Mom

Today I am thinking about my Mom, because frankly, I miss her dearly. Mom and I have been through a lot together in life, and we always manage to keep our relationship strong. The love and appreciation that I have for her is something greater than I have ever felt in my life before, because she is always there for me, through the thick and thin. Unconditional is a word often used to describe the significance of love, because it truly represents just how important my Mom is to me.

Back in September of 2013, I decided to come out to my parents, and open up about my sexuality. Coming out as a member of the gay community to my Mom was one of the most difficult things that I have ever had to do in my life, but the end result was worth all of the stress and emotions that I had before.

At first, my Mom was shocked, frustrated, and emotional. All of these possible outcomes were expected, because I was upset myself, due to the fact that this wasn’t easy. I never had any doubt in my mind that my Mom wouldn’t accept who I am as a person, and continue to love me unconditionally. The bond that we have is something that could never be broken, especially by something that is becoming more normal in the world we live in today.

I have heard horror stories from other members of the LGBT community about their coming out experiences, and the stories angered me for years. I do not understand how you could treat someone that you love and gave the gift of life to with discrimination and abandonment. Never in my mind was this a personal concern. Growing up in the small community of Silver Bay Minnesota, it was sometimes difficult to fit in with everyone, because the area is predominantly white, and heterosexual. I never experienced much bullying growing up in my school, but at times I did experience name calling and blatant acts of stupidity from uneducated peers around me.

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Flowers blooming in the Nevada desert. The beautiful blossoms remind me of my Mom! Photo taken by Brett Mensing

I would always go home at the end of the day, and tell my Mom about what the other kids would say to me, and how it made me feel. I can remember her telling me to be strong, and not listen to what they were saying, because we are all different and extremely unique in our own way, shape, and form. My Mom taught me what it meant to be independent, and strong when it comes to standing up for myself. None of us are perfect, no matter how hard we try to be. With these curves in the road, it gave me the strength to learn and develop my own personality, and realize that I am the only person that can make myself happy in life. I credit this chapter in my life to my Mom, because I love her to the moon and back, and always will.

Coffee and Conversation

Today has been full of events and excitement with people I love, and places that I have enjoyed visiting. As the sun began to rise on this subzero January morning, I prepared for my day with a hot cup of coffee, brewed in the latest and greatest Keurig 2.0. Coffee has been around for centuries, but the technology for the beverage has recently started to brew stronger over the past decade. I enjoy waking up with a cup of good Folgers in my hand, but have recently started to enjoy local brews from across many regions that I visit. On this specific Saturday, I had the chance to visit a new location for a cup of java; a place where coffee is life, and it comes from the heart. The Duluth Coffee Company has been around for years, but I have never had the chance to visit their location and see what all the hype is about. Deciding to take the time out of my busy, hectic Saturday was something that really made me feel warm and fuzzy for the rest of the day.

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Coffee at Pelican Coffee Company in Duluth during a previous visit to the beautiful City. Taken by Brett Mensing

After shooting a story with Iceman Roger across the bridge in Superior Wisconsin, I decided to take a detour on my way back to my boyfriend’s house. He tends to frequent the popular coffee hangout, and wanted my to experience and taste the “grounds.” We both enjoy a nice cup of coffee, one with crème, and the other without. Upon arrival to the fine establishment situated on Superior Street in Duluth Minnesota, we were greeted with warm welcome, and happy smiles. As previously stated in my blog, Duluth is a City that I can see myself living in over the next few years, because it is close to home and is welcoming when it comes to accepting my sexuality. Walking in to the Duluth Coffee Company, I was holding my boyfriend’s hand, happy to be doing something out of the ordinary in my life, and taking the time to sit back and enjoy life while reflecting on things that pop into my mind.

As for each cup of coffee, there is no correct way to drink a cup. I find this to be true with people as well. We are all different, and are all brewed to our own perfection. Some of us might indulge in a light roast with crème, while others may enjoy a darker roast, without. As I began sipping away at my cup of coffee on this Saturday afternoon and engaging in conversation with my boyfriend, I started to think about how coffee and local coffee shops are similar to human beings. We all enjoy different settings, different roasts, and varied beliefs as to what tastes the best when it comes to life, and beverages.

I was excited to see that my boyfriend and I were not starred down while we enjoyed our coffee at this local hangout. I have recently experienced discrimination across the St. Cloud area, and it has made me feel upset and unhappy about going out in public with the person I love. It really makes me think about where I want to live after graduation, as I see myself latching on to this wonderful relationship that I have been blessed with as the New Year begins. I think about my future, and brew up fresh thoughts about who I am, and who I want to be not only as a person, but also as a boyfriend, friend, and journalist. I want to live in a place that welcomes me, and allows me to feel warm and comfortable to be myself.

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Lake Superior at sunset. Taken by Brett Mensing

My visit to the Duluth Coffee Company is something that I will remember for months to come, because it was an enjoyable experience. I was able to relax, and reflect on the fact that coffee resembles who we are as people. We might be sweet, bitter, or strong at times. These feelings and tastes might not fit into our lives, but there are always other locations that may offer a more acceptable experience.