Would You Date You?


It is a valid question.

 

If you went on a blind date, and sat down across from yourself, would you be interested?

 

Don’t just jump to a yes or no answer. Think about it for a minute. Be realistic.

 

If you met someone and he said he had your job, would you be more or less interested? What about the way he looks? Is his body something that makes you excited? Are his manners and way of expressing himself drawing you in?

 

It is hard to be honest with ourselves, but to take a real good look in the mirror, and think about the person you truly are will serve you far more good.

 

As a culture, we have become so good at saying what we do not want, rather than what we want. We have ideals of the person we are meant to be with, but many times, we do not live up to our own expectations. This is incredibly dangerous and beyond unfair. If there is something you would like in a mate, then you should possess it yourself.

 

It is that simple. We attract what we are. Positive to positive. Negative to Negative.  Employed to employed. Fit to fit. Open to open.

 

If you find yourself saying, but I am positive, I have a good job and I am fit, but I keep meeting bum after bum then there is probably something you are putting out there that you may not even be aware of.

 

I think too many people are too quick to dismiss potential mates. We constantly over scrutinize our potential suitors because they lack something. Money, power, the right job. The list is endless when you want it to be, but why? The chances are it has something to do with your own lack of comfortability within yourself.

 

Remember no one is perfect!

 

We carry around insecurities that we tend to project onto other people. The things we don’t like about ourselves are the things we are so good at nitpicking other people for. If there is something that bothers you about the person sitting across from you on that date, ask yourself why?

 

This simple question could open your eyes to a whole new world.

 

I think there is something to be said about being picky; however, the problem arises when you become so picky that you discount 99.9% of your dating possibilities.  What you are left with is a very small group of men or women that may not want you.

 

Yes, we all have a vision of who we are meant to be with, but having such a closed off mind could mean the true man of your dreams is going to pass right by you.

 

Be honest. Be true. Be open. And understand we all have changes to make. Make the changes you know you need to today. Tomorrow will always be a day away. Start now.

 

Remember even when the tides feel stagnant and unmoving, it is up to you to just keep swimming. Happy hunting my fellow fish in the sea!

To follow more from Barrett check out:

Instagram/Twitter: @barrettpall

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/barrettpallfan

Posted on July 18, 2014 .
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My 17 Pieces of Dating Advice

No rules. Just some advice.

While I largely discuss gay dating, I believe these suggestions are universal, so no matter who you are interested in consider these 17 ideas listed below.

Recently, I’ve seen a lot of tips on gay dating, and why so many people believe it  doesn’t work. Pieces of advice range from “turn off your grindr before the date,” to becoming comfortable being called “Daddy.” “Don’t chase someone, wait x amount of time to text back, don't be too available.”

In my opinion all this seems ridiculous. I am, by no means, an expert on dating. I have however been on many dates, fallen in love and had my heart broken. I’ve been a conquest, used, and made to feel crazy.

I wish I could say I fell into a pattern, but the truth is I didn’t. There's no pattern. There's no way to know who someone is from pictures they post, the job they have, or the status updates they write. The only way to find out who someone truly is, is to go on a date with them. To interact with them and find out for yourself, firsthand, exactly who they are.

With that said, I can tell you what I have learned from my own personal experiences.

 1.     Get rid of any hook up apps, delete them.

Sure, you may be on there looking for a real connection, but after looking for the hottest guy for the past five hours and having nothing to show, lets be serious why you're on there. There's something beyond impersonal about these apps, and you aren’t going to give that guy, who just isn’t that cute in his picture a chance.

The sad thing is he could’ve been a babe in person, and you just couldn’t tell by his 2d image. In real life he could’ve given you a look that made your heartbeat a little faster, and created a sense of curiosity that brings you in.

All those tiny pictures are lazy dudes, who in the end may be looking for a date, but “could be down for some fun.”

2.    Going one step further, don't use any of your social media as dating tools.

I was super guilty of this. I literally met my exboyfriend of two and half years because he poked me on facebook. I dated someone who lived in Australia through instagram. I have been on more than I would care to share Tinder dates. All these things that are supposed to make dating easier, actually make dating harder.

These devices are the easy way out.

These applications allow for guys from all over to skim through the gay rolodex of the world. There is no confidence involved, just a simple click of a few buttons and done. A real guy would come up to you and say, “hello,” not that he just saw you in the park and thought you looked cute through a facebook message.

Yes, that has really happened.

I get the appeal, but trust me, everyone I've ever dated for an extended period of time, except my facebook poking exboyfriend, has been someone I’ve gone up to in real life, introduced myself to, and chatted up.  This brings me to my next “suggestion.”

3.    Go up to that guy who's cute, and say “hi.”

You have nothing to lose. Best case scenario, he's really nice, you end of chatting for hours and you exchange numbers. Worse case scenario, he's a dick and brushes you off, which saves you the trouble and time of wondering what could have been if you'd said hi. You get almost get a sense of relief knowing that he isn’t even an option, and you can check him off your imaginary list.

Furthermore, the more you go up to people, the more comfortable this becomes, and you find yourself not over-thinking things so much.

4.    Stop going for the “Hot Guy.”

He didn’t chase after you, and he's used to getting what he wants, which if you allow him, will be you.

He's not just the “Hot Guy” to you, he's that person to a lot of people, and he probably knows it. Unless he's had his heartbroken, and made real changes after, he doesn’t know what it feels like to be on the rejection side. Rejection is humbling and everyone at some point will feel it.

You'll make up excuses for him, but deep down you know he isn’t right for you. You may say you just want to hook up with him, but you won’t be able to tear yourself away, then he’ll simply disappear and you will be left feeling crazy.

Save yourself the insanity, and if you do end up with said “Hot Guy,” do not under any circumstances get naked with him for at least a month because if he disappears, you won’t feel used and stupid.

5.    If you want something in a partner, you should possess it yourself.

This goes for everything.

You want him to be sweet and handsome than you best believe you better be gorgeous and kind. You want him to live alone and make a ton of money. You better have a fat apartment and loads of coin. I don’t think this is just a problem in the gay community, but dating in general.

We expect someone out of our league to be perfect for us, but if you aren’t someone’s equal than chances are sooner or later, there will be a strain in the relationship.

Finding someone on the same page allows you to grow together, understand what the other one is going through, and an overall ease is created.

6.    Have high expectations for yourself, but be realistic.

We all want that movie star that is a doctor and worships the ground we walk on. But let's be serious with ourselves, this guy is a rare rare rare being, and chances are he probably isn’t right for you anyways, so get over the fact that you're not meeting him, and start talking to the people around you.

I’ve found that someone’s personality can take them from a 7 to a 9. I say 9 because no one, and I mean NO ONE is perfect.

7.    If you're looking for someone serious, open up to him in a real genuine way.

Someone who's actually looking to date you, and not just sleep with you, will appreciate this more than you know.

It opens up dialogue for the other person to share, which can be scary for someone to initiate. It helps weed out the guys, who just want to sleep around real quick because they see you’re seriousness, which isn’t a bad thing. It means you’ve grown up, made a mature decision that you want to share your life with someone, and are looking for love.

Open communication is vital in any relationship.

8.    Own your feelings, don’t suppress them.

If you're worried about scaring this one off, it's probably because somewhere deep down you know he’s too good to be true, and he's just not right for you. Accept this, take it in, and move on.

You're doing yourself a big favor here.

9.    Don’t look for someone to save you. Save yourself.

When you're in control of your life it's extremely attractive, especially to someone else who's in control of his or hers. This idea of taking responsibility for yourself is one I’ve found many gay men don't want to do. They want to be taken care of, which is fine, but you have to remember to have your own life, and be able to take care of yourself because regardless of who you are there will come a day when you may be on your own.

This may also trick you into staying with someone, who clearly isn’t right for you. You paint this picture of someone as amazing because they are “supporting” you, but are actually creating your life how they see fit.

You must be the painter of your own masterpiece, or else it's just some knock off of someone else’s original.

10. Remember lust dies.

Yes, there is nothing more fun than being in that first stage when you just want to rip each other’s clothes off, but eventually that dies.

It's not sad, it's just a fact.

Make sure that you do not confuse this lust with love. It is a tricky thing to do in the beginning, but implementing the next rule makes all the difference.

11. Wait to have sex.

This one is hard, really hard. This is advice that many older people give, and to be honest, I’ve found it to be completely true.

If you can check your dick at the door, you're able to see who someone is beyond your primal instinct to get naked and rowdy. You can tell that you may really like someone, and not just their muscles and eyes. You have to talk more, which literally says a lot more than fucking the night away.

12. If he wants to see you, he will.

There are only so many excuses one guy can make.

If he wants to see you, he will make it work, and if he can’t, he will make definite plans for the future that include a date and time.

I used to fly to my exboyfriend 18 hours, LA to Norway, and he did the same. We loved each other, and when there's a will, there's a way.

If he has a bag of excuses, it probably means he has a bag of guys, and just isn’t that into you.

13. Be cautious of long distance dating.

I've done long distance twice, and it's harder than you can ever imagine. You have someone you love, but not having them physically around leaves a hole.

You're both left with many unknowns.

There's an extra expense of money due to travel. One or both of you are going to get frustrated at some point for not knowing what the other one is doing regardless of how faithful he may be.

Ultimately, you aren’t living in real life.

You have honeymoonesque periods when you're together because it's so exciting, and you want to make the best of being together, but this also leads to not addressing real issues.

You sweep things under the rug just to maintain this good time that you are supposed to have because you're finally in the same place. If there's no definitive end date to the distance, something to keep your eye on, than I would say this isn't a good idea.

15. If he's in the closet, he isn’t ready for a real relationship.

This may sound harsh, but he still has so much figuring out to do, and this isn't your job. You may find this hot, or be some twisted turn on, but if you're seriously looking for a relationship the dude in the closet isn't your dude.

16. Stop nitpicking.

If he's kind, treats you right, has a place to live, has a proper job, and you like him then just go with it.

Don't set yourself up for disaster because he isn’t hot enough, tall enough, lives in a certain zip code, or whatever else. If he thinks you are the cat’s meow, let him because all that nitpicking will only make you the mess that is forty, single and still partying like it is your heyday.

No one thinks that's cute except the other messes partying with you.

17. There's no next best thing.

We all constantly question that there may be someone “better” out there for us, but the truth is, this will just lead you to end after end because the person you thought was going to be the next best thing, probably isn't.

He may be hotter, but he probably charmed his way into your brain, or pants, when you actually had something really amazing right there in front of you.

Stop! 

If you're lucky enough to find someone, who's on the same page as you, this is amazing and should be made sacred.

Ultimately, you have to figure out your own way through this rough world of dating. I can sit here and list millions of suggestions, rules and “dos and do nots,” but for everything I suggest there are plenty of stories that challenge my ideas. That is why dating is so hard. There's no formula, set guidelines, or equation to implement.

You just have to continue to put yourself out there, be open and aware and remember to keep your morals and principals.

It’s a big blue ocean full of all different types of fish out there. You have sharks and piranhas, clown fish and angelfish, sea snakes and bottom feeders. Fish that look beautiful, but have an attention span of three seconds, and dolphins that will captivate you with their beauty and brains. It’s a vast, limitless pool of blue; so in the end, all you can do, is just keep swimming.

Just. Keep. Swimming.

Yes, I am quoting Dori from Finding Nemo. She was wise beyond her years, and the bitch spoke fluent whale, so she was smarter than she appeared.

Good luck! Keep your head held up high, and remember some of these pieces of advice I share.

You never know, by simply applying just one of these rules to your life, you may meet the man of your dreams.

Posted on July 10, 2014 .
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Pride 2014

Rainbows. Romance. Reunions.

After a full weekend of adventuress and love, a fresh wave of joyful blessedness lingers.

Seeing a best friend, who knows your history, understands you in your simplest form, and reminds you of who you are is like being in an emotional paradise. An effortless love and adoration of energy connects between the two of you and you read each other’s minds. Smiles say everything. Eyes catch each other’s innocence from when you first met.

 

You are back to being 9, but with a newfound maturity of experiences, love, journeys.

New stories to share, heartbreaks to cure, and catching up as if no time has passed take paramount importance. It has been years since we’ve seen each other, but as the true test of best friends go; it feels as if no time has passed.

Seeing one my chosen family members gave me a zap back to my past, present and future. She reminded me of who I was, who I am and who I want to be.

We danced into the wee hours of the night, talked for three days nonstop and had a series of firsts together.

Celebrating NYC pride for the first time was all the more special by having this gorgeous creature with me.

Rainbows reminded me of joy, hope, love and how far the gay community has come. Contagious smiles lit the streets, men held men hands, women kissed women and people of all sexualities came together. Respect. Understanding. Pride.

I shared many special moments throughout this weekend that I will remember forever. Connections of old and new, physically and metaphorically, tangible and spiritually. Dreams for a better tomorrow.

A weekend as sweet as this was not achieved by coincidence. This was the universe gifting me gloriousness. I say thank you by keeping a smile on my face, love in my heart, and graciousness in my soul.

Remember to carry these things with you. These invaluable yet free things will guide your way to a blissfulness that is simply spectacular.

Posted on July 8, 2014 .
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Curating Your Happiness

Sometimes all it takes is a moment of a breathing breeze. A silent seduction of sumptuous subtleness. A moment of miles moving.


An escape.


To leave the life you employ, and find solace in another world can be the refresh our chromosome computer needs. Taking more than a few minutes to find freshness can revitalize in the most glorious of ways.


Quietness clears your craziness. Grass massages your feet. Cement is traded for sand. Warmth envelops you. Life doesn’t just feel like a luxurious dream, it is.


Give yourself the gift to be. Be relaxed. Be calm. Be free from the flurry of frequent stresses. Find your happiest of places.


Your life is your exploration of years to seconds, seconds to years. Be responsible, be resourceful, be your greatest friend. Gift yourself the moments to unwind, and just soak in the beauty around you.


May you be the light in the darkest of places, the flower sprouting among weeds, the cool breeze on a sublimely hot day. 

Posted on June 3, 2014 .
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How Are You?

HI,

How are you?

No really how are you?

I am actually asking. I would love a response. Don’t glaze over this. Answer. Don’t just respond with: good, bad, fine. Truly, take a moment to think about how you are right now.

Write it down. Speak it out loud. Interpretative dance it. Whatever you do, respond in some way that isn’t a swirling thought entrapped in your conscious of craziness.

Look at your life. Be explanatory with yourself. Evaluate, reflect, consider.

In life we constantly ask and answer this question. It’s a formality. A mundane entanglement of common words. A polite obligation. A coupling of give and take with people you come into contact with.

We often ask, but do not listen. We often respond, but not with honesty.

But imagine you actually answered this question with truth, a genuine tongue, a deeper understanding.

You looked at me, your mom, your best friend, your most annoying coworker and answered exactly how you are feeling at that specific moment. Supplying more than a single one syllable adjective. Using your rhetoric of the heart, and logic of the brain to fulfill this simple question.

It’s incredible what you can unlock within yourself when you answer this modest inquiry. A world of emotions present themselves. Feelings tucked away come to the surface, and you are forced to feel. Positives and negatives. Set backs and evolutions. Desires and fears.

While I call upon the frequency in which this phrased is employed, it is often the times we are not asked, “how are you?” that we need it the most. So, again, let me be the one to ask you, “how are you?”

Answer thoughtfully, considerately, and openly. Expressing exactly how you feel in an articulate and clear way can change your life, be the catalyst to a new, spark a new chapter.

I hope you are well, but I hope you are more than a single four letter word.

With Love,

Barrett

Posted on May 28, 2014 .
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Buyers Beware

I am not all I am cracked up to be.

Photographer: Michael Epps

My image, my personified self, my social media profile are not me.

The photographs you see of a scantily clad man are not who Barrett Pall is. A sexy smolder, a suggestive sense, a pair of underwear are all part of a career. A fraction of an aspect of me. A single paragraph in my novel. A mask of emotions, thoughts and feelings.

I share my life, my pictures, and a lot of my deepest feelings as a way to spread a positive message, source of inspiration and constant reminder to myself how beautiful life can be. While doing so, I have come to find that I am not necessarily garnering the attention I would most appreciate.

In a culture where sex sells, I have understood that it can be beneficial to lead with just that, an idea of sex. Many of my modeling jobs require a certain “sexiness,” and it is fun to play that part, which is all it is, a part. A part of me that is very small in the context of who I am. In real life, I am just another guy, who has insecurities and hang-ups, and yearns for more. I do not wake up feeling sexy, I do not go to bed feeling sexy. Hell, most days that word is something that wouldn’t come close to defining me.

 

I have lead with my looks in many cases because it was something that I had not felt validation for until recently. To be honest I had not felt any validation until the past few years of my life in almost all ways, but as I have matured I realize that this is a false sense of validation. The only way I can think to describe it is like when someone loses a lot of weight, but still feels as if they have all those pounds still on them. A disconnect arises, a curiosity is bestowed, and you are both empowered and hindered by the same force.

Photographer: Michael Epps

I want to do more than be a face, a body, a picture. I want to be a powerful force that leaves this world better than how I came into it. I want to be someone that reminds others that no matter what you look like, where you come from or how old you are, we all face challenges. I want to show you that you aren’t alone in your struggles, obstacles, boundaries. I want to be the person to ignite flames inside of others all around the world, to make change for the better. I want someone to get to know, to maybe love one day, to journey through this thing we call life with.

Photographer: Michael Epps

 

I am beyond grateful that I have been able to garner an audience of some sort. It is something that I feel so privileged to have. It is something that I want to do good for and with. I do not understand why I have gotten so lucky, but it is something that I pledge to use for a greater betterment of man. I know this sounds so much grander than I am, but I want to think in a grand scheme. To be bigger than myself.

It has been disheartening to meet people, in all different contexts recently because I have been unfairly judged based off of preconceived notions.

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are all means of continuing my livelihood, please don't mistake that for who I truly am. I will be happy to shake your hand, say hello, and go from there.

It's overwhelming how people can create a story based on a few images of who you are. So buyers beware, I am not in fact that idea you have, but get to know me and you may or may not be pleasantly surprised.

Posted on May 19, 2014 .
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Holding Yourself Accountable

In life you are your own boss. You have the power to make the change you want right now. You answer to no one except yourself.

Your choices are your choices. “Yes” verses “No.” Wrong from right.

We often use external forces to justify our means, but the truth is, you chose to do something. You put yourself in the position you are in. Good or bad. Reaping or sowing. Benefiting or neglecting.

I think it is a beautiful thing to think  and understand that everything will all work out in the end. To be blessed with your dreams transforming into reality. To have it all. In my opinion this is true, glorious, a desire we should all hold tightly onto.

Everything eventually unravels the way it is supposed to. However, one must be proactive and responsible. To believe that all the riches in the world are going to fall into your lap while you sit on your coach and eat junk food is insanity.

Every mogul, whether they have come from humble beginnings or the wildest of riches, has put in countless hours of hard work. Dedicated time pushing forces that felt like unmovable mountains. Persevering through obsolete obstacles. Swimming through quicksand.

We all have that moment in life, when we question it all. Why? Why is my life like this? Why me?

The truth is, you manifested your life, your existence, your being into what it is. You curated it to be this subjective piece of art. You directed this documentary.

You don’t like your job? Look for another one. Quit. Do something to change it.

You don't have enough money? Stop wasting the money you have on unnecessary commodities. Get a second job. Create a budget.

You don’t like your body? Stop eating crap. Get your butt to the gym. Push harder and longer at the gym.

You aren’t finding the right man or woman? Stop dating people that you know aren’t right for you. Stop wasting your time and theirs. Stop going after the same “type.”

Try something new. It’s scary beyond belief. Horrifying, yet insanely invigorating. Adrenaline is released. What was once unimaginable becomes something beyond doable.

Saying "yes" to new things is of paramount importance. Openness is key. 

If you want something, go and get it. Imagine it. Work hard for it. Find new solutions to old problems. At some point everything you have was impossible to dream up.

It is hard to call yourself out, but when you do, you realize how much you’re holding yourself back. You can be your biggest confidant or greatest enemy. The decision is yours.

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Stop beating yourself up. Calmly access your options. Begin your evolution into a grander you.

Nothing happens instantly. Over night successes are actually years in the making.

We all have the power to surprise ourselves. Give that gift to yourself. The wonders of the world are yours to unveil.

Posted on May 2, 2014 .
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TIMING

It is truly everything.

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By changing just a few seconds everything could be completely different.  You could be in a different city, have different friends, be in or out of a relationship.

Its wildly fascinating to think how simple choices we make, or do not make, can affect so many other facets of our life that may seem completely disjointed from one another. We miss one opportunity, yet get to experience another. We lose time doing one thing, so that we can enjoy something else.

Choices. Decisions. Weighing options.

Our time here on this planet is very short in the grand scheme of the universe.  We are constantly subjected to a test of our own time. How we decide to use it. What we decide to do. Who we decide to do it with.

It is a precious commodity that will continue to run out whether you consciously use it or not.

We as people aren’t taught the concept of timing. It is something we are forced to learn. Experiencing the true differences between managing it properly and not. Finding out the truths behind allowing things to run their course, yet maintaining an open and readiness for what is to come.

Understanding that things happen when they are meant to is something that is hard to hold onto. We crave speed, immediacy, quickness. Allowing nature to run its course can feel so overwhelming. It becomes a battle of self-control and patience. Frustration and confusion. Want and actual need.

I have had an incredibly hard time learning about time. Grasping that there is a bigger goal, a greater idea, an ultimate. However, as I give in to the uncontrollable a greater sense of control occurs. A mature knowledge that it will work out, possibly how you hoped, but more often than not, in a much different way.

We meet people at certain times in our life to teach us things. We go through specific events in our life to learn. We are blessed with life lessons at times we may not understand until farther down our own journey.

A conscious look back sheds light.

Understand that this is your beautiful book of breaths to write. For each moment that hasn’t gone according to plan, you’ve been given the gift for something even greater to arise. Be proactive, positive and poised for what is to come.

A minute now doing something you love, or hate could change the next hour, year, or life you live.

Use your time wisely, and understand the exquisiteness of it all. For in the end will you look back and say you lived, or you simply existed?

Posted on April 28, 2014 .
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Judging

Something we do subconsciously. Instantly. Instinctively.

A way to put the unknown into a known category in our own realm of thoughts, notions, ideas. A way to make something uncomfortable comfortable. A grasp at understanding.

Growing up, like many people, I was faced with an absurd amount of judgment.

Why?

I was different. I was a little boy that had girl best friends, played with dolls, and wasn’t afraid to show my feelings. I was gay. Shocking. I was the unknown for my Waspy-White-Obnoxious-Upper-Middle-Class-Suburban Town.

I grew up. I left. I found places where I was not so different. I thought the judgment would come to an ultimate end. I was wrong.

As I have embraced my sexuality as part of my life more and more, and ventured into the big blue gay sea, I have found that the judgment has done anything but ceased.

One would have thought that by entering into a collective world, where almost every member had been judged in a hostile manner that there would be an understanding how harmful this can be.

Wrong.

It seems that with every gay bar, brunch, or gathering you walk into you are about to put yourself into the harshest arena of judging. As gay men we all have expectations of our “brothers.” As men we are naturally visual. Thus, maintenance is key. An effortless perfection is to be personified at all times. Body brooding, hair quaffed, styled as if you just waltzed out of the pages of GQ.  

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I mean after all we are the people running all these businesses. It makes sense. And while I must admit, I love the aesthetic that is emitted from all these neuroses, the pressure can be so high that it creates more bad than good.

I am all for taking care of yourself, presenting your best self, reaching your ultimate potential. However, I think it is important to remember that the judgment we place onto each other is obscenely high, and naturally impossible.

I don’t think enough of us take a moment to remember that little boy being taunted for simply being who he was. Special. Amazingly different. Unique. If we did, I think we would give each other, and ourselves, a little more slack. Loose that judgment. Be champions for one another.

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We all have a story to tell. So maybe next time, lose the judgment. Say hello to that less than perfect guy. He may turn out to be the love of your life.

Posted on April 24, 2014 .
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Everything You Need To Be

You will never be able to please everyone.

You will never be good enough for everyone.

You will never be perfect.

Take that in. Breathe on it. Release it. Let it go. Send it away.

Be good enough, be amazing, be everything you want to be for you.

Its hard realizing that not everyone will like you, like the message you put out there, the song you sing. But when you accept this, you free yourself from a mental confinement that tends to wreck havoc on the most beautiful of people.

I think it is a natural progression that as we get older, we hopefully become more confident in ourselves. We see the world with a different perspective, we see ourselves with a different light, we live with a different attitude.

You are beautiful. You are intelligent. You are everything you need to be right now at this moment.

Posted on April 14, 2014 .
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Your Ex

The one who was supposed to be the one.

You’ve stopped fixating on it, on the relationship, on them. You’ve lost your crazy, your sad, your mad.

You moved on.

Then out of nowhere, he is there, standing before you. Accidentally, coincidentally, by chance. You have a quick minute when you freeze. Your body and mind unsure how to react. Composure regained. You move through the motions.

Nothing ever prepares you for the first time you run into your ex, your past love, your supposed to be future.

All at once, feelings come rushing back to you. You feel weird, unsure, confused. You know this person isn’t right for you. You know that it’s a level of known comfort that is contorting your brain.

Yet, this person who made you feel every emotion under the sun will always hold a piece of your heart. A sliver of you. 

I ran into the person who changed my life last night. It was so unexpected and strange. There he was, the man who showed me the meaning of love. It was in many ways nice to see him, but in many ways it would have been nicer not to have seen him.

I have, through the graces of time, moved on and moved forward. Yet, to see him was a reminder of what we once had, and that was what was sad for me. A real, true, big love that died.

He will forever be my first of many things including love, so for that, and as hard as it may be to see him, I welcome his presence.

It was an interesting reminder, at an interesting time. A blast from the past. A look back in memories. A caveat to move forwards.

I am in a different place in my life. He is as well. We both have changed. The relationship is no more, but I refuse to be the person who looks back with anything by gracious love and honor. So for that I walked up to him, gave him a hug, asked him how he was and with a bittersweet memory continued on. 

Posted on April 8, 2014 .
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Finding My Hustle

Hustling Hard

 

As part of my aforementioned quarter-life-crisis, I decided to move back to NYC to rediscover myself, my dreams, my hustle.

 

Living in LA, a land of sunshine and ease, I found it was easy to be sucked into the La La Land notion of chilling out, working here and there and being in-between projects. My life looked glamorous, but in truth was far from it.

 

I would wake up, and my main “must-do” for the day was a hike and two hours at the gym. I looked amazing, felt healthy and was beyond fit.

 

It was an extremely pleasant way of life. One I do not blame, or look down upon anyone for enjoying. It is impossible to be angry or upset when you wake up to a natural perfection. Yet, I wasn’t truly living. I was simply existing. Surviving fine and well, but my passion was missing.

 

Getting back to New York City was like getting back to my roots. I was forced to look at my life, my bank account, my drive. Everyone I was surrounded by was moving and shaking. Doing something. Becoming a grander version of themselves.

 

I wanted that, I knew I needed that, but saying it was a wakeup call would be an understatement.  I went through what is technically called a “reverse-cultural shock.”

 

I had connections everywhere, but getting back into the “real” working world was incredibly more challenging than I could have imagined. Changing paths, moving life patterns, altering my thinking.

 

I have always hustled. Had more than one job. Owned my independence. But this time around was about establishing something bigger. Truly setting up my life for the future. Looking beyond surviving, pushing for the ultimate goal of happiness and self-sufficiency in my work.

 

It has been a tough, rough, and “on-the-grind” process, but I can feel it all coming together. I work four jobs, some more glamorous than others, but all with there important function. Each allows me the ability to focus on my passions. Help in spreading my word. Living out my journey, not just existing in it.

 

It’s really hard to stay positive when your Monday schedule is 10am straight through to 3 am. A day job flowing straight into a night job. Wearing a button-up now. Shedding it later for a tank top. But I asked for this. I wanted to lose my boredom to busy.

 

We often forget that things aren’t ever really that easy. That the over night success was years and years of hard work. While easy sounds so appealing, it wouldn’t deliver that same feeling of success and satisfaction that hours of persistence, patience and determination bring.

 

Barrett at thirty will thank the Barrett of today for setting up shop. For being tired here and there. For understanding it was all part of a bigger plan. For hustling hard.

 

In the meantime, I’ll see you on the weekend. 

Posted on April 7, 2014 .
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Do You

You take a chance. You put it all out there. You let the universe show you its magic.


We truly regret the things we do not do, not the things we do. It’s a cliché for a reason. It is an ultimate truth.


Yes, you may have done something that didn’t make the most sense, acted stupidly, or behaved poorly. Impulse took over. You showed your age. But I am sure that if you really think about it, each event has truly taught you something amazingly important and wonderful. Allowed you to move forward in a more positive direction. Grow. Evolve.


Its all about perspective, perception, how you observe.


In life we often keep ourselves at bay. Do what we are told is right. Hide from risk. But what if your greatest dreams could come true by simply pushing yourself beyond the boundaries you know. Letting go of the fear that comes with the unknown. Giving in to the abyss.


In a world that wants you to know how to act by what we are told, the greatest gift you can give yourself is to let it all go, and do you. If you do you, you will find your greatest dreams, desires, passions and hopes are all waiting for you in the most beautiful of ways.


It may not be blatantly obvious, but they will be there.


Life is an amazing journey, adventure, exhibition that can take you on twists and turns, ups and downs, highs and lows. Enjoy the ride. Remember to have a destination. Keep your eyes open. Listen to your heart. Feel with every ounce of you.


I write these things as a reminder to myself, yet in doing so I hope to spark your dreams wide awake. Remind you that you hold the power to greatness. Present an often forgotten known.


Do it. I dare you. Give in. Do you. Be brave. Travel. Love. Live.



Posted on April 6, 2014 .
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It Will All Be Ok

I promise.

It’s been eight long months since I moved back to NYC. It pains me to say this, but I wasn’t sure it was going to be ok.

Winter wore on me. I struggled knowing the one person I had ever loved was on the same island as me. We had dated long distance for close to a year. LA to Oslo. That is as in Norway. It doesn’t get much more long distance than that.

We had finally made it to the end of our long distance. We were going to start our next chapter together.

We lasted two days.

We had done months together at a time. We had basically played house. It was a love story written through two and a half years. But when it came time to really look at “us,” we just weren’t right for each other.

I moved to NYC, thinking it was for me, but it was me chasing him. A month in, and I stood no chance. It was done. I had been replaced. A new boyfriend, a new “love,” a new me?

Time moved on. Months of not feeling like myself dragged through the frost and snow.

I was lost.

I tried dating. Thought I’d met someone, and then didn’t. I tried partying the pain away. But high highs equal low lows. Press repeat a few more times and splat.

Then one fateful day, I was walking through the snow and being whipped in the face by rain, I looked up into the dark winter sky, and in that moment I just gave in. I laughed out loud on the cross-streets on West Broadway and Prince. Life couldn’t go anywhere but up from here.

I was being tested. I was learning to live as a new person. I was challenged to find myself more than I had ever been before.

Days moved forward. The cold didn’t feel so cold anymore. I let myself go through the motions of mourning. I came out of my own Barrett storm. I let go and gave in.

I accepted that being single would be amazing. I stopped looking for the one. I focused on myself. Something I thought I had done, but had never really gotten to do.

I decided to be my own great love.

Work fell into place. The weather began to change, and the sun finally began to smile. My hair grew back from the buzz cut I decided to go with as my final straw in a quarter life crisis. And all was ok.

It is beyond cliché to say, but time really does heal all. You allow yourself to fall out of your own headspace. You stop questioning what went wrong. You realize that is was life’s bigger plan to get you to somewhere even more amazing.

You evolve.

It may not seem like it at the moment, but I promise, it will all be ok.

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Posted on April 3, 2014 .
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The Candy Man

Anticipation. Nerves. Excitement.

My life could be forever changed in less than 30 minutes, and here I sit eating salsa and chips trying to act casual.

I cannot stop smiling, laughing, feeling overwhelmed with giddiness. A dream is about to come to fruition. Alive. Real.

It’s been quite the build up. Months. Days. Minutes. I truly don’t know how to contain my composure, and my heart has never been so full.

The mailman’s buzz sends adrenaline rushing through me. The neighbor walking up the stairs makes my heart race.  I am flushed with joy. Cheerful as a child.

This is the craziest day of my life. A leap of faith. A new journey begun.

I cannot wait to see what happens. Wish me luck!

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Posted on March 28, 2014 .
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Gaymous

 

A combination of gay and famous. Pronounced gay-mous. I suppose it’s glamorous or glaymorous.

A new phenomenon that has been created due to the intensely high use of social media. A voyeuristic look into these fine gentlemen’s lives, and a wave of gay men are experiencing a type of celebrity that has yet to be understood and developed.

I say this word with a huge grain of salt. An understanding eye-roll. The comprehension that this is just my observation.

Overall, it is super interesting and fascinating to watch this new phenomenon take place. It has created a true open outlet for a range of messages, and ideas to be seen and heard, recognized and voiced, displayed and executed. We no longer are confined to those around us; we are able to connect so intimately and quickly with people from around the globe. See farther, grander, bigger.

I do not qualify myself into this category of “gaymous.” I have had unique and weird experiences.  Showing up to a party in Sweden and be asked to take a picture with someone I’ve never met, or walking up to a table at my past bar job to find the customers looking at my Instagram has thrown me. I suppose, it is because I truly am normal. Another human enveloped in the adventure of life.

I have seen friends become internationally known “figures” simply because they are beautiful. Some have used their platform to capitalize on their notoriety, raise money for charities and send positive messages to the LGBT community as a whole. While others have just enjoyed the mass attention they receive because of their aesthetics.

Gaymous was a word I playfully created, but may be something much more. It is how these social media “celebrities” use their platforms that will continue to shape the LGBT community, and what could ultimately help us progress, or stand stagnant as a whole.

The future is ours for the taking. Let us show the world that while we may be an attractive community, by stereotypes and actualities, we are also an intelligent, hard-working and powerful group of men, women and gender non-conformers. 

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Posted on March 23, 2014 .
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26: A New Tale Begins

Photo by Tony Duran

Photo by Tony Duran

26.

The late twenties.

It happened so quickly. Just a few days in and I am already having a hard time remembering it happened. I turned another year older. I moved up the number ladder. I matured technically, physically and literally.

Getting older doesn’t scare me. It doesn’t freak me out. It doesn’t do much of anything to me. Rather, it reminds me time is passing, goals are evolving, life is happening.

Photo by Tony Duran

Photo by Tony Duran

 

I know twenty-six is barely a scratch in the totem pole of life, but I recognize that as I am getting older life is only getting better, more enjoyable, more under my control. I don’t feel as helpless as I did when I was fourteen, eighteen, or even twenty-five.

Twenty-five was a hard year for me. A big year. A year of unknowing change. I lived what many friends and I have coined the “quarter-life-crisis,” which may sound funny, but is a very real thing. I broke up with my first love, switched career paths and moved cross-country yet again. Shaving my head was the icing on the cake.  Everything I imagined was no more.

I went back to New York City. Lost myself, my essence, my core. Winter wore on me. The snow punished me. I longed for a place I truly didn’t love. Hell, I longed for everything and anything because nothing felt right, settled, joyful. I was in an abyss of limbotic thoughts and circular motions. A Barrett Bermuda Triangle.

Photo by Tony Duran

Photo by Tony Duran

Time passed. Fall turned into the harshest winter ever. Winter has begun to turn into the most welcomed spring. A rejuvenation, a birth, a proliferation of happiness and excitement has sprouted from the ground inside me. My personal new year has begun and I don’t feel like my old self again, but rather a new, more empowered, evolved self.

Photo by Tony Duran

Photo by Tony Duran

The sun has returned and with it comes a new course, a new plan, a new action. I see farther than I ever did in my own future. I see things I never imagined. I know now that all is not even close to lost.

I recognize that moving back for the hardest winter I have ever dealt with was to break me down, so I could build back up into a greater being. Find my new self. Be more than I thought I could be. My positivity simply hibernating, growing stronger for a new commencement.

Photo by Tony Duran

Photo by Tony Duran

For the first time in my life I have a better idea of what I want, where I want to go, and what I want to do. Sure, it still isn’t clear as glass, I’m still playing with ideas and I am beyond open to opportunities, but life seems more doable now. Optimism reigns supreme. Positivity flows. Excitement radiates.

Photo by Tony Duran

Photo by Tony Duran

I am ending a huge chapter. Putting the final punctuation on the first twenty-five years. Saying goodbye to an old friend. I look back with no regrets, fond memoires, and remembrance. I am holding on to my life-experiences, buckling up for epically amazing new ones and opening my heart even more for what is yet to come.

One quarter life down, who knows how many more to go.

Photo by Tony Duran

Photo by Tony Duran

Here’s to the first 25, the next 25 and then the 25 after and so on and so forth.

Posted on March 18, 2014 .
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IMAGINE: A TATTOO'S TALE

Imagine

A simple world that means so much. A seven-letter word I will always carry in my head, my heart and on my toosh.

Photo by Marco Ovando

Photo by Marco Ovando

Yes, it is real.

What may look like some slutty tattoo actually holds a lot of meaning for me in my life journey. It was something secretive for me to share with only those I chose, but in lieu of a recent photo-shoot, and my mission to make the world more understanding, I chose to bare it all. Share my secret. Share another story. Share myself.

When I was six, my mother, who is one of my heroes, fell gravely ill. She like so many women went in to give birth to my sister, and decided as a grown mature individual to have her tubes tied. Something simple they said. It was not. Complications arose and seven years later, through doctor visit after doctor visit we were left guessing what had happened. I could go into great detail about what it is like to be six and know your life has changed forever, but its probably best not to for the sake of my mother and the sake of your interests. All you need to know is that my mother, after years and years, eventually bounced back as best as she could, but not without many obstacles.

I will share that from that moment on, I knew I had to be different, mature, sensitive, caring. Look beyond what I saw, and remember that everyone has a story to tell. Simple mundane problems couldn’t matter, and I had to be “a big brave dog.” A phrase I have used since I was young to remind myself, “I can do anything.”

You may say, sure that’s nice and all, but how does this translate to the word imagine on your ass?

Photo by Marco Ovando

Photo by Marco Ovando

Well, when I was 15 my mother surprised me with a ring for no reason. It wasn’t my birthday. It wasn’t a holiday. It was just another day. I don’t really remember anything else about that day except the ring. It was a silver band with the word “imagine,” engraved into the front of it.  It was part of a John Lennon collection, thus the back of the ring had engravings of his self-portrait and signature. Simple. Elegant. Sacred.

I have always loved The Beatles and think John Lennon is a true icon, but to be honest the ring was more about something intimate, special, unique between only my mother and I.

Two years later she gave me two more pieces from the collection, but there will always be something special about that first ring. The start of it all. The meaningfulness.

I knew since she gave that ring to me that I not only wanted, but also had to have it with me always. A tattoo. A promise. Permanence.

When it would happen was fated in the stars.

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Fast forward to my freshman year of college at NYU. April 9, 2007. I was booked up in my advanced writing class with a professor, who was a Slam Poet South African Hippie Masterpiece. She was discussing some cool notion of life and started saying, “Imagine blah blah blah.” I blacked out. All I heard was ‘imagine.” In that moment I knew I had to get my tattoo.

After almost 5 years of waiting, the stars had aligned, and it was time. I turned to the girl next to me, who I knew had tattoos, asked where she got them, and booked it back to my dorm the second class was over.

I rushed to my best friends room, told her I wanted to tell her something. She said she had something she wanted to tell me. After five minutes of us bantering back and forth like idiots, asking the other to share their story first, she finally caved and said she wanted to go get her tattoo. It was destined.

I called my mom, told her it was time. I sent her an email with a few variations of the tattoo. Different fonts, sizes, uppercase, lowercase. This tattoo was for her. It was hers to pick.

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Then came the decision of where it should be. Without hesitation she picked where you can or cannot see my tattoo. It was the final piece to the puzzle. A spot that would be covered for most of my life. I would forget I have it most of the time. It would be covered by underwear for photo-shoots, by bathing suits at the beach and in general just covered. But what makes this spot so special is that it is where Barbie Dolls get their Mattel stamp. An iconic doll my mother had collected since she was a girl.

I would forever be my mother’s Barbie.

What felt like only 5 minutes of a cathartic pain and it was done. I was inducted into the majority of the US population, tattoo nation, inked. There is something very intense mentally about knowing you are inflicting a type of pain onto yourself for something you want so badly. It is addictive for some, healing for others. For me it solidified my being, my mother’s love and my love for my mother.

April 9 was the day I would be permanently marked, and it wasn’t until after the tattoo, when the excitement wore off some that I had realized it was the day before my mom’s birthday. It truly was all encompassing. Poetic. Full.

The tattoo was a way for me to always have that ring and what it stood for with me. Something I wanted with me forever.

Sadly, when I was a senior in college it did what it likes to do in NY and it snowed. I ended up having a snowball fight with some of my fraternity brothers on the way to a bar and in the midst of the cold, my fingers shrunk, and my ring flew off into the abyss of white.

I lost my ring. It killed me. I even went back to the scene of the crime a few days later when the snow had melted and looked for it. It was gone. However, there was a sense of calm about me the whole time because I reminded myself I would always have the ring with me through my tattoo.

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It has now been over ten years since I got that ring. Almost eight years since I have had my tattoo, and countless more life experiences. This simple word has reminded me to look beyond what I see. Look past myself. Be grateful. Imagine.

It is a great reminder right now as my mother now faces another battle, one that will test her yet again. I know she is a fighter, but that doesn’t make it less scary. Any easier. I just know that as long as I imagine, she will be with me from now until forever, and she will continue to overcome the boundaries thrown at her.

While you may see a kind of risqué tattoo, I see a message. A reminder. A story.

Photo by Marco Ovando

Photo by Marco Ovando

I hope you remember to dream, love and more than anything else in the world, imagine.

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Posted on March 4, 2014 .
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Sun Sensations

It was such a sweet tease of a taste.

The snow melted and hibernation felt like it had finally come to an end. People lost their layers. The sun shifted and shined gracefully. The temperature rose and spring sprang on us in the most needed way.

The ever changing Bowery Mural

The ever changing Bowery Mural

New York City reminded us why we brave the storm and become artic explorers for months. This weekend my fellow New Yorkers and I were granted our biggest wish to have an end to the cold, and live in a climate that was something other than polar. The weather forced trend of mountain explorer was executed. We went back to fashion forecasters. It felt heavenly.

For a city that is known to never sleep, we definitely take a step back during the winter. We by default are forced into the elements. We question why we live here. We get cranky, irritable and S.A.D. But it is days like the ones we had this weekend that remind us why we do it.

Street art next to Rag and Bone in SOHO, NY

Street art next to Rag and Bone in SOHO, NY

The beauty of New York City and its inhabitants bustle, hustle and take over the island once known as New Amsterdam as the weather transitions. It is beyond magical to flow with the changing tides of attitudes and opportunities as the degrees rise. I am back in the greatest city.

Happiness can be found in the shadows with the help of a little sunlight

Happiness can be found in the shadows with the help of a little sunlight

Unfortunately, this transition of temperature will be short lived as the forecast predicts more flurries. While this is something I know no New Yorker is looking forward to, we thank you Mother Nature for giving us a scrumptious serving of sun. We look forward to being served more soon.

Sun la vie.

Posted on February 23, 2014 .
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Why I Write

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I want to inspire a revolution.

I want to start a change. I want to be the different. Be the example. Show its ok to express. To allow a flow of emotions. Not be afraid to be open and honest. Ignite a new trend of personal deepness expressed in a large arena. Stop the self-sabotage of holding it in. End the compartmentalizing. Breathe in a new life.

As I carefully craft each vignette, I journey to my soul’s core, and speak from my primal deepest heart’s song. It’s scary to be so naked. To be vulnerable. To present your core. Yet, I choose to do so in the hopes that something I express resonates with someone somewhere. If I am able to have something intimately speak to just one person anywhere in the world than I feel my goal has been achieved.

It is quite clear I am exploring. Figuring it out. Finding my way. Venturing into the unknown.

I’d like to think that the way I express myself is somewhat different, special, unique. If not, no biggie, but I write to remind myself of the beauty that exist in every moment that we experience, good or bad.

I never want my vignettes to be looked at as some “pity-party,” and that is why I close each piece with a positive thought. A genuine notion that tips the scale of ups and downs in favor of the ups. I do want my glass to runneth over.

Giving into the greatness allows you to be great, or at least better.

Why not ride that wave of positivity? Life and its magic feels so much freer while surfing that wave. Besides you’re only other option is to suffocate and drown in negativity. How boring, dismal, uneventful.

I want to give you the courage to display your own true colors. To not be afraid anymore. To say how you truly feel. For when your life is honest and free nothing stands in your way. Conquering isn’t necessary. Complacency doesn’t exist. Freedom of self reigns supreme.

I want to inspire a revolution. Will you join my Renaissance?

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Posted on February 20, 2014 .
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