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Relationships Remixed: A primer on non-traditional relationships

Linda Lee Baird

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Illustration by Sarah Moore

It’s an understatement to say that assumptions and experiences in dating, love, and relationships have changed over the past few years. Between the proliferation of apps designed to find you anything from a quick hookup to a life partner, to expanding definitions of what relationships can look like and more acceptance around non-traditional approaches to love and dating, the way we find and experience love today is unique to this moment in history.

No matter how we choose to define ourselves and our own relationships, even if they are traditional, it’s helpful to understand ways that others are approaching things. As attitudes and types of relationships continue to evolve, one thing has become clear: “love” looks a little bit different for everybody. And however you define it for yourself—or choose not to—there’s a community in Columbus ready to support you.

To learn more about relationships outside of the traditional model, (614) reached out to experts at The Columbus Space for Alternative Self- Expression, designed as “a safe gathering place where adults can find education and support in exploring their authentic self,” and Mozaic, a resource center for transgender and gender non-conforming people of color. Staff from both organizations spoke about some of the many different ways people in Columbus are practicing relationships.

“It’s just part of being human that you are going to have an experience as a sexual being. We wanted to provide a space that allowed for that, and that educated people and gave them resources to find out about themselves,” said Trina “Brat_Sheba” Gardinier, Co-Director of The Columbus Space. In that vein, The Columbus Space provides a venue for people to learn, discuss, and explore types of relationships and intimacy that don’t t into the typical monogamous mold. Giving people room to explore their sexuality within an accepting community is important to the founders.

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“A lot of people’s view of sexuality is somewhat unhealthy, because as a society we don’t promote very healthy sexuality,” said Andrew “Barak” Gardiner, Trina’s husband and Columbus Space co-director. The Gardiners are seeking to change that through their classes and work at The Space, which is open to adults over the age of 19.

The big takeaway from these interviews is that in all relationships— traditional or otherwise—communication is key. “[This] is about a shift in the way we understand, in the way that we do relationships,” said LuSter Singleton, Community Outreach Coordinator at Mozaic. That means asking questions while respecting boundaries. (Pro tip: asking someone their preferred pronouns is considered respectful; asking a transgender person whether they’ve had surgery is not.) It also means that the terms of any relationship are decided by the people involved—and only the people involved.

“Nobody can determine what your relationship is except for you. You get to make that decision. No one else gets to tell you what your relationship is called, or how you need to run that relationship,” Trina explained.

The Gardiners said they’ve seen a lot change in the past five years, noting that people are much more open today about being in open or polyamorous relationships. “I think that the openness that we’re experiencing from the younger generation is amazing, and it’s really blazing a path through what it means to be in a relationship,” Trina said.

Mikalya Robinson, Prevention Assistance Program Intervention Navigator at Mozaic, summed it up well: “We want to get people to understand that love is love.”

The Columbus Space for Alternative Self Expression is located at 180 Outerbelt St. Learn more at columbusspace.com. Mozaic is located at 2228 Summit St. Learn more at www.mozaicohio.org.

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Health & Fitness

The Great Outdoors (Are Always Open): An easy scavenger hunt to ease you into nature

Linda Lee Baird

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Quarantine. Isolation. Social distancing. The words defining our historic (and historically difficult) moment are all about solitude—and we’re bound to be using them for some time to come. But getting through these long days doesn’t mean we need to be inside. In fact, even under the “stay at home” orders currently in effect, getting out in the fresh air is still very much allowed. Spring goes on springing, and the time away from schools and the office gives us the opportunity to soak it in, observe, and enjoy the changes. 

For those who have been disconnected from nature for a few years, or never connected in the first place, here’s a beginner’s guide to the plants and animals you may see around our Metro Parks, woods, and rivers this spring. We went with common species—because it feels good to be able to check things off your list—but think of this as a starting point for paying a little more attention to the natural world around you. 

And if you are one of the many people who is suddenly leading a homeschool, you can use this as an educational scavenger hunt. My “class” will be taking this list up to Highbanks on the first warm April afternoon. 

Birds

Robin

My mom used to point out the “first robin of spring” as March turned to April every year—a sign that the season was changing and more birds would soon be joining their song in the trees.

Hawk

Look up! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s… actually a bird. Our flat lands and wide skies are an ideal combination to catch a hawk carefully circling in  the sky.  (Because this is an easy scavenger hunt, any bird of prey can check this box. We won’t tell). 

Warblers

The Ohio Division of Wildlife calls warblers, “one of the avian highlights of spring.” While there are several species that visit our state, the blue-winged, golden winged, and yellow all have bright yellow coloring that perhaps makes them easier to spot in the trees. ODW recommends Greenlawn Cemetery as a local spot to see them.

Animals

Deer

They’re everywhere in Ohio, but there’s still something magical about spotting one in the wild and looking into its tranquil eyes.

Butterflies

Yes, there are many different types of butterflies that live in Central Ohio and yes, they are most active later in the year, but the common painted lady starts fluttering around as early as April. If you find a butterfly of any species this early in the season, we’ll give you full credit. 

Frogs

Head down to the water and open your ears for that familiar croak. You’re likely to spot them chillin’ on the bank or the nearest lily pad, but it’s really fun if you get to watch them swim. 

Baby… anything

It’s spring, the season many species welcome their babies into the world. And if there’s anything cuter than an animal, it’s a baby animal. Ducklings, bunnies, birds nests; anywhere you can spot an animal family will let you tick this box. 

Plants

Fiddlehead ferns

One of the first signs that the earth is returning from winter is the emergence of fiddlehead ferns. Their distinctive spiral sticking up from the ground portends more plants to follow. (They are also supposed to be delicious when cooked, but since this is a scavenger hunt occurring in a public park, please leave them for the next visitor). 

Lilac

You’ll probably smell them before you see them. There’s a reason lilac is dried and used in aeromatics year round, but—lucky us—we’re quickly approaching the season to experience the real thing. Those small, purple buds that smell like absolute bliss? That’s lilac. 

Maple tree

Sure, it’s at its peak in the fall when the leaves turn gold and red, but can you identify a maple before it’s leaves are in full bloom and it’s not producing any syrup? Now’s your chance to find out. 

Fungus

Mushrooms count, but the best fungus in my opinion grows on old tree stumps and boasts beautiful stripes.

Feature photo by Rebecca Tien.

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Health & Fitness

COVID-19 Coverage: Expert tips for staying healthy during your stay-at home

Mitch Hooper

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It's been nine days since Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has placed the state under a shelter-in-place order. However long this will last is unknown, but Dr. Anup Kanodia has a suggestion: use this time for your own self-health.

Dr. Kanodia, an Akron-native, is the owner and head MD at KanodiaMD in Westerville. He did a fellowship of alternative, integrative medicine at Harvard University and went on to earn his Master's in Public Health. His practice focuses on integrating functional medicine with conventional medicine. In addition to owning his own private practice, he works part-time with addiction clinics and part-time with urgent care.

"What we're finding, in my practice, is that a lot of people want to know how do they help themselves in this time. What can they do beyond social distancing and hand washing?" Dr. Kanodia said.

To find ways to cope and grow through this situation, 614Now talked with Dr. Kanodia via Zoom. Here are some of his tips to finding happiness and peace during these stressful times.

1.) Get into a routine

Working, sleeping, living, and eating in the same place can make the days feel like they blur together. Dr. Kanodia says a daily routine can be exactly what you need to help create a separation of your work and personal life as they collide together at home.

"[It starts] with having a regular sleep schedule," Dr. Kanodia explained. "And then getting out of the house first thing in the morning; meaning go for a walk, or go get something. But if you're stuck inside the house all day long, that's going to ruin your mental health."

For folks working at home, he also suggests making your work space separate from your bedroom. Don't work in bed, he says, and try to work in a different room than your bedroom if possible.

2.) Sleep is crucial right now

Sleep is the time our body repairs itself making it a vital part of a healthy immune system. But with schedules out-of-order, the long hours inside can make falling asleep difficult. Things like exercise throughout your day can help at nighttime, and Dr. Kanodia suggests writing before bed if you are struggling to fall asleep as well as limiting blue light exposure.

If, on the other hand, you find yourself waking up much earlier than usual, he says to simply go about your day, but it's important not to take naps as they can throw off your sleep cycle.

3.) And so is staying physically active; better yet if you can safely get outdoors

He says that functional medicine is finding that there are even more benefits to the immune system and overall health of the body through doing outdoor activities and being in the sunlight.

"Walking out in nature is even more beneficial if you could. Sunlight, outdoor light, or daylight helps us make Vitamin D, helps us shutdown sleeping hormones, and helps with depression."

However, there is a limit to exercise. He warns that if you feel tired roughly two hours after a work-out, you might've overworked yourself. Be cautious as being overworked can lead to a lowered immune system.

4.) Continue social distancing, but use technology to stay connected and close with loved ones

Dr. Kanodia suggests folks use applications like FaceTime and Zoom to stay in-touch with their families and friends. KanodiaMD also offers video chats—both in groups or solo—for anyone with questions or struggling in this time.

He also suggests alternative ways to do this such as video games and online games. Additionally, forums and chats are great ways to stay connected, he says.

5.) Keep a positive outlook with healthy outlets

It's difficult to do so in times like these, but Dr. Kanodia says a positive outlook is vital right now. And having a positive attitude doesn't mean you are immune to the fears, rather, it's coming to terms with them, he says.

"We have to accept our fear, [being] overwhelmed, and anxiousness. [...] Stress and mindset are unmet expectations. If I have expectations of how long this will last, if I will get COVID-19, that I don't like working from home; any of these expectations make us more stressed. If I go with the flow, what's the best I can do with this one minute? And keep going down that path."

For this, he suggests finding hobbies that brought you joy when you were younger. For some it's adult coloring, for others it's sports.

"Figure out in the past what kept you calm. Whatever it is that is your stress reliever, now is a good time to do it."

For more information on Dr. Kanodia, or to download his free COVID-19, Cold, and Flu Top 3 Recommendations, visit kanodiamd.com.

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Style

Columbus native to appear on premiere of ‘Making the Cut’

614Now

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Series debuts tonight, March 27 on Amazon Prime

Kent State School of Fashion alumni, Joshua Hupper and Will Riddle, will both be featured contestants on the new series hosted and produced by fashion gurus, Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn. Hupper, a 2004 alumnus, and Riddle, a 2013 alumnus, both majored in fashion design and have had significant roles in the industry since graduating. They were two of just 12 contestants from all over the globe to be featured on the 10-episode series.

Since graduating in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree, Hupper resides in Shanghai, China, where he founded the brand BABYGHOST, a successful e-commerce fashion brand based in China. His designs have been featured in Vogue and on runways around the world. His line features youthful, feminine ready-to-wear fashions for the “mischievous girl.” Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Hupper’s talents were shaped by his artistic upbringing and his past experiences in internships with Diane Von Furstenburg and Thakoon.

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