Tag Archives: boyfriends

Breaking the Silence

19 Jul

I realize that I have not written in the blog for a long time–weeks, in fact. Please excuse the fact that I haven’t been fulfilling the obligations to you, my readers, and to myself. I hope you that you will enjoy this entry, and I promise I will be writing a lot more often. Also, please realize that the events written in the following blog are now several weeks old, and the situations described have, like bread in the open air, gone stale.

People react to silence in many different ways, probably because there are so many different kinds of silence. I could argue that there are as many ways to react to silence as there are continents, or countries, or people populating the planet. But, there are three very noticeable ways that we humans deal with the midnight monster—invisible, but with a notable, crippling presence—that is silence. Some people try to fill up silence, penetrate its pure, virginal nothingness with streams of nonsensical chatter meant to make a point. Others try to wring it out like a towel, and absorb every moist bit of wisdom before it soaks into the ground. But the common denominator between those two opposing silent camps is that both want to tamper with silence’s innate beauty. Those in the third camp, mothers of newborns, people in new love, and those studying for the big upcoming test, cherish silence. They do not wish to see it altered, but cradle into it like a Tempurpedic mattress.

I went on three dates with two different men recently, and I have experienced these three different types of silences, and I saw myself chameleon into each one. The date with the first man, Liam, was filled with silences I tried to fill with more words. When trying to fill up an empty silence, you can’t expect Shakespeare to come through. The first things that come up are the commonalities—the “how-are-you’s?” the “How-was-your-days?” It takes heroic effort to move past them, but in a date filled with this much silence, commonalities could do little to salvage the pieces. We went to a nice restaurant, and then out for drinks, and we had spoken previously on the phone and on the Internet, so I thought this should have been going better. However, we just weren’t clicking that well.

What about the last two types of silence? Before we get to that story, I have to lead you in and hold your hand through the little story of how I got to these dates. I was attending an open mic reading to support my friend who I knew would be reading at the event, only I thought it was a closed poetry reading, not one that openly encouraged participation from any patrons of the bar. I was approached by the organizer of the open mic—a nerdily cute, charming, talented man in glasses—who told me the event was open, and that I should read something. I sat towards the back of the bar, far from the stage where the readers opined about things like sex, high-pitched voices, and meeting new partners, in silence. I had erected a cocoon of silence for myself as a place of safety and protection—and antisociality. However, it was the encouragement of the cute organizer that made me go up and speak, and I did. I read a series of letters about how much I had come to dislike the online dating world. And it was well-received. After I had broken my own silence, I spoke to the organizer of the readings, who encouraged me to come back, gave me his number, and asked me to call him sometime. His name was Bruno.

On our first date, we had dinner, drinks, and a walk through Riverside Park. We sat in one of the park’s waterfront benches, where we discussed our writing styles, our histories, and exchanged wit back and forth with heavy fire. Each time there was a silence, it was like we had to catch our breath from the laughing, or we just had to sit and appreciate the person sitting across from us. It was then that I became the second type of silent person. I was trying to glean so much from this silence. I was trying to read his verbal and bodily cues like roadmap of where he wanted us to go. Except the roadmap was scattered all over his body. It was in his green and yellow eyes, in the stubbles of his facial hair, and the warmth of his smile.

Breaking a Heavy Silence

On our second date, we marched through Heatpocalypse 2010, stopping along the way for brunch at a Russian diner and two overwhelming ice coffees. We were having a blast. After a while, we came in from the heat, and we had a beautifully honest conversation together. This time, our words, like bricks, were mortared together with silences that each of us wouldn’t dare speak over. We knew these silences, sitting there, were okay. We need not alter them, or wish for something more or less from them. Like we accepted each other, we accepted these silences for all their baggage and all their meaning, and we hoped that they would change us for the better.

So, why such a long break in between blogs? I consider myself a very reactionary writer. This writing blitz that I’ve been on in the past year—stretching all the way back to last summer—has been out of unhappiness. Part of my reacting to unhappiness is writing. Even the creation of this blog is evidence of that. And, with my new enjoyable dating situation, I found that I had less and less to write about. But, then again, that might just be a personal challenge for me in the future. What happens to the writer who suddenly becomes happy? Hopefully, this long writing silence of mine will find me doing three things:  trying to fill it up with writing, trying to glean something from it, and enjoying the happiness while it lasts.

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It Takes a Village, Part 1

23 Jun

Why do we stop being raised after we grow older? If it takes a village to raise a child, then who raises the twentysomethings like me who wander through life—not exactly aimlessly—without a clear guide map through young adulthood’s piney forest? If it takes a village to raise a child, then it takes a family, a campus, and a city to raise a twentysomething. We, Lord of the Flies—style, have to fend for ourselves and raise each other. And we people of the concrete jungle know that our island can be just as rough as the one in Lord of the Flies, because rather than a group of gangly boys, we’re dealing with eight million people who would put our head on a pike to get ahead of us personally, professionally, and romantically.

I think a lot of us in our lives try to paint by the numbers. We see how others have succeeded, and try to follow along within the lines other people have outlined. Putting personal flare into our lives is a topic that I have previously advocated in my blog, but it was advice that I didn’t take myself until a friend of mine swooped in and caused me to color outside the lines.

Patrick is a friend of mine through a long line of connections. He goes to Fordham at Rose Hill, and I met him because he dated one of my best friend’s roommates. With such a tenuous link between us, it seems weird that he was still in my life at all, but we have kept in contact through this time. Last Friday, he called me up because he was in the city, and he took me to lunch at Empanada Mama where I mislead him as to the size of the empanadas. I could’ve sworn they were bigger. But what they lacked in girth, they made up for in flavor.

The date went really well. It wasn’t a romantic date, and neither of us have any interest in each other (unless Patrick is one to conceal his passions, and from his out-there, expressive demeanor, I doubt it) but it was the best date I had so far. Patrick had a lot of great advice, and it was really great to work through some of my problems with someone one-on-one. Whereas most dates cause anxiety, this one worked as a kind of relieving therapy session, only a booth replaced the couch, and the office was Hell’s Kitchen.

I had become discouraged because, while I have seen and felt my body respond well to the diet and exercise, I felt as if I was failing in my mission. Patrick, though petite and healthy, is on a personal journey to lose weight, even if I believe he doesn’t need it. It’s always part of the plight of the fat person to believe that every skinnier person should be happy with his or her body. However, we may have a bigger blind side to the problems of pretty, skinny people than skinny people do to those of us who are an extra pizza slice away from visiting the tailor to have our pants let out. He advised me to not always worry about the numbers, and that if I felt myself shrinking, it was best to follow what my mind was thinking, and if I liked the way I looked in the mirror, then I shouldn’t ache to bring a scale into my circle of friends. Whereas friends can give subjective, personal advice, scales cannot.

It Takes a Village to Raise a Child, It Takes a Bulldozer to Raze the Concrete Jungle

As I related in my previous blog, I recently began speaking with my ex-boyfriend. Though he hurt me in the past, much like Patrick felt obligated to help me where he had experience, I feel an obligation to him to help him through experiences I share with him. He has been having problems with his boyfriend, and when he called me to talk to me about it, I heard a lot of the same things I said last summer after we broke up coming out of his mouth. Even though I knew how to deal with them, I remember how hard it was for me to take advice last summer, even from friends of mine who knew how I felt. When someone is going through a break-up, it’s especially hard, because the person is expected to transition to the single life while simultaneously going through a period of trauma. Transition is hard enough without having to do it in a distraught personal state. If being broken up taught me anything, it’s that you need other people to get through it, because going cold turkey doesn’t work when it comes to break-ups. Breaking up is a team sport, and your friends are the star players. However, my ex-boyfriend finds himself right out of college, most of his friends have moved back home, and he now has no boyfriend, which is why I have come in to help him through this period.

I got the job as the intern for the About.com GayLife blog. During the interview, my boss talked a lot about how he believes that journalism is an important platform for social change. The blogosphere is a place where people can feel community without being within physical proximity of each other. If you can relay important news to a lot of people, and force people to think about important issues, then you can change the way their brains think and their hearts beat. It’s very powerful. With this blog, my writing is a force for personal change. However, there is still a community. Knowing that I have readers who are coming along with me on this journey is important to me, because you are an unseen motivation, the unsung heroes behind the biking, the dieting, the reading, and the writing. It still takes a village, but at this age, it’s a village of equals who stand to learn from each other. We are often blind alone, only able to see peripherally, or not able to see past the end of our nose. But together, we navigate the concrete jungle in search of love, financial success, and friendship, and along the way, a little bit of not-by-the-numbers fun.

Suddenly, Last Summer

14 Jun

I went on a job interview this past Thursday. For the last question of the interview, the employer asked me, “What do you want from this job?” I answered that I wanted us both to come out differently at the end of the experience. It is my belief that no job is worth the experience if you don’t come out differently when you leave, especially the kind of job I was applying for—a one-on-one internship where I work exclusively with the director of About.com’s Gay Life Blog.  A job should not be meant only to utilize one’s skills, but to augment them, as well.

My philosophy on taking a job is also very similar to my experience with dating, or any friendship. Both relationships and friendships are based on compatibility. Like a screening process or an interview, any human relationship is built on met needs. Do you both have similar sense of humor? Do you both like the same things? Do you both want the same things for the future? A restaurant dinner table and an interview table bear many similarities—not the least of which is the stream of questions that fly over them when two people meet across them for the first time.

My answer to my own interview question got me thinking over the next day whether I came out changed from my last—my first and only—relationship. When the relationship failed, I was the first one to heap blame on the other party, which is one of the things I try not to do most in my life. I believe that in most arguments, or disagreements, or separations that there is blame to be parceled out. In the vain of Carrie Bradshaw, “Blame for everyone!” So, it was unusual, even if I was badly hurt when we broke up, for me to parcel him all the blame.

Breathe, Just Breathe

These questions couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. While Thursday saw me at a Date with Destiny, Friday saw me on a Date with the Past. As fate would have it, my ex-boyfriend and I spoke with each other Thursday night, and we agreed to hang out that Friday morning so I could bring him to the video game shop that I discovered by Union Square. This would be the first time that we would hang out alone and have to get along amicably. Not that that would be a problem for me. I had most definitely moved on, and I was no longer angry with him. I think the part I have to take blame for is that I wanted more from him than he was ready to give. The only way I knew how to get what I wanted from him was through incessant nagging and bickering. In a way, I wasn’t a very fun person to date, because I didn’t want to date him as he was—I wanted to mold him into someone that I wanted to date.

Between my constant questioning of myself, my questions about my last relationship, and my thrusting into the dating scene, last summer was creeping up on me steadily.  And, I didn’t like where I was when last summer ended. I was experiencing growing pains. After being thrust out of a relationship, rediscovering writing, and being dumped by two rebounds guys, I wasn’t in a best place. I was doing a lot of growing really fast because of my circumstances, and I didn’t get all the time to reflect on it. That’s why this summer, I’m documenting my growth through these tiny reflections. ST. Ignatius of Loyola reminds us that an experience is only half an experience without reflection. I want this summer to be the fullest experience possible, which is why this blog exists. Because this is my reflection, and it’s the other half of what I need to keep my experiences full and fresh—steady reflection.