Posts Tagged fear

We Kiss, We Make Up

When last I wrote about my budding relationship with Clark Kent and myself, we had gotten well past the honeymoon stage. We were trying to maintain a relationship across state lines, and it wasn’t easy. That being said, we were still seeing a lot of each other, and I started to wonder if maybe it was too much. I often wondered, maybe there is such a thing as too much of a good thing…

balance-rock-feather_zps9de02a2dWe needed to find balance, and that wasn’t going to be easy. We’d been dating four short months, but, in reality, it felt like we’d been dating for close to a year, even though we were still figuring things out.

That Thursday night, my old roommate was gathering with friends at the new waterfront biergarten in Hoboken for drinks to celebrate his birthday (which I was unaware of until deep into the night). I mentioned it to CK and asked him to join me when he finished work. He agreed, but he had to work later.

When I arrived, I didn’t know too many of my old roommate’s friends in attendance. I began texting and calling other friends to join us. P and S both responded, “On my way.”

As you can imagine, it takes a lot of time to write a blog, so I was utilizing my free time during the day at work to accomplish this. Apparently, my boss took notice to my poor use of free time since he wasn’t seeing any productivity coming from my time between projects. (Perhaps you can understand why I have been neglecting this blog for the past few months).

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This is relevant because I was also coming off a really rough day at work. I received my review that morning, and it was not positive. My only saving grace was a preemptive strike made a few weeks earlier.

I noticed an opportunity to take over our social media duties (which were being completely neglected) and asked my boss if I could take them on. During my review, when he pointed out my poor utilization of free time, I countered with the argument, “That’s why I approached you about taking on the social media duties.” I thought maybe I’d saved my a$$. He countered with, “I only wish you’d come to me about it three years earlier.” I was defeated.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, I learned later that day we’d be merging with another company. So, on top of a bad review, I was petrified of being labeled a redundancy. Two weeks earlier, my career looked to be shaping up. I was taking on a new role, and finding early success. My experience with this blog and other social media was really paying off. Now, it looked as if my whole world could be crumbling around me.

HobokenPier13A majority of it was out of my hands at that point. All I could do was put my nose to the grindstone for the coming weeks. But, on a Thursday night, I needed to forget. That meant I needed more than a few stiff drinks!

I drank beer after beer while mingling with old friends and some new ones. I was having quite a good time, but I was missing CK. I was texting with him back and forth discussing his arrival.

When he finally arrived, I was thrilled to see him. He could be comfort after a rough day, and I was finally properly lubricated enough to have a good time and forget about work, enjoying a night out with my man and friends.

CK grabbed a beer and immediately dove right into the conversation with all of us. I was chatting with S’s roommate, and the discussion quickly changed to his tattoos and body piercings. CK was a bit fascinated by tattoos at that time. He detailed for me the elaborate tattoos he was dreaming of getting.

TattoSleeveRolledUpS’s roommate was very much Mr. Machismo. I wasn’t sure how comfortable he was with the whole “gay thing.” There was just something about his attitude and the way he carried himself that I didn’t think he’d be too comfortable. I never formally came out to him, as I’d only met him a handful of times, but I assumed S clued him in. I was very pleasantly surprised just how cool he was with the whole “gay thing.” He turned out to be quite a laid back guy. It just goes to show you can’t judge a book by its cover.

The two quickly formed a bond. At some point in the conversation, the roommate started talking about his anxiety over having to fly the next. CK took it upon himself to aid in this situation.

AirplaneSeatImmediately, I was unhappy. My mood shifted abruptly. I shut down. I’ll never quite understand why I react in this way to these types of situations. I think it stems from striving to suppress my feelings at the moment so I don’t create a scene in public. The deeper question is why do I become so enraged in the first place?

This time, CK wasn’t exactly participating. He wasn’t doing anything wrong, however, aiding and abetting someone else’s wrongdoing was equally as bad in my mind. He was enabling behavior he knew I was opposed to. I wasn’t just feeling anger. I was scared. I was afraid I was going to lose him. We’d had this discussion time and time again. If we continued to have the conversation, eventually, he would be faced with an ultimate decision, and there was a chance I would be a casualty of that decision. All of my emotions tied back to this very thought. I was afraid in the end he wouldn’t choose me, and as a result, I would have to choose me. I’d have to say goodbye for my own sanity, facing my greatest fear in life, being alone, on top of losing a man I loved. Obviously, I never wanted it to come to that.

I managed to suppress this anger and feeling of betrayal. My mind was jumping back to all the other times we discussed this very topic. This was only exacerbated because I’d written the blog post about our night at Matinee that afternoon. One of those very conversations was fresh in my mind.

I managed to suppress all this until we walked in the door of my apartment, and then I unleashed. I told him how unacceptable his behavior was, and he was completely dumbfounded. He had no idea why I could be so enraged.

Angry BedOf course this only fed my fury. Had he forgotten all these other times we’d discussed this? Was I living a broken record? We argued extensively about this, and CK threatened to leave multiple times, making it to the door a handful of times.

We finally had a breakthrough at some point when he either feigned to understand my stance, or what I was so vehemently explaining finally sunk in.

We argued a lot about a lot of small things —Things I felt were very important. He felt I was trying to change him. I wasn’t. Honestly! I loved him. I just felt he needed to grow up in some aspects of his life. A person needs to adapt and evolve when entering a relationship, and I still wasn’t sure he was putting in the effort. I wasn’t trying to mold him into my ideal mate. I didn’t have a preconceived notion of who he should be. But, I felt there were some sacrifices he’d need to make to make me happy.

QuestioningManPerhaps I was the one who needed to change. In reality, we both needed to. Only time would tell if we could come to consensus on these types of issues.

Regardless, after fighting, we kissed and made up. Well, we more than made up. This was all followed by a lively romp in the sack. It was so incredible, we both finished at the same time for the first time. As we showered, we discussed our epic make-up sex. “And don’t think you can start picking fights with me just so we can have make-up sex buster,” I punctuated. We both had a good laugh.

No matter how much we fought, at the end of the day, I loved him. He made me happy. I loved that no matter how many times we fought, we always found a way to make up. I wanted to grow old with him, but the key word in that phrase for us would be grow…

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The Walls Closing In

One weekday, CK and I woke at my apartment, and I dragged him out of bed to toss around the medicine ball while we watched TV before work. I was motivated and a bit stressed, so I wanted to work out. We talked about working together to get our bodies back in shape before summer ended. It was miraculous I got him out of bed so quickly.

The planets aligned for us on the TV too. His favorite talking head, Rachel Maddow, was on my favorite talking head’s show, Real Time with Bill Maher. That was something we could both agree on.

When we were done working out, I made us some very healthy and delicious eggs for breakfast, if I do say so myself. Of course, because of our morning workout, we were a little delayed. We showered and got dressed quickly. On the way to the PATH, I wanted to grab a coffee, but CK was running later than he’d liked. He protested, and when I saw a long line, I passed. When we passed a second Dunkin Donuts, I told him I wanted to swing through. He’d apparently had enough and said goodbye on the spot. He wasn’t going to wait for me, and rightfully so. Better judgment kicked in, and I accompanied him to the PATH instead, where we rode together to his stop and gave each other a kiss goodbye.

Not only was I motivated to get my body in shape but also motivated to get my career in shape. Work was evolving drastically for me. I’d just taken on a new role I created for myself after chatting with my boss a few weeks prior. I pointed out our missed opportunity in the social media department and described how I could fill the void. After all, I had some experience in the social world (even though I couldn’t exactly show him my “portfolio”). I thought this could be the ticket to my future. Finally, I found something I could turn into a career instead of a job that generated me a paycheck. Something more than where work was just something I did between my time off. It wasn’t going to be easy, and there were bound to be a lot of speed bumps. However, it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle.

That morning, I was really thrown a curveball I wasn’t expecting. I was called in for my review, and it was less than stellar. I had anticipated this, and it’s the main reason I approached my boss with the social media proposition in the first place.

Just when I didn’t think it could get any worse, I learned my boss was altering his role at the company as well. He was taking a far less active role, and it didn’t bode well for me. My day was heading downhill fast. Little did I know, but it was about to turn kamikaze. Not only was my boss taking on a lesser role, but we were also merging with another company.

My heart was in my throat for the remainder of the day. My first reaction was fear. Would I be a redundancy? Would I be laid off? As much as this was just a job for me, I needed it very much. I couldn’t even bring myself to text CK or call my family. I was very afraid, ashamed, embarrassed, the list goes one…

After that day came to a close, I woke the next day with some clarity. My next reaction was motivation. The fear began to wane, and I realized I needed to put all my efforts into my new venture. It wasn’t easy to get there, however, it was much easier to get through with the support of my man. I’d told him everything that was going on. He talked me down off the ledge when I was worried I’d lose my job and made me feel much better about the situation.

The fear wasn’t completely gone, and I needed an outlet for my stress. The coworker who left to work at CK’s company asked us to meet her for happy hour at the Standard Biergarten. I had been texting CK that afternoon and asked him to join us. He was being cryptic about what he wanted to do, and told me he may have to work late. I could tell he wasn’t really feeling it, but I really wanted to introduce him to my coworkers. He missed her going away drinks a few weeks earlier, so when this opportunity finally rose again to meet my coworkers, I was pretty persistent. He wasn’t digging it. He had a long day, and he wanted to go home and relax. I was really disappointed, but I also understood. We made plans for him to come to my place for the night when I got home.

Shortly after hearing he was heading home, we decided to leave the biergarten. I tried calling and texting CK, but I got radio silence for two hours. I wasn’t quite sure what was going on, so I decided to lace up and head out for a run. I needed to clear my head and work on my body again. I still couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t responding to me at all.

After my run, I finally got a text telling me he was heading my way. I started to make dinner, and when he texted me asking for a ride, I decided to go radio silent. Sure, I know it was petty, but I was in the middle of making dinner. I also didn’t appreciate him not getting back me when we’d discussed I’d call him when I was heading home.

When he arrived all that no longer mattered. We were both in good spirits because we were there to hug and comfort each other. That’s what it really comes down to at the end of the day, literally. I loved him, and he made me happy.

We sat and ate dinner together, but when I put my hand on his thigh, I felt something sticky/slimy. I pointed it out to him, and he didn’t have an explanation for it. My overactive mind immediately went to work connecting dots. Was it lube? Was that where he was for the two hours I couldn’t get ahold of him? I could go on for hours.

In turn, I got quiet. I was deep in thought and wasn’t quite sure what to say. After we ate, we sat on the couch watching TV. After some time, I suggested we head to bed. I was exhausted, and my head was spinning, but he wasn’t tired. Of course, we both fell asleep on the couch, waking up around three o’clock in the morning, finally moving to my bed.

I tried to put all doubt out of my head. Worrying about it would do no good, and I realized I was making quite a bit of a leap. There was a bigger picture here. I loved him. I won’t say that I squashed all doubt in my mind, but I managed to push it deep down so it wouldn’t continue bubbling up…

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Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself

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.

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