5 Top Tips For Better Blogging

I never thought that when I started my blog in 2013 that 4 years later it would be my main source of income. I started it as a fun project with Bianca, one of my best friends from college, as a way for us to keep connected and show what we thought was cool. However, we sat down one day and very seriously wrote out a plan, brainstormed ideas, and tried to come up with something that we thought was unique.

Thus Artisan & King was born. 

It took a while to find the perfect name, but one day while getting lost in a blackhole of the internet, I found myself taking a personality test, which classifies you into one of seven Roles: Server, Artisan, Warrior, Scholar, Sage, Priest, and King. Can guess what I ended up being? 

Yup, I was an Artisan and after making Bianca take the test and being proclaimed a King (or Queen), we knew we had found our name. This leads me to my first tip for better blogging.


1. HAVE A MEMORABLE NAME

There are thousands of blogs today, and if you want yours to be one that is remembered than you’re going to have to make yourself stand out in the sea of saturation. People often have no idea why my blog is called Artisan & King, and to be fair the mystery is part of the appeal for me. It’s a great conversation starter, and it reminds people that we all have an artisan (creative) and a king (leader) in all of us. 

Personally, I also think it sounds slightly more professional from a business stand point to have a blog name that differs from your actual name. Yes, my social media accounts are all my name, but that is also where I feel slightly more personal. My blog on the other hand is my home base for everything I want to talk about, not just one quick image from one specific day. When I think about my fellow bloggers who have made a real career out of blogging, they too have their blog name and their actual name as something different.


2. COLLABORATE, COLLABORATE, COLLABORATE

This is something that so many people shy away from because they’re either too afraid to reach out to someone they admire, or they simply think it’s better to do everything on their own. As someone who grew rather quickly in the blogging sphere, I can promise you that reaching out to people I admired was not only beneficial for me, but for them as well. We were able to build relationships, share each other’s content, and when it comes time to recommend other bloggers for jobs, we don’t think twice about who to suggest.

The other thing that I think scares a lot of people away from collaborating is that there’s an idea that you’ll be handing over jobs, or giving your competition something that should have been yours. Here’s the thing, whether you do or don’t work with someone, they’ll still be out there in the blogging sphere, and I can promise you they’ve been seen by the same clients. It’s not a win/lose relationship when it comes to collaborating, it’s a win/win, and you’ll only benefit by teaming up with other bloggers. 

Yes, not everyone will want to collaborate, but some will. Yes, following size will range between bloggers, but as long as the collaboration makes sense this shouldn’t matter too much. And yes, you should think strategically when it comes to your collaborations, after all this is a business, so get out there and collaborate with bloggers like you!

Plus it’s a great way to meet new people, and I’ve actually made quite a few friends by doing this.


3. BE AUTHENTIC

This is the most fundamental piece to blogging when looking to make a well rounded blog. I accredit my authenticity to what helped me grow quickly in the beginning, and what helped me find my voice.

When Artisan & King first launched it was meant to be a lifestyle blog with a guy/girl take on fashion; however, after going through my first real break up with my first real love, I couldn’t find any interest in fashion. I was writing, but about my feelings, and I just couldn’t force myself to write about something that didn’t feel relevant to me. Thus, the “Feelings” section in my blog was given life and I was able to post my first piece.

I would’ve never guessed that this section of my blog was where I’d originally find my audience from; what would be the tipping point for becoming a professional blogger; or what would give me the chance to be a contributor for The Huffington Post.

To this day the Feelings section in my blog is my personal favorite as it’s where I get to speak my truth, leave pieces of my heart, and write things that help others feel less alone. Ultimately this section is the voice for the blog as a whole.

I can’t stress it enough, but the more authentic you are, the more people will want to be a part of your journey because in so many ways it’s their journey too.


4. STAND FOR SOMETHING

So many social media accounts today are endless vanity projects that do nothing, but give their owners a false sense of validation. I know that when I first started my modeling career, what I was looking for beyond money was validation. It’s something that we all want, and it makes sense as we all deal with silly insecurities; however, if all your posting about is stuff and your gorgeous face than people will get bored.

I often joke that you should use your powers for good, not evil, so if you find that images of yourself do the best, as they almost always do, then incorporate important messaging.

This specific tip is one that I find myself frustrated with when looking through things like Instagram because so many people have giant accounts and don’t use them to promote important occurrences, news, organizations, differing cultures, or a plethora of socially conscious things. I respect that not everyone is interested in world events, or that they think their opinion is relevant, but when we watch people like Donald Trump get elected to office, it’s clear that we need more and more people speaking up. Especially those who have the power to influence thousands, if not, millions of people. These things most likely won’t pay you in monetary value, but they will pay you in so many other ways, and at the end of the day I can promise you that when I have spoken out on controversial topics I haven’t lost followers, likes, engagement, or branded contacts, so don’t let those things hold you back from doing what you know is right.

If you’re serious about making blogging a profession than you have to understand that at the end of the day, you’re agreeing to letting the public into your life. It may not seem that way in the beginning, but the more you start to share, the more you realize this is part of the job, and for better or worse, it’s not going to change.


5. BE USEFUL

Being useful perfectly puts the cherry on top of the sundae when it comes to sharing my top 5 tips for blogging. 

By being useful you are giving a potential follower a reason to hit follow, not just like your pics and disappear. Whether it’s style tips, workout tricks, or inspiring others to pursue their dreams, you need to make sure that you serve a purpose. Too many people get caught up in just creating beautiful content, which I’m not including in this list because beautiful content is a must, not a tip. However if your blog, Facebook, Instagram, or whatever is just beautiful to look at, eventually people will get bored of it, so make sure that you have a target mission that sits at the heart of your blog.

Additionally, remember that you should try and find a focus that fits what you’re good at. If you can’t cook, don’t be a food blogger, but maybe be a “learning to cook” food blogger. There’s a way to spin anything into an interesting and engaging blog, but remember you have to find a way to make yourself standout.

Today blogging is a lucrative profession that thousands of people are looking to break into everyday. It’s a major offered at universities, and something that is only growing. I often accredit timing, my eduction, and dedication as being the 3 key things for how I found my place in this highly saturated world of blogging. While blogging looks easy and glamorous from the outside, it’s actually a very time consuming profession that often doesn’t pay off until years later, or if ever. 

While you may think you can just jump on the blogging bandwagon, quit your job, and do whatever you want, it just doesn’t work that way. So make sure you are ready to spend hours each day alone writing, your own money on things that you hope one day become free, and people thinking your nuts because you’re following your wanderlust. 

Blogging isn’t for everyone, but if you think you have an original idea, what it takes, and the drive and dedication to make it big then implement these 5 tips and get going because every second you waste someone else is out there living the life you dream of.

Posted on November 14, 2017 .
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Love At First Sight

I’ll always remember the way you made me feel when I first saw you.

Butterflies, excitement, and intrigue in a foreign way. You were something out of my wildest fantasies. Your gentle energy mixed with your soft sexy accent sent electricity through my being as we greeted each other for the first time, and I knew almost instantly that there was something so incredibly special about you.

Your eyes spoke to my soul as our gazes met, and I drowned in the ocean that was you. I was breathless because you took my breath away with your external beauty, but what you shared from within was even more dazzling than what I could physically see.

I had heard of the expression love at first sight, but until I saw you I didn’t know that this expression could be so true. 

Some would argue it was lust, but I know wholeheartedly that it was love.

Love that isn’t fanatic, young, and irrational, but soulful, deep, and otherworldly. I was nervous to feel what was happening because I had been somewhere like this before, but the ease in which our energies intrinsically melded made me want to know more.

You said things to me that I wish I had heard from past lovers that spoke to my soul within the first 30 minutes of knowing you, and I had to hold back from saying, “I love you” because that is what crazy people do. Instead I just stared at you in disbelief because that was all I could do. You were real, but everything felt so surreal.

You were everything I was looking for, and I wasn’t even looking for you. Yet that is how love works. As we connected deeper and deeper it felt as if we were the only two people in the world, and I could feel myself drifting away with each glance you sent my way. I barely knew you, yet I felt as if I had always known you. 

Time was moving, but we were frozen in our own moment in which nothing else mattered and your presence made me more present than I had ever been before.

I ached to know more about you, and we pushed for more time together as we snuck away from the urbanites that surrounded us. We found ourselves alone wrapped up in each other’s beings, and it felt as if NYC was a far away land.

We held hands, we kissed, and we felt as if we had known each other forever. We bonded, we connected, and we unearthed something so rare that first night as we shared intimate pieces of our souls with one another. 

I will always remember that enchanting first night that I had the privilege of meeting the man that would inspire me to be better, to continue fighting for what is right, and to know there are some people who just get you. I will remember all the moments we shared on your couch high on life and each other. I will always remember the way our bodies felt as they collided in pure pleasure as our naked skin touched without boundaries, but most importantly I will always remember that moment when I first saw you, and how that moment changed my life. 

Posted on May 8, 2017 .
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GAY

An ode.

Being a homosexual

Means being multidimensional.

It starts with a struggle, confusion, an inner fight,

Ultimately reckoning with your own grit and might.

To be yourself, pure and true

And learning to not let anyone else determine who,

You will love, and who you will be

Because that is your own right when you are free.

We come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and ages

Velvet Rage explains the stages.

Moving to the big city,

Everything’s just so wild and pretty.

Shiny and new

You look up and say “Thank you!” 

Finally escaping the small town way

You’ll always remember your first day.

Meeting all kinds of men and  boys

It’s more fun than your childhood toys.

Gay bars galore.

An unhealthy search for more and more.

Broken hearts,

Feeling another mans parts,

Electricity is released inside

And your left wondering how could I ever hide?

This piece of me

That isn’t beastly.

It’s just different not good, not bad

And yes, some of us want to be a dad.

Learning the difference between sex and lust

And when a guy is just looking to bust.

Going to your first Pride,

Showing acceptance worldwide. 

Coming out stories,

Subcategories,

A whole animal kingdom

Is that how you spell come?

 Wolves, otters, and bears

Each determined by their own specific flares.

Gaga, death drops, and “girl please”

Make a queen come to her knees.

A vernacular all our own 

Words change with a shady tone.

Grindr

The sex finder.

A hot fuck

Feeling like a schmuck.

Dancing till the sun comes up

Dealing with that guy that says, “Sup?”

Fire Island and P-Town

Experiencing a come down.

Limits are tested

Finding out how much you are truly invested.

Protest

We will never digress.

Standing for love

And rising above.

Being gay 

Means you were born this way.

We didn’t ask for this blessing in disguise 

But fuck it’s one amazing surprise.

A life unlike any other

In which you find many a brother

An indescribable bond

That truly goes beyond.

Never forget how lucky you are

And the progress you’ve made so far.

Sometimes it’s just nice to hear that you’re incredible 

Edible, 

Delicious and totally amazing,

So please keep those guns blazing.

I just wanted to let you know

That you’re beyond status quo.

You might not have heard this in a while,

But you’re crushing life and doing it in style.

Give yourself a pat on the back

And your tuckas a smack.

Hey gurl hey!

The amazing life of being a gay.

Posted on March 30, 2017 .
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Why Gays Are Programmed To Gossip

And why this needs to stop.

If you’ve ever been around a bunch of gays at a party, a bar, or wherever then you’ve probably been a gossip, or gossiped about, and unfortunately this has become all too common.

How many times are you with a group of gays, and everyone is just having fun, then someone throws some shade, and before you know it, you’re all bashing someone you really don’t know that much about?

It’s a slippery slope.

I know I was a huge gossip in my elementary and high school years because I was gossiped about. I was the gay kid at school before I identified with being that person, and I didn’t like the negative attention I was receiving, so I tried to deflect this attention and gossiped about other people.

Unfortunately for many of us gays, we go through a second adolescence when we come out, which usually means moving to a bigger town or city, and submersing ourselves around other gays. I know I’ve felt like I was back in high school many times when I first moved to a new city, and being back in high school meant there was new people to gossip about.

Thus, the gossiping starts all over again. 

I know personally this would happen a lot when I first started hanging out with different groups of gays whenever I moved to a new city. The guys I would meet would talk shit, and I thought in order to fit in I also needed to have an opinion about everyone, but then I realized we were all talking about these other men because we didn’t want to talk about ourselves.

We were unhappy with our lives, and we didn’t want to admit it, so it was a lot easier to manipulate our jealousy into nasty comments about guys we barely knew.

After all we felt like we knew these different guys because someone we knew once slept with so-and-so, or we met dude X at a party once, and he was “a total dick.”

This idea of “knowing” someone is heightened in today’s social media obsessed world, and as gay men, it often feels like an even smaller world. Many of us live in gay bubbles, and through almost one degree of separation, we all “know” each other on some level. However, it’s really easy to forget that we don’t really know these guys, we just think we do.

We live in a culture that is hyper-sexualized, drug and alcohol filled, and image obsessed. Yes, this isn’t the case for everyone, and it’s not completely different than our straight counterparts’ world, but there is an extra level of complexity. We are different, and we are self-sabotaging ourselves with these unhealthy devices into thinking that we are happy, when we are in fact not dealing with bigger issues that sit deep within us.

We think that when we come out of the closet, we are freeing ourselves of all our problems, but the truth is, this is just the beginning to dealing with all of our baggage. It’s within this concept that gossiping becomes an almost programmed feature into our gay lives.

For many of us, we were the kid that was gossiped about. We were the person that wasn’t good enough, didn’t fit in, and was straight up uncool, and it hurt. So when we finally move to a big city, and find our gaggle of gays, it feels good to be accepted, and even more so desired.

We quickly forget what it felt like to be the outsider, and again it feels good. We were an outcast if not to our peers than in many ways to ourselves. Who would want to go back to that feeling?

Our egos are delicate, and our level of competition is often off the charts because we aren’t only men, we’re men competing for other men. Everyone becomes a possible lover, or someone to take away our lover. It can be beyond challenging to find our own inner confidence in this new world that we’re all figuring out, so we often look to outside validation, and building ourselves up at the cost of someone else.

However, as we continue neglecting the conversations that we need to have with ourselves, we often find ourselves even unhappier than before. We need to start gossiping about ourselves with ourselves.

As gay men, we’ve all dealt with differing levels of shame, and felt the need to cover up what makes us different. In doing so, we often project onto others what we don’t like about ourselves, and it’s doing us a great disservice.  

We need to stop being afraid to talk about ourselves, our problems, our feelings, our internal conflicts. We need to stop gossiping about others, and start talking about ourselves. This doesn’t mean we should all become crazed narcissist, but what it does mean is we need to start being honest.

Remember we talk about others when we don’t want to be talking about ourselves, and when life is good, you want to see other people happy and doing well. When you’re happy with your life, you want to talk about it, and inspire others to make positive changes as well.

Now more than ever, we need to build each other up, not tear each other down. So I challenge all of us to take a step back the next time we want to talk about someone else, and think is this a positive or negative thing that I’m about to say, and why do I want to say it?

When we finally get rid of the gossip, we start talking about what’s important, and that is a beautiful thing to be a part of.

Posted on February 23, 2017 .
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Dear Straight White Dudes

Who support and voted fro Trump,

What’s up? 

For dudes that were so loud, I feel like a lot of you have gotten really quiet, and I don’t even know where you all went? I feel like a lot of you recently have been feeling a little afraid. It’s not fun, right? 

I, and a lot of other people, know exactly how you’re feeling because, well, we have been afraid of you guys for a long time. I personally tried really hard to be a straight white dude. I even fought being authentically myself for like 20 years, but low and behold, I just never could fully play the part. Being ignorant, and mean for no reason didn’t really suit me. 

CRAZYYYYY, I know.

You see I can blend in with most of you when I’m just standing around. I’m also a white dude, just not straight, so unless I’m having sex with my partner in public, I assume most of the time I can blend somewhat in. I mean, I’m pretty gay after all, but you get the point.

What I’m trying to say is, why you tripping boo?

I’m not saying all of you are afraid of your masculinity being challenged by, well, basically anyone that isn’t a straight white dude. It’s not like it’s a super delicate flower or anything, but it feels like you’re kind of worried a lot about everyone else’s personal lives. 

Like why do you care so much that someone might be Muslim, that a dude might want to marry another dude, or that women want to have the rights to make decisions for their own bodies?

Do you think you should always have the right away, and be privileged based upon nothing specific?

Again, I’m not trying to say you’re feeling weird, but it feels like you feel weird.

Did you once have a weird thought about another guy? Does that woman wearing a hijab confuse you because you’ve never seen one? Do you think you’re entitled to do whatever you want with your boner because no one told you that no means no?

Look, I get it, you basically have been told you’re better than everyone else for your whole life, so when a black guy, a muslim girl, or a gay dude comes around you feel uncomfortable. Different is scary at first, and the fact that you’re so worried about everyone else’s lives would make you think we are really worried about yours, but we’re not.

We don’t want to take away your rights, the same way you’ve tried to suppress or taken away ours. We don’t want to convert your kids, we just want to make sure they’re educated, open-minded, and overall nice human beings. We want this planet that we all live on to be protected so you can also live here safely, and we think clean water is more important than making some rich white straight republican dude even richer.

I promise you money isn’t everything. Especially when you have no planet to live on.

Does this sound dramatic? It does kind of, but this is literally what millions of us around the world are worried about because of you guys.

Don’t get me wrong, I know it wasn’t just you bros, there was also the Trump Twats, the self-loathing blacks, gays, and any other minority that thought voting for Trump was a good idea that voted for him. However, you guys were the biggest turn out, and you guys are the ones that have grown up to now be the leaders of our country, so we kind of need to have a real chat.

Here’s the thing, you might think you’re totally open minded, and only voted for Trump because of one issue, but as you can see, you voted a monster into office because you wanted some reject frat bro to make you feel heard again, not great again because our country was actually thriving. 

Again, I know different is scary, but different doesn’t mean bad. Different is how we think beyond the confines of how we’ve always lived, and created amazing technologies, positive and progressive social movements, and made the world a better places for the next generation of kids, which include yours.

I know you’re worried about your guns, your kids, and your really special lives, but your guns aren’t more important than who I can marry. Your kids aren’t any more important than everyone else’s, and your lives are actually being hurt by criminalizing diversity.

I’ve been searching for you since the election because I feared we’d end up here, and now that we have, you’re really hard to find.

Don’t worry you’re not my type, that’s definitely not what this is about, but I would love to sit down and talk. I feel like if you came out of your bubble, and maybe saw what life was like in other parts of the country and world, you’d see how nice us snowflakes really are. 

We believe in equality for all, including you, and we think a hit of marijuana, legally of course, would take a lot of the edge off, but let’s be honest, we know you’re secretly smoking the stuff. We think all religions deserve to be practiced, although, personally I feel like they’re just tearing us apart. We believe that love is love, and what one person does in the privacy of their bedroom doesn’t affect anyone else, it’s been proven for years, and men and women are in fact equal. Race is just something that makes us beautifully colorful in a room, when everything is white it’s quite boring, think of like a hospital. Not so welcoming, right?

Anyways, what I’m really trying to say is, wake up! We, the diverse, educated, differing socio-economic, transgender loving, Muslim accepting, black lives matter believing, feminists, eco-friendly, gay friendly human beings of the world need you to join us in protecting our country, and ultimately the world. We want to keep America great, but make it even greater, and as you can see that’s just not happening.

So let’s be friends. Let’s hang out. Let’s talk, let’s do this quickly because time is of the essence, and you need to use your white heteronormative privilege now.   

We sincerely appreciate it!

And as always much love!

The new and ever changing faces of diverse America.

Posted on February 18, 2017 .
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Gay Shame, Internal Homophobia, and the Need to Redefine Masculinity

M is for masculinity.

As I’ve been watching, reading, and observing all different videos and articles about gay culture, one theme has really hit a cord with me, and it’s the idea of masculinity that plagues our community.

For a long time it was seen as desirable to be as “masculine” as possible, so that one could “pass.” The idea of passing as a straight man was widely considered to be a beneficial thing because it allowed you to be looked as “normal,” and not experience the discrimination and bullying that comes when one doesn’t “pass.”

However, while there are many problems with this notion from the very beginning, I understand why historically many men just wanted to get by. With that said, I find it incredibly disheartening to watch so many men today, especially on dating apps, be overtly discriminatory within the very community that they belong to.

I never passed, so I know the true hardships that come from standing out. I was gay to others before I even knew I was gay, and it wasn’t a friendly welcoming experience from those others, so I get it.

The idea that being more or hyper masculine equates to something more enticing for a large portion of our community speaks to a greater insecurity, and an internal-homophobia that still exists in a large way. As Alan Down explains in The Velvet Rage, “when we were denying that we were gay, we acted as if we were straight. ‘Acting as if’ meant that we had to split our lives into two parts: One part was the acceptable, public self. The other part was the secretive, darker self.” The idea of “splitting” is an especially damaging occurrence because as we grow older, and even after we come out as gay, we “continue to split off unacceptable parts of ourselves.”

Thus, anything that may feel like it isn’t masculine or heteronormative becomes something that many gay men still fear, and why there still is a huge divide within the gay community. Things like race, gender norms, ageism, body types, socioeconomic status, and a multitude of other things create a huge divide amongst a large group of men, who are all gay.

Yes, just because you’re gay doesn’t mean that you have to prescribe to a set way of being. In fact, I think that is part of the beauty in being gay. We get to challenge what's normal to be uniquely ourselves; however, when we start to divide ourselves into some sort of hierarchy based off of what is deemed more acceptable as men, a larger problem exists.

I think it’s incredibly important to further this conversation by looking at the definition of the word masculine. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines masculine as, “having qualities appropriate to or usually associated with a man.” 

Where in this definition does it say anything about deep voices, super worked out bodies, and specific styles of grooming and dress? No where. 

Society has created an idea of what masculinity is supposed to be in order to put binary restrictions onto not just men, but also what women are supposed to be in comparison. Our consumer culture has further perpetuated this for hundreds of years in order for things to be neat and tidy, and sell us male targeted merchandise. Well, the world isn’t so neat and tidy, and as we’ve seen nothing has imploded yet.

To take this one step further, men, while being masculine, have been taught to be less expressive, less sensitive, and to hide their feelings. What this has to lead to is a large group of men that are mentally unhealthy, and unable to open up when they truly need to, gay and straight. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention states that “men die by suicide 3.5 times more often than women,” which is heavily related to not taking care of one’s own mental health.

As men we’re taught to keep our bodies strong, but not our minds strong. We need to have a real discussion of how detrimental this truly is, and let it become a common practice for men, and women, to know that it’s beyond important to open up and share how you’re feeling.   

Furthermore, I think more gay men need to realize that coming out isn’t the answer to all your problems, it’s actually the very beginning to authentically addressing all the other real problems you carry in that expensive baggage that weighs so much. Let’s be serious, all the fabulous things in your life aren’t going to be able to overcompensate for the lack of self-love that sits on the very shallow surface. I know, I’ve been there.

The desire to pass in today’s world is still a very large complex for many gay men, but the thing is, whether you’re passing or not, you’re still a dude that likes dick, and that makes you gay. We need to start diversifying social cliques, interactions, and be more inclusive within our already discriminated against community.

I think we need to start defining masculinity, or what is thought of as more masculine, in terms of being a good human, being emotionally and mentally intelligent, and not being a tool. In my opinion a real man is someone who stands up for what they know to be the greater good, is accepting and loving to all people regardless of their differences, and doesn’t lead with their dick, but with their heart. 

As gay men we'll never fully pass because we aren’t straight. At the end of the day you may want to walk around in public like you’re some machismo dude who wants to sleep with every women, but the thing is, you still like dick. To be honest the more we acknowledge how amazing this difference makes all of us, the more likely we are to finally break down our own internal barriers, feelings of shame, notions of outdated masculinity, and start to see our community change for the better.

It’s time we let go of who we think we’re supposed to be based off of heteronormative ideals because those ideals don’t fit us, and if we're being completely truthful, those ideals don’t seem to be working out so well for our straight counterparts as well. Let’s show the world what real men look like, and finally let go of that excess baggage too many of us are carrying around.

Posted on December 16, 2016 .
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Why You Must Rid Yourself Of Your Ego To Live Your Dreams

It’s sabotaging you. 

That little voice inside of your head that says “You’re better than him; She’s not half as smart as you; It’s not your fault,” is the negative energy that will stunt your growth, and will be constantly looking to find other’s guilt. It’s the thing that will hold you back from finding love, your ultimate dreams, and the community that wants all of those things for you.

Yes, it’s a hard pill to swallow, but removing your ego gives you the power to control your life. It’s what allows YOU to finally take responsibility for YOUR actions, and remove the blame we often want to place upon others. Through this process you’ll be able to pin point your own character defects, which we all have, and commence the phase of your life that leads with love.

If you aren’t living a life that looks to create then you are, by contrast, living a life that destroys in some way. This life is one that leads from a place of hurt and pain. 

Neale Donald Walsch in Conversations with God, shows that “when you ‘c’ things correctly, you become Creative, rather than Reactive,” simply by moving where the letter c sits in those two words.

While it’s extremely uncomfortable to confront the internal pain that we hold, the longer we let it sit in the driver seat of our lives, the longer it controls us, not vice versa.

Our character defect is the thing that we often neglect because it’s a large part of how we identify ourselves. It’s usually the piece of us that plays the role of victim, and while you may not have had control over other peoples’ actions, you, right now, hold the power to say, “no more!”

You in this moment get to decide who’s driving your life. 

Remember by finally jumping into that driver’s seat, you aren’t neglecting, or getting rid of all the hurt and pain, you’re simply saying, “I’m in control. I see you, Pain. I’m even willing to let you come on this journey, and sit in the passenger seat, but don’t you dare act up, and don’t even think about touching the radio.

On a personal note, I know how hard it is to make this transition, especially when you feel neglected and hurt from people that you love: parents, extended family, romantic relationships, etc. However, those people don’t care how much you blame them. In fact, they probably blame you for many of the things you blame them for, so there’s really no winning.

There’s a famous quote that says, “Holding a grudge is like letting someone live rent-free in your mind,” and I don’t know about you, but it seems insane to let such prime real estate go for free. Holding a grudge has even been highly associated with a “history of heart attacks, high blood pressure, arthritis, back problems, headaches, chronic pain, and stomach ulcers” according to a study conducted at the Medical College of Georgia.

To take it one set further, how often do you hold yourself hostage inside of your own negative thoughts? We say things to ourselves that we would never dream of saying to our worst enemy. 

Why? 

Because we’re taught that to think highly of ourselves means we’re cocky, arrogant, or self-absorbed. It’s a tool that people, who are insecure and in positions of power, facilitate to manipulate us into thinking we aren’t good enough to question their authority, to question the system, to question everything. However, when you start to love yourself from a place that says, ‘I’m no better than any other, and we’re all equal,” you start to truly lead with love.

You need to stop coddling your weaknesses, and start claiming your strengths. For when you do, you no longer hold onto the predetermined story of who you think you are. 

How often do you say, “It’s just the way I am,” and use that as an excuse to perpetuate something that’s holding you back?

When you change the story of who you think you are, you start to change how others look at you, and ultimately begin to heal the part of yourself that feels that hurt and pain so deeply.

Marianne Williamson has said, “sad days aren’t bad days,” and it’s something that we need to hold close to our hearts and our brains, especially with the current political climate that we’re living in. We need to use these sad days as vehicles to learn, and set ourselves free from fear, and ultimately the internal dialogue that holds us back, our egos.  

When you know your strengths, and your weaknesses, you’re able to shift those weaknesses into strengths, and ultimately find your true power, which is to positively affect the world in some way.

Now more than ever we need an army of mindful warriors that uses love to ignite the change we need so badly.

Rid yourself of your ego, and find your greatest dreams finding you.

Posted on December 13, 2016 .
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The Moment You Know Your Relationship Is Really Over

You tried everything.

However, when something doesn’t work, it just doesn’t work, no matter how you try and spin it.

You know you tried to communicate your feelings, your wants, your needs. You even found someone to help mediate what was getting lost in translation, to try and make sense of what wasn’t making sense, but he just didn’t want to give you those things. He just didn’t want to meet you in the middle. He just didn’t want to meet you at all. 

You could argue with yourself that this was all in your head, but he actually said he was coming to meet you, and then he didn’t at all. A metaphor for your relationship, and a knife to the heart.

It wasn’t like you were asking for lavish things, or held unrealistic expectations. You were simply looking to build a life with your partner in a way that was evolving and progressing. In a way that said we’re growing together, not separately.  

You fell in love, and you tried your damnedest to show him how amazing it feels to fall, but he just didn’t want to fall with you. He was unable to find your silliness a place of comfort to be his silly self. 

You tried acting differently, and putting your needs and feelings aside. You tried speaking every love language you could think of, hoping that he would finally speak at all.

But all you got was uncomfortable stares, judgmental comments, and just enough when he knew it was almost too late.

You hit your breaking point, you broke your own heart, and so you needed to take a break. 

You tore yourself away from the person you became addicted to, and asked for some space, but even that was too much to ask for. It wasn’t on his terms, so your needs weren’t met, and you found your your heart conflicting with your brain.

You knew what had to be done because you had been here before. You knew you needed to finally say goodbye and mean it. You knew you had to hurt yourself by hurting him. You knew you needed to walk away from the love that made sense in your heart, but not in your brain.

You found the strength to utter the things you never wanted to utter through teary eyes and your crackling voice. You watched the future you had imagined disappear, and the dreams of building a family vanish into thin air.

Your heart hurts in the most profound way because you know there’s no going back. 

You tore a metaphorical limb off in coming to this get-wrenching, heart-breaking, soul-crushing decision. In getting to this point, you already had to lose the limb, and even though you can see it right there in front of your face, there’s no way to reattach it.

In the past, you had tried reattaching, and building it stronger, but there was no way to save the arm that was never actually there. 

You lost what felt like a part of yourself, and you know you’ll never feel this specific love again.

And just when you thought it couldn’t any worse, he finally said everything you had dreamt of hearing.

That he finally wanted what you wanted. That he finally wanted that dream you had scared him with. That he finally wanted to move forwards as a team.

The words he finally speaks hit you like bullets because you know they’re meant to kill. Family, babies, house on the beach, travel the world. One after the other you hear as you teeter between shock, frustration, and sadness. 

Your mind swirls with every emotion.

This combination of words that he shoots at you with the gun that is the lips you loved to kiss, break your already broken heart into an ever growing number of pieces. They haunt you just as you thought you’ve truly moved on, and rip the stitching that is your heart trying to mend itself back together.

There’s no mess to clean up, no public pictures to remove, and no big things to exchange because he was protecting himself from this part the whole time. It’s a clean break, or as clean as the situation would allow.

He told you he’d always be there, but a simple question was met with so much despair. An hour long conversation based around what he needed to say, left you without any answers, and once again reminded you he couldn’t give you what you needed.

A text later says the opposite of what he originally said because he needs to do whats best for him, so “goodbye for now,” he says to you. You then realize you weren’t doing what was best for you in moving on, and take pen to paper to get your thoughts out.

Then it happens. You find your relationship is actually dead. There’s no breath, not heartbeat, no chance of coming back. Any last sliver of hope is cut at the cord, and you know it’s one hundred percent done. 

A picture that says a thousand words confirms your instincts. It says, “I judged you because I wanted to take part in what I judged, but didn’t know how.” You wish you felt vindicated, just, or better for knowing you were right, but you’re only left feeling sad that he never felt comfortable enough to be honest with you and your heart.

A few moments later you catch him trying to sneak past you, and you know in that moment that your relationship is really over. It’s done for good. Over as if it had never started.

The feelings of sorrow, pain, and loss wave through your body like a tsunami crashing on an unchartered course. Distractions are plentiful, but never truly enough, so you do what you can, and sit with these feelings.

You remind yourself that while you lost a limb, you’re still alive and well. You focus on the good, and remember that now you have the chance to meet the person, who not only says he’s coming to see you, but actually shows up as well.

You remind yourself that you’re valiant and strong, and that being single doesn’t actually mean you’re alone. 

This truly is a new beginning. You wipe the tears from your eyes, journal through your crazy, and close your eyes knowing that you gave it your all.

You think love is fickle and fine, but the love that you share with yourself is the love that needs to stand the test of time. You remember to give yourself the hug you needed today, and that you’re one of the lucky ones who got to feel this way. The love you miss isn’t the love you needed, and while it may hurt in this moment, you hold the power to change this feeling.

Yes, it’s over, but thats ok. Now keep your head up, breathe, and just take it one step at a time. Don’t rush into anything, just gently find your feeling, and know it will all be ok.

P.S. You’re amazing.

Posted on December 12, 2016 .
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The Top 3 Reasons Why Being Alone (Single) Is So Scary

It's scary, till it's not.

As I’ve swam through the pool of crazy in my own mind over the past week, dealing with my own breakup, I’ve pushed myself to question what about being alone is so scary. In doing so, I’ve started to comprehend that for me, being alone, or single in terms of a relationship status, means that I now have to look within.

Since I came out, and started dating like my straight counterparts, I’ve always had someone who I was interested in, actually dating, or fully committed to.  I’m someone who likes being in a relationship, and if I’m being completely honest, I know that I struggle with being alone.

However, understanding this has pushed me to look even deeper into the idea of being alone to answer some of my own questions, and try to reason what about being single scares not only myself, but millions of us.

Here is what I’ve determined: 

1. Being alone forces us to have to sit with ourselves and our own neuroses, which go all the way back to our childhoods.

Having to relive similar feelings from when we were developing in our childhoods, is an extremely difficult thing, especially for those of us, who had traumatic experiences while in our youth.

We’re subconsciously, or sometimes consciously, reliving some of the hardest feelings of our lives from which our entire persona exists. This becomes even more difficult if those experiences, feelings, or emotions were never fully dealt with, and linger in our beings. We’re then forced to wrestle with our own ego minds, which is the very place we go to in order to feel a sense of pride. 

As John C. Maxwell states, “Pride deafens us to the advice or warnings of those around us.” Thus, we must be willing to check our arrogance at the door, uncomfortably go back to our childhoods, and push through our sense of self as we have come to know it.

This is life’s biggest challenge.

2. We have to accept that we’re not perfect, and take some responsibility for why our relationships haven’t worked out. 

Continuing with the theme of pride, when a relationship ends, we have to come to terms with the fact that the other person isn’t entirely to blame. To maturely take responsibility for our part in something not working out is an extremely bitter pill to swallow.

Yes, our friends and loved ones will tell us that we tried, we’re amazing, and that the other person just couldn’t meet our needs, but if we’re to truly better ourselves, we must understand how we played a role in the ending of our relationships.

This isn’t to say that the other person really couldn’t meet our needs, but it’s highly important to fully understand what our needs are, so that we can wholly comprehend them, communicate them, and try to work through them within ourselves, and one day, ideally, with someone else.

To examine this more completely, we must also understand that projection is impossible when there’s no one to project onto but ourselves. Thus we have to own our insecurities and anxieties, and responsibly and delicately change the aspects of our personalities and minds that are no longer meeting our evolving needs.

No one is perfect, and while it’s much easier to incriminate our exes, it’s much harder and more humbling to single ourselves out.  If we’re to ever truly make something work then we must take some responsibility, and move forwards in a way that is productive and transforming.

Too many people want to focus on the other person, and this only leads to repeating similar mistakes, and plateauing in emotional and mental growth.  

3. We have to confront the fact that the community, we’d built with our partner, is no longer a place where we can derive happiness and a larger sense of security from. 

This isn’t to say that we don’t find security, support, and joy from our family and friends, but being single means we have to look out for ourselves in a very different way than when we are coupled up.

When we’re in a healthy relationship, there’s an immense sense of comfort knowing that someone else has our back, and that we have our go to person for not only the good, but also the bad. Furthermore, this is the foundation for creating a community together that ideally lends itself to the notion of a “family.”

As Art Markman explains, “The interactions we have with other people affect the way we feel about life. Our close relationships keep us grounded and influence both happiness and the sense that we are part of a larger community.”

Happiness is literally derived from a strong community, and that is why being alone can feel so daunting, especially at the beginning of a breakup.

Furthermore, a 75 year long study done by Harvard University, “The Secret of Happiness,” reveals that “the most important happiness choice is to invest in your closest relationship whether it’s a spouse, partner, parent, sibling or friend.”

Thus, it makes even more sense, that when our romantic relationship, which we tend to place a lot of emphasis on, is destroyed, our grounding sense of not only community, but also happiness is devastated. We’re forced into a state of change that is the “unknown,” which as we learn through life, initially commences as a sense of anxiety or fear.

Nevertheless, as we start the renewing process of finding a feeling of security by focusing on the other relationships in our lives that matter, most importantly the one we have with ourselves, we’re able to make sense of this “unknown,” and shifting where our happiness comes from.

Once we can logically and emotionally grasp this “unknown,” we can create a space of security from within, which is what we initially came into the romantic relationship with, and what we struggle to remove as we allow someone else into our lives, and ultimately our hearts.

Taking down the walls we’ve built is hard, and can become harder the more loss we’ve experienced in our lives. This’s why when something like a relationship ends, we feel a sense of destruction, damage, and defeat.

However, it’s beyond imperative to remember that the only way to find a greater sense of security and love is to allow those walls to come down, and let vulnerability be a guiding element in your life.

Ultimately, when a relationship ends we’re left thinking what is all of this about? Why are we here? What are we doing? Am I ever going to find that special someone?

And the truth of the matter is, we’ll never have all the answers, all we can look to do is live in the now, and focus on the positive aspects of our lives. Only we have the ability to look deep within ourselves to answer such questions, and continue to try and evolve, so that we may be better versions of ourselves for all the relationships in our lives, romantic and otherwise.

We can never truly hide from ourselves, and while a relationship sometimes feels like a validation for who we are, it can never be what makes us feel whole. Yes, it should be something that adds immense value to our lives, and brings us enormous amounts of happiness, but we should always be looking to see how we can progress into our greatest selves.

We must be the person we want to date, marry, and spend our whole life with, so that each day until we meet him or her, we know we’re already living your greatest truth.

Being alone isn’t scary at all, it’s a gift we’re given by the universe, so that we may find out who we truly are in the face of adversity, excitement, and when everything is simply ok.

There’s never an excuse as to why we shouldn’t be working on ourselves, doing the things we want to do, and going the extra mile to simply find our peace.

While we’re alone, it’s vital that we do the work, take the time, and explore every interest we may have, so that if we chose, because it is a choice, to let someone else into our life, all of this work will have been part of how we found that special someone, and ultimately how we make it last.

We've got this!

XO

Barrett

 

Posted on July 26, 2016 .
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Are You A Member Of The Heartbreak Club?

You may have joined on purpose, by accident, or were forced into this club, but regardless of how you ended up here, I want to say, “I’m sorry.”

I’m sorry that you’re feeling anything close to how I’m feeling because I know just how miserable, hard, and hopeless it can feel. How just when you think you’re ok, everything comes flooding back, and the sadness returns.

Welcome to the most humdrum club that exists, but where you can come and know you’re not alone, which right now probably is the most important thing to truly understand.

I didn’t plan on becoming the welcoming committee to this club, and I’m sure I’m not the only one greeting members, but as I’ve stayed true to myself, and cathartically expressed my most intimate feelings about mourning my own love lost, something eerily beautiful happened.

We connected.

You and I, and more people than I think even I can comprehend, found our hearts synergistically speaking to one another in the most profound and deepest of ways. We connected in an age that makes this horribly difficult, and in which this is all many of us crave.

As day 1, and now day 2 of my own heart’s lament comes to a close, I’ve been inundated with messages from friends and strangers expressing how they too relate so intensely to what I have written. I assume subconsciously I knew that others would understand, as it seems obvious now, but when we fall so deep into our own minds, it can be hard to remember that there are millions of people out in the world feeling exactly how we’re feeling, especially when it comes to matters of the heart.

We get lost in our own crazy, and often fear sharing this side of ourselves. It feels unattractive, lacking control, and far too human for the technologic world we exist in.

We’re made to think that we should only show the bright, happy side to our lives, and that if we show any type of vulnerability it makes us weak. But as I’ve learned through the years of sharing my own not so shiny stories, the more we’re honest, open, and candid about what’s really happening, the more we can feel an authentic connection to one another.

I’m a firm believer that we should never try and hide our more somber feelings because it’s during these times that we need others the most. When we need to be frank and a little messy. When we just need a shoulder, a hug, a story that sounds familiar.

Yes, I know you want to be strong, but don’t be reckless when it comes to yourself, your soul, and your heart.

It’s dangerous, and The Heartbreak Club is here for you.

Ironically, I first learned about this club from my ex, who even now, I feel so strongly for because in this tragic time, I know we’re both feeling the same intense pain and loss. Being so connected was part of what held us together for as long as it had, and why I will never speak ill about this amazing person, but our story became too complicated, and mentioning this club to me before we were even officially done, I suppose, foreshadows how this would be where we both ended up.

I wish we could comfort each other during this time, and I think he does too, which makes the entire situation all the more difficult, but wishing only makes wishes, and this just isn’t possible.

We’ve tried, it doesn’t work, it sucks.

I’m sure you understand this in some fucked up way, and for that again, “I’m sorry.”

However, The Heartbreak Club welcomes you with an open heart, open ears, and an open mind.

We’re here without any judgment, and fully recognize you would love nothing more than to not be in this club. We get it.

We welcome you regardless of how long it’s been since you’ve lost the love that makes you feel this way. It doesn’t have to be recent; it could be years over at this point, or as fresh as just a few minutes ago, there’s no right time to join or leave us.

The membership is free with no expiration date, and welcomes returning members.

We don’t care how official, or unofficial the relationship was because in the end it’s your heart, your mind, your being that feels how it feels.

We don’t believe that one ending is worse than any others because we understand that in life there can only be two winners, or two losers. It’s an unfortunate life lesson to learn, but one that speaks to the humanity of love and relationships.

We encourage you to be honest, to be sad, to be angry, and to be whatever the hell you need to be, but if you’re to truly honor yourself, then we recommend that you steer clear of bashing your ex, and making them the main focus.

The focus should now be on you, and your healing process.

I know this can be beyond difficult; especially when you feel like they’ve done you wrong, or that the little change you needed would’ve been easy to fulfill. The thing is, bashing him won’t make him feel any worse, and in the end, it truly will only make you feel shitty because in some unhealthy, yet completely sane way, you still love him. And that is how I can whole-heartedly promise you that you’ll find your way out of this club when the time is right.

We stress that there’s no right or wrong process to moving on, and that as long as you aren’t harming yourself mentally, physically, or spiritually you have every right to do whatever it is to find your light. The same luminous light that shimmered beyond bright before you first attracted the person, who now, makes you feel dull, dumb, and dim.

Remember that you were not only ok, but also amazing before you met this person, and you will not only go back to that delicious human being, but also evolve into an even more epic version of yourself from what you learn while in this club.

Know that at some point, unfortunately, your ex is also in this club, has been in this club, or will be in this club, and that majority of the people around you everyday have also carried a membership at some point. It’s a strangely haunting thing to recognize, and something that cosmically bonds us all together.

Love is what drives us before we find this club, it’s what brings us to this club, and eventually, it’s what helps us leave this club.

However, it’s the love you show yourself at this point that will make the difference, and ultimately, if you’re open to it, one day, help you find the person that forever revokes your membership from The Heartbreak Club.

I truly can’t express how honored and oddly poignant I feel to be the person that welcomes you to this club, and reminds you that you’re never alone. It’s what drives me to continue to share my soul in the scariest and most vulnerable of ways, and what helps me understand that one day my membership will also expire.

Till that fateful day comes, I will be here, as simply a member of The Heartbreak Club, for we’re all equals. I will continue to honor all my ex’s, faults and all, because they’ve taught me how to love, to let go, and ultimately, to grow. They’ve each planted a seed inside my heart that I have allowed to blossom into trees full of feelings, wisdom, and knowledge, and for that my gratitude will reign over any sadness I may feel.

I strongly encourage you to share this with your friends, your family, your loved ones, so that you may have an open, messy, and authentic dialogue about what it feels like to be a member of The Heartbreak Club, and more than anything I would love and appreciate hearing your story in the comment section below, so that we can all heal together.

I send all my love to you, and again want to say, “Welcome and I’m sorry.”

Love Always,

Barrett

Posted on July 22, 2016 .
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Day 2: When the Breakup Sinks In

It’s crazy how sitting at home can feel so different based off your relationship status.

A night home alone can feel recharging, relaxing, and welcomed when you’re in a relationship, but when you’re newly single it feels anxiety-ridden, overwhelming, and basically the exact opposite of how you want to feel.

Rather than snuggling, having sex, and just conversing with your partner, you now find yourself alone and void of distractions, which means you have to deal with the fact that your life has significantly changed, and it’s fucking scary.

As you light a candle, listen to some mellow music, and try to just be; sadness, confusion, and every not-so-fun emotion swirls in your head. You can’t help but think of the person, who regardless of your current status with, you love, and would’ve been sharing this night with.

Crazy is the name of the game, and yours is gaining traction with each second that ticks away.

You play out nonsensical scenarios in your mind that the other person is already in love with someone else, and you fight each insane thought, but the battle is up hill, and feels too real.

You think maybe you should dive right back into the giant pool of perspective people, the dating apps, the means of false connection, but then you collect yourself, and calm down.

You remind yourself that yes, you want love, but right now you need to do you. It isn’t going to be easy for a while, but one day it will feel beyond natural, and then maybe you’ll be ready for what’s next. 

Your day is full of distractions, but by bedtime all the distractions are lost, and you simply have to deal with what is happening.

It isn’t fun to sit in your mind, but how could you not, you’ve lost your partner in crime, and all there seems to be is endless amounts of time.

Finally you push yourself to turn off the lights, to try and fall asleep, to just close your eyes.

Then peace falls upon you as you actually fall into a deep slumber.

The marathon that you’ve been running in your head is complete for the day, and while it isn’t an accomplished feat, you feel relief that you’ve made it through all those mind miles for the day.

The morning sun beacons you to rise as your room fills with light, and while you wake up hoping your hope has returned, you’re reminded that you’ve woken up alone, and things have changed.

You miss him.

You miss his stinky morning breath, the way you’d wake up to music as he got ready for work, and the playful morning moments.

It’s a fleeting memory that you’ll hold close for a while, but today it feels more real, too real, realer than you can handle.

Day 2 is upon us of this fresh start, but your body feels physical pains, and nothing about this morning feels natural or new.

You catch yourself spiraling, and feel the crazy quickly coming, so you reach out to a friend, someone who you love, but in a different way. Gradually the gloom of the morning lifts, and your discussion solidifies that you’re making the right decision no matter how shitty it feels.

Day 1 you felt powerful, strong and optimistic, but as you glide into day 2, you can already feel it’s going to be harder.

Uncertainty, confusion, and “is-this-right” begin today’s mental marathon, but rather than fight it, you lace up your shoes, take a few deep breaths, and get ready for all the emotional running that today will undoubtedly bring.

This morning will be just another morning, yes; a slight bit harder, but only that.

Distractions await you, loneliness will find you, but these moments to think are beyond important to healing your soul. You know you’ll have to deal with it sooner or later, so you find the gratitude in letting the process commence.

Taking it all in, finding your Zen, and remembering that this just simply isn’t the end becomes the mantra of the day, and makes you smile.

Your thoughts begin to shift, and you can feel yourself coming back to clarity.

Maybe one day you’ll even want to be friends, but for now just knowing that you got to know him as more than a friend feels somehow lucky.

You’re strong, you’re powerful, and you know you’ve got this.

Day 2 we’re ready for this.

Posted on July 21, 2016 .
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Finding The Beauty In A Breakup

I love you, I know we're both sorry.

As a new moon commences, a new beginning presents itself. Changing with the tides, my Piscean essence has taken on a new look, a new chapter, and a new peace.

I have truly found my calm, my Zen, my now.

While transformation is necessary to one’s own survival, the transformation of one’s heart is possibly the hardest thing to accomplish. This becomes all the more difficult as you say goodbye to a love that has been present for a truly transformative year.

It’s over. It’s done. You tried.

Hate doesn’t drive the divide, and nothing but love and respect continue to be how the love will be honored because that is how it should be. However, as logic and feeling would have it, ending anything, especially in a world where we are taught to want more and more, is possibly the hardest thing anyone will ever have to do.

To calmly and rationally look at the person you love in the eyes, and say, “I love you,” but to know the actual relationship has died stabs your heart in the deepest of ways. To see the love flow through their tears, yet not be as strong as it once was, kills a part of you that you know one day will be ok, but right now is not, and overtime will take a lot of soothing and healing to revive.

Being kind you put everything out on the table, but slowly as the conversation deepens, and a gray area can’t be left, you know that you have to do the hardest and most mature thing possible, and say goodbye.

Goodbye to the thought of your future, of your children, of your family, and of all the areas of your lives that could have been intertwined in the most human and beautiful ways.

It’s hard; it’s really fucking hard, but you have to.

Yes, you clicked. You loved each other. You wanted the same things.

But it just isn’t enough.

It isn’t that you aren’t enough, or that they aren’t enough, it just, as unfairly as it may seem, is that your union isn’t enough.

And as hard, and sad, and confusing as it is, it’s ok.

It may not be ok now, or tomorrow, or in a year, but one day it will be ok. I promise.

I ‘m sure of this.

I know this for fact because you’ve been here before. You’ve felt the loss of your best friend, your love, your partner, and you survived.

You, you resilient, strong, and beautiful human being found your way out of the gray confusing abyss, where you questioned everything, to find a new, stronger, more resilient, and even more beautiful version of yourself. 

Yes, days will be so incredibly hard, and you’ll miss the kisses that connected you, the embraces that comforted you, and even the things you found so incredibly annoying because you grew to love someone. You let your guard down, you let your freak flag fly in front of someone else, and you found yourself loving someone else in a way you didn’t even know you could do.

Think about that for a minute. You, who thought this would never happen (again), found someone (again) to share so many special memories with, and that’s an exceptionally stunning thing.

Stop. Take that in for a moment, bask in that loveliness, and realize you were gifted something incredible, love.

While it may be over, and that is beyond difficult to comprehend at moments, you still got to experience love, and for that you truly are lucky. People will go their whole lives searching for this, and you got to find it, experience it, and have a solid amount of time with it.

Sure, it may not have been forever, but nothing lasts forever, and if you can shift your perspective to understand this grand finale was your heart’s first step to healing then you’re in a noble place.

Let your sorrow become a symphony. Let your gloom become glory. Let your heartbreak become your heart healing. Magic was there in the relationship, but your magic will be forever present with you, you just have to know where to find it.

And more than anything remember to honor this love for the goodness it brought because ultimately that is how you will honor yourself.  

Love is fickle. Love is complicated. Love is kind. Love is confusing. Love is frustrating. Love is simple. Simply put, love is everything,

Know if you are open to it, love will find you again, so all that’s left to do is pick yourself up, and keep hiking forwards because all you’re looking for is somewhere ahead.

Posted on July 20, 2016 .
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What If We Stopped Using The Word Gay?

And replaced it with the word love.

I by no means am looking to take anything away from anyone, but simply make a point.

What if every time we were to use the word gay, we actually said the word love. I know that anytime I discuss my sexuality to someone else what I'm ultimately trying to say is that I love.

Whether it's the word gay, fluid, homosexual, or whatever slang you prefer to use, I know that we're all trying to drive the same message home, which is that we love who we love.

We don't get to pick who that is, and we don't know why some of us love men, while others love women. What we do know is that we're all looking for the same things: acceptance, happiness, and love.

What if we stopped using the words straight, heterosexual, and all words that tried to neatly define sexuality because it isn't a neat little box that we all fit into, and the more we try to make people fit into something that doesn't exist the more we separate ourselves.

What if we actually stopped fighting each other, and saw past gender, race, sexuality, and all other differences that make us feel so foreign to one another? 

Would we finally remove power away from those who now monopolize it? Would we finally start to let love just be love? Would we finally be able to change the world?

I know this is a very extreme thought, and one that may never see the light of day, but what if?

I can't help but think about Orlando, about all those victims, and about the fact that it truly could've been me or anyone I know.

How can we think about anything else when this is the main topic of conversation on most media outlets, and rightfully so?

I can't help but think about how short life is, and how ridiculous it is that we're still having the same conversations, yet we're left swimming in circles. 

As I wrap up my 700 mile hike along the PCT, I'm forced to reflect on how different life has been when there are no comparisons. No gays, no straights, no CEOs, no McMansions, no salaries, no excess, just people enjoying life at it's simplest form. 

As hikers we simply carry our backpacks, and that is all we have. Sure we're not all the "same," but we live with the same purpose.

We all have our stories, we all have our pasts, we all have questions we're looking to answer, and most importantly we all have the search for love, happiness, and acceptance guiding us as we walk mile after mile.

In the wake of this horrific event I have challenged myself to get even more out of my way, and honor every last bit of myself because we don't know when our last day is, and I refuse to go through life thinking, "I wish," so in honor of my lost brothers and sisters I did something I've always wanted to do, and dyed my hair blue.

It's something that makes me unable to hide in a crowd, which was something I desperately wanted to do while growing up, and trying to hide from my sexuality. It's something that connects me even further to the rainbow flag that represents an amazing group of people I am privileged and honored to call my family. It's something that says I will never hide from who I am deep inside, a human, not a man or woman, looking to show, spread, and feel love because that is all we have.

My heart, not my prayers and thoughts, goes out to all those who have been affected by the shootings in Orlando. Thoughts and prayers have become a soundbite used by many politicians, who don't actually seem to care. May this finally be the catalyst that creates change, so that we no longer have to have these conversations.

Never stop dancing, keep on kissing, and remember love truly is love.

If you'd like to help all those affected by this tragedy then click here, or follow this link: https://www.gofundme.com/pulsevictimsfund