Monday, December 3, 2018

Moody

There have been moments where I ask myself, "what the fuck is wrong with you?"

Why am I having these thoughts, these feelings, these distractions?  

I've been moody lately, but I've contained it.  There have been moments in which I really want some attention.  Some comfort. Some excitement.

I'm in the mood to dance, to get some endorphins up, to feel good.  To feel sexual and carefree. To be touchy and intimate. 

At least five of my friends are experiencing depression... clinical, leaving work, losing hair, losing family, addicted to drugs, addicted to alcohol, moving to random parts of the world, feeling insecure.  

Piles and piles of emotional turmoil that some are addressing and some are suppressing.  I remind people that we need to check up on each other because life can be lonely. Hurt feels lonely.

Someone said to me that it's hard for them to talk to anyone about whatever happened or what they're feeling because they’re afraid that people are gonna be upset with them.  I can understand that, some things you just keep to yourself.  You hide your demons... to ensure that your friends believe you are who you want them to think you are. You want people to continue to like you and respect you and believe that you are...genuine, innocent, faithful, generous, caring, respectful, honest, selfless.

...and not a sack of worthless garbage that you feel you are at times.

So you lock those demons up, hoping that they don't eat you up inside; hoping that no one notices that sometimes your actions don't always match your morals.

I know I'm just in a mood.  Anything I'm dealing with just feels small.

Someone said to me, "Chris, do you go to therapy?  You don't need therapy." 
Am I really that well-adjusted? Am I really that self aware?  Am I really that level headed?

Quite possibly.  But I think moreover I know what I need to do to heal: blog, dance, chill... with others so that we can remind each other that it's okay to feel like an imperfect human.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Integrating with Family

Jimmy and I went to Orange County to celebrate my cousin's birthday.  She put out the invite one month in advance to make sure that everyone had it marked in their calendar.  She was turning 35 and wanted to celebrate for once.

I later learned that my aunt was attending.   She's a wild card; not the family favorite and divorced my biological uncle.  She got lost going to the restaurant and my cousin was already annoyed with her.

I've never came out directly to my family aside from my parents. I've never said those words. When my aunt finally arrived she asked me who the guy was sitting next to me; I hesitated.  My cousin spoke for me, "this is Jimmy!"  My aunt responded that it was great to meet him.

We sat at opposite ends of the table enjoying the restaurant's version of tostadas and loco moco.  There were about 16 people there so it was easy to stick to a few folks to talk to.

At the end of the night as my aunt prepared to leave, she looked at Jimmy and said, "Take care of Christopher.  If you don't, I'm going to come after you."  She started laughing.  Jimmy and I started laughing as well.  My aunt looked at me and said, "be you, be happy, that's the most important thing."  I thanked her as she walked away.

I melted in the moment.  I didn't realize the impact that those words that came so unexpectedly.

I was used to silence.  And I feel that most of us just accept that silence is the best thing we're going to get from our family who know we're gay officially or not.

==

Despite being together for so long, Jimmy and I have celebrated Christmas separately, but this year is different.  Jimmy's family is out of the country and he agreed to come up to San Jose to participate in both my high school Christmas party and my family's.

I told him that we have to prepare.  That all the gifts will be from "the both of us."  And he responded, "i have to get ready for your extrovert family."  Which the perfect word to describe the Christmas party that my parents always host. 

I'm excited to send the email, "Jimmy will be joining us this year!" 

And I need to get used to saying to my extended family, "This is Jimmy, he's my boyfriend of 8 years and I'm happy that he's here to celebrate Christmas with us."

This is probably the biggest step in our relationship that we've taken in a while - family integration.  Straight people don't understand how easy they have it to be able to do this without a ounce of worry, fear or stress.  And maybe one day, I'll be able to be integrated into his family....  but one step at a time.


Sunday, August 26, 2018

Is it Even Worth It?

In order for me to heal, recharge, feel like myself, I need to involve another person and that “taking a walk, break, breath” doesn’t work because I can’t clear my thoughts, but rather get lost in them when I’m alone.

I sat in a 24 hour laundromat last night and again this early morning at Echo Park lake.  Of course, I wasn't alone for long.  And whatever substance was swirling around in my body was messing with my mood, energy and concept of time.

I’m understanding more and more that gay people can be mean to each other.  I want to believe that people are nice, appreciative  and good intentioned and the side comments, casual shade and passive aggressive social media posts are just a character they play; no one really means to put down others.  But in actuality we can be pretty malicious.

Regardless of all of that, I just want to be everyone's friend. And I want to help plan your Saturdays and introduce you to other cool and nice people because I know how hard it could be to make new friends.  Or how busy we can get and forget to reach out to one another.

But - we all can't be friends.   And as a few faces no longer appear at these silly house parties that I put too much effort/self in, I can't but feel like it's because people are done with it.  Why bother trying to get everyone together when it feels like I'm forcing it upon them with direct personal invites.  I wonder if people decline because they’re just done with gay energy because of how abrasive and judgemental we could be.  Or maybe because people hooked up and it got awkward.   But it makes me happy to hear when the people that do come get something out it - they get to talk about personal things to people who get it, they find a new gym buddy, they approach a person they have a crush on... whatever it is, my space made it easier for them to connect.  At least that’s what I hope.

Yesterday was exhausting.  It was a marathon of drinking and smoking and it took a lot out of me to make sure people were having fun.  It took a lot out of me to force my roommates to decorate, clean, prepare and see them act in obligation.  It took a lot out of me to take to heart when someone who was supposed to help dismisses it.  It took a lot out of me to coordinate 18 different personalities around town event hopping in DTLA and I was worn down and feeling unappreciated.

As an attention seeking, self congratulating, party planner - feeling unappreciated is probably one of the most hurtful things for me to experience.  It makes me question if it was even worth it to get people together.

And it is.  Because that’s who I am and what I do.  And I may position these parties and get-to-gethers as a "safe space" for a "community of under represented, marginalized group of people" aka gaysians, but it's actually a safe space for me.  So that I don't feel alone... and being able to share it with you makes me whole and happy.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Asian Fetishist Exposed

I haven't had a house party in a while and we're going to do an end of summer day party with food and cocktails this coming Saturday.  I've been making new friends and wanted to invite them to the space and got this message from someone I recently invited. 

So, being a black man that likes other men of color -- with artistic, creative, outgoing, fun-loving southeast asian and pacific island men at the top of the list, and due to a finite amount of people who fit into that category that I find attractive and would also be willing to talk to a black guy, like myself. I have talked to a decent number of your friend group in some capacity...and out of the guys attending, the range of experiences varying from dating for 3 months to like just chatting on apps. I know we are all adults and truly appreciate the invite to be in that space and fellowship with you all, but I don't want to come across as impending on anyones space or using this as a tactic to get in with the group more than being a perifial friend. I understand it, personally, that is my intention...but I don't know how they would take it. So I am asking you because you know them a lot better. Thoughts.?

I ask back - "why are Asian Men on top of the list?"

there is no particular hierarchy amongst the men of color, but being from the east coast coming to the west coast I have interacted with asian men at a more significant rate here. That has increased my attraction to them in sense of biology and socio-culturally. My first boyfriend was also filipino, who played a significant role in me coming out and accepting my gayness -- since I was a pretty traditional, christian, black boy from the south. I find many moments of commonality that complements balance points that I have also been provided by my fellowship and other interactions with asian men (gay and straight).

So overall, it is part biology (as all physical attraction is) and the other is connection points (first boyfriend was filipino, college mentor was filipino, first tennis doubles partner in la a straight Chinese guy, two of my guncles (filipino and Chinese). I hope my response didn't across in any sort of negative way.

 To this I respond, "I see.  I appreciate the honesty and I owe it to you to be honest as well.  I’ve created a safe space for gaysian men who don’t feel like they have a place in weho, mainstream gay culture etc.  a space where they’re either ignored or objectified and nothing between. it’s a group of friends to be themselves and I invite people who I feel make sense to that space. When we first met, you were friendly, had good energy and I thought was very interesting which is why I extended the invite.  It’s not a space for people who have racial hang ups that dictate the type of people they date.  These meaningful people in your life just happened to be asian, but it shouldn’t mean that asianness is a default to the people you are interested in “biologically” or not.  I didn’t think it was your intention, but based on what you’re saying to me it feels very much like your intention."

I don't think I have ever voiced why this particular preference to anyone objectively. I usually go with my general, I like individuals, sometimes they have penises but sometimes they do not. Thanks for the honesty as well....and I definitely respect the space that you created. And mention those personal accounts to speak on direct connections with people who happen to be asian, trying to get at that it isn't just a blanketed approach but specific individuals that I happened to connect with. The mention of biological was only to speak to the aspect of attraction, like I don't think you can control who you are attracted to. Not that these interactions have shaped my biology. I don't think I am explaining this the best way

I advised him on what he should have said "All you needed to say was “thanks for the invite, I hope I’m not intruding.  I actually dated a few people on the guest list and I don’t want to make anyone feel awkward”

Sorry, that is what I was trying to say.

I kept it short to show that I wasn't buying his attempt to defend himself "...this analysis on Asian, top of the list, preference.... makes me uncomfortable."

I didn't mean for it to come across like that. Crap, I shouldn't have started that way. thinking about it, I approached it all wrong....trying to be fully transparent I placed emphasis on something that wasn't the point of the conversation. I wish I had synthesized it to the way that you did. I apologize for making you uncomfortable. I really screwed this one up. Truly, I just wanted to get your opinion on if it would be ok to attend after dating a few of your friend...but in doing so, I felt I had to defend the reasons why I dated (or attempted to date) multiple people who share the same friends. And that is what came out...and like you said the intention didn't match the impact. The first two sentences of the message took this conversation to a place that I didn't intend for it to and I can see how it could be perceived and how I would make someone uncomfortable in stating that -- which again wasn't my intention. My mind translated my heart in a way that I clearly can see now as being offensive and I apologize for that. Hope to see you at DTLA Proud. Sorry again, and thanks for the invite. I was looking forward to it, but again didn't want to make anyone feel uncomfortable that is why I mentioned it at all. Have a good day.

I left him hanging for a few hours.  I honestly didn't know what to say, but I made it clear that he can ramble and defend all he wants, but anyone who thinks this is an appropriate way to start a conversation with someone they barely know is not welcome.   Especially when that person is someone who hates objectification like myself.   "I've been in a few client meetings. Not trying to ignore you. Yeah - maybe we'll catch each other at DTLA Proud."


Thanks for letting me know. Hope to run into you at Proud.


=======

A few thoughts on this conversation.    I've read this over and over and I'm feeling empathetic.  His intention was to respect the space, but he did the opposite exposing his fetishism.  Jimmy told me he does NOT want him around.  I was going to expand on the conversation, but Jimmy stopped me from attempting to use black equivalence.   You'd think other POCs would understand that withering down a person to their race does not make people feel good.  However, his back peddling and apology shows that he knows he fucked up and there's nothing really more I can stay to educate.

Also - "dated a decent number of your friends" - sounds like you're going through a checklist.  No thank you.  This is not a candy store.


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Summer Weekends in Los Angeles

Staying busy makes me happy.  This passed weekend was exceptional!

Friday: Summer Nights at the Natural History Museum Botanical Gardens - Always thought Silent Disco was stupid, but then it was actually fun with a good DJ.  Learned that the ants in our house are not native to Los Angeles, but actually from South America through the coffee trade.
Saturday: Chinatown Summer Nights - got sassy with boring straight guys taking valuable dance floor space.  Made a scene when they left shooing them away.  Led the group of 12 to Won Kok for some loud 2AM Chinese food.  Shu mai is apparently a breakfast item and made Jason uncomfortable that we ordered it.  That morning got inspired by Ikea and want to buy some good patio furniture.
Sunday: Venice Beach - learned how to boogie board.  The trick is to point the nose of the board downward to better catch the wave.

New restaurants old friends, new restaurants with new friends, old restaurants with new dishes.

And a boyfriend to capture it all:

Visual Diary: Lazy Summer from Jimmy Raymond on Vimeo.

Meal of the weekend: Soft Shell Crab Curry Ramen from Curry House in Little Tokyo.
A season dish that stayed on the menu due to popularity.

Not just watered down curry, but with ramen oil adding dimension.  Wish the egg was softboiled



It's already time to plan the next one!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Make A Wish

Today is my dad's 62nd birthday.

I almost forgot to call him, but my brother sent me a text.  I sent him an early birthday gift a while back, so on the actual day it slipped my mind.

My brother sent me a video of my dad blowing out a candle during dinner in San Jose.  You can see him taking the time to make a wish.  I don't know what he wished for, but I imagine it to be something related to family, health and happiness.

I was going through some texts and found one I sent to Kevin reminding him to get a birthday dessert for Huan during his birthday dinner a few weeks back.  I was being type A and assuming that Kevin would forget his boyfriend duties.  I took the liberty to send obnoxious texts

 For a while I didn't understand why I was so obsessive about "properly celebrating a birthday" during a dinner.  I had always told people that if you don't blow something out, it's just another dinner outing with friends.  We eat out so often that the only way to make it special is by sneaking to the restroom to and make the server rummage for candles and then making everyone sing awkwardly in public and embarrassing the birthday person.  It just HAS to be like that whether the birthday person likes it or not.

Watching this video made me realize that I get it from my dad.  He's sentimental.  He's selfless.  And for the one meal that meant to be for him, he makes sure to make a wish to be thankful for the gifts that life has given him.  He makes sure that for every one of my birthdays I'm at least given a card to make me feel special and loved.  Maybe that's why candle blowing is so important to me.  Because, simply, that's how I was raised: believing that making people feel special is important.

==

A close friend of mine told me that he made his boyfriend cry when he presented a one year anniversary gift.  It was a photo book.  It made me think about how lonely it could being gay.  How hard dating can be.  How selfish and guarded and difficult gay men are.  And rightfully so because growing up gay really fucked with us.   To be able to find a partner that loves you, sacrifices for you, matches you and appreciates you is worth crying about.  I feel like it only gets harder the older we get because we become used to just dating ourselves that we forget how to find room for others.  I have so many single friends that it makes me wonder if most of them have given up on finding a partner and living single is just the life that they've accepted and adapted to.  After all, finding a soulmate to marry is a hetero norm... and why does it have to be a thing?  And that growing old doesn't have to be lonely when you have your chosen family by your side. 

If anything RAGE can turn into the Retired Asian Gay Enclave. 
It's 70+ and half off Ensure powder drinks before 9PM.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

69 Cents



I really don't give a shit.  And I find creative ways to entertain myself.  So back in 2014, I was browsing the social feed of venmo to see where my friends were having dinner without me and paying each other back.  I noticed this guy who I thought was pretty cute and interesting based on his ... other payments.  We had one mutual friend.

So like any self respecting gaysian thirsty for friendship, I decided to send him a payment of $0.69 with a few fun emojis.  I never heard from him and just left it as a funny story, making my friends feel uncomfortable that I actually did something like that.  But whatever, this guy was in New York and he took my money.

Fast forward 3 years later to my Tokyo trip with my family in 2018.  I was dying for something that wasn't my family and I found myself at a gay bar.  In the sea of gays I see him and somehow remember his first name.   I never remember names especially this one since I've always referred to him as 69 cents.  I only had two drinks in me, but in addition to desperation for a familiar face I shouted his name.

He didn't hear me and walked on.  So... like a lion to a gazelle, I chased after him. 
"Is your name Jun?!"  I was super excited.  The gears in my psychotic mind were turning.
"yeah.. um... "
"you don't know me, but we have a mutual friend!  How are you?  What are you doing here?"  I talked to him like we had known each other for ages and he followed along.

He told me about quitting his job, how he's been traveling for months.  I think seeing another American was refreshing for him... and then he disappeared after 5 minutes.  That was just the right amount of time to make me feel better and less lost in a foreign place.  I was so exhausted with my family that anything that felt like home aka - gaysian-American, felt nice.


Obviously, I didn't mention the $0.69 part.  I'm sure he knew, but wanted to make myself seem as normal as possible.  Which I thought I was pretty successful in doing.

I send this picture to our mutual friend who was aghast that we "ran into each other."  More like I ran at him.  He then shared his chat with 69 cents.



Glad to see that the story matched up.  But then I noticed that our mutual friend covered some of the text previously.  I can only imagine what was censored.  But you know what... I don't give a fuck.  I'm just here to make people feel uncomfortable while I laugh at myself at my ridiculousness.