Foreheads

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gay / Life

Today’s weather is an open invitation to my depressive tendencies. The grey fog is scaping the asphalt and the moisture of impending rain anchors the lungs. Yet, I find myself grateful for life this morning. My cup holds the perfect combination of coffee to milk and soft beats drown out the swishing noise of tires on wet pavement.

I’m running those upcoming stressful first days at university through my head, thereby making them less of a chore. But, mostly, I’m daydreaming of the foreheads. You know, foreheads – those nerdy STEM students with their heads so far in their books or laptops that all you see of them is their foreheads.

What I came to realize last semester while accidentally sitting in the science building was that most of them are hot. There is something sexy in their determined drive and haphazardous fashion. I  find it especially adorable when they break out in a sweat at the sight of a female student.

Should I ever attain one of these elusive creatures for myself I would not change a thing about him. Let’s hear it for the foreheads – they rarely get their due.

Moms

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Life / Relationships

A sense of maternal uselessness invaded her thoughts. She pressed the palms of her hands to her eyes and waited for the loneliness to subside. After a few moments, she dried her hands on her smock, rose to her feet, and walked towards the kitchen.

I suppose there comes a time in every mother’s life when they realize cutting the umbilical cord is inevitable. But, that does not mean we don’t still need them.

Bromance

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gay / Life / Relationships

Male bonding is a foreign concept to me. And, don’t get me started on bromance. As a young gay man, I wondered if my ignorance came wrapped in desire. Because of this fear, I hid behind girlfriends and a camera lens. Existing in the periphery of a macho-rich culture, and being afraid of my desires, resulted in me missing out on male friendship.

I will turn sixty on Monday and I can count the number of heterosexual friends I’ve had on one hand. Even worse, American men have this resistance to asking other men to hang out socially. My nephew is a good example of this situation. After his first semester at university, he expressed his frustrations at not having made any friends – male or female.

His argument centered on his idea that college-age females are looking for older guys. In addition, he was afraid college-aged males would get the wrong idea should he ask them to hang out. And, he believes that, as a gay man, I have it easier because females are more likely to carry a conversation with me. Plus, they can then introduce to other gays.

What I came to understand is that being gay, living with depression, and uncontrolled anxiety are just one part of my being friendless and single. I am not alone in struggling with male bonding and turning strangers into friends.

Both my nephew and I begin our Spring semester at university on Tuesday. As I sit on the couch writing this post, I struggle with envisioning things being different this semester. Yet, I find comfort because I am not in this struggle alone. And, my mental health is not the sole cause of my friendless situation. What I’m saying is, maybe, if I go first instead of waiting for someone to spark up a conversation with me, I could meet more people. And maybe, just maybe, make a friend or two along the way.

 

Riptide

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inspiration / Life / Mental Health

You ask if living with you is all that hard. Well, I’ve been divorcing you even before I knew you existed. Back then, if you happen to knock on the door I reached for a beer or a joint. What lurked behind the door was unrecognizable, and for no apparent reason, unwelcome.

Little by little, you consumed me.

You brought me shame. Keeping you a secret from my family was not an option. My friends, well, they said you were bad for me, but you gaslighted me. It got to the point where I stopped talking about you, even when you were so close it hurt.

Then you got possessive. You demanded my attention, keeping me awake, wanting me to entertain you at odd hours. At breakfast, you were there, while I looked for something to wear, you were there, even when I celebrated, you were there.

Listen, it’s hard to construct an identity when living in the margins. And, yes, duplicity was my game. But, I’m not that weak person anymore. Funny, the answer was letting you in.

I’ll ride the riptide with you.

I’ll surf the landslide with you.

Let’s Dance.

 

 

Obvious

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inspiration / Life / Relationships

The smell of homemade beans filled the kitchen. Cilantro, onions, tomatoes, garlic, and cumin seemed to seep through the walls of the old house. Its only rival was the scent of spicy pork tamales about ready to be devoured.

This is was our last holiday family gathering – on January 4th. I sat with my sisters at the dining table, my nephews were outside listening to Selena and J. Balvin, their kids were upstairs singing along to Kahlid.

One of my great-nephews came down and started a conversation about his first semester at university – he had found the experience taxing. Being a 3rd year, I gave him lots of advice and answered all of his questions.

“You are amazing, Tio” he said.

I was ready to begin my self deprecating speech, the same one I’ve used for years, but he cut me off.

“You moved around, made your money, retired, and now, at sixty, you are going to university. that is like waaaay cool.”

“Ok kid, what do you want? money?” I joked.

We all laughed, he gave me a hug, picked up a tray of tamales and disappeared up the stairs.

Later, I thought, wow, it took a kid to highlight the obvious.

Enough

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Life / Relationships

IMG_1294There is a small, tattered box in my closet. Unmarked. Beige. Old, but resilient. It has survived three moves and seventeen years.

In it, you will find holidays, birthdays, Hawaii, and Mexico. Joy and Pain also reside there. And of course, you.

It was foolish of me to think I could contain the pain in the recesses of my closet, hidden behind expensive clothes and shoes. Even worse, to think a gym membership would make me strong enough to rid myself of it.

I even gladly kept my martyr mindset in every new place I called home.

Enough. I am done fighting your ghost.

Dirt

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Life / Relationships

I didn’t come asking for your kindness.

Keep your love upon the self.

If I once loved you, it’s best we keep that to ourselves.

But, your friends tell me that he left you.

That you are drowning in your hurt.

Now you see how love can cuddle or drags us through the dirt.