And then I didn't really know, , I didn't really know. So that was who I was coming into our date needless to say for me, it was a wild ride. Melisa: I was wondering like, how did the coming out go? What was your heard these words before? Are you a west side lesbian? Are you a west side lesbian? We Gretchen: shoot one anecdote from this date that points out how it went. So, okay. I, you can see, like I probably was wearing Kayla: this shirt honestly, but Gretchen was like, I was like very nervous and I'm not, I don't know if you can tell, but I am not usually very nervous and pretty smooth. Um, And no, I was so nervous and I didn't know anything about Gretchen. And the first thing we were sitting at the bar and they were like, you can touch me if you want. And I was like, oh, Keely: For people who can't see, she's just going backwards. And like, oh my goodness. Kayla: I was nervous. And then at one point was like, Gretchen pulled the moves out, which was. We'll talk about that. Maybe we'll get to that uncharacteristic. Gretchen: And so it's being bold, brought us Kayla: over and was like, we're going to go to a booth. Do you want to, what'd you say, Gretchen: I said, do you want to sit on opposite sides? Like we're dating or on the same side, like we're in love chose same sides. Keely: I had a choice. I Kayla: sat down and Gretchen plop their legs on me, which were at the bar and was doing. Uh, Bisexual. I can't sit. So I'm going to , I'm putting my legs up and I was like fidgeting because I'm so nervous and it has a little anklet and I was like, oh, cute. Thought I was asking an innocent question. Like, what's this anklet. And then she hit me with, oh, that's my rope family. I'm a climber and it was, I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into, but then I learned Gretchen: about, yeah, she learned about my bondage family and how I have a family of people that I travel and teach rope bondage with. And that. Symbols of our commitment to each other. And this is really not what she was expecting to get into with like oh, cute jewlry! , Keely: that's so how to do when you were hearing that from Gretchen, what was going on in your mind and your vanilla mind? Kayla: Vanilla mind was really trying to play it. Cool. But holy smokes. Freaking out. I got back and like, you know, many in my circles knew of course, you asked how Gretchen I'm like, I know righteous. And then everyone was very surprised. A few, I have one acquaintance who is a mutual friend and I went out to coffee and I was like, listen, I went on a date with Gretchen and they were. Gretchen, The Gretchen? I was like, yeah, like I think the Gretchen, you know, and they're like, you went on a date with Gretchen and they're like you, Kayla, who I know like exactly. And they're, they've just really had the delight that they took and the mashing of the two of us where it was really lovely because yeah. I was, had no idea. And the things I've learned in the past three years have been super cool and transformative. And I love to think back and like, remember my baby brain that was like mind blown and I, all of my, you know, not all of my friends, but many of my friends also were like, Suspension rope bondage? Like what are you talking about? And then, so all of those types of new learnings that have come up for me I'm very I don't know that I'm proud of myself, but I'm surely grateful that I was just like, I'm going to learn. And I didn't, I don't think I had any judgments. I had maybe some, Gretchen: if you did, you kept it to yourself. Melisa: That's a beautiful response of noting your own, like, oh, wow. Okay. This is new for me. And also what do I have to learn here. Kayla: It's been constant. Melisa: Like it hasn't stopped. We just had a new one. I am always, this one's really keeping me on my toes, which is great. I feel like I've learned and grown so much. It's incredible. So thank you Gretchen: Oh, Keely: I love that like growth, that, that idea of growth and continuing to grow as a couple and grow individually and that back row. Like celebrated going. Sounds Kayla: like it's a part of what's working in Gretchen: a relationship. It literally is. And I mean, I, you know, we all just got to hear about Kayla being googly-eyed about me, which is awesome. And I love it works for me. But I there's also been growth on my side in a number of ways, know one of the biggest one reciprocal growth being that Kayla has offered me a sense of stability and home and the opportunity to like actually rest. And I was in a time in my life before we met that I was like, I have to try all the things I have to do all this stuff. I have to be like the biggest and the loudest and the best and the fastest and bleh. And I was really pushing in a lot of directions. And is it definitely. Pushing in my sexuality and my expiration there. And I feel strongly that I needed that time. And I wanted that time. I grew a lot and I got a lot out of that time. But a lot of my growth in our relationship has been the slowing down and being able to actually. Place roots in this relationship and learn to trust and learn to undo some of the unhealthy patterns that I practiced in previous relationships, because I felt safe and respected and trusted enough to give those things back. And so maybe it's not quite as flashy and as fun, but there has certainly been a lot of learning and growth on my side too. Keely: That's like you, you gave each other different things that made it really a whole. Beautiful. Kayla: Yeah. Keely: It's very, yes, we can just see that. It's like part of this is part of what I love about doing this podcast is seeing the mushy gushy, cuteness of the couples. I can't if people aren't watching on YouTube, Gretchen: inspiration too, for the solo crowd over here on the side Keely: of the camera, like this. Yeah, so we Kayla: just got buckle up Gretchen: because holy smokes. It's a wild ride.. Keely: So I'm curious to hear a little bit more if you're willing to share when you're saying these patterns that you had, and maybe both of you have talked a little bit about your past and what these patterns that now that you've changed or shifted now being in this relationship and how that looks different. Yeah. Kayla: You want to go first? You'll have something smarter to say. So I'll just because Gretchen was talking about that at paint for me, this very, I don't want to overshare about your past, but like, Gretchen: I'll tell you if you need to cut it out, we can edit it. Kayla: So sure. How, before her explorations into polyamory and kink and all the things. But like pretty monogamous and kind of a boring relationship. So how are you not watching kind of boring and then felt this, all that stuff, whatever you were feeling and swung into all of those explorations and , I have to be poly and I'm going to be kinky, and I'm going to be all the things that you were exploring. And then I was really worried because I felt like, well, if we're doing pendulums, I'm definitely that other side at this point, that's what I represent. Or like what I have come from. And I was really worried that they would swing too far back and then keep feeling this tug. To be whatever else they wanted to be. And so one of the things early on that became abundantly clear to me was that I have been completely captivated by and find Gretchen entirely enchanting. And my biggest desire and our relationship is to see them be there. There is like, I want to see your, you and I want to see what that is. I don't want it to be. The version of you that makes me happy or the version of you that makes whoever. And so that has been what I like in this partnership. What I, I guess, , I see my role in your life, but , that's what I'm interested in. I just want to know Gretchen because every piece I know is lovely and dazzling and is feeds my heart. Gretchen: Which I mean, so what you're speaking to is a pattern of mine that has been that I would consider to be unhealthy throughout all of my past relationship history and I still struggle with it. Absolutely. I'm not healed of it. But in that I am a very much a people pleasing. And I really identify with the fawning response to any kind of conflict. And so, you know, despite having this strong understanding and narrative of my growth and have a really dynamic sense of self and of all of these activities and types of lifestyle that I've lived within those, if I actually take a microscope to them in all of those times, I've been following partners and leaning into the things that they like, okay. The things that they want or the things that I think would make me more appealing to a certain group of people that I was trying to get ahead with, or, you know, we could chart this way back, the things that my parents would , whatever, you know, Within that is, I feel in the learning to trust and feel more respect and having some space and some time to grow and reflect and do my work. That is a lot of work that I'm doing right now to not do that pendulum swing and actually try and understand, , what do I want, what do I need? What is me look like? Which of. Things, if we put them on the list, which ones of these things actually feel good to me and which ones am I doing? Because they feel good to you. And that is really hard work. Turns out. Keely: Yeah. Melisa: I want to highlight though. It's so amazing. You're doing this work while being in a loving relationship and we've talked about autonomy and connection and how, at least for me, this goal of finding. Also being a people pleaser where I can explore my own self-expression in the safety of a relationship because my own pendulum goes from , okay, complete autonomy and no connection to other humans. So I avoid all of the people pleasing or so enmeshed in a relationship. And so I think it's a great example. You bring up of how you're continuing that work while being supported by a loving partner. Gretchen: But it's hard though. Like there are definitely. Times I don't add any, I wouldn't say that. I wish that I were solo at this time at all, but there are definitely pushes against my people pleasing that, I have a person to please, like she has. It she's clear about her needs and desires. Like Kayla is not one to not tell you when she want something. She is like loud and direct and clear, and it is really, it's hard in that context too. See you and to think ahead, like a good people, pleaser does to think ahead to be , okay, I know that if in I worked on this skill and became, it became a deep part of who I was. And eventually I was at this level of it, then she would connect to that and we could have a life that would look like this. I can do that kind of mapping and planning for myself. And it is really challenging to step back and know maybe like, you know, the fear and my brain says, maybe I'm missing out on this grand perfect connection that I could have with this love of my life, because I'm. Willing to drop everything about who I am to be who she wants to. I perceive her to want that. And there's a part of me early on when I was starting to think about starting to think about undoing some people pleasing, where I was like, maybe I should just be single. Maybe that's the only time that I will be able to actually operate out of my own needs. And I do in some ways think that that would be easier. And also, I think I know myself well enough. I probably wouldn't be doing that work. I probably would've attached to myself just so ultimately you know, why not just be glad that, that I'm right here supported in doing that work? Keely: I think that's so much, I mean, what you're talking about is so familiar to so many people and I like, and I don't want to say just the queer community. So many folks who have that dynamic of wanting to please and being attached and then losing themselves. And then all of a sudden, then they break up and you'll go, hi, I haven't seen you in a year and a half. Nice to see you again, friend. Gretchen: A huge thing I've learned from Kayla. She has deep and important relationships with her friends and coming from a nonmonogamous background, you know, a lot of my relationships with friends have at some point been romantic at some point, been sexual, whatever. And , or they're work friends were over here and I'd like, my friends are very categorical like that. And. I've learned a lot of what it looks like to prioritize relationships, platonic relationships from Kayla, because when I entered her life, you know, I go on multiple trips a year that are just me and my best friends and you're not invited. And I was like, you. And then once you started doing that, I was like, where are my friends? What I've been doing this whole time? Like I, you know, and it has really opened my eyes to the beauty of that. You know, it, it doesn't have to be polyamory. We don't have to put those labels that we already have on it. But these platonic relationships that are deep and important and take up a different space than the one that I take up. And that is, that's definitely a work in progress for me. That's Kayla: something that I, a big relearning after I was in the most enmeshed co-dependent. Relationship of my twenties and that ended. And I was like, I don't have any, I have no friends. I have no, , nothing was me. And so I worked really hard over the course of several years to like, I've got to find my people and build my community. And then when I met Gretchen, it was like I had that already because I was largely single dating, just doing alone. I was doing for several years, but yeah, it's been a big, it's a big learning and it's something I've been trying to articulate that I can articulate it well, but it hints at why, one of my favorite things about our relationship is that. It's not everything in my life. And it's weird to say like the way it's when I say that it makes me feel more in love because I'm like knows it. And it gives us space to endure the long haul, which is what we're hope our goal is to be together as long as we're together. So it's a pretty achievable thing. Well, for real. Like I want to know Gretchen and be with them as long as we get, hopefully for a long time, we'll see what happens. But like part of that is because they're not my everything. Gretchen: Oh, significant Kayla: for sure. It leaves space. Our relationship can go through different phases and like we're allowed to struggle because if we're struggling, it doesn't mean my whole life is bonkers. I means, oh, I can still do the activities that make me me and see my people and have my cup filled and other ways, and continue to show up and try and work through whatever we might be working through. That's the plan. Melisa: So it was important point. I love that. And even as you talked about the way relationships shift and change, I'm, I'm often talking to monogamous folks about, do you do check-ins because relationships, even though you're monogamous things will continue to change and shift. And I, I love that. Just because one part of one's life changes doesn't mean everything has to be impacted to the degree. Maybe that some of us I'm going to raise my hand of that, you know, especially in the relationship, I think that's society putting so much focus on who are you dating? Who are you with? What's your partnership, you know, Keely: Well and so what you just described this so much. I find trying to talk to people about, which is having that yes, one person cannot be your all. And in fact, the more that you have these different relationships, the more you have space to actually be more connected. And you just described it in such a lovely way for the listeners to hear, because we try and say that in session, or try to say that people. The two of you saying this and he's like, yeah, this is working , this is, what's making us stronger and healthier and happier and not perfect, but just lovely in your own, in your own ways. Yeah. So we're curious. Or I like to ask so you've been together for three years. What happened when COVID hit. And how did you come together? Kayla: I just love that we were, of course, going to quarantine for two weeks together. Gretchen: Two weeks. Keely: You weren't living together yet? Kayla: No, no, no. We live in our living in the house we own, so Gretchen: things really changed fast. Yeah, I was living in shared housing. Kayla had her own apartment with her past dog (may she rest in peace). And yeah, we got to this weird place, early, very quickly and the pandemic. My housemates you know, which were lovely people, but I wasn't super close with. They were starting to have their own pods of people and I was like, okay. So I live here, but then I spend all my time with my partner. So then I just was like, well, this is kind of awkward, but I'll just move a duffel bag over for a couple of weeks until we figure out what this pandemic thing is. And yeah, and then pretty much I never left. I just moved in and then sat an official move in date. Once we realized that it was going to be awhile and in some ways. , I felt a little robbed of the opportunity to make that choice which, you know, it was a choice and I did make it, but versus I, I have never, I've been in a few longish multi-year relationships, I guess. But I haven't lived with a partner by choice. I have lived with a partner out of necessity for a brief time before. And so it was, I was looking forward pre pandemic to coming to the decision, to move in together and choosing a place together and doing those kinds of steps. And then it was like, well, I guess we live together now. Okay. Honestly, though, part of that, it was Gretchen has had. I don't know you were like, all this kind of kept a bag packed, but yeah, I do. I have very much, I felt that vibe about my living situations and about my relationships. Okay. In the past. And, and so there was, there were pros and cons to that. It was not hard for me to go live in a different place. And it was kind of hard for me to not leave again to, you know, make the choice of being like, okay, I'm really moving in. And not just because of necessity, not just because I had to, but because , okay, now we are, we're living together. We're really living together. And then kayla was in a place in her life to be looking at buying a house this last year in 2021 let's not get carried away. Kayla: Well, the market's ridiculous. It just so happened that I'm a teacher and I've been teaching for 10 years. And so it's like, the bank was like fake money and I was like, okay, Gretchen: Yeah, the bank was like pay $0 for a house. And she was like, okay. So. For now. Kayla: Yeah, that's a lot. I don't, Gretchen: uh, So we found ourselves in a place where Kayla was looking at buying a house and we were living together and it became a conversation of us buying a house because we weren't going to not live together. And so then it was that we spent a season looking at houses together and making choices you know, not just whereas Kayla's perfect place to live, but where is a place that I could start working on a garden like the ones that my mom and my sister grow. And where is a space that we could have a home gym, which we still don't have. There's not this space, but that's okay. Where are the places that are not just close to the places you need to go, but the places I need to go. Really big. I mean, obviously it was a big step for her and buying a house, but relationally, it was a really big step for me to be going through that process of , you know, I am actively taking steps to put down roots and making a commitment to a space. And it was not something that I've really ever done before. So, Keely: so then the theme of like stability and putting down roots and, and growth and. Just this loveliness. I just imagine your hands in the garden or in the soil at this house. Kayla: And, oh, and one of the things we worked on, , I don't know, over the summer. She'll be like, can I do this to the backyard? Plant this thing? I was like, I, why are you asking me? , it has kind of a, sometimes it's endearing will love it, but like I do, can I do this? I don't, yeah, please don't ask me. And like, just that's you get to make your own decisions. Do not check in with me. I don't have anything to offer. So that's been kind of cute to the point. Sweet little thing. Like we've been here for 10 months, almost a year. And so like eight months into living here, I was like, w you know, trying to organize things still and slowly figure out how to, we don't have, it's not very big, whatever, but it's a little tiny two bedroom. And I was like, oh, I'm going to get us a dresser. We don't even have a dresser. And I had my look and my little Gretchen still had clothes, just , kind of shoved into boxes. And I was like, wait, is this what your clothing situation would've been like? Right. I just kind of looked through the boxes and I ended up buying a dresser. And I was like, may I please invite you to also take. The space in this home. Oh, it's been a lot of that inviting to, to space. And then sometimes realizing , what have I done? Why have I created a monster, has opinions and needs. And now is learning how to be angry at me. Gretchen: The next step in this life. As that, now I can take up space that now I can also be angry because Kayla: I know what it is. Laughing Gretchen: because we were on a trip to the beach a couple of months ago, and I got really angry and I didn't know how to express it. And so I just clap really loud and that was the best I could do at that moment. Given my tools, I'm really exploring my tools about anger. It's not a familiar emotion for me, but it brings me so much joy. Really frequently, she claps and says "KAYLA" really loud. Keely: Oh, well, speaking of toy, we have had so much fun listening to your story and hearing about your growth and just your interactions. And we like to wrap up our time with talking about each of our queer joy of the week. And we invite you to join. And before we get to the queer joy though, I want to make sure, because you're talking about the gym and I want you to have the opportunity to, to say a snippet about anything you want to share with the listeners about what you do or what you're doing in the world or something to share. And then we'll talk about our queer joy as we wrap up. Gretchen: Great. Okay. I mean, yeah, we definitely, Kayla said she doesn't identify as a jock, but I do You know, we met at the gym and we go to the gym together. It is an important part of our lives. But right now I am coaching a whole weightlifting team. I'm the head coach of the Olympics, Olympic style, not like Olympic athletes, but Olympic style, weight lifting team at Magnus Strength and Conditioning. And I compete in that sport as well. Some kind of pandemic yeah, that's a huge part of my life. And I have been working at SheBop for seven years this month. And it is actually my second to last month of working with them. Which is so special. I love SheBop forever. It's time for me to move on. I'm looking, going back to school next year. And so just making some, some changes in my life in that way, but really like a bittersweet. And mostly sweet. I, you know, the bitterness is just that it's ending. But at this point I'm wrapping up my last couple of months of work with them, which has just been such a special and cool part of my twenties. Kayla: Yeah, and I teach high school math. So Gretchen: high school math. Yes. And I Kayla: honestly, the reason I teach high school math, just in case there's any of your listeners out there. I know lots of people dislike math is a problematic gatekeepery subject and that's one of the reasons I teach it is my lifelong dream to make math accessible and empower kids predict particularly my students of color to just crush it and take up space and make it not what it is. Gretchen: That's awesome. Do you know anybody who needs math help this guy? Keely: I love it. Melisa: Well, going to queer joy? What I always ask you to start! It's funny too, because we've, on some weeks we record multiple episodes and I'm like, oh God, I need another choice. Yeah, well, let's let this personal, but I'll name it. As I said before, I'm solo, poly. I was divorced a year ago from a ten year relationship, so I've definitely been like treading lightly in my dating situations, but I had this realization, I also identify as demisexual and for me, sexual pleasure really comes in a committed, loving relationship. And I had the realization I'm like totally ready to fall in love again. Um, and for me, that doesn't mean it's going to happen right away, but. That's such a mi- this is very different than what lasts, like, like it was not, was not in this place. So that's my queer joy. Gretchen: Yeah. For sharing congrats. Keely: Well, I. Recently, solo. And I, my journey right now is to explore all different kinds of relationships and not to go back into patterns as Gretchen so lovingly puts different patterns. And two, I have a goal and I've told everyone that I am not allowed on a dating app until 2022. Hell. Yeah, it was some people are like, okay, first of all, some people are like, that's not very long. And then other people are like, oh, cute. Really? Like really you're going to wait that long. So my queer joy is to be really sitting with that and making, as I'm not in a committed, monogamous relationship, romantic relationship, the opening has been all these connections and all of these things have just opened up for me and a lot of queer, platonic friendships and new opportunities, even just with the podcast and with work and just all of these lovely things. I'm like, oh wait, I can be okay just kind of chill by myself and it can actually feel okay. That would be my continued journey. But the, those that realization of this week. Gretchen: Absolutely. Do you have a joy? Yes. You go first. Okay. My queer joy. It's not new this week, but it is continuing is that we have dear friends who just recently had a baby and they are gay. Um, And so we think this baby is gay because that's how it works. I have in this shift, in my. Jobs and careers. I get the pleasure of hanging out with this little kiddo two days a week. Um, And it's just like, it's, it's special to see a queer partnership flourishing and having a kiddo and having those conversations about getting babies and gay families and all of that being, you know, my own childhood, I I have, my mom is married to a woman. I'm not, I wouldn't say I have two moms, but my mom's married to a woman. I have very gay family and it's sweet to see that and now be part of a new gay family in that way. Kayla: I don't want it to be like that I'm not sharing a personal thing. I'm kind of sharing because I teach high schoolers. Yeah. My biggest sources of joy. And I heard a coming out story today and it was like a really wild day, but then the student who like they've come out to me before were then telling me about how they came out to one of their classes. And I was just so tender. And it's interesting sometimes because um, On one hand, they're like, oh, it's not a big deal. I'm gay or queer. Like, and then sometimes it is, it's just like, you know, their pro journey is personal shocker. And it's just really special. Like anytime. I got to deal with that today. And then I had another sweet kid come and tell me that then, I can't say their name, but they came to tell me about a breakup, but it was also really sweet, but these kids just want to share their lives and , look still see, I need relationship advice. No. I got you. It's just really there to like try and package my age advice for a high school brain that is doing different things and it just brings me endless joy. Keely: Yeah, that is so awesome. I can relate only. I'm not a teacher, but I have a high schooler and I have a queer high schooler. And so I, and the little friends that come over and so, oh. Kayla: And then they honestly, it's like, they start to, I think there's not a lot of queer teachers at our school and I love to kind of play a little game. That's like, You're really into being in my room all the time at lunch. You just don't know yet. This is I see where you're going, but tell me, so the baby gays really make it so tender and sweet Keely: Aw the baby gays. Yeah. Well thank you two so much. It has been wonderful listening your stories. Thank you for sharing and being vulnerable and being here and thank you listeners for listening today, and we hope all of you have a wonderful queer joyful week. Kayla: Thank you. Thanks for listening to Queer Relationships, Queer Joy; a podcast by the Connective Therapy Collective hosted by Kelly C Helmick and Melissa De Seguirant. With audio edited and produced by me, Cardinal Marking. Intro music is by Bad Snacks and outro music by Ruby Amanfu. This week's guests were Kayla and Gretchen. I find Gretchen at Magnus Strength and Conditioning gym in Portland, Oregon. If this episode made you smile or think, tell us about it. If you hated it. Tell us about it. Review us on iTunes or send us an email at info at Connective Therapy. Collective dot com. For more queer joy, visit our website at www dot Connective Therapy. Collective dot com. Love ya. Bye.