Friday, April 22, 2016

Prince

There is the news you’re never ready for, the news that when someone tells you, you think, surely, they must be joking, that this is a terrible joke, that this can’t be real. That was the case yesterday when a coworker casually mentioned that Prince had just died.

No. Not Prince. Impossible. A bad Internet hoax. A rumor.

Sadly, though, yes. Yes, Prince. Possible. Not a hoax. Not a rumor.

I am still unable to fully fathom that I currently live on this planet and that Prince does not. He has been with me nearly my whole life, through so many phases of my life, always teaching me new things. As a kid, I remember watching his videos, hearing his songs, and loving them. As an early teen, through BMG Music Club or one of those similar subscription services that I was always delinquent in paying for, I received the 3-disc set “Hits and B-Sides.” To say I played the shit out of those CDs is an understatement. I learned every single word to every single one of those songs, playing them again and again, making mixtapes with those songs featuring prominently on them.

He was my first lover. He was everyone’s first lover. Which is why his death hurts so fucking much. Before I ever kissed anyone, before I ever made any awkward gropings in the dark with someone, before I ever had sex, or felt the power of touch, I felt it through his music, through his erotic charge that came through so much of those early songs of his. He made some of the sexiest music ever made and it taught me what it was to be human, what it was to be a sexual being, how those feelings were worthy of celebration, were worthy of song.

So there is that, which is no small thing.

As importantly, he allowed me to be queer. He created a space in popular culture for femme, flamboyant males. He lit an alternative path, something other than the normal constricts of masculinity. As an awkward teen, unsure about my sexuality, trying my best to deny it, to not be that word faggot that other kids in high school called me, he presented a confidence and an assuredness in his self-presentation, as gay as gay could be, and yet not even gay. For me, that meant so much, and in retrospect I can see how much an influence he had on me, how his liberated self allowed me to strive toward my own self-liberation.

He liberated me in so many senses. His dancing. His fucking dancing. I don’t dance with the same enthusiasm anymore, but when I first went to college, at all those parties, when all those Prince songs came on, and they seemed to come on all the time at those New College parties, I danced free, in love with movement and with what my body was capable of, of putting on a show, of feeling the music. That was learned from watching Prince videos, from him showing what was possible, those splits (which obviously I was never capable of), and that careening, sailing around the stage. Every time I danced to a Prince song, I was Prince, was trying to be, was trying to have the same grace, sexiness, and charisma while dancing.

I can’t believe this man is gone.

In later years, once I was living in New York, I downloaded his whole discography and went through album by album, amazed at this man’s talent. So all of the above, the space he created with his persona, that’s one thing, but then there is just his insane level of talent on vivid display throughout his insanely huge catalog of music, music that he made almost entirely by himself (session musicians aside). That he played every instrument on his first album (released at the age of 20!) just boggles the mind. A level of talent with songwriting, singing, guitar playing, piano playing, dancing - perfect at every single one of them. It almost seems unfair that one single human could be so talented, have so much skill, but he was hungry and had a work ethic that none of mere mortals could ever hope to approach. But still I hold him and his work ethic up as my lodestar - something to aspire to - to try to approach art and making stuff with the same level of intensity and passion.

I saw him perform twice in concert and both times were religious experiences. The amount that this man means to me had me sitting on the edge of my seat, just blown away, experiencing floods of overwhelming emotions, knowing how lucky I was to see him live, that it would be something I would always hold tight for the rest of my life, those memories.

The music slices right through me like nothing else. Rhythm is fucking life and this man’s sense of rhythm and melody just prove what a life-force this man was. He was just on another plane and had an understanding of things and translating those things to art in a way that is nothing short of breathtaking.

“If I could I would give you the world, but all I can do is offer you my love.”


But Prince, you did. You gave me the world. Thank you, thank you, thank you for everything.

Friday, April 1, 2016

"Let Me Know" - Roisin Murphy

Two nights ago, I found out that I didn’t get this job I really wanted. I cried in my bed as I went to sleep, having wanted this job so, so bad, and feeling myself so close to it after two rounds of interviews. In a way, it felt like a romantic rejection - it was the same sort of hurt, the same type of insecurity, and the same fear about what my future would be. But it was also something more than that and a new experience for me - there was also a layer of artistic judgement in it, that I had failed to impress, that something in my work came up short.

It was for a copywriter role at a really hip, trendy agency. The people that worked there seemed great and the work they make is awesome. I showed them my work, but more than my ad work, they were really into my burrito project, which I had talked to one of the creative directors about in passing, mentioning that it was probably NSFW. He was super into it and shared it with the other creative directors there, which is what got me the second interview there. It was a feeling of validation that they got it, saw what I was trying to do, and really liked it.

And so believing myself so close to this job after a really good second interview and already dreaming about what I was going to say in my resignation letter to my current place of employment, it was immensely painful when I saw the email come up on my phone and I could read the first line even more opening it, spotted that tell-tale “Unfortunately.” Anything that starts with that word is never good news, and I knew even before opening it that I didn’t get the job.

So the job search continues. The crying session was helpful in that it showed me that I am doing the right thing, that I have never cried about jobs in the past because I never really saw them as reflective of me or my skills, but rather as some form of income. The crying let me know officially that I am an adult and I cry about jobs now, not boys. It let me know that I am doing what I want to be doing and that’s why not being able to do it where I wanted to stung so bad.

I didn’t get it and it sucks and yeah I felt totally bummed and depressed and really didn’t want to go into work the next day. But I did and I am doing shit. There are other opportunities out there and I just need to chase them harder. I wrote a recruiter yesterday and she’s putting me forward for another job. I am working on my burrito project. I am teaching myself new skills. I am getting fit. I am alive. There is so much happening. It’s fucking Spring and let’s take over the world, let’s carve out a space for us to live happily, confidently, where we can do shit that we want to do, shit that we’re proud of.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Big Ang

Last night, Big Ang died. I read the news on Facebook, as bad news often seems to be encountered these days. I don’t know what to say about it but I do feel that something needs to be said, that I need to commemorate in some small ways what this woman meant to me. She was an inspiration to me in her brashness, in her love of life, and in her bigness. Yes, she was a reality tv star, but something human shone through all that and from the first time I saw her on screen, I was captivated by this woman and for a while something close to obsessed with her.

She was so expressive in all of her facial reactions and in her body language. She was so alive and engaged with the world in such a beautiful way. I wanted to be her, to have that same liberated sense of fun she seemed capable of. She was all about the good life and, yes, it’s living that good life too much that caused her to die at an early age. But she was so alive, more alive than most people ever will be, during her time here.

I met her once at her Brass Monkey bar when she had an outpost of it in Dumbo. I went to it opening night, knowing that she would be there. She was and for an hour or so, I watched her and her friends drunkenly party all over the bar, waiting for some moment when I could approach her and tell her how much I loved her. I told her and she was blasted but excited to chat with me briefly, appreciating the love. I took a photo with. She squeezed my cheeks, and that night I was the happiest person on the planet, having finally encountered in person this larger-than-life figure who meant so much to me.

And so last night, her death, while making me insanely sad also reminded me of what it is to be alive, what a short thing this is, our time here on Earth, and how there are innumerable approaches to what to do with that time, but certainly one of the best ways of using that time would be to follow Big Ang’s example and to fucking live loudly.

That’s what I have been trying to do lately - to have fun, to not have shame, to follow my passions where they may lead me unconcerned about what some people may think, to live, and to try to make the most of this time here on Earth.

Last week, I went on a date with this incredibly sexy guy, my first time going on a date with a guy in...honestly, I can’t even remember the last one... a year maybe? It was nice, but when he first got to the bar where I was meeting with him, I got nervous, clammed up, and felt crazy insecure, thought this person was too good for me, too attractive for me, that something about this equation wasn’t right. So despite this person looking at me in a way I could definitely tell meant he was attracted to me, that deep-rooted insecurity of me grew branches and started sprouting all over the place. I did a mental aboutface though. I realized that this person was here because he wanted to be, that he was looking at me because he was attracted to me, and that I needed to get ahold of myself very quickly if I didn’t want this date to go off the rails.

There is a self-sabotaging part of myself that comes out often in my interactions with people that I am attracted to, that for whatever reasons I don’t believe that I am deserving or worthy of affection and so do my best to make that the case. And this was one of those instances, but then I hit the brakes and engaged. I became present. I became alive. It’s so fucking easy to start doing laps in your brain, running through various things and thinking why things won’t work or why this person shouldn’t like you. But I muted that annoying talk show happening and became present in the scene. And from that point, the date went great. We had a lovely dinner, snacked on pig’s tails, and then went back to his place and had amazing sex. He lives behind my favorite burrito place in the world, which I take to be a sign, a very important sign.

I met with a recruiter yesterday about getting a new job. I am serious about living my best life and having the most fun while doing so. Big Ang, I fucking love you!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

riding in white Broncos through the fog of nostalgic memories

John Travolta as Robert Shapiro is otherworldly. I watched The People vs. O.J. Simpson last night and have been thinking about his performance in it all morning long. It was one of those incandescent performances that glows long after the show’s over. I’m not sure what that thing is about a particular performance that stirs something inside of us, why I am so moved, astounded, wowed, and still thinking about his portrayal, about the magic that human beings are capable of.

Probably because I am trying to find my own magic, to get better and more committed about harnessing it, about summoning it, putting whatever talents it is I do have to use.

It’s a constant process but I am getting better at it.

And so watching that performance last night, I saw it, saw other people harnessing their magic. This is why things like this inspire us, stir us, because it’s a reminder to keep on chasing the dream, that we are capable of thrilling things, that amazing art is possible.

And what that means in my case is that I am getting more and more serious about this Burrito Fever project I am pursuing, thinking of visual approaches and what it means to document oneself, what it means to document food, what the culture of selfies, and sexy Instagram accounts mean, what they represent - all of the numerous things to unpack. And I love this process of process, of working through these things by doing, of finding things, of finding one’s self.

There is a certain level of fearlessness and moxy that I am embracing lately and which I love. The more I embrace it, the happier I feel with the stuff I am making.

Work drains me, which is nothing new. I am on the job hunt, which also is nothing new. A seeming constant in my life. I want to be doing bigger things than my current job allows. I want to be changing the fucking world and not just writing funny tweets.

I am a blonde. I bleached my hair last weekend and it feels great to look in the mirror. I see myself. I see a different self, the self I hadn’t seen in awhile. Changing my appearance allowed me to become more aware of my appearance, to see this thing that I had been unable to see because I had become too accustomed to it, too used to it. I saw this person, myself, and I liked what I saw. I like what I see.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

My Struggle With "My Struggle"

Moments ago, I finished a novel I started in May. May. Seven months ago.

It's something that I am not so proud about concerning this past year. I read far fewer books than I have at any point in my life since probably I learned to read. A lot of non-book stuff was read - status updates, quick takes on whatever the latest scandal is, articles linked to and unlinked to. And that stuff is beneficial. I am not devaluing social media or the unique forms of knowledge and entertainment it provides. What I am saying is that my heavy engagement with social media this past year, especially since starting to work in it, has eaten up whatever moments I otherwise would have spent curled up in bed with a book. Now, I curl up in bed with my iPhone next to me, scrolling through Facebook, reading articles and watching videos friends and friends of friends have posted.

The book was Karl Ove Knausgard's My Struggle. I started it on a flight to Iceland and London this spring, thinking I would read it on the trip. I didn't. The book rather was a stowaway and got a free trip to Europe from me is all. On that same trip, I met up with my ex, Jacob, who was reluctant to meet up with me, which was depressing. He looked just as beautiful as he did when we broke up a few years ago. A month after eating lunch with him in a London park he would be married. That event, which I saw pictures of on social media (instead of reading My Struggle), was perhaps the finality I needed, to realize that it was never going to happen, whatever slight hopes I still harbored of someday reuniting with this guy.

Stay with me here. I am not sure where I am going with any of this, but we'll figure that out as we go along and try to recap what 2015 was and what it wasn't and what it is we as human beings, and me a specific human being, hope to get out of life.

Let's stick with this theme of romance and longing for just a bit longer though, tie these strings up, so we can move on to the bigger things (and, yes, in 2015, I finally after 34 years on this planet, realized that there are bigger things). At the end of the summer, Nik moved away to Atlanta. Another heartbreak. Another unsuccessful romance. He was my best friend this past summer and I was in love with him and it's a position I have been in too many times in my life.

There were guys that I maybe hooked up with once, maybe twice. These guys I can count on one hand from this past year and still have a finger left to flick off the world.

But, really, where am I going with any of this? This has gone so far off the rails from what I initially meant to say, which is this: 2015 was a fucking fantastic year. Yes, there are the above paragraphs that might give the impression it wasn't, but yes, folks, yes it was.

I finally got a paid job in advertising at a cool agency, finally in my mid-thirties started to feel like I knew what I was doing with my life, finally started to feel like an adult in the career-sense of the word, which is a big part of that word. This is a big deal and contributed to my happiness in ways I never even imagined it would. I was deeply unhappy and dissatisfied working in hospitality, aware that I could be doing better, that I wasn't living up to my potential, and that I wasn't utilizing the skills that I wanted to utilize in my life, namely writing. To get paid for writing, even if it's writing social media for various brands, feels so fucking good. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be a writer as my job. Yes, this is not the type of writing I imagined I would be doing then, but it's still fucking writing and I am getting fucking paid for it, and that feels so damn good, it's indescribable.

So that gave me a bit of a confidence boost when I finally no longer was an intern but a paid employee, and allowed me to shake off some of the insecurity I had otherwise been dragging around. Pair that with a renewed physical confidence from actually having to get dressed up each day to go to work and going to the gym regularly and just finally getting over whatever sense of shame and inhibition I had for so long allow me to hold me back publicly in some ways.

I am really in love with my body, and not necessarily in a narcissistic way, though maybe, and also I am not necessarily sure that'd be a negative thing given the prevailing sentiments in our culture toward one's body -  self-harm, self-loathing, or some combination of the two. I feel really connected to my body, present in it in a way I hadn't in the past few years. I don't drink as much as I used to. I rarely smoke now. I am trying to take better care of myself because I have more respect for this body, and an awareness that I am this body.

There were trips to Fire Island, to Vegas, to Miami, to New Orleans, to Colorado, and those already mentioned trips to Iceland and London. A lot of fun was had.  I have really embraced my love of burritos in a way that I am continuing to explore and mine with burritofever.com.

There is so much fucking beauty on this planet. I am happy with the friends I have, with my living situation, and for the most part with my career situation.

This upcoming year though I do want to working on becoming a better person. There's always something to improve, work to be done, things to learn, and so my resolutions for 2016 are:

-I want a better job - hopefully more money and hopefully doing stuff not just in social media
-I want to become more fit
-I want to read a lot more fiction
-I want to write better and write more
-I want to finally learn Spanish

And literally every single one of those resolutions has been a resolution of mine for probably the last decade or so, and you know what? Who the fuck cares? Just keep on putting those intentions out there and trying. It's all you can fucking do. Live your life.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Miami

Friday, I landed at Miami Airport. It was cloudy, grey. Despite this, it was incredibly beautiful. Outside the huge glass windows overlooking the runway, I saw that familiar sight - the flat landscape of Florida that allows for its epic skies. I felt at home, felt the sting of recognition, a loved one I hadn’t seen in years. The sky of Florida gives me a feeling that few things in this world are capable of.

I met up with my friends where they were staying and went to check out Art Basel. I had a couple glasses of wine while checking out the art there and then things never slowed down from there. The rest of the weekend was spent at various parties, checking out art, figuring out how to get into parties, tipping go-go boys. I fucking love Miami. I had such an amazing time there and began to consider what life might be like there, if I would actually enjoy living there. At some point, I might find my way down there.

Florida is a magical place, something in my blood, place of my birth. Miami is full of beautiful Latin men, gorgeous beaches, nice weather, breathtaking skies. It does make me wonder sometimes why I live in New York, what it has to offer me. Riding the subway home from JFK Sunday night, these questions became even more pronounced, the subway stations looking more disgusting than usual.

Monday, November 16, 2015

MIX

I spent yesterday hungover and sleeping. In the few periods of time in which I was awake, I inhabited the night earlier, tried to find my way back to that time, to that space, recalling various moments of sexiness as I jerked off to the recollections, trying to inhabit that space again.

Saturday night, I had gone to the MIX festival and I quickly turned into the sex-crazed person I often do in situations in which public sex is happening. After hanging out with friends for a bit, dancing and drinking, I soon found myself buried in a pile of people in one of the backrooms. I remember jerking off with numerous sexy people. There is the memory of at some point worshipping some dude’s feet as I jerked off. A lot of exchanging of blowjobs. I did and I did not want to cum. A part of me realized I should probably go say hello to my friends who at numerous points walked through the room and saw me engaged in sex. Another part of me wanted to keep this moment going forever, to never climax.

I climaxed though, inspired by this sexy man next to me. We had a shared rhythm, both getting to that point, breaths faster and deeper. We came together. I found my pants, put them on, and went to hang out with friends again. That lasted a very brief time. I wanted more. Wanted to see more. Wanted to jerk off more. There was so much sexiness there. So many hot scenes of fucking all around me. All these beautiful naked men.

I ended up in another room, another pile of bodies. I sucked dicks of some fucking gorgeous men. Had my dick sucked by many gorgeous men. This lasted until sunrise. At some point, I heard someone say they were closing in ten minutes. And so I came again, hurrying, wanting to cum before this cleared out, this moment.

I left the space, a mess, shirtless because I couldn’t find my jacket or shirt. The taxi driver looked at me like I was crazy, which you know I can’t really blame him for. When I got home, I jerked off again, thinking back on those scenes, repeating them in my mind, replaying the sight of this gorgeous man’s body, him standing over me, smiling cockily as I air kissed in the direction of his dick, motioning that I wanted it in my mouth. He stepped toward me, put his beautiful dick in my mouth.

I sit here now at work, again recalling these moments of sexual freedom, of sexual fantasies literally come to life, a dreamscape of bodies everywhere, everyone having fun, enjoying each other and enjoying what it means to be human, to have these human bodies.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Cruise Control

Over the weekend, on Halloween night, dressed as some slutty gay version of a tiger, I met this man, Ben, while waiting in line at the bathroom at Spectrum. I felt a connection, or more likely I wanted there to be one. This was a new face, a person I had not already tried and failed with, a person who I haven’t already seen and looked past numerous times over the past twelve years of living in New York. He was new, which more and more becomes a problem in New York for me.

The odds of romance seemingly become slimmer and slimmer with each passing year in this city. More and more of the faces have become familiar, have become friends, or have long ago passed that point at which anything would have happened. The faces that don’t fit this are usually new faces to the city, usually people quite young, which now in my mid-thirties, is a demographic that I have less and less interest in.

After peeing together in the bathroom, Ben and I continued to talk in the hall. A friend of his came up and started talking to him, and I went to go dance. I walked home at some point from Spectrum, too overwhelmed with it, too many familiar faces preventing me from losing myself, from being a stranger. I have been unable to find this person on Facebook. The friend talking to him could have very well been his boyfriend. Maybe I actually would have no interest in him with the masks down, with this dress-up of Halloween not allowing us to present ourselves as something other than we are, or perhaps the costumes allowing us to present ourselves as we really are, shedding the costumes that make up the other 364 days of the year.

I looked at guys on Grindr. I looked at guys on Scruff. I went to bed alone.

I feel really good about my life these days. Work is going well for me. It’s allowing me to feel creatively fulfilled in a way that I rarely have in my past work experiences. The weather outside is beautiful. The stillness and crispness of the fall air always does something to me.

There are so many beautiful men in this world and in this city, and yet I don’t know how to have a relationship with one of them. There are guys I dream about every night, a rotating cast of two or three. I look at their Instagrams and Facebooks and wonder why it didn’t work out, wonder if it still could. Occasionally, I will message them or like a photo, the digital equivalent of pebbles against a window, a suitor outside in the bushes wanting so so badly the thing on the other side of that starred photograph, on the other side of that balcony.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Knock Knock

I spent the weekend in bed for two reasons. One, I was suffering, starting to suffer, from a cold. I took a lot of cold medicine and so wasn't good for much else other than lounging in my bed, watching Netflix. Two, though, probably of equal importance, cause had I money I probably still would have gone out even though sick, probably wouldn't have even felt sick - two being that I was broke.

Sunday, yesterday, I roused myself after being in bed for way too many hours straight and watching too many eighties movies, Rambo and Top Gun among them. I went to the gym. I worked out for a while but spent an even longer while in the steamroom, trying to sweat out of my body whatever cold virus I had or imagined myself to have. I was determined to bring it to a boil, cook it to death in this steamroom. Only of one us would walk out alive, and since I don't think viruses can actually walk, it was going to be me.

In the steamroom, as happens in steamrooms, a guy next to me starting to jerk off. I joined him. He stood over me naked, apparently unworried that anyone would walk in, or perhaps thrilled, turned on, by that worry, needing that risk to get himself off, me perhaps needing it also. He shot his load all over my chest. I rubbed it all over my chest as he walked out of the steamroom, really happy in a way I hadn't been in what felt like too long.

Later that evening, I would go this guy, a mess of a guy, always too high, always too neurotic, always too awkward. We smoked weed and drank wine. We fucked in his bed. I asked him to open his blinds, said I wanted to give his neighbors a show. After both of us came, I saw the mess all over his bed, lube everywhere, cum stains, a sticky dildo, a bottle of poppers. And there was an exchange of dialogue so perfect, so bleak, so noirish, that I couldn't wait til I was out of his apartment and in the hallway so that I could write it down in my phone before forgetting it. I want to write a story with these lines in it. A gay Raymond Carver story, bleak and miserable, two people together and yet also totally alone, all the more alone in fact while they are in each other's company. The lines exchanged that I wrote in my phone once I finally left his apartment and stood in the hallway were these:

Me: We made a mess of your bed.

Him: It's okay...we made a mess of our lives.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Matt

Matt. Mardi Gras 1981. A black and white poster, very gay, very eighties. I purchased it from a used gay bookstore in New Orleans a month or so ago. Today, I finally got a frame for it. Hung it on my bedroom wall. Sat on my bed, lay on my bed, got stoned, thought about boys, about aging, wondered if I would ever, at this point in my life, still have an intense romance with another person that could be sustained for a lifetime, or something close to it.

Every now and then, I'd step out of these thoughts, take a little smoke break from that depressing bar, look up to my wall to contemplate this image of Matt, shirtless hunk, muscle guy, staring back at me, another ungraspable, another person unable or unwilling to return my affection. There seemed to be some metaphor in that. I wasn't sure that was the metaphor I wanted to look at every night, stoned in bed, thinking about boys.

Nick. New York 2015. It would be more appropriate though for this poster guy's name to be Nick. A couple nights ago, hanging out with some friends, telling them about the latest heartache from one of the Nicks of New York, they pointed out all the Nicks there have been that I have liked. So many. Three strikes for sure by this point.

And looking at this image, this attractive man, just inspired too many thoughts about attractive men, about men in general, set me too full of desire, made me want too much for affection, for love, for a boyfriend, for certain notions of happiness, made those particular notions of happiness take priority, exert dominance, over all other possible conceptions of happy, maybe just as valid, maybe even more so. Who knows though cause there's Matt and Nick and Jacob and Tanner and that Nick and that Nik and all the rest of them embodied up there in this recently framed print? It's everything ungraspable.

This, this is not what I should be looking as I drift off to sleep. This is not what dreams are made of. No, this is what nightmares are made of. This is what pathetic cuddling sessions with your pillow as you tell yourself you'll one day find someone are made of.

Needless to say, I moved the picture, decided I'd switch it out for the Smokey the Bear print from the bathroom, and bring Smokey into my bedroom. In all caps, the Smokey picture says, "ONLY YOU." Other notions of happiness. Just as valid. Perhaps more so.