Fighting The Good Fight

In a city that holds over 8 million people you think it would be easy to find at least one who just gets you. Who makes you feel special. Who makes you want to do nothing but have endless lazy Sundays in bed. Who wants to have endless romping sessions with real talks about life in between. Who texts you to simply say hi. Who isn’t afraid to let you know they like you.

New York City is an amazing place. It is a small 12-mile by 6-mile island that has been developed into a super city, The City. You walk on the streets and there is an endless endlessness. Saturation of saturation. People, places, things. Nouns are everywhere. But where is that proper noun, The One?

Finding chemistry is hard. Bright-eyed, nerve-inducing, don’t-fuck-this-up chemistry. You know it almost instantly. That first meeting, eyes connecting and you just know. Yes or no.

I’d like to think we all go into that first chance meeting hoping for that “yes,” but it seems that “no” is far more common. Sure, he is cute. Conversation isn’t awful. He has stuff going on. But that isn’t enough.

It’s hard today. We seem to fall for someone based on his or her personified version. The one that filters who he or she wants to be through endless filters. X-Pro, Brannan, Inkwell. But who they are really takes time to figure out. We are all part of the problem, myself included.

I recently had this discussion with a new friend. Cute southern boy, who just moved to New York City. He voiced the hardships the city has thrown at him. Ones I, myself, have dealt with. Falling for a profile. Getting wrapped up in someone based off of whom we think we are talking to. Text after text. Anticipation to meet. Then bam, you meet. What have I done? Who have I been talking to? I shouldn’t have wasted my time.

In an era where everyone is a supermodel, we all have to fight fire with fire and be supermodels as well. Yes, I want my best version to be displayed. No, I don’t want the world to see me at 2 am with pimple cream, glasses and bedhead. Who does?

While I may not want the world to see me as anything less than perfect, there is nothing better than getting to that point with someone. When you show your imperfections. Not being afraid to not be perfect. To let them see you, the real you.

When you do hit that inevitable point where the cloak comes off, and you share that real intimacy, rawness, nakedness it is one of the scariest things in the world. Yet, to have your imperfections put on display for someone else, and have them love you more, that is what it is all about. That is why we fight the good fight. That is why we continue to put ourselves out there. So that one day we are filter free, gloriously imperfect and loved like never before. 

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Posted on February 19, 2014 .
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Cupid's Broken Arrow

It’s happening again. I’m reminded that I am alone. I do not get to participate, not because I don’t want to, but because I have no one to participate with. I’m am not last to be picked, I am just not picked at all.

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and for what feels like the millionth year in a row I am single. I am not single because I want to be. I am single because I have yet to meet someone surfing the same wave as me. I’ve had close encounters, but nothing has glued, gelled, stuck.

I am not sad, mad, or glad by any of this. It would be nice to have someone to romance and be romanced by, but this is a thought I have anyways. Who doesn’t want to be loved? Who doesn’t want to know they have someone thinking about them just because? Who doesn’t want to be kissed, feel butterflies and doped up on dopamine.

Valentine’s Day is such a fickle day for so many beautiful souls. People who will have someone just not on this specific day are made to feel less. It’s a day to feed the economy, but it’s also a day to feed so many peoples’ loneliness. The key is to remember someone, somewhere, loves you. Sure, it may not be the love you desire on this day of desirables, but it is love nonetheless. That is beautiful.

I will wear my reds proudly. I will have a fulfilled day. I will treat myself to what someone will treat me to one day… And until then I shall be.

Here’s to the lovers, the dreamers and the searching souls. 

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Posted on February 12, 2014 .
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No Words Needed

Words don’t need to be spoken, you simply look at each other and know what the other is thinking.

A best friend. Someone who just gets you. You just get them.

I’ve been someone who throughout the years has had trouble making friends, but has kept best friends near and dear to me since I was born. Once we’ve gotten to a certain point we loose any kind of affiliation with other and become family.

Growing up I never lived in the same place more than 5 years and I still haven’t been settled anywhere for more than that still. The one constant has been my best friends. I have been lucky enough to add to this list as I have moved from city to city. I have “made new friends but kept the old; however, one is not silver and the other gold. What’s even more of a blessing is that as I have ventured into unknown territory my best friends have become best friends or at least friends.

Knowing that you always have someone to throw ideas at, go to in times of need and just because creates a comfort, an ease, a love. A best friend will be real with you, but never judge you. They look at you with shade, but have love in their heart. Support you, stand up for you, be unconditional in all capacities.

I am someone that clearly enjoys love, and the unconditional love I’ve gotten from my best friends is something that I don’t think I would’ve made it to today without. I know my loves know this, but it never feels like it’s said enough.

I try to make an effort to let the ones I love know how much I truly love them. In times of busyness it gets hard to really let these people know how much they mean to you. I am not lucky enough to afford downtime. I don’t have the ability to go to someone when money is low and ask for help, so I must be on always. I must constantly be on my hustle. I worry that this is misconstrued or misunderstood. I hope not. I’d rather be with them.

I live for the day when I get to repay my best friends for all they have given me. Countless amount of support, love and perspective.

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Posted on February 11, 2014 .
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I Had A Crush

I had a crush on you.

I went into yet another first date just thinking, “Why not?” After a series of never ending first dates followed up by…well, nothing, I pushed myself to journey on. I had seen you before via the social mediums that constantly suggest you know someone based on a formula of “who you are” and thought you were cute, but wasn’t sweating you hard enough via your profile pic to creep and add you.

But as the stars have it, and a certain miles radius, specified age range, and gender preferred, our paths crossed. We were matched. We chatted. We began whatever it is you begin.

You had great energy through text messages, and it really felt like you were excited to meet me, as I was you. There was an ease, a mutual intrigue, something blossoming.

Time was working against us. I was busy. You were busy. I had someone in town. You had someone in town. Yet, we kept texting, arranging, rearranging. Finally, as if it was never actually supposed to happen, we made it happen. I even blew off a really good friend’s birthday because we all know that once you get past 2 weeks of texting and not meeting it becomes all the more unrealistic that we shall ever meet. I had also pushed back twice.

You picked the place. I was on time. You were late. It didn’t bother me. You walked in with a pure pleasantness and it felt like we had already met. You were the first person I told about my mom. I revealed too much right away. You didn’t flinch. It was endearing and I was grateful.

We took forever to order because we got lost in conversation. It was clear that this would be a good date. I wasn’t sure if I was physically that into you, but your personality, aura and demeanor won me over. We shared each course. We had a lot in common. Attraction was established.

We left and took a long stroll to an ice-cream place closed. Desert was saved as 16 Handles always delivers. I showed you my “crackden” and walked you out. You asked to kiss me, which I normally hate, but you were too cute to care. I said, “Of course.”

We made out. Made out some more, and then made out even more.  Fleetwood Mac embraced the moment and it was time to send you home. One last kiss and the night was done.

I wanted a second date. We had a “second” date, and then a second date. I wanted a third date. We had a third date. I wanted a fourth date. We had a fourth date.

I know I can come off strong, so I backed away a bit. The next morning you backed away entirely.

I had a crush. It was exciting. I wasn’t in love. Hell, I was casually “dating” someone else the first week we met. You got into your head. You were honest. I won’t fault you.

It was nice to have a crush again. It was nice to feel like I was being crushed on. It was ok that you saw something bigger than what was going on. I saw it too. I wasn’t in a rush. It was a bummer, a disappointment, a let down to hear the “friend” word, but I was ok with it. I liked your soul, your stance in life, your big ideas. I was willing/wanting to be your friend.

It went silent. I was a fool. I had a crush.

Crushes are exciting, they feel good, they remind you that there is more than just you. I look forward to my next crush. I hope it becomes more than that, but if not so be it. I will in the end thank you for reminding me what that initial spark feels like. It hurts to have it extinguished, but it hurts more to forget what that little beginning of a flame feels like.

I sometimes think it would be easier to shield my heart, to be icier, colder, less open. It is not me, so I move forth heart on sleeve, book open and eyes dreamy. Willing to get hurt, to be let down, to be bummed out because in the end you have to risk it all to have it all.

I had a crush. That’s all.

Posted on February 10, 2014 .
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Bordeaux and Lolitas

It is a blur. Day two of Made Milk Fashion Week came and went.

 

Scores of celebrities, socialites, designers and editors braved the cold to see Peter Som showcase his collection of silver accessorized lightness. A Bridget Bordeaux effortless cool permeated Made Milk’s 2nd floor and Som did it again.

 

Peter Som dominating.

Peter Som dominating.

1920’s Spaniard Lolitas stomped down the celebrity filled runway for an epic Cushnie Et Ochs show. Karolina Kurkova opened the show in true supermodel status and had the photographers catcalling like construction workers. This show was simply put, gorgeous.

Karolina Kurkova closing Cushnie Et Ochs.

Karolina Kurkova closing Cushnie Et Ochs.

 

My partner in crime, Ms. Kate LaBeau, and I hit a home-run as we curated a lively VIP moment. The LEXUS NYFW Eco Lounge hosted a small private party as the day winded down and a beautiful day full of beautiful clothes and people came to a close.

 

Later Babes!

The actual blur of a day.

The actual blur of a day.

Posted on February 8, 2014 .
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Day 1 Of The Future

Déjà vu. When you know you’ve experienced something before. Apparently, it is a miss connection of synapses, a lost connection creating a quick malfunction.

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I know I have had this experience before. I am walking down the stairs of MADE Fashion Week. I am behind the scenes. I remember this dream. It was an actual dream, one in which I awoke thinking how bizarre. I am in that dream.


Black is everywhere and the Hunger Games garb is slowly metastasizing into real life. Funky hair colors, weird spikes and fashion that is not fashion surround the white walls, acting as a perfect backdrop for personal expression, moving art. Some pieces deserve a second look, others are screaming ‘look at me’. Be forewarn, your eyes won’t forget what they have just seen.


The actual fashion feels fresh and nostalgic. New mixed with old. Odd juxtaposed against intriguing. I question some choices, but I champion the risk, the thought, the idea of something different. There has been some hits, some misses but overall; it’s fashion.

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I have all access. I am meant to be amongst the VIPs, the celebrity, the ever-present style creators, innovators and tastemakers. I recognize known names and some recognize me. Through a long chain I can figure out exactly how I got here, to be honest it was not that difficult, but for some reason it still feels slightly bizarre.


A mere five months back into New York City, I have picked up much more than where I left off. Moving and shaking, hustling and bustling, living the New York life. It feels appropriate. It is just day one of MADE Fall 2014 Fashion Week and talking with Costello and Tagliapieta I realize this is just the beginning of an epic week.

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If the walls could talk, they would have an opinion, an attitude and they in fact do. Welcome to the future. Later Babes.

Posted on February 6, 2014 .
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Resolutions

As of today...

I’ve never made a New Years resolution before. Nor did I make one this year, but something changed in me this morning when I woke up, and I thought, “I want a change.”

I like to think that I am someone who has made changes throughout my life whenever I haven’t been happy with something, but the truth is I have just been going through the motions. Following someone else’s lead. Trying to justify why I did something for myself when in large part it was for someone else. Today that changes. Today I actually write down things I want myself to do more or less of, and hold myself accountable. Today I better my body, mind and soul. Today is a new beginning. Today “it” starts. 

As of today I will drink at least two cups of water when I wake up to hydrate my body and put the main component of what I am made up of back into myself.

It is a commonly known fact that water is the key to great skin, great health, great energy, but for some reason so many of us ignore this fact.

As of today I will moisture daily.

Lathering lotion onto your face and body can prevent years and years of aging, but it just feels like another long step in a routine that must be quick. I feel like especially with men, we don’t think of this step enough because it isn’t really engraved in us to have silky skin like women, but the truth is that silky skin will help you preserve longer. My doctor friends even say it is their number one recommendation behind drinking more water.

As of today I will brush my teeth every morning, not just every night.

You may think ew gross, but unless all my friends have been hiding something from me, you haven’t noticed because I make sure I have chewed gum, had a mint or somehow masked the fact that I wasn’t brushing consistently every morning.

It is also proven that a healthy mouth equals a healthy body. To do something so simple and save yourself headaches, money and stress seems a no-brainer.

It’s weird that this new behavior sparked a thought in me. I realized that when I have someone in bed next to me when I wake up, I automatically brush my teeth in the morning because I want to be able to greet the day with a kiss. I am worried about someone’s “wellbeing.” However, if I wake up alone, I don’t find this to be of chief importance because there is no one essentially to hold me responsible to the fact that I must do this. I’d like to use the excuse it’s a matter of time, but the truth is that is just an excuse. No more.

This leads me to my next resolution.

As of today I will not have to have someone else hold me responsible to do something.

I will be the boss in my own life and I will hold myself responsible for everything. This is something I have done forever. I mean I have had a job since I was 14. But I don’t think I have been truly holding myself as accountable as I could. I haven’t been pushing hard enough to make the life I want to have because until today I didn’t know what life that was.

I think this idea of holding one’s self responsible, first saw some sparks of ignition one morning my senior year of college as I laid in bed, and realized that no one will fix things for you except you. I was in massive credit card debt because my parents fed me bullshit that they would take care of my bills and then didn’t, which lead to further debt. I woke up that morning and just said, “today we fix things for us,” and you know what, I did. It took some time and patience, but eventually I straightened things out for myself. I am continuously doing this, as I think we all are, but it is an amazing feeling to know that you are working towards a bigger picture. A picture that is your own happiness and stress-free life.

The moment you realize you hold the power to making your life what you want it to be, you become infinite with power. I guess what this resolution truly is, is staying on this path and remembering each day that I hold the pandora key.

While I feel like I may have not been hard enough on myself in certain aspects of my life, I have definitely been too hard on myself in many other ways.

As of today I will not beat myself up.

I will not be sorry that I am not as tall as all the super models in the world. I will not be sorry that my voice isn’t grizzly and super macho. I will not be sorry that I have a bump in my nose, which is the result of breaking it three times. As of today I will not be ashamed at how I look because it makes other people feel certain ways about me. I will be proud and bask in my individuality. 

As of today I will not be the person everyone else wants me to be. I will be Barrett. The Barrett I want to be.

I have tried to do this my whole life, as I think we all do, but it’s hard. For some dumb reason it feels impossible to be 100% true to ourselves in this day and age. There are so many pressures coming at us from friends, family, society, media, etc that push us into endless abysses of not holding 100% true to us. I am done with that. I have been Barrett for a long time, today I become Barrett.

As of today I will be confident.

I will walk tall, shoulders back, head held high and be grounded in who I am. I will be proud that I am me. I will let my white light shine.

As of today I will spend time on me.

I will allow myself to not only have me time when it is laid out. I will make the time for myself to not feel rushed, so that I can enjoy the little things I find so pleasing. I will give myself the time I give so many others without thinking.

As of today I will not feel guilty about not doing something I thought I should do, but didn’t want to.

I find that guilt is something that is imbedded in us from such a young age, mostly by our parents, Jewish or not, and creates an anxious feeling inside of us that is just unnecessary. Yes, you should go to the gym, but not going two days a week or even five days one week should not be something to kill yourself over. (Side note: go to the gym).

This goes along with the idea of F.O.M.O. the fear of missing out. I will not feel like I have to go to some stupid bar, club, party, dinner etc because I am worried I will miss out on something that most likely won’t happen. What we are told as we get older is true, it’s the same thing just a different day. Nothing is going to happen at X event that is different than any other event, and if Barack Obama, Beyonce, or whoever you may love does for some reason show up to X event that fuck that sucks, but chances are you weren’t destined to be besties anyways.

As of today I will not stress so much over money.

Money it seems has been an endless burden on my shoulder. I grew up in the upper middle class and I was never lacking the basics for survival: food, water, clothes, shelter, but money was always a stress on my family. Things were never easy to put it nicely, so I grew up to stress about money. However, every time I stress about money all I am doing is stressing myself out, which in the end serves no purpose. Stress only wears on us. It makes us sick. It creates an unnecessary uneasiness. It tailspins you into a frenzy, and in the end it all seems to work out. Maybe not how I had planned, but it does and that’s all the really matters.

As of today I will be more patient.

I am someone who has a hard time waiting for things. I like so many people crave instantaneousness, but the problem is when we rush we usually make mistakes. We read situations wrong. We overlook important details. We don’t fully analyze. Letting things run their course usually means that things are building to something bigger and better. Take a moment, check yourself, and proceed. This goes back to the idea that everything works out in the end.

As of today, I will not do things I do not want to do.

Or rather do things on someone else’s time, plan, or beliefs if it doesn’t match up with what I truly want to do. Of course, we all have to do things we do not want to do, but what I mean in saying this is that I will no longer bend over backwards for people, who do not give a shit about me. I will not meet with you because now you need something and it is the well-mannered thing to do.

“You don’t know how good something is till it is gone,” is beyond true and I refuse to have that be my problem for someone else. I will continue to be polite, gracious and mannered, but I will not be yours to abuse. For anyone to do this is insane.

I once was told a story about why someone I know doesn’t wear a watch, and I think this story really explains what I am trying to get at. This friend said that her father had never worn a watch, and told her that he would never because it meant you were doing things on someone else’s time. If you are enjoying someone or something than why should you stop yourself in order to go do something else? Life is too short and precious to do things that we feel obligated to do, but in the big picture serve no purpose. Yes, what about things like work? Well the truth is if you don’t love your job, or are not at least somewhat happy doing it, than I question you.

I think the Europeans have really found a balance to this idea; it was extremely present when I lived in France and traveled all over Europe. Everything shuts down on Sundays, people have really long dinners, and the amount of vacation time is crazy, but shit still gets done and everyone survives. P.S. they are as countries for the most part doing better than us in every way. According to a study done by the United Nations, the world is a happier place than it was five years ago, but the United States ranking 17th this year has only been falling in terms of overall happiness each year. Just something to consider.

Lastly, as of today I will continue to be gracious, thankful and happy that I am alive.

I have been given the gift to wake up this glorious morning and have endless opportunities await me. I am beyond lucky enough to have people in my life that make my days brighter and that I can call family whether they are blood or not.

I hope in reading my own personal resolutions, you have identified with some ideas and take this as a catalyst to make the changes you want today, not tomorrow. There will always be a tomorrow. There will always be another excuse. I say no more. Today is the only day. 

Posted on January 31, 2014 .
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Coming Out: I Am A Man

Dear You,

I’ve always been scared of the word man, today I take that word and own it!

I guess that I should start with the fact that I am an anomaly. A person that has never fit into one category, one group, one complete anything.  Parts of me fit here, fit there, but nothing has fit everywhere. It is something that I have learned to enjoy, as I am able to fuse into many situations and be rather comfortable. However, never completely belonging, being somewhat of an outsider, can be taxing. I’ve always felt the need to explain myself, to have others understand me because I feel as humans we are so complex that to make a snap decision is unfair. I’ve lived unfairly for a long time, and I pride myself on not letting that be who I am.

With that said, I want to tell you something. It is something many of you know. It is something that the people closest and dearest to me have known for a long time, but still something I want to share.

I am gay.

Just writing it, even though it is something I haven’t hidden and have come to terms with sends a rush of adrenaline through my body. A metaphorical last bit of chip on my shoulder disintegrates, that last 5 pound weight is lifted from what was holding me down, a lightness has washed over me. I am free.

This minute detail in the complexity of who I am ultimately means nothing to me, but so much at the same time.

As far back as I can remember this trivial fraction of who I am has haunted me because I was in fact gay, but did not know it for myself. Sure, looking back at life and how I loved Barbie, my best friends were girls and I was sensitive could all be “tell-tale signs,” but why? Why did you care what I liked? Why did you care who I played with? Why did you care I was sensitive? Why did you care that I was gay?

I think what is so hard for me is that I probably would’ve come out much sooner, but being labeled the gay kid when you in fact do not identify with who that person is supposed to be is so hard on one’s psyche. You fight so hard against something that you don’t even have a problem with, but just don’t connect with that it becomes a constant struggle. Had all the people I had pushing this on me just let me be me, I would’ve been able to figure out things so much quicker and without a sense of fear, pressure and hardness.

It is not anyone’s job to tell someone else who he or she is supposed to be. It was not your job to tell me who I am. Who I am supposed to be. Who I am going to be. That is my job. My journey to take. My life to unfold.

I know that this is something that everyone deals with to some extent, gay or straight, but the amount of focus I was subjected to on a daily basis from people I would call my peers, but were rather bullies unable to figure themselves out, was so daunting and constant that I cannot feel as if I was constantly under a magnifying glass. Those people who had their own issues to deal with, but were too cowardly to look them in the eye and focus on themselves, so turned their attention on someone who was an easy target. A happy kid, who had a lot going for him, me. It wasn’t just kids either, it was parents, teachers, strangers. I was happy just being me, I didn’t know exactly who I was, nor do I now, but I continue to be happy, “gay” if you will because I learned valuable life lessons so early on. 

At the age of six I watched my mother, my hero, fight for each day of her life. She was stricken with an illness that I to this day do not understand, but know it was life altering. When you see someone you love slowly die, you realize very quickly that time is precious and you must enjoy every minute of life. This life-changing event will forever stay with me, and continue to remind me that I will not live a life that just goes through the motions, but to live a life that is full, whole, happy and loving. Luckily, I can say I still have my mom 19 years later. It hasn’t been without ups and downs, but nonetheless she is still here and fighting.

I share this story with you because it truly was “that moment in life” that acts as a foundation of who we are to become. It is the oldest, most vivid memory I have, and physiologist will say it is the traumatic life event that leads to my hopes and fears, dreams and ambitious, problems and neurosis. I like to think that I have been very in touch with my own emotions and feelings, and that I have used this event as a way to understand myself and adjust to the world. I understand it, I process it, and I use it to move forwards rather than harp and feel victimized.

Moving forwards and going back to “officially” coming out because in today’s society if it isn’t done via social media, is it even official? I want to explain how deciding to write this open coming out letter isn’t to serve my own purpose, but rather the person who happens to read this and understands what life is like for himself, herself or that kid they don’t get.

Its not about being comfortable with others its about being comfortable with yourself, which only gets harder the more people try to tell you who you are. In the multiple times I’ve come out to different friends or groups of people I’ve always went into the situation knowing that in the end these people would not have a problem with it, but would probably love me even more because they finally got to see my true self. I knew that the people I chose to have in my life were to put it simply, good people. They were and are people that loved me for me, who let me be me, who saw nothing but Barrett. All the hang-ups and stresses were my own insecurities wrecking havoc on me from years of verbal abuse from those bullies, not my friends, not my family. I also know that I unlike so many, am blessed and lucky because this is not the case for so many beautiful people. For that I thank my friends and family for being the amazing angels they are.

It is also easy to finally say all this because I have had the chance to live in New York City, where being an individual is praised. I have lived in Los Angeles where I had time to leave all that I knew and focus on finding out who I really was. I’ve given myself multiple explorations and adventures to find more and more vignettes that comprise who I am as a whole. Each step of the way has been scary, different and sparked something new in me, but it has been important and I have tried to appreciate every moment as best as I can to understand that I will never be in this specific place in my life again. I may end up somewhere similar, but never an exact replica of each moment.

I have learned that I don’t fit in and I never will. I have learned it’s the best thing in the world to stand out in a crowd. To be that light in darkness. I have also learned that you will never be able to please everyone, so if you can please yourself than let that light shine as bright as that fiery mass in the sky.

I’ve also learned what I think so many LGBT people have a hard time learning in the beginning, there is not just one specific idea of what it means to be gay. Everyone feels the need to put everything into a box, a category, a specific. What I have found is that there will always be many intricate facets that collaborate to create the unique being that is me. A stereotype is something that we use to make sense of the world, but I do not think in my case it serves me as much positive as it does negative because in the end I am still my own man.

I think the way so many gay men refer to each other as “her” or “she” is funny and playful, but I also think it is destructive. I am someone that looks at being gay as a piece of me. I do not want it to define my existence, my life. I will allow it to be present as it is part of me, but I do not want to live in a bubble that is all things gay. I think it is amazing that there are neighborhoods dedicated to gay communities. It is an environment of comfort for so many, who probably had never felt such comfort before. It is a place to be one version of yourself and not worry about making anyone else feel uncomfortable. But to close yourself off from things because there is no gay undertone is dangerous and in my opinion leads to a different kind of hazard. A false sense of real.

My friends and I joke that being gay is “cool.” What I really think we mean is that it is finally not the deviant, the monster. Yes, gays are popping up everywhere and times are changing. Things like the new TV show Looking, the marriages performed at the Grammys, and the daily celebrity coming out all exemplify how being gay is becoming just another “normal” in our abnormal world. However, I think it is important to recognize the fact that there is still so much progress to be made, and so many obstacles to overcome as a world. Gay still equates to bad or wrong in so many places here and abroad. Its hard sometimes to fathom this as I am someone who has lived in a liberal metropolis for almost 10 years, but it is still very real for so many gay brothers and sisters.

Being gay is an ever-confusing concept to not just straight people, but to gays as well. I think that so many of us suffer from daddy issues, mommy issues, both or none. I definitely have both. We are in the same constant search for love as everyone else. We confuse sex with love, love with sex. We are looking to fill an empty void in us, sometimes more so because for so long we couldn’t figure out why people looked at us differently. We use hook-up apps to fulfill basic needs, and then call ourselves sluts.  We use dating apps to try and fill deeper needs, and then are left feeling like there is no one out there for us. We go on first dates, which sometimes lead to a second, or nothing at all. We go to bars to see and be seen. We hang out with our friends to remind us that we have people we love and equalize us back out. “We” in the end are just living day to day like everyone else. Yes, there are some differences, but in general there are far fewer between straight people and LGBT people than most would realize.

I have met many people recently, who have asked me to promise them that I will never change. Never become jaded to the world around me. Never loose my desire to find love, my ability to be open and honest and my pursuit to be as me as possible. I promise.

To the person who reads this and goes I’ve heard all this before, I say great! I by no means think I am saying something that hasn’t been said before. I am simply sharing my story, my thoughts, my struggles. The slogan, “it gets better,” is beyond true. I joke that coming out was the best thing I ever did for my personal and professional life, but to be honest it is true. There is an amazing network of LGBT people who run so many things that once you are ready to join will be waiting for you with open arms. Not only does it get better, it gets fucking amazing.

Since “accepting myself” and coming out I have met some of the most amazing people, experienced real love, saw the world with a new sense of beauty and darkness. Some things affect me more, while other things affect me less. Overall, since coming out I have become a man. A real man.

I hope something I have written resonates with you. I am going to continue to share my life, my journey and my struggles with you. I feel it is important to have a voice and use it whenever possible. If I can help just one person feel more like him or herself than I feel all this will have been worth it.

All my love,

Barrett 

Posted on January 31, 2014 .
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The Crack Den and Me Part Deux: Urban Camping

Two solid weeks have gone by. The apartment that is both my savior and the ban to my existence has tested me. My patience, my self-control, my mind.  Its harbored me and held me captive. Made me safe and dry. Forced me to focus. Fed my anxieties. Wrecked havoc on my phobia of being alone. Been a den of nothing but me.

I cannot tell if the apartment is turning on me, or forcing me to look beyond. It’s constant pinging of water from the shower was replaced with a constant pinging of water from one of the skylights. A harder, longer, fall from ceiling to ground than shower head to floor. It’s hard to think I’d miss one ping for another, but I do. Yet again, it seems the grass is always greener. I take note of this, as it seems to be an ever-present notion in my quarter life crisis.

Speaking of the shower. As you may recall, I had become a good New Yorker and unwillingly shared my shower. Well, that shower buddy that I had watched drown gave new meaning to the common joke “cockroaches can’t die.” For when I bravely ventured into the shower the next day to dispose of said friend, he had simply disappeared.

HOW?!

I had told myself the shower drain sucked him down and an angel above was trying to give my lonely soul a gift. While that may seem nice, it actually only made showering all the more frightening. I’d watch the drain as I stand naked under the pouring water with anxiety and fear thinking he’d come back to haunt me. Torture me from beyond. Take away the renewing sensation water brings this Piscean male.

I was wrong.  Instead the shower began to turn on me.  It seems the drain that had possibly removed my friend and given me a gift decided to turn on me as well. Water draining would’ve been an after thought. Now its my only thought. The bathroom sink, the kitchen sink and the shower all refuse to drain if water is still running.

Taking showers that are also half bath would be fine, but I am in a stand-alone shower, the kind without a tub. Yes, this fancy penthouse has a separate tub. One I dare not toy with as I can only imagine what surprise will want to swim with me.

So now the apartment, my own form of the Armageddon curses me with its own plagues and horrors. Tests of worthiness. A period of redemption.

As the shower began its prophetic revolt, I could almost hear it saying, “We will be eco-friendly whether you like it or not.” I could not attest, and now take a full shower in record speed. I do not mind, and even find the comedy in the tragedy that is my newest form of reality. Showers are now the biggest rush of adrenaline I find on a daily basis. Who would have thought that would be a sentence? Anyways, I am straying. It is here that I wish I could wrap up my shower vignettes, but this is unfortunately not the end.

You see like any normal person I would like to turn the shower on, so that it could warm up, even though it does so rather fast because yes this is till an East Village penthouse, but this is simply not in the cards for me. However, I like to live on the dangerous side and threw caution to the wind one bowel movement ago, and got lost in my only connection to the outside world, my phone. Scrolling the web, reading my facebook wall and finally catching up on my Words with Friends games I let the shower win. I finally unzoned from the evil that is the Iphone 5S and went to get into the shower; however, this time said shower was now more bath than shower and I was left to fend off water from overtaking the bathroom as a whole.

In the end I refused to let the apartment win and waited ten minutes for the water to drain so that I could take a two-minute shower. It’s been that way ever since. I tell myself I am winning. I think it is rather clear I am not.

There has been some other adventures as I live out this rent free pad in the heart of the east village, but what truly brings this story to fruition is what happened about thirty minutes ago.

As I lay on the luxury that is an adjustable firmness airmattress getting ready to read my new book, “Mr. Peanut,” I see what I thought was a ghost. Out of the corner of my eye, I see what lets me know that no angel was looking down upon me. He is back. The roach lives!

Now to be fair and not an airhead, I know it is quite possible that there is more than one cockroach in this elegant estate, but for purposes of wholeness, my mind and this story, it is the same one.

As if time itself moved backwards, there he is, ghost of cockroaches past.  He arrogantly makes his presence known and stands with confidence, gazing at me like a piece of meat. I know this feeling and it makes me uneasy. Unnaturally jarred. Scared. So I do as instinct has it and jump up onto my air mattress, and as I do he darts to the bed, strategically under the portion of the blankets that lay on top of the floor. The blankets are too long. It is an air mattress after all.Panic takes over. Is he in my blankets? Is he about to get his revenge? I DON’T FUCKING KNOW! I do what has to be done I pull up blankets and start shaking them out. Freaking out is an understatement. Nothing. Is that good or bad? I DON’T FUCKING KNOW! Two deep breaths and I rationalize he is more afraid of me than I of him. Right? I DON'T FUCKING KNOW!

Just as I am about to pull my shit together, there he is, back at where this all started. Staring at me from across the room. It is a showdown. Two cowboys, or one 25 year old in his underwear and one cockroach, same thing ideally, about to go head to head. It is either he or I. And at this rate the odds seem to be rather too close to equal than I would have preferred. But, I take my chances, grab my flip-flops, which have amazing back-whip to them, and chase after my shower companion.

Blackout.

It happened. I did it. Yes, I killed the one thing that was keeping me company in this isolated fortress. I must admit a part of me truly felt sorrow and uneasy as I confirmed with the bottom of my flip-flop that he was officially “of the earth” now. The other part of me felt relief that I would not be woken up with cockroaches birthing out of my ear. Again, realistically I know this probably isn’t the only one, so that is still a fear.

Now, I sit truly alone in penthouse X of two thirty something on eleventh between here and there. A boy, not yet a man, maybe a guy, in his black, grey and red stripped Hanes briefs telling the story of urban camping. Of a lost frienemy and a shower on revolt.

Posted on January 31, 2014 .
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A Romance Yet Unwritten

I want you to be the first thing I see when I wake up and stumble for my glasses.

I want you to be the last thing I see before I close my eyes and then dream of you.

I want you to be the person I share my inner most desires, secrets and thoughts with.

I want you to be the person I go to for advice in times of good and bad.

I want you to be the person I immediately call when things are so amazing I feel like I’ve won the lotto and am about to burst with excitement.

I want you to be the person whose shoulder I nuzzle my face into when I cannot stop crying.

I want you to be the person that I want to do absolutely nothing with but sit on the couch and watch TV with, and have it be the best of times.

I want you to be the person that makes everything feel like it’s going to be ok with a simple smile.

I want you to be a part of my everything, but not my everything.

I want you to be my cliché other half, partner in crime and lifelong lover.

I want to be all these things for you.

I don’t have a list of requirements. I don’t have a physical description of what you must look like. I don’t care where you are from. You can practice whatever religion you like. I just look forward to falling so in love with you, I forget that you weren’t always a part of my life, my heart, my soul.

I don’t know who you are yet, but I know you’re out there somewhere. A stranger destined to me, and I to you through the stars. A person that happened to sit next to me at the bar, on the subway or at a café, and for some reason we couldn’t help but allow the universal energies to make us connect. A serendipitous story. Our tale’s beginning. 

I look forward to our first encounter when we can’t stop looking at each other. Catching each other’s eyes and looking away out of childish embarrassment.  Blushing like babies. Drifting away from the surrounding world and swimming in your eyes. Watching how your lips move as you speak in a way that is truly you. Discovering what makes you you with every nuance I uncover. Breathing in your beauty both inside and out. Feeling that intense excited nervousness as our faces come closer and closer, eyes closing, breathing heightened as we are about to have our first last kiss. Our lips lock exploding millions of nerve endings letting us both know that this is your someone. Fingers intertwined, hearts racing and thoughts on nothing but how right this feels.

I look forward to telling this story to our friends and families at our wedding. I can’t wait to tell you how I knew you were the one the second I saw you. Love at first sight. How you made me feel something I had never felt before. How you made all of “it” make sense.

Until then I will remain the hopeless romantic. The dreamer. The person that believes as long as you can imagine “it,” it will be yours for the taking. The believer in love and the powers it can unearth in two people.

Until then I’ll see you around.

Posted on January 31, 2014 .
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The Crackden And Me

I was just about to feel like the old me.

And then it happened. It got cold. Then colder. And then even colder. Yup, it snowed.

GASP. Faint. Die!

The hoopla from the New Years dissipated fast in NYC. People went back to work. Hibernation kicked in. All was winter. Literally death.

Somehow the beginning of the New Year strategically, and I suppose/know somewhat naturally, makes everything feel awful. That is unless you were off vacationing oh so glamorously and instead of hiding from winters doom you said, “oh looks like an extra day at the beach.” Yea thanks Facebook I forgot all my friends were in Miami, Mexico or any other warm destination starting with an “m,” “Fuck you.”

Its insane how there can be this collective high on positivity and overall doing better, but the second the weather changes, SPLAT. Minds change too. Oh wait. I know what this is. It’s S.A.D. literally and clinically. Seasonal something (Affective if you want to be technical) Disorder. The weather literally weathers on you and you give in to gloom. It is gloomorous, I asked Honey Boo Boo.

For me it is even more gloomorous.  And here is why. I am currently sitting on an air mattress, in a multimillion-dollar apartment pre renovation. And yes I know it could be way way way worse and I am beyond lucky to be living in NYC for a month for free, but lets just play into my woe-is-me Woody Allen plot line.

The lights are dim at best. The shower continuously has one drop of water dripping from it. The sound of water hitting the ground is reminiscent of Chinese water torture, kind of. It’s an open floor plan so you are reminded nothing else is around you except well, the air mattress. And there’s that drop of water again. Speaking of the shower, I had to share mine today. Yes, I had to be a good New Yorker and shower with possibly the largest cockroach I have ever seen in person or anywhere else. I suppose the little guy just wanted to conserve water. You know those cockroaches, really environmentally friendly. Needless to say I freaked the fuck out, took the quickest possible shower, and only one of us survived. He drowned himself and sits on the drain as I write. I do not have the power to remove said friend.

Downstairs, yes this apartment is two floors, my possessions on the east coast swindle down to about two suitcases and 4 big plastic bags, which I will not unpack because I will just have to repack them. It makes you feel even more transient to have things in a suitcase. I could unpack, but best not to.

I am sans Internet so the only way to entertain myself is Amish style. I.e. read a book, play with myself or be Amish and type on my Mac Book Air. Did I mention when I purchased said Mac Book Air, I found out that someone had stolen my identity? You might be asking, “What the fuck are you talking about?” Well to sum it up short; I wanted to finance my laptop over 18 months with zero interest, because who doesn’t love more credit card debt, so I applied for BEST BUY’s BEST BUY Citi Bank Credit Card, and when doing so was told one had already been opened in my name, and that I had over $5,000 worth of charges on it. I know right, Fuck me! And you think that they would make it easy to fix this thing because it was so easy for someone in the Bronx to waltz into Best Buy and say, “Yo, I’m Barrett Pall I want some laptops on laptops on camera equipment,” that’s what I was told “I” bought. But no. I have to go through paper work and more paper work and talking to some nice man named Adam at Citi Bank’s identity fraud center because apparently this is just super easy to do they have a whole business built on it. Makes you think, huh?

Anyways back to my penthouse apartment, yes I swear it really is on the penthouse floor. And yes, this place will be a fucking palace, I know this for fact as the two most amazing and stylish men anyone will literally ever know have graciously let me stay here. But at the moment it feels more like a crack den and I am squatting.  If you saw it, you’d get it.

Actually, in some ways it’s like real New York. I mean this place probably hasn’t been touched since the 70’s or 80’s, back when New York was “New York.”  Like when the real creatives lived in NY, and people actually squatted in these huge apartments and when rent was basically free. OH MY GOD, I’m living in RENT, but lets hope without the AIDS and death. I kid, I kid, but seriously no AIDS and no death please.

I know I will have that grand day when I look back on this and laugh. I mean I am already finding the humor in this whole scenario that is my actual present life. I am literally laughing now by myself, but I look forward to the day when it is that different kind of laugh. The laugh that says you were young and exploring and figuring out stuff even though you thought you already had. The kind of laugh that says look where we’ve come kid.  The kind of laugh that says, “It’s finally all ok.”

Anyways, the more I write the more I realize the charm in the apartment I call home for the next month, or less depending on when I find that gem apartment. I know this isn’t home, and I know this is just temporary as are these feelings of lost, craziness and despair.

I am truly beyond grateful for those who have been so giving and helping as it reminds me of the family I’ve created around me full of really good people. I mean I am warm, inside, alone with running water, heat and a working stove and fridge. I am “homeless” but not without home all because I have had the privilege of meeting wonderful generous people.

Maybe this apartment is exactly where I need to be right now. In a throwback to the artsy true New York City. A time long ago when the essence was real and gritty, not rich and so demanding. I needed to center myself and just be with myself. Its like the kind of place you dream of finding in NY. I mean it has a fucking fireplace that works, like 20-foot ceilings and an open floor plan.

Maybe the apartment is the ultimate metaphor for myself? That diamond in the rough. Yes, the floors need to be redone badly, the pipes are backed up, the kitchen needs to be gutted, as does the bathroom. There are “friends” that come to join your showers, a window is broken, and its not been touched since 1977. Fresh paint and a rug are definitely not the answers here. But its charming when you really get to know it. Amazing location. Amazing potential. Amazing bones. Not a total piece of shit, but also not move in ready. Looks amazing from the street, but when you walk in its definitely rough around the edges. It’s just screaming for someone to breathe new life into it. Or rather a little love. Some time. Some patience. And some settling.

I cannot believe I didn’t see it before, but it seems so obvious now. I am the apartment. The apartment is me. I just need a little love. And while I keep searching for it externally, it looks like I ultimately need to be with me and find my self-love. No not that kind you perve. And who are you kidding, I found that at 12.

So now I take in the little things. The howling of the wind. The clicking of my keyboard. The incandescence of vanilla candles as they spread a happier scent. The peace one can find by being alone. The hidden beauty in an apartment unknown.

Posted on January 31, 2014 .
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WRAPPING IT UP!

And putting a ribbon on it.

Finishing off…your year with some Christmas reflection and New Year preparation.

While Christmas may be fundamentally a Christian holiday, it has become a universal holiday that reminds us to enjoy our loved ones, be thankful for what we have, and have peace in our hearts and joy in our minds.  Whether or not you go to church, sit at home with your family, eat Chinese food and watch a movie, or have to work today, we all have time to reflect on the past year.

Find your thanks. Give them. Showing how grateful you are means more than any material thing you could ever give. 

Be present. Baste in your blessings. Being fully in the moment means more than any photograph ever will.

Journey through your growths. Understand that you are not the same person you were at the beginning of this year and that is a beautiful thing no matter what.

You have lived. You have learned. You have loved. You have made progress in your life in someway.  Be proud. Be confident. Be you.

Ending a year should make you feel something. Bring some sort of movement inside. Your heart should beat a little faster. Breathe that in. That is you acknowledging yourself, your emotions, your feelings, your all.

Lastly, congratulations! That was a hard year. Tears were shed. Hardships happened. Things took wrong turns and at moments you questioned it all. Life hit hard.

But you overcame. You did things you did not think you could do. You achieved.

You existed in some of the most luscious moments that one human could ever dream of. You lived someone’s dream somewhere.

When you recognize the good in your life, you begin to understand how privileged a lot of us are. Sure, life hasn’t been perfect, but perfect isn’t real. Real has been your life.  Full of things that you have always wanted and things you didn’t know you wanted, but were lucky enough to get.

Thankful. Gracious. Grateful. Blessed.

Ground yourself in these words as you venture into the new year. You will be surprised how 2014 will go if you meditate on these ideas.

Live in your love. It is the greatest thing you’ll ever experience. 

Posted on January 31, 2014 .
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