Monthly Archives: December 2014

56. James Is Down For Fat Dudes

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So I am back to online dating. It’s an interesting topic to talk about, because when I mention it in a conversation, I can see people actually get embarrassed for me. I literally see them blush. Sometimes they even ask me to repeat myself, as if they can’t believe that I actually just confessed that not only am I looking for a (sexual) partner in crime but that I’m doing it using a social media app. People get squeamish when I bring it up as if I’m casually discussing how I like to fingerpaint with my terds or that I like to drink all fluids through my anus. I was unaware that online dating was supposed to be a taboo topic, and I don’t really understand why it would be. I mean, isn’t everyone secretly hoping to magically find a mate? Why is it wrong to talk about it? I’m the same as everyone else except that I’m not choosing to wait with bated breath and fingers crossed for someone to come into my life; I’m actively pursuing it. Plus it’s a great way to meet people that I wouldn’t encounter organically in the real world. My friends could all set me up with their other single pals, but then I’m inevitably dating somebody’s sloppy seconds. And do I really need to date another actor? ABSOLUTELY NOT. So this is a useful means for me to meet people outside of my social circle. I’m not the type of person who’s going to go out to a bar to meet someone, because I don’t really drink/ I hate bars. My friend asked me, “James, why don’t you just go to a bar, drink club soda and talk to people? That way you can meet someone in real life!” Well, I could do that, but then I couldn’t be upset later on when I discovered that this person was an alcoholic. Or if we became an item and they asked me to meet them at a bar for a night of heavy drinking, I would have to explain two things to them:
1) I shut down when I go to bars because I feel like a piece of meat, and as a result I stare at everyone with dead eyes a la Carrie right before she murders everyone at the prom.
2) I only was at that bar in the first place, because I was on the prowl, lurking for prey to snag.
But mostly… do lasting relationships start in bars? Or do you just take someone home to go buck wild for the night? #fuckbeingpolite

So online dating. I’ve done it a few times so I know how this goes. Clearly, I’ve never had a lasting relationship from Tinder, OKCupid, etc. but I’m willing to try it again. This time I’m trying something other than Tinder though, because that was a debacle for me. Let me explain Tinder really quickly to those that are unfamiliar: Tinder is a dating app. You upload like six pictures of you looking the BEST you’ve ever looked in your entire life, and you write a short blip about yourself that makes you sound casual, irresistible and clever with the LEAST amount of characters possible. The app then uses your GPS, and it shows you the profiles of people who are near you. It then presents you with a match, you look at their pictures, you read their info, and then you swipe “yes” or “no”. If you both swipe “yes”, the app allows you to message each other. Then a storybook romance ensues. Tada! Back to the story: The first time I had Tinder, I deleted it because it was giving me anxiety. A few months later I was convinced that I would be able to use Tinder while also keeping a tight-fisted grasp on my sanity, so I downloaded it for a second time. This time, I gave myself some guidelines. At first, I told myself, “James, hello, it’s James. How are you? Lonely? Perfect. So. Here are your rules: We will only do five swipes per day. Got it?” I did that for a while, but then I realized these guidelines were too strict to really yield me any viable options. So then I modified my rules and said, “James, you can swipe until you swipe ‘yes” to five different people.” Still, I found those rules to be too rigid so then I told myself that I could have unlimited swipes for five minutes per day. Well, friends, you can probably guess that it took a remarkably short period of time for this situation to escalate out of control. Eventually, I reached a point where I was waking up randomly in the middle of the night, grabbing my phone and swiping until I passed out again. But I really knew I had hit rock bottom when one night at 3:00 AM I was swiping deliriously with a blazing madness glowing in my half-open eyes, and all of a sudden Tinder told me, “You have no more available matches in your area.” Well that doesn’t sound so bad, does it? Or DOES IT?! Do you know what Tinder was actually saying to me?? “Hey, freak. You live in New York City, one of the most populated cities in the United States, and you have swiped through EVERY GAY MAN IN MANHATTAN. You should be ashamed of yourself, you psycho bastard! So put your phone away, cuddle up with your shame, flip over your drool-drenched pillow and go the fuck back to sleep. In the meantime, I’ll be…’refreshing matches in your area.”

I haven’t made up with Tinder since then. Instead I’m trying a different dating app now, but I can’t help replaying in my mind a certain situation that played out a few times while I was on Tinder. On multiple occasions, I met up with people who were 20 pounds heavier than they were in their pictures. Listen, I’m not upset at you for being heavy. Honestly, I’d rather date someone who has some meat on them than someone who is just a bag of bones; I’m a big guy, and I’d like to be with someone who is also of great physical substance. Seriously, dudes, if I look at you and there’s even the slightest inkling within me that if I lay on top of you that you will stop breathing and cease to exist, I’m not down. You’ve gotta be able to support my body weight without eking our your last wheezy breaths. Let me reiterate: I’m not mad at you for being a big boy; but I am upset that you felt like you needed to misrepresent yourself in order to be found desirable. I’m mad at you, bro! I’m mad that you felt like you needed to bamboozle me into thinking you were skinnier in order to get a date. Look, maybe I’ve never been overweight, but I know what it feels like to hustle for worthiness. I know what it feels like to conceal the undesirable and seemingly unlovable parts of myself in an effort to woo somebody. I know what it feels like to seek approval from others before giving myself permission to love me. I have my own shit of which I am ashamed, but if I make a big deal out of those things, I give them the power to become the Kim Jong-un of my life! If I allow shame to become my supreme leader I will always be thinking, ‘What will this dude think when he discovers this shameful thing about me that I’ve tried so hard to hide but still exists within me, making me unworthy of love?’ NO! NO NO NO NO NO! No! Let me speak to the weight issue specifically: skinny is NOT synonymous with “attractive and lovable” and fat is NOT synonymous with “unpretty and undesirable”. I think Kevin James is so fucking handsome. I have the biggest fucking crush on Zach Galifianakis AND Seth Rogen, just the way they are! You don’t have to be someone else in order for me to love you, and that is the root of the problem. The problem isn’t that you’re fat or that you’ve misrepresented yourself; the problem is that you aren’t confident that what you have to offer is plenty and that confidence alone would make you sexy as fuck. And that’s what frustrates me.

Everyone has body struggles. I know. But I also know that sometimes being overweight is genetic, and for some people it will be a lifetime struggle. But I THINK YOU’RE HOT RIGHT NOW. Not just cute. Not just adorable. BUT HOT. And I am WAY more likely to swipe “yes” to someone who is thick than someone who’s a stick. So please know that and just show me you. Show me the real you. Because YOU, just the way you are, ARE WORTHY OF LOVE AND BELONGING.

Big boy, you are beautiful.

#dontgiveup

JAMES

“Yeah, this one is for my bitches with a fat ass in the fucking club.”
~”Anaconda” by Nicki Minaj

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Here. I’ll be me, the Christmas llama, as long as you be you, whoever you are.

 

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55. James Is Not That Kind Of Gay

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So I’ve been realizing lately that I’m a bit different than many of the gays around me. Let me give a few examples:

Sex Parties: Someone was telling me about this sex party that they attended. My first question was, “Now… what makes this party a ‘sex’ party? Does everyone wear party-hats on their wieners? Does everyone use glitter as lube? Does everyone throw confetti when they ejaculate? Or like…. Ooooooh, a sex party; like sexuality, like a celebration of the broad spectrum of sexuality where all persons are all welcome? Oh okay, I’m down!” But then I was informed as to what a sex party really is. This same friend, recovering from the all-night sex party, said, “I am so full of cum that I could vomit.”

My response was a long silence followed by some very violent vomiting. I could not relate to the way my friend was feeling, but, using my powers of empathy, I’m assuming he felt similar to the way I do at the end of a free buffet dinner or when I’m at the movie theater alone finishing my third bucket of popcorn. Also, I know someone else who went to a sex party and got some juice in their eye! And no, I’m not talking about fruit punch… although it was technically punch from a fruit, if you catch my drift. Listen, I don’t need to be losing my damn eye sight for no sex! And I definitely don’t need to be basted like a Thanksgiving turkey until stuffing is pouring from every orifice! I mean, my thirst is real, but DAMN, y’all! A Costco-sized package of Gatorade couldn’t QUENCH your thirst; that’s how real it is!!! I applaud you all on your bravery and sexual gumption, but I just couldn’t! I would be asking everyone if they’d been tested recently while they impatiently pistol-whipped me with their peepees. Or asking everyone if they had a pleasant day while they hurriedly put on their… “party hats”. It’s just not my scene. But party on, friends!

Grindr: Okay. So I have never had a Grindr ever. Ever. If you are unfamiliar with Grindr because you are so old you sneeze dust or you don’t have a smartphone because you’re afraid the government is tracking your every move, Grindr is this app for gay dudes who want to get laid. You make a profile, the app uses your location and shows you where the closest horny gay dude is. It literally tells you how many feet away they are from your current position. And then you can message each other and meet up and then pound each other like you’re tenderizing a chicken breast. Or whatever. So this is all secondhand knowledge, because I’ve never had it. Again, it freaks me out. So I made a Gay explain it all to me a la Clarissa:

I said, “So, do they just come over and you just bone?”
He said, “Sometimes.”
“Wait, please explain it to me. Like, do you have a conversation when they come over? Or do you just get naked and wrestle like sweaty pigs?”
“It really depends. Sometimes they come over, I’ll ask about their day and then we’ll go to my room and turn off the lights and then do it. And then sometimes they just come over, we say hi and then go to my room.”
“But like, afterwards… do you keep talking? Like, do you see them again?”
“Eh, sometimes. But most of the time I don’t talk to them again.”

Well, I clearly couldn’t grasp this concept. I can only imagine how this would go for me…

I would invite them over with a message FULL of inappropriate emoticons, including, but not limited to, the poopie emoji. When they got to the door, I would try to greet them with a kiss. Remembering that that is an inappropriate greeting for a hookup situation, I would play it off by biting their ear while honking on their dick too hard. They would gasp in pain, and I would smile back seductively, not knowing that a piece of their earlobe is stuck in my front teeth. I would try to take their coat to hang it up. But they would be confused by my generosity so I would overcompensate by throwing their coat into the kitty litter over my shoulder. The cat (that I don’t own) would promptly shit all up on it. I would slowly lead them to my room, stubbing my toe a minimum of three times. Limping into my dark room, I would close the door behind them. I would be too eager in the pitch black, and I would attack them with kisses, attaching myself like a koala bear going in for some juicy eucalyptus. Of course, it would take me a minute to realize that I was making out with the coat rack. I would recover by crawling all sexy over to them. I would try to pull their pants down, but they would confuse me for my feral cat and they would kick me in the face. I would lose conscious for 5 minutes, tops. Eventually, we would make it to the bed, and it would be so, so, so….awful. So awful. I would accidentally say, “I love you,” a few times, and I would try to cover it up by giggling their name aloud. But there’s no way I’d remember their name. But it doesn’t matter, because I’m positive that I would call them one of my ex-boyfriend’s names anyway. They would look perplexed so I would make some very scary, guttural gorilla sounds to simulate me reaching climax. But it would suddenly hit me how bad I wish this person flopping on top of me would just love me. I would burst into ugly tears with all the snot a la Viola Davis in the movie version of Doubt. I wouldn’t want them to know that I was crying, so I would tell them that my face is ejaculating and that it’s a New Age thing. It would finally end. There would be a deafening silence while the wreckage from our colossal car crash smolders on the abandoned highway before anyone’s registered what’s really happened. I’d be covered in snot, tears and regret; he’d be covered in… “fruit punch”. I would ask if he wanted to stay and watch a movie. He would try to make a hasty exit. I would try to salvage it by wooing him with my singing, but the only song I would be able to remember the words to would be “I Can’t Make You Love Me”. He would run out the door with his shoes in his hands while I howled out my sad ballad, the whole time my imaginary cat peeing on my face in an effort to make me shut the hell up. And I would lie there, staring at the ceiling, smelling like ammonia, wondering if I could get a second “date” with that mysterious man who left me alone with my persnickety pussy.

I can’t do casual sex. I can’t. I would be terrible at it. I’ve actually tried it. I’m pretty sure I cried. I just want something substantial. I feel that there was a window of opportunity that I could’ve learned to be good at relationships based on sex, but I don’t want that anymore. I want some sort of stability in my hectic life. My whole career is based on flexibility. Sometimes I have less than a week’s notice to prepare for an audition and to find someone to cover my shift at work. Most theater gigs happen outside of New York for just a few months.  I leave my job and all my relationships to learn an entire show and cultivate brand new friendships in an excruciatingly short period of time. I’m grasping at stability like straws, man. I’m already bopping around from city to city and relationship to relationship for my career; I can’t be hopping around from dick to dick, too. I would love to be with the same dick for an extended period of time. Like a long time. Like, 3 weeks or so… Or 3 months. Whatever, I’ll take whatever.

I’m 25, man. I don’t wanna do the “sexually adventurous” thing. That’s not my gig. I wanna do the “go to dinner and smile across the table” thing. The last time I went to a gay bar, I pushed a dude who tried to grind up on me. Perhaps if he had presented me with a rose, I would’ve responded with more courtesy. But instead, he decided to rub his weird little boner all over my leg, and my Hulk rage took over. I’m not that kind of gay. I’m looking for somebody to stick around and have dinner. Or go walking. Or just be my friend who I have sex with. Repeatedly. Isn’t that what a relationship is, a best friend that you have sex with? I mean, we can turn it into a sex party. As long as it’s just the two of us. I’ll bring a cake. No, I’ll bring three cakes; one for me, one for him and one emergency cake. And we’ll eat our respective cakes, and then just have sex with each other. Or we can sleep off our sugar hangovers. And we won’t do the Grindr but we can grind—Never mind. That’s just filthy, James.

I’m just not those things. I’m this thing. And I’m totally okay with that. I’m sure there’s another gay out there who is horrified by the thought of a sex party that doesn’t have an emergency cake…

And I’m gonna find you.

#dontgiveup

JAMES

“I could tell you was fantasizing that you would come slide in me and confide in me.”
~”Buy a Heart” by Nicki Minaj (feat. Meek Mill)

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I wanted to use this really cute picture of my grandparents when they were younger, but I realized that I talked about someone vomiting out cum…. so it didn’t feel appropriate.

 

54. James Reads A Bitch For Filth

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This month I’ve been devoting an hour every day to writing. It’s awesome because it provokes a lot of self-reflection. But it also sucks… because it provokes a lot of self-reflection.

For example, I’ve been recognizing a certain recurring pattern in my dating life, and it goes a little something like this (Hit it, DJ):  I’ll be seeing someone, and everything will be totally normal. We’re clicking, we’re jiving, I’m hilarious, they’re eating it up like Thanksgiving dinner, life cooler than cake. And then one day, out of the blue, something shifts. To some people it may be almost imperceptible. But I’m a fucking Cancer so NOTHING goes unnoticed, bookay?? Suddenly, they don’t text back as often as they used to. They don’t make an effort to hang out anymore. Yes, they’re really busy, but their schedule has always been jam-packed. Yet now they no longer make an effort to squeeze me in.

Now that I’ve become aware of these changes, I realize there are only two possible realities:
Reality  #1: Nothing has changed, and I’m being hypersensitive and insane.
Reality #2:
Something has changed, and I will be making a fool of myself if I continue to pursue them when they no longer have feelings for me. And if I continue to be vulnerable to this person by doing affectionate things, I may call these “acts of courage and authenticity” but they’ll feel like “acts of absolute stupidity”.

In order to figure out which reality I’m currently living in, I must take action. So I broach the subject with them: “Hey, is everything good between us? I’m sensing that you’ve lost interest. It’s okay if you’re no longer down; just let me know.” Now, by asking this, I’m accomplishing two things:

  1. I’m getting to the bottom of the situation a la fugging Nancy Drew: I’m asking if it’s really happening, or if it’s in my head. I’m giving them the opportunity to tell me if something is going on in their lives that has caused them to change the way that we’re interacting. There is a chance that I’m taking this too personally when in reality they’re dealing with some heavy shit that has nothing to do with me.
  2. I’m giving them an out: I’m giving them the opportunity to say, “You know what, I’m not really feeling this anymore.” I realize that it’s really hard to tell someone that you’re no longer interested; I get it. So I’m trying to make it easier by asking them the question. All they have to say is, “You’re right. I’m sorry. I don’t think this is a good fit.”

Let me be clear, this specific situation has happened to me three separate times now. And it always goes the same way. I give them the out, but they always respond with: “Oh no, I still like you. I’m just really busy.”

….

Okay. Listen up, cowboy, this isn’t my first fucking rodeo. I know what’s going on here. Just grab hold of your balls, and use your words. I know you’ll probably feel like an asshole for telling me you don’t like me anymore, but I’m a big boy; I’ve been through more painful things in my life, and I can handle this. You’re actually being more of a jerk by telling me you’re still interested, because you’re giving me false hope, which is probably the cruelest thing you can do to someone. No, I take that back. The worst thing you can do to someone is make them feel crazy. I openly admit that I have a very real struggle with mental health. I feel things with all my heart, and my emotions know great depths. So if I like you, I really like you. I am OBSESSED with my friends. I love them so much it hurts, and I make it known to them constantly. So you have to understand that when you tell me, “No, James. I still like you. No, James, nothing has changed. It’s all in your head,” but then you continue to put distance between us, I feel extremely crazy.

I discussed this situation with my mother, because she knows the answer to everything. And she told me something really helpful: “James, you’re extremely emotionally aware for someone your age, especially a male.”

Alright. Touché, Mother. Perhaps I can’t be furious with these individuals. I just assume that they know exactly what they’re doing. I assume that they know that they’re not interested, and they just keep me hanging on out of some sort of cowardice or insecurity about not having someone pursue them. But maybe they have no fucking clue! Caity said, “James, being emotionally aware takes practice, and you’ve been practicing for a while! Some people haven’t even started.” True. Maybe they don’t know that they’ve lost interest. Maybe they don’t realize that the way we’re communicating has changed. Maybe they are absolutely oblivious to the affect they’ve had on me. Maybe they aren’t supervillains trying to thwart my rise to Fame and Happily-Ever-After. Just because they aren’t Team James doesn’t mean they’re Team Anti-James.

Fair enough. But let me just read you boys for filth before I close up the library for today. This is what many of my past relationships have felt like:

Do you remember that game we played when we were kids: Red-Light-Green-Light? Well if you’re not familiar because you were too busy eating the dandelions and wondering why the sky is so fucking blue (no judgment), I will explain it to you. The gym teacher usually was the Traffic Controller, and the kids were the cars. The goal was to go from the starting line to the finish line near the Traffic Controller. Every time the teacher said, “Green light,” we all stumbled as quickly as we could towards them. When they said, “Yellow light,” we moved in slow motion. When they said, “Red light,” we came to a full halt. If you violated the light, you had to start over; the stakes are much lower than if you blow a red light in real life. Well, in my relationships, the other person has almost always been the Traffic Controller, and I was the small child sitting cross-legged at the starting line with my foot in my mouth screaming, “VROOM VROOM!!!” When the Traffic Controller gave me permission to move closer with a shout of, “Green light,” I would quickly hop towards them, increasing intimacy in the least threatening way possible. If things needed to slow down, they would yell, “Yellow light,” and I would move towards them in slow-motion, sticking my tongue out and crossing my eyes all the while to distract them from the terror of pending intimacy. And when they became too overwhelmed by the thought of us actually being together (HEAVEN FORBID), they would exclaim, “RED LIGHT,” and I would freeze completely. And although both of us were supposed to remain still, frozen in time, we would both stealthily inch away from each other, secretly believing physical distance would minimize the pain of emotional distance, smiling as we retreated, pretending that a relationship could come to a full halt with zero casualties. But I’ve played this game repeatedly with different dudes: them being the slightly hot gym teacher who dictates proximity, and me being the excited child who can’t WAIT to reach the finish line, not giving the slightest fuck about what will happen when I actually reach the sexy gym teacher who was so reluctant to let me be close; I just know I’ll be at the finish line, and everything will be okay, because I’ll win, and I’ll be the winner, and I LIKE DANDELIONS!!

But rarely do they actually every say, “Red light”; it’s only implied with their actions. But they continue to tell me that everything is fine. So I keep pursuing. I’ll send one more text that says something like, “I’d like to see you again,” and I’ll get no response. I will immediately feel like an idiot, and I’ll want to swallow my iPhone so I can simultaneously choke on it while also preventing myself from sending any more heartfelt texts. I’ll feel myself falling victim to the turbulent winds of a Shame Storm: my stomach drops out, my whole body turns cold and my mind starts reeling with unkind thoughts toward myself. Then I have to make the conscious decision to navigate my way out of the storm by talking to myself louder than the destructive cyclone in my head. I’ll take deep breaths, cover my face and speak aloud to myself the first words that come to mind: “I’m not stupid. I’m not stupid. I’m not stupid.”

Because I’m not; I’m not stupid. I was courageous for putting myself out there. No, it didn’t go my way. But I tried, and that’s the success. Some people are paralyzed by the fear of possibility, but I tried. Sure, maybe I embarrassed myself a couple times by being over-eager and possibly over-zealous, but I tried. Yes, I’m still haunted by the memories of how sweet everything was in the beginning and I have to resign myself to the fact that I will never know why everything changed, but at least I tried. I don’t want to be ashamed of any of it. Brené Brown says that sometimes it’s enough to just show up. And I did that every time. I showed up with my heart in my hands, thoughtfully practicing authenticity, and I’m proud of myself for that.

After it all, I just have to tell myself, “You’re OK, James. CUZ YOU’RE THE FUCKING SHIT.” People always laugh at me or make fun of me for lacking modesty about my virtues, but I don’t have the time to shortchange myself to make others feel more comfortable. The rest of the fucking world is going to shit all over me, and I’m not gonna be another diarrhea cloud in that shit storm. Yes, I recognize my imperfections, but I know that I have a fuck-ton to offer. So you may judge me for being a fan of myself, but I simply don’t have the time to pretend that I don’t know I’m fucking cool as tits. I don’t have time for any of it anymore. I don’t have time to play Red-Light-Green-Light where I’m at the mercy of someone who has no intention of ever letting me reach the finish line. I don’t have time to play Red Rover where I run towards the outstretched arms of someone with the hopes of an embrace but end up on my back, breathless, staring at the sky, wondering, ‘How the fuck did I get here?’ I have no time for childhood games or fuckery of any sort.  And I definitely don’t have the time to submit myself to gaslighting either; I already feel as if it’s Me vs. Me, and I don’t need anyone adding tinder to that bonfire.  I can empathize with people’s issues until I turn blue, but there has to be a point where my sanity takes precedence.

And with that, the library has been officially closed.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”
~Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

#dontgiveup

JAMES

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53. James Struggles With Authenticity

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Hey. How are you. I don’t care. Let’s get down to business, shall we?
#letsgetcracking #thegoddamnedshowmustgoon #shesfucked #imready

So I’ve been having this real struggle with authenticity lately. Clearly, I’ve been reading a lot of Brene Brown. She talks about the relationship between vulnerability and authenticity. She defines authenticity as “the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are” (Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown #readit). Authenticity is about letting people see who you really are, imperfections and all. It’s about cutting away all the bullshit and courageously showing the world your true colors. I feel like I do a good job of showing my true self because I wear fur vests in public, but I do know that I struggle with speaking my heart when I fear negative consequences. I’m not great at expressing my feelings when they are anything but positive; I don’t particularly enjoy telling people that I feel uncertainty, insecurity, fear, anger, sadness, disappointment, etc. I’d rather tell people that I feel awesome all the fucking time. But that’s not real life. No matter the emotion, telling people how you feel requires vulnerability. You are making yourself vulnerable when you say, “Hey, you were the best part of me day today (I’m Irish in this example),” the same way you’re making yourself vulnerable when you tell someone, “Hey, you really let me down today.” God, just the thought of saying that aloud made me want to vomit up all my iced coffee, but that would be a waste of caffeine. Unless it means I get to taste my coffee twice. Hey… that doesn’t sound so bad.

Okay. So Brene gives a gameplan for practicing authenticity. She says that when you’re venturing into vulnerable territory, if your only goal is to be authentic then you can’t be disappointed. But if you dive into a vulnerable situation with the intention of receiving approval or acceptance from someone then you have the possibility of feeling shame when you don’t receive those things. If you’re going into a situation thinking to yourself, ‘Hey, I’m just gonna speak my heart and be myself, and all I seek is the pride of courageously showing my honest, imperfect, vulnerable self,” then you can’t be disappointed! Because you don’t need approval from the listener to feel okay.

The thing about vulnerability is that it sounds immensely gratifying in theory. “Oh my god, I would love for someone to see my true colors… as long as I don’t have to go first.” But that’s the even more courageous thing to do, to be the one to open up first. And all those “firsts” in a relationship are terrifying, because it’s all uncharted territory where both people are fumbling around a jagged obstacle course in the dark. But remember whether it’s the end of the first date and you’re the one to ask for a second date or it’s the end of the second date and you’re both naked and you don’t know who’s gonna take it up the ass, someone’s gotta go first.

So I’ve been having this struggle lately:

If you have read any of my blog posts…. or if you have read even half of a blog post, you know that I am a person with MANY feelings. I know that people think that EVERYONE has many feelings. Okay, maybe that’s true. But I talk about ALL of them. All of them. If a friend gives me side-eye even for a split second, I will want to ask them if we’re fighting. They might respond with, “Oh, no, my contact was sliding around in my eye, and I was just looking for it.” But I feel like everything needs to be said.

Let me repeat that:
I feel like everything needs to be said.

In my life, I have had a few lots of many relationships with the menfolk. And of these relationships, the ones that burnt to the ground were incinerated by a lack in communication. So. All of the relationships that I have had have gone up in flames. Cool, right? But let me define lack of communication. Because it wasn’t always the same. At times, one of us was feeling a certain way but didn’t feel comfortable sharing the information with the other. For example, I have been known to tell myself, “Oh, this thing is really bothering me, but I will fix it all on my own. No one will help me. This thing will be fixed by me and me alone. The Bible says, ‘This too shall pass’. So I’m not sure if that particular verse is referring to kidney stones or heartache, but I’m going to assume that it applies to all things. And I know that there’s that saying about accepting the things I cannot change, but instead I’m just gonna assume I am omnipotent and I can fix all things, including the things I cannot change. So. Suck on that, Life!” But there were also times, when I just didn’t want to make myself vulnerable by sharing my feelings with my partner. I thought to myself, ‘Why should I have to open up? Why do they get to know everything about me, and I get to know nothing about them? Because then they get to hold all the cards while I sit here naked?! Hell fuckin nah!’

(Clearly this is the part of the blog where I’m halfway through my jumbo iced coffee, and all the caffeine is starting to hit me. The man next to me stares at me in bewilderment, wondering how I can possibly type a blog this fast with my eyes closed and drool careening from my mouth-hole. [He just looked over and read this. I wonder what he thinks. I would turn and wink but my fur is too big, and it’s blockading my face. Blockading. Yep.])

Withholding my feelings from my partners was very, very bad. Very bad. Because those small things that started off in my head as “inconsequential, petty things that I could either fix on my own or just get the fuck over” eventually snowballed into “humongous, non-negotiable deal-breakers”. Yes, some of my relationships were fucked from the get-go. But some issues could have been resolved if I had said something. I’m not crying over spilled milk…that would be a waste of tears because I would just lick my spilled milk off the ground. But really, I’m just mindfully reflecting on my past.

But there were other breakdowns in communication. Sometimes when I would be texting a boy that I had the hots for, we would be texting like madmen, sending 9 million texts a minute. The text thread would be growing exponentially while we both sent text messages like we couldn’t possibly be bothered by real life happening around us. And then. AND THEN! The boy stopped rapidly texting, and maybe the next response came ten minutes later. And then I read the response and thought to myself, ‘Well, I’m just gonna wait ELEVEN minutes to respond to this text. That’ll show him! HOW DARE HE HAVE OTHER CONCERNS BESIDES TEXTING! Yeah, that’ll really put him in his place.’

Now, stop gawking at me and thinking, ‘Wow, James is totes a crazy person.’ Because I know you have done it, too. I feel like I have a pretty solid head on my shoulders, and yet I have done this a MILLION times in my life. I’m a very mature person; I wear lots of black and I only shit in my pants once a year, but I still act like a child sometimes.

So. I’ve learned that communication is vital.

Now here’s the current struggle. I always know how I feel. 99% of the time, I know exactly what I’m feeling and why I’m feeling it. And I always want to express my feelings. To everyone. But it’s hard with someone new. With someone new, there’s all this uncharted territory; no one really knows how everything works yet. And someone has to be the first to open up and be vulnerable; someone’s gotta take the giant step on the New Frontier currently known as Authenticity. For example, if I miss a Someone New, and I want to share this information with a Someone New. But before I vocalize my feelings, I need to solidify my intention. Am I saying, “Hey, I miss you,” because I want to hear it back? Or am I saying, “Hey, I miss you,” because it’s how I feel, and I simply want to practice authenticity? Because I have to be okay with not hearing it back. Also, it doesn’t mean as much if I’m only saying the words to hear them back. I mean, honestly, how many times have we all told someone, “I love you,” just because we needed to hear it back in that moment? And if that’s the intention, to feel love, then the purity and honesty behind the words, “I love you,”  are diminished. The real act of courage is opening yourself up without the guarantee that they will return the sentiment. Coming face-to-face with the queasiness of uncertainty; that’s vulnerability.

So it’s been a real struggle for me. Because I want to actively practice authenticity. I want to be courageous enough to open myself up without needing the other person to reciprocate. But how do I practice patience and kindness with myself while I sit in the wasteland of terror in my moments of post-vulnerability? How do I become content with speaking my heart without waiting for the approval of the listener? How do I keep myself from banging my head against the wall until exhaustion after I’ve bared my soul to somebody? And at what point do I stop practicing courage, vulnerability and all the other horseshit and just put my hood over my head and drown myself in the couch cushions??

I really should have started this blog with a joke. This is some real shit, huh? Ok. Two guys walked into a bar. Then they hugged each other, gave each other butterfly kisses and lived happily ever after. Get it?! It’s funny, because TRUE LOVE DOESN’T EXIST.

….that was a joke, get it? Alright, back to our regularly scheduled programming: Vulnerability Hour with James Marvin Mayo Hansen #holdthemayo #XtraMayo

So I was really mulling over this predicament last week while I was flying home to surprise my family for Thanksgiving. Stacy and I took a cab to my mother’s office and we waited for her to come back from her lunch break. She walked in and exclaimed, “What are you guys doing here?!?!” And she gave me a big, strong, back-breaking, I-love-you-I-mean-it hug. Then we were like, GIVE US YOUR CAR WE’RE GOING TO SURPRISE MARVIN (my father).

Stacy and I drive over to Home Depot to surprise my father while we laugh maniacally about how brilliant we are. Then we discuss how hard it is to drive again after being in NYC for so long. I propose that the hardest thing about driving is remembering to put the car in park before turning it off. We nod together thoughtfully.

We arrive at Home Depot where my father works in shipping and receiving. We promptly find a woman named Stephanie who we wrangle into helping us surprise my father. Then we find my father’s boss, and he excitedly decides to join in the surprise. They page my dad over the intercom while Stacy and I hide behind a stack of poinsettias. Stephanie finds my dad and tells him he’s in trouble with Boss. Clearly, Stephanie got carried away, because now my father thinks he’s getting fired. So my dad is standing in front of Boss who says, “Marv, you can’t take all day. The thing is….” then me and Stacy jump out and surprise my dad! “SURPRISE, YOU’RE NOT LOSING YOUR JOB IT’S JUST JAMES YOUR FAVORITE SHITHEAD I DIDN’T TELL STEPHANIE TO TELL YOU YOU’RE GETTING FIRED I DON’T KNOW WHY SHE DID THAT YAY HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!”

When my dad saw me, he looked at me with the same fear in his eyes that he used to get in my childhood when I would wander into his room in the middle of the night like a “tiny” spectre because I was afraid of monsters under my bed who wanted to murder me for my amazing fashion sense. Then my dad gave me the same kind of hug my mom did while Stephanie and Boss laughed devilishly and high-fived over their Tony-award winning performances. When my dad pulled away he was wiping tears from his eyes. In front of his co-workers. And in that moment, I decided who I wanted to be. I want to be my dad. I don’t want to hide my vulnerabilities. I don’t want to pretend I’m not moved to tears by something that makes me super happy. I don’t want to act like nothing can penetrate my shield of Cool Guy exterior. I want to be fiercely, unapologetically passionate. I want to tell people how I feel. I want to get giddy and excited about drag queens without worrying about compromising my masculinity. I want to lipsync to that one song on my iPod that just GETS ME while I stomp the pavement while Harlem children point and laugh at my red harem pants. I want to be authentic and vulnerable just like my dad.

Also Dad, I’m sorry they made you think you were getting fired. That situation just snowballed out of control. Stephanie and Boss are amateur actors, and they raised the stakes a bit to high for that particular scene. But they’re committed to their craft, and they will learn someday. I love you a lot, and I want to grow up to be just like you. Because you’re awesome, and your children are super hot. Especially James.

“Bang my head against the wall. Though I felt light-headed, now I will not fall; I will rise above it all. Found what I was searching for. Though I felt light-headed, I should’ve fell and hit the floor. Instead I rise above it all.”
~”Bang My Head” by David Guetta feat. Sia

#dontgiveup

JAMES

53Here is a picture of my niece, Ava, wrecklessly practicing a handstand while I sit idly by and take pictures.