Posts Tagged drugs
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.
Is Smiles the greatest guy out there? Is he the best guy out there for me? Who knows. I don’t know him well enough to make that assumption. However, my appetite was wet, and I wasn’t satiated. He is a really great guy, and possess a lot of the qualities I seek in a man. I was cautiously optimistic — Fingers crossed.
After our last date, I texted, “Had a great time last night btw :)” He responded, “Me too!” That being said, I asked him out once again. The following day, I said, “So… When do I get to see you again?” He proposed Tuesday night. I was a little surprised. I was waiting to hear Wednesday night, since he invited me to his birthday that night. I was thrilled he was interested in seeing me two days in-a-row. I was just hoping he would confirm for me once again he wanted me at his birthday celebration and wasn’t having second thoughts.
I had been apartment hunting, so when I found one, I sent him a picture. That was followed shortly after by a sexy picture of me I took last summer on vacation in California (you’ll recognize part of the picture in my Gravatar on the right). I thought I’d spice things up a little, especially since I promised him I would send the picture. He responded, “That’s way better than an apt pic!” I said, “I thought you’d appreciate…” However, he didn’t believe me when I told him I took the picture with the timer on the camera. He thought someone else took it until I went on to explain the entire situation. “You’re committed to this, huh? LOL. Good for you. Strong work,” he said.
When Tuesday arrived, I asked him if we were still on for that evening. He responded, “Yep. Barring a trip to the hospital for stitches after I punch my computer for not working and wasting my time today.” At the end of the day, he added, “I’ve calmed a bit, looking forward to seeing you. What time are you off? You don’t happen to have running shoes with you? I feel like I need a run, LOL.” After discussing my lack of running equipment, we decided on dinner at his favorite restaurant, Extra Virgin.
We grabbed a table outside the restaurant. It was that time of year right before it’s not too cold to sit outside, but it’s also not quite warm enough to be completely comfortable. We ordered our food and immediately dove into conversation. We talked about our days and what was new in our lives.
He told me he and a friend were going to a shaman to try Ayawaska (a Peruvian root similar to Peyote) for the first time. He explained the setting in a yoga studio and how it works. I was fascinated. I’m certainly not the type to be open to drug abuse, but recreationally or experimentally, I have an open mind, especially if it happens under close supervision. The point was to relax and open you mind. Many people use it to communicate with God/the spirits in a trippy way. There was slight reservation/worry in the back of my mind regarding the whole thing, but he is an adult. I knew he’d be safe.
We ate our meals (I don’t recommend the chicken pot pie at Extra Virgin, but everything else I’ve had is spectacular) and continued our conversation.
Smiles likes to order deserts when we go out. Going out to dinner is already putting a dent in my wallet that normally isn’t there. I cook in my apartment far more often than I dine out. Since I started seeing him, I was going out a lot more often for dinner. Not only that, it wasn’t exactly helping my waistline. It’s amazing how easy it is to put on pounds when you aren’t afraid of people seeing you in a bathing suit anymore.
Instead of getting desert, he suggested we go to this tea shop, McNulty’s and then grab desert elsewhere. He was looking for a specific tea, so I called the shop to make sure they were still open.
After the tea shop, we hit up a gelato place, L’Arte De Gelato. We took out gelato and walked down Christopher Street to the pier. We had a nice stroll along the pier holding hands. I pointed out a few things on the Jersey side, such as the pier I normally hit up in the summer looking back the other way. We chatted a bit at the end of the pier. I was hoping maybe for a little make out session or some hugging, but I didn’t get the feeling he was interested in that. I don’t think he noticed, but when I went to reach for his hand, that’s the exact moment he lifted it from the railing and turned around to head back to the Christopher Street PATH station. I wondered in the back of my head why he never invited me to come back to his apartment, especially since I knew we were in the neighborhood. But, I also know I needed to take it a little slower. I had a tendency to rush things, and I needed to break that habit.
When we reached the PATH station, we hugged, and I gave him a kiss goodnight. I was happy to get to see him again, and I was cautiously looking forward to his birthday the following night. It was an awkward challenge for me, but I knew I was up for it. Birthdays are always interesting situations, especially when you’re the new addition to the crowd, but something told me I’d be alright.Follow @onegayatatime