I Love You…

“I Love You”. Three words that we say to people we care about. Friends, Family, Animals, your favorite meal, without a second thought.. However, when we say it to or have it said to us from a significant other, those words in the same english language, now take on a completely different meaning.

Being new to the relationship life has been a struggle for me. The only other relationship I’ve been in basically was me moving a guy in without money, car, job…etc and was basically supporting the both of us while dealing with his alcoholism and my travels down that same road. We were both very toxic to each other. I only became a meal ticket and a place to live.

This has been much different.

Beau and LJ 9/2022

We have been dating for some time and realizing how well we match. Love was something that both of us were taking out time on. We didn’t want to rush into anything but LJ especially, was taking things slow due to the past and from just being out of his last relationship.

My feelings grew quicker without any control. I don’t quite remember the first time I knew but it definitely came quicker than his.

I have never been one to waste time with anything. Not saying that taking it slow is a waste of time but for me, if I know what I want, that settles it. I knew a little while after meeting him I knew that he worth trying. Love just happened in the midst of planning for my long term goals. I refrained from expressing my feelings to allow LJ the space he needed to figure his out.

We recently decided to move in together and we are officially making the move next week. Though it isn’t happening the way we’d like, we are moving forward with our plans anyway because we know it’s right.

Today, while shopping for furniture, standing in the middle of the showroom floor embracing each other.. getting excited about our future.. I hear LJ say without hesitation “I love you”. I never knew that the “butterfly feeling” was real. I thought it was a fake emotion and I’ve never felt it before. However, standing in between beds, nightstands, and marked down price tags.. being stalked by the sales department drooling for commission.. Those words hit light lightening and the butterflies were in flight.

We looked at each other and I said “Wait, are you serious?” he shakes his head and I am overjoyed. We are in love with each other. I said “I love you too” and we embraced.

I am not going to drag on the mushy drivel..

I wanted to express that I am not moving in with a room mate. I am not moving in with just someone I am dating. I am moving in with the love of my life and I am excited to see where we go from here.

I am here for it.

Forcing The Flow Of Life…

Like a creek flowing through the meadow, trickling live artwork of tranquility. Then, without mercy, heavy rains force this ever flowing beauty. It causes the creek to overflow and turn a once beautiful meadow into a valley and mayhem.

Peaceful Creek

I like to think of this comparison when I try to take control of my life.

Living the life of recovery, I have realized one thing: There is someone or something guiding my life. It’s leading me down the path of life through its many twists and turns.

When I want something, it’s so hard for me not to take control and try to make it how I want it. In the past I forced my hand in situation only to gain a 50/50 result. There were times where it worked out, and other times when I fell flat on my face

Control

I can’t help but think about the time when I tried to drink responsibly after going down the path of no return. Stents in rehab meant nothing because this time was different. I tried to lie to myself and say that I had control over my drinking and I can be like the social drinkers. Slowly but surely however it was proven that I could not. Between the drinking and drugs I found myself back in the hole that I brought myself out of.

I realized that I never filled that hole back in with common f**king sense.

After living my life with over a year in sobriety I’ve found myself feeling complacent in my life. Even though so many things are happening in my life for the good since moving to Austin, I still feel like I need to do more. To force more success.

I have to catch myself every effing’ time and to sit back and relax. Most recently, my partner and I have decided to make the jump to move in together. We are in the process of house/condo/apartment hunting and while it’s happening in a steady pace I find myself wanting to rush things a long.

Some personal things have led to the need to find a home sooner than planned. Being me naturally, I am trying to get it done yesterday.

Relax

Now, more than ever, it’s the time to sit back and let things fall into place and stop trying to fit a corner puzzle piece in the the middle and expect the rest of the puzzle to be complete. It takes time to finish a puzzle and if I try to complete it without fitting the pieces where they need to go, it will make the puzzle chaotic and lack sense and meaning. Much like how I see life going every time I try to force my unsteady and naive.

The “Powers That Be” know what they’re doing. They’ve had practice since the beginning of time so they are clearly the experts.

In the end, I am human and like to take control. However, the best control I could ever have is to give it over. Control the situation by making the best decision possible and STOP.

To let go of control…

Ending.

Mostly I wrote this entry to help center my feelings of anxiety and situational depression. I realized trying to gain control caused me to lose control in other ways. My emotions started to unravel and my feelings started to get in the way of enjoying this period in my life. I mean, I am moving in with my boyfriend! This should be a special moment and I wasn’t allowing myself to feel it. I was allowing my need for control steal the joy away from me.

So I’ve decided I will just let things come and go as they are meant too.

No use creating a rain storm when the creek doesn’t need to water.

It’s Been A Minute…

Life has been hectic for a while now since resigning from my security job to work full time for myself. It is something that I never knew could be possible. I thought my time would be freed up to write and create more. However, that has not been the case. The business has me working long hours and I come home tired. By then, I hardly want to move let alone think and write.

I am not complaining. I love that I have a growing business that I can work toward something greater. Work on my dream instead of slaving away for someone else’s. It does take a lot out of you though.

I feel like things are changing now. I feel the wind shift in the direction of productivity again. Inspiration has granted me words to write once again with its magic. Listening to my storm sound machine (because we hardly get stormy weather here), the doggy sleeping at my feet. I sit in front of this laptop once again.

That Guy Who Cleans (my business) is at a great new high and it’s my hope that the momentum doesn’t die. I realized that this is not just another cleaning company. I am not here to wipe a counter and collect a check. I have seen lives changed and relief come over people when they see a clean home. I have seen pure excitement when someone sees a once cluttered mess into a clean and breathable home to enjoy.

I always knew I wanted to help people. How was I to know as a young child that cleaning would be my outlet? From a social worker working for the state of Delaware, to the owner of a company in Texas. I feel that this is only the beginning of what I am meant to accomplish.

Time is just the only factor.

That’s all for now. Nothing to share. No useful information. Just me blabbering on about life. Take care!

The Pain and The Solution

This past year has definitely been a roller coaster of emotions. Some good and some bad, as you can see in the Previous post “What This Past Year Has Taught Me“. However, nothing could prepare me for Christmas 2021 going from someone happy and health to being crippled over in pain throughout my entire body.

Everything was going great. I had two full time jobs and surviving on the little sleep that came with the constant busy work life. My goal was to do this for about 6 months, pay off bills and live without fear of debt riddling my life unmanageable financially. I didn’t have a life anyway so aside from living in sober living, I just didn’t really have much free time.

December 23rd rocked my world. I was dealing with progressively worse bouts with foot pain. Sometimes it would be when I get up in the morning, sometimes it would be by the end of the day. I knew something wasn’t right but I just ignored it thinking it would go away on its own. I have had flare ups before and they just go away after some time. I have arthritis that I was diagnosed with about years ago. I also have Raynaud’s and unspecified myalgia (whatever that is). So the combination of all three if working in sync can F U C K my life up.

December 23rd did just that. I woke up in the morning in excruciating pain coming from both hands and both feet. I went to get out of bed and was not able to walk or even stand. I looked down only to notice that my feet were swollen like balloons leaving them unrecognizable:

My room was on the second floor in the house and with no way to get down stairs, I felt paralyzed and powerless. Luckily some housemates were gracious enough to give me some water and Ibuprofen. After about an hour I was able to get up with limited mobility. I had to call out of work which was a very rare occasion for me. Finally making it down stairs I took myself to the nearest walk-in clinic. This was a 4 hour ordeal for them to finally call me back. Holiday hours and the increase in Omnicron cases did not play in my favor. They were able to give me a steroid shot and wrote me a prescription for Prednisone.

This seemed to do the trick for a while. I was able to move effectively and while I was still in pain, it was most certainly manageable. Christmas rolls through and it was back. It was clear that my body was unable to deal with the long work hours putting consistent stress on my body. I unfortunately had to give up one of the jobs. Though it was a job that I really cared a lot about, it was for the best. I stayed with the job that offered health insurance which basically made all the difference in my decision making on which job to give up.

Fast forward through Christmas and after the separation of my job I found myself stranded in my car. Not being able to move my hands from the steering wheel, not being able to get up and walk. Here I was sitting in front of whole foods. Hands gripped to the steering unable to take them off the wheel. The picture crossed my mind of Cruella Deville from 101 Dalmatians and her final war with the pups.

I took myself to Ally Medical ER. They actually had to wheel me in because I was unable to successfully stand up to get out of my car. They gave me another steroid shot and even more prednisone. The battle with this issue continues throughout the next couple months. I had honestly thought that by now, after so much time, the flareup would have ceased. However, this was not the case. I have now been on prednisone going on 3 months now and it has only gotten progressively worse. I tried multiple different types of therapy. Cryotherapy, Chiropractic and Acupuncture. Nothing seemed to work. I know what I had to do. I had to see a Rheumatologist.

The Battle Begins

The worst battle you have to fight is between what you know and what you feel

– Unknown

The first step, now that I had health insurance was to find a primary care physician. This was not really hard to do. I was able to get a referral from the ER so it was no time at all until I got that established. From the first appointment I knew that my doctor was the right fit for me. Aside from him being very attractive both physically and vocally, he listened. He wanted to figure everything out. What he couldn’t figure out, he was getting me in touch with someone who would. I received a large round of bloodwork and the office basically gave me a physical and explained what his plans of care were with me. This helped me take a deep breath and I knew I was in good hands.

The Referral

Next was the referral. He scheduled me with a rheumatologist for 3 weeks out. This was from the same practice, just up in the north Austin area. I was ok with it because I needed this pain and swelling to end and I needed to move on with my life. The doctor came highly recommended by the practice. My PCP also recommended him “highly” but he never actually met him before, nor heard anything aside from his title and location of practice.

The Appointment

The day finally arrived when I had my first consultation. This was going to be the start of something good. I just knew it. I show up 30 mins early and began to fill out my paperwork. The staff at the front were nice but robot like. I filled out the paperwork and waited patiently to be called. Finally after 25 minutes I was called back height, weight and vitals. The nurse immediately was very nice and respectful. However, she did seem new and flustered which was fine by me. I wasn’t here to see her. She took my vitals and all my other needed information and she gave word to the doctor that I was ready.

This is where my experience takes a drastic turn. The doctor comes in and I was already off put by his cold demeaner. It was almost like I was wasting his time. However, this was fine by me, I didn’t want him to waste my time either. I already had a diagnosis and they should have already had my records from the previous Rheumatologist back home as my PCP ordered for them to be released. All I need now is the medication. This was not the case with him. After explaining my situation and that I was already diagnosed with PsA (psoriatic arthritis) he began to say that he wasn’t sure if that should be the diagnosis and that further testing is needed. I knew this was going to be the game plan because it has been three years so a new round of tests were imminent. What I was not prepared for, was for him to completely reject the diagnosis previously provided. He stated that the medical records were not sent over and it would probably be quicker just to get started over again. Out of desperation, I conceded.

Upon his exit and over hearing him tell the nurse “tell him we will see him back in 3 months” I lost my mind on the poor nurse. Not at her, but more venting to her about my issues and how I can’t wait 3 months. I am pretty sure my exact words were: “So, in the next 3 months does he suggest I chop off my hands and feet off or jump in front of a bus, dealers choice” She brought him back and he stated that the nurse heard the wrong time. Stated that he said “3 weeks”. I know I heard this man say “3 months” but I was just glad he changed the timeframe. So I got my labs, my x-rays and left with more questions than answers.

The Results

The results started populating in my patient portal almost immediately. The x-rays and bloodwork were back in a matter of days. Eventually after around 2 weeks I ran out of prednisone and I was in a constant state of pain. I had zero intention on drinking, but if I did, now would be that time. I reached out to both my primary care and my rheumatologist for a follow-up. I reached out via the patient portal to see about getting either: extension on my prednisone or a sooner appointment to get started. This is when my attitude changed.

The Answer

The answer that doctor gave me was heart wrenching. My primary care office stated that I should have had enough and they cannot prescribe me anymore. The Rheumatologist stated that based on the bloodwork and x-rays, there was not enough evidence to show arthritis and he would not be prescribing me the medication that I actually need. He said I needed to come in on the date of the already scheduled appointment and he will put in a request for an MRI. I was furious. I told the Rheumatologist that I would no longer use him. I advised him that his bedside manner was horrible and his lack of empathy and understanding was infuriating. He was only out for the money. I wholeheartedly believe that to be true. As I picked up on it the day of that appointment. It’s hard to trust doctors these days anyway but it makes it real when you actually see the injustice for yourself. So I fired my rheumatologist and was back to square one.

The New Referral

Luckily my primary care listened to what I had to say about the experience and put in another referral. I asked if he could find the rheumatologist with the earliest appointment he could find. We agreed on one with an appointment time that has potential of 2 weeks out. This is contingent on the referral going through and the records being transferred over. After about three tries and three different fax numbers, it finally made its way to their office.

The Miscommunication

Unfortunately, this was not the end of the craziness. As luck would have it and not hearing anything back from the doctor I was referred to, I called them. Apparently, there was a mix up in the system. I had an appointment and it was for 2/22. The date was now 2/24, another crushing blow on my road to health. They had the wrong number on file so I never received alerts about this appointment. So, I missed it. I wanted to cry, this was after waking up hardly able to move, use my phone, drink, chew. She said that we would have to reschedule the appointment.

The Hope

Just when I thought that all hope was lost, a light at the end of the tunnel revealed itself in an amazing way. About the time we were rescheduling the appointment for a few weeks out, the nurse stopped and said: “This may sound unreasonable but would you like to come in at 1:45pm today? We just had a cancelation.” Before she could finish the word cancelation I immediately said “I’ll take it” She stated that the weather played in my favor but I know it was more than that. Whatever you believe, just know that something is out there helping us and I really don’t care who or what. I am just glad they are there.

When I get to the doctors office a little before 1:30p I started filling out the paperwork. It was nothing over excessive. I gave the nurse my insurance card and took a seat. It was a little past 1:45pm when I was called back. We got my weight and she asked me the normal questions. She then stated that the doctor will be in shortly. The waiting period was about 10 mins. I notice on the door there was a sign stating that all new patients must remove their shoes and socks. So I wrestled with the high copper fit socks so the waiting didn’t really seem like a wait. More like a intermission with a wrestling match between shows.

The doctor walks in with a colleague of hers. She introduced herself and the girl with her and stated that she would be her “transcriber”. Totally different experience from the air headedness of the previous Rheumatologist. She had a transcriber. Someone to document what was said and done. Someone to be held accountable to. She starts asking for my back story and I began telling her. Everything from the being overweight, to the rheumatologist back home, my experience with the one prior, the swelling and the amount of time I had to wait for this day, EVERYTHING. A far cry from the cold no care attitude of the previous doctor. I felt things were different. She starts the examination and it took her all but 5 seconds to look at my hands to say “you definitely have arthritis”. FINALLY, someone who listens, someone who sees, someone who knows. She is someone of understanding and compassion. She starts calling out swollen fingers and toes.

She stated that she has my records from the Rheumatologist back in Delaware and wanted to know if I was ever started on the medication that they had previously requested. I told her I couldn’t due to COVID and how they wanted me to get vaccinated before starting the medication. That after the vaccine, life changed and everything led me here. Then she said something that I did not expect her to say at the first visit: “Let’s get you one the medication”

The Solution

There was finally some resolution to this long awaited moment in time. This was something I didn’t know was possible. I felt myself losing hope for a normal life a little every day. Now, I have the answer I was looking for. I told her how grateful I was of her. She was someone that brought hope to my life. I was approved for treatment. Autoimmune disorders are nothing to take lightly. With this arthritis I went from being a normal person, being able to run every day, walk and stand for long periods of time… To hardly being able to walk, being on prednisone everyday which feels like a prison sentence. The resolution is here. The solution is just in my grasps

What’s Next

Next is just a waiting game. I have to wait to get the approval from the pharmacy and then schedule my IV infusion. This is something that will always be a part of my life. However, I am ok with it. I rather be on medication for the rest of my life but be able to function, then to become crippled and unable to lead a normal life. The next part in my life is just around the bend. The end of the joint pain. The start of my new life free from it.

What This Past Year has Taught Me

When I think back on where my life has taken me in the last year, I am riddled with mixed emotions. At times I hate that I missed so much time away from family, from friends, from life. Yet, on the flip side, I wouldn’t have gotten where I am today if not. Life has changed so much and I wouldn’t change it back for the world. I wish I realized what I needed before going through everything that I did. I may have gotten started earlier. However, I probably still wouldn’t be where I am now still. So, it sometimes is the journey along with the destination. A journey shapes us for our destination, for our destiny.

I wanted to write a few things that life has taught me this past year. I am equally as grateful for the ups as I am for the downs. Maybe this will help someone who is struggling with purpose or battling with the inability to have gratitude in life. This is merely a self-reflection on my reality and my human experience this past year. DISCLAIMER: This is not a COVID post. COVID is SO 2020. This is merely a 2021 outlook on my life.

I Can’t Lie to Myself

When I got out of rehab my second to the last time, I tried to lie to myself, again. I told myself I was ok. I tried to deny the inner pain and insecurities that I felt but hadn’t dealt with. I should have known with the cloudiness I felt with my spiritual practices, that something was messed up within my being. I can tell when I am on the right track when I feel my higher powers connection. My second to the last time in treatment I found myself lost but pretending I knew where I was emotionally. It was all a lie that I tried to tell myself. But I was not ok. I was a time bomb waiting to blow and there was bound to be casualties.

When I finally snapped this last time, the shame got to me where it wanted me. I wanted to die. I wanted to drink myself into darkness’s oblivion and wait to see the light of the afterlife if the light was even where I was destined to be. I hid behind a calm demeanor and a smile. If I looked myself in the mirror and told myself the truth I wouldn’t have gotten to such a low point. I guess, however, the lowest points that we get down in, makes the highest peaks that we reach become that much more rewarding. Anything else both low and high would have been nothing compared to the daring feat I walked through prior.

I am NOT invincible.

December 2021 started off great. Just freshly back from visiting family in Delaware for Thanksgiving. Now I was refreshed and ready for the rest of the year. I had been working two full time jobs for a while and I was chugging a long working 80-90hours a week. I felt good so great about it, I was racking up money to pay off bills. That was until I woke up with both feet and hands swollen.

My body had enough. I have been in and out of the ER and Doctors offices. I have had to fire a rheumatologist because he stated there wasn’t enough evidence but the one I had in Delaware has it documented that it was PsA. Still dealing with the pain even now in 2022. My doctor believes it’s a combination of issues. Psoriatic Arthritis, Unspecified Myalgia and Raynaud’s. I am trying to get medication but it’s tricky if the Rheumatologist feels that there’s not enough evidence to prove a diagnosis, thus, approving the medication would be impossible without one.

I thought that I was perfectly fine working long hours. However, I am not invincible nor am I a robot so by body had other plans. The human body needs its’ sleep. Without it, the body will make you slow down.

Change is Scary… But Doable

If you told me this time last year that I would be sitting in the center of Austin, TX with a Starbucks coffee in my hand writing a blog post about my journey to get here, I wouldn’t have believed you. Alas, hear I sit. Watching people go about their lives. Each person I see I know has some kind of problems that they face everyday. It can be scary, especially when you’re faced with changes that can completely uproot your life. That is what I had to face to get here. I am safe, I am healthy for the most part, I have a job, a place to live, a car to drive, food too eat…

ALOT OF FOOD. AUSTIN HAS SOOO MUCH FOOD…

All of these things that I still have even through I was so afraid of failure. I was afraid of the unknown that change can bring. Change is doable and it all you have to do is make the move. If there is something that you are looking to change but you’re too afraid to take the leap understand; that even if you sit right where you are, the path is still unknown. Why not have a little fun with it. Embrace the change.

I Can have Fun Sober

The reason I decided to try sober living as my first jump off point, is the benefits it brings. Some people most certainly had life worse off than me. I was never in trouble with the law, I never had a strong addiction to drugs. Mine was that I just liked to drink… like, A LOT. Sober living has helped me with accountability to stay sober and figure out life the way humanity was meant to. Free from mind-altering substances to escape my problems. Instead, face them with pure raw emotion. Pain is a part of sobriety unfortunately. There are, however a lot of perks and I was able to experience those living here.

I took a trip to Galveston, TX a few months ago. I was suppose to go with a couple girlfriends of mine. We reserved an Airbnb and had plans for a beach day. However, plans fell through on their end and it left me with a decision to make. Do I cancel the reservation and have to pay the fees associated? I decided to go by myself. I didn’t want to waste the money. I paid money to the ones who helped pay for the reservation and off I went. I think it was the best decision that they could have made because it rained the whole time. However, I did something I did not originally intended to do.

Naturally, when we get somewhere by ourselves, as social creatures, usually, we are meant to meet new people to not make the trip lonely. Unless that’s what you’re looking to do. However, when I had plans to go with friends that was my company. Suddenly I was in this house by myself. I needed community. How was I going to do it?

Gay men feel the same way, however, we do it a little differently. I met this guy on an app who invited me out to a local bar on the beach. He was actually the bar back for this bar and, though I was apprehensive of the idea because I was still in sober living and I have never been in the bar scene in quite some time. That being said, I didn’t want to be cooped up in the house the whole time so I made the decision to go. I spent the whole night drinking club soda and lime chatting with this guy, friends of his, karaoke was done, new people were met. We shut the bar down and I was 100% sober. I had so much fun even though I didn’t have a single mind altering substance to get me there. I was confident and happy to get in my car to drive, to get a UA when I returned to the house, to go through the whole process knowing that you are 100% in the right. Also, to be invited back on multiple occasions shows me that I am not as awkward sober as I thought. I am still a social butterfly.

My Higher Power

People have this fear that every time we mess up or hit a stumbling block we lose our ability to connect with our higher power. Some even feel as though our higher power leaves us and chooses not to connect with us unless we prove ourselves worthy. I don’t believe either. I don’t believe we lose our higher power because that power lives within us. We choose to put our focus in other things that gets us to lose sight of that power but the power is not severed now are we in time out.

I realized after being sober for a while that I just needed a clear head and conscience to connect. The spirit that I am always drawn to and connect with is stronger than it ever has been. It is exhausting even at times. For those atheist and agnostics please think of this your inner power within. I am not here to preach of a man in the clouds because I don’t believe in that either. I simply suggest that the thing we hold tight to in midst of trouble is something that is never going to leave us. We just change our focus from its leading. Whether it be spiritual or that inner rationalization. The focus provides the power.

The Support

One of the things that has shocked me throughout this whole ordeal is the amount of support I had behind me. In our darkest times we forget the people we have in our corner. At least, I did anyway. Both here in Austin and back in Delaware the amount of support I have around me is innumerable. So many people even still, to this day, have ask how I am and how life has been treating me. Old co-workers, friends, family…etc.

Living in Austin, TX, I have gained so many amazing friends. Some of the most amazing people from the most unlikely places and from all walks of life. I have met both in my recovery and also from just living here and meeting people, I have gained a pretty great network of people. The love I feel makes me remember every day how lucky I am. I am right where I need to be at the moment. I have no plans in changing my destination. Life has a way of doing that on its own. I am just grateful for the ride and the people who have joined me in it!

The Next Steps

The most exciting part about this paragraph is simple… It’s unknown. I like to take one day at a time to figure things out. It may take longer, but that’s my prerogative. The next steps are just continue to do the next right thing. I have a business that I am in the process of starting, a possible new place live, maybe a new job down the road. Either way I AM HERE FOR IT.

2021

2021 was a year of transition for sure. New accomplishments achieved, new progresses made… I never thought I would find myself living further down south. I love the seasons and thought that I would travel up north. However, such as life my throw you for a loop, I am where I need to be right now. Who knows what 2022, 2023 or even 2024 and so on will bring. All I know is right now, if this past year has taught me anything, its that I am OK.

Modern Dead-End Dating

Everyone has their own experiences with dating. Some have that “love at first sight” situation where they find their twin flame and realize that they met the one that they will be with the rest of their life. I hear all about love stories of people who find their perfect person for them. You watch their relationship grow and manifest into this beautiful work of art. Very harmonious “Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore form Ghost pottery scene” type of art. It’s something to strive for as someone looking to settle down and live a life with someone you care about, love and cherish.

For others, such as myself, it’s not always easy. I find myself hitting dead-end dates that end very quickly. I find myself with a “tf” look on my face frequently and I ask myself “surely I am NOT the only one feeling the same way”. Like “WTF is going on with modern dating these days.” I guess I get what I pay for. Free dating apps usually bring on free loaders. Both monetarily and emotionally. I’ve experienced both. So I was going to do a Facebook rant on this but soon I realized that this is more than just a Facebook post. This deserves it’s own dedicated blog post shedding some light on the modern dead-end dates and what we can do to avoid these situations so we are not wasting our time.

The Encounter

So, the first thing that usually happens is what I like to call the “encounter”. I can’t call this “the meeting” because usually the first encounter in the modern day dating scene is on an app. Most of the time it’s a free one that practically begs you to buy premium which most of us don’t. Sorry . Either we swipe right and we match or we like each other, depending on the app. Then the battle of wills begins: “who will message first”.

The Communication

Once contact is initiated we begin the common conversation starters. “Hey, How are you?”, “Hi”, “Hello” and “sup” are the most commonly used openers. This usually prompts: “I’m good, how are you?” or “Hi”, “Hello” back and “nothing much, you?”. Where the conversation goes from here may determine whether or not the conversation ends from this point. Sometimes I have the typical “Working”, “Just woke up and getting ready for work” or “running errands”. Even “just woke up” is an acceptable answer. I can work with all of those. As a matter of fact, I can pretty much work with any of those answers along with most others. It’s when the “suggestive” response is made that I immediately want to vomit. “Nothing much, just in bed, RELAXING *insert fade out echo*. This is a “hard” truth, a “stiff drink” if you will. My dude wants help “relaxing”. I immediately know what this guy is about and prefer not get involved in a “hot and steamy” sexting operation while I’m at work or going about my day. Save it for Grindr buddy. I usually either block or just stop responding. Let his ego, or should I say Dgo deflate a little.

The Pictures

I was going to mark this as part of communication. However, this alone deserves its own spot in the “blogging paragraph” sun. The pictures are primarily the most common reason why dating gets so exhausting. When I decide to message you, I want to talk. I want to know about your interest, your hobbies, your aspirations. Any pictures I want to be sent are funny face pics, pics of you pet or something you cooked. I don’t care about looks as much as I car about personality. However, a lot of the time, guys have other things in mind. It isn’t too long after communication is initiated that you get “any more pics”. I already know what kind of “pics” they are requesting. I am 100% honest with you when I say, I don’t have a single “D” pic on my phone. I don’t do it. Now, its not because it’s something to be ashamed of because it’s not. I am average in size. HOWEVER, I don’t feel I need to disclose this to anyone three mins in the conversation. That means I already know what head you’re thinking with and I am not about it. Keep pestering and I’ll be googling images of vaginas. “SOME OF YOU MAY DIE, but it’s a sacrifice, I am willing to make.”

The In & Out of Contact

You would think that we were well on our way to getting to know each other more. However, this is not the case. More than likely the conversation never makes it past the exchanging of greetings before one of us go MIA. This may happen 1-4,964 times before maybe an actual conversation happens. On the rare occasion that this happens, you will most likely forget about that person or the person completely forgets all about you. Then, it’s basically like you’re starting all over again.

The Exchange

Should you get passed the exhausting conversation and picture part of meeting someone, now comes the (maybe) exciting part of the progression of modern dating. “The exchange” this means the exchanging of personal info. Last name, Email, Telephone, Socials…etc. This could be a very exciting moment, this person clearly wants to continue the conversation. They see something in you that makes them want to know you more. We, however, are not out of the dating woods. This could very-well mean that they legit want to get to know you more. OTHER TIMES, they want to promote their social media. They have this dream to be an influencer or they want to sell you a product. I am not about to get wrapped up in that rollercoaster. I am not buying your product, I am not supporting your social media content. I am looking to get to know you, as a person. If you are selling or promoting you can look elsewhere. That’s not what I am trying to date you for. Remember this about me, I kick Girl Scouts (not really, but I feel like it sometimes) and I love their cookies. I want to talk to you because I am interested in you, not your company or your OnlyFans.

The Meeting

So, if by some miracle we get passed those stages we finally get to probably the most important stage. “The Meeting”. This is the make or break of any dating situation. Not the meeting itself, that will come later but its the act of actually meeting that can be the issue at hand. When I decide to meet with someone, I like making plans right then. I also like keeping those plans. Meaning I plan around it. I prepare for it. I make it a point to make it enjoyable. I am not talking about a hook up, I mean an actual date: Restaurant, Movies, Walks in the park…etc. Not talking about “netflix and chill” especially on the first date. I am all for a home cooked meal and a movie for a third, hell even the second date if the first one goes well. I am just not into one night stands if I am looking to date. Get your rocks off on Grindr, then meet me at Texas Roadhouse. It a lot of times never get to that point unfortunately in the modern dating scene.

Momentary Lapse of Reason

I talk a good game but if I am feeling someone and we have a good vibe, who knows where the night will end up. I have been known to let my guard down… Many times. We are all human, we crave human contact, it’s normal. I am ok with that, in this day and age, if we end up in bed on the first date, as long as there are no regrets then there is nothing more that needs to be upset over. If I am really feeling a good vibe with someone and we are back at his place then well, so be it. However, the reason why I am so apprehensive about this is the days that follow. I am not talking about an STD.

The Day’s That Follow

Ok, we did it (DORA). We made it through the beginning dating road blocks and we dodged eached one. We finally narrowed it down to a potential date. Someone who completely respected everyone of your requests which was hardly a difficult task for someone who is also looking for a possible long term relationship. That being said, there seems to be this odd shift that takes place after the date that confuses even the brightest of human beings. It’s like there’s this shift that takes place in the minds of the person you go on the date with. The texts get fewer, the talks get shorter, and the free time is less free. You get answers like “I have just been really busy lately”, “Sorry, I wasn’t paying attention to my phone” “Sorry, my great uncles, cats great uncle passed away”… You put up with it for a while before the flags start showing like an SOS signal. Either we choose to be in denial, or we try and compromise and mould ourselves to be something we are not because we want to make them us.

Some of you lucky bastards are like “Well, F***’em”. I’d like to say I am that strong, but it takes a whole lot more to get me to say that. After a while, our wheels turn enough that we begin to FINALLY question why all those second dates are cancelled. Once we do, we start another bogus list of reasons.

The Disappointment

Most recently in my dating career, I had a guy that I went on a date with in San Antonio, TX. I thought the date went SUPER well. I mean, I thought the vibe was amazing. He was telling me how awesome of a date it was. He expressed is want to meet me again, maybe to even get a hotel here in Austin to maybe stay over. I was all for it. However, by the time I got home from San Antonio, the energy immediately shifted. He became someone else. I thought to myself “what did I do?”, “what did I do wrong?”. He gave the excuse “I just don’t know what I need right now” Ok, which is fine. I told him: “he can let me know when he figures that out and if I am not seeing anyone when he does, we can start back up” until then, I would be ok with being friends. Then he got defensive and twisting it to where I am in the wrong. Giving me a sob story about why he was not talking much, but then said: “I didn’t really convey my feelings right I guess, but I understand” and “….got it” then when I asked him what he meant and that he can tell me his feelings he proceeds to tell me: “I am just trying to take a shower, Man”. That was the “I’m done” moment. That was my “Well, F***’em” moment. That was my “This is why I don’t date” moment.

I need to know from the men and women who do this. Why do you get off on this? Is it like this unspoken game that some of you are in that others know nothing about? Is it true that there is no such thing as monogamy and settling down in the dating world of gay men anymore?

The Answer?

No, it’s a legit question. Does anyone have the answer to this? I feel that there’s a cheat code that I need to put in. Something that I am missing. I will be honest, I am new to dating. My only relationship was 6 months. I have no real experience in this so it’s discouraging that I can’t get off the ground with a real sustaining relationship and sometimes I feel that it’s a lost art or I am a lost cause. Before I turn into the first male nun, I need to figure this out. What sorcery can I perform to change the trajectory of the path of the dating life into my favor?

What I plan to do is this:

  1. Not Give Up: I know there has to be love out there somewhere for me. It just gets so exhausting when so many attempts fail. I have to not let it get to me. Whether it is my body, my personality, my values that scare people off, at the end of the day, there has to be someone out there who understands and cares for my flaws and will like me more for them.
  2. Stop with the free dating apps: I know for many people, they have had plenty of success with them. However, I am not one of those statistics it seems. I may try my hand at the paid dating sites. My hope is that people who are financially invested in dating would be more into the idea of serious dating and being in a serious relationship.
  3. Not join a convent: Yea, I was talking shit. I don’t plan to do that. That sounds exhausting and I talk way too much to be able to survive a vow of silence.
  4. Not take it to heart: I know that everyone is on their own path. I am just an intersection. I may not be going the same path they are going nor may I be in the same situation they are in. My goal is not not judge these people regardless on how much it may hurt. San Antonio guy has a life. Has a career. Has things on his plate and probably battles that I don’t know.
  5. Focus on me: I cringed typing that. As disgustingly cliche as that saying is, it’s true. If I focus on myself and make sure I am the best person I can be, it would be easier to find someone with that same energy. They will flow in the same wave as I do and we’ll connect and make a relationship form if it is meant to.

I hope this helps shed some light on my feelings of the dating world. I am not anti-dating nor am I anti-free dating apps. I am just giving my experience with them. I hope it changes. While this is coming from the view of a gay man, it Is not the case for everyone. The dating scene maybe better for some then it is for others. This is just one mans perspective.

Take what you will, leave the rest. Love y’all!

The Journey, The Struggle, The 2021 Rebuttal

As some of you know, as some may not, a lot has changed in my life recently which caused me to put a stop to a lot of things that I enjoyed. The blog, the podcast, the music.. etc. All have taken a back seat while I reevaluate and I feel I am almost there.

Not too long after my last podcast and blog post I relapsed in a major way, sending my life in a tailspin of emotional hydroplaning. I wanted to die. There was no coming back from it. I felt at peace with it. I wanted the noise to stop. I found myself broken in my 7th rehab just at a loss for words. Shame gripped me like vice grips with only one mission. That being to get tighter.

However, just as quickly as shame crept into my very tattered and fixated mind, another thing crept in and this was something that was not indented. Hope. After wanting so bad to die, being at deaths door and the dead bolts unlocking, I dingdong ditched my fate into the realm of tenacity. When death answered, I was nowhere in sight. I ran away hidden by the cloche of reality. I wanted to live!

This time was different for me (which I hope to my higher power I am not to eat those words). Something clicked and I wanted so much more with my life. Something that I can hold on to that I could call mine but different.

I had to unfortunately say goodbye to so many things in my life. So many things that gave me joy but could no longer served me in this stage of my life. Some were easier than others. Some were gut wrenching. I lost friends over my substance abuse. Which is sad on both sides. Lack of neutrality and empathy. Selfishness on both sides. All played a part in the friendships demise but I accept it.

I am now living in Austin, Texas. I would have never thought in a million years that I would end up here. Living with 12 other guys, trying to start a business, knocking on 8 months sober. The level of gratitude for where my life has taken me in such a short time, no words could give an accurate description of my feeling. Sure I have bad days. Sure I get moody, upset.. etc. Yes, I do have cravings. However, I make a conscious decision to not do it.

There was no format to this writing. No script of dialog. Just word dumping and heart opening about what’s been going on in my life. Some will understand, others won’t and that’s ok. The only person I am around 24/7 is me. As long as I understand and love myself, the rest can either fall in place, or exit stage left.

“Moving” On…

Today I say goodbye to my home of 5 years. It is hard to believe that I have been on my own for that long. It seems just yesterday that I was living at home, rent free and with no concept of responsibility. It was definitely something that took getting use to and I don’t regret anything about the journey.

This move, however, was very bitter sweet. I did not expect to leave at this time in my life but it was something that had to be done. Much like the key above, I have gone through a lot in those years. Some of which were great times, others were detrimental to my mental sanity and even more, my life. It took a lot for me to admit that I needed to say goodbye to this little cozy apartment on Liberty ST.

The Early Years:

I can remember the excitement of moving. The amount of actual independence made things surreal. “Wow, it’s finally happening” I said loading up my car with the small amount of things I was taking with me. With the help of some people who were friends at the time, I would be moved in on July 1st 2017.

Final load from my Mom’s house to my new apartment.

It took some adjusting, a lot of physical exhaustion and mixed emotions, but I finally made the jump. It didn’t take long to get adjusted and settled into the new place with this new found freedom.

I was able to make my own mark on this little home with the resources available to me at the time. Things really came together and I never felt more pleased with the decision to take that leap of faith so many fear to jump into. I was not the one to fear this change. I only feared whether or not I would be able to handle living paycheck to paycheck working two jobs to pay for all my bills and still have some money to live off of. Somehow I made it work with the hand that I was dealt.

Friends and Family:

It felt so great to have so many different friends and family members come in to visit and check out the new pad.

With all these memories came a lot of heartbreak. Failed relationships, a sexual assault, isolation, stalking…etc. Enough to drive a person to drink which is what I did. EVERY DAY. I could barely function through a single day without needing to get trashed by the end of the night. So I knew that something had to be done for the sake of my sanity.

While I was away dealing with my alcoholism, I had to think of a new game plan moving forward. A buddy of mine whom I have known for years was looking to ease his financial burden as was I. After discussing it with him, I made the decision to move in which would help us both out. Financially and emotionally.

Finally, after taking some time to think it over, I made the decision to move in with him, thus, helping us both out. This took a lot of self-reflection but to help control the drinking, and the isolation, it was the only option. So, as of today I am now a resident of the City of Wilmington. It’s taking some adjustments but, I think I made the right decision.

Out with the old:

In with the new:

With this new change, I am hoping, this will be one of many new changes that are happening in my life and I can’t wait to see what those changes will bring.

We waste so much time worrying about the what if’s. It’s time we take a good hard look at our life and say; “what now”.

Gus Glaros. The Life Addicts’ Podcast.

Thank you to everyone who has stood by me through my dark times and also my best times. It won’t be forgotten!