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.


Friday, January 18, 2019

Platonic, Potential, Can We Please Fuck?

A friend of mine told me that he's slept with about half of his friends.  He puts people in buckets: platonic, potential and can we Please fuck?  I told him that I see all of my friends as platonic and he responded that I might be repressing something and not knowing it.  I know many wonderful attractive guys but I'm never tempted, at least in Los Angeles.  I just want to make friends and grow my Gaysian empire creating a community of good people and a supportive network (born in the 80s).  He pointed to the cute guy in the mailroom.  "You wouldn't mess around with him?"  I responded, "I guess I would, but never really thought about it other than 'hey, he's cute, what's his instagram, let me direct message him and invite him to a party" the end.


It made me wonder, am I repressing something?  I think about being affectionate with friends.  A kiss on the cheek, a head in the lap, a long embrace, a short massage.  Platonic, but still showing that you care for each other.  

How does one put friendships into the potential bucket? I thought about the power of cuddling.  The intimacy, the smell, the touch, the warmth and the time.  Can friends cuddle overnight and still sit in the platonic bucket?  Or does it quickly move to potential? When you stay overnight your guard comes down and like someone with a weak immune system you're vulnerable and likely to catch feels.  I recall "hook up" rules in which people emphasize that they would NEVER sleep over if their intention is nothing more than just loveless sex.  Is it because embracing for a long period of time affects our chemistry and you become attached?  While intertwining your limbs, do you inadvertently intertwine your heart strings?  While feeling someone's breath and listening to their heartbeat, does your soul believe that you're holding someone very important to you?    

Kevin sent me this screen grab of me and his partner Huan (my close friend from elementary school) tangled in bed at the New Years party.  Kevin was massaging my thighs and finding my zones.  He described this picture as me and Huan trying to lure him into some more than friends activity.  But what I see is innocent platonic intimacy between friends at a party.  As this short moment with friends ended, I find myself back home with my partner to embrace overnight allowing our souls to blend and our hearts to beat in sync until he overheats and pushes me away.



Sunday, January 13, 2019

Blame It On The Juice

Instragram told me that I could spend up to 4 hours a day on the app.  I watch instastories when I do cardio, I look at the geo tag to explore the city, I stalk, I slide into DMs, I keep in contact.  It's different from facebook which is riddled with political posts and very uninteresting status updates.

So when I accidentally deleted I thought to myself that it was the perfect opportunity to take a break.

But without the app, I found myself bored with the phone.  I found myself sad that I couldn't post something that would potentially make someone laugh, smile, cringe, all of the above.

I gave in within 24 hours and redownloaded it.  And I'm happy for it because it reminded me of what made me happy: being silly and sharing it with people who are interested enough to keep me unmuted.

Charles and I were inspired by Lizzo's music video Juice and decided to recreate our own version.






We pretty much nailed it even though it took us hours to get it close to looking okay.  It was our gay Zumba workout for Saturday.  

The rest of the day we stayed in and got food delivered.  We sang our hearts out in our makeshift karaoke room with disco lights.  At 10:30PM, I caught up with a good friend to vent, to catch up, to eat, to love.

I feel normalized, less anxious and almost myself again and in order to achieve that I had to get out of my mind and onto the dance floor.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Pick the Path with Least Resistance

While driving a friend home, he reminded me of the dangers of worrying.

He reminded me that life is too short to stress and that we should just approach challenges and obstacles head on without torturing ourselves.  If it doesn't need to be a big deal, why make it a big deal?

If something is going to hurt, why make it hurt twice by worrying about it too.  Something like that.

But it seems like something difficult to control, or as we agreed, comes with experience.  You just learn to just not care, take things as face value and not overthink.

I'm starting to understand that overthinking is dangerous.  Overthinking comes with free time; letting your imagination run wild, creating worst case scenarios, misinterpreting people, make up a false reality.    And this is what happens when I'm on my own for too long.

Again, I need to keep busy to prevent my mind from wandering and worrying about things that aren't important.

And I'm writing this down to remind myself that things are only as big as you make them out to be and that the path with the less resistance is worth taking for the peace of mind, heart and soul.