No few words can adequately capture a person; but give us a snapshot of yourself, an idea of who you are, in a few sentences.
Mindy: I am a lover of life and learning. I’m a writer, musician, Coast Guard Auxiliarist, scuba diver, and animal lover. I’m practical, logical, and immensely loyal, but I also thrive on imagination and whimsy and I outright refuse to ever grow up.
Amy: Hm. I’m a lot of things so I’m not sure where to start. I’m a person who likes hats (preferably silly or dapper ones). I own my own business. I think that community service is a cornerstone of good citizenship. I believe that fairness and equality are intensely important. My wife and I have three cats that we adore. That will at least get us started.
What type of relationship person are you?
Mindy: I am very old-fashioned in my view of relationships and I’m the kind of person who wants to find that one person early on and spend the rest of my life with her. A relationship with a significant other doesn’t define me and I’d like to think that I’d be fine without one, but I’ve been with Amy since I was nineteen years old and I can’t imagine my life without her in it. This hasn’t changed over time because I’ve always wanted to be with one person and have her be my partner in life.
Amy: I am a one-to-one-person-relation-shipper. My wife is my very best friend in the whole universe, and if anything that sense has only grown over time. My relationship with her is primary in my life.
When did you realize you were attracted to women, and how has that affected your life?
Mindy: I started figuring it out when I was in junior high and more so when I was in high school. However, I can look back to many little moments and memories and go, “Ohhhh. I should have known then.” I accepted the fact that I was gay pretty easily on a personal level. I did worry about my family’s reaction as well as the bigotry of the public in general, but I didn’t struggle with it internally. I knew who I was and that was that.
Amy: It started to occur to me vaguely around my senior year in high school, and it became less and less vague as I journeyed through college.
Tell me the story of how you ended up together.
Mindy: Let’s go with the short version. 🙂 We ended up talking during one of the LBGSA Wednesday coffee house nights, and she was pretty shy so I thought she didn’t like me. We talked about both being band musicians, but that’s about it. I was just trying to be friendly at this point because I wanted her to feel welcome in the group. The next week we met up again at another coffee shop with the group and she was much braver. She said that she wanted to sit “next to the cute girl” so, naturally, I thought that she was talking about our fabulous friend Tim because she couldn’t be talking about me… could she? Well, she did mean me and we ended up talking all night. As everyone else went home I invited her over to my dorm room to listen to music because we’re both band nerds and enjoy that sort of thing. She ended up staying the entire night (just listening to music and talking!) and since then we’ve been inseparable.
Amy: My first sight of Mindy was at a big gay meeting for a big gay group that I don’t think exists any more at UT. I saw her again at another more informal coffee-meetup thing through that same group, and while she tried to engage me in conversation, I was awkward and unresponsive because I was fighting between feeling attracted to her vs. my loyalty to my girlfriend at the time. Eventually we got to know each other when I spent all night in her dorm room talking about pretty much everything—our backgrounds, musical tastes, hobbies, etc. It was like distilling a month or two of learning about a new friend into a single night. It was very emotionally intense, but not at all physical. It didn’t take long before my attraction to her could not be ignored and I broke up with my girlfriend. I told her that there was this girl that I just couldn’t get out of my brain and it wasn’t fair to me to not pursue this avenue of interest, but it wasn’t fair to the girlfriend for me to have feelings for someone else and not be honest about it. It was about as amiable as these things can possibly be, but it was still very difficult. Within like… maybe 30 seconds (ok, maybe a couple days) I was in Mindy’s dorm room wishing I could kiss her. So I did. Then we got married. Ta da!
What was a moment that made you realize or reinforced how you felt about her?
Mindy: This was seven years into our relationship, but the night that she proposed to me at the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego was just a wonderful night. I realized how much I loved her and wanted to be with her forever.
Amy: We had kind of talked about getting married for a long time, and at some point I really really really thought about it and the question wasn’t so much “do I want to be married to her” as it was “what would life be like without her?” and the answer was “it would be void of all happiness”.
When did you first say I love you?
Mindy: The summer after we met we were talking on the phone at our respective homes and she said it first. I said it back, of course.
Amy: Within a month of getting together. It kind of popped out unexpectedly, actually.
What has been your biggest challenge in this relationship?
Mindy: Coming to terms with our differences (though few).
Amy: Getting her to do dishes. It’s a losing battle.
What is advice you would give to your younger self if you could (any age you like)?
Mindy: I would tell myself to concentrate on working towards the things that make me happy and really commit to succeeding in them.
Amy: Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and be my own guardian angel just so I could tell myself little things like, “before you turn, you’re going to need to pull further forward so you don’t hit that big divider thing and waste a thousand dollars fixing the dent in Mindy’s car.” But really I would tell myself to be more confident.
Tell us about an adventure you’ve shared together.
Mindy: My life is nicely crammed with adventures, but one of our biggest was traveling to Scotland with our bagpipe band. It was one of the top places that we both wanted to visit and we had the best time traveling around the country, playing our pipes and drums, and experiencing all of the history. It was exciting, tiring, magical, educational, and just downright fun.
Amy: Hm… 15 years of adventures and you only want one… I guess it depends on what you mean by adventure. If you mean traveling, then that would be visiting Scotland, which was truly magical for us. If you mean getting lost while you’re driving around and declaring that you’re just on an adventure, then that happens all the time, and sometimes it’s magical too. Either way, there is no one on the planet that I’d rather share those adventures with than her.
How would you define love?
Mindy: I guess I should stay away from the biological and chemical definition so I’ll say that love is caring about someone as much as or more than yourself.
Amy: I would look it up in the dictionary and find the following: “An intense feeling of deep affection.” Which sounds like a pretty good start. There are a lot of different shades of love though, and different relationships call for different colors. The more love you have and give, the more color you end up with, so life gets more and more rich and beautiful as you go along.
Share a story or moment from your relationship that you feel encapsulates who you two are and your relationship with each other.
Mindy: This isn’t a specific moment, but every year we travel back to Austin for the annual University of Texas alumni game where we march with the Longhorn Alumni Band (the largest in the world!). We have been together since our college band days and everyone knows us as a couple. We’re pretty much a single entity at this point. There are many couples that are still together from band, but there are also some that didn’t make it. We’re a constant and I don’t think anyone would ever expect us to not be together. I feel that our relationship has been a positive example of what a committed relationship can be—gay or straight.
Amy: Too many stories to choose from. I’ll leave this answer to her—she’s probably given something excellent.
Is there anything else would you like to share? Any advice? A story or message?
Mindy: My advice is to always stay loyal and honest, think ahead, and never let someone doubt your love for them.
Amy: Always show respect for one another but also learn how to have a good fight with each other. The #1 rule for fighting is that love is never a weapon to be used against someone in order to manipulate them to do or be what you want. If you ever say, “If you don’t do what I want then I won’t love you any more,” then you have failed in this.