Friday, April 21, 2017

Afloat (or Not) on the Cosign Wave

Boy, has it been a while since my last post! I hope you don't take it too personally--it has been several months since the last time I made an entry in my own personal journal. I've been trying with varying degrees of success to bring a greater sense of order to my life. Here's a little taste of what my "surfing" has been like lately:

I'm kind of over Joseph, to be honest. I texted him a few weeks after our last conversation, only to be greeted by complete silence. Sometime in March, I was randomly visited by two members of the YSA Elders' Quorum Presidency, one of whom was a mutual friend of Joseph's. Upon my inquiry, he shared that he hadn't heard a thing from Joseph since before he moved. That solidified for me that Joseph simply wasn't the type to maintain a friendship unless he was right there. So I'm moving on.

It helped that I have had several positive experiences, several of which included massage exchanges, with guys on Grindr. Although I am disappointed that on a few accounts (actually, virtually all of them), those points of contact didn't result in a lasting friendship for whatever reason, my worth and masculinity were affirmed in positive ways, all while respecting and upholding the law of chastity.

Strangely, that has made me feel like dating in earnest. I say "strangely", because "dating" for me always connotes dating a woman, and it's quite interesting, as I see it, that such experiences would lead me to desire to seek out my wife more proactively. I posted an e-mail to a North Star forum to lightheartedly share my exasperation:

Hey! So I've been thinking quite a bit lately about dating. Although Grindr seems like a sess pool on most days, some of the few times I have actually met any guys in person have reinforced that I have positive qualities that could be seen as attractive by someone else.

I'd like to try dating girls for a change (don't ask me the last time I was on a date...I'm not quite sure...). My only viable option is the wonderful world of online dating (insert fireworks and confetti and exclamation marks here). But here's a taste of what that's been like:


Me: *sets it to nearby.

Me: Oh, this lady is pretty cute, and close to me on the grid. Oh, even better: she lives in Seattle!

Me: *deletes app.

Me: Nice! There are girls that actually live within miles of me.

Me: *does a fist pump. Yeah! I can't even message them without forking out a bunch of cash!! It's my lucky day!

Me: *deletes app.


Me: Splendid! An app so wonderful that it's not even compatible with my phone!

Me: *would delete app for its glaringly obvious problem, except the problem is that I can't download it...

So, dreadful sarcasm aside......does anyone know any dating apps or sites that don't have these problems?

Feel free to leave a comment if you have a possible answer to that question that doesn't include obnoxious (oh, did I actually write that out loud? Oh well.) swipe-right apps like Tinder.

I also had some really good mojo flowing at the gym for a while:

Me: Alright, so I'm tired of feeling like passing out every time I squat twice my bodyweight. But apparently, I can go to the gym three times a week, doing a total of fifty reps of squats each time, as long as I supplement with three scoops of high quality whey protein each day.

Life: Oh, silly, silly Aaron. That would be way too easy! Your stomach will throw a major fit if you do that. Why? Why, life forbid that you should actually catch a foothold and progress somehow! *insert maniacal laughter here*

Needless to say, it's been a few weeks since I worked out consistently.

So I'm on a quest for routine and consistency. Today's been a good day, but I want to/need to keep it up. Life seems to find an inordinate amount of joy in pushing back whenever I stand up and move forward. I think that if I just got some momentum flowing in one department (such as bodybuilding, making friends, or my career), I could carry that into the rest of my life. But for now, I'm just going to focus on the Scriptures--particularly the Book of Mormon--and language development. We'll see if I can make it from the waves to peaceful waters, then to the shore, then to cultivating the promised land.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Deep Connection

So with some undeniable closure in regards to Joseph and my spell of depression lifted, I spent this past week getting forty hours of practice, cleaning the house, and getting myself back to the gym. I made a complete one-eighty, and even managed to save a school of orphans from the twelfth floor of a burning building.

Hahaha! I do have a sense of humor after all, don't I? You have to admit, though, that I had you going right up until the orphans. I can't even think of a place with twelve floors around here...

No, I've had an addiction to break and some idleness to unravel, the offspring of the deep funk I'd allowed myself to fall into. The anime does indeed help me with my Japanese, but it's a difficult thing for me to moderate. Thankfully I've had some assistance in conducting a detox, but my formerly provident lifestyle won't come without a price. I'm working on it.

I had an experience this last week that made me appreciate the good, sane guys that I've managed to connect with, as few as they are. But I don't want to focus on that, but I'll tell you what I told him: "Why would I have STDs?"

On the other hand, I had a very positive yet appropriate experience that was groundbreaking for me, which happened just earlier tonight.

Now, a warning is fair. I'm here to be frank and honest, and the following may very easily be arousing for you, especially if you're a guy who experiences same-sex attraction. This may be disconcerting for those who are "straight", as our society is not conducive to this sort of thing nowadays. But I will use modest language and correct terms.

I met up with a guy in reply to an ad he'd posted on Craigslist a few weeks ago. We grabbed a bite to eat at the restaurant below his apartment to talk, mostly so I could determine if I could trust him. You see, he was looking for someone to exchange massages with, something I really wanted. Notwithstanding the many things I strived to do to recover from my vigorous trips to the gym, it would often take days for me to get over the delayed soreness. Although I felt like we were on the same page as far as boundaries go, I didn't contact him for a while, as I had stopped frequenting the gym for several weeks, and poor weather further discouraged superfluous driving. However, I managed to eke in an hour's worth of a workout within the forty-five minutes my gym had before closing Saturday night.

And I've been feeling it.

So I made arrangements with him for tonight. Conducting an auto-assessment, I had about seven thoroughly sore areas, several of which were large muscle groups.

Of course, I'm on my guard when I get there. He insisted on massaging me first. I was garbed with my garment bottoms and a towel by the time I laid on my stomach for him to get started. Some background about this guy: Kevin (another pseudonym) is just a year older than me. Although he has no religious background and has been in a relationship with another guy or two, he was raised in Utah, which seems to be significant to his character.

Anyways, he started with my back and shoulders as we talked all the while. He did a good job, especially considering the condition that affects his grip.

The fifty deadlifts I'd done on Saturday made my hamstrings the next obvious target. However, my garment briefs would be a bit of an obstruction. Not to mention that I sheepishly mentioned that my glutes were also sore.

For those of you who do not know the names of all your muscle groups, the glutes are, well...your hindquarters? No...your personal seat cushions? No, that doesn't cut it either...

Let me tell you straight: they be the butt.

He seemed unfazed by this, and since I knew I needed it (you should have seen me every time I tried to stand up today), I made the only reasonable accommodation there was to make:

I lost the towel and briefs.

He then proceeded to give thorough attention to the areas I had indicated, and proved me right to deem him trustworthy, as he did not at any point make any sexual move at all. Now, even before this, using the word "aroused" would not be sufficient to describe me. However, at this point, there was absolutely no hiding an erection, especially since he was thorough working my hamstrings from the inside of my legs. But the entire time, he was completely respectful; there was no grabbing things that weren't meant to be grabbed, or sticking things where they weren't meant to be stuck. He frequently checked to make sure he wasn't crossing any boundaries. And if completely undressing in front of Kevin wasn't enough, he had me turn onto my back to target the areas of my hamstrings he couldn't reach before. And we were able to laugh off my manhood's attempts to impress him! I eventually got dressed and did exactly the same for him.

And it all felt so good! This definitely wasn't an exercise meant to entertain--there was a clearly defined purpose which we both benefited immediately from; I was able to disassociate arousal, massages, and being so exposed and vulnerable from sexual acts. We bonded a great deal, talking about everything from politics, high school, and family to boundaries, Joseph, professions and working out, all while laughing away our insecurities of what was right in front of the other. It was incredibly healing, and not just because I don't look as handicapped as my cat when I stand up.

There was once a time when it was not only socially acceptable, but encouraged to bond with other men in such an intimate way, both entirely platonic and deeply enriching.

I wish more guys would be more open to this sort of thing. That might be too much to ask from Joseph, but if there's anyone else out there...

Needless to say, I'm looking forward to seeing Kevin this weekend.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Up to Date

The irony of this post is that my reference in naming my last post was concerning Joseph's own comment that his response was overdue. This post is overdue on account of myself.

Within an hour of me writing my last post, he surprised me by promptly sending me the letter he mentioned via e-mail, texting me, "I hope this cheers you up."

He didn't attempt to excuse himself for taking so long to respond, but he explained that he had been struggling due to an emotional complex his parents had caused/were causing, in which they made him responsible solely for the relationship between him and them. This isn't a new topic; we'd discussed it during those walks we went on. However, I had come under the impression that that had largely been resolved, since he went all the way home to spend several weeks under the same roof as them. But apparently, such was not the case, and the consequent rawness made it difficult for him to acknowledge immediately what I'd written to him. This said, he had an epiphany the night before I texted him that it was not right nor healthy for the responsibility of his paternal connections to lie on his shoulders alone.

He proceeded to tell me that he truly appreciated what I'd done for him as a friend, that my strength throughout my challenges helped him in his, and that it would be a great loss to lose me as a friend. He had learned that I was gay after I made a comment that one Sunday, when he asked someone to clarify his confusion. He seemed to fully accept that as well as my clearly expressed feelings toward him.

After this, we texted back and forth over the next few days, getting me caught up on how he's doing now.

I had tears come to my eyes as I read what he had obviously taken some considerable time and consideration to articulate. I was so glad that I decided to express faith in him, as I am now experiencing the benefit of the benefit of the doubt. I thanked him for (finally) doing that for me, dispelling my worst fears. At once he also did away with my depression, as it centered almost entirely on this situation, craving acceptance from the person I'd grown to connect with the most.

I've spent the last week trying to enforce the resulting paradigm shift; whereas the little things I passed by on day to day that brought thoughts of him to mind triggered pain, frustration, and heartache, I can now feel contentment and a yearning for the next time we'll get to enjoy each other's company.

Perseverance pays. That much is irrefutable.

Saturday, January 28, 2017


I had somewhat of a feeling, but I don't think I had, or have, much of a grasp concerning what lies behind that inkling.

It's been a month since I sent that letter to Joseph. I tried to be patient, but after two and a half weeks, I sent him a text to reestablish a line of communication. That was two weeks ago today, accounting for this past month as a whole.

I've figured that he needed some time to mull it over, but I began to doubt if that was really the case as more days passed. I began to question if there was some mistake in the address I mailed it to, or the number I was texting--I did receive both from his aunt, after all. Who's to say that she didn't make a small mistake here or there?

It has been two weeks since my last text. Fueled by some mixture of desiring closure, clearing up ambiguity, and simply missing our friendship, I decided just an hour or so ago to text him once more:

"Joseph, I know that you're more than likely going through your own problems. I'll confess that I've allowed myself to fall into a pretty deep depression lately. It would make a big difference if you just said something--anything.

"You were the one who showed me the value of vulnerability, after all."

He responded:

"Aaron, I am so sorry I didn't respond to you. I have a letter that I'll get to you asap [sic] if you'll hold on just a bit."

I thanked him, and asked if he had a means of sending it. His response:

"If you would give me your email address I could get it to you faster, especially since its [sic] so overdue."

I have no idea what this foretells. I had no idea that he would need an entire letter to articulate a response to my thoughts. I mostly wanted to start a conversation, and be honest. I am clueless as to which direction this will lead, but one thing is for sure...

I need to calm down my heart rate before I donate plasma today...

*As always, names were changed to be consistent with the pseudonyms that I have used throughout my blog, to preserve the privacy of all involved.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

I'm Ready...Depression

So a week and a half ago, I texted Joseph, innocently enough, just to try and start a conversation.

When am I ever going to learn?

It's been terribly frustrating for me--I know having one or two good friends I can relate with would go a long way to helping me heal.

Where's the rock they're hiding under???

I've been in a funk off and on for the last two years, but this time the word "depression" is much more fitting. I've stopped working out in earnest--I've only used my cheat method to get any exercise whatsoever; I don't practice; I've put off business-related tasks; I've turned to one of my dearest vices, which is gaming, not to mention something else too private for me to feel comfortable sharing here that has flared up.

Now, before I say too much, I want to clarify something: Joseph is not to blame for my depression. The issue is how I'm choosing to respond. I'm being reactive instead of proactive. I completely own that. I will take responsibility for that.

There's a strong part of me that severely wants to have someone in my life to give me motivation, in and of himself, for me to live, to thrive. I had a poignant thought the other night. Satan has tempted me with things completely out of left field, and however terrifically uninteresting the idea would be, suicide has been a topic he has broached.

The thing is, I don't want to die. I couldn't kill someone, least of all myself. But I want another reason to live. I need it.

I thought also that I need a savior. Of course, I have one. I just wish I could walk and talk with Him, put my head on His shoulder, or in His lap. Despite some of the things I've struggled with, I would love to have the Lord here, in person.

They say that we're the Lord's hands. I do a considerable amount to "reach out", on His behalf. Whereas I don't do so to receive some sort of recompense, I can't help but wish that there was someone out there to help lift me up. Maybe that's what Joseph was once, but it seems like he simply doesn't care anymore. I wonder how much he ever cared in the first place. It would be much easier if I wasn't coming across so many reminders of him all the time.

I want to try to pick myself back up. But for right now, I'm going to grab my figurative (and occasionally literal) ice cream tub and crawl in a hole.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Seventy Times Seven Second Chances

It never ceases to amaze me how much of a difference just a little time in the temple can make. I didn't give myself enough time to perform any ordinances, so I sat in the lobby and prayed and pondered for the better part of an hour.

I was reflecting in the shower just now, thinking about the new dress pants I'll hopefully be picking up tomorrow. Considering my somewhat downcast tone lately, I figure my thoughts are timely.

It's funny how life makes you appreciate the little things.

Like when you walk into the bathroom while not paying attention. That moment of panic comes: "Did I just walk into the women's restroom?" You look around, and then breathe a sigh of relief.

You then have a newfound appreciation for the urinals you never use.

Or when you go to perform at a place you haven't been to in months, and a woman who has certainly inquired before asks you no less than six times in half an hour if you are married.

It's then that you begin to appreciate your mental health.

I've started noticing that I haven't had such an easy time fitting into pants I've worn for years. For most people, this would be morbidly depressing, but for me, I find it extremely encouraging. Much of my time spent working out includes the most taxing compound exercises there are, including squats and an alternate form of deadlifts meant to target the hamstrings (the muscles on the back of the thighs) and glutes. To see myself already beginning to outgrow my pants is really exciting.

I have always been very grateful for the amount of patience the Lord exercises with me--there seems to be no limit to the amount of second chances He extends to me. I try to be as lenient with life as He is towards me. Therefore, I'm going to pick myself up, dust myself off, and give life another shot. Who knows--maybe I'll get it right this time.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

But Nobody Came

Christmas day, 9:33 PM: arrived at the nearest major city.

Monday, 5:29 AM: departed said city.

Tuesday, 8:01 AM: out for delivery.

Tuesday, 12:20 AM: delivered to front door.

I tried not to have overly high expectations. I would have simply been grateful to hear from Joseph at all, but I didn't want to hold my breath.

I never heard anything. For all I know, the package went unopened.

What did I do in response to that? Why, I downloaded a few gay dating apps/sites, of course.

Yeah, I know what you're thinking. It's still with only strictly platonic intentions, although I am remembering quickly why I opted out of these things in the first place--so often it seems like there's no sense of politeness or courtesy. I even decided to use my real name and a picture of myself. However, the only guys who express any interest in me are old enough to have sired me (shiver--creepy) and can only use one-word lines. When I try interacting with someone closer to my own age, I never hear anything, or the conversation dies before there really ever was one.

I know I'm not ugly. I work hard to take care of myself, in diet, fitness, and various other ways. I am absolutely positive that I am someone worth being friends with, however, these guys passively reject me before even getting to know me. Is it because I say I'm looking for non-sexual friends? Is that really too much to ask for? Why do they all seem to be this way?

What is the art to making good, real friends? I am a genuine, honest, loving, caring person, so shouldn't there be other people like me out there?

I don't think I'm too picky at all. Given, it's hard for me to become very invested in someone who isn't at my level of fitness or better, but I would never judge someone for being overweight, not fit, or for not being "jacked" (I'm not just yet--that's a work in progress). I'll also confess that I am almost immediately uninterested the instant I see someone who's used Snapchat to give themselves a dog face (I mean, come on). But otherwise, and except my hard and fast rule that it must remain platonic in every way, I am really quite flexible and open-minded.

So why is there rejection on every side?

Why can't they just meet me in person (I would be willing to order them an appetizer at a restaurant) before deciding that I'm not worth their time?

I want a massage, dagnabbit!

I absolutely love the Church and the Gospel. I am no more capable of living it perfectly than the next guy, but I certainly make the effort. This isn't a problem with the Church--this lies with our culture. We're growing less friendly and more distant from each other. There is nothing wrong with my desire to interact with guys in healthy, appropriate, platonic ways. Actually, that's incredibly natural and essential to one's overall health. I shouldn't have to seek that from other gay guys, but I do because, at the very least, they acknowledge that they have a need to interact with other guys. "Straight" guys seem to be much less likely to recognize that, at least nowadays. It would definitely be too much to ask for to suggest regularly spending time together, or going to grab a bite to eat, or doing something fitness related, or (heaven forbid) having a massage exchange (Ooh! Yeah, I said it!). Jokes aside, that last one sounds extremely appealing. I'm sore all over right now. For all the right reasons, yes, but some relief would be welcome, especially at the hands of someone strong enough to manage my currently-growing muscles (by the way, I reached my goal of putting on 15 pounds this year. It feels good.).

But nobody came.