Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Ho ho ho, everybody.

Well Christmas has come and gone for another year, and it was unfortunately eventful. My mom has often told stories about my grandfather and his unpredictable moods, but in my life I've never actually experienced it.

Christmas day changed that. He and my grandmother arrived like any other year in the morning, quickly ducking inside to avoid the cold. But instead of joining in the conversation and cheer, he sat off by himself and really refused to interact with anyone.

As the day progressed, my mom became more and more anxious, since he was behaving so strangely. But he never did join in conversation or have any laughs with the rest of us; he sat in his corner and stared out the window. Bizarre.

After Christmas dinner, which was slaved over for hours, and as we were quickly washing some dishes, we saw him walk by, headed towards the door. He wound up leaving practically without a word, even as my mom tried to ask if there was a problem, if he was alright. We stood outside as he grudgingly placed their presents in the car, and he reluctantly gave my mom a kiss in the cheek. He walked right by me, like I was literally a ghost.

So for the next couple days, mom waited anxiously to see what was wrong with him, why he had been so upset and if he was ever going to call us back. It was horrible; Christmas more or less ruined, and the next few days of 'rest' devoted to constant worry.

In the end, he called and apologized, saying that he was very tired that day and feeling in a strange mood that even he had no idea the source of. I was exasperated, since someone who caused that much heartache ought to be told about it, but my mom was so relieved that she didn't highlight the fact we were all quite upset by the whole thing.

Add to that our unpredictable weather, in the form of rain, freezing rain, snow, fog, and high winds, which made great conditions for a power outage that lasted 18 hours. I really should have left for Toronto when I had the chance.

And now, here we are the day before New Years Eve, and I find myself neither relaxed nor festive. I would rather just wake up tomorrow and find that everything had passed by, that I could resume normal life on a Monday morning and move on from this holiday season. I really don't even have the drive to go out on New Years Eve with my friends, and I know I'll have nobody to kiss at midnight.

I'm just going to make the best of it, and be thankful to even have the chance to be surrounded by friends, have a drink on New Years Eve, a roof over my head and food in the fridge. It just helps if such perks of the evening include a midnight makeout, dancing with some cute guys and being able to celebrate the New Year with one special person, in dawn's early light.

To mark the occasion, I stole someone's New Years survey. Feel free to read if interested:

2008: In The Beginning
Where did you go on New Years: A local bar/club.
Who were you with: Friends from high school and some new ones from university.
Did you kiss anyone at midnight: No.
Did you make any resolutions: A couple.

2008: Your Love Life
Did you break up with anyone: Yes
Did you meet anyone special: Yes, the one I broke up with.
Did you fall in love: No, that was the problem.
Did you fall out of love: Uhh see above.
Did you fall for a friend: No.

2008: Friends and Enemies
Did you meet any new friends this year: Yes, in the most unexpected ways.
Did any of your friendships end: Maybe not ended, but we don't see much of each other anymore.
Did you dislike anyone: Certainly, but I try not to treat them any differently.
Did you make any new enemies: Don't think so, at least I hope not.
Did you resolve any fights: I helped when people needed someone to talk to.
Who was your closest friend: I'm happy to have a few close friends that really mean something.
Who did you grow apart from: Some not-so-close friends.
Who did you get closer to: People from my project.
Do you have any regrets when it comes to your friendships: I just regret not pushing myself to be more social and taking the initiative.

2008: Your BIRTHDAY!
Did you have a cake: I did, my room mate made it.
What did you do for your birthday: Cake, dinner & drinks...but secretly it was really boring.
What did you get for your birthday: Cash and a great winter coat.
If so what was the best thing you got: By far the coat...so warm.

2008: All about YOU
Did you change at all this year: In some ways, I feel just a little more older and in control of life I suppose.
Did you dye your hair: I did actually! First time actually changing the colour.
Did you get your hair cut: Good Lord, of course!
Did you change your style: A little bit, but I want something new for 2009.
Were you in school: Indeed.
Did you get good grades: Quite.
Did you have a job: You could say.
Did you drive: Yes.
Did you own a car: No, nor would I want to in the city.
Did anyone close to you give birth: Miscarried a few days before delivery? Does that count?
Did you move at all: I don't know about move, but I did live in two places.
Did you go on any vacations: Yeah.

2008: Wrap Up.
Is 2008 a good year: Very memorable, I feel I've changed again for the better.
Do you think 2009 will top 2008: I really hope so, lots of changes coming down the pipes.
If you could relive any moment which would you choose: A beautiful night in summer that ended with a kiss.

I confess that in 2008 I...
() stayed single for the whole year
(x) made out in/on a car
(x) kissed in the snow
(x) celebrated Halloween
(x) kissed in the rain
() had your heart broken
(maybe) broke someone else's heart
() had a stalker
() mooned someone
(x) went over the minutes on your cell phone
(x) had a good relationship with someone
(haha) someone questioned your sexual orientation
() gotten pregnant
() had an abortion
(x) have a relationship with someone you'll never forget
() done something you've regretted
() lost faith in love
() kissed under a mistletoe

(x) took an honors/advanced class
() broke the dress code
() sent to the principles office for misbehavior
(x) got straight A's
(x) met one teacher you really like
() met one teacher you really hated
() failed a class
(x) skipped school
(x) did something you were proud of
(x) discovered a new talent
(x) proved yourself an idiot
(x) embarrassed yourself in front of the class
() fell in love with a teacher
() intentionally tripped someone at school
() gotten lead in school play
() made a varsity team
(x) were involved in something you'll never forget

() painted a picture
(x) wrote a poem
() ran a mile
() shopped at Hollister or Abercrombie and Fitch
(x) posted a blog on MySpace
(X) listened to music you couldn't stand
(x) went to a sleepover
() went camping
() threw a surprise party
(x) laughed till you cried
() laughed till you peed in your pants
() visited a foreign country
() cut in a line of waiting people
(x) told someone you were busy when you weren't
(x) partied to celebrate the new year
(x) cooked a disastrous meal
(x) lost something/someone important to you
() lied about how old you were
() prank called someone

In 2008 I...
() broke a promise
() fallen out of love
(x) lied
() went behind your parents back
() cried over a broken heart
(x) disappointed someone close
(x) hid a secret
(x) pretended to be happy
(x) kissed in the rain
(x) slept under the stars
( ) kept your new years resolution
() forgot your new years resolution
(x) met someone who changed your life
() met one of your idols
() changed your outlook on life
(x) sat home all day doing nothing
() pretended to be sick
() left the country
() almost died
() given up something important to you
(X) lost something expensive
(x) learned something new about yourself
(x) tried something you normally wouldn't try and liked it
(x) made a change in your life
(x) found out who your true friends were
(x) met great people
(x) stayed up til sunrise
() Cried over the silliest thing
() was never home on most weekends
() got into a car accident
(x) had friends who were drifting away from you
() had someone close to you die
(x) had a high cell phone bill
(x) spent most of your money on food
() had a fist fight
() went to the beach with your best friend
() saw a celebrity
(x) gotten sick
( ) liked more than 5 people at the same time
() became closer with alot of people

A very Happy New Year to you all! Warmest wishes for 2009, may you and yours be healthy, happy and enjoy the fruits of your labour in the year ahead.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I hear a symphony...

Yesterday brought one of those soul-wrenching moments of sadness.

It was me, Mom and Dad out trying to do some last minute Christmas shopping. As we walked up and down the aisles, searching for this or that, I also found myself searching for another part of James' Christmas present.

We've decided to give each other something, since we're friends and since both of us acknowledge this need within us to do so. When I asked him what he wanted, he shrugged and said, "Something thoughtful."

So I wracked my brain, but all I could come up with was memories of the two of us, not really much that spoke solely to him.

Thus far, I've chosen two things that remind me of him, and are actually quite gay. First, I picked up a CD, Celine Dion's new compilation of love songs. Slightly out of line, but thoughtful since he found himself in some self-described 'Celine moods' in the later days of our relationship.

Secondly, I chose the Sex and the City movie, since we both went to a preview the night before opening night. It was the first time I'd met any of his family (his cousins rode along), and we both actually quite enjoyed the movie.

As I was standing with my parents in line, trying to figure out something else that was thoughtful without being too boyfriendish, I caught the melody of a familiar song.

Before I went on summer vacation this year, James and I went out for one final night to say goodbye. At the end of the evening, he pulled out a bag of stuff for me; magazines for the trip, a travel kleenex tissue pack (always the one to plan ahead), chocolate to eat instead of bad plane food, and a handwritten card that recapped the adventures of our summer together thus far.

It was a really beautiful gesture, and pretty moving; nobody has ever done something like that for me, and reading over what he had wrote outlined just how much we'd grown together.

I drove home that night all warm and fuzzy and sad to leave him behind for over a week's time. I also was amazed at what had just happened, at how someone showed their affection for me so openly and so honestly. It was a small gesture, but it spoke volumes.

When I got home, I sat up for a little bit. Late in the night, I checked my Facebook and saw I had a new message. When I opened it, I realized it was a video message from James.

"Well Steve, I hope you have a great time on your trip," he said into the camera, smiling. Music played in the background, but I didn't recognize it, until someone started singing...and James started singing along.

It was that Jason Mraz song, the one I'd heard on the radio and disregarded. But I listened, as James sat there singing along...

"In short this is our fate,
I'm yours..."

After that, James stopped singing along. "What can I say Steve. I'm yours. Have a safe trip, I'll miss you." And he blew me a kiss and waved goodbye.

It pretty much blew me away. For a guy that's been unlucky at love, never able to find that right guy much less than find one who really was crazy for him, what James had done was probably the sweetest thing any boy had ever attempted, and certainly the most meaningful.

So as I stood in the checkout by the cash register yesterday, hands full of James' gifts and head floating in memories, the gentle rhythm of that guitar and familiar voice caught my attention almost immediately. My parents standing behind me, the cashier in front, I bit my lip hard and tried my best not to cry.

My heart just sunk, my chest just felt hollow, and my eyes burned. And the memory of that night, and of his video, played in my mind's eye. And for that moment, all I could think about was him.

I guess that's what happens when you realize just what you've lost.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The gypsy that I was...

A few nights after the breakup, a gypsy told me that I must not be ready for love.

I hadn't even told her my situation, about just shutting the door on my most successful relationship, about feeling so incredibly alone. She just asked if I had a girlfriend yet, and when I said no, she clicked her tongue and offered an explanation. My heart, or love skills, or whatever, must not be developed.

She's a friend of my grandparents, so when she asked if I had a girlfriend yet, instead of being able to say, "Actually I just got out of something that didn't work," I had to say that I still didn't have a 'woman in my life'.

This woman is really great, one of those people who you love actually seeing...she radiates warmth. But she also is incredibly blunt in that Eastern European way. "Your heart must be closed," she said, since I'm now basically getting a little old to not have been in love. At least, society thinks so. And in retrospect, I have to agree; by 22 I would have thought that love would have graced/made a mess of my life.

The Gypsy made some vague references to what I'm projecting, the energy I'm drawing, and so on...stuff that The Secret is trying to sell to North Americans that people in Eastern Europe have believed for years. To make me feel better, or worse, or at the very least give context she told me a story about an older woman who came to see her one day a few months ago. "My son needs a wife," she said. The setup is classic: a doting Jewish mother wants to set up her single Doctor son, who is without romance.

I don't recall exactly how she put it, but essentially, the guy doesn't really care who this woman is, "Just find him someone to marry."

The Gypsy's take on all of this was that he has spent his life honing his mind, studying, and so on...ignoring his heart. Never 'learning how to love'.

"So sad," she half whispered.

She then more or less told me that she's worried for me, because she wants me to be happy and have a full, well-rounded life. She doesn't want me to ignore my heart, and wind up like the man in her story.

Of course in many ways I cannot identify with this guy. I've been trying to find love for over two years now, and it hasn't gone quite like I'd planned it. In a city full of men, some of whom that are even looking for a relationship all their own, I've struck out, never finding that elusive boyfriend/man I love. But it's not like I've ignored my heart...like I'm not trying to learn to love...right?

Even though I can't see many similarities between me and the single 30-something Jewish doctor, it's pretty scary to be faced with the idea that my heart isn't working properly, that I can't attract love because of some problem on my end. Actually, more like terrified.

Lots of people maintain that nobody will love you until you love yourself. I even had one of my best friends, who flew into town the day before, tell me bluntly that I don't 'love myself'.

"Oh, come on, that's not true!" I argued. I may not think I'm phenomenal, but I don't hate myself.

"Ok, that's exaggerated," she said. "You actually don't, for most of the time. But there are moments..." She too sometimes thinks that I'm not ready for love, because I'm not ready with myself.

But who is? And what is 'ready'?

I guess it's because I've always blamed circumstance, blamed the fact that I haven't met the right person, or that the situation was beyond my control. It's never really felt like I've got a 'closed heart' or that I'm not ready and willing to love and be loved. It's more like God enjoys tempting me with the prospect, then quickly deflects the situation.

In fact, I always have felt that my heart is wide open. I give everyone a shot, try to leave no stone unturned. I admit what I want. I have a feeling in my heart and mind what love looks and acts like; a deep down soul stirring that I've managed not to find.

But having the Gypsy tell me about hearts not being open or ready for love is just plain scary. While I can't see it within myself, what if it's true? Am I really my own problem in all of this? Is my own heart the reason why I can't seem to meet the right guy, and fall in love?

The same friend once drunkenly told me that I also have, "So much love to give," which actually made me cry. As cliche as it is, we apparently both think it's true. I'm ready, willing and able. As far as I think, anyway.

Like most of my problems right now, I don't know how to solve this, if what the Gypsy says is true. I can't see the fix, if indeed my heart is closed and needs opening up. And it's damn scary, to think that what's standing between me and love...is myself.

At the end of the day, I do shrug it all off as Eastern mysticism. The same woman also told me that my liver must be shot because my eyes water easily.

But her story hit on my deep, dark fear of perpetual aloneness. What if I turn into this 30-something doctor? What have I done, or more importantly, not done, to swing the floodgates of love open in my own (young) life?

Maybe some Gypsy tears will help set things right...

Saturday, December 20, 2008


After a couple months of denying it, trying really hard to ultimately not falling in love, James and I have parted ways.

It all went down a few weeks ago, in the same bedroom we'd spent countless hours in before. The same bedroom where I woke up in his arms after my first Pride. The same bedroom where I told him my dirty little secrets, the stuff that other than you, dear readers, not many people know. The same bedroom where he too let down his guard and told me everything.

Trying not to be cliched but finding no other way of getting his attention, I sent him a text that evening, "Can you come by? We need to talk about something." I waited in my living room, with nobody else home, the TV on for background noise. My stomach clenched in sadness and in uncertainty; was he going to hate me after I said what I needed to say?

A flurry of messages later, and he told me that someone else needed his attention, and that he'd come late. So I sat there, alone, and waited.

He finally came, but not alone; as the lock tumbled, I realized that my roommates had come home the exact moment he had arrived. We all stood awkwardly, with everyone but James knowing what was about to happen. He came over to kiss me and I tried to deflect it...I didn't need closeness at that moment, and I didn't want to give him the wrong impression.

We stalked into my bedroom, I closed the door, and we sat facing each other, me in my chair and him perched on the bed. We talked briefly about each other's day and after a few moments I bit the bullet and started my speech. "Well, that's not why I asked you to come," I started, and then went into it.

How much he means to me, how great he is and how I wish things could work. But I just don't feel enough of that magic 'something' to push things to the next level. Without saying, "I don't love you," I tried as best I could to explain how, even though I was comfortable with him, dangerously comfortable...I didn't see it taking the next step.

He sat there, trying not to cry, nodding along. It felt like looking into a mirror, seeing his face cloud over with each sentence and his eyes glisten. My voice was like gravel, monotone, crunching out words.

I explained how I felt, how even though there was nothing broken between us there also wasn't that special 'magic' that I've always thought I'd feel when I was in love. There was so much that was good, so much hard to find with anybody else, but it just wasn't going to get us to the next level, up to the next stage.

Without ever saying the L word, we talked around how we both admittedly felt the lack of magic. As time wore on, he admitted that he'd been trying, probably too hard, to make things work. "But it's because I feel like there's something there...there could be something there, I didn't want to give up on it," he explained. I'd been trying too, but painfully aware of what was lacking in our relationship.

It became a really involved conversation into the facts of life, of relationships. What truly defines 'happy'? We both like each other, enjoy our collective company and for some reason, we can both share similar tastes in music, food, movies...all things that you seek out in a perspective mate. We were happy in each other's presence, even after six months. We got to know each other, the insides of our minds, the things that not many others know. There had to be something there to keep us together for that long, and cause making a decision to be a long and painful process.

We both acknowledged that the 'magic', that certain something that Hollywood tries to capture on film, that soul-wrenching attraction and draw to someone...was missing. While we were happy, we weren't blissful.

But is anybody? Are even the most happily paired couples really, fundamentally burning up inside for each other? Or does that simply exist in movies, or dollar paperbacks from the drug store?

Neither of us knew the answer. And at that point, it didn't matter really.

"So...what are we going to do?" James asked, subtly trying to figure out if I wanted to take a short break, or a permanent one.

"Well, it's pretty unfair to expect things to get better in a certain amount of time," I said. "I mean, if that were the case...we'd already have enough to get to the next level."

He nodded along.

What was most heartbreaking about the evening was, strangely, how close we felt to each other by the end of our conversation. James even remarked on it, "Tonight is an example of why I really like you, your honesty, your compassion. You thought things through, you take things seriously."

After two hours of talking, and both managing not to cry, conversation wound down. But it was so much more than a breakup conversation, more than the cliched 'this isn't working' that so many simply fall back on. We went into the issues, we dug into each other's souls, and we wound up feeling closer than ever to each other on the most ironic night of our relationship.

Someone had told me in the hours before that perhaps this wasn't the time for us to fall in love. I'm no expert, and from what I see most 'relationships' in the gay community are often too complicated and overcompensate a lack of love with quirks that seemingly do nothing to draw two people together. Yet, what he said seemed plausible; either that, or it gave my overly-romantic self something to cling to:

"Maybe this isn't the time for you two. Maybe in a year, or two, you'll find each other again and be ready."

Strangely, James said nearly the same thing at the end of our conversation. "We might not be ready now, but I'll always have you in my heart. And who knows, one day..."

"The one thing I've always been terrified of is loosing you from my life," I said. "I can't imagine life without you in it anymore. And I've told you that a lot of times," I said.

And so we agreed that we both care too much about each other to exorcise the other from our lives. "I have no idea how this works," I said, "since this is my first longer relationship. I don't know when we get to be friends. Hell, we weren't even friends to begin with. But I want to work on it. I can't not work on it."

We stood at my door and hugged tightly for a few minutes. There really wasn't anything more to say, we were both so sad and so drawn that we really had no idea what to do. But the conversation was over, and it didn't explode in my face...but we were both suddenly back to being alone again, and it was just starting to sink in.

As he walked out my door, and down the hall, all the positivity, the closeness and connection shattered, and I was left with the feeling that I was utterly alone. It was a crushing few moments, seeing him turn the corner and walk away for the last time, and me returning to my bedroom, sitting in bed, alone, and really realizing how alone I was again.

It's taken me a long time to get my thoughts together about it. At the time, I wanted to write, to get everything down on paper so I knew how I felt in the moment. But whenever I tried, it never came. I fell into writers block, and a mild depression, and it's even taken me a few weeks to write this one post. I guess it all comes down to time; it heals all wounds.

But it still really hurts.