Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Friendships Evolve

I decided not to send that letter.

After doing the exercise, I realized that I was trying to fix something that wasn't necessarily "broken."   Like people and cities, friendships evolve and the purpose of that note was to force an interaction that didn't disappear just merely changed.  After all, we are miles away, we've lost touch and it's okay to let it go.  But I'm glad I put my thoughts down.  I read it outloud and felt that it was immature and excessive.

A friend that frequently challenges me said that "friendships are supposed to be easy."  And when it's not, when it's forced, you can feel it.  This is why people see each other less because it's just too difficult.  I make a lot of friends, but I lose them just as quickly.  But this year I've learned that convenience isn't the only reason people drift a part.  I've observed a friend distance himself from the group, ''focusing on his career, allowing himself to heal."  Prior to that he introduces his play boys to events we all become friends.  He then ghosts them, but thing is the guys he brings are always really cool so we get close.  Things get awkward.  This is a version of the usual sleeping/dating with friends sceniaro, the results are the same - shitting where you eat is a good way to lose friends.  It creates a mess and simply walking away is the easiest thing to do.  Easier than repairing it seems.      

My November sessions (2nd) with my therapist went well.  He said I made a lot of progress and strides that he was quite impressed with.  I took care of things, work them out...  He gave me a second book to read, "The Power of Now."  10 pages in and I'm rolling my eyes at how spiritual it is. But I need to push through it.   A lot of meditating and focusing on the present.

December is such a busy month.  321 Christmas Party, Family Christmas Party, Ignia Christmas party.  Gifts of cousins, gifts for coworkers, gifts for family.  Decorate, meet, gather, buy.  It's so overwhelming and it's only the second day.

I'm currently in Kauaii and Jimmy just woke up.  Two more days of vacation and then back to the usual grind!

Monday, October 7, 2019

A Letter to a Friend

Today I saw my first therapist. At first I didn't know what to say, but then I couldn't stop talking. Talked about friendships, toxic people, loneliness... all of it in 50 minutes. Though blogging will always be my therapy, it was nice to get some immediate feedback.

He was a Gay Latino Dad. I put off finding a therapist because I didn't want a white women who couldn't relate to me and I was so happy to find him. He inspired me to write a letter, he recommended a book about attachment to people and he helped me understand that I need to welcome solitude instead of fearing loneliness. He also acknowledged that I have a high emotional intelligence which is something I've heard from other workshops I've attended. He reminded me that I should do things that make me happy that doesn't involve people. And blogging comes to mind... so here I am trying to take care of my mental health as I have been with my body by exercising.

I wrote to a friend to help me resolve one of the things that has floated in my mind this year and I plan to send it off tomorrow. Regardless of the response, I think sending it will help me come to terms with how I've been feeling with it.

---

Hello,

A long time ago, you told me that you liked to get things in the mail and for the longest time I had “send frozen potato balls from Portos” on my to do list. I took it off my list when I realized how difficult that would be even though I knew you would have loved it. So, instead of delicious, mildly overrated, Cuban treats you get this letter.

I took you for granted.

You’ve always been a good friend to me, you flew in for my birthday, you respected my point of view, you checked in on me every Monday. It was only when you stopped that I realized that I haven’t been the greatest friend to you. I haven’t prioritized a visit to see your home, I don’t take as much initiative as you do to check in...

...And it took a really dumb dramatic blow up for you to determine that maybe it’s better for you to keep your distance; that you were getting less than you were giving in our friendship. I’ve been thinking about you all this year because you are not just a friend to me, but one of my best friends; one of the few people who knows everything about me. And it makes me a bit sad that things have changed. But I understand if you think that this is for the better.

So, I just wanted to say in this letter that I’m sorry for everything I did and didn’t do that pushed you away. And that I hope your weekends this year have been efficient. Max efficient.

Chris

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

So, are You Okay with Yourself?

And here we are again.  Jimmy away for another two weeks enjoying his own company in Europe leaving me feeling down even though we chat everyday.  I love him, therefore I let him go.  And when he returns, he better have a gift. 

I blame my unreasonable loneliness on extroversion, but a new friend made me think a little more about this. I'm really taking advantage of these free therapy sessions from friends.

Sometimes we lie to ourselves and say, "I am 'this' when in fact 'this' is actually a cover up for 'that'

So if it isn't extroversion, codependency... what is it?

I don't know you in depth, but if I were you I'd appreciate myself for having high social skills.  And then recognize that I should be happy and content with spending time by myself.  If I can't, I would look into seeing if I'm scared of being lonely and if it could be coming from not liking myself (because when we with others it proves we are likable)

You don't seem to have a problem - you paint, take care of your pets, garden.  You seem to enjoy your own company very much.  It's admirable.

In the simplistic form, we are animals just like my fish or birds outside.  We are gifted with a mind that is capable of a lot.  But at times our mind get stuck on the wrong things.  So trying to get back to the basics.  Know what really makes us happy after the food, shelter and safety is met.

I thought I would have it figured it out, but it seems like I barely do. This is why I'm so intrigued by cooks and artists.  They think independently.  They thrive in their own company.

At the end of the day when we close our eyes to go to sleep we are by ourself.  No matter if there is 1 or 100 people in that bed.  We are by ourself.  So are you okay with yourself?

So.. what do you do.  When you feel a certain way about yourself?

It helps me a lot if I project myself in the future.  What advice would I get from myself who is 10 - 20 years ahead. It helps when you feel like you don't know what to do right now.  And for me I try to gain my own self value by my future self.  Imagining "him" say he values and appreciates all the hard work I'm doing now.  This gives me energy and motivation and feeling of success, even though I may have not achieved it yet.

...

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Substances

I knew from the moment that I had my first edible that my body and mind reacts poorly to this  substance.  "In the couch" feels more like "in your thoughts" as every attempt to enjoy it has led me down a road of paranoia, embarrassment and self consciousness.

The first time: "You cant let your family see me like this!" My mind swirled and laughing at nothing was painful.  I tried to make myself throw up and prayed that time would catch up with itself.

Another time: "You can be cunt, but tonight you went too far." I yelled at a friend and cried at a laundromat by myself.  Overwhelmed with feeling under appreciated and insulted. I was sensitive and burdening myself.

Last night: "Am I really too touchy?" Then seeing my friend respond like I just raped him.  He shoved me and pivoted into the crowd.  A comment and gesture that didn't mean anything.  I found myself crying at a table for a moment;  I was overwhelmed with embarrassment and irrational fear of losing another long term friend for another stupid reason.  I walked home, I sent an apology text.  I let myself release pressure that I didn't know I had.

Aren't these substances supposed to be fun?  They were legalized for a reason.  Recreational and available.  Before that moment, I ran into a client and bought her drinks; bought myself a ton more to get myself there because I was blending work and pleasure and needed to loosen up.  She handed me an innocent looking little strip of "sour candy."  And we danced together... she became comfortable and danced closer with her fiance another Latina.  This is my life, surrounded by QPOC - queer, people of color.  POC being a term that I had to explain to my white male coworker who rebutted, "how many people know that term?"  "EVERYONE I know uses it daily," I responded sharply.  I'm reminded how I'd rather be with my clients than with my coworkers who are trapped in a space so disconnected from my reality.



I made it halfway on my 2 mile walk home before Jimmy picked me up; my new shirt was drenched in overpriced alcohol. “It’s so dangerous” he told me... “so are these substances” I thought.  I was happy to see him, but happier that my friend acknowledged my apology text with something more than just two words.

==

Early in the day, I talked to a friend about his fear of not waking up.

Jimmy responded, "I'm not scared because I find peace in nothingness and that I'm happy with what I've done with my life so far."

I responded, "I don't think about that because I'm pretty focused on the present.  Death really doesn't cross my mind."

My friend told me that while he visited Berkeley he overheard some kids say something provocative, "When we die, it's as if we were never born."

We continued to talk openly about antidepressants, trauma, death at our local Peruvian joint.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Navigating an Open Relationship

I told Jimmy that while he's abroad to not feel tied to what he has at home; namely me.  If he wants to experience a country for its food, its culture...  its men that he should go ahead and do so without guilt.  It doesn't bother me because I feel security in our 8 year relationship.  That we want the same things in life and that I will love him forever.  Whatever happens there remains there and that he'll always come home to me.

To this he responded, "WTF, THAT IS NOT WHY I TRAVEL ALONE"

And to this I said, "I know! I'm just letting you know that I'm okay with it."

Two weeks later he comes up to me to say, "Did you make those comments because you want to be in an open relationship?" 

I nodded sheepishly.  "I understand, my baby has needs," he responded perceptively.  And that's how we got here; trying something different, but still trying to navigate it.

With one key rule that he placed: no friends.
...because, you don't shit where you eat.

A logical and complicated ask because I am friends with many people.  I am naturally friendly.  And my approach to humans and relationships has to pivot.

As I navigate this, I come to realize that app-culture is the vehicle to a very transactional way of "connecting" with other men not to mention a huge waste of time. And flirting with an end goal was something I haven't done in a really long time. There are moments I feel like hot shit and other moments I just feel like room temperature shit.  Men become objects hitting physical qualifications that allow you to “get off” and then leave.  Rather than fleeting, it feels direct and hollow.  And the high from the fun is short lived and regretful.

What am I getting out of this?  By repressing my inclination to be friends... I’m not being me.  It makes me feel shitty to have motives when the Chris that people respect, possibly admire, is a Chris that actually cares about being just your friend, to be supportive of what you're trying to achieve in life and introducing you to his community.  And that Chris doesn't take advantage of people and write them off once they’ve served their purpose.

So why did I even suggest it?

... I realize that “my needs” is so obvious and in plain sight because of my predictable one dimensional personality... it's not sex, but rather it's attention; a warm body to hold, a companion to kiss and a human to love.   Things that should only come from Jimmy, and I desperately need more frequently because of my shitty codependency especially while he’s away.

Quite the epiphany... and I feel good about this Sunday thought / self-therapy, because I can be honest  and really understand what the fuck I'm doing, where my mind is at and why I'm behaving this way.  I’m seeking so much attention, playing games, overthinking and creating constructs when it should be kept as simple and dumb as the app.

Before he left for another two week trip he expressed so much concern.  He was worried that I would resent him, but I reassured him that I would never.  I understand his needs just as much as he understands mine and we work on it together to make this relationship last.  I can’t wait for him to come home.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Smooth Operater


After a few drinks in, I found myself in Chinatown at General Lee's enjoying the music of Sade on a Thursday night.  There was a guy near the bar with cute glasses clearly wore with the intention of making a statement.

Without missing a beat, I said "Nice glasses" when we made eye contact. It was an easy opening and allowed me to gauge his friendliness.  His smile was bright, though he was a little bit shy.  He was responsive so I continued to talk to him.  I asked him where he lived and why he was all the way in DTLA.  It was natural, and I turned to the bar to order my drink to give him space.  He was with 3 bros with long hair and we all introduced ourselves.  He was the most stylish, the most clean cut and the most attractive.

I went back to my friends to catch up and ride our buzz.  We were all happy to be out, happy to see each other and had a lot to say about the music and the crowd.  I pointed out the guy and they agreed, "oh yes, he's very cute" and I suddenly I became even more interested in taking advantage of my confidence.  Confidence that came with a fresh and trendy haircut, a nice outfit and a tighter body.

He was at the bar alone and I placed my hand on his shoulder.

"Getting something else to drink?"  I commented about how expensive the drinks are and then ordered something simply because I didn't want to make my interest in him so obvious.  I continued the first date-like questions and complimenting him where appropriate.

"Well, I'm older than you."
"How old do you think I am?"
"Hm... 28? "
"I'm 32!  My birthday was in January". Perfect age; my fear is coming on to a kid born in the 90s.

Telling someone how young they look is a subtle way of saying how cute they are.  Or immature-looking depending on the situation.  Here, I was obviously being my friendly self.  He gave me an in and told me more about his job.

"But for working in marketing, ironically, I'm awful at social media.  I barely update my Instagram".   Bingo... This is how I get his contact info in the most natural form.

"Oh really?  What is it.. Let me check it out."  He said sure and found himself on his phone and hit -follow- for me.  I took it as a sign that he was okay with me.  Usually people would open their profile and let you decide if you want to follow them or not.  I saw his latest photo: a beach photo at Crystal Cove.  I didn't browse his profile in front of him.  I just checked the first and put my phone immediately away.  After all, I was interested in getting to know the guy in front of me, not his feed.

"Crystal cove!  I've been meaning to go there!  I wanted to book a house with my friends."  He told me how great it was, he told me he'd rather be traveling and then he told me he had to use the restroom.  I detached my gaze and let him go and returned to my friends.

Was he gay, was he straight?  It didn't matter, he was an attractive guy who I wanted to talk to.  He was nice and interesting which made it worth continuing.  He responded to my words, my body language my energy. Flirting felt fun and playful.   There were no motives or end goals.  It was contained in the moment.  I have a partner and I was just having fun with a human interaction. The game made the night more exciting and I'm sure he enjoyed the attention that his funky cool glasses brought him.


Saturday, January 26, 2019

Christmas with My Complete Family





Eric told me that moments like these make you fall in love with your partner all over again.   I wholeheartedly agree.  Seeing him interact with my family and being with me during a very important time just really solidified that this person is who I'm going to spend the rest of my life with.  It has already become easier to think of marriage because he's met my aunts and uncles.  When they get that invitation they won't be confused about a mysterious boy who've they never met.  And even if this is the only Christmas he can attend, it was sufficient to feel that he had become integrated and that our relationship was acknowledged.

I knew that bringing him to Christmas was important, I made it a big deal and it made me nervous, but when it actually happened it felt natural.  He was welcomed and everyone was happy that he was there.

My mom cooked us so many meals.  He was included in all group photos.  People got him gifts.  He wasn't used to such a materialistic style of the holidays, but embraced it knowing that this is how I was raised.  Socks for everyone.  Gift cards.  More things!  Like an all American family we use our words and we buy gifts.    My extrovert family was overwhelming, and lucky for him, they didn't force him to play Christmas songs on the piano.

What made it easy was introducing him has my partner.  Removing the gender (boyfriend) made it less about being gay, but more about being with a human that I love.  It was easier to say and more impactful at the same time.

"This is my partner Jimmy."

Jimmy made this amazing video of the holiday week with my family and my friends in San Jose and it goes without saying that there's no turning back and we're in it together for the long run.


Visual Diary: The Holiday from Jimmy Raymond on Vimeo.