Maybe Change Is Not So Bad After All

A lot has changed since the last time I wrote. It is hard for me to believe that the last time I wrote anything was over a year ago, and prior to that, an additional year. I had once loved the idea of writing as an outlet for the depression that always lingered beneath the surface. The pain followed me, and at times engulfed me, like a shadow that was just there every second, of every minute, of every day, of every week, of every month, of every year. Even when it felt like I was at my highest highs, my conscience always found a way to drift towards the lowest lows. Quite frankly, it was draining. At times, my depression almost got the better of me, but I eventually learned to live with it, which I believe is a skill within itself. However, contrary to my previous posts, today’s touches upon the way that this past year and 3 months has transitioned my perspective on life to that of a place filled with love and happiness.

I used to wake up thinking everything would be easier if I was dead. After all, contrary to my facade, it always felt as if I already was.. or drowning, rather. Each passing day symbolized the pressure of growing up, and I dreaded it. I could be having the time of my life and without warning, my mind will wander to thoughts along the lines of, “I just want to go home,” “I just want to be alone,” and “None of this even matters.” It was as if my mind was punishing itself for having a shred of hope, and it was mentally draining to say the least. Rather than confiding in others about it, I chose to harbor it all, which ultimately caused more harm than improvement. At times, I found myself contemplating why I felt like this. To me, it seemed so simple, but to third parties, it seemed as if the idea was unfathomable. I was labeled as a “mental case” who needed help, even though to them, I looked “normal.” I gave up. I was tired of being labeled as someone who needed help when in actuality, I was able to comprehend how I felt just fine. I continued surrounding myself with just about anything and/or anyone in order to fill this inexplainable void. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that maybe I found solace in being alone, but never actually alone—if that makes sense. Years have gone by, and believe it or not, although I am the happiest I think I have ever been in my life, my mind still tends to drift to that all-too-familiar territory. I know now that I have too much to live for, too many people to live for, and most importantly, myself to live for.

I recently stumbled upon a video that touched upon yami kawaii—a growing Japanese subculture that focuses on imagery that correlates with darkness, pain, suicide, and depression overall. When one of the individuals in the video was asked why she was depressed and attempted to commit suicide, she answered, “the only cause I can think of is being born in the first place.” This one line resonated with me more than I could have imagined—it all made sense. The feeling of mutual understanding was uncannily refreshing. Truthfully speaking, I did not have a hard childhood whatsoever; however, somewhere along the path of adulthood, my mind drifted toward the idea(s) that yami kawaii embodies. To me, darkness represents unfamiliarity and uncertainty, and this eventually became a norm. However, I digress. The aforementioned path(s) that I followed led me to where and who I am today. 

We all have a goal that we one day hope to achieve. During an interview, I was asked what my goals were. I answered, “To be happy. We all have different goals and aspirations, and we are all driven by different things that motivate us to become a better person. Some people focus on finding their dream job, while others may focus on finding the love of their life. Ultimately, it all leads to being happy.” Personally, I have always found myself to be the latter. I always believed that finding someone that I could spend the rest of my life with took priority. It is one thing to be broke, but it is another to be broke and utterly.. alone. As Gabrielle Solis once said in Desperate Housewives, “I have been broke a lot of times in my life, but I have never been poor, because poor is just a state of mind.” As someone who has found themselves in debt more often than not, this line shattered me.. It made me realize that who you surround yourself with genuinely makes an impact. I had previously surrounded myself with individuals who were spoiled, materialistic, and downright snooty. At that point in time, I felt lost. It shifted my own mindset toward that of someone of their caliber, and it ultimately made things worse because it always made me feel like I was not good enough, nor would I ever be.

Looking back, there were countless times when I left myself exposed and vulnerable. I was put in scenarios that allowed me to be used and abused; however, at the end of the day, I justified this by telling myself it was all for love.. or the potential of, rather. Eventually, I learned to accept who I am because as someone who lived most of his life searching for love, I realized that the potential has been there all along. As cheesy as this may sound, love is a two-way street, and in order for me to find love, I had to learn to not only live for the idea of love, but love myself as well. How could I expect to find love when the thought of suicide was stronger than the thought of love? Being loved and nurtured is a fundamental part of growing up, and an important life lesson that I have lived by, from Moulin Rouge, is that “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is to love and be loved in return.” There has never been a point in my life where this related to the very core of my existence as it does at this very moment. Looking back, to a mere year and 3 months ago, I never would have expected, or even fathomed, myself to be so.. happy? Occasionally, my mind still tends to wander to that “all-too-familiar territory.” Yet, the ideas that I correlated with yami kawaii (darkness, pain, suicide, and depression) now offer a completely different meaning than before—in the sense that the pain of hurting the people I love outweighs the pain that I had previously endured. Many view yami kawaii as a twisted and grotesque subculture in Japanese fashion due to its illustrations (i.e. blood and needles), but this “sick” form of expression spreads awareness toward an issue that is often at times stigmatized and frowned upon. 

Looking back, things have changed. As previously stated, I had surrounded myself with individuals that were more or less toxic. It was upon that realization that I changed not them, but myself. My first post on this blog was 5 years ago, and since then, I have experienced my highest highs, and my lowest lows. I had tried to find my own identity through chasing after potential lovers, to the point where I let relationships ultimately define my happiness. Looking back—and yes, I know I have repeated “looking back,” and “love” multiple times—I realize that finding a guy like Kenny would have been close to impossible, considering I surrounded myself with individuals that made me feel less than what I am. I needed to find someone who made me feel invincible, flaws and all, rather than feeling broke, ugly, fat, etc. I am 26-years-old, in debt, and I may not have a job that utilizes my degree (yet), but I have the love of a lifetime that makes me feel like the only job I will ever need.. “is to love and be loved in return.” It took 5 years, but it got better, and it will continue to. 3 years ago, I posted that “it won’t get better—it never has been and it never will be. When it does manage to ‘get better’, I won’t be there.” When I was 19-years-old, I got a nautical star tattoo on the right side of my Adonis/Apollo’s belt (V line). Aside from its “skanky” aesthetics, the underlying meaning behind a nautical star is to ensure safe passage into the unfamiliar. California was the biggest step towards unfamiliarity and uncertainty, and I can honestly say that regardless of some of the hardships, I made it.. safely. I used to dread change because change meant progress, and progress meant continuing, but maybe change is not so bad after all.

Mental Illness, Depression, and Suicide: The World As I See It.

Disclaimer: I apologize in advance, for this post may be depressing af; however, if you have not yet noticed this similar/recurring pattern, that seems to be the theme of this blog. Firstly, I need people to understand that this post is NOT a cry for help. If anything, it is an outlet for me to express my ideas/thoughts on often-stigmatized issues, which are mental illness, depression, and suicide. As most may or may not have known, I am an individual who identifies as depressed; however, that does not mean that I am currently sad and/or unhappy. I am doing okay, everything is alright, life is good, but most importantly, I am NOT going to kill myself. This post aims to dispel the belief that just because someone is depressed, they are going to commit suicide; just because someone is suicidal, that does NOT necessarily mean they are automatically going to killing themselves; however, if they do, they should be remembered in a non-negative way (i.e. no finger-pointing, shaming, etc.). Read on to further understand my thoughts/personal experience with the topic presented.

Have you ever found yourself in a state of not being okay, but okay enough? Yeah? Well welcome to the club. It is a feeling that is almost indescribable, especially to those who are unable to comprehend the complexity of the feeling at hand. In addition, stigma often surrounds the ideologies that society deems as “negative.” It does not help anyone when society collectively classifies issues such as mental illness, depression, and suicide as things to be frowned upon and silenced. I recently stumbled upon a video on Facebook that spoke about suicide as a feeling rather than an action, and it spoke to me on so many levels. Just because someone is suicidal, that does not necessarily mean they are going to kill themselves; just because we think in a suicidal manner, that does not mean we are not normal. Your idea of “normal” could be completely different or opposite to another’s definition. Some people believe that individuals are born gay, while others believe that individuals encounter experiences that ultimately lead to the realization of their sexuality; this logic can apply to mental illness, depression, and suicide—in the sense that there really is no right or wrong because we all view things differently. And there is nothing wrong with that.

“It is okay to not be okay.” “It gets better.” These are two (clichéd) lines that, as an individual who identifies as LGBTQ, I have heard one too many times, and quite frankly, it is tiring and a complete load of bull. Personally speaking, when one dares to even mention feelings of suicide, they are usually bombarded with questions that seem more like prying, concerns that seem more like pity, and acknowledgement that seems more like judgment. We are viewed differently, when in actuality, this is normal to us. It is okay to not be okay, yet when mental illness, depression, and/or suicide is mentioned, we become individuals who need professional help. Just because one lives life on the opposite side of spectrum, that does not make the other individual any less normal—their mindset is just different, not wrong. To me, being “sad” and being “depressed” are two similar, yet completely different, things—one is a mood, while the other is a lifestyle. For as long as I can remember, I have identified as one who views the glass as half empty rather than half full. While sadness is capable of being overcame, depression cannot. One’s depression is something that cannot be understood, but rather, “relatable” through comparisons. And even then, it is inaccurate. There are many reasons as to why I feel saddened; however, I find myself stumbling when it comes to explaining why I am depressed. I just am.

Getting back to the issue at hand, “normal” individuals live life “happily”, experiencing occasional moments of sadness; whereas the “others”, such as myself, live life in a constant state of depression and experience occasional moments of happiness. I could be having a blast and suicidal simultaneously; displaying an optimistic demeanor when you are feeling at your best is easy enough, but doing so when you are having what feels like the worst day of your life is a skill within itself. Let it be known that this does not mean I am sad right now, nor am I expecting the typical, “Are you alright?” Yes, I am alright; as previously stated, I am okay enough. In the video I previously mentioned, it stated that it is years of torment, and I completely agree. For me, it has been a lifelong commitment, and to me, these feelings are normal. Different to me is when I actually find myself happy because more often than not, I find myself trying to recall the last time I was “happy”—I wanted to further clarify that to me, there is a difference between being happy and experiencing a fleeting moment of happiness. As aforementioned, my perspective and the way I think may be difficult to comprehend and interpret because we all think differently. Like Atticus explained to Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb in his skin and walk around in it.” Rather than being told that an individual is selfish for having suicidal thoughts, it would be nice if others took the time to sympathize and save their pity, discomfort, and close-mindedness to themselves. While suicidal often refers to the act of individuals killing themselves, not every individual who is depressed/suicidal kills themselves; rather, it can alternatively refer to individuals who subconsciously have the idea of it lingering. Though appealing, it is not definite.

It is important to keep in mind that not everyone is as openly vocal about mental illness, depression, and suicide. Even if an individual is, their idea(s) towards the topic at hand may differ compared to the next person’s. When shit hits the fan, you often hear things like, “I had no idea he was suicidal”, “He seemed so normal to me”, etc. Just because someone is suffering from a mental illness, depressed, and/or suicidal, that does not mean it will be visible to the world; there is no sign that reads, “I am going to kill myself!”, nor will there be any symptoms and/or clues. The sad truth is, life is not all rainbows, sunshines, and butterflies; but rather, it is dark clouds, nightfalls, and shattered illusions trapped in a cocoon of differences and unfamiliarity. The worst feeling in the world resembles that of vulnerability and helplessness—the inability of being able to control the metaphorical blueprint of scenarios that we once believed was “all figured out.” But that is life, and as clichéd as this may sound, you live and you learn.

Trouble in Paradise? The Process of Becoming Strangers Again.

I know it is not a competition, but I would just like to say that I stopped caring first—although saying so does not convince the crowd anymore than it does myself. I seem to have, once again, gotten myself into a debacle involving a man who identifies as five years my junior. For those who I have not kept in touch with on a daily basis, as well as those who I plain, just, don’t talk to, I’m embarking on a journey to teach English in Korea in a mere month and some change. I’m sure you can put two and two together and figure out the issue at hand: getting involved in the first place. He was young, cute, naïve, and Korean—need I add more? He was totally my type, but that was just it; there was not much substance once you consider the mold that he already fit so perfectly. The hunt only gets harder when your preference in a significant other becomes more refined, when you become more selective, and/or when you are downright picky. Finding someone to fit the image of the “perfect candidate” is hard enough as is; trying to make them stay after realizing that there is not much in common is even harder. Exhibit A. Meeting someone who meets your criteria and “trying” to fall in love with the idea of them, rather than the individual him/herself, is where I think the problem often at times stems in my case—this isn’t how love should be.

We started off like most: with pet names, or rather, nicknames that were a play of words—relating to each other’s name. I would wake up to texts saying, “Good morning Stebear.” Corny, I know, but I thought it was cute and it managed to put a smile on my face. Granted, I never responded in a timely manner due to the fact that I usually woke up at 4-5pm, whereas normal people wake up anywhere between 7am-12pm. It felt as if my days were shorter, as well as the amount of time I had to talk with him. Little by little, we drifted apart and normally, the texts came slower and slower, less and less. The difference between this kid from the rest is that I knew it was coming. Compared to the other men I have been with, who blatantly discontinue any communication whatsoever, this inevitable ending seemed to have.. eased it’s way out? If that makes sense, and for that, I have the utmost respect for him, as well as the way it ended.

Considering that this “relationship” would have only lasted a little bit more than two months at most, I knew that I would have to eventually let it go. Our dates consisted of lengthy cuddle sessions at my house, listening to K-Pop, lots of making out, and slowly becoming acquainted with one another, simultaneously—aside from the kissing and talking. There were instances that I became painstakingly aware of our differences, whether it be age, appearance, language, etc. The language barrier was not too much of an issue, but there were times when I literally had to Google Translate what I was trying to get across—it was cute. In regards to his age and appearance, I realized that the way he dressed/presented himself reminded me of myself at his age. I always talk about “my type,” being with younger/younger looking Asian men; however, once I was finally with someone who identified with these characteristics, it felt so weird. In general, the process of meeting someone for the first time is awkward, but then again, we all started off as strangers at one point. Sometimes we would lay in silence, the daylight slowly fading, and I would lean in for a kiss in order to fill the void. But it never progressed further than that. When I looked at him, I saw more than just a hookup; I saw a pure, innocent, young man who I did not have to courage to taint. I would find myself thinking, “Are we moving too fast?” We would vigorously/passionately make out, to the point where I had to stop to catch my breath, but these were just a plus to what he already offered. His company was what I desired most.

Trouble in paradise? Paradise is just another word for a mere fantasy.

What hurt the most was the look of pain present upon his face when I told him about Korea, as if he wanted to tell me to stay. I might have considered it. Maybe it was cruel to get involved with someone so innocent, knowing that I would be leaving for Korea in a mere 1-2 months. I knew I could not make him happy, nor could I provide him with what he was looking for, and it was at this realization that his demeanor changed altogether. In the end, he said he wanted to focus on school, blaming school for our loss of contact, but it was obvious that it was really because of Korea. He went from this clingy boy who used to stay awake until I got out of work, just to say goodnight, to a boy who no longer cared whether or not I made it through the night. I guess unexpected news is capable of shattering any illusions one might have. Suddenly, the message of Wong Fu’s “Strangers Again” became way too real because just like that, we became strangers again. Our final texts were as follows:

Me: “Don’t apologize. Study hard, sleep earlier, and stay kyute. 🙂 bye ___”

Him: “I’m so sorry Stephen.. thanks so much for everything, and take care my Stebear :)”

He is still young, and I genuinely do wish the best for him. I think it is safe to say, we ended things on good terms. To me, that says a lot.

Part 2: End—Some Illusions Are Best Left Unshattered

A lot has happened since 2015. I have done things that I am not entirely proud of; however, neither are they things that I have come to regret. We do the things that we do because we ultimately think of the end result, the outcome, or in my case, because I was horny. I previously wrote a somewhat raunchy blog post, describing a past hookup with a younger man that I met via Jack’d—to clarify, by younger, I mean 2 years younger. Upon recollection of this encounter, I always felt as if I never received the closure that I deserved. Hell, I feel like I never receive the closure I deserve in almost all of my past relationships, but that is life I guess, and that is another story waiting to be told. Before he blocked me, he said: ”Life’s hard isn’t it? I’ve met guys like me before and I hated it.” The thing is, regardless of how shitty he treated me, I always remembered the part of our conversation when he told me that he was sad, lonely, and had no one to talk to. It was at that moment that I felt pity, empathy, and a mutual connection/understanding. I wanted to be the one to snap him out of this “slump” that he was going through—the same slump that I have burrowed through one too many times. However, he blocked me, and that was that. I was confused and a bit upset at the time, but I knew I would get over it because that is what I do. I’m not one to hold grudges because, as aforementioned, we do the things we do because we ultimately think of the end result, the outcome, or in his case, because he was horny. My biggest regret about the whole situation was that I couldn’t remember his name for the life of me. I was so fixed on his looks that my mind completely blanked when he introduced himself. I put the situation behind me and continued my pursuit of happiness via Jack’d.

Fast forward nearly a year later, and that brings us to today’s story. Being one who occasionally finds himself bored by the failed attempts at “happiness” offered via Jack’d and/or Tinder, I often found myself deleting my profile, only to recreate an almost identical one a couple of days later—I would say weeks, but even I know that’s a lie. Every once in awhile, I would see the aforementioned younger man view my profile—a move that I was all too familiar with. He had done so prior, and like before, his actions piqued my interest. Why view my profile if you are most likely going to block me once again? I didn’t want to get involved, but he intrigued me. I sent him a message one random night after work asking if he wanted to hang out. There was no response, although I saw that he viewed my message. On the bright side, he didn’t block me again. I left it at that and drove home, thinking about what might have happened had he messaged me back. A couple of days later, he viewed my profile again. I knew that he knew it was me because I had not updated my profile picture—“ain’t nobody got time for that!” I found myself compelled to send him another message. This time, rather than sounding thirsty, I sent him a message voicing my concern for his wellbeing—“I know the last time we spoke, you said you were sad, lonely, and had no one to talk to. I know it’s not much, but if you ever need someone to talk to again, feel free to him me up. I had a good time getting to know you last time, even if things didn’t end well. No hard feelings though! Hope everything is well~ :)” I meant every word of it.

Failed attempt after failed attempt, I questioned why the hell I was going out on a limb for a kid who was clearly into games. I had given up and blocked him out of my mind for the time being. That is, until we matched on Tinder. I followed the instructions on his profile, which stated that he was shy and that if he were to match with someone, message him first. “I take it you must have swiped right a long time ago because if I recall correctly, you said I wasn’t your type.” I wasn’t expecting a response, but much to my surprise, he actually did respond. “Be more confident!” he replied. He asked me why I still messaged him even though he was being such a dick. To be completely honest, it was because he was cute, misunderstood, and needed a shoulder to lean on, but mainly because he was cute. One thing led to another and the next thing I know, I’m on my way to the kid’s dorm via Uber. Upon seeing him again for the first time in almost a year, I can honestly say that it was not like a breath of fresh air. If anything, it was like a breath of fresh weed. His dorm reeked of weed and the idea of getting blown while smoking was one that he wanted to enact. It was at this moment that I realized that this kid was not all that in a bag of chips. That is, he wasn’t everything that my delusional mind set him out to be. The kid in the backseat of the Zipcar was merely a kid who used weed to escape reality. I’m not one to judge, after all, we all have our own coping mechanism(s). However, I could not help but wonder whether or not he was even fully present when we hooked up the first time. He offered me a hit, but I politely declined due to an upcoming drug test. We spent the night satisfying one another—more so me to him. If I was unable to heal him emotionally, then I wanted to heal him physically. When it came to an end (no pun intended), we exchanged an awkward hug and said our farewells. I finally got his name.

I realized that some illusions are best left unshattered. Why did I fret over someone I hardly even knew? Someone who treated me like crap? But most importantly, why was I chasing after a moment that was merely a moment? Even I was aware that nothing more than a hookup was going to happen with this kid. Maybe it was the mystery/curiosity offered due to forgetting his name. Maybe it was the thrill of getting caught in public. Maybe it was one of those instances where the wrong guy enters at the right time. Maybe I just enjoy being the one who does the chasing. Shortly after, I deleted my Jack’d and my Tinder, ceasing any contact with him. My intentions were not to spite him, although he might have believed otherwise. When I thought about it, all that remained was a boy who refused to help himself. The illusion of this perfect man was finally shatter, and it was through this experience that I was able to find closure. Sometimes it is best to merely leave things as is, enjoying the essence of a fantasy through rose-colored glasses; chasing after an illusion that is best left unshattered—that which cannot be caught, although one can dream.

In Need of Constant Ecstasy: “My”self

I’m in need of constant ecstasy—not literally, of course. I’m just lonely is all, but what’s new? Isn’t it normal for us to feel out of the loop some days more than others? Truthfully speaking, I spend almost every night, of every day, thinking about things that are better left unthought about; dreaming about remnants of a past time that is now a mere fantasy. There are nights when I get so lost in the hurt. I’m taken back to my youth—an 8-year-old Stephen glaring resentfully at the present day me. “I really let myself go, huh?” I don’t mean physically, I mean emotionally. I find myself reaching out, placing my tainted right hand—my dominant hand—upon the dirt-stained mirror. I wonder how it feels to be on the opposite side of reality. What if I was happy? What if I cared? “How do you expect me to care about you when I don’t even care about myself?” Maybe it’s the weather transitioning towards a gloomier state, but I’m really starting to feel the fall. That’s just it. I’m falling. My goals, my aspirations, my dreams, my joy; all that shit down the drain, burned, ashes remain. I remember being asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Who the fuck cares? It’s sad, really, when all I want to be is happy. I used to think that it will get better. Hell, I even had a blog post titled, “It Gets Better.” Bullshit. It won’t get better—it never has been and it never will be. When it does manage to “get better,” I won’t be there <- This isn’t a cry for help, nor is this a declaration to kill myself, it’s merely a soon-to-be mid-twenties gentleman venting about an often-stigmatized topic. Someone recently told me I need help; that I need to talk to someone. Does this count? After all, I am technically sharing my most vulnerable moments with those who actually bother reading about how/what I feel—and for that, I thank you. It’s been a little bit over two years since I started this blog. Not much has changed. I’m still romantically alone; I’m still sheltered; I’m still sad; I’m still me. These are growing pains that I’ve much come to recognize, accept, and embrace about “my”self. *sigh* I’m in need of constant ecstasy—not literally, of course. Happy two years.

Part 1: Raunchy—A Short Recollection of a Recent Jack’d (Sex)capade

The hardest part is getting over these “moments” that hold no depth, further challenging oneself to overcome these moments that no longer carry any meaning—in regards to who I am today. These constantly aforementioned moments (please excuse my repetition) that I find myself constantly dwelling upon are just that—mere moments, instances, incapable of ever evolving into something more. How does one expect to grow as an individual when they are unable to look past a memory that is nowadays reminiscent of a flicker (of light… of hope)? One could describe it as an uncanny—haunting—occurrence, which brings about much more sadness than it ever did joy.

I recently found myself going the extra mile for someone in which I hardly knew. He was someone who caught my interest on Jack’d quite awhile ago; however, I never managed to muster the courage necessary to messaging him. When I finally did grow some balls, his response was less-than-thrilling—non-existent actually. For those of you familiar with Jack’d, it has a feature that allows you to see who has viewed your profile + when they viewed it. Neat little feature, wouldn’t you agree? NOT! Okay, he went on my page, realized he wasn’t interested, simple as that… If only. Anyone who is aware of how my brain works, as well as someone who is familiar with Mean Girls, can agree that “I am a pusher. I push people” (2004). I visited his profile and saw that he was interested in dates—LTR and friends also, but I didn’t care about those. Coincidentally, my profile says that I am looking for guys to take out on dates. So I gave it a shot. I asked him if he’d want to go out for a date some time. I’ll admit, looks-wise, this guy was DEFINITELY my type! Sadly, my interest was—once again—unrequited. Good job, I pushed the guy away.

Give-or-take 1.5 months later, I constantly see this aforementioned hot piece of ass checking out my profile. It was as if he was dropping hints. So once again, I took the initiative; however, in a different approach. Instead of the usual, “Hey 🙂 how’re you?”, I found myself typing, “Hey, want to have some fun? I can pick you up.” Thank god I have a license now, although I am sure this is not the sole purpose of having one. He complied, but voiced his concern about having homophobic roommates. Instead of fooling around in his apartment, he wanted to fool around in a back alley. I offered to send him an UBER, but he declined. I didn’t want an opportunity like this to pass, so I agreed to his terms. I found myself walking to the Zipcar station at 2:30 in the morning, which is astonishing—considering how scared I am of the dark.

It took me longer than expected to arrive at his place, but when I rolled down the window—my god—this kid was breathtakingly gorgeous. Hell, he was drop-dead gorgeous. It looked creepy on my end, because I literally pulled up to the corner of his block and yelled, “Hey, get in.” One would think I were a pimp yelling at his hoe/prostitute. We ended up going to a back alley and getting it on for the most part. I was paranoid, car was off, it was quiet. His kisses began soft and gentle, which further escalated to rough and slobbery. Once again, for those who are aware of how I am, I usually hate kissing men because I feel like it is hard to find a guy whose kisses mesh with mine. With this kid, it was perfect. I found myself making out with him for what felt like cock-throbbing minutes—not just regular minutes, cock-throbbing. His lips were a little chapped and his breath smelled like cigarettes, but these factors turned me on all the more. Soft moans were escaping his lips, silenced when I placed mine against his. It was the first time in awhile that I felt this rush/spark surging through my body. My heart ached because it felt SDG (so damn good)!—I kid you not. It was one of those moments where you find yourself thinking, “Fuck, this is perfect!”

I felt in control. I slipped my hand up his white v-neck, grazing the tip of his hardened nipples. His moans were escaping like crazy, further encouraging me to go on. “You like that?” Instead of saying yes, he nodded. His expression looked… thirsty, if that makes sense. His eyes were so alluring. Fuck, everything about this kid was heaven—obviously exaggerating. I reached down to his erect member, grabbing it and squeezing it. His reaction was so cute. He was wearing on jeans that had buttons for the fly rather than a zipper. He was definitely excited… and you know where it goes from here. He asked me questions when we were in the process of hooking up, and the way he said them drove me crazy. Thinking about it now drives me crazy, and it makes me sad because the chances of it happening again are slim-to-none. When we were done, I found myself running low on time, in terms of how long I rented the car; however, we talked—we found the time.

We talked for almost 1.5-2 hours afterwards, in the backseat of the car. We took turns cuddling one another. We rotated: he placed his head upon my lap, and I placed mine upon his. He loved playing with my hair, drenched in escaped-perspiration. We talked about a lot of things: relationships, preference, his country (Korea), different languages (we jokingly spoke in Mandarin), college, coming out, homophobia, etc. It was a good night, if I do say so myself. I realized that it was already 4:30AM and I had to get up for work in 5 hours. Unfortunately, we had to cut the conversation short. Before he left the car, he pulled my shirt forcefully, pulling me in for a final kiss—a kiss that (literally) took my breath away. It was all I could think about during the ride home. I got home around 5AM, but laid in bed until 6:30-7ish. It was what I had hoped for for a long while.

I found myself telling my coworkers about this too-good-to-be-true date/hookup I had last night. They thought it was cute how happy I got talking about it. Looks-wise, voice-wise, personality-wise—this kid was definitely my type. But I guess I wasn’t his. He ended up blocking me. My friend(s) tell me to think positively—that he most likely deleted his account, like I have multiple times in the past. But this theory is highly unlikely. I know people like this kid, because people like him are people like me. We fuck with people, and when we get a taste of our own medicine, we don’t know how to cope with it. Here I am writing about it at 5:37AM—guess this is my way of coping with it. Our final exchange of messages were as follows: (Me) Let’s go to IHOP next time. First time for everything. 🙂 Goodnight. (Him) Definitely. I had fun tonight. Goodnight. 🙂 (END) Things went well, to my understanding. Hell, I was under the impression that this kid loved me based on how much skinship we shared after the “main course.” He didn’t seem to mind it when his legs were wrapped around me. The worst part is, I don’t even remember his name. You’ve got to be kidding me. When I first laid eyes upon him, I got so flustered and nervous, like a fucking high-school girl holding textbooks close to her bosom as she passes her high-school man crush. I am seriously distraught upon the fact that I can’t even remember it.

How does one expect to grow as an individual when they are unable to look past a memory that is nowadays reminiscent of a flicker (of light… of hope)? You live, you learn; you experience, you move on—build a damn bridge and get over it. If only if were that easy. ”Life’s hard isn’t it? I’ve met guys like me before and I hated it.” Yeah, I’ve met guys like myself too, and I somehow find myself tangled up in a flurry of emotions, sputtering meaninglessness because the chances of ending up with someone similar to yourself—in which you resent—is slim-to-none. What can I say? I fall fast. Good.effing.night.

Love, Depression, and Frozen: “Conceal, Don’t Feel, Don’t Let Them Know”

Have you ever found yourself thinking, “It’s never going to get any better than this”? I have, and I realized that upon losing that in which once brought about so much happiness, the shock becomes almost unbearable—almost too much to handle. You’ll find yourself reflecting, nit-picking at every single detail, contemplating whether or not things could have ended differently, had you done things differently.

I recently experienced a moment of vulnerability—a moment in which I found myself reaching out to an individual whom I have not been in contact with as of late. The response I received was less than what I expected, and it left me feeling pathetic for even attempting to recreate the heartfelt conversations we once shared.

What does this have to do with anything? Well, to be completely honest, I’m not happy, and I can no longer remember the last time I was. I need help, as well as an outlet to voice my distress.

“It’s okay not to be okay.” Those words were spoken at a panel about mental health that I recently attended. I found myself thinking, “How do I recover?” and “Will I ever be able to go back? To being happy? To being ‘normal’?” It’s hard to understand depression if you have never experienced it, and for those who are unfamiliar, there is a difference between being sad and being depressed. While most people live life happily and experience random moments of sadness, I find myself living life in a state of depression, experiencing random moments of joy; in other words, everything is flipped. There are times when the line between being sad versus being depressed becomes blurred; however, those with well-trained eyes are able to recognize the distinction between the two. I don’t know.

It has gotten to the point where I no longer know who to turn to; I know I have friends who I could confide in, but I don’t want to burden anyone with my problems. Even so, when I try to talk about it? Nothing. The problem is, there really isn’t anything to talk about. Hell, I am not even completely aware of what the trigger is myself.

Once upon a time, I found it possible to meet an individual capable of sweeping me off my feet; however, after being in the game for so long, I have come to the sad conclusion that it is highly unlikely and, quite frankly, pretty much impossible to meet this real-life “Prince Charming.” The idea of love that I once carried has become morbidly distorted over the years. Somehow, as pessimistic and dramatic as this may sound, the naïve and overly-romantic individual that once dwelled within me simply vanished; every shred of hope and faith that I once held went along with it. I use men as a means of temporarily alleviating the loneliness I feel almost every minute, of every day, when I am without company.

Thinking back, maybe I brought it upon myself. I have constantly allowed myself to be used and abused, physically and emotionally, in order to temporarily alleviate this insatiable desire for companionship that dwells within my bosom. Key word: temporary. I have, more than once, allowed myself to enter a relationship that a) I was not ready for and b) I knew was not going to last; hence, temporary. Within these temporary flings, my conscience always drifted toward the idea, along the line of, “Maybe this could work out, after all.” Clearly it didn’t. They were either unable to look past my flaws, or they get bored—vice versa. I’m guilty of this as well.

I am a part of a community where the process of finding, and moving on to, a potential love interest is as quick as going through a box of tissues – in regards to one who jerks off regularly. Happiness? Companionship? These were merely temporary benefits that I’ve become much too accustomed to. They always came, but never stayed. To be honest, I don’t know what I was expecting. I guess… more? My idea of love has become misconstrued, but even so, it is the one thing I desperately yearn for. The concept of a relationship still remains a puzzle to me. At times, I am unsure as to whether or not I want to be in a relationship, or if I am merely intrigued by the idea of being in one. Out of all the roads I could have potentially taken, I find myself building a new path; a path where I no longer care. In life, people’s goals and aspirations are fixated on the career they dream to pursue, something they are passionate about. For me, I’m motivated by my journey to find love, as corny as that may sound.

When I recall past exes, I find myself thinking “He was a good kid.” Truthfully speaking, any negative feelings I once harbored toward that said individual has now been relinquished. Instead, I occasionally find myself reminiscing of empty memories that once brought about much joy, but only occasionally. I would attempt to steer my conscience toward other fathomable fancies, resulting in little to no avail. I find myself wishing I had been brave enough to have embraced him in one last hug; I find myself wishing I had been brave enough to have leaned in for one last kiss. Smiles, which soon proceed unto the inevitable overbearing weight of loneliness, quickly fade. The sad part is, there are times when all you want to do is cry, but you just can’t. We all have problems, although some people are able to hide it better than most—as corny as this may sound, it is surprisingly accurate: “Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know” (Frozen, spoken by Elsa).

The Cycle of Growth and Evolution: “It Gets Better”

Back when I was in high school, I came to the conclusion that I would not live long enough to grasp the meaning, the definition, of life and why it is I’m breathing. Honestly speaking, I never envisioned myself living this long, or in other words, I’m a survivor of suicidal thoughts and self-infliction. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t one of those kids who cut themselves and presented visible scars/open wounds of their actions to the world afterwards. After all, I was too much of a wuss and afraid of the pain that would’ve followed. I still cringe just imagining the pain they must have endured while showering; the sting they felt once the warm water came into contact with that said open wound. However, getting back on track, I’ll admit that I did engage in some risky, stupid, and hazardous activities, which could have been severely damaging to my physical and mental health.

Quoting one of my previous posts, “I was young and dumb.” I think it’s safe to assume that we’ve all had spurts of depression where we feel like it’s never going to get better. What starts off as depression branches off into so much more, affecting not only our behavior, but the root of the individual that we identify as today. For the most part, I believe that I have successfully mastered the art of concealing when it is I’m feeling depressed; however, every once in awhile, those close to me manage to see a crack in my façade. I remember going to my primary care physician and filling out a questionnaire, in regards to the mental health of adolescents. It consisted of questions such as: “Do you do drugs?” “How many hours of sleep do you receive on a daily basis?” “Are you happy?” “Do you wake up feeling happy?” Questions that I felt like were too vague to really acquire accurate results, but resonated with me to the very core of that void present within. I was diagnosed with depression, but never actually took the necessary requirements in order to get it treated.

I made my way through high school, known as one of the only openly gay students. I had to endure the ignorance of straight boys who believed that all gay guys wanted to fuck them, and girls who viewed me as their personal therapist because of my orientation. I had problems of my own, you know! It was suffocating, and at times, I found myself regretting the fact that I even came out in the first place. I had a few conflicts: some verbal disputes, and boys constantly making a mockery of my homosexuality by calling me faggot.

I was over it. One of the questions that constantly annoyed me was: “How do you know if you’re gay if you’ve never fucked a girl?” I remember in class when this upperclassman told me, “You need to feel the warmth of a woman,” in which I responded, “You need to feel the warmth of a man.” His response was the usual homophobic response. “Fuck you, faggot.” Don’t try to place your ideas on me and get offended when I do the same. But getting back to the point of this story, although I had a lot of friends during my high school year, I constantly found myself feeling lonely. Just because I utilized this “company” that was conveniently available to me, it didn’t actually matter if they were not capable of comprehending the internal turmoil that went through my head at the end of every day.

When I think back to high school, I am reminded of a conversation that I had with a counselor regarding these suicidal thoughts that I once carried, in which she told me that there was so much to live for, although it may not seem like it at the moment. I am reminded of a time when one of my ex-best friends and I made a pact that we would commit suicide together – messed up kids, huh? She attempted, survived, and I lost all interest after seeing her in the hospital. I was a pretty fucked up kid back in high school. Maybe it was the environment I was raised in, the societal pressures/expectations, that almost made me succumb to such measures, or maybe my weak sense of will is to blame. Either way, as aforementioned, I’m over it. I’m “kind of” happy now, at least, happier compared to the me back then. I’ve encountered breathtaking experiences and met multiple guys that I jokingly call the “love of my life.” I still find myself resenting my homosexuality at times, and wishing I was straight, but I’ve learned to be comfortable with the skin I’m in. I never did manage to grasp the meaning, the definition, of life and why it is I’m breathing, but at least I know that I will live long enough to figure it out. The cycle of growing and evolving into the person you’re meant to be is a step-by-step process, and as corny and clichéd as this may sound, “It gets better.”

I Remember His Smile

It’s safe to assume that we’ve all had those restless nights, filled with non-stop, constant self reflection. Tonight just happens to be one of those said nights, but maybe it is due to the fact that I woke up from a nap not too long ago, and a good one at that. I’ve found my conscience repeatedly drifting towards restricted areas, containing memories that I’d long since forgotten. I recently had a dream about the first boy I’d ever engaged in any sort of physical contact with. I was 8-years-old, the time when innocence was still prevalent. While some may be concerned due to the age aforementioned, don’t worry! This story is completely PG and relates to someone within my age range. He was the “boy-next-door,” as clichéd as that may sound. We were best friends and spent almost every waking moment together; we were inseparable. I remember the “chocolate bread” he used to give me, which I’ve now come to realize was merely Nutella on white bread. I remember his tan skin and curly hair, features that he’d inherited from his mother of Dominican descent, and his father of Greek. But most of all, I remember his smile.

By the time I was 8-years-old, I was already able to “get it up.” Erections happened all the time, and as a kid, it was a really confusing time for me. I talked to him about it, and it was refreshing being able to talk to another individual who understood the biological changes I was going through at the time. Obviously, I now have no trouble comprehending why erections happen, but it’s funny reminiscing back to those times. I had experimented with one of my female friends in the neighborhood, and by experiment, I mean a simple kiss-and-flash; kids being kids, curious of the opposite sex (from Venus) – oh, the irony. I mentioned my recently encountered chain of events to him, and his reaction wasn’t one that I expected: he was jealous, which then led into us “experimenting.” Although it was just a kiss and a flash of our members, that moment in time meant the world to me, and helped shape me into the homosexual individual I am today.

Even after the kiss, and knowing what each other’s private parts looked like, there was no awkwardness. We were still best friends, and spent almost every day together. I was too young to know it, but maybe what we had was some form of love? Thinking back on it now, I’m actually having the hardest time recalling what we did when we spent time together. All I can really remember is the excitement that I felt, the thrill of being caught. I remember how happy we were. To me, he will always be that little boy, pure and innocent. He was gorgeous, and still is, actually – I recently looked him up on Facebook; not much to my surprise, he never accepted the friend request I sent ages ago. It’s a different time and place now; he’s straight, and I’m gay. Maybe talking to me would bring up these memories that he, too, has probably repressed. Compared to the 8-year-old version of ourselves, we’re completely different individuals, and it’s obvious that we’ve both strayed towards parallel paths; unable to collide.

We were as close as best friends could be, but what tore us apart was him moving. I remember the pain I concealed when he left. Could things have turned out differently if I voiced how I felt? Maybe. I’ll never know for sure, and this is one of those questions that we’ll never know the answer(s) to, but that’s okay, because it adds character to the being that we are today. His departure was during a time when technology wasn’t as conveniently offered, so staying in contact was difficult. Although we still resided in neighboring areas, it was hard to stay in touch because we found ourselves drifting towards different schools, individuals, and activities that offer us pleasure. He seems in touch and aware of who he is now, as am I.

I had a dream about a boy that I might have loved when I was 8-years-old, and in that dream, I didn’t see the “him” that he has become, but the “him” that he was. I remember kissing him. I remember his smile. I remember waking up and feeling as if my whole childhood had been a dream itself. I’m reminded of the chances not taken, but can now only be within a dream. But the sad reality is, time is moving forward and as it does, we find ourselves struggling to conjure up these memories that were once so precious. Although there’s no use dwelling on a friendship that has long since crumbled, I’ve come to realize how hard it is to actually maintain a longterm friendship, considering that change will happen. I am grateful for all the longterm relations I currently have in my life, as well as these phantoms of the past. There’s no guarantee that I’ll ever see this boy again, whether it is in my dreams or reality, but there’s one thing that my conscience will subconsciously cling to and remember: “I remember his smile.”

It Still Exists

While hurriedly walking towards my bus stop, I stumbled upon two Indian men who had the audacity, the indecency, to slur “Ni hao ma” from their alcohol-reeking selves. The first time he said it, he said it in a whisper – thinking I couldn’t hear him because I had my headphones on. I was in the middle of texting my friend, but looked up upon hearing those 3 words that I hear all the time from uneducated, ignorant, individuals. When we made eye contact, he said it again. “Ni hao ma.” This time, he said it louder, reaching out to touch my shoulder to show that it was me who was the target of this provocation. At that very moment, it was as if time stood still. A flurry of scenarios began to sputter within my mind, both positive and negative. I had to take a second to think about the consequences that could potentially result from these said scenarios. One of my usual instincts would have been to say “Fuck you, bitch!” When angered, my temper gets the better of me, followed by a tantrum, which slightly resembles that of a kindergartener. I even thought about regurgitating racially offensive slurs in response to give them a taste of their own medicine, provoke them the way that I get provoked when hearing such ignorance. “Shut the fuck up curry dick.” Honestly, that probably would have been the best and only comeback I had prepared for them. But instead of reacting in such a manner, which they expect, yearn to see, I took the role of the bigger individual. What use would it have been to reciprocate and give them that satisfaction? At the end of the day, I would have walked away even more provoked, or in need of a doctor, whereas they would have walked away – drunk, still ignorant, and enduring a hangover the next morning with no recollection of the night before. I could have tried to educate them, tell them that it’s not nice to use these “phrases of oppression” in the sense of mockery, but as the saying goes, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

It was late and I was in a rush to catch my bus, which was expected to arrive within the next couple of minutes. I walked past them, trying my best not to acknowledge their attempts to poke fun at my race, my language, my culture. Does that make me a punk? Yes and no. Either way, they knew they got to me. They saw a crack through the nonchalant façade in which I attempted to portray; I tried to act as if I couldn’t hear them, as if I was merely blocking them out with what they probably expected to be Asian music, but our exchange of eye contact is what gave it away.

The sad truth about this reality that we live in is that people don’t change overnight. I could have said something, stood up for myself, but the odds were against me. I became the oppressed individual, the prey to these vultures. Honestly, a part of me was astonished that racism still exists between communities of color. It also amazed me how racially critical and naïve I am myself. Had it been Caucasian-identified individuals, it would have ceased to surprise me.

In the end, we expect the best from the worst and the worst from those who don’t deserve it. “Ni hao ma?” Seriously? “I’m very fucking good.” That should have been my response, but it’s too late now.