Posts Tagged brain
It had arrived. Although this would be my third year “participating,” I was legitimately scared. I wasn’t sure why it was so scary, but honestly, I was petrified for so many reasons.
My first interaction with Pride Weekend was a mistake. I was making my way to Governor’s Island for a polo match with my family when we found ourselves “stuck” in the parade route. The following year was the first year I was out when the weekend came around. It wasn’t pleasant as I witnessed my relationship crumble before my eyes like an out-of-body experience. I missed the parade that year, but I got a sampling of the other aspects of the festivities.
My fear was grounded mainly in the unknown. While I am a gay man, I do not participate in the typical gay culture. I’ve never been a big fan of gay clubs and what goes on there. I come from a background of a traditional relationship. In the gay world, that is like finding a diamond in the rough. The clubs seem to be the antithesis of this. They are a hot-bed of drugs, promiscuity and raunchy behavior. I know all gay men who go to bars don’t fit into this stereotype, but this stereotype is founded in truth. While I’ve been to a handful of gay clubs, and my comfort level was rising, I still had no idea what to expect. Never before had I been to a circuit party. I was venturing into the abyss, and this caused me incredible anxiety.
While I have learned to let go of the men in my past, I still carry the scars of my relationship with them. They’ve all hurt or used me in some way, shape or form. My biggest fear in life is being alone, and this fear is fed by thoughts of cheating, which is birthed from my baggage. The idea of CK with another man broke my heart. I had clear definitions of cheating, but there were worse things floating through my imagination — Like cheating in a form I feel is unfaithful, but the offender does not.
My relationship with CK was building a great foundation, however, the cement was still wet. We were only dating two months and ten days — Very young for any relationship. In the first month, I had strong suspicions I wasn’t the only man entering his bed. Things didn’t always line up and some of the clear indications were there, however, our relationship was still just forming. I knew there would be a transition period. While he told me he was only interested in me, and I was the only man entering his bed, I was aware how we met. I was also aware of his intentions before we even met through his first major slip-up on Grindr. I couldn’t expect monogamy from the first night — That wasn’t realistic.
While I was fairly understanding and looked the other way early on, I was not going to tolerate infidelity as our relationship progressed and strengthened. For starters, my heart wouldn’t be able to handle the pain, and lastly, it wasn’t safe for my health. I needed to trust him to be faithful. Outside the heartbreak, frankly, we were having unprotected sex. We’d been tested, but there are no guarantees. I trusted him with my life, literally, and if he was sleeping with other men, he was treating my life carelessly.
I sincerely had a feeling his intentions had evolved, but I couldn’t be sure how he would react when faced with temptation. I hoped I was the only man for him. As a result, I was petrified for the life of our relationship. I’d watched my relationship with N publicly combust the previous year, and I didn’t want a repeat.
I’m sure many of you reading think I am overreacting. It’s just a party… It’s just a parade… It’s just a weekend… Well, not to me. To me, it was a litmus test for the strength of my love for CK. I didn’t want that love to be tested, and I didn’t want to have to make a decision that could end my relationship with CK. He was my Superman. He was my world. If I lost him, my world would come crumbling down.
We had plans to go to a huge party at XL Friday night, Matinée circuit party Saturday, and the parade Sunday afternoon. I was venturing into this unknown abyss with faith and hope I could persevere. The thought of CK dropping X and losing control of his inhibitions with some other guy caused me great pain and panic attacks. The idea of another man’s hand groping his package caused me panic attacks. Picturing him dancing shirtless against another shirtless man caused me panic attacks. Every time these scenarios and many others entered my brain, my heart rate would increase drastically, I would start to sweat, and I would get light-headed.
All this added up to me being petrified and frustrated. When I asked CK what clothes I should pack to bring to his apartment for the weekend, and I didn’t get any cooperation or help. It all became overwhelming. To begin with, this wasn’t something I was looking forward to, and his lack of cooperation made me lose my sh*t. “Okay Babe. I’ll talk to you in the morning. Have fun tonight!” I said on the verge of tears as I hung up the phone on him.
I think that was the wake-up call CK needed. I don’t think he fully understood how much anxiety this all created for me. I voiced my frustrations for weeks leading up to Pride Weekend. I told him I was going out of my comfort zone, but I was willing to do it as long as I got some hand-holding. I needed help to get over this. It was just another fun weekend for him, but it was a big deal to me.
After a few minutes, he called me back. We discussed things a little more rationally, and CK’s tone changed. He finally realized I was struggling and tossed out the life-preserver. Now that I knew I had him in my corner, I was a little more relaxed, however, I still wasn’t completely comfortable. It was going to be a long, stressful and exhausting weekend both physically and emotionally. I bit down then and there, and braced for impact as I packed my bag and walked out the door.
Today is a Fast Forward Monday!!!
Hope you are enjoying these. It will help bring the blog a little closer to real-time. If you’re keeping up with the stories chronologically, please skip down to this morning’s post first, then read this one. I think it’s a good one! Enjoy!
Back to your special edition of One Gay At A Time…
After spending the day with The Navigator at the beach and then sharing a pretty spectacular relaxing evening together, I slept great. There was a sexy naked man in my bed, and I knew just what to do with it. We fell asleep spooning each other. When I woke in the morning, I couldn’t stop smiling when I realized it wasn’t a dream.
I rolled over and pulled him close to me. He was still slipping in and out of sleep. As he woke up, we picked up just where we left off the night before. Everything we did was fun. We were constantly ribbing each other and joking around. When we ended laying face to face, I said to him, “I just want to climb up to the roof and shout, I love my best friend, [The Navigator]. Boop!” as I reached my finger out and tapped him on the nose (an homage to Super Bad).
We both laughed for some time. We continued to cuddle all morning. I didn’t care if I stayed in bed all day. I was happy.
We were interrupted by a call from his roommate. I’d already learned he was a really good friend, and he liked to placate his friends. While he was on the phone, I took out my camera and snapped a few pictures of him lying naked in my bed. I don’t think he realized what I was doing because he had his back to me, but I wanted some souvenirs to take home with me.
Turns out, his roommate wanted to go to the grocery store that afternoon. They share groceries, so he regrettably turned to me and told me he had to go with him that afternoon before we went hiking. I was very disappointed, but I wasn’t going to make a stink about it. I quickly hopped in the shower and got ready for the day while he packed up his things and got dressed. As we walked out the door, I pointed out the Marilyn Monroe portrait saying, “My week with Marilyn.”
I drove him home and dropped him off. I was already sad to see him go even though I knew it was a matter of hours before I’d see him again. I grabbed some lunch and made my way back to the pool. I relaxed with some light reading. I needed to finish off the Tickle My Tush book so I could write my review.
When most of the afternoon passed by and some noisy kids arrived at the pool, I texted him to see how he was progressing. He was on his way home, so I decided to go get ready to go hiking and make my way over to his place.
I pick him up, and we take a short drive to the base of the mountain. I grab my camera and we make our way up the trail. When we get to a decent height, he suggests we climb back down part way and hit up another trail that had a much better view. We were having fun just being together. On our way back down, he pointed out a shack along the trail: “I wanted to surprise you, but this is going to be where we live when we get married. :)” While he said this, he took hold of my arm. I knew he was completely kidding, but it was also a sweet gesture.
When we got to the top of the other trail, we had quite a view. We could see LA and Burbank off in the distance. He took my camera from me and took some pictures of me. Again, I thought this was a sweet gesture, as were many things he did. He was just very conscientious. You didn’t have to ask him to do things; he just anticipated it. I was falling for him more and more every minute, but I still maintained my mental state.
I then turned the camera on him and snapped a few pictures. I wanted to remember the great guy I met in LA. I hoped we’d remain friends even after I returned to New York. It would certainly be nice to have a friend on the West Coast. Maybe I could even come back to visit some time.
We climbed back down the mountain and made our way to Burbank. We joked about PDA. We both agreed we weren’t really into it, but at one point he casually reached out his hand and grabbed my junk while looking the other way. I pointed out to him that just because he wasn’t looking at it doesn’t mean other people wouldn’t see it as well. We both laughed and continued to joke about other things. We walked around for a little bit and grabbed some ice cream. He was cold, and I was trying to do my best to keep him warm without making him feel uncomfortable. That’s when he broke the bad news to me.
He’d already prepared me for the possibility he’d have to go to work that night at 1:00am. He was on call, and they hadn’t gotten back to him yet. He needed to go home and nap before that shift started.
My heart sank a little. He wouldn’t be spending the night in my bed again. I needed to be a big boy about it though. I drove him back to his apartment and said goodbye. We talked about seeing each other the following day since it was my last day there; I had a flight out at 10:00pm.
I returned to my hotel room and watched TV in my bed. I knew he was napping, but it was make or break for me to ask him if he would come with me for my ride up the Pacific Coast Highway. After debating for some time, I decided to text him: “Lonely here without you already 😦 haha. What are the chances you’d wanna ride up the PCH with me after work tom?” I really didn’t want to take that ride alone. I loved his company, but I seriously feared a disappointing answer.
The Navigator wouldn’t let me down like that: “LOL. I know. I wish I were cuddling with you!!!!! That sounds like a swell idea.” I was thrilled. I was prepared for the worst, and I got the best. I was looking forward to tomorrow’s road trip so much more now that I had my Navigator! “Marylyn Misses you too,” I added.
Shortly after that text, he requested I send him some pictures of myself. “You’re most handsome ones,” he added. “Whom are you showing me to now?” I asked. Apparently, he wanted to show off his “super long first date” to his roommate and his other friend.
I was pretty crazy about him, but reality wasn’t absent from my brain. It did, however, bring a big smile to my face to know he was showing me off to his friends. It made me feel special and gave me hope I would have a longtime friend from what started as weak Grindr banter…Follow @onegayatatime
New Year’s Day, Smiles woke me in the morning. I was in a complete fog. I immediately began wracking my brain to remember how the night ended. I knew we had sex, and once again, I could only remember a tiny flash of the intimate moment we shared the night before but no more than a flash. I could remember being p*ssed at Smiles on the walk home for walking five paces in front of me. And, I could remember smoking on the balcony.
Smiles was up and about walking around the apartment. I searched the room for my briefs, but couldn’t locate them. He came in the room and retrieved them for me from deep within the sheets. I had a massive headache, so he gave me some pain killers and water. It was sweet of him to take care of me in my still inebriated/hungover state. I asked Smiles about leaving the party, and he recounted the details for me. It was clear he wasn’t thrilled about it, but he also wasn’t holding it against me. The he uttered, “And I haven’t even gotten to the fun part yet!” he added.
He was going to leave it at that. I told him he couldn’t do that to me. He had to tell me what else I did. He asked if I really wanted to know, and I insisted. This is the “fun” part:
Apparently, the advances made by the guy on the balcony didn’t end there. Clearly he was persistent, and clearly I was vulnerable and well intoxicated. Smiles recounted a scene for me that drained all the blood from my face. “[The guy who sang my praises to Smiles] came up to me and asked me if you were okay. When I told him you were fine, he replied, ‘Are you sure? Because he’s making out with someone else on the couch.” I nearly passed out. I couldn’t believe it. Was I really capable of that? Could I really do that to another person after witnessing N do that to me? Was I that heartless?
I racked my brain trying to remember any bit of a make-out session on the couch. A vague image came to mind of this man kissing all over my neck. I remember asking him to stop, but also couldn’t remember putting up a strong fight. I’m not sure if my mind was making this up or if it was reality. Either way, my actions were deplorable.
I froze. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what to say. I couldn’t believe he was still speaking to me. I couldn’t believe he still had sex with me that night after that. I was mortified. What was going on? My head was spinning!
“What did you do? Did you come over and stop it?” I asked. He shook his head no.
“[Smiles], I don’t know how to apologize for that. I can’t believe I did that! I can’t believe your still speaking to me right now. I can’t believe you didn’t leave me there. I don’t have words for how sorry I am. I don’t remember any of that. At all!” I plead.
“It’s okay. You were drunk. It was New Year’s Eve. Don’t worry about it,” he said.
Don’t worry about it!? I made out with another guy in front of you, and you tell me don’t worry about it?! Should I be happy you’re not that upset about it, or should I be even more hurt that you’re not phased by it. “I still don’t know what to say. I can’t believe I did that,” I added. He just looked back at me with a face that said, “Yeah. You did that.” I wanted to slither away into darkness and forget the world.
We continued to get ready for brunch and walked out the door. As we walked, all I could think about was how disrespectful I was to the man I’d grown so fondly of. Sure we had our moments where I questioned our relationship, but what I did was unforgivable. I would not have been able to forgive myself for what I did. When N did it to me, it signaled the end of our relationship.
I did this in front of his friends — Many of which I told I was dating Smiles. I made myself look like a complete whore, and I made Smiles look like a fool. The man who was singing my praises was the man who witnessed my greatest downfall. This was one of the worst things I’ve ever done in my life, and there was no making up for it and no undoing it.
I continued to tell Smiles how bad I felt about the whole thing. He was trying to make conversation and ignore the subject, but it was all my mind could fixate on. “It’s fine. Stop worrying about it,” he kept saying. We ate breakfast and talked about a few things I can’t recall because my mind was completely elsewhere. I was crushed. I almost had to leave the restaurant, Extra Virgin — His favorite restaurant, so I could go outside and cry.
It was a gorgeous day, and Smiles told me he wanted to go for a bike ride. He asked what I had planned for the day. I couldn’t think. I had no plans. I was hoping to spend the day with Smiles, but clearly that wasn’t an option. I decided I was going to try to meet Boston before he left the city, even if it was at the bus stop. I had to tell him what I did. I knew he wouldn’t look favorably on me, but I also knew he wouldn’t judge me. I left Smiles with a kiss as he walked south, and I turned and walked north. I decided to walk off my disgrace.
As I pounded the pavement from 11th street to 43rd, I tried reaching Boston. He wasn’t answering the nearly twenty-five calls I made to him. I needed him. I needed someone to talk to. I decided to hit up my roommate and see what she was doing. Maybe we could curl up on the couch and watch a movie to help make the day pass by. I talked to her for a bit, but she had plans. I couldn’t bring myself to tell here what I did. I was too ashamed. I would tell her later.
I decided to call Smiles during my walk. I wanted to make sure he knew how broken up I was about it if we were to survive this. I reiterated how bad I felt and how wrong I was as I tried to choke back tears and a vocal quiver. “Listen. It’s okay. It’s in the past. It was New Year’s Eve. You were drunk. That was 2011. This is 2012. Don’t worry about it. It’s alright,” he assured me. I think he realized how upset this made me, and that was all I could do. My fate was in his hands…Follow @onegayatatime