I am the art, the art is me

I had dinner with my once…well, what was or is he. A fling? No – not enough. A love – perhaps, but maybe it’s brash to go there on the little time we had. I’m not sure what label to prescribe to him but labels were never really something he’d be interested in wearing to be matter of fact.

So we had dinner.

As if he hadn’t been around the world and back and wasn’t leaving again within 72 hours. To be honest – I’d blown him off the last time he was in town. I wasn’t sure I wanted to even venture down the path of being subjected to the narrative. You see, the relationship or potentential for a relationship had fallen away before the first flight abroad.

I stood my ground.

“You’re leaving in (however many) months and I cannot let myself get attached to someone who isn’t going to be here and that also won’t be fair to you, where you need to go and focus on work and this entire experience.”

Did that second part actually come out of my mouth or do I want to flatter myself in this retelling as if I’m a better person than that – that my decision wasn’t solely based off of “How much will I get hurt if I continue this if you leave.” Who can say.

So here he was, Green Bay Packers hat atop his head per usual.

We pick up right where we left off…wherever we left off.

The conversation runs the gamut of life and death, of art, of success, of creativity, of passion, of happiness, of American culture being a path destined to ruin us all with outlandish and unrealistic ideals and how ‘content’ seems to be a suitable word.

And the ideal of ‘free’ love having nothing to do with promiscuity but everything to do with true intimacy that isn’t just the motions.

I’ve been caught in that place for some time. Of being tired of all the talk. Of the foreplay. Of meeting people afraid, with walls up even when all the clothes come off. Of people who have no real desire to connect and who are so afraid to be seen truly for who and what they are that their entire life seems to be an act.

And how much of that is all of us? How much are all of us acting? And for whom?

What do we cling to to make us feel safe in our own skin? I think I’ve given up feeling that way. Everything terrifies me and I live within that state of total fear but that’s where I feel most comfortable. When I’m not uncomfortable, then I know that something isn’t right.

Contentment is not complacency. Not for me. There’s a difference. There’s a choice in being very content with my life as it is and not being complacent with what it’s become. It also weighs heavily on the desire to be ‘something more’ and all that THAT entails. And how you define it, etc.

No thank you.

Sometimes you just have to be in the moment. You have to stop premeditating, stop planning, stop thinking, stop plotting, stop recounting, stop trying to make sense of it all and let yourself just LET GO.

Give in.

Give up.

Give yourself over.

httpa://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODG2dCwnr00

A little Sabotage.

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“I checked your phone.”

Instinctively, I was less in shock about him checking my phone than what he found and assumed from it. There was no need to deny my flirtations, my verbal – hell my texted dalliances. Do I think I cheated? No. But I can see how it was a line crossed.

httpa://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeDlRVdbxYQ

And I realized who I was in that moment of having to face the truth of hurting someone else.

I can sit here and justify it all by saying things like, “I like to keep my options open because I’m usually afraid nothing is going to work out” or “Since XYZ, I’ve been in a constant state of dating with none of them working so I always keep something as a plan B.” Any variation of that is lame. And really, really pathetic/sad.

It became a mirror to me to see how empty I had become, or how not present I was in my relationships. Because I was honestly afraid to invest in someone again because the last time…well, that story has been run into the grown. Rug pulled from under feet, et al.

I don’t know if I’ve ever felt as ashamed as I do right now of my own behavior. Of what I can control. And how I have such a fucked up sense of self that I either just should have told other people to fuck off, ignore them or…tell them that I had started dating someone and I liked him and I am unavailable.

However, you can’t go backwards. You just can’t. You take the cut, the wound, the scar and move on.

I learned how what I truly want is to commit but that it’s going to be a lot of work on my part to overcome that fear of being devastated while not inadvertently devastating someone else in the process.

Some people just figure out what works for them and that’s awesome. I’m still trying. Or I have figured out the truth and that fact is I’m just not the settling down type – I’m not the groom and maybe never will be.

It doesn’t make me feel less than but it’s something that I desire to have. But maybe it’s just not meant to be. And who knows what other people are going through…it’s always below the surface, the depth of the glacier.

It’s a challenge being so accustomed to myself and to tell the truth, it’s weird for me to be attractive to other people so I turn into a dippy boy who is flattered and yet crippled by the offer of affection/love.

I don’t know what to do with it or how to return. I have a lot of walls. A lot of lessons. A lot of stuff to learn left.

But first – cutting out people who make me feel less than or feel nothing at all. People who become accomplices in self-sabotage and ruination. I’ve been a little too trigger happy. It’s time for the bullets to be dropped upon the floor and the gun to be dismantled.

It’s time for tenderness and not just toward others, but myself. To hold myself up as someone worth investing in and someone whose word means something and to give fully to one person because that’s truly what I want in return. And fear be damned of it all falling apart, because the leap of faith is the point.

I’m sorry. I never meant to hurt you. As it turns out, I hurt us both. Go figure. Maybe there’s no point of return, returning. And if that’s the case, thank you for what you showed me and what you gave me and what I’m left with by myself. You only made me better.

Still wincing. Letting this wound breathe. And I cannot forgive myself for the wounds I inflicted on you.

Don’t care who gets hurt

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I know what I want.

I can’t have it.

But I want it. Now. Bad. Real bad.

Old fantasies return. Old desires flare up from unknown depths. Passions bubble up like lava flows under the surface.

I want him. I want him right now. I don’t care who it hurts.

He’s always slipping in. Wanting to draw my attention from the present, from the one. I always wonder…

What would happen if we just kissed again. Would we both be ruined? Would we both be free?

…I just want the kiss. Who care about the answer.

I think you want this as much as I do.

Or maybe I’m losing my sense of everything. My direction and the wind in my sails.

How do you ever really fully know whose eyes you should be waking up to?

httpa://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ml3rdk2h_lA

A night to never forget.

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It was time. And we had a time. And maybe our time together is not yet done. But we’ll never know. We’re just going to keep living and let it all happen. And let the feelings we feel just be. With simple breathe and honesty and simplicity. And no further explanation to ourselves, each other or the rest of the world.

Two lovers locked out of love…

…I know you care.

And I told him everything I felt. And he did too. And we’re both at peace.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BRdY0NR08g

 

A dream.

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Had a dream and woke up. Cried. Then it just had to be said. If you think it’s about you, it probably is.

 

Image courtesy Saddo/Flickr.

Saddle up, observer.

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He kissed me before he got on his bike and left. He was all about that bike.

That helmet that hung off the chair at the bar. Silly me – I didn’t wear any armor.

Intellectual, charming, handsome, funny. All the things that will melt me. Laughter – I’m a sucker for it.

And it seemed that it was only in that moment where where it seemed right. Sort of like a shooting star, in that most terribly cliché way. It was bright and fast.

Then unexpectedly turned to dust and faded out, falling through my hands and leaving me wondering what happened. Was it me? Was it him? I’ll never know. That’s always the worst part – never having a resolution.

I cannot forget that Irish whiskey and the fiddlers playing in the corner and how forward he was to put his hand on my knee.

____

But that’s now part of the norm more than it is the anomaly. Lack of resolution is something you settle in to. I struggle constantly with this lesson, or blessing as Oprah would put it.

I have moments where I want to email and just output all of my random thoughts/questions/disjointed feelings. But I’ve done all that before and what did it get me? Nothing. Sometimes I just want to sit across the table from you and not speak. Then I’d want to hug and depart. Because sometimes that’s the closure I want. Sometimes it’s the only thing I want. I can’t explain why I think this will resolve much for me, but it sounds good in my head.

But I don’t write. I don’t reach out. I don’t look in the rear view. It’s just still not time. It may never be time. But certain songs bring him back; words that awake the part of him that’s always in me. And I think, “Do you have those songs, too?”

Songs that you hear from the other room that make you pause, sit down & cry. They exist.

_____

He disappeared. Except not. I see him out and we don’t acknowledge one another. Date three was all we got to. But it woke up a lot in me and made me value myself a bit more. I got him. I don’t know if he got me. But it was all okay.

And he rode away on his bike and I never really could forget that first date and how important he made me feel. And how smart. And how funny. And how he allowed me to see that there were people in this world who would be the flame that I’d want to touch, total disregard for whether I got burned or not.

He restored a bit of my faith through his own faith. And that’s the gift he left me with. So I could happily let him ride away, helmet on and traffic light flashing into the dark.

Just gratitude. There was no ego in the room to bruise. I accepted.

Read more ‘Boys I’ve Liked?’ posts.

An old cliché.

“I know it’s cliche, but it’s really not you – it’s me,” he wrote.

I processed. And then decided that even though I’d said that many times in my life and meant it completely, it was still bullshit. I started my reply.

“I get it. But that’s fucking lame.” It was the last exchange we had.

I didn’t expect him to retaliate or argue because it would have been out of character. To be fair, the guy was great. Sweet, kind, smart and he seemed to have dug me as much as I dug him. But something was amiss.

He copped to having issues with his ex, who had dated for four years. I’m not a heartless bastard. I can empathize with the weight and importance of having to deal with four years of emotions and then how to navigate around them (and eventually with them) once you are out of a relationship. As people always say, the person may go out of your life but where does all the feeling go? Nowhere.

But the tipping point for me in this was that while I myself had felt these moments where I knew I wasn’t over an ex and shouldn’t be out dating, I had reached a point where it’s okay to admit that but still give someone else a shot. Because you cannot move on by avoiding dating. You have to allow yourself permission to have these residual feelings for a while and not try to bury or erase them. That methodology only damages you more and makes the wound worse.

So maybe it wasn’t fair that I called out how lame his excuse was – or better yet, copping to the fact that it was lame when I used it. But I just didn’t feel like offering up any sympathy or pity.

I want to be someone who can have a broken heart but be willing to admit that and still move forward.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHr9CJRhTPk

But even so, at some point a choice has to be made and lines have to be drawn in the sand. And that’s the moment where shit gets hard. Where people have to make adult decisions and live with the consequences without regret.

Truth be told, my response to him was abrasive. That’s my gut reaction. In fact, I should have just told him that I was sad that he couldn’t come to the table to work through the issues with me. But it’s okay that he didn’t want to, too.

Sometimes you have to willing to extend your hand to help lead people but whether they take it or not is up to them. You can’t blame them for not wanting to traverse the rocky terrain that may be in front of them that blocks them from getting to the other side.

I realized that the times I’ve ever used the ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ line, it was out of pure fear. Fear of being vulnerable. Fear of seeing myself honestly, feebleness and all. Fear of not being big enough to succeed for the other person. SO many reasons I just cowardly bowed out because I wasn’t ready.

But I’m learning – in so many places – you can only move at the speed you move. You can’t be living life timed to other people’s expectations.

And the work that needs to be done must be done in action, not in absentia. You can’t just sit back and isolate yourself in the hope that you’ll sort yourself out and then get back into the game better. You have to keep playing the game in order to improve your skills and to improve your own capacities.

But it all takes time.

And that’s good by me. Every life is different. I’m becoming less inclined to compare and to hold my own expectations up to the standard deviation that is prescribed.

It’s also nice to realize how much more compassionate or empathetic I find myself becoming. It’s so nice to relate and see the more subtle threads and colors of the tapestry of other people. To magnify the simple parts.

Noodles.

noodle dish boys i've liked

Sometimes you get brave and in the tiny little manila key-sized envelope you’re supposed to leave your tip in, you leave your phone number. That’s what I did.

Without much hesitation or expectation that such a seemingly silly gimmick would work.

But it did. So after having randomly called the salon to make an appointment and meeting him for the first time, I was sitting across from him eating noodles 45 minutes after giving him my number. Yes, our first ‘date’ was his lunch break.

Our tryst went on for only a short time. You see, the more distance you live from someone within a city, the higher the percentage of inconvenience. On top of that, his admission that he was SHARING his apartment with his on-again, off-again boyfriend left me with a sour taste in my mouth.

I didn’t want to be ‘the other man.’ I didn’t want to be the extra-marital affair, if you will. At least, not to someone younger than me who wasn’t going to at least shower me in luxury dinners, trips to the Bahamas, etc. I was raised right and if I’m going to be someone’s squeeze on the side, that shit has to pay off.

It wasn’t so much of an end as it was that malaise came over us both. To be fair, we were both dipping out at times when neither of us had any business doing so. But these things happen. And for me, I learned that once I was in the position to do it, I needed to get out of the safety net I was in.

httpa://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3Dy4Noo5tA

Cut to years later when I am sitting again with sheers pressed against my head. Looming in the mirror that I’m facing, he’s standing there doing someone else’s hair and he says my name. An exchange of pleasantries and the commonplace agreement that we SHOULD go get drinks, yes, of course.

First thing’s first, “So are you single?”

“Yes, unfortunately.”

Telling. While our mutual single-dom was aligned this time, it wasn’t enough to make mutual interest bear fruit. For me, I can be truly timid in relationships and need someone to be more of an ass-kicker at first until I find my comfort level.

There was a spark, but there was no kindling to make a fire last. Our second attempt at a fling also fizzled out. I was not his cup of tea and he was not my slice of pie. Neither of us were willing to hit the gas pedal. Maybe it paid off. Another stepping stone on the path of finding the right pie.

I’ve learned that connections can vary in strength and in scope. It’s like speaking on a wavelength and others are receiving the signal in kind, but the bandwidth is so narrow that we are unable to make sense of one another outside of this small space.

Meeting and attempting to connect with men at the younger end of their 20s is a challenge. I have less interest in being trendy, staying out ‘til all hours of the morning, filling my time with people for the sake of killing time. I’m no longer that kid of cute, I’m not that kind of piece.

I’ve relinquished competing on those kinds of levels because I’ve been there and done it, tasted it and lost my taste for it. That’s the beauty of getting older and getting more into what you want for your life and what you want out of a companion.

There are much deeper and subtler shades of passion that I’ve begun to discover and crave. And there are people out there who are looking for the same.

Just as with noodles, you get to be a connoisseur and your palate becomes more discerning and finds flavors later in life that you couldn’t stomach before. And the ones that used to be what you craved now seem bland, common and mass-produced.

I like my taste. And when you find a noodle you love, you forget the rest.

Read the rest of the Boys I’ve Liked? series now.

Texas.

“Do you mind if I crash with you while I’m in town?”

It seemed like a simple enough question. I knew what I was doing. He knew what I was asking. There was plenty of dialogue to setup expectations that it didn’t necessarily equate sex and it was more of a chance to finally meet face to face. In fact, it was an explicit conversation we had.

Leave it to single people (or boys) to transform any social network as a means to an end for dating. And in the short-term, for sex.

I am as guilty as the next person for having what is commonly referred to as a Twitcrush. Modest interaction that turns into this grey world of flirtation, as is what happens among two witty and intelligent people. But of course with that banter is this weird, “Oh, do I have a crush on someone on the internet who lives thousands of miles away?” The logical part of you realizes that what people portray is only a sliver of their real existence. What you actively push out to the public is merely a part of yourself – and cannot be representative of the whole. I know that. Because this blog is also a fine example of that. Despite the volume published here – you see only a sliver. A calculated, edited, thought-out, composed version of myself at times; others, a manic and indigo boy.

“Yeah! You can totally stay at my place.”

Well, that’s settled.

With social media infatuations (Social Media Infatuation Junkies, if you will – and if you won’t, fuck you), there’s a good probability you’ll never meet the person you privately flutter over. But me, well…when did I ever leave well enough alone?

I’ve actually met and dated a couple as a result of connecting on social media. It’s not a bad thing – in fact, a girl I work with just married a guy that she met by interacting with on Twitter. So you just never know what happens when two people come together, textually.

One has to be resourceful in this modern day of dating. When you find yourself tapped out for intelligence – you claw and cling to any inkling of wit, charm and personality – even if it’s through 1s and 0s.

With his invitation, I knew that my trip to NYC was going to be interesting, adventurous and probably a total shit-show.

I’m typically always right. At least about predicting a shit-show.

Sitting outside of Dave Letterman’s studio and waiting with a leg-hiked up on a suitcase, I felt like my life was absurd and yet utterly free. He struts up and we smile and say our hellos.

Attractive, a great smile. Beautiful eyes. Smart. Funny. Just cool. Everything I had expected. I felt a sense of relief. God only knows what he thought, but that’s none of my business nor is this a story about my own self-doubt or egotism.

——

httpa://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnNDXjSxr4M

A movie, a meal and several shots later we are heading into the city to meet a friend at a club. He and I pile into the back of a cab when he grabs me with a break-neck urgency to put his lips on mine. I don’t resist and return with the same force.

Hello, New York.

[Side note: These things happen in your life. And if they don’t – I’m sorry. Even if you’re married, give in to a bit of sensuality and allow yourself to be consumed with passion enough to step outside the bounds of your marriage and feast on your partner. It’s worth it. It breaks your own inhibitions down. Let yourself go toward the whore for a moment.]

Cut to me at the bar and him busting open the buttons of my shirt on the dancefloor. Now, I’m thin – but I ain’t built to be showing off my body. At least not in some NYC club – those queens are a different breed: thoroughbred. This led to more kissing in front of his friend, who stood by just sipping on a drink. (Can I apologize for that now?)

Some drinks later, I cut myself off and started on water. They kept going – and good for them. I’m old. I can’t party like I used to. And the last thing I need to do is get sloppy in some lower East side bar in Manhattan.

[Side note 2: Although, it wouldn’t be the lowest moment in my gay life to that point – that happened earlier the same day when I had to go stand in line at 8 am in a Chelsea free clinic for an STD test, after having a truly dramatic panic attack about having gonorrhea, which in my mind also meant I probably had HIV (yes, I’m that paranoid and neurotic). As it turns out, I had neither. But I couldn’t even wait for the clinic results to come in, because as soon as I got home I went to my doctor and had ANOTHER blood panel taken, with my results turned around in a few days. Both came back completely negative for everything. Meaning I had a UTI. God, why did I ever go off Xanax?]

We make it home, and I crawl into bed with him. Nothing happened – I promise you. He blacked out on the cab ride home, so I was relieved that there wouldn’t be any pressure to escalate our making out to the next base, whichever base that may be.

And you know what – I’m happy nothing happened.

The next day, we went to brunch and I parted ways to meet up with another friend and former lover. Yes. You heard right. Let me introduce myself:

I continued my trip and had a blast but didn’t really hear much from him since then. While I’m fine with that, it was a little disappointing.

Why?

I think because he was totally refreshing. And I rarely meet people I find refreshing or unique or want to commit to getting to know. Do I think we were a match or compatible or anything? No, not really. But he was the type worth investigating.

However, I also saw the pattern of my own behavior. I get drawn into the curiosity and the exploration of new relationships and my attraction is more in the anonymity and the spark. As I’ve alluded to before, and with some amount of head shaking, I’m a junkie for the high. I’m always chasing the high of meeting someone new and having that mutual rush of unknown attraction. I’m looking for a hit of newness.

But like any addiction, it becomes detrimental and harmful. My own addictions are ready to be broken. I’m leaning into the slowness of relationship growth and development and learning how to extend and draw out the sensuality instead of giving into the lust of a moment. Do I think the latter has its place? Of course. You must be human and representative of the whole. But now I’m ready to stretch the muscle of long-term attraction. And maybe I met someone who may be willing to teach me how to go slow.

Dedicate myself to the molasses speed of love, because it may be sweeter for longer. But I could never wait for the drip to drop.

I had to die in Texas to get there.

Read the rest of the Boys I’ve Liked series.