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Friday, April 27, 2012

Goodbye To You

Alex started texting me today.

We talked for a bit. About our struggles, why we didn't work. Later, he asked if I would meet him so that we could talk. I was wary, because I didn't want to get sucked in to anything or be manipulated. But I agreed to meet him.

I pulled up next to him and got into his car. The rain was pouring down. He looks good. Better than he did a couple months ago. 

We talked. About his issues, about my struggles. About this guy. It was clear that this boy doesn't hold a candle to what I had in Alex's heart. And Alex doesn't see it going anywhere. As messed up as that is, it was a relief to me. 

He still misses me. He said that he could never fully give me what I needed. And he's right. I was so empty so much, just wishing he could give me what I needed. He said he tried. And he did. But he has his own issues that keep him from fully loving himself, and from loving others. He said that no one has been as close to him as me. 

I miss him. I talked about being so angry at him. About missing him. And I told him how this whole thing made me feel so unwanted, so worthless, like he would rather be with someone else besides me. This hit him hard, and really hurt him. Not in an offended way. But in how much it hurt him that he hurt me. I could see his pain. And all I wanted to do was wrap my arms around him and take his pain away. And I wanted him to take my pain away. 

He told me that for the first time he was actually feeling the emotions, that he actually was wishing that it could have been him that I ended up with. That he truly wished it could have been him. I could see it on his face.

We talked for a long time. We laughed, cried, and I felt the weight of it all. That no matter what, everything I felt was over. It was gone. And even if I could take this boy back right now, it would not give me back what I had. 

I felt so empty at that thought. 

The night got later, and our emotions more tender. He told me that I should go, because he was feeling weak. I wanted him to feel weak, because I felt weak. 

I reached over to hug him. His scent filled me. "You still smell the same," he said. "So do you," I said. I took another deep breath, then somehow pulled myself away from him. In a mere moment it all hit me. It filled me with all the feelings I had felt. I was shocked at the depth of it. Did I really love him this much? Did I really know him this deeply? Had he really been that mine? I sat back in the passenger seat and stared at the console in front of me. I'd forgotten how much. How deep. How real. It was so real...

I put my hand on the door handle, then turned to look at him. I could see it in his eyes. He was feeling exactly what I felt. He wanted me as much as I wanted him. He ached for me as much as I ached for him. 

Somehow I opened the door and got out. I stepped into the freezing rain, then into my car. I began convulsing, having an honest to god physical reaction to have just smelled him and touched him again. I was so addicted to him...

I shook for several minutes. Alex stayed parked right next to me. I shook, wondering if he would step out of the car, or somehow motion for me to get back in. I wanted him to. I wanted so badly for him to ask me to come back. He texted me, asking if I was alright. "I want you so badly." I wrote back. And with that, I sealed my fate. He was firm in his resolve then, when I was completely crumbling and weak. 

He pulled away, then called me. He talked me through the rush I was feeling. It was just like I was having true withdrawals! Like I was suffering a bout of a drug I had been off of for so long! He talked me back to sanity, clearly talking himself back as well. 

I can't help but wonder what would have happened if I had just lingered in our embrace, or if I had stepped back into his car. If I had just stayed. 

I drove home. We continued talking, him telling me it had to happen, and me wishing that it could work. 

"Ty," he said, "we tried so hard, but it didn't work." And for whatever reason, the fact that it is over makes that true. 

"We tried so hard, Alex. We tried so hard." "I know Ty. I know."

I can't fight it anymore. It doesn't matter why anymore. But it is over. It's done. I feel such a deep emptiness. For just a brief moment I felt how deeply I loved him. And I beg God in heaven that he will let me love like that again. That he will let me feel so deeply for another human being again. There is nothing like that feeling. If there is any reward for the trials and sorrows of life, it is loving someone else that way. 

Alex, if you ever read this, I love you. I have never loved like I loved you. You changed my life. And though it fell to pieces in the end, it was a glorious experience, and I will never be the same. 

I love you Alex. 


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Where Is Your Heart?

Today has been an overwhelming day.

I learned a couple days ago that my ex, Alex, is dating someone. Even now, to type that, I feel a twinge of a sick feeling in my stomach.

This morning while at work I broke down. I fled to a rarely used storage room, closed the door, and fell to the ground. I wept, and I shouted, and I hit the floor with my fists. I felt like the ache in my stomach was eating me from the inside out. What did this boy have that I didn't?! Why would he want to be with this other boy, and not me? It was making me insane.

By chance, he started texting me. He got defensive, and said that this boy knew he was a mess and that he was leaving in December, so nothing could happen anyway. They like each other, he said.

I like you, Alex, I texted.

Yes, but you want and deserve more, and I don't have to give that to this guy, he wrote.

Don't you want and deserve more? I asked.

His answer was that yes, he did, but he couldn't have it at this time in his life.

What it came down to, he said, was the original argument, that we weren't right for each other. I made it clear that this was his opinion, and that I have never shared that view of the breakup.

I was miserable, and I couldn't get it to abate. For the first time I have understood the relief people can find in hurting themselves. Although I was never suicidal while I dealt with being gay, this breakup has acquainted me with a desperation I haven't known.

I heard the door opening and stood up as if I had just walked in. This would have been a good move, except that the light was off. The girl that walked in jumped when she saw me, and I beelined it out of there. I recognized her. She is a grad student in the department I work for, and she knew about the breakup. She looked at me and said "Are you okay?" I shook my head and began to cry. "Let's go back in," she said, motioning to the storage room.

She held me, and I sobbed on her shoulder. I talked to her, reading some of the texts, and aching over everything of the last four months.

She validated my feelings, especially that I loved Alex so deeply. She asked me what I loved about him, and listened as I talked about the boy I fell so hard for.

Another friend, Birdy, had been on her way to see me, and showed up just then. The grad student left, and Birdy sat with me as I cried. Finally, we decided it was time for me to leave work. I grabbed my things, clocked out, and we left.

In a wise move, we went to the counseling center, and they found a counselor for me to talk to, since my therapist wasn't available. I talked to him, cried to him, and broke all over again. He helped me deconstruct me emotions, emphasizing how I have been placing my worth on what Alex thought of me. He said that I need to acknowledge the pain of losing him, but work on keeping the feeling of "therefore I am worthless" in check. "Don't run your grief through the 'shame machine'" he said.

At one point my therapist poked her head in. As soon as I saw her I burst into tears again, so relieved to see her, someone who so completely knew me and my pain, and who so completely cared about me. I didn't realize what a big deal she has been for me until that moment.

We came to some resolutions, and I left, finishing out my day.

I went home, tried to sleep, but nothing came. Birdy came over, and we talked. I cried, every part of my body aching. I wanted to cease to exist, to slip into the oblivion of nothingness, and for all the misery to finally stop.

"I just want him to want me," I told Birdy. "I want him to look at me with that look that says he loves me. It's been so frustrating to go on dates with boys once or twice and see in their eyes what I fought for two years to see in Alex's eyes." "I gave him everything. Why wasn't that enough for him?" I asked over and over.

Birdy knelt by my bed and she prayed with me. I wept, and felt so grateful for the angel God has placed in my life.

I don't know what prompted it, but I reached over into my nightstand and grabbed a little black notebook that I used to write poetry in during class over a year ago. If you click the tag "black notebook" on this blog, you can read some entries from it that I've already posted here. I opened it, and began to read.

"Finality is false. Tomorrow is a promise. Today is possibility. And self-awareness is power.
Deep within, infinite potential waits. The light that breaks the seal is the light that shines within us. And that light shines when we finally accept that we have always been enough."

I wept at this. I need to focus on this more.

I continued.

"I shouldn't look.
I should lower my eyes and avoid you.
You are not like me.
You do not share my passion.
And you are spoken for.
     So a simple look does no harm, right?
I'll just look for a moment.
     My god, you're beautiful.

But of course you are.
Because while your visage emanates pleasure,
Your soul is to me a blank slate.
And I can paint whatever I want in you.
     So I make you perfect.
And you become perfect sensuality.

I'll never touch you.
Never speak.
For the moment I do you'll shatter.
What I've made of you will be in shambles.
For perfection is best left to dreams and fantasies.
And you're best seen from a distance."

This was written about a boy in my Russian class over a year ago. I was so drawn to him, so attracted to him. And I knew he was beautiful because I was projecting all my needs and desires onto him.

I continued.

"Like a moth to light, I am drawn to you.
I have a need, a thirst! to look and be near you.
You seem to shine, all of you,
and I wonder how it would be to be yours,
 Each in turn.

I imagine waking up in your arms,
Looking into your eyes as morning breaks,
Kissing your cheek.
I look from one to the next,
living a lifetime in a glance.

Why do I look?
Why do I wonder?
I have arms and eyes and cheeks all my own.
And I love those eyes, arms, and cheeks.
So why do I look,
and watch,
and wonder?
Why do fiery passions of "what if"
flood my veins?
Why do I feel this desire clawing at my skin,
trying to tear from within its fleshy prison?

What is the master emotion?
Is it fury?
Perhaps sorrow.
Or joy.
Does anger's power make all exempt?
what a foolish question.
Humanity echoes from ages past and present
that love is the master emotion.
For love contains all the rest.

But what kind of love is king?
Does lucid infatuation rule?
Or does pleasure?
Perhaps passion owns all the rest.
Or romance.
Or is it yet contentment?

I have comfort.
It sleeps next to me,
wraps itself around me,
pulls me close.
Kisses me when only crickets see.

I wake up next to comfort,
I rest on its chest as sleep starts to fade.
Comfort is mine,
and I am comfort's.
I do not fear its loss.

Then why does the beast within me
yearn to break free?

What love pulls me?
What do I truly want?"

This was about three boys in my Russian class, all of whom were beautiful in their own ways. They would sit in just such a way that I could see all three of them in one glance. They were beautiful. And I imagined being with them. I once again made them into my deepest needs and desires. But I had someone. I had Alex. In this poem, he is the comfort. And comfort has certainly been what I have missed these four months. But as I read this today, I was reminded of the times when comfort seemed to be falling short and leaving me empty handed.

I continued on, reading poetry about my struggles over sexuality. I read prose about the numbness I felt. I continued, and then I came to this entry, where I think out loud:

"What is necessary for a happy relationship?

What more would I want?
I want to be wanted. I want to be looked at. I want to see him look at me "that way." 
I want him to do nice things for me. I want him to be a man and be proactive sometimes. 
He seems directionless, doubtful, and insecure. 

Are the things that hold me there strong enough to support a lasting happiness?"

This hit me hard as I read it, slamming the sick feeling in my stomach right out. These were the exact things I was saying to Birdy earlier. And here I was, more than a year earlier, saying the exact same thing. Wondering whether or not I wanted to stay in the relationship, wondering whether what I felt was strong enough. 

I remember this time. I remember looking up articles online while at work, trying to figure out if our relationship was healthy enough to last, trying to figure out if I was truly satisfied. I remember looking at these boys in my Russian class, and imagining the way it would be if they were mine, and if they were the person I wanted and needed. I remember the neglect I felt from Alex. The unmet need of having someone engaged in the relationship with me. Wanting him to want me.

The one argument we had from the beginning of the relationship to the end was simply "Alex, just love me!" "I do love you, Ty!" "Then show me!"

Kelly Clarkson sang it best in "Where is Your Heart": 
"I don't expect the world to move underneath me, 
But for God's sake, would you try?

Where is your heart, 
Cause I don't really feel you.
Where is your heart,
What I really want is to believe you.
Is it so hard
To give me what I need?
I want your heart to bleed, 
That's all I'm asking for.
Where is your heart?"

As I read this and remembered all this, I realized that Alex isn't doing any less for me now than he was then. He is not emotionally present now, and he wasn't then. He is neglectful now, as he was then. I receive no affections of his love, no expression of his desire to give his heart to me. I see no look in his eye that tells me he loves me above all else, not now, and rarely then. The only difference is that now he is not physically present, and he can date boys who are okay with his lack of giving. 

But it also means that I can look for those Russian boys, so to speak. That yearning for a fulfilled and satisfying relationship can now become an action, a search. 

What this really did for me today was show me that he did not take anything away from me that I already didn't have, save for the illusion that I had it. 

I will still struggle. I will still fight the pain and the sick feeling in my stomach. I am not healed. I am not ready to fall in love. I am by no means ready to go out to dinner with Alex and this poor boy who he doesn't have to emotionally invest for. But I can take one more step away from him, and from the pain of the last four months. And I can take away a little more of the power he had over me, that he used so carelessly. I can take one more step toward freedom.

So Alex, where is your heart?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I love this song. (Please ignore the blatant use of Twilight images. If they offend, I apologize.)

The converse of my last post is this one. I am learning to let the relationship slip from my hands. And I am feeling a hope, or maybe just a dream, that something beautiful will come into my life.

When I listen to this song I can almost see it.

I'm in California. I've moved there to work. I've been there for a while, long enough to get settled in and meet people. And to meet him.

I'm sitting in a coffee shop on a Saturday morning. Tea in my cup and kindle in hand. A boy walks in. I glance up at him and almost gasp. There's something about him. He's striking. And there's a life in his eyes. A passion.

We're driving to the beach. I look over at him as we drive, sitting in his cute little swimming suit, sunglasses on his head, locks of hair falling over the lenses. He looks back at me with those eyes and grins. He leans over from the passenger seat and kisses my neck softly. I laugh, not because it tickles, but because it feels so good.

We park and walk hand in hand to the shore. The sun is warm and the ocean breeze cool. It's a perfect day. We lay out our towels and relax. We lie there for a while, letting the sun warm us. I feel his hand grab mine. I lock my fingers between his and give it a soft squeeze.

I sit up on my elbows and look at the ocean. He sits up, leans over, and kisses me softly. Then he rests his head on my shoulder.

We run into the water, diving into the coming waves. The cool water feels incredible on my warm skin. I surface and see him there. I walk up to him and wrap my arms around him. He rests his forehead on mine and looks at me with that look. That look that tells me without a doubt that he is hopelessly mine. That he sees no one else but me. I press my lips to his. This kiss is salty and wet, and the cushion of his lips presses gently against mine. We stand there for a moment, just being. Together.

We sit on the beach, arms wrapped around one another, as waves roll in and fiery sunset splashes against the sky. We stay until it's dark.

We finally fall into bed. Without even a word he reaches over and pulls me in, wrapping himself around me. I put my arms around him and listen to the hush of his breath on my neck. Everything is so warm, so perfect, so safe. I've almost slipped away when I hear him whisper. "I love you."

I can feel the tension in my stomach. My heart is beating in my ears. My hands are clammy and I can't stand still. I look over at him. He cleans up so well. I smile. He grins, those eyes making me melt all over. He takes me by the hand and we walk into the backyard. An aisle divides the sea of white chairs. They're full of all the people who have come into our lives in the last few years. Every eye is on us as we walk up to the front, then face one another.

I can't hear the words being said. All I can see is this boy. This boy, how did this happen? How did I end up here? It doesn't even seem real. But it is real. And he's looking at me with that look, as striking as that day in the coffee shop, as deep as that day on the beach. I hear nothing, but through wet eyes I see it all. I see, and I understand.

The song starts playing. We walk hand in hand onto the portable dance floor placed in the yard. He puts his arms around me, and I around him. And as she sings I feel every single word.

"I have died every day waiting for you.
Darling, don't be afraid, I have loved you
For a thousand years.
I'll love you for a thousand more..."


I'm supposed to be studying for a final right now. But I want to get my thoughts down.

It's been almost two months since the last entry. I don't really want to read through it today. There are a lot of potent emotions in that post.

I started chatting with a friend from another blog on facebook today. I've been concerned lately as I've dated and expanded my circle of gay friends that there are so many guys with so many issues in the gay community that finding a guy with a level head and some direction would be nigh unto impossible. He affirmed some of my observations, but assured me that despite what it may seem like, there are others out there like me.

I think one of the things that has made the breakup so difficult for me is that from my point of view the relationship was not about me "trying it out" with Alex, to see if I wanted to hang around. For me, I was already where I wanted to be. I had found someone so beautiful, so goodhearted, that I had no doubt that I wanted to be with him. Because of this, our relationship wasn't so much two fabrics that had been sewn together, needing nothing but unstitching to separate us. It was like two sheets of metal, heated and pounded and welded into one piece. At least it was for me. So a breakup was breaking a part of what I had already considered to be an extension of myself.

There are moments now and again when I get a vivid memory of what it was like to be with him. A stark glimpse of his sleeping face. The feel of my lips on his cheek. Walking into his bedroom and wrapping my arms around him from behind as he sat at the computer. My, I loved that boy...

In those moments, for just a split second, I think "Wait, where is he? Why haven't I seen him in so long?"

The trouble, then, is that even though it's been nearly four months, part of me still thinks he's mine.

I worry sometimes about the future. But I don't worry about whether or not someone will fall in love with me again. For some reason that doesn't cross my mind. The fear I harbor deep down is that I will never love like that again. That I will never take the risk again to let someone in that deep. That I will never fall for someone again. That no one will feel like my companion again.

I was talking to a friend online last night about the relationship. I wrote about my fear that the relationship was never as real as I had thought.

"Did it feel real?" he asked.

"So real I never thought the end was a possibility."

"Then don't doubt it."

A moment later he wrote: "You were beautiful in that relationship. The way you loved him was. Your friends would talk about it. You lit up when you talked about him."

I remember that feeling.

Part of me is still waiting for him to come back. For him to come to his senses. To knock on my door, tear-stained cheeks, and longing in his eyes.

That part of me is finally beginning to realize how hopeless that thought is. How much it wouldn't fix everything that's happened. How the pain, the breaking of trust, the locking myself away emotionally has already happened. And it can't be undone. Only worked through.

It's time to let go.

Alex, if you ever read this, I love you. I miss you everyday. You will always bring mixed emotions when I think of you. Such sacred beauty in the love we shared. Such piercing agony in the shattering. I have to finish what you started back in January, though. I can't take it anymore. So I'm letting you go.

Goodbye Alex.