Photo Credit: BSA photography
Some people in the south usually do not get the gravity of being different unless they are actually different themselves or have been affected directly by someone's difference . Growing up in south Mississippi was really hard for me. People there don't empathize easily. It is a deep rooted and early learned mentality that is taught throughout life. Some children of these households are told that being different is weird, it usually "goes against their religion" and is looked down on.
It really doesn't matter what type of difference really- whether it is skin color, religion or sexual orientation.
Change comes very slowly in the south. For example, Just a couple of weeks ago, in a town an hour away from where I grew up, finally changed their town's holiday back to "Martin Luther King Jr. Day" from "All American's day" due to major backlash this year. It was renamed "All American's Day" in the mid 1980's.
For me, as a teenager, learning that I wasn't like all the other boys was particularly difficult. I was a late bloomer and a pretty small and shy boy. I didn't like sports and I kept to myself mostly. I was often bullied about my differences. There is only so much of that someone can take before they really start to question their purpose in life. I was called "gay" before I even knew what gay meant. Over time, it really hurt me and would often break me down. I'm sure all across this country- not just the south- people are bullied, teased, and hurt because they are "different." It took years to really get over that part of my life. In a way, I was traumatized. My heart breaks when I hear other stories of people being bullied about being different- about being gay. There is something that happens to someone's confidence when they grow up in an environment such as I did. Over time, as I grew up and as I moved away from Mississippi, I was able to put my childhood behind me. I was able to focus on the "here and now" and not dwell in my past. I feel that was the best thing I could have done as I started out in New Orleans on my own. I was able to move on, but I was not able to forget. As much as I wish I could and not be bothered by my past, sometimes it comes bubbleing back up. This really didn't happen until we had our beautiful baby, Alli Mae. She is the absolute light of our lives and I fall more in love with her ever single day.
I don't know what it is like being gay and having a child in New York or California... but in the south, it can be particularly difficult for me because of people's judgement of our lives.
I feel like I probably read in to things too much, or maybe I overthink things too often. It is hard for me to turn a blind eye to glares from onlookers. Just last year, Mississippi passed a freedom of religion law that allows any business to refuse service to customers that goes against their religion. Yes, in 2017, in my home state of Mississippi, my own family can be denied service because we are different from most people.
My little girls parents are gay, and because of that, we can be turned away. It breaks my heart.
Today however, I have to be a strong papa. I cannot let my angel see that I am hurting. The last thing I would EVER want to do is allow her to realize the pain that I am feeling because of the society around us.
Recently, Douglas helped ease my mind. In public, we get looked at, A LOT. It doesn't matter if we are in Olive Garden, or at Home Depot. It actually brings me back to my childhood and really makes me feel self conscious and I didn't like it. I would often feel defensive and self conscious about the glares until Douglas chimed in. "What if the people's glares were actually stares?" He asked.
"This may be the first time straight people have ever seen a gay family. This may be the first time they have ever seen a baby be as happy as ours with 2 dads. This may be the time that we proved to them that gay people can be just as good of parents as traditional ones, he continued. We are even better than some. Everytime we go out, people stare because they may have never seen this before. Rather than being self conscious about it, own it. Let it be a teaching experience for them. Don't read into their stares. Most likely they are staring with curiosity and not judgment" he said adamantly.
I think about those words everytime I am in public now. I never realized that some people down here may have never seen or interacted with a gay family. We are however in the south, and it isn't all that common with gay men. Lesbian families are a bit more prevalent. Living in this small suburb of New Orleans, we may very well be the only gay men family. So now, this actually excites me more now than scares me because I want them to see that we are like any other "traditional family". I just need to remember to stay confident.
One of my most favorite quotes really sums all of this up for me. Hellen Keller once said, "Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence."
Follow my family's journey on
Instagram @nolapapa and
Photo Credit: BSA Photography
For the first time in my life, I am able to breathe fresh air of change- A fresh breath of hope-A fresh breath of validity. I am able to call my partner my legal husband. I am able to create a family that is right in the eyes of our law- that is just like any other traditional family, simply because we are all Americans. Regardless of what side of the aisle you sit, denying someone else's right to the same privilege that someone else naturally has is unfair and is against the principles that our United States were founded on and that our country is about.
Though President Obama didn't change the law for the LGBTQ community, he is and always will be a trailblazer and ahead of his time when it comes to standing up for what is right.
While for some, including my own extended family are happy about the transition, I ask for discretion, restraint, and tact in this time of adjustment.
It sometimes is hard to say goodbye. Though some may not understand, I just hope they can empathize. We are saying goodbye to an era- to a movement. We are saying goodbye to Obama's revolution.
We must band together as the beautifully diverse country that we are and continue our march towards equality. We must lift up the ones who need a voice, and turn our heads from the ones that misuse it.
We are not saying goodbye to change, to hope, to equality. I refuse to back down now when so much is at stake.
It is, and always will be our ONE nation under God, with liberty and justice FOR ALL.
Thank you President Obama.
❤the Alexander's- New Orleans, La
My absolute favorite time of year for desserts is citrus season- particularly, Meyer lemon season!
I have had Meyer lemon trees for years now. I love to go outside and pluck the juiciest lemons to make a homemade dessert. There is nothing like it! Meyer lemons are a hybrid of lemons and oranges. A tart blend of sweet and sour!
There are so many different delicious desserts I make each winter.
Today, I'm going to share with you my
Meyer lemon meringue pie recipe.
This is a classic southern dessert that is certain to be a show stopper.
It will have your family begging for more.
You absolutely do not need Meyer lemons for this recipe, however I recommend them.
Now- lets begin!
The utinsils you will need are:
•Large mixing bowl
You will need an unsweetend pie shell, store bought is fine
For your pie crust-
put a sheet of parchment paper over your crust and fill your crust with pie weights. I have used uncooked, dry red beans for years now as my pie weights.
•Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes
For your pie filling-
•in a medium sauce pan combine ingredients- *plus a quarter cup of water*
(add egg yolks last- one at a time while stirring)
mix together with rubber spatula.
•on medium heat- melt a quarter cup of butter while stirring.
Once all ingredients are incorporated and you have a smooth mixture,
•put pie crust on cookie sheet- pour mixture into pie crust
•bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes- until the mixute is jiggly and not rippley.
For your meringue-
•in a kitchen aid mixing bowl, add your egg whites and beat on medium high speed, lightly adding sugar and cream of tarter.
•beat until very stiff peaks and irredentist in color
Once pie filling has baked, take out of oven and top with meringue.
•Using your rubber spatula- place spatula onto the meringue and move in an upward motion, making pointed meringue peaks.
•Once pointed peaks are made, place back in oven and bake at 350 degrees until the meringue is lightly browned.
•Let cool and then chill in refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
This is my husbands absolute favorite dessert of all time. He grew up with his grandmother's lemon meringue pie and this brings him back to his childhood. I love to see his reaction when I take one out of the oven.
I surely hope your family enjoys yours as much as my family enjoys mine!
Please post a picture of your pie and #nolapapa
I would love to see your hardwork!
Also, follow my family's journey on
Instagram @nolapapa and like us on Facebook/Nolapapa