Finding The Beauty In A Breakup

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

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

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

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

It’s over. It’s done. You tried.

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

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

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

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

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

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

But it just isn’t enough.

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

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

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

I ‘m sure of this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on July 20, 2016 .
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

What If We Stopped Using The Word Gay?

And replaced it with the word love.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on June 16, 2016 .
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Are You F@%king Serious New York City

For a city that holds over 8.4 million people, sometimes New York feels like it’s the smallest city in the world.

I get that we’re technically on an island that’s only 12 miles by 6 miles, and we’re endlessly stacked on top of each other, but I don’t get how I literally can go my entire time living in an apartment, and never see some of my neighbors, but I can’t escape some wild coincidences from happening over and over.

I want to say it’s the gay community, and I do think it’s a very small community, but it isn’t just us. My straight friends deal with the same thing all the time. Yes, it’s slightly more complicated in gay world because every other gay man has the possibility of becoming a friend, boyfriend, or something in-between, but I’m going to assume you understand what I’m talking about in a larger context.

And I know what you’re thinking, there must be some pattern I’ve fallen into, or I’m putting myself in the same situation over and over.

I can adamantly tell you, this simply isn’t true.

I make a point to see different friend groups, go to different types of bars, and travel to different neighborhoods. I’m even that weirdo that says hello to strangers in the supermarket and on the subway.

Yes, I actually do that.

Furthermore, I fully understand that certain people live, work, and play in very specific areas, and if you’re specific about a subgroup of people, specific careers, neighborhoods, and bars become the likely stomping ground for said subgroup. Case in point: gays, hipster, yuppies; we’re all creatures of habit to some extent.

However, what I can’t wrap my head around is how small this city really can become, and how a place you can love so much, can also be a place you just can’t stand in other moments.

Honestly, my love for New York City is endless and forever, but when it comes to social circles and dating part of me just feels as if I’ve gotten trapped in an endless whirlpool. It seems like it’s just the same people, doing the same thing, dating within the same people, rinse and repeat.

And when it feels like something different and exciting has finally come along, more often than not, it ends up that I’ve just been thrown back into the same spinning body of water.

I know this isn’t specific to just New York City, and that if you’re reading this from somewhere other than NYC, you can still fully relate.

To be honest, knowing this to be the case is extremely comforting in many ways because it reminds me that I’m not crazy, and that this is totally a normal feeling of frustration.

But I still have to ask, “Are you fucking kidding me with this shit New York?!”

For a while now I’ve thought about other cities, and what it might be like to live in Australia, London, or even somewhere not as far like Chicago, Boston, or Denver. I know these cities are technically even smaller, and I would most likely fall into this feeling again, but you just can’t help and wonder, maybe it’s time to leave.

The hardest part about this sentiment is, this is something almost every New Yorker feels at some point. It’s sad because when you fully embrace living in NY, you can’t deny that there truly is no other place in the world like it.

Yes, it’s intoxicating, unhealthy, and beyond harsh in so many ways, but it’s also one of the most robust, romantic, and invigorating places that anyone could ever dream of living in.

In college I escaped to Paris for a semester, which was amazing, but had a time limit attached, so it wasn’t exactly in the same vein, and being a student makes everything completely different.

I’ve left once to LA, and was gone for 3 years. It wasn’t the worst experience, but I was the person that knew it wasn’t my forever.

To be fair, I don’t know if LA and I really had a fair shot. When I moved there fresh out of NYU, I didn’t know what I wanted: I was still figuring out who I wanted to be, what I wanted to do, and where I wanted to live. I found it hard to find people I really vibed with, and at the end of my stay I was dating someone in Norway, which was crazy, but I was young and in love for the first time.

All of that aside, my life is truly much happier on the East Coast personally and professionally. It’s just way more “me.”

If nothing else I know more than ever that my 652 miles and 45 days gone hiking part of the Pacific Crest Trail couldn’t be happening at a better time. I have a lot of things I need to think through, work on, and walk away from metaphorically and literally.

I’ve always felt revitalized after being in nature, and I know this trip will reconnect me to some things I may have recently lost. Additionally, I’m sure being with nothing but a backpack and one friend will remind me how much I love New York and all the craziness.

If nothing else, I know I just need to remind myself that nothing is permanent: not the feelings I’m having right now, not the place I’ve chosen to live in, not the work I’m doing, or the style in which I keep my hair.

That’s the beautiful thing about life; we have the power to change it at any point. We just have to grow an even bigger set of balls, say fuck it, and take that giant leap of faith that it will all work out.

And the craziest part about all of this is, I’ve already taken leap after leap after leap, and watched my life change in the most magical of ways.

So I guess all that is left to ask is, what am I waiting for? What are you waiting for? What are we waiting for?

You may also like:: 

Posted on April 13, 2016 .
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Bullying: You're A Faggot

Is something I heard in some form everyday of my life growing up.

From as far back as I can remember, I was bullied so badly that I would often go home and cry, wishing that tomorrow I would wake up as a different person.

I was bullied well into parts of college, and still today experience moments of bullying; however I no longer wish I could wake up as someone different.

I feel like a lot of people don’t understand just how horrible it was for me growing up because they see the person I’ve become. Someone who has found his stride, grew out of his awkward phase, and learned not to be embarrassed about who he is.

I wish I could say that I even forget about those awful days, but that just isn’t true, and I consciously make sure I never will because those life experiences taught me so much.

Being bullied relentlessly takes a toll on your soul in ways that one could never imagine unless they’ve experience it as well. It crushes your confidence; it makes you feel embarrassed to chase your dreams; it makes you feel like you truly are worthless, and in extreme cases, like you aren’t worthy of living a life.

To be honest, I can say I’m one of the lucky ones that never got to that extreme feeling, and when I really think about why, it’s because of my friends.

Growing up I moved around a lot, and for anyone who has ever been the new kid, you know just how hard that can be. Well, imagine being the new kid, but you have a giant red target on your back because you’re different.

I dreaded the first day of school every year that we moved because I knew kids, who felt threatened by my differentness would subject me to an unyielding torture.

Survival mode kicked in, and you just wanted nothing more than to be invisible.

However, what would save me each time I moved was the kindness that someone for some reason would show me. Kindness that they didn’t have to show me, kindness that might make them a target as well, kindness that came from just being a humane person, and kindness that they didn’t realize was saving my life.

To this day, those people, who took the risk at being my friends, are still people I go to in times of need. They’re the people, who I’m not blood related to, but blissfully bound to for life by compassion, love and yes, kindness.

An event I recently attended, and an article I recently read, reminded me of how far I have come, and how far many of us have come, all because of the kindness we were shown by others. 

Unfortunately, not all of us are lucky enough to make it to this point, and that is the fact I hope to remind you of while reading this piece.

Yes, many of us have grown up to become better versions of ourselves and leave those bullied little boys and girls behind; however, we should never forget about that weaker, sadder, and lost soul.

This is not to say that you should sit and stew in that old version of yourself because that is equally unhealthy.

What we should do is remember.  

Remember what it feels like to be on the outside, remember what it feels like to be so isolated, remember what it feels like to be an outcast because we were different. And then we should remember to offer our kindness in small ways everyday because you never know whose life you’re going to change, or save, with a simple act of kindness.

This isn’t a new idea, but it’s one that I feel needs to be shared more now than ever because we’re constantly bombarded with so many messages of hate.

Donald Trump, ISIS, the new legislation being passed in Mississippi and North Carolina, terrorist attacks in Africa, Europe, and here in the United States make things look very dark.

We don’t need others to fail to succeed. We don’t need others to feel badly about themselves for us to feel great about ourselves. We don’t need to put someone else down to build ourselves up.

Rise above the bullying, shut down the gossiping, be the example you wish to see in the world.

And lastly, remember to let your light shine beyond bright for others to see, so that they too remember, we all have moments of ups and downs, and sometimes it just takes a kind soul to turn things around.

I dedicate this to my friends. The people who without realizing it showed me my own light and helped find my direction in life.

You may also like:

Posted on April 1, 2016 .
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I Miss You

A lot.

I miss seeing you, I miss waking up next to you, and I miss having you near me.

I know this isn’t fair, and I know I shouldn’t say this, but I do.

I acknowledge that technically I chose this, and that I was the one to make the decision final, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt, and that I don’t miss you all the time.

Everything reminds me of you. Everywhere I look I see you. Not talking to you is like holding my breath for endless hours; it’s unnatural, it’s painful, it’s agonizing.

And to make the situation even harder, I know this is beyond hard for you too.

The guilt and sadness knowing that I made you, the person I grew to love so much, feel so sad, hurts my heart in such a profound way, and drives daggers into the deep consciousness of it all.

It’s hard because you’re still here. It’s not like a death, so complete and absolute, but it feels so much like one.

Melodramatics aside, it is an end, so it is a death in some form. Mourning commences, missing takes action, and the heart goes heavy.

I’m sorry that the feelings have to fade to move forwards, and that contact has to be cut off. I’m sorry that we couldn’t find a way to make it work, and I’m sorry that our love makes us feel the opposite of loved at this moment.

Missing is such an incredible feeling.

It’s so strong, powerful, and unpredictable. One minute you’re ok, the next you find yourself longing for something not there. It’s confusing, uncomfortable, and complicated.

To miss something is to know you once loved something very much, and as hard as missing something is, I’m profoundly grateful to know this feeling, and to know that I’m capable of loving so intensely.

I’m grateful that we got to love in such a way that makes missing such a real thing.

I dedicate this to anyone who has loved, and had to let go.

Posted on March 28, 2016 .
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Dear Mr. Trump, I'm Onto You

I’ve waited quite a while to say my two cents, and to be honest I think I’ve waited too long.

After seeing your response to a question about who your foreign policy advisors would be, it’s extremely apparent that you aren’t following along with what is truly going on in the world. Your answer is egomaniacal and completely abstract. You don’t use specifics, which simply states that you, sir, don’t have an answer.

We’ve all talked in circles, and you seem to be doing this a lot. This happens when you’re not properly educated on certain subjects, which I will get back to.

I’ve seen the clip where you state that you would run as a Republican, if you were to run for president, “because these people are dumb.”

I know your friendly with the Clintons. You went to Chelsea’s wedding.

I know you don’t believe most of the racists, sexists, prejudicial and anti-everyone-who-isn’t-white comments that you spew out.

You know how I know, your record proves it.

This whole thing is extreme.

Extreme is something you’ve always been a fan of. I mean you’re a Reality TV Star; you’re not a smart businessman anymore. You left that world when you entered into the Apprentice.

I won’t attack your hair, your skin color, the way you look, or who you’re married to. Although I’m sure a psychologist could all properly say what insecurities these play into, and how those play into your persona, psyche, and overall ego.

What I will attack is the racism, hate, and prejudices that you employ to win over the vote of many people, who do in fact feel as if they’ve been given the shaft, or are afraid of the “other.”

Maybe they have been given the shaft because they were poorly educated, which is something you’re not worried about fixing. Although you should be, because if by some crazy, backwards, and complete nightmare you are elected into office, your followers are going to start pointing their guns at you.

We all know you won’t try to build a wall, create a white supremacist country, or kick all the Muslims out. This is all literally illegal in our system, which we claim is a Democracy, but is actually an Oligarchy.

I know you know that “Black lives matter;” gays should be allowed to get married; all Muslims aren’t terrorists. You work in Hollywood.

These are facts that any educated person knows because they’ve had first-hand experiences with these people.

Educated people travel more, thus have interacted with all walks of life, and know that your type of ignorance won’t stimulate a positive change. Educated people understand that hate doesn’t bring people together the way love, cooperation, and togetherness does.

However, when your less educated followers catch on to you the way I have, they’re going to be PISSED. I mean look at the anger you bring out. Look at the pure hate you can create from mobs of people.

When walls aren’t built, people aren’t kicked out, and gays can still get married, whom do you think they’re going to be angry at?

You. You promised them these things.

These people, your voters, have turned on people they would’ve quietly hated within the confines of their own homes, ignorant communities, and segregated houses of worship; so why wouldn’t they turn on you.

I know you think this is fun, and I have other theories about why you’re running: make you relevant, richer, possibly even help Hillary win by being so fucking-bat-shit-nuts, but this is besides the point at this point because you are still dangerous.

Let me be clear, I still think that the majority of America and Americans will do the right thing and make sure you don’t end up in the Oval Office. Hell, if you do get elected, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone did shoot you, and we couldn’t solve it, we’ve had those Presidential deaths before. Conspiracy theories make me believe it would probably be the government, who would carry this out. Again, your own party doesn’t even like you.

What does scare me, bother me, and piss me the fuck off is that you have brought out the crazy in the crazies. You have brought out the fact that our country isn’t as educated as we should be, how majority of Americans don’t have passports, and that the “South” and “North” are still divided in many ways.

You’ve being playing a role, just as you play a role on your TV show. However this isn’t a fun contest anymore. This isn’t reality TV, this is REAL life.

You’ve conducted an amazing and very telling experiment that shows my generation how things like the Holocaust happened, which for me as a Jew, I take incredibly personal, and always couldn’t fathom. I now get it.

You’ve showed us how dictatorships still exist, and why communist countries like North Korea are still around. You’ve given truth to a sentiment that I started having when I started traveling abroad, which is that America isn’t doing it right. We aren’t the best country in the world, and we have a lot of things to fix.

If you do end up being the President, I know you will become so moderate, or possibly even the greatest flip from Republican to Democrat, which would be beyond interesting to see. However, I’d rather not take my chances.

If nothing else, we know our country is ready for change. The question now is, what kind?

Don’t stand behind hate, don’t bash Hillary because you #feeltheBern, and don’t bash Bernie because you’re #withher. Come together, have constructive conversations, and whatever you do, vote Democratic when the big day comes because even if it isn’t Mr. Drumf, the others are just as unfit to carry a country through the type of change we not only want, but need.

I guess all that’s left to say is #ImoverherewithHerfeelintheBern #Democrat #Democrac 

Posted on March 17, 2016 .
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I Hate Gay People

Is something I have never and will never say.

In fact I’ve often said the opposite many a time, “I LOVE being gay!” (Seriously, check out the link.)

After one of my blog posts, GURL PLEASE, recently made quite the stir across a small part of the Internet, I found myself feeling the need to defend and explain myself. People I know and people I have never met questioned my integrity, my mission, and my goals.

Why?

I suppose some readers felt a personal connection to the piece, which is the ultimate goal for any writer. I understand how emotions run high, especially when someone says something you disagree with.

I touched on something sensitive. I hit upon something very deep and intimate that many of us in the gay community have had to deal with, which is being made to feel different, less than or ostracized.

I know that feeling well. I understand why people were so angry.

I literally was bullied every day of my adolescence because I wasn’t who other people thought I should be.

I do take offense when someone I don’t know calls me things like faggot, gurl, or she in any context because I grew up being made to feel like I didn’t deserve to live because I was more flamboyant than the other boys. I was different, not the norm, not masculine enough for society.

I get the importance people see in expressions like “gurl”, “she” and “her”.

What I don’t get is how some members of my own community decided to bully me like I was 12 and we were in elementary school. (See why we are so competitive).

I’m all for constructive conversations; however, a majority of the responses I received simply looked to put me down, obstinately dismiss any differing point of view and outright discontinue the conversation, and because of that the people who did have intelligent, thoughtful and productive things to say were lost in the fire.

I've literally written about these problems before, "The Top 10 Reasons Why The Gay Community Is So Competitive," but this piece wasn't as controversial, so it wasn't shared as much, thus getting the same kind of attention.  

My position was not, and has never been, that anyone was less than, that anyone should stop completely being who they are, or that anyone should change who they are in order to fit in better. If anyone felt as if I had, then for that, I truly am sorry, this was never the goal.

I posed a question, and simply suggested that we should be mindful of the language we use and the impact it has.

I made a vital error, and forgot that not everyone who reads something I write will have read everything else I have written, met me in person, or watched my YouTube videos. Due to this, my intentions were left to be interpreted in many different ways (a common occurrence when putting your opinion out there), which is something I fully understand and accept.

In return, I was picked apart about everything: what I wrote, what I look like, how I choose to get my messages out there, how I act, etc.

Someone I know, someone I let cry on my shoulder during our first encounter, even went on to call me out for being “super effeminate.” Something that would’ve hurt me once a long time ago, and I’m sure was meant to, but no longer oppresses me.

I’ve grown to learn that being effeminate, or feminine for that matter, doesn’t mean you are less than, bad, or unworthy of love and respect. Additionally, being effeminate and not wanting to use specific language aren’t the same thing. Saying “gurl” and “she” doesn’t make you effeminate, and being effeminate doesn’t necessarily mean you say “gurl” and “she.”

To be told that I “should kill myself,” have mocking websites made about me, and be subjected to various other down right mean reactions was hurtful because I am sensitive. I am a person. I am gay too.

This misdirected anger is the type of thing I was trying to explain, trying to avoid, trying to change. These words are still used to throw shade (if you will) at one another, and until they are completely devoid of their negative connotations do so.

I mean just look at some of the comments on GURL PLEASE.

I want to make it abundantly clear that these words do cause damage, harm, and hurt to people still figuring themselves out. We throw these words around playfully, but we also throw these words around in less than friendly contexts, which again perpetuates the idea that it’s ok for those outside of our community to do the same.

The main issue I see with this type of language is when straight girls and guys, use these words thinking it’s “cute,” but don’t realize it’s inappropriate to just call any gay man “gurl.” Yes, it’s different within the confines of our own community, and it isn’t our job to police language, but where do the lines get crossed?

I don’t find it cute when Becky calls me “gurl” after just meeting me. This doesn’t mean I am self-loathing, gay-hating, or internally-homophobic. What it does mean is that I want Becky to call me Barrett.

I wish that bathrooms weren’t marked for gender, that gender-specific pronouns didn’t exist at all, and that yes, we could all just get along. This simply isn’t the world we live in, yet.

I know that not everyone will agree with me, that I am unable to make everyone happy, and that some people are not going to understand everything I’m trying to say. I also know that this is ok, and a good thing.

I won’t stop voicing my opinion because a few people made more noise than others.

I guess all there is left to say is, “I want pink hair.”

I want pink hair like the little boy I saw on the subway, who was riding with his mom, who was cool enough to let her son dye his hair pink. I want pink hair like the little boy on the subway who has the ability to go to school, and not be bullied because he picked a color he liked to dye his hair. I want pink hair like the little boy on the subway, who was just being himself.

I would’ve died to be nine-years-old with pink hair. Pink was my favorite color, but because I lived in a conservative suburb, pink meant gay, and gay wasn’t ok. I had parents that let me be myself, but the outside world wasn’t and still isn’t always as friendly. I was the kid that brought his Barbies to school, played with the girls, and yes, loved all things pink.

When I see that little boy on the subway I know times are changing, and for nine-year-old me, and every other little boy out there who was and is too afraid to have pink hair I walked right up to him, and said, “I like your hair, it’s very cool,” and with a smile to his mom, who mouthed thank you, went about my day knowing that we will all be ok.

I didn’t need to say, “Gurl, I like your hair,” or “Bro, cool hair.” I just said, “I like your hair.”

Whether you agree with me, or disagree with me is up to you, but no matter what your opinion is, you should always let love, kindness, and positivity guide you in the journey that is life. We all have growing to do, and things to learn. Hate doesn't provoke change, and meanness doesn't make people want to listen. The next time someone pushes your buttons, stop, breathe, and think, how do I want to move forwards?

Posted on March 1, 2016 .
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

How Full Is Your Love Tank?

Are you unknowingly driving on empty?

 

If you were driving, and saw that your gas level was about to hit empty, you’d find the nearest gas station and fill up. Depending on what kind of car you have, you’d pick a specific type of fuel: diesel, regular, premium, or ultra premium. You’d make sure that your car was full enough to make it comfortably to your destination and beyond, and go off on your way.

Your stomach starts to growl, you instantly understand you’re hungry. You, being a responsible and healthy adult, make sure that you recharge yourself with a meal. You pick from an array of options: fast food, junk, healthy, vegan, meat, etc. You make sure that any hunger pain dissipates and carry on with your day.

Your mind is sad, frustrated, unfocused, what do you do?

You heart feels lonely, heavy, unloved, what do you do?

We fuel our cars and our bodies, but we often forget that we need to fuel our minds and souls.

We overcompensate in other areas of our lives for the lack of fullness we feel within our hearts and our minds. Eating, shopping, drinking, sleeping around and countless other “fun” activates become unhealthy, and only mask our deeper problems when we don’t look deep within ourselves to find why we are holding onto bad patterns.

We often get stuck on an autopilot that leaves us completely drained at the end of every day, and refuse to recharge ourselves with the ultra premium fuel that our extremely expensive bodies need.

For some reason as humans majority of us take much better care of our things than ourselves. We see the affects of putting diesel in our luxury cars, and make sure to only use ultra premium, so that our car, a thing, doesn’t need to go back to the shop over and over.

While we feed our bodies, we constantly go for cheap and easy because it gets the job done, but chances are you’re treating yourself more like a broken down hoopty than the Ferrari you are.

And the hardest pill to swallow is that most of us aren’t even considering our minds and souls. These two more abstract things don’t have very concrete ways of being measured, so we often need to think of them in metaphorical terms.

But here is the thing, they’re equally as important to take care of, if not more, and need to be running at full more than any other thing in your life.

Happiness, love and an overall well-being feeling require time, care and relationships that make us feel uplifted.

So many of us today try to fill our love tanks with relationships that are unhealthy, work that just pays us, and activities that don’t bring us joy because it’s easier. We’ve gotten stuck in a false idea that quick, easy and cheap equate to the same type of results that hard work, dedication and spending good money do.

We must remember that for our love tank to even start to be filled up, we have to find a love that comes from within, a self-love that requires no one else’s influence, and a love that knows no boundaries.

Once we begin to take care of ourselves, only then can we find the relationships and external forces that will make our tank overflow with happiness.

Chances are if you don’t even understand the idea of a love tank than you aren’t honoring your body, mind and soul in the purest ways that they all need to be respected.

Fear not though, it truly is never too late to make real changes, and make your engine purr as if it is brand new.

Remember everyday there should be a reason for you to smile, so look deep within yourself, question everything, and push outside of your comfort zone to find your love tank at full.

Posted on February 15, 2016 .
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

BEAUTY, BODY IMAGE & BEING GAY

What is perfect?

IMG_2382.JPG

I state this as my own observation and thoughts. I know many will not agree with what I say, but such is life.

Additionally, I share my own story to shed light on my own journey, and show a side that is not commonly discussed, not for sympathy or praise.

Beauty and aesthetics go hand and hand within gay culture. We, as a community of men, are incredibly visual. We are naturally programed to see, want, conquer, etc. 

It’s this idea that, in my opinion, places such a strong emphasis on the need for things to be beautiful. 

This notion of beauty within the gay community is something that is commonly discussed, but the idea of body image is something that often gets pushed under the metaphorical rug. However, the two are much more interconnected than we let on.  

If one truly looks at just men, without an emphasis on the gay part, through the years, the idea of an Adonis has always been praised. From Greek gods, to medieval knights, to superheroes in graphic novels, the idea of a perfect physique has been glorified and looked at as the ideal. 

To be fit, maintain healthy patterns, and create a lifestyle that is well balanced is an extremely important practice for everyone. Yet, it's not always these complete ideas that are discussed while idolizing these body types.

Throughout my years as a fitness professional and model, I have felt the pressures to be in great shape. It’s simply part of the criteria when entering into these worlds, and I understood this when embarking on these professions. 

In fact, it’s part of what interested me in these particular fields. I saw an opportunity to interweave my passions and my career aspirations, so it seemed a natural fit. However, as fitness has exploded as a trend, I feel there are many things that are being overlooked, and not spoken about.

I will start by stating that, one must be the example in order to lead, and it’s that idea that personally places the “pressure” upon me. However, my upbringing created a foundation for my future self. I’ve been extremely active, maintained a healthy eating pattern and diet, and competitively swam for 15 years. I didn’t just one day wake up with muscle tone and definition. My body is truly years and years of crafting, sculpting, hard work and dedication; and it’s still not perfect.  

I frequently get asked, “What’s your secret?” My response is always, “Fifteen years of competitive swimming, and hard work there on after.” 

That being said, I think it’s the lack of knowledge that many gay men have about the backgrounds of the men they physically look up to that create many of the problems that exist within the gay community. They simply see the results of years of hard work, and not the hard work itself, so it feels as if we should all be able to snap our fingers, and have that perfectly personified male form. 

Additionally, if one is ever truly honest about what goes into a shirtless professional photo-shoot, it isn’t nearly as glamorous as one would expect. Cutting out certain foods, dehydrating the body, and working out additional hours become part of the formula for creating that idealized physique. Celebrities like Ryan Reynolds, Hugh Jackman, and countless others have spoken about the more miserable side to acquiring their superhero character’s bodies. 

More recently, the idea of this “Spornosexual” has risen to the masses, and straight men have begun to feel the pressures of what most, if not all gay men have been feeling forever. 

Twenty years ago Mark Simpson coined the term “Metrosexual”, and as things tend to evolve with time so has this term. Simpson’s new male ideal, the Spornosexual, is a bigger, burlier and more masculine guy. He looks like he plays rugby, or grew up farming. He was corn-fed and definitely doesn’t hold a vegetarian diet. He by physical standards is bigger than his younger Metrosexual self, but still toned, groomed and maintained. He is a new-age Hercules. 

As this super sexualized male becomes more in our faces through the oversaturation of image driven technology, it seems as if this is a new phenomenon. The truth is that the gay community has been plagued with these ideals for years and years. 

This isn't news to us. 

As this movement is heightened in mainstream pop culture, it becomes all the more apparent in gay culture as well. I would even suggest this has become more popular in terms of an aesthetic for our community than ever before. More and more men (gay men included) are taking on extreme exercises like Crossfit, bootcamps and whatever the latest trend is to achieve a better, stronger, and more god-like body.

In many ways I believe this is a move in the right direction. Healthy is becoming trendy, but a fundamental question must be asked. Are we actually becoming healthier, or are we resorting to more extreme measures to transform? 

There’s a desire to look like Greek statues, have perfectly sculpted bodies, and be, for better or worse, perfect. 

As gay men we have struggled with this notion of perfection since we were children to make up for the shame we felt with being "different." If what we physically put out was “perfect,” maybe you wouldn’t see our internal struggles. 

However, perfection as we learn sooner or later is unachievable, and generally, the more we look to become perfect on the outside, the more we're avoiding deeper internal issues. 

This idea of perfection has driven the gay community to resort to unhealthy means and behaviors for years, and shows no signs of slowing down. Steroid usage, eating disorders, and extreme dieting have all become common occurrences, but things no one wants to talk about. They’re uncomfortable topics, and we pretend as if they don’t exist because to address them would mean that we aren’t as perfect as we want to appear. 

However, what we need to remember is that no one is perfect, and we do in fact need to discuss these serious issues. The struggles we face with beauty and body image are things that men and women face all over, straight and gay. We need to understand that that perfectly sculpted body won’t fix the years of hurt we carry within us because we’re gay. The stronger, more “masculine” bodies we’re looking to create won’t hide the scars we carry deep within ourselves. 

As someone who works within the fitness and health world, I think it’s a great thing that more and more people are looking to create healthier lifestyles, but that’s the key, it needs to be a lifestyle, not a quick fix. 

We need to remember that while we workout our exteriors, our interiors also need to be watered and cared for. We need to understand that the body we have is precious, and any “quick-fix” is only going to lead to years of harmful and rapidly deteriorating health. Fad diets, extreme exercising for short periods of time, and jumping on trends are not healthy and sustainable ways to live.

It wasn’t until I accepted my own flaws, and did internal work that I began to give up on the idea of perfection. I now strive to simply be the best version of myself. 

Yes, I still subconsciously and consciously compare myself to others around me, but when I do catch myself doing just this, I remember that to compare myself is to set myself up for unhealthy jealously. Rather I remind myself I should simply be focused on building myself into a stronger individual mentally, spiritually, and physically.

We should always have a desire to be the best version of ourselves, but we must remember to do it authentically with hard work and dedication. Let your body be brawny, but let your brain and soul lead you in your journey. Remember muscles don’t necessarily equate to strength, nor does being thin mean one is weak. 

When we stop seeking to manipulate our outside, we are that much quicker to find that the beauty we so desire is truly on the inside, and wholeness becomes the goal.

Posted on January 27, 2016 .
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

11 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Be Happy

I dare you to the ultimate dare.

I dare you not to be happy.

Before you just chalk this up to one of those extremely new age talking points really hear me out.

Being happy sounds easy, right? Here’s the thing, it isn’t.

Thus, I propose to you 10 reasons why you shouldn’t be happy.

1. It makes you vulnerable.

Being happy means that you’re vulnerable to having that happiness taken away. Having anything in life taken away is an awful feeling that creates a sense of loss and longing. Anyone who has experienced losing something, especially love in some capacity, knows how hard it is to come back from that loss. It’s a feeling most people would never wish on their worst enemy.

2. It means you’re uncomfortably aware of your surroundings.

Being happy means that you are aware of how great everything in your life is, or isn’t. However, part of being happy means that you understand that just because life may be a certain way at the present moment, doesn’t mean that you are destined to stay in a shitty situation, or a great one for that matter. Thus, you continue to be mindful of how lucky you are.

3. It means you will never be perfect.

Being perfect is an unobtainable idea, and one that many people strive for their entire lives. The day you decide that you will never be perfect, is the day you decide that all your imperfections are important to who you are, and what makes you uniquely beautiful. Accepting this definite life circumstance is an incredibly hard thing to do.

4. It means money loses its value.

When you become happy, you quickly understand that value is not defined by monetary means. Yes, money will still be a necessary need to survive in our world, but it isn’t what makes your world go round. You understand that being rich means living a full, healthy and joyous life with those that you love. The rat race of life starts to slow down, and you feel less inclined to have frivolous things everywhere.

5. It makes you threatening.

Being happy means others, who haven’t found their happiness, will try and take yours away. It means you will have to say goodbye to some friendships, relationships and even love. Being happy means that you’re going to feel threatening to others because they have yet to learn the fact that happiness comes from within.

6. It makes you sad.

Being happy doesn’t always mean you walk around with a smile from ear to ear. It means that you’re quite sad at moments in your life. However, it’s happy people that recognize this occurrence as important because it helps them appreciate the light that shines from within, and facilitates the tools for coping.

7. It makes you weak.

Only a very happy person has the ability to say I am not strong enough to go through this terrible problem in my life on my own. When you are happy, you are able to admit when life has gotten you down, and seek the guidance and support of others. This is a humbling experience, but one that is beyond important to accept and vocalize.

8. It makes you scary.

When you’re happy others will often find you scary. Being afraid of something usually means that we’re simply uneducated about the frightening topic, thus being confused. Learning about something takes time, and in our world of instant access, if something takes time to accomplish, it usually feels daunting and less appealing to execute.

9. It makes you dangerous.

Being truly happy means that you have accepted yourself for all your faults and imperfections, and are simply unafraid to be who you uniquely are. When you arrive at this point in your life, you become extremely dangerous because you’re no longer susceptible to others’ unnecessary need to put people down in order to feel better, more powerful, and superior. Having zero fucks to give, makes you the most dangerous type of person.

10. It means you have to work really hard.

Being happy isn’t easy. It means that you have to wake up everyday and decide that you want to be happy. You have to mindfully go through a grueling process each morning to train your brain to make decisions that sometimes aren’t easy to make. You have to allow yourself to accept the negative things in your life, as an opportunity to grow and experience something you hadn’t before. This work will test you, push you and be a never-ending process until the day you die. Talk about a commitment.

11. It means you have to give in.

Giving into things that we don’t always want to give into is a test of the human will. The ability to say, I will give up my predisposed condition to fight, and give into all the beauty that surrounds me is an unnatural process. When you are so used to fighting, not fighting becomes a very hard occurrence to accept. It’s strange, it’s weird, it’s uncomfortable.

Ultimately, being happy means that even when things aren’t perfect you still understand how blessed you truly are. You remain in a constant state of uncomfortable change, evolution and metamorphism because you know that this is a process that requires care and love. You will have to make sacrifices, take time out of each one of your busy days, and learn to say yes and no more often then we are taught.

I dare you to not be happy.

But what I really dare you to do is be beyond grateful for everything in your life.

I dare you to do this scary thing, and watch your life change.

I dare you to give in, and fight for the happiness that you are deserving of.

Shawn Achor has said, “Happiness is the joy we feel as we head towards our potential.”

I think happiness is just that watching our lives change for the better as we challenge ourselves to think outside the box, and illuminate our own great adventures.

May you find your joy, your love, your light.

Posted on December 25, 2015 .
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

27 Things I’ve Learned In 27 Years

While I’m only 27 years old, I have lived a life of someone much older. 

Barrett_5026.jpg

 

I have dealt with very real issues in terms of family, finances, health, and figuring out myself. I’ve had a quarter life crisis, and watched my life blossom in ways I could’ve never imagined. Throughout all of this I have learned many lessons, some of which are cheesy and cliché, others are funny and light-hearted. However, what they all have in common is that they are incredibly true.

Here they are:

1.    Being kind will get you farther in life than being an asshole.

Sure this may not get you places you want to go as fast, but once you do reach those goals, it’ll be for the right reasons, and last far longer.

A slow burn lasts much longer than a quick fix.

2.    Approach everything you do in life with love.

I know I sound like a hippie, but hey I kind of am, an urban one at that.

When you keep love in your heart, you’re able to approach any situation with kindness, understanding and openness.

People will be much more receptive to you, and life is far happier, easier and more joyful.

Love connects us all, and transcends boundaries farther than anything else in life.

3.    Not everyone is going to like you, and that is OK!

If someone doesn’t like you, it’s not necessarily your problem, it’s his or hers, so move on, and remember how many people do like you.

Focusing on one bad egg, doesn’t ruin the other eleven, it just ruins your day.

4.    Always have back up toilet paper in your home!

You don’t want to be stuck in an awkward position for yourself or your guests, so keep spare TP in your bathroom. Just saying.

Planning a head makes life a whole lot less stressful.

5.    Fall madly in love.

Fall in love with yourself, fall in with your life, fall in love with someone else.

Love will change you in ways you didn’t know you could or wanted to be changed. It teaches you so much about yourself, and makes you understand the world a lot better.

They say, “fall,” because that’s the thing, you have no control when it happens. You give up control of being a singularity, so that you can become a unit.

6.    Learn to say yes.

Sometimes you’re going to just feel like a lazy bum, and want to do nothing. This is when you have to pull yourself up, and go do something new, fun or whatever with other people.

The hardest part about most activities whether it is working out, going on date, or anything else is just getting to the location itself.

7.    Learn to say no.

While you should learn to say yes more, you should also learn to say no more. Saying no to things that you fundamentally don’t want to do is an important skill to learn.

Saying no helps build confidence within yourself.

And ultimately, it shows that you respect yourself, your time and your energy, and thus, others should as well.

8.    Eat the bagel!

Yes, give in sometimes.

Life is too short not to enjoy tiny pleasures, but eating one bagel is different than eating 6 bagels, which I will admit, I’ve done many a time.

Moderation is key, so just be mindful in the decisions you make.

9.    Learn how to take care of yourself.

This is a scary one, but probably the most important one in the whole list.

If you don’t know how to cook yourself a meal, do your laundry, drive a car, earn money, take care of yourself when you are sick then you will be screwed one day.

Sure, you may have someone to help you do all of those things right now, but the inevitable day will come when you are alone for whatever the reason, and be helpless, and being helpless is possibly the worst feeling in the world.

10. Say thank you!

Being grateful for big and small things will change your life.

Being grateful every morning reminds you that even in the darkest of times how beautiful your life truly is.

We often focus on what is wrong in our lives, not what is right. It’s a crazy habit that needs to change.

Additionally, we rarely say thank you to ourselves because we focus on what isn’t going right in our lives.

When you stop, and say thank you to yourself for brushing your teeth, eating healthy and making good decisions, you give yourself a moment to breathe.

Breathing in life is living. Think about it.

11. Have roommates.

Living with other people that aren’t your family members is a crash course in real life.

They will teach you about yourself, and what it’s like to live with someone else, for good and for bad.

Knowing that you have some weird tendencies or have specific ways of doing things is important to know, so that when you end up living with your significant other, you aren’t smacked across the face with all these new neuroses.

12. Change your hair.

It grows back, and it’s fun to look back at some not so great decisions, and think hey at least I tried it.

Nothing in life is permanent, so if something doesn’t workout, remember you can always change it up again.

13. Ride the rollercoaster.

Even if you’re scared it will be worth it, and the ride of ups and downs is a journey of self-discovery.

There will always be an idea of what you think your life is supposed to be like, and chances are when you get there, another idea of what life is supposed to be like will be waiting for you.

Don’t worry about the future, all you have is now, and now is usually pretty fucking amazing if you look up.

14. Travel, travel, and then travel some more!

There is nothing as magical as seeing something for the first time. It’s like having your mind blown over and over again. That is what travel does.

It opens your eyes and mind to things that you thought you understood and knew.

A book can only teach us so much, while travel on the other hand, gives us a first-hand experience of what different people, places, cultures, food, and many other things are like.

To travel is to understand, and to understand is to be educated, and to be educated is the most powerful thing in the world.

The world is beautiful, and to fully understand that you must see it with your own eyes.

15. Move away from where you grew up.

Keeping in line with the idea of travel, living somewhere else will make you appreciate your home, your life, and so many little things that you take for granted on a daily basis.

Moving may even open up your eyes to an even greater life than you had previously known.

There’s comfort in knowing something because it means we understand it, but understanding something new is powerful.

While traveling to a place may show you another way of life, there’s nothing like experiencing what it’s like to be a local in far away land.

16. Stressing only makes stress.

Yes, things aren’t going to always feel perfect, in control, and easy, but stressing out about anything doesn’t help you, it just stresses you out, so chill the fuck out!

Taking 5 deep breaths at any point in your day or life will help you find your center, and calm down. It will also remind you that if all hasn’t worked out, it just means this isn’t the end.

17. Where there’s darkness, there’s always light. It’s simply a matter of perspective.

If you want to be happy then be happy.

No one is forcing you to stay in a bad relationship, at a shitty job, to have bad friends, or whatever else the case may be. If you don’t like something change it. When you do, you will find that life becomes a whole lot better when you kick the negativity out, and let the positivity in.

Your cup can be half full, or half empty. I choose to look at my glass as spilling the fuck over with goodness. It’s a pretty awesome way to live.

18. Let go.

Sometimes we outgrow things. Sometimes it’s clothes, sometimes it’s friends, sometimes it’s your old self, and all of this is ok.

Not everyone and everything is going to match your evolution, and that’s a beautiful thing because it means life is changing, and journeys are being had.

The past can especially be a hard thing to let go of, but if you’re holding onto something that no longer exists, how do you expect to find the future?

Baggage only weighs you down from flying even higher, so carefully set it down, and soar higher and higher.

19. Learn to say, “I’m Sorry.”

When you can look someone in the eye, and sincerely apologize, you can call yourself an adult.

Apologizing to someone else means that you have checked your ego at the door, and are capable of putting your pride to the side.

We often hold onto petty arguments or disagreements because of stubbornness.

In the end all your relationships will boil down to one of two options: either two losers, or two winners.

So carefully consider if your pride is worth your relationships with others.

20. Let your freak flag fly high.

As we mature, and real life closes in on us, we often forget how to let loose, play pretend, or be wildly creative.

Chances are if you ask anyone what they really want to be in life, it usually involves some form of creativity.

We get this notion that we must behave, act, and work a certain way, when in reality this is just an idea that means nothing. A confined restriction on your unique personality that was learned over time, not a necessary way of life.

Letting your freak flag fly high feels incredibly good, and will remind you that life is short, and shouldn’t be taken too seriously all the time.

21. A hug can solve more than you know.

Sometimes all we need is a hug.

By wrapping your arms around someone else, and having them embrace you back, a chemical explosion of endorphins is released into your brain and body, which truly makes you feel like everything is going to be ok.

Physical touch is an important human need, and should be done on some level everyday.

22.  Crying feels really good.

In life’s biggest moments tears are shed. Whether it’s crying for joy, or sobbing for sorrow, tears are markers for momentous occasions in our lives.

A lot like a hug, a good cry can change your mood and release a lot of pent up energy and emotions.

Never be afraid to cry in front of anyone. It shows you care, and that is a beautiful thing. If it makes someone else uncomfortable that’s their own issue to deal with, not yours.

Tears are universal, human and remind us that we are all made of water.

23. Tell fear to fuck off!

Fear is simply the unknown.

The amazing thing you learn about the unknown, as you age, is that the unknown is far less scary once you look it dead in the face, and say hello.

Fear holds us back from fully living, fully loving and fully being our unique selves.

Don’t let something so stupid hold you back from living out your wildest dreams.

Love can be scary. Change can be scary. Happiness can be scary. But all those things are what life is made for, so being afraid simply means you care.

24. Say what you mean, mean what you say.

If you’re going to call yourself fat, eventually others will think you’re fat. If you’re going to call yourself dumb, eventually others will think you’re dumb. Be mindful in what it is you say, especially about yourself.

Whether you’re talking about yourself or others, your speech holds tremendous weight.

We often say things about ourselves that we wouldn’t say to our worst enemy. Stop! It serves you no good.

Additionally, when talking to others you have to remember that you can’t take back things you say, and people may forgive, but they often don’t forget.

Whether it’s in the heat of the moment, or you're perfectly clear minded, be very specific with how and what you say.

Furthermore, you truly will get everything you ever asked for, so ask for what it is you truly want and need.

25. Be naked as often as possible.

Your body is your greatest gift; learn to love the fuck out of it.

This is the only one you have. It may not be perfect, it may not be tight and tone, hell, it might be a hot mess, but it’s your body.

Learning to love the skin you’re in is learning to love yourself.

We often focus on the exterior as a way to avoid what’s truly going on inside of us. There will always be something to nitpick about the way you look, nothing is perfect, and remember that is life.

Perfection is boring, and anyone you think is perfect is staring at someone else with the same thoughts you have about yourself.

Moreover, remember your body is a tiny miracle. If you have two legs that work, two arms that move, eyes that see, and ears that hear then you are beyond lucky, and should honor how lucky you are by using that body all the time.

Have sex, go for a run, dance like no one is watching because one day, that body, you pick on so harshly, is going to start to fight you in ways you couldn’t have imagined, and you will be wishing for those younger years.

26. Try almost everything once.

Of course there are some things you should never try, but in general, you don’t know what you are missing out on till you try something new.

Whether it’s food, music, dating, or whatever else, there is an entire world full of opportunities waiting to be explored.

If you don’t like something, then great, now you know. However, if you end up loving something new, then “hell fucking yea,” now you know!

27. Money won’t make you happier, but it will make life easier.

In today’s image obsessed world, so many ideas of happiness are based around things: clothes, cars, hair, makeup, money.

The thing is, none of this means anything if you don’t have people you love in your life to share all the wealth with.

Full, loving, and happy relationships are what define a successful life at the end of the day because people aren’t going to remember anything, but how you made them feel.

Strive to be comfortable financially, if excess finds your way then amazing, congrats, that’s huge! But don’t let the idea of money be what drives you.

Working to just make more money is an inevitable life of loneliness, burnouts, and unhappiness.

Yes, money will make your life easier, but it won’t make your life better.

At the end of the day life is all about being challenged, finding people who build you up, and that you want to build up. It’s about being yourself, honoring your truth, and hopefully learning from some other people’s mistakes, so that history doesn’t have to repeat itself.

Some things you’ll have to learn on your own, and some things you will never have to learn, but just feel. Some things will make a lot of sense, and some will take years to finally click for you.

Ultimately, life is an unwritten series of vignettes that somehow imperfectly perfectly weave into the novel that is your life. Trust yourself, love whole-heartedly, and be grateful along every step of the way.

These are the 27 plus things I have learned in 27 years.

Posted on November 25, 2015 .
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

The Taxing Tale Of Tinder

I often take a very serious approach to discussing dating; however, I felt the need to juxtapose my normal demeanor with something more light-hearted. Additionally, as I always claim, I know that for everything I have to say there are plenty of stories that combat my own feelings on this topic.

thefashionisto_casting2-11-1.jpg

With that said, I give you, "The Taxing Tale of Tinder."

You’re young, attractive and single.

Of course you should be on Tinder looking to mingle.

You threw caution to the wind, and downloaded an app.

It was free, and you figured, “how bad could it really be?”

It started out all innocent and fun.

But then you couldn’t hold yourself back from swiping a ton.

Ten-mile radius, new options galore.

Just keep swiping more and more.

A new match, a new convo, another endless road.

But hey, you have to kiss a couple of toads.

Another swipe, another dud.

“No, thanks, I didn’t sign up looking for a fuck bud.”

Creeps, losers and insecure little boys.

You realize that they’re simply playing with one of their toys.

A game disguised as a dating app

Is quickly fostering an impersonal rap.

You question why you’re on here over and over again.

Rationalizing that there have to be some good men.

Boredom looms over you

And you simply don’t know what else to do,

So you just keep swiping.

Thinking, texting, typing.

Eventually your better judgment reigns supreme.

And you give up living in a screen’s daydream.

You no longer wake up with the hopes of a new match.

Instead you start honoring the fact that you’re a catch.

No longer will you seek the dopamine hit.

You’ve finally done it, you’ve quit.

Good-bye Tinder, Grindr and The League,

And feeling beyond emotionally fatigued.

You’ve regained your sense of self, confidence and time.

“Fuck yes, you are one hundred percent a dime.”

Swiping is replaced with real life chance meetings,

A friendly hello, a serendipitous greeting.

Yes, real-life dating still isn’t easy,

But it is a whole lot less sleazy.

A new journey now begins, commences, starts

Where you now fall in love with your own heart.

Finding your own happiness, zest and joy,

Without feeling the need to have a boy.

Falling in love with yourself can be hard

Especially when the past has left you kind of scarred.

Remember that the past doesn’t define who you are,

Rather it should be for what sets the bar.

In your hopeful journey to find your love, your partner, your best friend.

Because that’s whom they should ultimately be in the end.

A person who gets you fundamentally and true,

Promising to always pick you up when you’re feeling blue.

Online dating started casual, fun and exciting,

But to be honest it was anything but inviting.

I promise these apps are not the end all be all

Just think of them as a minor set back, a tiny fall.

You’re better than what can be summed up in a few pictures and a profile

So are they, you don’t even know what it feels like to see them smile.

You took a chance, and should be proud of that

However, putting yourself out there should mean more than having a superficial chat.

Congratulations, and welcome to the brighter side

Where you no longer need a screen to hide.

Smile, wave hello, and let your eyes connect,

There’s nothing wrong, or sexier then being direct.

Good luck, and happy dating!

I promise you feel better without all the complicating.

The world’s your oyster, go out and get it

All that I ask is that you really do delete the apps, and finally quit!

If you enjoyed this lighthearted tale then check out:

10 Reasons I Quit Online Dating or The Danger In Dating Apps.

XOX

Posted on November 16, 2015 .
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

10 Reasons I Quit Online Dating

Like basically every person alive right now, I tried online dating. I figured if I wasn’t on there, I was missing out, missing an opportunity, and missing finding my person.

Barrett_4964.jpg

I tried everything from tindr, to Jswipe, to grindr, to every other word that is missing an “e” in it.

I made lots of matches, talked to lots of “interesting” men, and even went on a fair number of first dates.

However, after partaking in my own dating experiment, during which I went on one date every night for a week, and two dates on Friday, I finally reached my ultimate conclusion.

Online dating just isn’t for me.

I want to preface that for everything I say, I know there are a ton of people who will disagree, and have the relationships to prove it, but as I ventured into and out of the virtual dating sphere I found out a lot about myself. Additionally, I know my experiment might sound extreme, but I needed something extreme to happen for me to really give it up once and for all.

This is what I found out:

1.     I Was Bored

If you’ve ever been on any of these apps, gay or straight, you know that most of your hunting, swiping and searching is done when you are bored. If you live in a metropolis like myself then chances are you aren’t necessarily bored a lot because you have work, friends, fitness and a ton of other things constantly at your disposal, but boredom somehow creeps up on you. All of a sudden you’re bored at work, bored at home, bored with your friends, bored at the gym. I think you catch my drift.

Life just isn’t as exciting as you want it to be, and the thought that maybe just around the next swipe is the person you’ve been searching for all along is exciting.

However, the problem arises when you finally do get excited, but continue to keep swiping because why not?

2.     No One Was Ever Who I Thought They Were

As you make matches, swipe past people, and possibly converse you start to build an idea of who the person is on the other side of the phone. You create an ideal, and all of a sudden every little nuance becomes a bigger complexity to who that person is, and how they operate.

You can’t help, but think, “Damn, where have you been all my life?”

And then bam.

Mister Amazing loses his luster. He either starts creeping real hard, says something that throws everything off, disappears, or just never decides to meet up.

If by some crazy force of nature you guys do set a date and meet, chances are he isn't who he claimed to be, or who you built him up to be.

His confident demeanor is replaced with one that is far less interesting, and not having the phone as an easy buffer shows you a much different person than the one you thought you had been chatting with.

This is why after 6 first dates in 5 days, I not once found myself wanting a second date.

3.     I Am Pickier Online Than In Real Life

Having someone be presented essentially as a two-dimensional option, rather than a real life opportunity makes them feel much more disposable. I know personally, I looked at everything: from what you said on your profile, to how you said it, to what pictures you picked to best represent you with not just a little bit of judgment, but a lot.

There was no energy, no butterflies, no eyes from across the room to say, “Hey, wait there’s something special about this one, and we can’t put our fingers on it.”

It was all brain, and no heart in who I decided to virtually flirt with. You literally became a resume that I could toss into the trash pile without any real thought, or feeling, which isn’t how finding our potential partner should work.

4.     I Became Way More Shallow

Sure, whether it’s real life or virtual reality, the first thing you notice is how someone looks, but in real life, you quickly see how someone acts, moves, sounds, etc.

These other important attributes are what creates someone's individuality, and takes them from being just anyone to uniquely them.

If I didn’t like what I saw, I was quick to swipe left. No thought other than, nope, not what I think I like. Hair, eyes, skin color, height, weight all became your stats in a world where I had never used statistics to make my choice of who I might be interested in.

Yes, all those things did and do continue to play a part of who I am interested in, but online they became all I saw, and I left little room to be more open-minded than had I been meeting these gentlemen in person.

Sometimes you just don’t know you’re best angles, and sometimes you do, which is why I always say buyer beware when it comes to what you think you’re getting online.

5.     I Don’t Like Games

And that’s exactly what all these things are, games.

While none of these apps call themselves games, it doesn’t take much effort to realize that that is exactly what they are. Video games, if you will, where you become the player, and everyone else is the game.

There are rules, directions, and even moments asking if you’d like to chat, or “keep playing.”

They say don’t hate the player, hate the game, and that is exactly what ended up happening for me. I hated the game and playing only made me like myself less and less.

6.     I Wasn’t Honoring My Truth

Going off the idea that these things are a game with rules, I quickly found myself changing who I was to best “win” at the game.

I was holding myself back. I was playing up certain parts of myself, and playing down other characteristics, all so I could be more “desirable.”

I became who I thought I was supposed to be, not who I was. I acted more way casual, and less emotional than I really am. I put only the best pictures of myself out there, but not what I look like when I wake up in the morning.

I filtered myself in basically every way, and took what makes me uniquely special out of the equation, so I could be more “marketable.” That isn’t sexy, romantic, or interesting. It’s dishonest, dull, and way too technical for something that shouldn’t be so systematic.

7.     I Wasn’t Happy

While I didn’t realize this till months later, I was simply unhappy with my life. I was using the idea of dating as an escape from my own life because well, it’s an easy distraction, and even easier the more venues, or apps, you have to keep the hunt alive.

I don’t think this is necessarily true for everyone facilitating these tools, but I do think it’s way more common than many people realize.

It’s another numbing device in the avoidance of ourselves. Focusing your attention on others as a way to not look in the mirror, and find what's truly wrong, hurting, or uncomfortable at this moment in our own lives.

It’s really easy to think that when you find someone a lot of your issues will just subside or disappear, but the truth is, until you start to work on you, you’ll never be happy, coupled up or single.

One of the hardest things to do is look in the mirror and be honest with yourself because there usually is a lot of sadness, confusion and disappointment. However, when you finally admit this to yourself, you take the first step to changing all of that.

8.     It Made Me Crazy

Thinking about who I could meet, having numerous conversations with multiple people, and trying to keep up with all of it was exhausting.

Call me old-fahsioned, but I think there's something beyond romantic about meeting someone, one person, and courting each other. Finding out about each other, focusing on just him, and seeing where it could go.

Having Larry, Moe and Curly in the wings just kept me unnecessarily anxious, unfocused, and a part of the three stooges.

Call me crazy because I was for thinking I wanted to, or could juggle that many men at one time.

9.     I Wanted A Relationship/Boyfriend

I know many people will disagree with me when discussing this topic, but hear me out.

As I chatted, met and repeated each of these steps with guy after guy, and there even was one named, Guy, I found myself constantly sitting across the table from someone, who wasn’t on my page.

Maybe it was the guys I was swiping right to, the app I was choosing to facilitate, or any other number of reasons, but it seemed like most of these men didn’t actually want a relationship.

They wanted something, but not a relationship.

They wanted validation. They wanted attention. They wanted someone to have dinner, a conversation, or sex with, but not actually a relationship.

Essentially, they wanted to win the game, by winning me over, and that was that.

Winning meant different things to different people, but it never felt like there was two winners at the end of it all, and in my opinion, there is no point in taking part in anything where you don’t have two winners.

I know that life won’t always make this the outcome, and that’s ok, but to go into anything with only your wants, needs and desires in mind, sets you and your potential partner up for a lose/lose situation.

I truly believe it’s either two winners, or two losers and the later played out far too frequently in this unwinnable game.

10. It Just Isn’t For Me

In the end we all have the right to do, act and say as we please, but as I had swam through the never ending pool of virtual daters, I found myself tired, numb, and even more bored than when I had started.

I didn’t like the shallow conversations I was having to have over and over again. I didn’t like the lack of emotion that was fostered through staring at my screen for hours, and I didn’t like that I felt badly day after day about not finding what I had been searching for.

After being off all dating apps for about a year, I can honestly say I am more at peace with my life, my love life, and myself. I have met some great guys in real life, “organically,” if you will, who have showed me that there are some great ones still out there, and you don’t need to be staring at your screen to find them.

Frankly, you need to be doing the opposite. Look up, look around you, look all over. There are great, funny, interesting individuals all over the place: at work, on the subway, in the grocery store, on the street. The key is to just get over yourself, and say hi.

Yes, you might get rejected, but that’s ok!

We let so many people walk right past us, sit down next to us, and stare at us, but never take a leap of faith and say hi because we don’t have a buffer. Forget about the buffer, forget about your pride, forget about everything because when you see someone in real life, and they give you butterflies, you need to honor that feeling and fly with them.

Dating isn’t a game, there shouldn’t be rules, and the longer you stay a player, the longer you just get stuck playing a video game.

I’m not saying quit everything all at once, but I am saying that if the thought of doing that scares you, you’re probably addicted and actually do need one big break from all of them.

Enjoy the process, enjoy your time, and most importantly enjoy yourself because until you do, no one else is going to enjoy you either.

Finding inner peace shows, and will create peace in all other aspects of your life. Whether it’s dating, relationships, or work confidence is gold.

Good luck, and happy dating.

If this piece spoke to you then I highly recommend: My 17 Pieces Of Dating Advice.







Posted on November 9, 2015 .
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

It Should’ve Been Us: A Very Complicated Uncomplicated Love Story

Tori Kelly sang it, you introduced me to it, and now it perfectly plays out our story.

It’s wild how her words perfectly prophesize our relationship. The title alone, “It Should’ve Been Us” dictates perfectly how I feel. Sure, it’s a song about love, frustration, breaking up, and it could relate to many couples’ journeys, but it was our song.

An irony not lost on me, but an unfortunate one at that.

It all began on a holiday weekend, and like many New Yorkers we both decided to escape to the same remote location. A place with lots of history, and a place that truly is a world of its own. No cars, no cellphone service, no rules.

I had only been once a year ago to the date, and hadn’t had the best experience, so needless to say I was somewhat hesitant to go back, but when your best friends rally, you rally as well.

I remember the first moment I saw you. It wasn’t anything surreal, magical, or time-stopping, but I remember it well. Then as chance would have it, you ended up jogging past me on your morning run, and me being me decided to start a conversation. I screamed, “I think you dropped something,” as you ran by fumbling with your headphones, and bam, I got your attention. You hadn’t actually dropped anything, but I saw a cute moment, and took advantage of the situation.

From that point on you would have a name, and not just be the cute guy I had seen on the journey to the destination.

I wouldn’t know it at the time, but it was your birthday, and the beginning to something very sweet between to the two of us. That same day, hours later we would bump into each other again. Three times in one day. Coincidence, by chance, or completely random, I’m not sure. What I do know is that I will always look back on that day with the fondest of memories.

A boat ride, your morning run, and then an evening that would connect us in a way neither of us could expect.

I saw you from afar, then up close, and then all I saw was you.

An hour turned into one of the most memorable nights of my life, and a birthday I hope you never forget. We talked, we kissed, we connected. We hadn’t planned on meeting, nor was I even looking, but apparently that’s how it happens.

Unexpectedly.

We didn’t necessarily find love in a hopeless place, but we found something that had the possibility to turn into love.

You basically became my weekend boyfriend. You met my friends, I met yours, and we spent most of our time together. It was as if we had known each other for years, but as the story goes we didn’t.

The weekend came to an end, and we said we’d see each other again back in our beloved New York City, and we did. We actually saw each other a decent amount, and while summer romances are hard to keep alive, we did quite well. We both traveled a fair bit, but still managed to keep in contact. Facetime, calls and texts helped us keep the spark burning.

We learned about each other. We missed each other. We started to create something that was much deeper than a weekend fling. But then something shifted. I felt it in a simple text, and it was apparent something wasn’t working.

We had gone separate ways the Labor Day weekend, and while summer was coming to a close, so was our story. We met up for dinner, and had “the talk.” The one where you ask, where is this going? What are we doing? What do we want?

Nothing could be answered, and unfortunately that was answer enough for me. I didn’t want it to be the end, but I knew it had to be the end. However, in these type of situations an ending is never truly an ending, and we would continue to dance in circles, literally and metaphorically.

It’s now been the same amount of time that we were together that we've been apart, and for some reason it hasn’t felt resolved. I think it's because we both really liked each other, and nothing was actually wrong, but you did tell me you have a tendency to overthink, and sure enough that's what happened.

What makes the situation harder, is that you looked at me like no one has at ever looked at me before. You couldn’t say it in words, but you said it in your eyes without you even knowing it. I’m not even sure you know it, but I know that you love me.

To have someone look at you the way you looked at me is all anyone truly wants, but to continue on the path we were paving would continue to lead to heartache and disrespect, which are things I refuse to do to myself.

I wish things were different, but wishing just makes wishes. I will always look back at the mornings filled with music, the nights filled with guitar, and everything in between with the thought that it should’ve been us.

Posted on November 2, 2015 .
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Am I Actually A Lion, Or A Sheep In A Lion’s Body?

As I fell down the rabbit hole of Instagram late one night, as many of us unhealthily do, I found myself staring at the pictures of people who once were friends, good friends, and I couldn’t shake a feeling of contempt, annoyance and a general disdain. 

One photo led to a different person’s profile, which lead to another photo, which led to another person’s profile, and before I knew it, I forgot how I had even gotten to the profile I landed on, especially because I in fact do not follow any of these people. However, curiosity killed the cat, or lion as this story would have it, and I always find it beyond fascinating how people we tend to not enjoy seem to find one another. My guess is they share a similar quality that we’d actively not wanted to be a part of, and like attracts like.

Sitting in the dark, staring at the glowing screen on my phone, the recently popular saying, “ A lion doesn’t lose sleep over the opinion of sheep,” came to mind. Here I was a lion, and there they were, a herd of sheep. Yet, I was up later than I wanted to be, and it was in fact because of people I would relate to as sheep.

However, something about that saying felt somewhat unfair, not quite right, and made a lion somehow better than sheep. And while I do not necessarily like all these people because of past interactions, I find it healthier to let things go, and not think myself better than anyone else. 

Sure, lions are technically more alpha to sheep, and in a head to head match a lion would greatly out preform a sheep in every possible way, but who’s to say that the lion doesn’t care, or is in fact better? That’s what the statement is implying after all, right? 

We’ve all seen the amazingly adorable, and somewhat astonishing videos of animals that shouldn’t be getting along, interacting in such friendly manners, gently playing with each other, caring for one another, and cuddling. There’s the hippo and the dog, the chicken and the cat, the baby deer and the lion.

It was this last duo that seemed to relate somewhat perfectly to what I had been pondering, and got me thinking. How were the two able to interact in such “unnatural” ways? What could possibly be different about this interaction? How had they “befriended” each other?

Then it hit me: Hunger. 

Hunger and thirst are what motivate us to act in such “animalistic” ways, and can completely change the interactions that we have. When we aren’t hungry, or hungry for something someone else has we tend to play nice as a whole. Both animal kingdom and mankind are able to shift primal forces into civilized needs.  

While a deer and a sheep are in fact not the same, the idea correlates quite easily that normally we’d expect the lion to simply kill and eat the deer, or sheep, but when the lion is not hungry, she sees the deer differently, more complex, more equal. 

Primal urges are replaced with an intricate thought.

I don’t know what came of the two animals, but considering this interaction opened my eyes in two specific ways, and helped me identify why I had such a negative reaction to people I once cared deeply for.

Firstly, I had felt hurt because I had been left behind by sheep, a herd, a group of people. Secondly lions are more than meat hungry death eaters. 

As I pondered lions and sheep and deer, oh my, I began to understand why my emotions had initially been so strong, and why that specific quote can feel quite empowering. Ultimately, it’s because no one likes to feel left behind.

Here I was late at night, unexpectedly staring at my ex, my ex-friends, and a really promising, but bad first date all hanging out together, appearing to be happy. They had created their herd. Whether or not they’re all friends, in fact happy, or just using the same person for an awesome beach house is unknown to me, but I understand that being a part of a group, or a herd, if you will, feels safer, better, more comfortable.

As I realized the deeper emotions of hurt, loss, and a tinge of sadness I realized it was time to turn off my phone, and to not wish these guys anything but happiness, and if they had found it together than great.

I also came to the realization that while I may feel left out at that one trivial moment late night, I was in fact not alone, and like the lion far more complex. I had allowed myself the moment of hunger, but realized I was not hungry for anything they had at all. I was and am beyond full.

By being left behind by the large herd of sheep, I have been able to find my smaller, but stronger pride of lions. I have been able to satisfy my hunger, and at moments even play nice with the sheep. In general, I have been able to understand that it is ok to still be a lion, and care about the opinion of sheep, but not let it be what affects me, drives me and keeps me up a night.

My pride of lions is one of strength, honor, understanding and a civilized sense of hunger. We treat others as equals, look past our primal thirst and take pride in our pride.

Ultimately, what I have realized is that we aren’t just lions or just sheep, but as we interact with each other, we have the opportunity to take the courage of the lion and marry it with the gentleness of a sheep to move forwards both proud and humble. For if one can be such differing ideas at once then they truly live a life of love.

Posted on August 19, 2015 .
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I Love Being Gay

Over the past two weekends I had a motto I never thought I would have said running through my head, ringing in my heart and being said aloud, “I LOVE BEING GAY!”

Growing up gay I experienced so much hatred, meanness, and a general feeling of being misunderstood, especially because I didn’t know I was gay, or straight for that matter. I was simply just being me.

Watching the SCOTUS declare that Gay Marriage will forever be legal in all of the U.S. during the weekend of NYC Pride was a historic moment that brought tears to my eyes because it meant that gay is becoming more and more okay, in terms of societal norms.

Dancing my heart out with friends and strangers for 3 days was like a dream, and all seemed to keep going as the 4th of July approached. Celebrating America’s birthday the weekend after all of this felt somewhat poetic, and even Mother Nature made sure we had sunny skies to enjoy it to the fullest here in NYC.

Escaping from NYC to Fire Island Pines was not something my “Gay Jew Pose” and I had not originally planned, but became an easy long weekend adventure. I had only been to Fire Island once before, and that was a year ago for the same holiday weekend. I had had fun, but after three days was ready to escape what felt like a never-ending party.

This year; however, I found the beauty in what started as a true escape for the LGBT theatre community. I bounded with old friends, made new friends, and saw a new side to myself. I found a cute guy to share some memorable moments with, watched the sunrise, and even took time to just be by myself, which is something I rarely do.

There was the epic Independance Party, which I had originally been hesitant to go to, but ended up loving more than I can explain. My friends and I watched the famous Drag Invasion from one of the best views thanks to an awesome friend, and I experienced so much hospitality that I will forever feel grateful for.

Through all the fun, new friends, and parties I even found time to listen to the ocean, meditate, and read my latest book, all things I have been craving to do for some time now, but have been lazy in executing. 

Overall, these past two weekends have left me on a feeling of up, hope, and excitement that I didn't realize needed reenergizing. But more than anything what these past two weekends reminded me more of than anything is that I truly love being gay, and that for all the wishing to be straight while growing up, I’ve been given such a gift of freedom, love, tolerance, acceptance, and so much more that I would never wish away, or change for anything or anyone.

Posted on July 10, 2015 .
Follow my blog with Bloglovin