lonely lovely city

lonely lovely city

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Smaller living. Bigger thinking.

One of the great things I love about living in a small space is seeing where everything is and how it belongs in its own place. Somehow, it feels cozier and tight, like I am protected. That is what I love about being a New Yorker. I totally get how those of us that manage to stay and live here do very well with how little we are given.

It's weird. The older I get, the less stuff I want. I look around to my left and right and to the center of my studio and feel grateful that not only do I have a little home to call my own, but that it is designed to my taste. I am free from the pestering roommate syndrome. I am bound to do whatever I want when I want to. And, I am free to invite whomever I chose at any given time of the day. Yes, I have to pay and do everything on my own in order to sustain my apartment, but the payback is far greater than the hefty check I digitally send to my landlord on the third week of every month.

I am what one would call a minimalist. I like everything to be modern and clean and cohesive. Clutter is not an option. What I strive for in my smaller space is for things to make sense. I don't feel it is necessary so much to rely on additional items to make my existence worthwhile. Do I really need two televisions or two microwaves or two extra pillows or even extra stuff that doesn't have a function? No.

I think the bigger picture pertains to living with less and being grateful for what you have. I see so many running around like a chicken so that they can get another leather couch or the newest computer or more things in their tiny houses so it can collect dust and be forgotten.

The other thing that comes to mind is remembering when I had to tolerate horrible living arrangements and how it felt I would never find a place of my own. Well, I did. I am grateful for all of it: running water, a toilet, two sinks, renovated wooden floors, two large windows that serve as the eyes of my home, and the nice furniture I've accumulated. I am grateful to come home to a calming oasis that serves as my sanctuary from the madness of Manhattan. I love when I am about to sleep at night in my magnificent bed where I can still hear the quiet of my flat, yet the cabs and people four flights down from the street. Hearing their roar makes me feel safe because life is around me at all times. Without street noise, I suppose I would feel naked.



Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Random asswipes

I encountered a major asswipe today en route to an appointment. Total New York moment where you had to be there to witness the insanity. I thought I had the right address when arriving for an academic appointment. The lobby looked quite familiar. I went up to the security guard and asked for the office I was going to. At first he just looked me and shook his head. Insisting I had the right address, this middle-aged, middle eastern bald headed man gets irate as if I've broken a law. Raising his voice, he says...

"Don't waste my time man. You've got it wrong. You understand?"

"Look, can you just check? Please."

"Absolutely not. Get lost."

"You're a sarcastic guy. All I did was ask if you could check."

He then got up and demanded to see my ID. When I showed it to him, he literally grabbed it out of my hand and stared at it. I felt like a criminal. I took MY ID out of his hands when he started to examine my details and placed it back into my wallet, stepping back so I wouldn't be inclined to do something further. He then demands to know the nature of my visit and that I am "abusing" him.

I call him an asshole and get into the elevator, thinking that someone civil will help me find my suite. People just stood there and said nothing as I wanted to exit. When I go to the front desk of my school on the third floor, I am notified it is down the street. As you can imagine, I feel like an idiot. I dreaded going down in the elevator. He waits for me with his phone in his hands standing next to the wall. He takes a picture of me with it and warns me that a camera near the door is in place and that I better watch my next step, that he will take the appropriate action. I tell him to fuck off and walk away. My heart raced. Blah. Blah. Blah.

I have not had such a random encounter with a stranger like that in recent years. I can't remember the last time I clashed with an asswipe who felt that he owned the building. While in the end I had the wrong address, I didn't deserve his rudeness. As there ever been a time in NYC where you dealt with a asswipe?




Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Eleven....

I actually keep track of the day I moved to New York City. November 1, 2000. I know, I am a dork. I was a bright-eyed, naive, younger man who had just spent four, long years in Los Angeles. I had transported myself with two suitcases, $2000, one contact, no friends, and a stomach full of knots.

I rented a room for $500 in the top floor of a bed and breakfast in Staten Island. I'd take the ferry every day on the murky, frozen atlantic and commute to my corporate job in Midtown. During breaks, I would go out and and ponder and gawk around all the towering skyscrapers, listening to the sirens and cab drivers screaming, and take in the smells that seemed so foreign to a west coast transplant--a kid basically--who was in the middle of mid-twenties panic.

After several roommates, insufferable commutes on thousands of subway rides, unpleasant exchanges with strange people, dozens of jobs I hated, droves of horrendous dates (don't ask about Tony) or the umpteen times I fell on my ass, thinking I'd never get on my feet again and move forward, I kept going. So many dark moments have risen, yet, I go on like nothing happened. There is something nourishing about living in NYC in that one is allowed, if not granted the opportunity to re-invent themselves whenever and wherever they want. If a neighborhood, job, or relationship isn't working, you pick up and transition by moving to another borough, creating a whole different path with a interesting set of friends.

So many moments I've said out aloud as I've walked into a puddle of water on a dirty street or getting pushed out of the way by oblivious party kids on my block, that I can't wait to leave. But, then I get up in the next morning, revived, thinking, I can't imagine living elsewhere. In my humble opinion, NYC is the only livable city in America.

I look back eleven years later and question the progress I've made along with the personal success I've tasted. Much of what I thought I'd do or who I'd become didn't happen. But, the parts of myself that I thought never would surface, did, in bountiful ways. I feel stronger, mature, more content and comfortable in my skin. I stuck it out even if I was down to my last dollar. My intuition is growing. Perhaps, I sound trite. Whatever.

Some people ask where I am from. Originally, I mention, with reluctance, that I am from Nevada. But, I then preface it with saying I am a New Yorker. I feel I've at least earned that after being around for over a decade. I often wonder what keeps me here. Its not like I am ensconced in what I imagined I'd achieve. A lot of what we all crave forms as you plan it. Whether that pertains to a relationship or career or even state of mind, I think all of us go out there, well at least some of us, and attempt to demand more.

I don't question if I can't make it. I can and I have. If I were to move to another mecca, I wouldn't worry about survival. I think in staying so long without much of a support system, I've acquired life skills. What makes you stay in a city like New York for so long?





Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cha...Cha..Cha...Cha...Cha...Cha...Changes

I haven't blogged in awhile because a part of me is tired, emotionally and physically. After a majority of my work is workshopped at school, I feel gutted like a fish. And then, I retreat. Its what I seem to do when the world caves in. Call it the arrival of fall along with the cold, contemplative weather, but I just seem to be reluctant to share any intimate thoughts. Lately, certain relationships in my life are changing. Some are getting stronger and others are dissolving. I have a hard time with this. Change, that is.

Maybe this makes me weaker than I thought? There is something about this year that is pushing me forward. For one, the advent of my graduation next spring and what waits for me in the unknown. Also, it might be the transformation of my thoughts concerning others. So many of the people I thought I knew, I don't. They have changed so radically, that it is impossible to communicate, let alone exchange our experiences. This is where I know I need to move to the next level. Some of the friendships I relied on for so long are shifting. The scary thing is jumping one step further and taking a risk that will make me uncomfortable. I know that those people that were in my life for quite some time had to move on eventually. I just didn't know it would transpire so soon.

Yesterday, a classmate recommended a book about a woman who quits her job and spends all of her money doing something that scares her every day of the year. She goes skydiving, visits a haunted house, eats meat for the first time, asks somebody out. You get the idea. Anyway, she wrote about it in a book and created a dialogue in which the notion of change is being underscored. While my life at the moment is structured with responsibilities, at some point I know it will change. I will have to face the moment where I realize turning a chapter is necessary for my personal development.

I admire people that can tackle such a project where they approach the things in life that terrify them. Mine is the dating and writing world. So much of how I refer to myself is aligned with how others have rejected me. Men mostly that tossed me out. And, then the people at school that trash my work with their criticisms. It hurts to be vulnerable and open and raw. I don't like it. It is a major risk. I am trying not to sound negative.

It would be great to do something that scares the living shit out of me where I jump and say yes. But, what if I did it? That could be an interesting premise, I am sure. I keep thinking about the song from the 60's about change. It is still popular. The lyrics say that time won't change me, but I need change. What does change mean for you? Do you embrace it? Or do you reject it?



Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Judgements...

I am sure many of you are thinking whether Amanda Knox murdered that young woman? I thought I did, but I am not sure.

For the past few years, I've been curious about how an American girl from Seattle could get caught up in such a media storm, become convicted, appeal her case, in tears, pleading her innocence, and have the verdict, in a Italian court overturned? It blows my mind how someone unknown and small as a college exchange student could generate such world wide attention and walk away a rich, infamous woman whose life will never be the same. While many at work and school discuss the ensuing debate, judgement comes near and far.

Some have said she did it. Others have said the opposite. I won't say what I personally believe, because I lack the pertinent facts. My gut, however, does have an instinct. It seems that the way we judge a person based on the assumption of what we are told, and quite possibly, what we want to see, builds the outcome of how we believe a person is to be. I am floored with how much press this case has garnered. Its like you are presented a certain amount of information about something, and then you're expected to make a determination. Not fair.

I think that judgements are very painful and realistic. While some say they don't, they do. I do too. At times. I might not make it external for others to know, but I hold my own suspicions of what is accurate. When I am placed in the middle of a situation or watching something unfold, I try not to be hasty, thinking the worst about someone. What is so intriguing about this woman is that she is the seemingly all american girl who was afforded a round life, one of wealth, health, priviledge, safety, education, stable parenting, and a certain amount of entitlement, which is fine, if you are lucky to be granted such a blessing. But, what is it about her that makes others want to watch and judge? Is it her allure or her beauty? Is it the judicial system or the heinous act itself?

Why are judgements so easy to assign? Does human nature create a divisive engagement with how we relate to others? And, is it fair to brand someone a murder when they claim otherwise? I am so on the fence with this one. Comments please!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Remembering..

I just want to take this time to remember the lost, but not forgotten of 9/11. Even though I didn't lose anyone I loved or knew, it is still a loss. I am incredibly humble for those that died, how their lives were surrendered, senselessly from cowards. They are a fabric of our identities and should be cherished and embraced.

This first photo was taken in the Notre Dame when I visited Paris almost two years ago. I think this woman signifies the goodness in all as we all search for peace. There was a such a feeling of calm in that space. Time stood still with all my problems fading, listening for a needle to drop. My heart poured open.

The second were parishioners, praying. As I took it, I wondered what was going on through their minds and if they were remembering about someone or something they lost. Whatever it was, the images still move and allow me to see the beauty in our vulnerabilities. For someone that is not religious, I can't help but to use and show them for how we are all interconnected, finding ways in the world and how resilient we are as creatures.



Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Being Grateful

A couple of weeks ago, I heard sad news. One of my childhood friends from Nevada died. She was only 30.

Apparently, she went in for her first operation, a routine knee procedure. Everything was fine, but a day later, she apparently experienced a blood clot and passed on. Totally unexpected and completely unfair. As I processed the news, my stomach dropped. The weird thing is that we spoke in May after a twenty-year absence. Somehow, she managed to retrieve my phone number from a relative, wanting to reconnect. At first, I was apprehensive, almost annoyed that after two decades, this person from my tortured past was contacting me to chat.

Our conversation seemed strained considering we were virtual strangers. But, as I opened up, I remembered the little girl who I played tetherball with and ate ice cream sundaes while watching the Disney Channel. Those are the memories I had. During our recent conversation, we discussed our families and commiserated about our internal struggles and familial disappointments. For the rest of the conversation, she said nothing but nice things, congratulating me that I made it in NYC and how far I had come. While I reciprocated with kind sentiments, I realized she was such a different individual from the playful girl I grew up with. She was educated, mature, and quite wise for someone her age. I also sensed how incredibly optimistic she was, ensuring that her recent hardship with locating work would get better and how much she loved her husband and wanted children of her own. After an hour of catching up wrapped down, I insisted we have a dinner here in the city whenever and if ever she came to Manhattan. She seemed up for the challenge and both of us agreed to stay in contact.

I never knew that would be the last time we would communicate. Her voice was bright and young and hopeful. And, her scope of the world was innocent and trusting. I wish I could've have reached out to her one more time before her passing. I am not sure it was a sign, but this experience shifted my collection of the past and how quickly it resurfaces.

To my knowledge, she was never sick a day in her short existence. And, just like that, gone.

It is vital, absolutely necessary to do the things we love, surround ourselves with the people we love, striving for the infinite elements in life that truly matter before it is too late. None of us are indispensable. Just because some of us are young and seemingly healthy, doesn't guarantee a span of longevity. As I have stated before, I am not a religious person of any affiliation, disbelieving in organized religion all together. I don't know what happens after we die or where we go. That is the scary, almost beautiful thing about it. Nobody knows. Hopefully, it is somewhere tranquil and lovely. The trick is to be glad that you're alive. That even sometimes when you wake up and think that your life sucks, just remember you have power, air in your lungs, breathing, with the chance for happiness.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Loneliness/Part 1

Very recently, I was asked a pertinent question.

"Hmm...that is an interesting name for a blog. Are you lonely?"

Immediately, I wanted to say yes. But, I was embarrassed, almost put on the spot. If I admitted to it, then I would be considered weird, abnormal, or even, undesirable.

"I think everyone is lonely".

When I chose a title for this blog, I thought long and hard, waiting for the words to sing and make some sort of sense. Two words that come to mind when thinking of this amazing city were loneliness and loveliness. I don't know what it is, but these these feelings work in tandem because that is how I experience Manhattan to be.

Often, I will sit on a park bench before an appointment or a class and people watch. For any real New Yorker, it is one of those rare, costless actions that fulfill one's own curiosities about others, dispensing a certain amount of entertainment while enjoying your own moment of forsaken privacy. I love to see other couples talk and bicker about what bills should be paid and why the other isn't listening to them. Also, I just find it utterly fascinating how fellow humans engage through a ongoing dialogue. I don't necessarily eavesdrop, but you can't help hear and see what is going on around you.

Yes. I look at myself and acknowledge why a large part of me has chosen to remain single. Only, I know the answers. Sometimes, I wish I was one of those pairs in the parks or the streets who mismanage funds and attack each other's ideals and values. For reasons I am unable to articulate, I will say that my predicament for singledom is valid. If I could, I would say more about it. For now, I plead the fifth.

A lot of people have deemed me weird because I don't follow the grain or the path others have comfortably chosen, hence the relationship factor that many blissfully fall into in this urban jungle. But, a majority of my close friends, who are in fact, attached to somebody, assure me that even when you are partnered with another, loneliness seeps in, making you feel like the rest of us who have felt left behind or overlooked.

Is loneliness universal? Does it occur over time or over night? Is it just a notion in our minds? And, if so, how do we remove it from our heads?

To be continued.....

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Enough of reality...

For the few that read this blog, you might be aware that the last posting pertained to my cancelation of cable service. So far, so good. I know it sounds weird, but I feel lighter. I do. I also feel smarter knowing that I am saving money for more important things, hence tuition and travel. But, it is this world of reality that still haunts my dreams.

When I read articles online, I stumble upon reality stars committing suicide, reality stars branding themselves stars, new reality shows being slated to appear in the fall, and yes, you guessed it, reality stars being offered money to appear in endorsements while some are offered money not to wear their products in fear that revenue might waiver if they are seen in public wearing them. What is my point? Enough is enough. What has happened to this world?

Last night, I read an article about a british newlywed who was torn apart to death in southern Atlantic by a shark as his wife watched. Then, to add fire to sadness, I read an article about a woman who savagely chose to circumcise her son with a box cutter in Oregon because the Bible inspired her to do so. Lastly, I read a piece on the Huffington Post about Michelle Bachman. Apparently, the gay hating, evangelical troll is the lead for the GOP candidacy in the 2012 presidential race. While I realize Obama might not be in the best place, thankfully, he is not her. Who would want to be?

The thought of her standing in the oval office, rendering orders while personally deprogramming all the gays in the world is too much. I want to it all to go away. Her. The reality television movement. And, this pulsating, relentless life force of stardom and perfection and beauty. You can't even read something that isn't aligned with the economy, which experts predict could lead to a twenty year depression, if not a five-year recession. That's weird, I thought we were already in one???

I wish there wasn't so much pain, hardship, anguish, hatred, cruelty, ignorance, homophobia, racism, and barbaric redemption. It seems that a majority of what I read is heartbreaking. No, I take that back. I can't find a word to articulate the misery and carnage in this universe right now.

Most of the time, I battle with struggling to be a optimist. I want to believe in the good in this world and in others. I want to go online and read something uplifting and romantic and ideal where anything possible, a shred of deliciousness can happen. I almost want to cancel my internet service for fear if I read something more dreadful, I might just cringe and freeze with utter shock.

All of the latter makes me want to appreciate what I have and all that I am. Life is pain. Life is uncertain and cruel. And, life is unknown and beautiful and short lived. So, I am going to try and live more in this lovely city that I call home. Spend more time with the people that matter most. And to say I how much I appreciate their contributions and unconditional love and acceptance. Then, I am going to dip my foot into the cold water and experience change like I've never had before.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I did it!

I did it. Finally. For the first time in my adult life, I proudly returned my cable box to Time Warner. Supposedly, I've reached a higher pinnacle. Yes, it seems silly to write about such a small feat. But, I feel compelled to post because I feel lighter, and enlightened. My main reason: money and lack of time.

After spending almost $150 a month for more years than I care to admit, something dawned on me. Why was I exhausting myself financially to pay for something when I barely used it? I never took advantage of the three hundred channels with the umpteen reality and self-improvement shows that were enough to make me gag. (Bravo, E! and Style...take a hike)

When you work a full-time job as I do, accompanied with a full-time school schedule, not to mention my own writing, which has for awhile been infrequent, I couldn't envision spending a wad of cash for something that has offers little fulfillment. A majority of the shows that I used to see religiously have either been canceled, given an extended hiatus, transfered online, or produced so horribly, that I can't bare to watch.

There are only a handful of shows I care about: Mad Men, Being Human, and True Blood. Oh, let's not forget Gossip Girl. Aside from the latter and NY1, why bother? I need to make more allotments for the things that matter, hence sleep, writing, studying, reading, and more of a personal life.

Some time ago, a friend of mine did the same thing when she returned her cable set, realizing what an astonishing improvement it created. She spent more time with her child, wrote a lot more, saw the city more on foot, and saved over $1200 a year. A total no-brainer.

Unless one is encumbered by what others are doing with their lives or what else is wrong with the world, what is the point? All due respect to those who enjoy the endless choices of viewing consumption. But, it just isn't my thing anymore.

Television has changed for the worst. Gone are the talented actors that graced the small screen and hello to the wannabe reality trolls who think they are stars. I've grown to resent television in excess because it occupies too much wasted energy. There are still decent shows to be seen and enjoyed. But, the way in which we watch television has vastly shifted.

I am a little scared, if not allusively naked, knowing that I can't just turn it on in the middle of night and turn my brain off in banality. I still have Netflix, my dashing iPod, internet radio, and Blue Ray's. I am curious to see if this newfound project will go off without a hitch and transform to a constant in my small, waking existence. I suppose at the end of the day, it's one less concern I have to worry about.

If I find myself craving the comfort of nothingness, I will go online and just look at my bank statements and realize the money in pocket, or even refer to the additional pages of my upcoming memoirs saved on word documents. This is one of the oddest, most gratifying choices I've made recently. Isn't it weird how the small changes make the biggest difference?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I saw her again. And, again. And, yet again.

Why are the people from our past often dragged out from under their rocks and placed into our orbit? A couple of months ago, I devoted an entire post about my former psychotic friend who deliberately snubbed me as I called out to her. Well, she has done it again.

Last week as I walked home, I found her in front of me as I recognized her massive, curly blonde hair. I didn't want her to see me because I was over it and her and the very thought of seeing her face made me nauseous. So, I walked behind with my iPod on in hopes she would soon fade. Of course, she didn't.

Somehow, she managed to stop on the sidewalk and look back and then laugh alongside her friend. I wanted to walk faster, so I could step on one of her heels, but opted to remain an adult and just keep my pace. Finally, when the light turned green on Ave A, she inadvertently crossed, leaving me with just enough time to bail. I kept wondering why I had to see her again at that exact moment. Why? Why did she have to cross my path on that block at that moment when NYC is a plethora of people and streets and action?

A few days later, I was in line at a cafe, waiting for an iced tea when I saw her in front me. Why out of all the cafes in Manhattan did I have to see her? And, at that exact time? Don't even get me started. In spite of the humidity, I dashed outside and found another place. Luckily, she didn't infiltrate me with her devious stare.

Then, this morning as I walked past Tompkins Park, I saw her again. Even though she wore tacky sunglasses, her trademark hair boldly announced itself. For a few seconds, she looked over at me and grinned, then walked away with a certain satisfaction.

As I continued to walk while adjusting to the heat, I was angry and confused, considering if she was my personal stalker. I almost feel that I have to confront this psycho if I want closure. It seems that the unsolved issues from my past keep rooting back up until they are finalized and complete. I am not sure what to do. Given my track record, I am bound to run into her again since she lives three avenues and five streets down. I just can't get over how every minute makes a difference. It almost reinforces the notion of how we are meant to meet certain people at specific periods in our life.

I am wishing to the magical universe that she doesn't cross my orbit for awhile. Whatever happened to Manhattan where you are lost in abyss of millions, where one can just blend without being seen or noticed?

Every step we take leads us to something, whether one wants to readily admit it. I feel it more and more. I want to take this challenge and just say, "Fuck it."

So, what if I see her? Yes, she is annoying and immature, possibly vile for being so blunt about her dismissal of me. But, she is a person who is entitled to her NY space, just as much as I am. I just hope for the sake of karma, I don't say something horrible to her as I am probably bound to run into her...AGAIN!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Adapting to change...

On Friday, my beloved radio station, WRXP, signed off the air due to a buy out from a media conglomerate. I discovered this as I cleaned my apartment when a listener called in to commiserate. I couldn't believe it. I sat on the corner of my hardwood floor and listened while I was in utter shock, placing my trembling hands over my ears. It was the only alternative music choice of its kind here in NYC. After three years of loyal listening, BAM, GONE, just like that.

Here's the thing, I will get over it. In the grand scheme of objectivity, it is nothing. But, in the meantime, I am in mourning.

Out of nowhere this announcement developed within a matter of days. As someone who relied on WRXP for endless all nighters of studying and writing and over analyzing why I don't have a partner, it was there for me, without fail. Even when I would awake from bed, the radio dial was the the first thing I touched, and often the last thing before I signed off. The unique tunes, along with the passionate and lively DJ"s created this unstoppable vehicle where just having it in the background was an added comfort to an already packed day, jammed with concerns and responsibilities.

The constants in our lives often dissipate rather quickly. And, there is nothing I can do. Adapting to change is difficult. Call it what you want. While I thrive on specific changes such as updating the clothes I wear or the restaurants I frequent or even the routes I walk, it is the big ones that throw me off and send me into a fetal position where all I want to do is close my eyes and ponder.

Certain friends who you ceaselessly imagined would be there, suddenly dissolve, never to be heard of again. Or, sometimes, the building that you loved and cherished that you rented is being sold to a developer where you have 30 days to vacate. Or, the place where you work is kaput, out of business. The things that surround us all change. While the space itself might remain intact, the contents change.

Change is traumatic because I had so much of it in my childhood with being continually hospitalized and during the transition to my adulthood, which wasn't pretty. I had so many things, familial, health and other personal issues that had to be addressed without any support system. As an adult, it seemed all I did was move to new place or start a new job or form numerous relationships, most of which didn't pan out, because I was geographically solving my problems. I thought that if my environment changed, I would. I did change with some of the eventual choices I made. But, it threw me off, scraping to get by, figuring out how I will get out of it.

Now, that I have carved a small world here in NYC, I can't help wonder when that will change. What will the catalyst be for my personal growth? The older I get, the more I realize how nothing is beyond my control. The only thing I can actually manage is my emotions and thoughts. I am not responsible for the progression or regression of things or individuals.

My challenge is to embrace personal change, even when I reject the notion. This reality poses an initial threat to my comfort zone, but what is a thirty something single gay guy supposed to do? Through the impending change that awaits, something good might come out of it. Perhaps during the nexus of transformation, positive things are waiting. Whether this would be a new group of friends, a new career, a new and encouraging partner, a fabulous flat, a new city or country, or even just a different state of mind, change is what moves us forward.

I have to remind myself that many horrible and sinister things are transpiring in the world every exhausting minute that negate the seemingly serious drama of my own life. As I read the news each day, I am reminded of how small some of my problems are. I feel for the people who are senselessly murdered and taken from their families and the people that are financially suffering due to an oppressive economy which doesn't seem to be flourishing at all in the near future.

I am alive. I am working. I am self-sufficient. I am loved, by some. And, I am fulfilling my personal goals of becoming a writer. In the end, it is all relative. Change, that is. I just have to believe in it. Otherwise, what is the point?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Faking it...

I came across an article about confidence. It states that when one is on the verge of dating someone, it is necessary to fake a little bit of the latter. Personally, I have known this tactic for awhile. But, I have yet to fully apply to it my own social skills.

Naturally, I began to think of my dating life. Basically, it is non-existent. My excuses? Work and School. What I will say is my last date happened within the last several months. Suffice it to say, it was interesting, but rather, unpleasant.

He kept talking about why he left San Francisco, how much he hated it there, why he feels it is his mission to tell everyone he is gay, how fucked up people are regarding communication, and how important his dog is, and how I need to understand all of it. Mind you this was packed into an hour where I politely stuffed my face with designer pizza, icy coke, and smiled while I nodded and listened, looking nonchalantly at my watch in hopes my time would soon end.

I felt I did a decent job of faking it when it was my turn to talk (trust me, it wasn't much). I tried to feel confident when talking about my return to college and how I wait tables to support myself while I become a writer. I did sense a bit of judgement with some of his comments, but I carried on. Confidence? Maybe. I told him it was my life's ambition to be a successful artist who is transglobal. I also said what I wanted in man: kindness, style, and intelligence.

My point? I faked a majority of what I wanted him to think and feel. Clearly,he wasn't boyfriend material from my end. But, it was an exercise. I need it desperately. The interaction of another interested party was something that stirred up my own insecurities about who I am, how I look and what I have achieved in my short life. This exercise pushed me to filter out the things I don't want him to know.

The whole confidence thing is universal. I know many who are ultra confident, embellishing their lives to a large extent. Yes, they stretch the truth and come across as somewhat arrogant. But, at the end of the day, they have more than what others want: a possible relationship, hopefully, one that includes benefits.

Since that date, I've been working on my confidence here and there. When speaking to others, I look in their eyes and don't steer away. I just wish I knew how to master it. The more I thought about this article, the more I realize how I need to fake it in the faucets of life that matter. There were several passed opportunities that I didn't pursue due to my lack of confidence. It is something I've had to work on since childhood. Just because I don't exude gobs of it, doesn't indicate I don't have it somewhere from within.

I would love to be one of these gay men who go up to another guy and just hold myself in the highest form when I am in public and want to talk to him. While it is great, what happens afterwards when you are with that someone and they see your true self, open and raw? Fake it?

While I agree it works, it becomes laborious, if not arduous. I just wish there was a balance where you faked it to a certain point, and gradually allow yourself to be seen.

Does faking confidence illicit a good partner or even a career? Does faking it entitle you to a life that you might not want after all? To be continued...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

PRIDE!

Beaming should be my new middle name. I've never felt prouder or more accepted than in this span of existence. Having celebrated many gay pride days in my short time as a gay man, this was quite different. For some reason, this particular year was about transformation, and the ultimate, my favorite, the actual acknowledgement of a group of people who refuse to be treated like third class citizens.

As I stood standing on lower fifth and twelfth, I could feel a buzz in the air where everything, for once, would be all right and that my community would be marching towards a pinnacle of freedom and liberty. Yes, perhaps I sound a tad bit, dramatic. I don't care. When I saw Andrew Cuomo walk with a gay flag in his jacket, my heart jumped. I wanted to run past the metal barricade and hug him.

In this realm of radical progression, I can't help but be hopeful. Yes, it is not a federal option as of now. I do think that in my lifetime, it will change and others, in spite of their religious beliefs, will have to just deal with it. Sorry, but that is the truth, or should I dare say, my truth? This subject is not about anything abnormal or depraved, but rather simply, an allowance that refuses to be diminished in the eyes of others who deem themselves moral compasses.

This momentous occasion is one to be celebrated, cherished and remembered forever. These victories signify my own pride in being a New Yorker and realizing how great this state is. Kudos to all the gay couples who can now marry the person they love, matched with the same rights granted to heterosexuals. This hot issue is only going to grow bigger and brighter, not entering utter completion until equality reigns.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Identification

I just listened to an interview on the radio. I don't know the specifics of the story, but that the interviewed subject is a song writer and just released a book about gay identification. I couldn't help but listen intently, lying half awake from a bad dream about aliens taking over the planet that woke me up. He briefly discussed his own revelation about coming out and how he had major issues identifying with the gay community.

As a gay man, I relate to that struggle. I am not sure what it is, but even in my mid-thirties, I still don't seem to identify with most of them, let alone, mold into their sub-communities that have been perfectly formed.

For the most part, I consider myself to be an introvert. As I've mentioned a few times, I tend to gather my energy from within, as opposed to outside groups, which is probably why I am still lacking in the gay department. Socially speaking of course. Aside from managing to pay for and attend a costly and prestigious college, work a full-time job, manage a slew of personal issues, and living on my own, I rarely have time to connect with those in the gay community.

Perhaps I sound lazy or bitter. I am not. Actually, I am enlightened. As I am growing into my thirties, I don't feel the need to prove myself as much. It seems redundant. But, as I reflect on yet another gay pride holiday, I am still scratching my head. What happened?

Why do I feel so disconnected to a group that has been discriminated against by so many others?

Not everyone, but certain gay men are very discriminatory against other gay men. It can be that you don't sport a six pack, or that you don't have a beard, or that you don't produce a lengthy salary, or that you simply don't have the looks to be in their pack.

I feel that too much energy is given to finding a place where one belongs and fits in. But, what if you refuse to fit in to the unrealistic demands of a group who hasn't fit in with the rest of the world? Give up. No really, I am not giving up. That is just my automatic response to the situation that has risen since I came out sixteen years ago. I still don't fit in.

Sometimes, I feel that whether I lack the look, or the career, or the personal connections, or the walk, or the right amount of confidence, it really doesn't matter. I am not in high school, nor am I a fresh piece of meat who can be ordered the way someone else wants.

I am who I am. I am a writer. I am a Uncle. I am a friend. And, I am someone who values genuine, cherished relationships, as opposed to the slam bam thank you sir kind of approach. I like my individual approach to the community and the place it holds in my life.

I just wish there was a balance where I did relate to others who felt the same way. While I fully embrace my gay self, I just don't want to be entirely defined by it either. I wish I was one of those guys that pranced and walked proud in the parade, showing they belong somewhere, or hopefully, to someone else.

As I still struggle to accept my own limitations and place, I am over thinking about it too much. Done. Being gay is a wonderful thing. I am proud. And, I am gliding towards the part of my journey where being independent and singular is cool.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Great Wall

It seems that I have a wall up. The other day in my Symbolism Art Therapy class, a fellow student made the observation when we were dispersed into small groups via the teacher's instructions.

We all interacted and observed one another through an exercise. Tackling different turns, we all spoke about what affected us through the drawing we made. When it was my turn to explain what I drew, the other commented. I felt naked as she spoke softly, yet directly in her French accent. Taken by her language, I had to process what she was saying.

She branded me an introvert and mentioned that I am deeply connected to myself, but not to others. That her observation included my inability to be in the present. I was shocked not because of her honesty, but the words she used. A part of me knew she was right.

How do virtual strangers have this capacity to deconstruct us in a matter of minutes and hit every mark so effortlessly?

The writing is on the wall, or rather, on my wall, the side that I am apparently not showing to many. It made me think about the energy I am putting out into the world and how others perceive me. As I get older, I try not to hold much stock in what others think. While their perspectives are somewhat important, I shouldn't care, right?

There are some things about myself that I am trying to change. Personal elements to my best and worst parts that require a bit of shifting. What I am discovering is that even in the midst of our own guise, we are sending out signals that are unavoidable. We are all these pools of energy who have an impact on those around us, even a group of strangers.

How do I break down my wall? My summer project is to become more vulnerable and believe in the good of others. In the meantime, I am going to be in the now and just breathe and not take everything so literally.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Awkwardness

One of things I dislike about New York is the awkwardness through random encounters of agents from our past. On Saturday near the Lower East Side, I was steps away from buying a movie ticket when I spotted a guy I once knew; a handsome friend who I had not seen in three years.

I thought of him (a man I had known for one summer) with mutual attributes and actually fancied him for a second. I vied for his friendship. Although we shared a couple of solid exchanges, I yearned for more. But, he was fickle and never reciprocated. After the third time he didn't return my calls, I got the gist of his unspoken message. His rejection stung. And, of course, in true Aquarian style, I was over it in two weeks.

I believed that much of what we both experienced in life could've set up a great platform for a subsequent relationship. But, it didn't. I made an assumption that because he was ten years older, he'd be mature and open and ready to explore something. My naivete ran rampant with unrealistic expectations as it usually does.

I am regressing.

When I marched up to the counter, he stood facing the north side of the street, presumably, waiting for another person. Within seconds, I flinched. Instead of walking into the air conditioned theater to engage in an adult conversation with him, I optioned for a later show. I kept walking ahead and turned the next corner, not knowing where I was going, also accepting very well that I would have to walk an entire square block just to avoid him and buy the damn ticket. Crazy, right?

Luckily, when I remerged after fifteen minutes with a run to the local candy store, he vanished, probably buying popcorn with his special date inside the theatre. I despise wondering what it was he didn't savor about our connection during the summer of 2008.

What irks me is how one is in lost in their comfort zone, hence myself, who is suddenly given a choice they would rather not make when walking down a crowded street, alone, minding their own business. Why that person? Why at that particular time? NYC is such a huge menagerie that you almost believe that you'll never run into someone. And, then out of nowhere, BAM, you are faced with a glaring reality.

I could've have been more of a man who approaches him, shakes his hand and says hello. Should one confront this person and go along with it, or just run, like me, till inadvertently encountering a new block? Why is Manhattan so brutal when it comes to chance encounters with people that we thought were history?

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I am not a religious person by any means. I do, however; believe in signs with their oddity and beauty and how we're all interconnected to one another in this universe. It is is rather unique, if not fitting, that he sprung out of nowhere.

It's almost like other people who we'd rather not see who constantly appear at the cafe or local bar or even on the subway, come into your circle and force you to resolve unfinished business. You are almost driven to have a conversation in front of other strangers.

One of the several things I do love about New York is the anonymity. There is such a great comfort in knowing others don't know me or my business or anything remotely personal pertaining to my past. I could be anyone I want to be and redesign my life and background to accommodate my needs and the possible interests of others. But, that coping mechanism could also be contributed to my ongoing lack of romance or desire to connect with a person who sees and understands my vulnerabilities full-heartedly.

If I could only see past my insecurities and embrace the notion of rejection, I might be a more confident individual who is capable of maneuvering a boomerang, gracefully with wit, and hopefully, the right amount of ease.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Am I really a New Yorker?

Last night, I had a random encounter with a stranger. I don't know what it is, but these people spot me a mile away.

On my way home, I stopped off at one my favorite little to go restaurants in the EV for a snack. As I waited at the table, a woman with a little too much foundation on her wrinkled cheeks approached me and sat two feet away, looking into my face intently.

"Where are you from, honey?"

"I am sorry?"

"You are not from here. No? No. I can tell. Where are you from?"

"I am a New Yorker."

"No really. Where?"

"Nevada."

"I knew it. You hesitated. Why?"

"Because, I haven't lived there since the mid 90's. Wait. Who are you? How do you know?"

"I can just tell. You have this look. You're too quiet. You just don't have the vibe. That's all I am saying. Take it for what it is."

Then she signals to her friend.

"Honey, come here. This bitch thinks he's from New York. Can you believe that shit?"

"I don't know. How can you tell?"

"I am from here. I know everything."

If I wasn't so tired, I would've probably said something snide. The truth is that I didn't care. This woman doesn't know everything, especially about me. I found it odd that she would be so forthcoming. I wanted to leave, but my food wasn't ready. It was one of those moments where others are inescapable in the tiny little comfort zone that you create for yourself. After eleven years of living here, I think I am one. Does such a thing exist? Do New Yorkers have a look? And what kind of person calls another a bitch? That's what I want to know.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I got snubbed!

Yesterday at about 3:45 p.m. on lower Fifth Ave, I got snubbed.

I was talking to my sister-in-law on the phone before work when a person from my past emerged- a former classmate. A few years ago, we took some of the same classes and socialized a few times outside of school. Unfortunately, there was a misunderstanding pertaining to a final that we were both required to collaborate on, together.

To make a long story short, she became a raging, scary monster overnight, showing her truest colors in the ugliest form due to a misunderstanding. I retaliated, freaked out and told her she was being inappropriate. The friendship ended.

Since she graduated immediately after, I thought I'd would never interface with this unpleasant presence. Not!

As she strolled by, we both looked into each other's eyes. Off the bat, I waived and nodded. She rendered a eagle eye stare and kept walking.

"Hi, Tess. Tess? Hey. How are you?"

She looked back and stopped. Then, she moved her head around as if a fly was in the air. Nothing. She kept walking and stopped again and acted like I was in front of her, but couldn't see me. But, I know she did. Out of anger, I shouted," Psycho."

The funny thing about New York is the rare ability to run into people from our past--individuals that we'd rather not see. One of the things I enjoy about this city is the confrontation of your fears and personal comfort. If I was back in LA, I could've just driven past her. But, here, in the land of Gotham, my home, things are vastly different.

Whether I believed I was snubbed, or not, it was clearly an uncomfortable exchange that left me scratching my head with a rumble in my belly. It did force me to calm down and realize that some people, incapable of change, act like petulant jerks, regardless of their age, even if times passes by. What is most annoying is how I reached out through an acknowledgement, even when she acted like a you know what way back when. I am not a self-righteous person, but I tried. I digress.

This experience has taught me to extend that olive branch, even if someone doesn't deserve it. I didn't expect to be friends, but assumed that civility and respectability would be assured during this surprise meeting.

I refuse to be one those people that have an axe to grind. I realize I am not perfect and have held grudges before in the past towards others who hurt me. But, I try and move past it because maturity takes over. I can't stand the thought of being disregarding and spiteful, even when someone else makes the effort. None of us are equipped to say the right thing at the most awkward moment,however; when do you make the effort of choosing to be a grown up?

The crucial aspect to this and many other random encounters of people from our past is to breathe, remain calm and carry on. Yes, that is a British trademark and I love every word of it.

My main objective is to be the bigger person, a man, and face something or someone that I am afraid of. After all, I am an Uncle. And, I have two little nephews who need a role model to look up to.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Let it go...

A few days ago, I received invaluable advice from my writing professor.

"Find a way to love them, even if you hate them. Therefore, we will love you."

What he was referring to were the people in my personal memoirs. Yes, I am writing this crazy book about my turbulent childhood in Nevada and how I escaped it.

Over the past couple of years, I've experimented with writing. Initially, I lacked distance from the material and felt I wasn't ready. Now, four years later, things have progressed.

Going back to school has not only saved me, but challenged my assumptions that I can't write.

Thus far, I've submitted three installments in this particular class. Mostly, about seventy pages and still counting. What helps about this process is the immeasurable feedback one receives from fellow classmates with their numerous line edits, questions and comments. The funny thing about this workshop is that it is actually an advanced fiction writing course where the other students submit fictional pieces. After I was allowed permission, I had no other choice but to tackle this opportunity and spill my guts.

The first couple of months were brutal. I was afraid on how to tell my story without sounding like I was vying for pity. Trying to find your voice with any book can be an obstacle. I knew for a long time I wanted to access this project, but wasn't sure the form it would follow. After a few attempts, I think I am getting it.

This week was great in that I got to workshop another twenty-five pages. Everyone's reaction to my work has been collective with one central component: love your characters, even if they've betrayed you. And lastly, to slow down with my journey, to take the reader by the hand and show them how it all happened through this tangible prose.

This is not an easy thing to do.

He is perhaps one the very few teachers of my academic career who has said something at that exact moment where everything hits you like a ton of bricks. Not only is this professor a good teacher, he is a revered, published writer, based here in New York, with five novels to boot. In a sense, this man knows the writer's field inside and out.

Honestly, I still harbor anger towards my family and the painful residue left after their abandonment and rejection. But, I am finding something from within which allows me to move ahead, knowing that I am a stronger person, capable of sharing my art.

As he spoke, a sense of relief swept by as I sat back in the tiny chair, almost hunched down with my stomach in knots, accompanied by my clammy hands. His powerful words immediately infiltrated the defense mechanism that I sometimes show to others.

I don't want anger to burden my heart. I don't want to be one these writers that is scorned. Over time, I've learned that anger can be a good thing (temporarily speaking) if you know when to let go of it.

Writing my memoirs is a chance to heal.

I do think that some of us come from these highly dysfunctional, unattached and unloving familial units where we are left wondering where to pick up the pieces. I am not promising anything to anyone, much less myself, but I am taking his suggestion and running with it. I am not certain how my writing will become impacted, but I can't wait to discover the possibilities.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Good friends rock!

Aside, from my highly, if not pesky, introspective self, I am expressing my gratitude and fondness for the people that matter most: my good friends. They are the family I didn't get. They are the people that rest inside of me when I am doubtful and dark. They are the creatures I take with on my journeys when they can't be there. Perhaps much of my posts involve the things that grate on my nerves or the creative blocks I am building to create for the future I envision. What I sometimes forget to mention are the riches I am grateful for.

Let's face it. Finding good friends anywhere is challenging; especially the older one becomes. New York City, for example, makes this a daunting and exhausting process. But, I've discovered something recently. If you stay along enough in this city, good friends incorporate themselves into your hectic schedule and life. They enter your circle, because it is kismet. The most beautiful component to this cycle is that a majority of them remain. Even, if they are far away.

For those friends that know me personally and who are reading this, I feel a connection to you and realize that your words and actions have a profound impact on my choices and views. When I was younger, it was more about the quantity rather than the quality. Now, it is different. I would much rather have a few close friends than pockets of fair-weather friends who don't mean a pile of beans.

I am not one to be constantly surrounded by others or have the desire to be assured or held when I am down in the dumps. That just isn't me. I do know that I can call most of them at any given moment and they will be there, just as I try to be there for them. Just speaking or even texting them, comforts me. I am not alone in the world and that at the end of the day, someone is listening. I'll try and spare you additional cliches. My point is plain and simple: the power of good, strong friends make the difference.

I know all of us are out there in this scary world, pursuing our goals and cultivating the life we aspire. Continue to do that. But, don't forget the people that carry our weight and that love you without conditions. Today, I got up and realized that in spite of my woes and concerns, I am loved. Is there anything better than that?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Flattery is well... just flattery

I was asked out the other night by an older man. He isn't the dapper type with distinguishable features. Forget about John Slattery in Mad Men. With all due respect, this guy was well into his sixties. Perhaps he was even 70?

I was flattered when he handed me his number on a scrunched, yellow post it as he deliberately placed it in my hands. Incidentally, this was done in front of his seven other friends.

He continued oohing at me with pensive stares. When he further inquired about my background and what I was doing in New York, his angle was obvious: get the younger guy. Me.

It has been awhile since I've garnered one's attention. I have to admit, it was flattering, for a minute at best. The act of what he did felt good in that another man would have the gumption to suggest a date. I loved his act of chivalry. It was endearing. But, at the end of the day, he's old enough to be my father. And I don't want to date someone like him.

What I realized as the night progressed is whether you're a man or a woman, regardless of your age, asking someone else on a date in today's brutal and uncertain world takes balls. In our society where appearance is everything, no wonder many are scared of rejection and become lonely as a result.

After I read his little message on the note, I threw it in the trash when he wasn't looking. How could I possibly explain this situation to to my nephews who visit from out west? That this guy is older than their grandfather? After all, I have standards to maintain as an active, handsome,thirty-six year old gay man in Manhattan.

Yes, with luck, hopefully, I'll be there too someday, older and wiser, lounging in a track suit with balding hair and large and protruding hairy eye brows, asking out younger men. But for now, I would rather take a guy that wasn't born before World War 2. Sorry. That's just me.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Criticisms

Sometimes, the harsh criticism of someone else can seep under your skin and never leave.

This semester, I am in one of the most intensive classes of my academic career. It is a fiction writing workshop where twelve of us sit at a table and hash it all out. We read, edit, comment, and provide suggestions to one another about how our work could be improved.

I've chosen to submit four chapters of my memoirs. I am the only person in the group to concentrate on non-fiction. With two installments under my belt, I've received a lot of feedback. Most of it has been encouraging. "Maybe try this." Or, "I like this part." "I am confused because I didn't understand this."

Going through every line edit from twelve people can be perplexing. But, I wasn't prepared for last week. One of the students in this class is a jerk because he thinks he's the best and wants everyone to know it. This person lacks finesse. Unlike the others who are tactful, he doesn't know the definition of sensitivity.

About an hour ago, I decided to look at the notes on my papers. His was the last one. According to him, my writing is," atrocious and unintelligible." He makes another comment,"your grammar is terrible and your word choices frequently make no sense. You need to work on vocabulary; as well as style and story structure."

I've heard criticisms before, but nothing like this. I am angry and hurt. In the three years that I've been enrolled in classes at The New School, nothing has surfaced such as this. When I render my critiques, I try to be thoughtful and aware of what I say and how I say it. In fact, I've been extremely cautious about every comment I think of before saying it.

Now, I am in a state of doubt. It makes no sense that a fellow undergraduate would have the audacity to be so forthcoming with their two cents. Even as I am writing this, I am paranoid with word choices. Why do we allow the bullies to have the last word?

I realize he is just one person with one opinion. It makes me question myself as a writer and the direction I want to take with my book. When I read comments like his, I want to confront him and ask why he feels the need to be my teacher. I just want to hide and not write anymore at all.

I don't care if he doesn't like me or my work. I have chosen not to elaborate further on the additional comments he has made, because he is simply not worth it. I prefer people like him to know when to shut up and leave well enough alone.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A world without Liz...


As a little boy, I was entranced by her illustrious body of work and felt transported to a different time. She is and will always be the quintessential movie star.

Since yesterday, the world is a lonelier place. The passing of Elizabeth Taylor still hasn't registered. I am waiting to see if this it is just a bad dream. A terrible mistake. My heart is heavy and sad.

Among the many layers I admired most about Ms.Taylor was her style, elegance, and wit. She exuded class in the way she smiled to her fans in the crowds, the manner in which she answered questions to the media, the roles she chose, the causes she passionately believed in, the lives of others that she contributed to, and the loyal people she surrounded herself with.

To every imaginable extent, Ms.Taylor was one of my heros' because she didn't care what others thought. Even when she stood up for something, she did it with conviction and guile.

The indescribable stunner was a pioneer for AIDS awareness/research, a trailblazer for gay rights, an humanitarian, a philanthropist, friend, mother, grandmother, survivor, woman right's activist, fashion maven, and undoubtedly, a gifted actress. In spite of the fact I didn't know her, I felt like I did. Growing up, I personally had wished she was my mother because she represented universal acceptance, compassion, and unconditional love.

Perhaps the millions that didn't know her, felt like they did too. The world needs people like her where these powerful forces seep deep within in our pores and won't let go. Humans that are forever giving, relentlessly strong,present and non-judgmental. It crushes my heart knowing that hatred and intolerance continues to run rampant, dictating how others think and treat people they don't even acknowledge let alone know. If there were more Elizabeth Taylors'walking the earth, hope would be eminent and flourishing.

I'd like to believe that she is embarking on an adventure in this unknown abyss,sharing her enormous lovely grace and intelligence along with her remarkable soul. Wherever you are, Ms.Taylor, please know that no one will ever fit your shoes and that you will be sorely missed and not forgotten.

XOXO to you, Sweet Dame Liz...Rest well.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The power of tacos...

Last night after a long shift from work, I headed to my beloved taco stand for some much needed grub. I've been patronizing this place for well over a year and love how the truck is always there at their location, on the weekends with their bright green and red neon lights flashing from a distance.

Something interesting happened as I thought I was alone, about to devour my food like a hungry caveman. After a eating the first chicken soft taco with mounds of salsa verde, I noticed a handsome man from behind who smiled at me. I stepped aside from the counter and smiled back. After he paid his tab for his newly ordered food, he checked his phone and and looked up. When my second taco came out, he smiled again...at me. I was happy about his smile because I thought he was cute. No. Not cute. Handsome.

When his pork tacos came out, he went right towards me and began to ate.

"So, what do you think? Good tacos?" He said.

"I come here at least twice a week. And, yes. They are awesome. Carnitas?"

"Yeah. (Pause) Ah, man. They are good. So, where you from?"

The thing I noticed was his sincere smile, his beautiful eyes. I don't remember if they were blue or brown, but that they were round and rich. We began talking about Mexican food and suddenly the subject of where we were from came up. Here's what I know about him. Oh, did I forget to mention, his name is Matt.

Matt is from Southern California and has lived in New York for sixteen years. He works in design and often travels to Paris for his job as a designer. Also, he speaks fluent French and a decent amount of Spanish. Matt mentioned that in spite of living all over the place, New York is the only place he can live.

Immediately, I thought how random and interesting the encounter was. I liked how he was approachable and easy to talk with. I mentioned how I was also from the west coast and how I have a conflicted relationship with it as well.

Honestly, as pathetic as it sounds, it was the first conversation I've had with a man in a long time. And, it felt good. I knew he was gay. He didn't sport a ring, but I didn't know if he had someone. Matt was probably around my age or perhaps a few years older. He had a little grey hair (which by the way is hot) and was dressed with fitted blue pants, a grey sweater tee and a stylish black coat that matched his bourbon colored wing top shoes.

I kept wondering what would happen next. After about fifteen minutes of discussing life, traveling and Colin Farrel(don't ask) we stood for a few minutes and talked a little more. Eventually, we shook hands and exchanged our names. His hand was warm and soft and large. I could even smell his cologne.

I didn't want to seem desperate, but I wanted his number. Even if we were to just talk over a drink, I didn't care. However, we parted and swapped goodbyes without taking it further. As I walked away from my taco stand and Matt, I kept badgering myself for not asking for a business card. I'll never know why I don't put myself out there more or take chances. It seems that these little moments of eating your tacos in silence and interfacing with a mysterious, handsome stranger are the times when one could meet their partner?

After all the online dating horror stories and countless rejections, is it worth to get up again and try? I am not sure. Most of the time, my internal message board says that I am too busy for it with work and school and writing and that men are a lot of work and mostly just too high maintenance. But, once and a while, a stranger from out of nowhere who eats tacos with you, shifts your perspective and allows you to believe again. I wish more gay men could be like him in this city. Gay men that are kind and decent to one another.

As I stew in regret, I hope to run into him again. This is New York. Anything can happen here.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Busy bees...

I just read an article from the NY Times. This man, who has worked for years as an editor, is unable to find work. He is a father of two and married if I stand correct. Anyway, he is writing a book and interviewing for positions. His mission: staying busy. I was intrigued by his genuine honesty and optimism. He goes on to elaborate how in spite of being unemployed and hovered down with financial uncertainty, that keeping on the straight and narrow, persevering if you will, is the key to remaining upbeat.

What I liked about his article was that he wasn't shy about his financial woes. He admitted in a subtle way how he is scared with providing for his family and and not losing his integrity. I also enjoyed how he doesn't give up and devises resourceful methods for survival.

I think a lot about how we all try to stay busy here in Manhattan-the city that will never sleep. It seems that no matter what one is doing, you could always do more? I know I do. As many of you are aware of, I have a full-time schedule with work and school. And, in my spare time, I am writing my memoirs and getting in a few workouts here and there. Forget about any shred of having a real social life, because I am just too damn tired to give the thought any additional weight. Any advice for making that happen is always appreciated.

What I have come to realize is that staying busy is important. I am not sure about you, but it keeps me sane and provides other things to look forward to: peace of mind, contentment, financial security in the long run?. But, at the end of the day, other than your partner (if you have one) who cares if you are running around like a busy bee, struggling to get that done and so forth.

At the end of my day, if I feel productive, then I feel good. Knowing that certain things (even if they are little) mean something. Yesterday, I had plenty of things to do, but only did a fraction of them. Why? Because I needed to tune out. So what if I backed up my data on my computer or changed a lightbulb in my kitchen, shopping for vintage spring clothes or caught up with an old friend over a long lunch with whom I haven't seen in well over a year.

My point is that you are only busy as you want yourself to be. We all need excuses and distractions to keep our minds from focusing on the really tough stuff: family, career, health and everything else in between. What I try to do is not really focus to much on the doings of others and what they have accomplished or are going to achieve. What I try to do is just live the life I want and not exist to appease others.

In this city of drudgery and work addicts, I hope that some of you are taking it easy and finding ways to enjoy the day. Perhaps even a nice walk in the park with a drink in hand and listening to your iPod works. It does for me. Even when I know I have thousands of things I could do, I just give myself a breather and chill for half and hour. Sometimes, even an hour.

When all is said and done, I think we should be committing to people and projects that we're passionate about. Isn't that what life truly means? Oh I just caught myself saying should again. Such an over used word, right? I have to get busy now and run to the gym.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The sweet life

So, I came across a book. "The Sweet Life in Paris, The Most glorious and Perplexing Place in the World, written by David Lebovitz." Luckily, a chunk of it is readily available online for your reading pleasure. (Just click the bold letters above) Every two pages includes an essay of sorts including a delectable recipe. Instantly, I loved the author's sense of humor. Lebovitz captured my attention by discussing our supposed favorite passion, Paris.

He has a self-deprecating style. Nothing over the top. A baker and chef from San Francisco, Lebovitz chose to move with two suitcases, several cookbooks and a couple of pots and pans. He lived in a tiny, cramped, archaic apartment with creaky stairs(seventh floor walk-up) and questionable plumbing. The language barrier along with the transition of becoming a French citizen was enough to send him trekking back to California, but Lebovitz never left and remains there after several years.

It made me think about why we are driven towards places. How do we allow something to work in spite of its enormous challenges? I am not sure what it is about Paris. Could it be the pastries, architecture, art, museums, snobbery, fashion, history, gardens, language, men, and inconceivable raw beauty?

I gather its all the above. What I admire so fiercely about this man was his aptitude to recreate himself when no one else thought it to be feasible. So much of what we want or only dream of remains just that: an unfulfilled dream. With a recent birthday now expired and Valentine's Day finally over, I am thinking about the obvious: age and love, of course. Seeing as I lack the latter, I am starting to feel liberated instead of self-pity for not having a man to share my life with.

Yes, love can be amazing and universal. Aging can be wonderful too when you begin to live your life as you disregard other's opinions pertaining to your own dream catching. I am still a realist in terms of how one should approach certain financial and physical decisions. I am also a believer in taking risks to finding your sole purpose without being hinged to a partner or a career you don't want. Luckily, I am not in that position.

Paris will happen. I am not sure when. As long as I continue to prosper, eradicate the negative and forge ahead, I'll be on my way. At the end of day, all we have are our dreams. Live a little and dare yourself to reach and grab for it. In a few years, you might just see me writing this blog in you know where.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

36 years of being a bad ass?

My good friend claims that I am cool. Perhaps its the truth? I am not entirely sold on the idea. When I texted her about my impending birthday and the looming fear of officially getting older, she said I am officially a bad ass. It was the first time someone ever handed me that title.

With a sigh of relief, I celebrated my thirty-sixth year of existence. It was nice. One of the great things about living in Manhattan is the abundance of restaurants. I went to Gotham Bar and Grill with one of my best mates. Catching up with her is quite a treat, because she is true friend who is not only a great source of support, she is a foodie like me.

I dished on Tuna Tar Tar and Blackened Codfish with Bok Choy. I blissfully inhaled Peanut Butter Mouse with Raspberry Sorbet accompanied by an edible candle. I made my silent wish as the other patrons exited. Reluctantly after almost three hours and two glasses of wine later, I left our cozy table and headed out into the cold. I wondered around downtown and purchased a great pair of Cargo Pants from Ralph Lauren.

I fought against the piercing wind and eventually returned home to charge my batteries. Loved ones called which made me feel special. After a couple of hours, I opted to see a movie at Sunshine Cinema on Houston. Another friend was unable to make it due to work, so I went by myself. I killed time before it stared and drank an amazing Mojito accompanied with Shrimp Ceviche and Pineapple. It was amazing, grim and downright depressing. Personal note to self: don't watch films about death or misery on your birthday. Moving on.

Afterwards, I spent the night eating at a cool noodle place on First Avenue that caught my fancy a year ago. I sat by the bar and watched handsome men cook my Shrimp Buns and Spicy Sausage Noodles with Cashews and Spinach. Along with my umpteenth glass of vino of the day, I chatted up with the couple next to me and compared our dishes.

Towards the end, I grew full as my Diesel jeans could no longer be buttoned. I rang up another friend and met up for one drink. Afterwards of seeing practically no one at the bar, I marched home and bundled up in bed. I didn't care I was without a man. I thought about all the things I am fortunate to have and realized I am glad to be alive-to have air in my lungs and love in my heart with a pair of feet that walk.

I am right where I need to be: a single, independent, handsome, and creative bad ass who knows himself a lot better at 36 than I ever did at 35. And, that it is just fine with me.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Being centered....

I am thinking about taking up mediation again. Something inside says it is time.

Yesterday, I had a conversation with someone who says it works. She doesn't do it as often, but notices changes when it happens. Looking at her, one can tell she is grounded and calm.

I am not sure what it is, but something from within myself is calmer. I am less frazzled by the things I can't control and far less concerned with pleasing others. Perhaps it has to with transitioning into my mid thirties?

Whatever the reasons are, I attribute it to not over analyzing everything so much.

I am not a religious person at all, but the the thought of clearing out my head on the base of my floor with a new, improved filtering system sounds so appealing. My friend says she even has a special spot for when she commits to it.

As another birthday approaches next week, I am seeking to have center and find that special place in my head, and hopefully my heart, where all the other unnecessary bullshit is inconsequential. I am not transitioning to anything radical. It is just a thought that needs to be entertained a bit.

In a city as loud and as massive as NYC, we all could use a little center where everything is all right with the world. Thoughts?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Thoughts of Paris...

This evening at work proved to be a bit slow, thanks in large part to the crappy weather. While I was working away, I had an interesting exchange with two charming Frenchwomen. One was older, delicate and classy. The younger was affable, kind, glamorous, and warm.

What I loved about them was their openness to talk, to engage in a dialogue about France. We spoke about the differences between Parisians and New Yorkers and how they hold carefuly interwoven similarities: the brashness, the reputation, the cuisine, the history, the sheer beauty, and the energy are a just a few.

Both NYC and Paris have quite a strong following with droves of people from all over the world, willing to come to our cities and give up livelihoods and begin something more meaningful and rich. I did it when I moved here to the big apple from LA. I know what it feels like to start over anew with a different perspective.

As I stood there, listening to them speak in their native, gorgeous language, I found it easier to imagine myself living there someday. Certainly, it won't happen over night and the planning will probably require a bit of time and research. But, this night gave me hope.

When I visited Paris for the first time last year, I wasn't daunted by the bone chilling winter, the impossible language barrier or that I was practically lost when I turned every corner. I reveled in the sights and sounds and how strangers were more than willing to help out an American tourist such as myself. I walked that city for days amidst horrible conditions, disoriented , bewildered, and overwhelmed. And, it was probably one the happiest moments of my life. I felt free, inspired and refreshed as I sat for hours in the Louvre and sipped Ricards and ate French Macaroons while people watching in the Saint Germain Du Pres.

I loved that these two beautiful women were able to chat about Paris and humor me a bit regarding my fascination with the place. I received a few tips on where to go when visiting again and the do's and don't s of speaking French. I even got a business card from the younger if I ever choose to move there. She mentioned she would be happy to assist with my transition in obtaining contacts, including her assistance if I needed it.

Whomever said Parisians are rude and snobby are so full of shit!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A page a day is a book a year....

One of my former writing teachers said something a couple of years ago that I won't forget. She said,"A page a day is a book a year." Perhaps it wasn't the actual statement itself, but the way she annunciated her words. It was said in a matter of fact way. Succinct and soft.

As we are unbelievably almost finished with January, I am here at my computer, alone in my over heated apartment with fervor to write more. It's not that I haven't neglected my voice, but taking a much needed break from life, school, work, and so forth were way over due. But, my excuses are no longer tolerable.

I've been writing my memoirs on and off for about two or three years-give or take. They are mere collections of thoughts, ruminating essays and downright rants of my expressions about the world and the terrifying childhood memories that rest in the back of my mind, unhinged. Depending on my coursework for the semester, my writing for that particular project varies. Not anymore.

For the second time, I've just finished watching, Eat Pray Love. Yes, it received mostly frigid reviews. Whatever. I don't care. I love the movie. Adore it actually. Not because it is entirely true to the book, but that it tells the story through a woman's eyes. A lovely account of what happens when we investigate our inner callings. Yes, I am still a Julia Robert's fan. And no, I am not apologizing for it either.

My point is that this film successfully told the story, which derives from this longing to understand something innately primal in all of us: why am I here? The book, which is simply magical if not intoxicating, ruminates constantly in my thoughts. Why is her story so compelling? Why is her writing lyrical? Plain and simple. Talent. Relentless ambition. And, a calling to express her life through the power of the written word.

After the credits, I watched the additional commentary about the novelist herself, Elizabeth Gilbert. She goes on to elaborate what inspired her to write the book in the first place and what the writing process meant to her. As I listened, it made me think about my own writing processes and what prevents me from writing more about my story. We all have one. Some, perhaps more compelling than others. What I took from her interview is that we are all on an exploration. Some of us might be more willing to play around and figure things out the hard way.

I am not promising anything to anyone much less myself. Anyone who knows the process of writing accepts that our inspirations seeps into different forms and spurts. Mine seem to be flowing. Call it the new year. Or simply deem it the time I needed to rest. I am going to attempt to write a page a day. It might not be cohesive or as fluid as I would like, but it will be out there. On the computer screen saved for my reading pleasure.

Much like the affable, it not exhausting Ms.Gilbert, I have a story that pertains to my childhood in Nevada and to my adulthood of making it on my own in New York City. And, I intend on sharing it someday.

Incidentally, my teacher has already published three of her memoirs and is working on her first novel. I love the power of positive thinking.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Western roots

The past couple of weeks have been quite relaxing. I spent some needed time with my brother and his beautiful family in Salt Lake City. I crashed on the couch of one my dearest friends in the world at her pad in Los Angeles. Life is good.

I had the chance to reconnect with my western roots, mostly I had chance to reconnect with myself again. All of it, where I am from and where I have lived have brought me to where I am now. Thirty something, single and living in New York. As I was out there, I tried to hang up my problems.

I ate scrumptious cuisine, drank decadent cocktails, partied with friends, watched movies, took walks, laughed over silly things, sat by a fire with copious glasses of wine, slept in, played with my handsome nephews, gabbed with my amazing sister in law, commiserated on the wrong doings of my parents with my brother, shopped for things I didn't need, checked out hot guys, had an interesting conversation about mortality with a stranger on a plane, and drooled while watching a handsome, celebrity leave a cafe above Sunset Blvd with my BFF in hand.

Now as I am back in the arctic that is Manhattan, I am sad that it has ended. My western roots are an integral part of me. For so long, I thought I was this frenzied city boy with places to go and people to see. The quintessential city boy, thank you very much. But, am I really that person I've perceived myself to be?

Not that I am in love with LA again, but watching my loved ones co-exist in their worlds made me realize that there is a whole other galaxy that doesn't pertain to NYC. I thoroughly enjoyed my time off, because I wasn't stressed or worried about inane things I can't control. I looked around and wondered if I could live there again. The pace and people are way different. They are definitely slower. They are perhaps, weirder. If that makes sense. But, they know how to relax, chill out and not take everything so literally.

So, from this point on, I am going to try to chill a bit more and not take everything so seriously. Can this truly happen on this maddening island? Just wait and see. There's no place like home.