Posts Tagged scared
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.
The next morning, I woke up early to work out with CK in his rooftop gym. It was our first time up there, and we were finally going to workout together, or at least we both thought so. It turned out, we had different ideas of working out. While CK was on his cleanse, I too was trying to lose weight. That was only going to happen for me if I did cardio workouts. Lifting wasn’t going to help me shed any pounds, and that was the priority over bulking up. He wasn’t willing to join me for cardio, and I wasn’t willing to lift, so we worked out at the same time on opposite ends of the gym. When he finished, I was nearly done my three-mile run, sweating profusely from head to toe. I wanted to take off my shirt and use it as a sweat rag, but I wasn’t sure if that was P.C. in his gym, and there were others working out as well. When I finished, we rode the elevator back down to his place so we could shower and get ready for work.
As per usual, we showered together. This had become a regular thing for us. We rarely showered alone anymore. We weren’t always making out or having sex in there: It just seemed a better use of both our time to shower together. We were beginning to work out a system between us. Our routine was falling into place.
The one thing I slightly resented when sleeping over at his apartment was the lack of breakfast. It was getting expensive for me to continuously purchase breakfast every time I slept there. I made sure to provide him with the necessary items for breakfast, but we hadn’t seemed to get to that stage at CK’s apartment. I wasn’t going to make a stink about that. One thing at a time. I was happy he finally had all his boxes unpacked and a bed to be honest. Breakfast could be dealt with down the road.
We got ready and were out the door. We’d also managed to figure out we could commute together to work. Originally, he was walking to a different subway than I was, but after further investigation, I learned we could both catch the necessary subways from the same station, and it would be the same distance for CK. Every morning we walked together and said goodbye with a kiss on the platform. It was a simple routine, but I was already thoroughly enjoying our morning walk to work together.
That night, CK had to work late. I went home and went to free outdoor yoga on the pier in Hoboken with my roommate instead of CK. We were spending the night apart. He had to be at work early the following morning for a pitch. When I got home from yoga, I made dinner, watched TV and fell asleep in my bed alone after chatting with CK about his day.
I woke up early the next morning feeling lost. The man I loved wasn’t there. It was shocking how much of a difference it made having him in my bed. I didn’t sleep nearly as well as I did when he was present. It was like I was an infant all over again missing my mother’s heartbeat. I needed to feel him close to me to get a good night’s sleep. I forced myself to get out of bed and motivated myself for a nice morning run along the Hudson. I stopped to take pictures for Instagram of the city where I knew my boyfriend was still soundly sleeping.
I ran back home, finished getting ready and stopped by the allergist for my shot before heading to work. I was really committing to getting in shape and losing weight, so that afternoon, I took lunch at the gym. I wanted a six-pack again, and I wanted shoulders, arms and pecs I could be proud of again. When I finished, I was in a spectacular mood. I shot CK a text to remind him how much I love him. I was also horny from the endorphins running through my veins. I started to sext him, telling him all the things I wished I could do to him in the gym shower.
Warning: The following may be too graphic for some. That’s always been a fantasy of mine, however, I never had any desire to do it with complete strangers. In an ideal world, CK and I would go to the same gym. We’d walk in together, but not acknowledge each other while we were in the gym working out. When he was finished, he would head into to the lockers to shower. He’d strip down in front of me, not acknowledging my existence before strutting to the shower of his choice. I would follow just behind and slip into his shower stall and close the curtain behind me. We’d have sex under the hot water without causing too much commotion to attract attention from others. After finishing inside him, I would rinse off and leave the shower like nothing happened. He would finished washing up and recovering from our tryst while I got dressed and headed home like nothing happened to start making dinner. He would follow a few minutes behind, and the first time we would acknowledge each other would be at the door where I’d welcome him home from a hard day’s work at the office with a big kiss. We’d eat our dinner with big smiles knowing we have an epic sex-life. Some day…
So in shorter terms, I described this situation to him over text. When I first began, he thought I meant to text someone else. He must have thought I was cheating on him with someone at the gym. I assured him the texts were for him and reminded him how the conversation begane explaining that this was my fantasy. I also pointed out the irony of the situation and detailed how he was the one who sexted the wrong person, not me (just like the first day we started chatting and he wanted me to come over for sex).
That night, I had plans to see Porgy and Bess with my coworker, so I didn’t see him again. I think he felt a bit left out, but I’d been coworkers with this girl for over five years, and the two of us had never hung out outside work together. I also had to head to our Chelsea office to work early in the morning. I took the opportunity of being off the radar a bit to hit the gym again that afternoon, this time for a run on the treadmill. I began thinking about CK and I in the gym once again, but it would remain a fantasy.
When I finished work, I went to my volleyball game, came home to shower and made my way into the city to spend the night in CK’s bed. We’d spent a decent amount of time apart considering we’d been spending every waking minute together outside our workdays. I was thrilled to see him and even more ecstatic I was sleeping with him that night. After a late-night romp, we dozed off in each other’s arms. When we woke in the morning, we hit the gym once again. Alas, we worked out on opposites sides of the gym once again.
When we finished, we continued our routine of getting ready for work and were out the door. That night, after work, I ran home and grabbed my things for the weekend. We had a big weekend coming up, and I had to pack for many different options. It was EXTREMELY frustrating because I wasn’t sure what we’d be doing, I wasn’t going to be home again until Sunday at the earliest, and it was Pride Weekend. I asked CK for help on what to pack, and he was of no use. The fight was quickly escalating over the phone, and my frustration level was at its peak. I wasn’t used to going to gay events and circuit parties, and I was feeling a lot of pressure. This was a burden I’d been carrying around for weeks, and the moment of truth was arriving. This was going to be my first full Pride Weekend, and I had no idea what I was about to get myself into. I was scared sh*tless!…
A recent article in the local morning paper has me a little worried and a little scared. Suddenly I’m reevaluating some life choices… See for yourself…
I need to be more careful. You never know who you are inviting into your home. Ugh, I can be stupid sometimes. I promise to be back on schedule come Monday (with some extra posts).Follow @onegayatatime
Today is another Fast Forward Friday!!!
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…
On Friday, my last night in San Francisco, I made plans with Swinging D*ck to come to my hotel. We talked about grabbing dinner before staying in for the night. However, he casually invited me to come out with him and his friends when he realized he had to go out for a friend’s birthday. I was apprehensive since it was a torrential downpour outside. It hadn’t rained for three months prior, but now it was raining for three straight days. This trip was turning out to be an epic fail.
I graciously accepted his invitation and waited for his call to tell me where to meet them. Hours passed, and I didn’t hear from him. I was all dressed up with nowhere to go. I decided to run out to grab dinner at In-and-Out when dinnertime passed by. That’s when I finally got a text. He told me they were going to Lookout in a bit. He would text me when they were leaving, and I could meet them there.
I ate my burger in my hotel room and made my way outside to hail a cab. Luckily I wasn’t out in the rain too long.
When I arrived, I made my way to the second story bar and began looking for him. After two minutes, and noticing a lot of men scoping me out, I found him in the crowd on the other side of the bar. I walked over and said hi with a big hug. He introduced me to his friends. They were all very nice. I wasn’t sure exactly how much they knew about me.
I ordered a beer before I was told we would be moving on for the night. It was back out into the rain. Apparently, we were headed to a house party for the remainder of the night but not before popping into a liquor store for some beer. We hopped in a cab and made our way to the party.
It was slightly awkward because I was now a friend of a friend of the host. I was hoping everyone would be okay with my attendance. Luckily, only the entrance was slightly awkward. After that, I was in my element. I talked with my friend, his friend, and many other men at the party. It was the biggest sausage fest I’d ever been too. I think there may have been two women there versus the fifty gay men.
I met some interesting people and one very sexy man who looked a lot like Steve Pasquale (Sean Garrity) from Rescue Me. Swinging D*ck is a smoker, and when I drink I’ve been known to smoke the occasional cigarette, so those were nice breaks where we somewhat stepped away from the group and could talk more. He really was a sweet, intelligent guy. I learned a lot about him talking to him on Skype, and I only wanted to get to know more.
The night was beginning to draw to a close. For one, I had a flight to catch in the morning. Secondly, the birthday boy/host was ready to hit up the bars. Everyone was getting kicked out. S.D. told me he had to tell me something when we got outside. We walked away from the party to find a bodega to get him cigarettes. As we did, he took the opportunity to confide a big secret he’d been walking around with.
He pointed out to me how standoffish he was the previous night, how he had to leave early and how he changed plans from coming to my hotel that night. Then he told me all this wasn’t because he wasn’t attracted to me — Quite the opposite. The reason was because he was HIV positive.
My heart immediately sank, and not in a selfish way. The compassion I felt for him in that moment was so great, I can’t even begin to explain.
Apparently I know very little about HIV. He told me he’d been “positive undetectable” for a year and a half now. I never heard that term before, but deduced its meaning from its name. I also did the math in my head and realized he contacted it just after he started talking to me on Skype. I put two and two together and realized that’s why he was so depressed when I was talking to him. My heart was breaking for him.
He explained that he is on medication, and the doctor told him he would lead a very normal and full life for the remainder of his time on this planet. I was learning a lot about the treatment for HIV. I realized I needed some education, and I was happy I had someone so amazing to teach me.
A large part of me wanted to cry and give him a big hug because I couldn’t imagine what he was going through all this time since being diagnosed. The larger part of me was upset because he felt he couldn’t just tell me outright from the start.
He didn’t know how to tell me, nor did he want to. He thought I would treat him differently or stop being his friend. I told him he needed to give me more credit than that. He was an amazing guy, and nothing changed between us.
He started to explain his strange behaviors I wasn’t even noticing. When I asked him back to my room, he was very leery because of what might happen, but he still wanted to be with me. So, he agreed. When we were fooling around, he said he was purposely taking more time to please me so I wouldn’t even have a chance to please him. When I went for it, that’s when he really said he had to get going. It wasn’t because he wasn’t attracted to me. It wasn’t because he didn’t like me. “I think you’re amazing,” he added. It was because he was scared. I understood completely.
When I asked him to come to my room a second night, he talked to his friend about it. “I don’t know if I can tell him,” he told his friend. His friend told him to do whatever he felt comfortable with. He actually invited me to come out with them that night in an attempt to set me up with his friend. Looking back, I did feel as if I was being sized up as the night progressed. However, I was not feeling him in the slightest.
When we were at the party, he encouraged me to go with the guys who asked me to come with them for some fun because it would get him off the hook. I wasn’t the slightest bit interested in them either, however their compliments were always welcome. 🙂
I never noticed all this, but I jokingly reprimanded him for going through all those charades instead of just telling me as a friend. Of course I would understand. I told him about all my skeletons. I would have hoped he’d feel comfortable telling me his.
We continued to walk to the bar everyone was heading to. He told me about how he contracted it and how bad the situation was. He admitted that’s why he was so depressed when I first started talking to him. It all made sense now.
When we arrived at the bar, it was time for me to say goodbye. I had an early flight, and it was already two in the morning. We talked a little bit more, gave each other a big hug, and made out a little bit. It was hard saying goodbye. I felt we had so much more to talk about. But I needed to go. We kept coming back for just one more kiss before we finally parted ways.
As I walked towards my hotel searching for a cab, I thought about what just happened. My heart was still breaking for him that he had to go through that. I wish I’d known sooner so I could have been there more for him. I was so proud of him for finally finding the courage to tell me. I was starting to think he just wasn’t into me a little bit, but that’s not important. What is important is that I have a friend I love dearly and will always be there for, no matter what happened to him. I just hope he knows that!Follow @onegayatatime