adventure, friendship, Life, Living, Thoughts

on the edge of the world

“Let’s go.”

“Where?”

“I don’t know. Everywhere. Nowhere. It doesn’t matter. Let’s get lost.”

Love and the Sea and Everything in Between


Last night, I went on an adventure with my best friend. My best friend had just finished reading Love and the Sea and Everything in Between and we were talking about how we both were free spirits, both with a desire to live life. He told me about how, in his younger days (granted, he’s only 26) he would just do whatever he wanted to do, no responsibilities, not a care in the world – nothing but freedom. And I told him how I’ve always had a free spirit, but something always got in the way. Whether it was work, family, school, or just life in general.

And so, feeling the wanderlust, we made a decision. We would get lost together. We would just drive and drive and go wherever we wanted. Do whatever we wanted. Be whoever we wanted.

So I drove us to the beach. I’d never driven to the beach before so I really had no idea where I was going. Nonetheless I drove and we talked the whole way there, discovering things about each other that we never knew before. It felt so good to be able to sit beside each other without distraction and just talk, enjoying the presence of one another. To know that each of us was all there, in that moment. Nothing else mattered.

We arrived at the beach and made our way up to Bodega Head, a cliff that overlooked the whole of the ocean. It was pitch black and, according to Roman, “creepy.” (He wasn’t wrong; it was freakin’ creepy out there.)

I parked at the overlook and turned off my headlights and stared out the windows for a second before climbing out into the wind. We could hear the roar of the ocean and the sky from inside the car. After a moment’s pause, we embraced the elements.

And we both looked up. The sky was extraordinary. It was the first time in my life that I’d ever seen the stars as clear as they were that night. I could see the Milky Way and how the stars clustered together in what could only be described as a cloud of light.

Looking back out toward the ocean I saw the foaming waves crash into the rocks and the cliffside. It was incredibly exhilarating. (Though, that might have been the bite of the cold wind.)

Neither my phone, nor Roman’s had a camera that could capture this moment. We were slightly disappointed, but in the end I’m thankful that I could experience that moment not through the lens of an iPhone camera, but with my own eyes. And with my own soul, I could feel the vibration of eternity.

Flashlights in hand to ensure we didn’t walk right off the mountain and into the sea, we made our way to the edge of the cliff, walking as close as we dared to the the drop off. There are no words to describe the wondrous awe induced by the way the starry night sky kissed the swelling ocean. Or the way the fog silhouetted the distant mountains.

I felt as though I was standing on the edge of the world. And I was, as Roman reminded me. I couldn’t stop smiling. I was filled with such utter wonder as could never be quenched as I stood between my best friend and the end of the world.

There’s something beautiful about sharing a moment like that with someone you care so deeply about. There’s something extraordinarily life-changing. I’ve tasted freedom and I’ve tasted wonder; and now I know that I need more.

I am starved for adventure.

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Roman and I
For Men, friendship, Life, Love, Manhood, Ponderings, Thoughts

be brave with yourself

I’ve been struggling a lot lately with trying to figure myself out emotionally. As a man, I feel like I have a very unique and, sadly, widely stereotypically unacceptable personality type. I’m an emotionally expressive being. I get insecure, angry, hurt, heartbroken, joyful, excited, anxious, depressed, stressed, affectionate, and just about anything else you can imagine. And whatever emotion I’m feeling is expressed through my facial expressions, actions, and words.

I’m the type of person who loves to show the people I care about that I care about them. So, naturally, I do that in ways that I’m familiar with. For me, that’s straight up telling them or looking to spend time with them. (My love language is equal parts words of affirmation and quality time.)

But lately I’ve been feeling like I’m supposed to change myself. Like I’m too clingy or emotionally attached to the people I care about. So today I practiced being more withdrawn, distant, cold with my friends because I thought that’s what they wanted. You see, every morning I send my friends a message that reads exactly this: “good morning fam.” But yesterday morning I didn’t. Why? Because I was silencing myself. I thought, I’m too loud. I need to tone myself down a bit. 

I wanted to be more like the other guys, like my best (guy) friend, more even-keeled, laid back, someone who couldn’t care one way or the other if his friends loved him or not. I thought that’s who I was supposed to be, who everyone wanted me to be. So I tried. And I failed.

Because one of my friends noticed when I didn’t send that good morning text. They noticed when I silenced myself. And we had a long conversation about it and at the end I just asked them straight up, “Do you think I’m too clingy? Does it bother you? Or do you just think that my personality is more emotionally expressive than most guys’ and, because you love me, it doesn’t bother you?” And their response was the latter.

This week I learned an important lesson, I think. One that’s been a long time coming. And that is that, yes, I have an atypical personality type. Yes, I’m a more emotionally expressive being. Yes, I have no problem and actually thrive on showing and receiving affection. No, I’m not less of a man. I am completely, wonderfully, irrevocably myself.

Guys, we have got to learn to be brave with ourselves. We have got to stop trying to please everyone because, in the end, that will please no one. If the people around you really love you then they’re not going to care if you’re clingy or if you’re laid back. All they’re going to care about is if you are completely and utterly the rawest, truest version of yourself that you could ever be.

That’s the you they fell in love with.

You know, when I tried to distance myself (which was, honestly, a defense mechanism; I was feeling insecure so I thought forcibly detaching myself would spare me the pain that comes from loving another person) I felt like I was dying. I felt so out of it all day. I felt like a part of me was missing, like I was suffocating the truth inside my soul. All because I thought that’s what the people who loved me wanted, all because I thought that I could force the insecurities to go away if I just stopped caring.

But you know what? I’m proud of the fact that I am emotionally expressive. Because, in my eyes, that means that the people I care the most about will never have to go a day thinking that I don’t love them. Because they’ve seen how I show love and they’ve seen who I am in soul.

Is love terrifying? Yes. Is it painful? Heck, yeah. Love is vulnerability. Love is attachment. Love is expression. Love is learning what ways those you love best receive the expression of your affection. Love is choosing to give your friends and family what they need to feel love, even if it’s different than what you need.

Love is real, and it is raw, and it is torn, and it is agonizing, and it is true, and it is brave.

So be brave with yourself. Because the people who deserve you aren’t looking for a cheap replica. They’re here for you – all of you; the good, the bad, and the ugly.

friendship, Life, Love, Thoughts

you don’t see me

Have you ever been so afraid of something that you can actually feel that fear deep inside of you, clawing its way into a space in which it doesn’t belong? Well, I have. I am afraid that one day, I will become invisible. Again.

By now, I’m sure you know my story. You know the heartbreak and the betrayal, but you also know the healing and the redemption. What you don’t know is the things I still feel.

I’ve been very insecure lately. We can blame it on the fact that for some reason my mind felt it prudent to drudge up old memories I would prefer to erase entirely. Memories of former friends (J.J. and O.R.) that haunt me still. I would much rather forget, but apparently that is not an option for me. Instead, the memories get to do what they can to try to destroy any ability to have a healthy relationship with someone. Those memories mixed with other insecurities brought on by my past struggles with my sexual identity make me constantly feel insecure in my relationship with one of my newfound friends. I hate it. I wish it would go away, but as with must fears it chooses instead to cling to the back of my neck like a incorrigible chimp and gnaw at my cranium. Such is life.

There are moments, lapses in reality that occur inside of my head. They destroy me. One minute I’m sitting with my friends, enjoying their fellowship, their love, their acceptance, their familiarity and comfort, and the next… I’m inside my own head about something he said or did or didn’t say or do. And the fact that I’m insecure makes me insecure about this idea that my insecurities are going to chase him off and, once again, I will lose my last hope of maintaining a healthy relationship with another guy.

The biggest thing for me, I think, is that he’s so introverted and quiet and I’m a person whose love language is words of affirmation and quality time. And I get frustrated because I feel like I maintain 90% of any conversation I have with him, yet am denied a response or reaction of any significant kind. The part of me that is selfless and graceful reminds me that it’s merely his personality type, but the irrational part of me tells me that I am a nuisance and I am a bother and I’m not really wanted here and he may be my best friend, but he doesn’t really care about me. If somebody else comes along, he’ll forget about me. He won’t see me anymore. I will fade into the background yet again, rejected, forgotten, alone, unloved… worthless. I feel that I am waiting with baited breath for that moment when everything will fall apart again.

This is what goes on in my head. You have a front row seat to the freakshow of the broken spirit.

I feel that I will fade, that I will become nothing just as I once was. And I try so hard to “fake it until I make it,” but when does the process end?

There’s this automatic voice in my head that goes off every time I develop a relationship that says, “You don’t see me.” Is it true? Maybe not. But my spirit is broken and the memories tell me otherwise. I just want the voice to go away. I want to be able to enjoy my friends without this wondering, this expectation of inevitable doom that I feel will somehow be my fault. I want to stop questioning the things I say and do. I want to stop feeling like he’ll forget about me one day and I will be nothing more than a blip in his long life like I was for all those others.

I want the voices to stop. Healing is on its way, I know. Someday. But for today, I suppose I will keep faking it because I love my friends and I don’t want to lose them. But the pain is real and I still feel it and it won’t go away and I don’t know why or how to respond. All I know to do right now is exist and attempt to tune out that voice that says, “You don’t see me.” All I know is to keep my insecurities to myself because I don’t want them to destroy my friendships. All I know is how to exist.

And I don’t want to simply exist. I want to live.