Posts Tagged balance

Things Heat Up

In the summer, my company offers half day Fridays. It’s an amazing perk, and I take full advantage.

GroceryShoppingI live for my weekends, so if there was anything I could do to make them better, I did. I utilized my free Friday afternoons to run my errands so Saturday and Sunday would be all mine. I tried to clean and do laundry, run to the grocery store, etc.

This Friday, I was very successful getting through my list. I stopped by my allergist for my weekly shot. Since I left work at 1:00, I decided to eat lunch at McDonalds (never a good decision). While sitting there, I noticed two men walking holding hands across the street. I was a bit surprised. I immediately thought, “We do that in Hoboken?!” In the six years I’d lived in Hoboken, only once before had I seen two men holding hands. I was thrilled to see the courage and the progress.

When I finished eating, I swung by the salon for a haircut and hit up the gym to lift and swim. After my swim, I called CK from the roof deck of the gym. Although we made tentative plans for Saturday night, we hadn’t discussed plans for that night. It was our anniversary. He automatically assumed I was spending the night in the city since he came to Hoboken the previous night. I was not under the same impression, so I explained I did not want to spend both Friday and Saturday night away from place. I told him to pick one. This of course turned into an argument. He complained about the trek to Hoboken, and I resented this. I’d made the trip back into the city to be with him many times after a long day at work, and I did it without complaint. He always made it seem like torture when he had to traverse the Hudson River. The argument grew more and more heated until he threatened not to come at all. I wasn’t having any more of this, so I hung up on him.

Rooftop Phone CallI was tired of this game we were playing. I didn’t want to argue anymore. In addition, my testosterone was already flowing after a solid workout, and my blood was beginning to boil with every complaint.

After I got home and a few minutes passed, he called back (He always was good at playing the role of peacemaker). He told me he’d come to Hoboken, but it wouldn’t be until later. We discussed the argument calmly, and both apologized for getting out of hand. He explained he had assumption I was coming there all day. The idea of him trekking out to Hoboken on a bus wasn’t all that thrilling to him after having those expectations all day. I explained how one of us would always have to make the trek to the other. There was nothing we could do about that, at least for now, so the more fair and balanced we could make it (and the less complaining), the less burdensome it would feel. He agreed.

Since I had a fair amount of time before his arrival, I continued with my to-do list and swung by Shop Rite and Target. When I finished and returned home, I was still a bit depressed from the bad news I’d received at work that week, so I plopped down on the couch and watched TV until CK arrived.

WatchingTVHours passed, and I heard nothing from him. I felt he was dragging his feet and as every minute passed, I grew more and more annoyed. He told me he had to shower before coming over. He obviously wasn’t still showering. I was sure he was just lounging about, which is fine. But I wanted him to be lounging about with me.

This wasn’t just any night after all. We were supposed to be “celebrating” our three-month anniversary. I finally got so annoyed I sent him a text: “Maybe tonight would be better spent apart. I’m in a really cranky mood now.” It was already past 10:00. At this point he was coming over to sleep and not much else. He called and told me he was already in a cab on the way to the PATH. I encouraged him not to doddle before saying goodbye. I needed to cool off before he arrived, or it was a guaranteed fight the moment he arrived. It seemed all the smallest things so easily got under my skin. I was all wound up. Work was stressing me out. Life was stressing me out…

Finally, at 11:00, he arrived, flowers in hand to make up for the botched night. Honestly, I would have preferred he came three hours prior, but the gesture was utterly sweet. And, I forgave/thanked him immediately. I tried to be cool with everything and have a nice time with him since it was a special night. There was no use being miserable.

It wasn’t really his fault either. Work made me a miserable son-of-a-b*tch. He asked me how my day was. I further explained my new predicament and fretted over the possibility of being unemployed in the near future. I was very pessimistic about the whole situation.

DepressedI certainly will hand it to him. He remained positive and tried to assure me everything would be fine. This is why I loved him so much. NO matter how much of a Debbie Downer I can be, he always picks me up and dusts me off. In spite of my pessimism, he was always optimistic.

We also learned to collaborate professionally. We were helping each other bolster up our positions in the social media realm of our jobs. He taught me things I didn’t know about, and through my recent vigorous research, I taught him a thing or two as well.

When I’d had enough talk of my job situation, we agreed to order Chinese food for dinner. I was too tired to cook. While we waited for the food to arrive, we smoked to relax.

He told me about his day at work and the stellar presentation he delivered to the powers that be. He was proposing a new initiative that was well received by the decision-makers. I was happy for him, but also jealous. Sure, I realize how horrible that is to say, but I’m nothing if I’m not honest.

The rest of the night was much better than the evening had begun. Eventually, I forgot all about our fight and my emotions were back in check. We ate our food while watching TV in each other’s arms on the couch.

GeneralTsosI finished eating, but CK was still chowing down as he poured some of the General Tso’s sauce onto on his plate. After a few minutes, he started fretting. Apparently, he’d eaten something quite hot. After investigating, I realized he ate a whole chili pepper. Tears were streaming down his face as he rinsed his mouth over and over again in the sink. Next he tried a glass of milk and a few pieces of bread. That didn’t seem to be helping. He even took to wiping his tongue with a napkin. Nothing helped. It was all I could do to maintain my composure, but after a while I couldn’t hold back. His face wasn’t the only one wet from tears. I was hysterically laughing so hard I was crying.

After a good laugh, interspersed with failing advice, I consulted Google for a better solution. We’d tried everything in the book. When I told him someone suggested eating another one, he looked like he was going to throw me out the third-story window. I was still getting a chuckle out of all this but certainly at his expense. It was torture for him, but he had no idea the gift he was giving me. He delivered exactly what I needed that night — A good laugh.

Eventually the pain subsided, and he forgot all about the incident. As our eyelids grew heavier and heavier, we moved to my bedroom for the night. As tired as we were, our appetites weren’t quite satiated.

We were pinning each other down for the count before we counting sheep. As hot as things were for him during dinner, things in the bedroom were even hotter. We tired ourselves out between the sheets before he finally drifted off to slumber wrapped in my arms. That night taught me something very important. No matter how much we fought, this was the man I loved, and there was no changing that.

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One Relationship, Two Locations

Since Monday night was spent at CK’s, as per usual, we decided to spend our Tuesday night in Hoboken. Tuesday night in the summer is a big night in Hoboken.

CK and I had begun hitting up free yoga on the pier every Tuesday after work. It was a great way to hit the reset button and recharge for a new week. I found myself looking forward to the group outdoor session more and more. We’d even begun to make a few friends in the class.

I got out of work on time and made my way home to grab our yoga mats. CK had to work a little later, so he was going to meet me on the pier. I invited many of my other friends who had hit up yoga once or twice, but no one took the bait. I arrived just barely on time and reserved a spot for the two of us. CK finally arrived a few minutes into class as we continued our poses and relaxing breathing.

Earlier that morning, we planned to attempt to go to the movies that evening as part of Optimum’s Triple Play free movie night in Hoboken. I myself don’t have the service, so I have to borrow a friend’s card and hope he has no intention of going. When I learned we wouldn’t be able to get ahold of his pass, we decided to forgo the movies. Instead, we swung by the grocery store on our way home to share a home-cooked dinner for two.

We enjoyed our food on the couch in front of the TV, relaxing for the rest of the evening. It was nice to cuddle up next to him and watch TV. It was beginning to feel like a routine. Even though we still lived in separate apartments, it felt like we were living together. We spent nearly every night in each other’s company. The only difference was we had two residences.

We’d talked about moving in together. Neither of us was thrilled with our current roommate situations. Mine were simply disrespectful and unappreciative, and his… Well, we could be here all day. Every day was a new shady dealing. He needed to get out, and his lease was scheduled to be renewed in November. We didn’t make a concrete decision we would live together at that time, but we both began entertaining the idea.

I know many of you are shocked by the timeline there. Come November, we’ll have been dating for eight months. I know that sounds like a very short time to be together before moving in together, but like I said, it was almost as if we already lived together. Not much would be different. We both agreed this would be a goal for now, not a definitive date.

When bedtime arrived, we made our way to the bedroom to get ready for bed. Things took a bit of a detour when CK began seducing while I brushed my teeth. From there, things only got better. The sex was great. We were back on our game. And, true to our fashion, we flipped. That seemed to be how things went for us. Neither was a top, and neither was a bottom. We both experienced all the parts of sex. Our sex-life was very healthy and diverse. I’d finally found my match both inside and outside the bedroom. He managed to satisfy my physical and emotional needs. I was truly happy.

I thought about all the others before him. They seemed a distant memory. None of them came close to my relationship with my Superman. Many of them treated me poorly and didn’t deserve my love. Some of them attempted to love me, but the connection wasn’t there. I didn’t regret a single one of them, for they all brought me to where I am today. Sure, I was still carrying around some of the scars, but I was a stronger man for them. Those were my battle wounds. Those were my war stories. I didn’t miss any of them, but cherished their presence in my life — Even the a$$holes. I was truly in love, and I didn’t want it to end. The road I’d taken had led me to CK, so looking back, I wouldn’t have changed a single direction.

The next night was spent apart. I was supposed to be getting my review at work, but my boss rescheduled it twice that day, and then he had to schedule it for the following day. I was frustrated and needed to take those frustrations out somewhere.

I hit up the gym to lift and swim to calm my nerves. While there, he calls finally, telling me he’s working late and probably can’t come see me. Once again, I felt disappointed. He asked if I would mind coming into the city, but I wasn’t up for that. After not hearing from him all day, I made alternate plans. I was meeting up with my old roommate for a drink. I suggested maybe we needed to spend the night apart. He agreed.

More and more, I was realizing maybe we had been spending too much time together. Small things were getting on each other’s nerves. I wondered if I was losing my individuality. Now that I was back in the gym again, I was feeling better about myself. I relished my workout time. This was something I put on the back burner after meeting CK. We both needed some “me time” every once in a while.

As time progressed, we would find that balance. We’d only been dating four months. We were still figuring everything out. But, I knew, in the end, we’d figure it out together.

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One Giant Misstep for Mankind

Tuesday arrived, and that meant back to work after the holiday weekend. It’s always harder to get back into the groove when you’ve been away from the office for some time. Everything takes just a little bit more effort.

That morning, CK and I woke, and although we didn’t have sex, we certainly fooled around a bit. After showering together to conserve water 😉 we got out the door at a decent hour for once. This is quite an occasion for us. It’s normally tough balancing our responsibilities and our libidos, but at times, we manage to master the scale.

We both needed a bit of help getting through the day, so a Starbucks pit stop on the way to the office was essential. We hopped in the long line waiting to order a caffeinated beverages. I would have taken mine intravenously through a central line at the door if given the option. Alas, we filled the time with chatter amongst the two of us. That is, until one of my coworkers walked by.

This wasn’t just any coworker. This was a coworker I’d been on many pitches with. She is one of the biggest names in my agency, running a global piece of business across multiple agencies. Over time, she’d grown to be a fan of mine, but not without hiccups first. Days earlier, her husband entered the hospital with heart issues. This was the first time seeing her since we heard of the incident, so I wanted to giver her space. Anyway, enough back story.

She passed me with two coffees in hand, and we said hi to each other. She sat right next to where CK and I were standing in line. When her son came and joined her at the counter, she took a second to introduce me to him. We shook hands, and they went back to enjoying their morning. In the five seconds for all this to transpire, I panicked.

I am not “out” at work. A few coworkers know I’m gay, and I assume most/the rest suspect. But, in that moment, I didn’t know how to handle the introduction of CK. He was standing right next to me, and in my panic, I acted like he didn’t exist. I failed to mention him at all.

I didn’t want to say, “Oh hi! And this is my friend, [CK].” If he’d done that to me, I would have been quite offended. We were much more than friends. This was the man I was in love with, not simply a friend.

On the other hand, I didn’t want to say boyfriend. I didn’t think that was the moment I came out to her. When the time came for me to be courageous and stand up as who I am, I was a coward.

I try to be strong and proud of who I am, but sometimes I really disappoint myself. I have tried to keep some separation between my personal and work life, but standing there with CK next to me, I should have stood proud. It didn’t matter what I said. She knew who he was in the end anyway.

CK was very upset. We’d had a discussion about my poor introduction skills over the weekend, and then I pulled that stunt. I knew instantly he was upset, and I knew I failed. I started to talk to him about it, but I could tell he was fuming. We talked about it for the rest of the time we were in Starbucks, with the exception of the moments we stood in silence because of the tension. As we walked to the subway/my office, the conversation continued as I explained what happened and how I panicked. I also explained that I wasn’t making excuses for myself, and this was something I needed to get over. I am going to be gay for the rest of my life.

In the end, he understood and accepted my apology. I asked for his patience. I have only been out for two years. He, on the other hand, has many more years on me being openly gay. I even went as far as to publicly chastise myself in Twitter that day to show him how sorry I was. Earlier in the weekend, we discussed opening our relationship up publicly to Twitter. I’d admired how @AustinWilde and @AnthyRomero send each other messages and love across Twitter. I wanted to share that with CK. We started sending each other messages publicly expressing our love for each other. When he sent out the message, “@Onegayatatime baby, i love you,” I melted a bit. As a joke, I responded, “Who is this?” He didn’t appreciate the humor, and immediately deleted the tweet. From the other room, I discovered this and asked him about it. He was angry, and I began to cry. That message meant the world to me. It was the first time he expressed his love for me in a public forum, and it was gone. Or at least I thought so. I did, however, manage to save it by screen-grabbing my phone before it was gone forever. We both took a step back and realized what happened and how much we loved each other and moved on.

That day, CK met my old coworker who left to go work at his agency. After meeting him, she reached out to me to tell me how cute he is. I was thrilled. She’d heard me talk about him quite a bit when I first met him, and now she finally got to meet him. After messing up the morning, failing to share my joy and the love of my life with a current coworker, at least I could share it with a previous one.

That night, we discussed going to an event together, but in the end we didn’t go — I think possibly out of anger for the morning. We spent the night apart. I filled my free time with a late night run. As I ran along the waterfront in Hoboken, I wondered what he was up to in the city. Any time we were separated, I wondered what he was doing with a twinge of suspicion. It was hard not to. Guys in my past treated me poorly, so my self-esteem was very low. The thought of me not being enough for him was not so far-fetched, however, I just left these at suspicions. I never acted on them or accused him of anything. They were simply figments of my imagination…

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Cloudy with a Chance of Depression

After the day on the lake with D, K, and D’s girlfriend, we all decided to go out for Mexican. It seemed this had become my new favorite cuisine considering I had it twice in the days prior on my date with Pillow and the Fire Island bartender. At dinner, I was scolded for being on Grindr. I really tried to limit my time spent on it when I was with friends, but it was a catch 22. If I spent time with them, I was not in a location where I could meet guys. We always went to straight bars. And, I was fine with this. In fact, I preferred it, but my friends would have to be tolerant of my Grindring.

I told D, “Just pretend I walked away from the group to talk to a guy when I’m on Grindr,” because that’s essentially what I’m doing. He suggested I physically walk away, but that was not something I was going to agree to. I asked him to be more understanding. I wish there is an easier way for me to meet men and still spend time with my heterosexual friends, but I have yet to find it.

After dinner and a quick pit-stop at a friend’s apartment to show face at his party, we made our way to the new Hoboken Biergarten. I wasn’t exactly in the most cheerful spirit. That morning, I never got a response from Pillow regarding his attendance to the lake. He didn’t take the time to text or call. I was starting to wonder if he just wasn’t into me. We had a great date the day before, and his texts following acknowledged that. But, I just had a feeling he wasn’t putting as much effort to get to know me as I was putting in to get to know him.

That night at the Biergarten, I noticed he was on Grindr. I’m not exactly sure why I sent him a message, considering he didn’t respond to my text messages, but I did. “Hey stud,” I sent. He responded, “Hi.” After not getting back to me at all, that’s all he had to say? So I said, “Did you go to Musikfest today?” His only response: “Yeah.” Well, that was over. So much for small talk. I said, “Well, have fun.”

After that, I figured I wouldn’t see him again. He obviously wasn’t interested, and it really started to get to me. I had been going on dates for a month and a half since breaking up with N. And, I went on A LOT of dates, almost all of which were failures. I thought this guy had a lot of potential, and I thought we were starting to click. I thought this was finally a success. He was part of an elite group — One of five guys with whom I’d gone on a second date with. Ever. I was feeling really low, and it showed.

A majority of the night, D looked my way and asked me why I was so gloomy. I told him I just wasn’t in a cheerful mood. He said, “I love this group, and I’m having a good time. Snap out of it. We’re having fun!”

I didn’t want to be a “Debbie Downer,” so I figured I’d step away from the table for a bit to try to clear my head. I had a hankering for a cigarette, so I went in search of someone from which I could bum one. I found a Good Samaritan who was willing to part with a cigarette. I relished every puff as a few raindrops fell on my skin. It was working it’s magic and relaxing me. I took the time to people watch. Everywhere I looked, I saw couples. Everything the cigarette gave me was just ripped from me, and I was back to feeling depressed. Dating was really starting to get to me. I’m a catch! Why couldn’t I find a good guy to realize that?

I went back to the table and tried to put on a happy face. I was successful for some time, but I was fading fast. I snuck away again to hunt for another cigarette. After I finished it, I walked home with two of my friends. I explained my issues to them both. They tried to console me, but I don’t think anything short of Bradley Cooper or Matthew McConaughey asking for marriage would have cheered me up.

When I got home, I poked around on Grindr. I found a guy who was two blocks away and looking for a good time. There was one issue — We are both tops. I told him we could just fool around and invited him over. He was an older man in his mid-thirties, but very attractive and had a great body!

We both undressed and had a good time. When we both had our fill, he began to get dressed. He expressed how much he enjoyed himself. He casually mentioned the possibility of a repeat, but we never exchanged numbers, so it would be completely left up to chance. Yet another casual encounter to add to my list.

This was the challenge I faced. I constantly wanted the instant gratification I knew I could conger up on-demand, but I also needed to stop destroying my emotional state following each of those casual encounters with men. It was a delicate balance, but I needed to figure it out so I would stop feeling so awful about my dating life…

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