Sunday, October 18, 2015

Riggle me this, why do men not call us back?

The first thing that I have to say today is that I am by no means a relationship expert. I've never studied anything about them, about people, about anything really pertaining to a relationship. I have, however, been in a few and I've learned a few things, so I feel like I'm pretty solid in the things I'm about to say.

Recently, several of my friends have shared relationship struggles with me. One person is "seeing" someone, quotations mean they are not exclusive, and a few of my other friends are trying to get to step one. My first friend is pushing for the non-exclusive relationship to turn into an exclusive one, but the other person is in non committal land. He says things like, "I'm not 100% there right now," "I"m not sure what I want." This, ladies and gentlemen, is bullshit. And you all know it. It's a man's(typically, as I don't exclude women from doing this too) way of trying to let you down gently. He doesn't want to commit to you because he's not certain that you're the right person and up to this point, you've not pushed him into a relationship and he can technically do whatever he wants when you're not around, so why would he let you just rein him in? Answer? He won't. You aren't the person that's going to do it, so why would you keep trying? Because in most cases, we all want to be loved and when we find someone we want, we all find it difficult to see what's really going on. I've done it, hell we all probably have. It doesn't make us weak or mean that something is wrong with us, it's just that we want something, probably so much, that when it seems like it's just within our grasp, we forget to ask ourselves if this is really what we want.

My other friends have similar issues with trying to get the men they're interested in to commit to just having a date. Just a simple, "we will have dinner at this time, on this day, at this restaurant." It becomes a lot of cancellations, last minute "things," or whatevers that happen that prevent them from actually meeting up. And I see my friends so excited, then immediately hurt when it doesn't pan out. And as I was telling one of my dear friends over cocktails last night, "I think you are all worth so much more than what you're getting from these so called men." It doesn't make me feel good to see that my friends are such kind, honest, generous, and loving people, and struggle to find a relationship. If that's what they want. Again, nothing wrong with anyone in the situation. It's just how our game seems to be played at the moment.

With two of these men, who are very dear to me, I want them to know how beautiful they are inside and out. Because let's face it, I don't have unattractive friends. My friends are the types of people who would make the cast of a huge movie, or a gay version of Sex and the City. All beautiful and different and just all around amazing people. Sometimes, it is astonishing to me that these people are also some of the most kind hearted, spirited people you could ever meet, and I'm beyond lucky to call them my pals, my buddies, and confidants. That's why it hurts me to see them upset, or hurting, or yearning for something more that they can't have. One of my friends even went so far as to say, "if I can't make this work..." I couldn't even let him finish. Hearing this beautiful soul cry and not able to see the potential he has within himself to make himself happy was so upsetting. I wish he could see himself the way I see him, and then we can see how high his confidence is. For that matter, I wish all my friends could see themselves the way I do. Because then they would know how wonderful and complete they are on their own. Which is even more upsetting to continue writing this next part.

Over the last few days of hearing from such close friends about these experiences they are going through, I was only able to give them solid advice because of one reason. I am the other guy. I mean, not specifically for them, because we are just friends, but I am the guy who won't commit, and will stand you up, and will not respond for hours to a text and keep you waiting and waiting. And I know that I do it, and while I'm not proud of it, I don't know how to stop. Actually I do, but we'll get there in a moment. I"m the guy who will try to politely let you down because it's not nice to say, "I like you and think you're awesome, but I can already tell that I will shit all over your life and leave you in a giant heap of horse poo and never look back." I mean, it's probably not that dramatic, but something like that. And it's not from intent to be malicious either. It's usually because of fear. Fear of jumping off the merry go round of life where every hot man comes and goes like a piece of chewing gum. And you never know which one is really right for you. It's also fear of the unknown. What if I get hurt; again or for the first time? What happens when I have nothing to show them but the real me, will they still love me?

I'd like to say most of us don't teeter on the edge of a relationship with another person for sport, though I know some men who do. But, when a man tells you that he doesn't want a relationship, regardless of the chemistry you have with him, he probably really means what he tells you. It most cases, I would advise my friends to just cut their losses and run. Then again, most people need to trust their gut instinct about men like me. Sometimes, we're worth the effort, and sometimes, we just aren't. It's all about choices and honesty. And for guys like me, I'd like to think that we are as honest as we can be, but know that it's masked in a deep amount of fear. And for guys on the other side of it, you have to make the choice about how you trust us and how you are honest with us.

Not long ago, I found myself in a conversation with a friend about a man that I like. There isn't much of a future there, or so it seems to me. He looked at me and said, "Steve, don't Miranda this." Most of you probably already laughed, but if you don't know, I'm the Miranda (Sex and the City reference) of my group of friends. I will over think and over analyze every detail to the point that I don't know what to do anymore, so I push everything away. It's what I've always done, it's how I like to roll. And when I find myself in moments like that, I hear my acting coaches voice in my head asking, "how is that working out for you?" And I smile because I know both of these men are right.

Lastly, this idea of love being a candle has been in my head for awhile. For anyone who saw Crimson Peak with me last night, you're going to think that I ripped this from the movie, but I've been trying to figure out a way to work this in somewhere and now I am, so is it coincidence, or just poetic timing? You can decide and probably judge me later for it. I'm still gonna use it. But, a candle is a lot like love. You can't leave it burning on it's own with no one home, it'll destroy everything you own. But if you keep your eye on it, it can burn for a long time. I believe everyone has their own candle. And when you meet someone, you each other the candles together. The flames may flicker from time to time, but if you both keep holding together, they will keep burning. Myself, for example, I like to get close to sharing my candle with someone, but the second I feel the warmth of theirs, I pull away. Mostly, I think because I haven't learned how to just be ok with holding my own. And that's ok. In time I will learn, and then I can share. But for now, I'm content with figuring out myself. Because I have to be ok with what I have to offer before I can truly share it.

So what's the point of all of this? I guess that I'm really good at doling out advice I should take for myself. Never lose sight of how wonderful you are on your own. If you can't see that first and foremost, don't bother bringing someone else to the mix, because then you'll just rely on them for your sense of worth. Be strong in who you are. Be kind to everyone, and above all, we need to be more honest with each other. Myself included. IN giving advice to my friends, I saw the ugly parts of myself, and saw first hand what it does to other people. So, maybe if we all accept that it's scary, the world becomes less scary because we are in it together.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Riggle Me This- Back to me...

Many years ago, longer than I care to admit to, I was a sophomore in college. I was nearing the end of my second year of school, about to transfer from a small community college to a university. I was the only person in my class who was finishing the two year program I was at and leaving Wyoming and moving forward with my life. I felt like I was hot shit. I thought I was so much better than everyone else. And for the first time in my life, knew, and believed that I was better than everyone. I really thought I had a lot of things figured out.

One day, my dance instructor and advisor pulled me aside during class and quietly said to me, "You are acting out of line. I don't know whatever it is that is going on with you, but I have no objections failing you in my class because you can't behave this way in my class and get away with it. You're a good man and a good student and I would hate this new attitude you have to get in the way of you moving onto your next school."

My first reaction was to say "fuck you!" And I even remember thinking something along the lines of "that bitch doesn't know anything." But she knew a lot more than I did, and she knew a lot more about me than I did. I was feeling on top of the world and conceited and became someone I am not. Later, we had an office meeting and when I told her how misunderstood I felt from my peers because I was the only one leaving, she said, "in those moments, come to my office, I do understand what it's like and I can help you get through it." And continued with, "You know, you don't have to say everything you are thinking. And sometimes it's ok to be asked what's wrong, and respond by saying, 'I'm just being quiet today.' Because at the end of the day, it's ok to just be quiet."

I didn't really know what to make of it at the time, but I gave it a shot. Slowly, I started feeling much better. I kept a lot of my thoughts to myself, focused on me and what I wanted to accomplish and slowly everything began to fall into place. I graduated with honors from my program and went on to an excellent university. And the words of a woman much wiser than me have stayed with me for most of my life. Until about a year ago.

Recently, I've come to realize that I've been behaving similarly to that 20 year old arrogant young man again. I've become so wrapped up in being a person that I am not and it's going to be an interesting journey to find myself again. Luckily, I have friends who are helping me on my way and reminding me what it means to be me. How it is to compassionate and how it is to be my whole self. So for arguments sake, I don't think I'm better than anyone else in this world, except for when it comes to my friends. I spent so long last year feeling so lost and at some points alone, but my friends have all reminded me that they are here, and that we share an infinite bond, and the trust and love we built so many years ago is still intact. Somewhere along the way I just forgot. But luckily they didn't let me forget for long. Because to me, my friends are the best people in the world. We have a blast together, we have hard times together, and we have a lot of love between us, and for that I will always be grateful and humbled.

There have been many aspects of my life I've allowed to operate a certain way for far too long. I know the changes I have to make and I know how it's going to happen. I know it's not always easy to change the course of your life, but dammit I'm going to, because I see how I have to be in this world and I know where I have to go. So I'm now giving myself an assignment. I'm going to just sit quietly and work on the aspects of my life that I have to. The focus for me has to shift to what I'm doing and how I'm doing it, rather than what other people are doing and how it doesn't affect me at all. I've just let it control me for far too long and because of it, I've lost some friends and loved ones along the way. Instead of focusing on the past, I need to redirect my attention to my future and how it isn't dictated by what happened yesterday, or even today. But will be shaped by how I change in the next steps of my life.

In the last few months, I've seen several people announce that they are only posting positive things on Facebook. Maybe now is the time I do something like that. Or maybe now is the time for me to just be quiet today. Either way, I'm lucky to have had so many friends along the way who help me when I fall, set me back up and push me back to the path of being myself.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Riggle Me This, Why I Don't Think It'll happen again

Lately, I've been bored. Bored with dating, bored with the studying I've been doing, bored of the gym, bored of work, and bored of trying to push myself into feeling something, anything at all. For the last few weeks, I've woken up every day and laid in bed longer than I wanted because there wasn't anything driving me to get out of bed. I'm on a path at the moment where I"m finding my own purpose and I few finding your purpose a lot like losing weight; sometimes you plateau but eventually you get back on course. So, I know that eventually I'll find my motivation again. It will come back to me, I know it will. So, I know that I'll, at the very least, figure out what it is I want to be doing with my life and the motivation will come back for work and the gym, and I'll know that I'm doing what I love. But when it comes to love, I'm not sure if I will actually try it again. I go back and forth about it a lot, but lately, it just seems too difficult to make a connection with anyone. I've found myself "in like" with someone, but I don't know if I have any interest in turning it into something more. Like anything else, it could, but it could also fail.

My first relationship that I consider to be part of my adult life ended very horribly. Luckily, that man is one of my dearest friends now. He knows me better than most people as he's been a solid part of my life for the last 15 years. We were young, naive, and thought we knew better than everyone else. We found ourselves in a situation of not being able to communicate properly and we were significantly unhappy. He was traveling into Manhattan every week to visit me from Long Island, where he lived after college with his family. The rough streets of NYC were taking their toll on me, as was the stress of him living with his family and things just began to unravel. We began to fight quite a bit, and never really enjoyed being with each other. I began to withdraw from him, and he from me. But I was twenty-three and how could love not be enough? So I did the most logical thing and I bought a ring. I know, so cliche right? "A ring? Are you fucking kidding me?" That's probably what everyone is thinking right now reading this. But for real, I bought a ring.

I didn't plan a big proposal because I wanted it to come from something spontaneous. My ex was a pretty crazy and pedantic person, so I thought the most fitting proposal would be one that seemed to come from nowhere. It was the perfect plan. We had been planned to spend some time out on Long Island and then come to the city to have a good time, which we did. The whole day, I kept the ring in my pocket and just knew in my heart that the right moment would just present itself. Fortunately, it never did. We made it back to my apartment that night and I felt the ring in my pocket and thought to myself, "well, there's always tomorrow." And just as I thought this, he looked at me and said, "I think we're done."

I was stunned. "What do you mean?" I questioned him hard. Done as in, for the day, or us in general? It was us in general.

He went on to tell me that he'd been unhappy for a long time, and somehow we'd lost our ability to talk to one another. He reassured me how pretty I was and that I'd have no trouble finding a replacement boyfriend. But a replacement wasn't what I wanted. Mostly, I just wanted my money back for the ring. Which lead me to know in my heart that it wasn't right. We hugged and I sent him on his way. The next day I called the company I bought the ring from and they accepted the return. So, I lucked out. But my life felt a little bit empty and my heart hurt felt a little hallow.

It took a few years after that relationship for me to feel comfortable being with someone again. Eventually, it happened, because I knew that it would. We were perfect on paper. Yet, I struggled to commit. Would this end as badly as the last one? Would this be better? Do I even want this? The answer ended up being yes to all three questions I asked myself. I knew I was in trouble when I met this kind man. He disrupted my plan to spend the rest of my twenties single. His smile and warmth were disarming. And his ability to just roll with my fear of commitment was surprising. So I gave in and committed.

Six years, three apartments, and one dog later, I found myself in familiar territory; living in silence. Of course we were best friends, but we'd lost that thing that made us special. I know all of this in hindsight. Going through it, I thought we'd just hit a rough patch along the way, as couples tend to do. For me, I thought we just needed a little time to set ourselves back on track. But he just wanted out. Shortly before the end, we had discussed our lease renewal in NYC and we signed on for one more year, and decided that one year later, we would make the big move the west coast. So of course I thought, "Great, we're on the same page, we're planning this big life decision together, and we can do this." I was convinced that it was all going to just work out. I knew it in my heart that it would. Which made me happier to know that the week before I had ordered a David Yurman ring because I was planning a proposal to him that summer. IT was to be on the day we decided to be committed to one another six years prior. And yes, I was going to do a flashmob, but he was going to be in it. He had once told me he'd always wanted to be in one. So I thought, "how fun, he can be in it, and I'll just show up to 'watch' and then it will turn into this beautiful proposal." It was also going to be on the brooklyn bridge, because we went on this fun adventure date shortly after we started dating and we walked the bridge and got lost and had a wonderful day.

But the proposal never happened. The day after the ring arrived, I'd had it sent to work so he wouldn't know about it, we got home from a friends birthday celebration and everything just fell apart. I asked him if we were ok and everything came spilling out. MY biggest fear became my biggest reality. I had been so certain that we were going to spend the rest of our lives together. So much more certain than I'd been ten years ago that I could not believe this was happening at this moment. How had I gotten it so wrong? Indeed I had.

Shortly after, I moved out of our home, and left behind a life that I was so committed to. I packed up my things and moved not once, but three times after that to find a home for myself. But I finally settled into a place that I feel like myself again.

So the rings. The first man I mentioned I believe knows about the ring. I think I told most people that I pawned it off. But I took my returned money and bought myself a keyboard. I'd been wanting one for so long, I was finally able to just buy it. The more recent man knows nothing about the ring I bought for him or knew of my plans for proposing, and probably won't ever know, unless he reads this. But his ring I kept for awhile. I didn't know if we'd get back together or not, so I didn't want to just get rid of it. I debated several things to do with it. I thought of pawning it off, but it just didn't feel right. I also thought of throwing it away, but that didn't feel right either. Then, I remember something I did a long time ago.

After he and I had gone on this adventure date, I went back to the bridge and put up a love lock. For those of you who don't know, there's a spot on the Brooklyn Bridge where people put engraved locks proclaiming their love for someone. So, on what would have been our seventh anniversary, I went back to the lock, unlocked it, attached the ring, and locked it back on the bridge. I took the key in my hand for a moment, and then threw it into the river. I figured that I didn't need it anymore, and I certainly didn't need the ring anymore. Yes, I could have made some money off of it, but I just didn't want to have money because of something so sad to me.

I walked back to manhattan a seemingly whole person again. My therapist had been the only person I'd told about the ring and he had told me that when I was ready to let go of the ring, I'd be able to let go of the future I would never have. I could finally take the steps towards having the life that began from this moment, as opposed to the life I was living and holding onto my mistakes. I felt like my old self even more. Even now, three months later, I feel complete in my decision and slowly feel the old sense of myself returning.

And in that moment of clarity, I realized that I was done. When people talk about love to me, I feel nothing. I don't feel disgusted, or inspired, or romantic. I express my fondness for their cuteness, but in general I just don't fell anything now. I"m just numb to it all. I find it completely uninteresting. And I don't foresee it happening in my future. Which, don't mistake for being jaded and unhappy, because I'm quite content with my life. I have a lot of love to give and I do give it away freely to my friends and my family. But when it comes to romantic love, I just don't think it's quite right for me. And that's ok.

If someone comes along and changes my mind, great. But if not, that's fine too. I will be just fine on my own. So riggle me that.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Riggle Me This,Why I'm a big fucking weirdo.

Recently, a dear friend of mine said something to me, I forget his exact words, but the gist was that I didn't date men who were the physical caliber of what I could obtain. I thought on this for a moment, and in jest I said, "It's because I like men with personalities." I made the light hearted "pretty people are dumb" joke and everyone laughed, but in reality, I think it comes down to so much more than that. It's not just 'the hot guys.' And it's not just me. But, it's somehow a combination of the two things that repel one another.

The way I see the world, particularly the gay one, is that there is an abundance of hot men who like to call themselves "masc," short for masculine. Which is all fine and good, but it seemingly dictates the way they behave in public. These men have beyond perfect bodies, hair, clothes, and obviously good looks at their disposal. They also can act like any number of meatheads from the jersey shore to anyone you see leading the cast of an action film. Their voices are "manly," and they'd NEVER EVER let you see them at a moment of imperfection. Their personalities can be a little stale and the topics of conversation range from, the gym, last nights party, today's workout, the recreational drugs they took at whatever circuit party happened last week, what trainer is inspiring them, cross fit, etc. I'm not saying that it's bad, or I'm judging these people, I'm just saying I find it rather boring. Conversations have parameters and some subjects are considered "we don't speak of that." Yet, these are mostly the men that our gay community has labeled god like or the perfect man/men.

I am masculine to a point. I don't think even the straightest men are masculine one hundred percent of the time, so why should I be? Minus the hair, I think I embody most of those qualities. I can throw down about the gym just like the rest of 'em. However, I have a flip side to my spectrum and that is I am also somewhat of a homebody, I enjoy films and theatre and yes, I will queen out to a 90's britney song better than most. But what sets me apart a step further from them is that I'm kinda weird. I'm a huge lover of human behavior, and the more secretive the better. Go figure I ended up in a career that is all about human behavior. I can go and talk to just about anyone, especially when I am certain I have nothing to lose. But beyond a "sup?" and a quick introduction to their friends, most of these guys don't know how to carry a conversation on their own. So I will quickly challenge that and be slightly obnoxious or silly just to see if I can make them smile or laugh or anything at all. I guess the weird part comes in because I'll probe about people and try to get as much personal information out of them as possible. Nothing like routing numbers and social security shit, but just things like, "are you a top?" and "oh that's cool, you do coke, can I watch you?" Granted sometimes, the conversation flows easily and I find myself a kindred spirit of sorts, but that is a rare occasion. Usually it just ends with me saying, "well it was nice to meet you, I'm going to go find my friends." I know that I can be a hard sell. Because as most of my friends know, I will say dumb shit, put my foot in my mouth, have a strong opinion, be excessively negative sometimes, be excessively positive, catch myself in an embarrassing moment, or just make a total fool of myself, and all of it by accident. So I've learned to embrace those things about my personality. And I think it makes these men I speak of weirded out because I don't follow what is socially expected of me. If I did, I'd have been out last night (saturday) at some random party having just taken molly or G or whatever drug is popular instead of being in my apartment alone at midnight painting my bedroom. I'd then have a quick nap and head on over to whatever cute afternoon Sunday party is happening at a bar. And maybe somewhere in there I'd find time to hook up with someone. But instead I spent my Sunday lying in Central Park reading an anatomy book, then walked 45 blocks home by myself because it was a nice day.

Sometimes, I wish I could be that other person, I imagine it to be a lot of fun, but mostly, I just find it boring. And it's not to say that I don't date attractive people, it's just that they might only be attractive to me, because they offer something most people don't. And I'm sure some of you are reading this thinking, "oh woe is Steve, he has pretty people problems." But, it doesn't stop with this. The thing is that I do find myself attractive, and I'll touch on that more in a minute, but I know I'm a big fucking weirdo. I have had most of my friends throughout my life look at me after I've said something ridiculous and say, "you are the strangest person I know." When I was a kid it bothered me, and as an adult I'm learning to embrace it. Except for today.

For the last 8 years I've had an acquaintance named "Bill." Yeah, we can just call him that. Bill is incredibly handsome, has a ridiculously in shape body, talented, and a seemingly nice guy. And I now have to say seemingly because over the last year of knowing him, I now realize that if you can't offer something to him, he will be polite and cordial, but that's as far as the friendship goes. So luckily for me, I now can offer him nothing to boost his social or economical standings, I offer nothing by way of career boosting for him, so I guess there's just no longer a reason to even worry about it, but for some reason I'm upset.

This is what happened. We ran into one another, and as per usual, we exchanged pleasantries, but come to find out his world is crumbling. Troubles with men, and career and various other things. To which I made a joke and said, "well you're not dead, so it's not the worst thing to ever happen." This was something I told myself last year after my break up of a 6 year relationship where I left my home and my dog behind, followed up with the death of my grandmother. It was something that got me through the darkest time in my life and helped me to make the joke. He deemed this not funny and stood looking at me like I had just bent over and taken a crap in front of him. Seeing his puzzled look I referenced another time several years ago I had made a joke similarly to the one I had just made. His response was, "I can't believe you're actually still talking. You are so fucking weird." He made a look of disgust, flung his hand my direction and walked away. And there it was. Suddenly, I was that kid getting called weird again and was confused and hurt. And I still can't figure out why I felt that way.

Regardless, I was just schooled by the nicest mean girl I've ever known without knowing it. In that moment, I realized that this person was never a friend. Yes I referenced him as an acquaintance before but at one point in history I thought we were friends. Maybe that's why it affected me so much. I thought this man to be kind and in the last year of my life, I've learned that he is just a self serving man who will seize any opportunity to have his world look shiny and pretty and perfect. And that's somewhat how I view all of those other men I mentioned before. I don't want that. Nothing is like that. No one's life is perfect and if people would just stop pretending that it is, we'd all be happier. Further more, my joke about death is funny. Maybe I'm weird, but death is sad, yes, we can all agree on that. But it doesn't have to be. My God, am I so strange that I look at death as simply another part of life and it doesn't have to be this awful horrible thing? I mean, I spent most of my grandmother's funeral last year laughing with my family and reminiscing about how awesome my grandmother was. Do I miss her, FUCK YES! But bitch was funny, and kind and she loved me more than I could ever love her, so you know what? I get to laugh. So I guess that makes me weird.

And to go back to the comment on my looks. Amy Shumer just gave an incredible speech about being attractive. If you can, youtube it. I'm not gonna post it, you're an adult, you figure it out. But, I believe I am attractive for more reasons that just the exterior I was given. Because I say so. I don't subscribe to this whole instagram thing of hash tagging certain guys and calling them studs. I don't need a hundred likes on my pictures or my posts to feel validated. Hell, I bet only a handful of people read this blog. But, the thing is, I don't actually care. I do these things for myself. So it doesn't matter if I end up on the cover of Next Magazine, or some other person wants to take my picture, or blah blah, I modeled for this person and that person. In reality, it's sad when those actions are done to make sure you feel substantial. I embrace the weirdness in me, maybe not fully yet, but I have spent a lot of time these last few years doing so. SO while I applaud your efforts to be the most gorgeous and sought after, maybe you need to fix those imperfection in your heart instead of putting them on other people. So know that if a random photographer does want to work with me, I'm sharing them as you are my friends, and it's somehow related to my business of being an actor and having anything of me featuring me in print or otherwise. It's not because I'm just looking for a quick moment of adulation from my adoring fans.

So, whoever wants to be a weirdo with me, bring it. Because we're WAAAAAAAYY more fun.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Riggle Me This, Why you Should Even Bother Asking

I'm currently dog sitting my ex dog for the weekend and staying in my ex boyfriend's apartment(subsequently the same one I shared with him for the last two years of our relationship). I already know that everyone is thinking that this is a bad idea. I thought that for a moment, too, when he initially asked me to watch this dog. However, I felt like it was the right thing to do. He was in a bind, and for anyone who doesn't know, this dog was everything to me while I was his owner, and there isn't a single day I haven't thought of him since moving out of this apartment over a year ago. I have, in the last few months, come over for a mere few minutes and chatted politely with my ex and have seen this apartment change from "ours" to just being his. Yes, of course there are remnants of me in this place and probably always will be because we shared our lives together for so long and when I moved out, I took as little with me as possible. I wanted the clean and fresh start somewhere else with little to no reminder of him.

When you begin a relationship and everything is new and wonderful, it seems as if it could last forever. Sometimes it does, and often times it does not. But when you feel like it's going to be the most amazing thing in your life, at least for me, it seemed that we were so focused on the future. And I became a "we." I hate those people, yet I became one. We do this, and we like that movie, and so on and so forth. So when it did end, I had to mourn the loss of the future I would no longer have. I had to let go of this idea that there would be this fabulous wedding and children with this man I had loved for the past six years. I had to let go of the notion that I would get to see my dog everyday for the rest of his life, assuming mine lasted longer. I had to release the warm thoughts of coming home to my partner every day, or surprising him with dinner when I was the one home first. I had to surrender this all to the unknown. And for anyone who knows me and my control issues, this is not an easy task.

I am someone who likes to know what obstacles lie ahead. I would love for my life to have warning signs so bright and legible that I don't even have to think twice about how to avoid the collisions. I mean, those signs exist, but sometimes they are difficult to see. And even when I see them, I might not be able to comprehend the meaning. However, life doesn't always have clear answers for us. Even when the warning signs are bright and legible, it's hard to see them because we're looking another direction. Then the collision can be that much worse.

Anyways, I found myself here, in my former home for one night so far, and I can't help but notice how different the world seems now. I see how right things are in the world, but I also see everything differently. Even New York feels different to me. I feel so unsettled because I know that I just have to be on this ride and I can no longer see the outcome or any warning signs that lie ahead. My world went from being an US to a me, and perhaps I still haven't figured out how to think of my life as me first. I used to think of my partner and my beloved dog's needs before my own and in many ways, that could be the main reason why they are no longer an active part of my life. But, I look around and the memories come back so rapidly it's dumbfounding. The video of my last day here replayed itself over and over in my dreams last night and the sad part is it hurts no less now than it did last year. Yet, now that I'm awake, the only day dreams I have are of the good moments I had in this home. The special occasions, the days filled with silliness and laughter and love. And the joy becomes pain and then joy again and then pain when I realize that my life is completely different.

And the worst part of all of this is that I thought I was ok. I thought I was over this. I thought that it would be a quick weekend and that everything would just go back to normal. Maybe deep down I thought this could be a good way to say goodbye to my old life and everything in it. Because unbeknownst to me, I've been holding onto this life that I used to have and have been wishing it would just magically come back to me. I hate admitting I'm wrong and I hate to know that I'm weak when it comes to a certain man in my life, but I am. I still am. I'm the one that still hurting and holding on to this pain that means nothing in the end.

Dating has become even worse for me. Because I was already someone who took his time vetting a potential partner before committing my heart to them. I need to know that someone is worthy of owning my heart before I give it to them. So when the "I like you's" or the "I miss you's" come too soon. I have a tendency to bail because I just don't move that fast. I never did and now it's even slower. I recall with my last partner, I waited for almost five months of dating before allowing ourselves to admit to being in a relationship. I just like to take my time to make sure I'm making the right decision. And for all of the appreciated, "he must be crazy for throwing you away's" that people throw my way, I still don't feel any more worthy of a new relationship than I did six months ago.

Someone asked me yesterday, "are you afraid of getting hurt again?" In some ways I am. In many ways, most people are afraid of getting hurt. In most ways when it comes to relationships, I'm afraid of hurting others. I know that I'm a lot to handle, and I won't apologize for it anymore. I can recognize in most people whether or not they can handle me, or even give me what I need in terms of said relationship, and based on that, I will either pursue it or not. Most people don't have the stamina or patience required when being with me. And maybe that's the problem. I'm not someone who needs to be handled. Maybe I just need to quiet the noise around me and focus on myself. And maybe that's why I believe I won't enter a relationship again. It's not about getting hurt, because we will always get hurt in relationships, even the good ones. Maybe it's about finding out more about me and being on my own and finding that happiness in myself before trying to let someone join me on the ride. And maybe I needed to have my emotions stirred up right now to push me forward into whatever comes next.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Riggle Me This, Why I left Grindr and Scruff behind.

Last year, for the first time in over six years, I found myself single. I was suddenly thrust into the age of virtual dating, apps for everything you can imagine, and almost no time or patience for any of it. Before I entered my relationship, I, like many of the gay men around me, used, manhunt, or various other internet sites in which to connect to one another. And now after my relationship, there are actually hundreds, if not thousands of apps in which people communicate, hoping to find "the one," or "the one for tonight."

I was never someone you would consider an "app guy." Hell, I didn't even want to jump on the smart phone wagon in the first place. Give me a good old flip phone any day of the week over this high tech crap and I'll be just fine. I mean, I do have a few games and the standard apps that come with my phone. However, as soon as an app becomes useless to me, I delete it, it's content and erase and existence of it in my life. I mean, after all, am I really going to play that game one more time once I've beaten it? Or do I really need to have a photo app I use once every two years? It's just insane.

In any event, I found myself single. I didn't really want to put myself out there, but I did, but then I didn't. And then I did again. It was a constant struggle about admitting and accepting the fact that my life was now on a different course than I had originally started. And I was teetering on the edge of a sea of apps that could either connect me to the outside world, or be a complete waste of my time. And since I couldn't make up my mind, big surprise, about if I wanted to be apart of the world or not, I joined up through the apps. The safest way to half-assedly commit to being social without actually being social.

I joined Tinder, a few of my heterosexual counterparts had had quite a bit of success on their investments of time and attention to this app. I joined grindr like any other self respecting gay man would. I also joined scruff for the same reason. I drew the line at anything I had to pay more than $5 a month for. Hell no! But, I quickly realized the reason for joining them was so I didn't have to actually commit to anything serious. I also didn't have to leave my apartment if I didn't want to. It was like shopping. I could casually browse and ignore the unsightly outfits I wouldn't be caught dead wearing while causally perusing the items I found interesting. You know, the shirts you carry around the store for 45 minutes while talking yourself out of buying because you don't really need it in the first place, but maybe you really do like it and in 45 minutes of walking around you'll end up knowing for certain that you're going to put it back on the rack.

It was fun. Oh how it was fun. Seeing the guys I could imagine a whole life together with. And yes, I was aware that I was getting ahead of myself. These were guys who were mostly just looking for a quick one night stand. And back in my early twenties, it would have been sufficient. I could have gotten by with that. But now the game had changed. Suddenly, I didn't want that anymore. I didn't want to go back to my relationship, I didn't want to replicate it somewhere else, but I wanted a connection to someone. I wanted to know that if I decided to go home with someone it wasn't going to just be this casual encounter that would be forgotten about moments after I left the next morning. I didn't want just someone I could pass on the street and remember and evening spent with them while the couldn't even remember my name. I wanted something more that I was sure I could find. I mean, I did meet my ex on manhunt after all.

But, alas, I did not find my prince charming on grindr or scruff. Even though, I've met a handful of couples who did meet that way. But, in my experience, meeting someone on an app is a poor way to get to know them. I realized early on in my use of the apps that asking people to meet me for a beverage before bedding ourselves seemed to be a foreign concept to most, while others viewed it as a "waste of time," "not what I'm looking for," or "my boyfriend only allows me to have sex with other guys, not date them." It just started to seem hopeless. Regardless of my lack of success, I kept at it and kept at it. I continued conversations with guys that I had no intention of sleeping with and what I found was pretty astonishing. If you actually stop talking about having sex with guys, you get to know them a little bit, and you know what? We're all basically the same. Behind all of the bravado-male-ego-bullshit-i just wanna get laid-stereotype of the gay community, most of the men I chatted with wanted to find someone to be with. And not just for the night. For a lifetime.

So I was left with this sense that most guys wanted to have a partner, but since they couldn't seem to find one, they were so willing to settle for someone to spend the night with and they were all ok with this. Everyone seems to have drank the Kool-Aid on this one. Being ok with just a fleeting evening with one person as opposed to holding out for the right one. Which someone just seems to perpetuate our stereotypes. I mean, doesn't it? I'm not judging anyone who wants a one night stand or anyone who wants an open relationship. I accept all of them. I've just stopped wanting those things for me. It's like this. If I believed in open relationships, then it's my responsibility to tell any perspective partners that from the get go. Or if in several years down the road I start finding myself wanting that with my partner, it's my job to be honest in how I feel and what I want before I go and start setting fires in my relationship. But, it's not what I want for me. Nor was a fleeting series of one night stands. So, I couldn't shake the sense that I wasn't being honest with myself. Or with other people for that matter. And thus created a whole sense of insecurity within myself because I wasn't being true to me.

So, why did I have to delete the apps and my identity inside of them. Two big reasons. One. Because they're addictive. They are such a time suck and it's become such the menu of whats around you and how many feet someone is away from you that it was becoming counterproductive for me. I would be at the gym checking the apps between sets, or leaving it on while I was at work to see who messaged me. Because as much as I hate to admit this, I started craving the attention from posting a new pic or from seeing how many people desired me. As much as I don't want to be with every single person in the world, I still found myself wanted every single person in the world to find me attractive. So much to the point that I stopped taking time to enjoy my life and would sit in my room, awake for hours a night when I should have been sleeping, just to check the apps and see who was interested in me. Therefore making me sleep later and/or just be tired the next day.

The second reason is a quote. "Be the change you want to see in the world." Cliche, I know. But powerful. I've come to the understanding of what I want in a partner. One of the ways successful people in the world attract the things they want is they start emulating the things they want in their daily lives. You want to be a writer, then write everyday. You want to present yourself as a CEO, then start dressing like one. You want to do more good deeds in the world, then why wait? It's simple stuff like that. And one big piece of relationship advice I once got and ignored, and will NEVER again ignore this one; don't behave in a way you would despise in your partner. So I started questioning myself. "Would I want my partner to be on these apps all the time?" And the answer is a resounding "NO!" I would hate it if that's what my partner was doing with his time. So, the question remained, "why was I still on them?"

There are literally a thousand other things I need and want to do with my life. Spending time on an app and ignoring my passions shouldn't be ok with me. It shouldn't be ok to anyone, really. I've also come to the understanding that how I present myself to the world is in my hands. I can either be this person I became that I don't like at all. Or I can just be me; and attractive and talented person, who is mostly nice, sometimes funny, a little bit weird, outgoing and driven.

So, it may have taken me a minute to find myself again this last year and a half, but the one thing I don't need is an app justifying certain aspects of myself that I already know. And, in the two short weeks of not having these apps around, I've begun to accomplish a lot for myself. If we are truly in charge of shaping our lives, then letting small things distract us can't be worth it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Riggle Me this, What is a Breaking Point.

Ok, so it has occurred to me that I haven't written on here in quite awhile. But something happened today that has forced me to reconsider writing here again. Today, my belief of myself and my talents was tested and I ran. I chose the path of fear and resistance and turned away from myself and let all of the doubt and cowardice win. I also rolled all of my fear, humiliation, frustration, and doubt into a weapon of spite and threw it in the face of a man that I know deep in my soul not only believes in me, but fights for me daily to be a better and more truthful human, man, and actor. That man caught my weapon gracefully, turned it into a bomb and threw it back to me where it obviously went off. I reverted back into this young horrible child I was in my teenage years. That infantile person I thought I once killed came back with a vengeance and was out for blood. He shocked not only me, but also the man who only encourages me to be better. This amazing man that I went up against is not only better than me, but wiser than me, and ultimately, one of few men who make me truly understand the value of being a man. He is simply known to those around me as my acting coach, but what he teaches me extends well beyond the realm of acting. He teaches me the sanctity of truth, the beauty in listening, and the joy in sharing ourselves with other people. He constantly reminds me of other peoples humility, honor, downfalls, and hardships. He encourages me to see the unparalleled beauty in human nature of all extremes. And most important, at least in my narcissistic mind, he reminds me that I am unique and that in and of itself is extraordinary. So today in my class, I have been stuck. I have been pushing on a breaking point and it is beyond frustrating. That's how this all began. By being disappointed in myself as an actor. I was struggling to do that thing we call acting. Which is essentially tapping into our emotions. (it's more complex than that, but I'm simplifying). I was stuck, at my wits end, and instead of allowing it all to come out, I held it in, I bottled it up so hard that there was no telling where the eruption would happen. It could have happened later in the day, to some unsuspecting person on the subway who just happened to cut me off as I was walking. Or to some poor cashier who asked me some asinine question regarding a loyalty card. Who knows? Well then it happened. It happened and was directed full on at my teacher who deserves more from me than a childish tantrum. He deserves first my respect because it is his studio, but secondly my trust in his teachings because that's what I'm there for. I'm there for his guidance, his expertise and if I'm not going to accept it, then what the hell am I doing there? Luckily for me, I am being taught by an ever forgiving and caring man who understands that this process is difficult and can be upsetting at times and there are fights in general between him and students. Usually with him asking, "You've been doing the same thing for twenty something years and are getting no results. How's that working out for you?" And I've seen him go to battle with several students, but for some reason this one seemed worse, and not because I was the on the receiving end of it. Because I knew that how I spoke to him was uncalled for, unjust and downright mean. It was uncalled for and I am forever disappointed in myself for not having been the man I know myself to be in that moment. If I could go back, I would take a breath and continue with true curiosity of wanting to get better at my craft and then continue on with class and I would learn. Even though I know that I learned a great deal from my moment of weakness. Trust is not an easy thing for me. For whatever reason, I was not born with this innate sense of trust for people I should have. It's ok. It's something that I've had to learn how to do. I have to choose trust on a regular basis. I have to choose to trust in myself, my family, and my friends. I live in constant fear that my trust will be broken as it has many times before. But this last year of my life, I've learned that there is trust in my life that no matter what, will never be broken. And so now I'm choosing to trust this man in my life. This beautiful soul that honors me everyday with the best that he can give me and my fellow actors. I choose to know and accept that he will guide me and teach me through my failures and that even if I fall, I won't die. that's a little dramatic for sure, but nothing will happen if I fail. I will only move forward from it. As he's told us a thousand times, I've been doing the same thing and getting nowhere, why not do something else. Take a risk. So my risk is trusting him. The worst thing that could happen is that I will end up right here where I started. The best thing that could happen is I could actually get somewhere with my life. And since i brought up trust, I have to mention that later in the day, I was on a break from work and I called my mom to just vent about my rough day. My father picked up her phone instead and encouraged me to talk to him instead. He listened to me ramble and just when I thought I was boring him he said to me, "Steve, I would like to meet this man. You've clearly met your match and I think that's awesome." He went on to ask me how I can make things better. I said, "I have to show up and do what I know how to do." He replied, "Well then suck it up and do it. You chose this and you know how to do it. It's tough, but this guy sounds like he knows how to push your buttons. You need more of that in your life." It really hit me that my dad got it. There was a point in my life that I was an absolute asshole to my parents. And today's "moment" as I will call it chalks right up there with my teenage behavior. To that my dad and I both think that I'm lucky my teacher didn't punch me square in the face. I deserved that. What I didn't deserve, but received was forgiveness from my teacher. And I know that is something that impressed my father. As my dad was saying his goodbyes to me, I could tell in his voice that I have his unwavering support, as I've always had, and I just felt so lucky that this is the man who raised me. Another thing today making me feel unworthy. But as he said, "Well, I'm glad we talked today, call me anytime," the tears began to well up in my eyes, and fell down my cheek when he followed up with, "I love you son." It killed me. To just not only hear the words through a phone, but feel them. I choked up and squeaked out an "I love you too," back to him. So Riggle me this, I'm a lucky son of a bitch today. And I need to turn this knowledge into action. And I could not be more grateful for two men in my life that I know will have my back and challenge me in many ways, Matthew Corozine and my father. I'm lucky that I have role models of what I want to emulate for not just my professional life, but my life as a man in this world.