Monday, February 15, 2016

Love Letter

Dear Craig,

I hope this finds you well. We haven't spoken in quite some time so I thought it was about time I reached out.

Congratulations on your marriage! I heard it was beautiful. I look at your photos often and they give me comfort. The unknown can be frightening, but when I look at your photos I see balance. Life can easily crack the strongest foundation but the love of family and friends can quickly seal the brokenness of spirit. That gives me hope.

I've always felt you had a heavy heart. I know that sometimes you try to do the right thing and it constantly backfires on you. Don't feel discouraged. If others can't see what I see than allow blindness to be their downfall. You enjoy making people happy because you attempt to share in their pain and by comforting them you think you have comforted yourself. Is letting your own feelings show such a terrible thing? I know you have a hard time crying in front of others. How many times have you told me that you wished you could bury your face in Joshua and just cry your heart out. What's stopping you? I can't answer these questions for you. You'll just have to figure that out for yourself.

You're a fool to believe that just because you attempt to be a good person you will be rewarded. That type of belief is damaging to your soul. Just BE a good person. You're also a fool to believe someone other than yourself will hold a map to your life. Existence is hard. It's full of weeds and dust. Stop creating diversions. Let your heart and soul clear those roads less traveled and be patient. You give up too easily. Why are you so afraid?

You may be reading this and thinking, what kind of friend am I, but it's because I care about you that I write this. I've seen you drag yourself through the mud more than once. I've heard you calling out, screaming. I've felt you almost give up. You feel as though you are spinning out of control and despite your "glass half full" mentality, it's no good if your glass is full of poison. When all you see is darkness I hope you can find it within yourself to forgive me. Maybe then, you can open up those blinds and let some light in.

You're allowing others to intimidate you. There will always be others who are smarter than you, but guess what? There will always be someone smarter than them as well. How do you perceive intelligence? If the day comes that you feel it's time for a change, trust yourself. If you believe you're failing just begin again. There is no courage in bringing others down for how you feel inside yourself. Courage is admitting you failed and learning from your mistakes. You are stupid for thinking you are stupid. Never let others make you feel less of yourself.

You've lost friends along the way. You think about them often. You've also gained many more. I can tell. I hope you still consider me one. I hope you don't hate me for writing all of this, but I felt it was about time you began seeing things clearer. Someone needs to help you put things in perspective. Facing yourself is scarier than any nightmare you can conjure up. I know you and I can at least agree on that.

Before I go, just know that I love you. There have been times I've hated you. I've pitied you, as well. It's only because when I look at you, I see parts of myself I've kept buried. I really don't want to face any of my demons, but you constantly force me to. I think that's how we got here, don't you? I forgive you for that. In fact, thank you. You're a complicated soul, but that's one thing I love about you. You tell people you're an open book, but I still think you keep people at arms length. I think people may surprise you. You're too quick to judge.

I hope one day we can make peace with each other. I'd hate to let our lives go by with you feeling it was only your fault. I'm just as guilty. If in fact I never hear from you, I wish you all the best. If by happenstance I run into you, I hope you don't look the other way. Even just a ghost of a smile would be less haunting than avoidance. Don't carry the weight of the world on your shoulders.

Yours truly.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

I'm Afraid

I had asked this guy I dated once how he stayed so fit and he told me he just danced and sweat it all out in his room and then he would do a bit of lifting. He asked me to join him one day so one hot summer day in Jamaica Plain we just stripped down to our underwear and put on some electronic dance music or was it the 80's...I can't remember...and we danced in his room until sweat was dripping off our bodies. It was fun and I laughed a lot, mostly because I felt so ridiculous dancing around in my boxer briefs with him, but then I thought, this is like any Saturday night at a lot of gay clubs and here at least I’m not self conscious. He told me it was cathartic for him and this is mine….

I’m afraid. 

I’m afraid I wont be a good husband. Joshua is my rock and I never want to dissapoint him. I'm afraid I’ll just stay at my job another 10 years without doing anything meaningful. I’m afraid of losing my hair that’s becoming thinner and thinner. I’m afraid I’ll lose Joshua. I’m afraid I’ll never write the one piece of literature that I’m most proud of. I'm afraid I won't have the body I always wanted. I’m afraid of telling people my true feelings. I’m afraid people aren’t telling me their true feelings. I’m afraid people think I’m some sort of joke. I’m afraid I’ll never love myself as much as I’m supposed to. That I’ll be a failure. That I am a failure. That I won’t have children and if I do I’ll be a shitty father. I’m afraid of those who I shouldn’t be afraid of but am because they have what I wish I did. I’m afraid of one day being alone. 

I’m afraid. 

Fear is a bitch. I try to recollect what may have happened to me in my life that made me so afraid to take risks. At least then I’d be able to blame something or someone other than myself. I’ve let fear guide me through easy paths and take advantage of me when I was most vulnerable. It only gets worse as you age too. I mean with every year that goes by I’m just more afraid then I was before. I wish I could take all my fear and turn it into something great but then I’m afraid it won’t be so great after all. *sigh*

What do you do when you have so many ideas and ambition and you can’t find an outlet for any of it? I want to be a novelist, a baker, a therapist, a hero. I wanted to be a teacher and travel to Africa and build homes. I want so much out of life. I want the simple and the complex. I want the wild and the calm. I want to be free and tied down. 

I’m afraid of letting people walk all over me. I’m still till this day afraid of bumping into certain ex's. I’m afraid of being laid off. I’m afraid of seeing our world turn to shit. I’m afraid of being undesirable. I’m afraid of losing the trust of those I love. I’m afraid of being poor. I’m afraid that before I die I just won’t leave a legacy behind. I’m afraid that at my doctor’s visit today they’ll do another biopsy and this time it will be bad. Really bad. I’m afraid of feeling stupid. When I was in Paris, the man I was with whom I admired because he was so smart and drop dead sexy told me I had a lot of blonde moments and it wasn't said in a jokingly manner. He was being cruel and it cut deep. Really deep. I’m afraid of losing battles and not being brave. 

I’m just afraid. 

The thing is I’m an optimistic person so I’ll keep believing in the good of everything till the day I die, I know I will. You could push me to the moon and I'll find my way back home some how. I always look for the silver-lining. I have so much love in my heart but I’m scared of being defeated by myself. I’m afraid that all the dark parts of me will consume me and just when I've escaped my ill fate I'll be pulled right back. 

I could have a panic attack just writing this. *deep breath* It’s pretty cathartic getting all of this out. I’ve been having panic attacks a lot lately. Mostly when I’m driving where I think the most or at night laying in bed. It’s definitely not fun having a panic attack especially when you’re behind the wheel. my heart races, I sweat, my legs become jello, and I basically forget how to drive. At night my mind would just race and I’ll have to keep telling myself things are good but then I just start up again..

I’m afraid of being tempted and giving in. I’m afraid of not visiting all the beautiful places earth has to offer. I’m afraid of regret. Being laid off. I'm afraid that parts of me haven't stuck to those I once loved. Parts of them have stayed with me. I'm afraid of the inability to be the better person. I’m afraid I’ll never really understand my feelings. I’m afraid of letting people down. I’m afraid I’m misunderstood. I’m afraid of being judged. I'm afraid of not finding my true potential. 

Well there you have it. Pretty much all of my fear laid out for you to laugh at or emphasize with. To judge or snicker at. But it’s my fear and I own it. I promise myself everyday that I'll accomplish some of my goals. It could be because we are getting a new boss at work in April or the wedding. Closing this chapter of my life has left me rehashing so much. I'm doing pretty good at the whole loving thing so that's something. Lots of barriers to take down there, but they have crumbled.

I'm terrified

Maybe I’ll go dance in my room now. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Flaws and All

"Say one thing interesting about yourself." I hate this statement nor do I like being put on the spot. It makes me uneasy. Why? Because I'm not interesting. It's ok, I have come to terms with it, mostly because in Joshua's eyes I'm perfect and he's the only one whose opinion matters to me.  Then again, when I have to respond with nervous chuckle, "I have no idea." I feel defeated.

I recently went through my contacts and came to the horrifying realization that I stay in contact with only about a third of the people I know. Most of the people in my contacts are guys I dated or hooked up with in the past 13 years or so. Lots of first names with the word grindr or scruff in parenthesis at the end. Delete, delete. What does that say about me? I don't know. What I do know is that despite all these failed relationships, more than anything, it was just love and acceptance I was looking for, even if it was just for one night. That one nightstand, whoever he was, was with me and just me and I felt wanted. I've felt alone most of my life and I couldn't find many people who really got me. It's not for a lack of trying. There are times when I contemplate texting a friend just to say hi, even if I haven't seen or heard from them in a long time. What is the worst that could happen? then I just think they will find it very strange that I contacted them in the first place and so I think, what's the point. Better not to feel rejected. After all, I can't really call many people I know as "friends" but more acquaintances. My definition of a true friend eliminates a lot of people. I mean there's Facebook right. I hate Facebook. As a society, I feel as though we are losing all ability to truly connect with one another. I mean if it wasn't for Facebook I would have about 15 contacts in my phone. That's fucked up, but it's reality all the same. My reality. I just haven't made many connections at all. At least ones that have lasted.

I have never been one who could stand on my own in groups. I'm not witty, not an intellectual, maybe I can be funny at times, but you throw me in a crowd and I feel unvalued. I never feel as though I fit. I'm a giant square in a circle puzzle. It's as though I could be in the middle of a library and I could scream and no one would even flinch. I have had many groups of friends but not many have stuck. I see college friends maybe three or four times a year, but besides that my time is spent either alone or with Joshua who I don't get to see very often as I'd like, for now anyway. I hate that we don't live together. It's not that his company isn't enough for me, but I always think about the It's a Wonderful Life quote, "No man is a failure who has friends." Don't get the tissues out just yet, I have friends but when I think about how many people have passed through my life and how many have stuck it's a little disconcerting.

When you're gay and you spend your childhood feeling isolated for so long you yearn for acceptance in adulthood more so than if you grew up feeling accepted. You become more independent. Maybe that isn't necessarily true for everyone but for me it's pretty accurate. It lead to a lot of insecurity and I felt pretty worthless. I'm a loner. I spent most of my life grasping for people to hang with and they all slipped through my fingers. I spent so much money trying to keep up with friends who had more than me only to still be left with nothing. I was like a chameleon, changing myself to fit into my surroundings. I tried pouring my heart out, believing I could just be a "good friend" but no one seemed to notice. I've tried over and over jumping from one group of friends to the next thinking this time it will be different, but it always ended the same. I grow apart from them as they remain together and I'm back to square one. I'm just not an interesting person. I have a good heart with good intentions, but that never seemed enough for most gay men I knew. It's exhausting really, putting so much effort into trying to fit in to be let down over and over again. It's not healthy giving up on who you are to try and please others. One lesson I will tell my kids some day is to never lose sight of yourself. I did almost anything just to feel apart of something.

I hate to segregate my straight friends from any gay friends I know. Friends are friends despite sexual preference, but none of my straight friends ever made me feel worthless. There has only been one gay man I have truly connected with, my best friend Matthew. Besides him, the only people I hear from are my straight friends. Maybe that doesn't mean anything, but it's an observation I have made. The only few gay men I knew who used to stay in touch quickly dissapeared when I was taken off the market.  So there you have it. The dreams of having a group of friends like those in movies like Broken Hearts Club or shows like Queer as Folk are gone. It shouldn't matter, but it does to me because I have always been one who put a lot of faith and trust in friends. The one who would do just about anything for them. I just had high hopes is all.

It could all be in my head, mostly fears that are ingrained in me from bad memories from High School, but I feel like a scared teenager who won't be accepted every time I'm thrown into a group setting. It's terrifying and for a 32 year old to admit this, well I'm either humiliating myself right now or finally just admitting to myself that sometimes I feel alone even though I have the most amazing man I could ask for.

I had a cancer scare recently and the other day I had to have a colonoscopy. Fortunately they didn't find anything, but as I'm waiting to be wheeled into the room to have my procedure done, I noticed a man in scrubs walking around who of course I had slept with many years ago. At first I got really hot and my heart starting pounding and I thought OMG please don't tell me he's going to be the one to perform my procedure and oh god now my blood pressure is getting high. Then I thought this is so typical, I can't even have a procedure done where they are going to stick a camera up my ass, without running into someone I slept with. Then finally, after I gathered myself together, I was just sad. He was just another guy who took advantage of me and he's a doctor or a surgeon and I'm in just a decent job who may have cancer after I just met the person I want to spend my life with.

It's not really that I care what people think of me, but when you start to wonder if maybe there is something wrong with you and you begin to hate yourself it's hard to find your ground again. You start to believe your worthless and you can become depressed. You can be taken to a dark place that's very hard to crawl out of. I've been there a few times.

For me, that's the scariest part about loving someone and maybe why I sometimes sabotaged potential relationships in the past. When you feel as alone as I have so many times, giving your heart to someone who may not be there tomorrow is scarier than dying. When I decided to propose to Joshua that was when I finally decided to let all that go and give myself a chance to change my life. To begin to break bad habits. To be defeated by love and hope for the best. Getting on one knee as the sun was beginning to set over Aruba, it was as though I was finally saying goodbye to one person and welcoming a new hopefully improved Craig. With tears in my eyes, I asked him to marry me. I had such confidence up until that point. I was terrified. He brings out the best in me. He's an angel, really. He's so pure and good, sometimes I feel as though he deserves better. I fell in love with him because in this crazy cruel world that we live in, he is goodness and his goodness brings out all the best parts of me and despite my fear of losing him and the dark sides of myself he accepts me unconditionally. Flaws and all. I don't need to be funny, I don't need to be an intellectual, I don't need to be creative or wealthy or anything other than who I am. That's true love.

Monday, July 21, 2014


I just finished watching an extraordinary movie called The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. It isn't the first time I've seen it, but one of those movies I can watch over and over again. This time, however, I paid more attention to a lot of the themes in the movie and they struck me more so now than it had before. Possibly, because my job is unbearable at times and I have to constantly think about Joshua and my life with him before I walk out the door with my middle finger waving in the air. I want a simpler more meaningful way of living.

The movie is about a group of British men and women in retirement age who venture to a retirement community in India. Each of them searching for something different. For some, just a change of life and others to find something they thought they had lost back home. In any case, some find what they needed and for others they find unexpected things that makes them realize that maybe this isn't the end...but rather a new beginning for them. Now I'm clearly not any way close to retirement, but what I crave, dream of, and fear is change. Despite the fact that lots of changes are happening in my personal life, marriage, saving for a future I wasn't sure was in the cards for me, etc...I'm lacking real living. I go to work, workout, chat with my fiancé, have dinner, go to bed...Monday through Friday the same routine. I'm bored with life.

I want to experience life the way each one of us should experience life. That is by embracing things around us that are new and by not per say welcoming new experiences, but having the strength to acknowledge that new experiences, new ways of thinking, opening ourselves to the possibility of learning from other cultures...may indeed breathe new life in our beings. Accepting when things go awry and laughing at those moments, hoping that one bad experience won't deter us from experiencing more. The way I look at life is this...when something really bad happens to us, instead of closing ourselves off and letting our spirit wither away, let it enlighten us. Let it push us closer to whatever it is we search for. If things were always perfect we would just drift through life without ever bettering ourselves because we wouldn't know that we could.

There are times when I feel as though I'm alone in my way of thinking. As I write, I don't even know if I make any sense. There are times at work where I feel as though I must be speaking a different language. That what seems sensible to me does not to others. I fear one day I will lose my job because I'll allow my integrity to takeover and I'll say how I truly feel... to those who just love throwing people under busses and believe that I am more or less ignorant because I am younger than them. To those who are just rotten disrespectful people. I just want to take Joshua and runaway. Leave the country and accept new ways of living that are far less complicated than what we allow ourselves to experience.

This is not living. I want vibrant color and tantalizing flavor. Not gray and bland with a touch of MSG. I want to go to a place of work where people are respected, not made to feel like there opinion doesn't matter. I want to live a life where I'm making change. Where I'm making a difference in someone's life. Not where when I come to work my heart races and I feel like I may have a panic attack. I'm a dreamer. I've been this way since I was a child. I've never understood the true meaning of living. It sounds strange I suppose but we are given this precious gift of being alive, a gift that at any moment can be taken from us and yet most of us waltz through life with blinders on. Taking all that we have for granted. Say you get the opportunity at the end of your life to look back on it...don't you want to feel as though you did something in life that meant something?...I do.

It's all a facade. Is living proving to the world your worth something because of all you own? Because of the ladder you climbed, never minding the people you broke to get there? Why do we constantly have to prove ourselves to anyone? Prove something to yourself instead. Do more that does not just make you feel good but makes you a better person. Challenge yourself ...take a different road. Do something that betters the world. All our lives would be better if we start to walk away from everything that keeps us from what truly matters in this life.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Mixed Reviews

In an effort to form a better relationship with my brother and my mother's insistence that we become closer, I invited my brother out to lunch and also he owed me money and knew this was the best way for him to pay me, in person. We had a few drinks and talked about relationships. He was asking about Joshua, which I thought was really cool as I have always had a hard time talking about my relationships with anyone who was a straight male, especially those whom against my better judgment wanted in my life. It stems from all the years of being bullied by straight men and so afraid I will be treated differently. Just the other day, after work, I was having drinks with my coworkers and one of my straight male colleagues was inquiring about my trip to Aruba and the big news I had. I always get hot in the face when I talk about how I am in a relationship with a man. As if they will get weird and awkward and start thinking I am trying to hit on them or something. It's not as if I am ashamed, I just hate the way some people look at you after you explain to them, "Oh I'm in a relationship with a man, I'm gay" You can see it in their eyes...the judgment.

My brother and I were discussing relationships and how he was happy I finally met someone who made me happy and someone I have decided to stay with. He then told me about an ex he had who worked in the southend, in the restaurant business, and how she used to throw my name around. "Do you know someone named Craig Licchi?" I got red in the face and reluctantly asked him what she had to report. My brother told me his ex just looked at him and smirked and said, "Mixed Reviews" I was absolutely mortified. What does "mixed reviews" mean?! And who did she talk to?! I drove home envisioning all the faces of people I could think of who she may have spoken too. I shivered.  Did they say I was bad in bed? Good in bed? a bad person? Kind? A Jerk? Strange? Some comments I could deal with and others I had to make sure were corrected immediately.

Everyone knows it's nearly impossible to critique yourself the ways others do. We never see our faults the way others see them. Some things you may find completely rational may seem extremely strange to someone else. I mean right before I started writing this blog, I asked the barista to make me another latte and handed him the mug I drank the first one out of. The three people behind the counter gave me weird looks and started making comments. I was just trying make less dirty cups for them. I almost even asked the guy, "Is that weird?" I mean in a place like Somerville that is so earthy crunchy I thought this was normal behavior.

So anyway I thought well maybe she spoke to one of the many crazies I dated. Now I know I am sorta contradicting myself here. Maybe to me they were crazy, but to someone else completely normal. Either way when you breakup with someone, unless its completely mutual, they won't have nice things to say about you. Or maybe she spoke to people I casually dated and where the relationship just fizzled out. I hope I left a good impression. I can sit here and say I don't care what others think about me, but I'd be lying. I think most of us who say we don't care are lying to ourselves. I do care how others see me. What I can affirm, however, is that you can't please everyone. Not everyone is going to like you. You could be the kindest person in the world and some might say you are being fake or just find something to dislike about you.

Some might say, "You have Joshua now, he is all that matters." Well true he is the most important person in my life and yes, if I want anyone in this world to see me positively it's him. I mean I have never come across someone as kind and considerate as Joshua. All my priorities, once misguided and ruffled, have been sorted since I met him. All the monsters in my head from past relationships have been scared off from the unconditional love I am receiving from him. But with that being said, that doesn't mean I need to lose sight of all the other things in my life that are important to me. It's ok to share a life with someone without having to sacrifice the things that made you happy before that person came along. The trick is to find someone that understands and appreciates that.

Last weekend Joshua and I went through my photo albums. It seemed like every other album Josh would say, "Who is that?" and my response was always, "Oh we dated." I wasn't ashamed at all, nor did it make him uncomfortable. So I dated a lot, big deal. Sometimes I put all my eggs in one basket and other times I didn't. Now that I'm settled with him, I am glad I had all the experiences I had. I'm glad I cried all those tears, screamed all those profanities, had all that sex, and discovered my limits, my faults, and my strengths. I learned what true love was and how it could lead to pain, confusion, and how when you lose sight of yourself and give in to temptation it doesn't mean you love someone any less, just that you are human. As I looked at the faces of those I loved or cared about, some who I still care about, so many emotions were filling up inside me. If I was to run into any of these men, what would they have to say about me? Did I leave any mark on them? Everyone whom I have been with has left an impression on me. It's impossible to give out love without consuming feeling in return and then forgetting that feeling they have left on you. It always remains.

So, in the eyes of some men in Boston I could possibly seem like an odd duck. Unattractive. a terrible lover. In some maybe kind hearted, a great lover, sexy even. Smart or stupid. I'm all of those things. Perception is a very wicked and strange thing. I sometimes feel I'm ugly and sometimes I look in the mirror and think damn I am hot. Sometimes I am sweet and other times I'm a complete bitch. Sometimes I think I am clever and other times I think, "God I am dumb." At least I realize this and aim for the positive characteristics I know I possess. So I have decided that it's cool that people have mixed reviews of me, whether I just met you on the street or dated you...because I have mixed reviews about myself everyday.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Dating Disasters: Every Rose Has a Thorn, Part II

I wanted to share this experience with him. I wanted to look back on this trip and say I survived almost two weeks across the world with the man I love. The flights there, despite its length, were a breeze. We slept, watched movies, ate food, and read. I brought two travel guides and a journal. My goal was to create a travel journal, experience everything Thailand had to offer and each night write about it. For Christmas, he had given me a leather bound journal, knowing I loved to write, it meant a lot to me. He listens.

We started out in Bangkok at a beautiful residence that would cost a resident of Thailand a lot of money, but fairly cheap for us. We rode in a tuk tuk to our residence which was thrilling. It's a fast two wheel motorized car that's open in the back. As we sped to our destination, I kept thinking about how lucky I was to be here. A chance of lifetime to experience a place like this and to do it with him. I had begun to let my guard down. It took awhile. When we had first met, I knew he was going to cause me pain. He was only a few years younger than me, but knowing how I was at his age and what pain I caused my ex, I knew this was a bad idea, but I had fallen hard. Throughout our days in Bangkok, we visited museums and the Grand Palace. Grand doesn't describe how amazing this place was. We watched a Muay Thai match which I can only describe in terrible fashion as Boxing meets Martial Arts, took a beautiful night river tour at the floating markets, shopped, ate delicious food, and drank on top of expensive hotels over looking the grandeur of Bangkok that is breathtaking. Things were going splendid, except for the occasional upset stomach, I couldn't have been happier. floating market/river tour was my favorite leg of that part of the trip. It's just a long market on a river with small shops along both sides. The people are friendly and despite having little, they are happy. Their happiness comes from things that matter not material things us Americans have to have. It's grounding.

By the second leg of our trip, Phuket, things started to change. My fears of being with him began once again with no cause but my own. Five of us were relaxing at the pool with a swim up bar when my friend and I noticed two beautiful Australian guys close by. We began making sexual comments about them to each other which caused my bf to get angry. My heart dropped. I was buzzed and feeling good, but I was wrong and I apologized profusely. I thought he would just chime in with us, but he made me feel like a god awful bf. It was one of the first times I had seen him angry so I was taken back. We let it go.

Thai New Year (Songkran) was upon us. I didn't know much about the festivities, but part of the celebration involves a water festival. It's a time where people roam the streets with anything they can carry water in, buckets, water guns, cups, whatever and everyone gets soaked. SOOOO much fun. With it being as hot and humid as it was, I didn't mind. We couldn't leave the resort without getting wet. How much fun to carry a super soaker around and be able to go up to random people and just spray them down. The best were just the random groups of beautiful Thai women trying to coax men inside for massages, meanwhile holding pales of water, sneaking up behind you, and dumping it over your head. One night we found a gay bar and the Thai boys that worked there went to great lengths to get you to buy drinks. They were feminine and friendly, sitting on your lap, flirting, all the while just trying to obviously get you to buy more. As it got darker, the streets became more crowded. My friends seemed less enthusiastic to join in on the fun as they had been here multiple times, but for me I felt like I was back in Yonkers playing Manhunt with my super soaker, hunting down my friends in the neighborhood. My bf and I met a few very hot and very friendly foreigners, some from Britain, Australia, Brazil, all over the world and we all just drank, made friends, and acted like kids.

"I have to use the bathroom," my boyfriend said to me as I was hiding behind a wall about to sneak up on someone and get them wet. By now we were drenched anyway, my t-shirt and shorts sticking to me. All I said to him was, "Ok" and get playing. Soon, I started to worry. He hadn't comeback. My friends didn't know where he was, at least they didn't seem to know where he was. I began to panic. I went into the bathroom, he wasn't there. I looked all over the bar, the street, he was nowhere. I walked a few blocks down to our resort thinking maybe the bathrooms were so gross he went back to our room. He wasn't there. I started to get visions of me having to talk to police, calling his mom, and telling her he's gone. I was buzzed and maybe was over-reacting, but I was legitimately scared. On my way back to the bar, he was walking towards me with a look of concern and frustration. At me? I don't know. I hugged him and began to cry. "Where the hell were you?" I asked him. "I told you I was in the bathroom, " he said. "I was sick, was in a stall."

My friends were acting strange as if they knew something I didn't. I had that awful feeling you get when you know everyone is not telling you something. I let it pass. People were dancing and I joined in and then I turned my head to this Brazilian guy and he was grinning at me. Not a "You're cute" grin, it was as if he had done something behind my back, like he was an enemy of mine and he had one up on me. When we got back to our room, things felt different between us. I knew something had happened. I have very good intuitions when I'm in a relationship with someone. I know when things are wrong. Then it hit me and I didn't want ask him for fear I was wrong, but I didn't think I was. Was that grin saying, "Ha ha, I just hooked up with your bf?" "Did you mess around with that Brazilian guy?" I blurted out. He looked at me with anger and concern, but behind his "How dare you think I would do that" face, was guilt. I apologized for even thinking it, because I wanted it out of my mind. I was in Thailand and despite the despair I started to feel, I didn't want my accusation to ruin our trip whether I was right or not. By the last leg of our trip in Koh Phi Phi, I felt more and more distant from him. I put on a façade of being happy but inside I knew that when we got home something was going to change. He was trying to hard and that's how I knew he had done something with that guy even if he denied it. He even kept singing that Kelly Clarkson song, "I Don't Hook Up," all the time, which the psychology minor in me was a sign right there he felt guilty FOR hooking up.

On our plane ride home, I replayed that guy's grin over and over in my head. maybe he did think I was cute and maybe I was being that overprotective jealous guy I vowed I'd never be. He went to great lengths to prove his innocence. Even telling his parents. "Craig, tell them how you thought I cheated on you while we were there?" I was mortified. But as spring was leaving the weather got warmer things got worse and we began to fight. We were at the beach with his friends and he got hammered and began spouting how I had more experience with men and he didn't. Made me feel like a terrible guy because all I got him was a card for his birthday, even though I had just spent thousands on our trip. Each time, that night or the next morning he would sob and apologize and I would forgive him because I loved him so much. But he stopped telling me he loved me when I would drive him home and I knew it was only time. Then one night after having dinner with friends, gushing over how wonderful my bf was, I invited him over and he declined. He never did before. I did what any paranoid, love sick, crazy bf would do and I went through great lengths to catch him trying to hook up with someone on Manhunt. The same site he messaged me on to say hello. The site he had blocked me from seeing his profile to make me believe he had deleted his.

My world was over. We spoke that night and he broke up with me. I was stupidly trying to fix us, but he no longer seemed to want or need me. A day or two after, we had remained friends on Facebook and I saw his number of friends had increased greatly. All men. All men, including the Brazilian and finally he had come clean about hooking up with him that night. Not just hooking up but actually exchanging information to keep in touch.

Love makes you do crazy things and I learned a lot about myself and the man I wanted to be. I had never been more hurt. I became depressed. Left work early because I couldn't function, stopped eating, cried all the time, and became to him, a crazy ex who he had no use for. Looking back I laugh at how stupid I was. Using every excuse to see him again only to beg my cheating bf to take me back. I went from sad to angry in an instant. One minute wanting him to be mine again and the next plotting devious things to do to him like taking naked pics he had sent me and printing them and placing them where he contacting his mother and telling her own manipulative her precious son was and letting her know all the shocked things he had done to me. I went CRAZY.

It was on my trip to DC to visit a friend, attempting to recover from this heartbreak that I found out that within two weeks of him breaking up with me, he had a new bf. I sobbed in the street, dumbfounded. What?! I felt useless, unworthy of being loved, and alone. I never had experienced heartbreak before and that is how I knew I really had loved him and yet now I hated him and didn't think it was fair he was happy and I was devastated. I told my ex, who I had still lived with at the time, just how sorry I was for all the terrible things I had done to him, because if he had felt anything like I was feeling at that time, I deserved so much more shame and punishment. To add insult to injury, everywhere I went, even in Yonkers to escape my life in Boston, I ran into people who knew him and thought he was such a wonderful adorable guy. It was comical in a way, like WTF.

All those friends I had made. All the men I thought I was so close to, I began to hear little from anymore. It was to the point that they were just acquaintances to me. Nothing more. I was dying inside. I started seeing a therapist, as I began sleeping with men just to feel something. It didn't matter whether I thought they were attractive, they thought I was attractive and so just to feel wanted I slept with them only to hate the person I was after. It was one of the darkest times in my life and yet now when I put it in prospective, I realized all it was, was giving too much power to another individual. I let another person dictate my happiness. It took while to trust again, but it happened. Years have past and although there has still been more heartbreak I've learned to make wiser decisions and the payoff has been amazing. It was an experience I needed to have to make me learn about trusting others, patience, and above all knowing what it means to be a friend and that I am capable of loving someone completely, but within that love learning to not lose myself in the process.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Dating Disasters: Every Rose Has a Thorn

                                                                Part I

I sat in the middle of the Boston Common with my laptop out staring at a blank page trying to find words that would change his mind. I looked around at the crowds of people enjoying the weather and I hated their smiles. I resented them for being happy and yet desperately hoped a stranger would see how empty inside I was and just let me cry on their shoulder. I desperately needed to find the right words, as if, as he read my letter, something would strike him so powerful he would come back to me, crying and apologizing and I'd forgive him as I had before, because at the time having him falsely love me was better than watching him move on without me....

After my car accident and one last attempt at a relationship with my ex that still didn't work out, I decided it was time I stopped searching for a bf and try to meet some gay men in Boston to be friends with, rather than hookup with or date. I had received a very large settlement that changed my life. I was able to pay off debt, live comfortably, and buy a car. I felt like I was able to actually have a real life and not be confined to my home which with my current salary I could hardly afford. Up until that point, I had no gay friends and I felt alone. Everyone I knew had busy schedules and families and lived far away and I was envious seeing crowds of gay men together enjoying "the scene" and envious that I felt like I was still an outsider in a community I belonged to and fought so hard to get to. It wasn't long before I met some wonderful guys who I became close to and I had finally realized how stupid I was for letting my fascination with having a bf dictate my happiness. Time went by where I was the happiest. Going out drinking, taking trips, gossiping, finally feeling free and for the most part complete. Then it happened. I had received a message on manhunt, a site I had stopped using but never closed completely for those late night urges... There he was, this beautiful young guy with charm and intelligence from what I could gather by is non-sexual, unforceful yet direct message to me that I was unfamiliar to receiving. We chatted for a bit and despite my better judgment I decided to go on a date with him. He, like an unpredicted storm, moved in fast and furious and clouded all of my clarity and I thought, it's just a date.

He was late. I stood outside in the cold, waiting for him to arrive. Fall was leaving us and the unwelcoming chill of winter had made its approach. Typically, I'd say screw this and leave, but he finally showed and had valid excuses and looked even more beautiful in person with an "I'm sorry" face that could make you believe somehow whatever it was that he did wrong could be forgiven. That night, he invited me back to his place and we laid on his bed and talked and fooled around and I thought to myself, "slow down...he's younger, probably doesn't want what you want, and you know he's going to break you." I swept those thoughts under the rug because there was no chance my mind and my gut were going to catch up to the way my heart felt for him just from that first night. We decided I should go, because although we both wanted each other, we knew if I spent the night, it may just end up being a one night stand. It was a first for me.

We were walking through Boston Common when the first snow fall began. It was heavy and we were freezing yet we were on a Santa bar crawl I had agreed to participate in with him and his friends and so the heat between us and the alcohol made me stop us dead in our tracks. That is where I asked him to be mine and from that point on I felt like there was nothing that could tear the complete and utter happiness I was feeling inside of me. "He's a keeper, do not fuck this up," one of my friends said to me the night I decided he should meet them. "There is no way I'm letting him go," I thought to myself. I knew at that point that this was what true love feels like. All those clichés, all those sappy love stories we all love to watch, every all consuming, vomit worthy, "walking on air" moment I was feeling it for him. I would do anything for him. I feared meeting his family, his friends, anyone or thing that might have influence over him to make him decide I wasn't the right one for him. His friends and I, thankfully got along and I had one of the best New Years ever with them and him. By Christmas, he met my family and It wasn't long after I met his family and became so envious of his family life. The good relationship he had with his sister, whom despite her friendliness made me feel inadequate financially. His well off parents, who also were very nice, but yet I always felt I was under a microscope. His mother especially made me feel as though I wasn't good enough for her son, yet still offered me kindness and I could tell she knew I was trying. My brother and I did not get along, my parents were separated and both broke, and I was envious of his family to be able to support him. But despite all of that, I was his and I would earn their trust, because I needed to. To them, their cherished son and to me his starry-eyed boyfriend, he was perfect.

He began to call me his husband, it was a joke of course, but he made me believe that he was so in love with me that I was the man he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. I, of course, DID want to spend the rest of my life with him. I spent every waking moment trying to find ways to make him happy, because one thing he made me learn about real love is, you know you truly love someone when you put their happiness above yours. He made me learn a lot about real love and I am thankful for that. One night he said to me as he began to choke up, "You have done things no one has ever done for me" and I could have died happy in that moment. In my mind, I thought "No, I wish I could do more." But he seemed satisfied with "us" and I was elated that he chose me.

One day I received a message from two of my friends telling me they were taking a trip to Thailand and they wanted me to come and to invite my bf as well. Before my accident, I couldn't go to a cheap B&B let alone to another part of the world, but I had the money too and although that settlement was quickly shrinking I wasn't about to let an opportunity like this pass me by and there was no way I was going to leave without having him by my side. He agreed.

Little did I know that was when the storm began to move in and my world was about to be destroyed....