It/He/You Don’t Have to Be Perfect

God and Mother Nature got together to create evolution, and it is the veritable definition of imperfection.  This never-ending process of tinkering has “successfully” resulted in a planet on which the vast majority of species died out ages ago.  Yet for some reason, we have the capacity to imagine perfection.  Why?  Concepts such as success and failure, perfect and flawed, are entirely human inventions.  They have no basis in biological fact.  But love, I believe, does have a biological basis.  Yet most people do whatever they possibly can to circumvent it, even deny its existence.

Despite having to slither through a hot mess of astounding proportions to get there, the miracle of gay male love still manages to find its way to the surface.  Despite having to bear a veritable mountain of neglect, heartache, abuse, and suffering for almost forty years, somehow I am still alive and capable of starting over, psychologically, mentally, physically and, especially, emotionally and interrelationally.  The love of my biology still manages to find a way.

Love is a problematic word though.  I started using it to describe how I felt with my new friend Todd and, understandably, he got a bit worried because the terms of our relationship are that of a sexual friendship, not something more serious.  But I thought we cleared it up.  I tried to explain that I felt feelings of love because I believe in loving one’s friends.  There are so many kinds of love, yet only one word to describe them all.  So we English speakers are screwed–unless we choose to persevere through the messy work of explaining our feelings and motivations to someone who has the capacity to listen.

But what if you’ve never been listened to before?  What if you grew up in a family where everything you ever did or said or expressed or needed was either mocked or summarily ignored?  A family in which it did not matter what you did or said, or even how you did or said it, the message was always the same:  you and your need to be listened to, cherished, valued, acknowledged, and loved MEAN NOTHING.  YOU ARE NOTHING.  YOU DON’T EVEN EXIST.  And if you have the audacity to show signs of self-esteem on your own, YOU WILL BE DESTROYED.

So, as I tried to explain to Todd, not only have I never had a functional, dignified sexual relationship before now, I haven’t ever really had a normal, functional platonic relationship before either.  My previous relationships were always at my expense.  I recently had a bad weekend, but I had long since adopted the habit of hiding my suffering from everyone, my broken heart assuming that it would never be acknowledged or listened to anyway.  I didn’t realize how much pain I was in until I started having this conversation with Todd.  I think he understood why I started getting a little suspicious that perhaps he was blowing me off; on Monday I wrote him some rather terse text messages.  But, very ironically, Todd deals with a similar issue in that he told me how he is used to being used and discarded by sex partners himself.  So he has some pretty major insecurities too.  It was a difficult conversation, and very messy.

I became someone who doesn’t notice things, important things, that are right in front of my nose.  Now I know why.  It’s because I disacknowledged most of the things about myself as my family had done.  A week ago, I met Todd at a coffee shop.  He was nervous and pretty uncomfortable and it showed.  I remember seeing the fear in his eyes and the expressions on his face, but I didn’t act on that knowledge.  Fortunately he was patient enough to explain to me (a couple of times) the specific reasons why he felt that way with me in a public place.

We had a good talk over dinner today.  And our communicating still isn’t perfect.  It doesn’t have to be.  It never will be.  Not in this life anyway.  On Monday afternoon, I asked Todd an important question, and I didn’t get a straight answer, so those terse texts I sent him are actually much more reasonable now that I think about it.  Also we met like two and a half weeks ago!  It’s just that we hit it off so quickly and had the most obscure things in common, more of which we discovered today.  Time sure does dilate when it’s packed full of completely new socio-homoerotic experiences.  And you are each highly attracted to the other.  But now that this initial fiery force has settled a bit, we can move forward having learned important things about the other.  This process is called building trust.  At least I think it is.  I don’t know anymore what’s what.

Another flaky piece of crap just canceled on me.  And Spencer hasn’t written me in a few days.  It’s easy to get paranoid if you let yourself.  I’m just so incredibly afraid to get close to anyone because my heart and body can FEEL the rejection coming.  “It’s only a matter of time,” it says, “until you get destroyed once again.”  Until that friend stops writing you, until that cousin “explains” to you that your feelings are “wrong”.  How do you know it won’t happen this time?  You don’t.

A few weeks ago, I kind of snapped a little bit.  I realized that I had been alone almost full-time for twenty-plus years.  And I knew I could not take it anymore.  So I got up and did something about it.  I continued to go to a coffee shop every day to be around people as I had been doing for years.  But I also started to place really interesting, innovative personals ads to try to attract guys like me.  It has begotten mixed results.  And I had this bad weekend.  But my cousin helped me on Monday night.  She showed me love and acceptance via text message and even affirmed the validity of my feelings!  I could hardly believe my eyes.  I think she has finally started to understand some things about our family.  We have even planned a trip together next month, just the two of us.

I am so very tired of being so sick and poor and screwed up socially.  And I am even more tired of running into people who are the same.  Just when I think things are changing for me and I am undergoing a bona fide healing, something even worse comes to the forefront, bubbling up through the humongous tragedy of my life.  Then I have to deal with that and heal that, and come to a place of peace.  And then start the whole horrible process all over again.  I am scared for my future.

But then I remember my dreams of becoming a bodybuilder and fitness model.  And of finding true friendship and love.  And I feel hope all over again, even though it is far from perfect.  {>^<V}

With all the focus on gay men’s bodily appearance, I think that the health factor gets lost in the shuffle.  I’m trying to get “hot” in the gym and kitchen because of all the diseases I’m trying to combat, for example.  If becoming super hot, ripped, and energized with self-esteem and love for the world and other people happens to coincide with that, well so be it.  Men are designed to be lean, muscly to some extent, active, and energized with legitimate confidence (i.e. not being a pompous ass).  If you haven’t found your version of this lifestyle yet, then that simply means you can start right now, today.  It is never too late to put your temple in order.

Chances are you’ve been distracted by a job or some kind of career.  But it’s still no excuse.  It has been incontrovertibly proven that a sedentary lifestyle kills subtly yet efficiently behind the scenes, slowly destroying your body’s abilities until one day you wake up overweight and miserable.  But it is never too late to intervene upon this destructive path.

I used to be fifty pounds overweight, and now I’m not, because I took the necessary time to find exercise modalities I truly enjoy.  There is something for everyone.  And I was wise enough to ask for help from professional trainers when I knew I needed it.  Fitness is complicated; it takes time, effort, and money just like anything else, especially good relationships.  Don’t give up on yourself and your birthright:  to be healthy, lean, strong, and happy.

Nobody said it would be easy.  Guys who look amazing work out a LOT.  They have chosen on some level to make it a permanent part of their lifestyle.  And it’s not going to be perfect.  Since I started a new medication a couple month ago, I have become a little lethargic.  But once I start the workout, my energy usually snaps back into place.  And, fortunately, I am making some new friends who are already in the same mode of life, so the possibility of getting a workout buddy is very motivating as well.  I also find motivation in my hot guy art.

Have a nice day.  {>^<V}

So let me get this straight:  you’re “masc” and you’re not attracted to “fem”.  But you’re a “bottom”.  Tell me again, exactly how macho do you think you look with your ankles behind your ears?

–D. S.