On Saturday, I went for a swim in the community lap pool, which was good. I’ve been going every Saturday morning.
I’m still slow, as an older lady lapped me while circle swimming. She was a nice white lady with a white swim cap, and politely asked to swim in our lane, instead of wordlessly expecting space be made like I usually did.
I must have looked confused, when I suddenly saw her gone and another Chinese lady in her place. The white lady spotted me in the adjacent lane, and explained to me that the Chinese lady was getting lapped in the “fast” lane and switched with her. I hate accommodating people like that; they make things so complicated with their kindness.
Now, that’s when I noticed something of interest in that adjacent lane .
He was an attractive Chinese guy with well-defined facial features. I snuck peaks at him underwater (skinny legs in a blue jammer), and couldn’t exactly tell how fast he was, since it was a three-person lane, and it’s harder to track his progress.
There’s not many younger guys who swim (mostly older Chinese, Vietnamese men), and I didn’t recall seeing him before.
I openly stared at him while he got out, because I was curious about his torso. He was more muscular than I suspected, with a perfect V shaped chest and back.
He turned around, and probably saw me ogling him.
I was caught, so I slowly shifted my gaze forward to my next set, and nonchalantly dove underwater.
Very smooth, Joon. Very smooth.
there was Grant.
He had initially messaged me on Jack’d near the turn of
the year. Though he had no face picture, he was at least able to carry a
conversation better than most of the other men and seemed to have motivations
beyond sex. Through our discussion, I learned that he had briefly returned to
Hawaii for the holiday season but would be returning to Los Angeles to finish
up graduate school and work before permanently relocating back to Honolulu.
Would I be interested in maybe meeting up during that time?
I honestly thought the two of us would lose touch, but –
to my surprise – we kept chatting for several months. When he finally did
return to Honolulu, I took an intense liking to him. He replied to my text
messages as though he had been waiting by his phone with nothing else to do all
day. There was never a lull in conversation during brunch or dinner. He always
had an idea for something to do during the weekend. He also had the rather
unusual hobby of being an amateur musician.
Strengths and weaknesses are two sides of the same coin,
The ease with which he directed his energies to external
activities did not translate to an equal ability to guide them inward. I first
noticed this when we played a party game where the two of us took turns
answering a variety of thought-provoking, romantically oriented questions
designed to help people better understand themselves and others.
“Okay, first question,” he said, pulling a card from the
box. “Is it a sign of cynicism or wisdom to tolerate affairs?”
“Hmm…” I began. “I suppose it would depend on the person.
For me, I would perceive it as a learning opportunity to examine the ways in
which I might have contributed to the person’s reasons for cheating. Have I
been neglecting them? Have I not been as attentive to their needs as I should
have been?” I paused for a moment, absentmindedly fiddling with my bedsheets. “I
would like to think that, at the very least, we could have an adult discussion
of the relationship, but I guess I could imagine how other people might have a
“What about you?”
“Oh, same, I guess. Your turn to pick a card!”
To Grant’s credit, he did not have unrevealing responses
to every card we pulled that night, but I came away with the distinct feeling
that he either had very little interesting to say or a lot to hide. Before we
went to bed that evening, I put on Planet
Earth so the two of us could wind down from hours of talking. However, minutes
into one of the episodes he was already attempting to engage me in a quiz
show-like grilling of every animal and ecosystem flicking on screen.
How many bats do you think live in that cave? Do you
think the roaches in there are bigger than the ones in Hawaii? How long does
that fish have to live in the cave to get all transparent like that?
I did not have an especially easy time getting to sleep
that evening and I had an especially difficult time being around him when his
hobby as a musician began to pick up. As soon as that happened, it felt like he
took every moment of silence – no matter how tiny – to rehearse, revise, and
repeat lyrics to his songs in real time and in any location. I could hear him muttering,
mumbling, and murmuring while looking over restaurant menus, during the ten-second
moment when we split apart so I could walk to the passenger door, or while placing
my coffee order with a barista.
I felt like a new snow globe in a whirlwind. Without even
a moment to settle, hanging out with him became a frazzling, disorienting, and
exhausting experience. Realizing that my unhappiness would cause me to begin to
him less correctly than I should and that an open discussion of the subject
would be the best way to resolve the issue, I brought it up on a car ride home
from brunch one weekend.
“Hey, Grant,” I began. “You know I’m a quiet person,
“I think that is obvious to everybody,” he replied, flicking
his turn signal.
“I know your music is very important to you, but do you
think maybe – when the two of us are hanging out, at least – it would be
possible to tune it down a bit? I feel like I can barely hear myself think half
Without missing a beat, he answered, “Oh, sure. No
problem.” However, he did not say it with the tone of someone who properly
understood what I said. Instead, it was the cheery tone one might take when answering
in the affirmative to a request to make a brief detour to McDonald’s before a
long drive. As I sat in muteness tumbling between uncertainty and disbelief, he
resumed his vocals.
I used to be competitive growing up. I wanted to be the most
brilliant in school, however deluded I was. I convinced myself that I was a
gifted child and was destined for immense success having won the spelling bee
in the 3rd grade, mind you, having immigrated to the states only a
year prior. As the years passed, the competition grew more stiff, in which I
realized that holy shit, I wasn’t that gifted after all. But I did always feel like I was different from
all of the kids, and I honed on that. I wanted to be a master of everything. I
learned the piano, started actively learning French, and joined the track team.
If I couldn’t be the smartest kid in the school, I wanted to be a jack of all
trades, a renaissance man of sorts. I realize now that it was all just a coping
mechanism from growing up gay, poor, and lonely.
I suffer from impostor syndrome often. While applying for some
full time jobs today, I felt like I didn’t qualify for anything, even with the
years of professional experience I had. A part of me feels embarrassed to be
the person to even ask for higher pay. A friend told me a while back that, “women
and gay men are the least likely to ask for a raise or a promotion,” and it
still stuck with me to this day. In a world of so much mediocre talent out
there being rewarded, why do I beat myself up so much for my abilities? It doesn’t help that we’re currently living in
a world where 24/7 we’re being inundated by perfect specimens on instagram. Nowadays,
I crave imperfection. I want to see honestly and flaws.
So. I withdrew from medical school. Things didn’t work out as planned. Gave myself time to cope with it while I figure out a new career path. My backup plans from before are no longer appealing. Like…I don’t like the idea of working in a research lab. I was working toward becoming a psychiatrist, so I’m still interested in the mental health sort of field. Won’t be able to practice medicine but would like to provide therapy. Thinking MFT but leaning more toward PsyD to be a clinical psychologist. Clinical psychology because I’d still like to work with more than just…families and anxiety and depression and adictions. But also means more schooling and more money that I don’t have. And I’m gonna be 28 in a few months. I feel pressure from myself to get a job and have my life and career sorted out.
Told the news about school to my family. Sister is supportive. Father is indifferent. Mother is…still sorting out what she thinks. She was supportive about the med school thing. But that ultimately lead to me coming out to her. She wanted me to move back to Oregon and live in her house. But I had to explain why that wasn’t something I was going to do. Moving to Virginia in May ish. Since that’s where D matched into residency.
She didn’t really take it well but she took it better than I ever expected. She went back and forth between the “med school problem” and the “gay problem.” Asked her how she felt and she responded a lot with “I don’t know. No one in our family like this. It embarrassing. I can’t believe I have one kid that crazy and now one kid that gay. Why always problem like this fall on me?”
Lol I got salty and posted something on Facebook for the first time in like 4 years since getting into medical school. And everyone who commented basically said “she’ll come around! You’re a good guy!” And in my head I’m just like okay thanks I appreciate the kind words but you also have no context of my family life to be certain of that lol. And then I got private messages from a few white gay and lesbian friends who shared their own personal experiences with coming out to their parents. And these weren’t close friends of mine, so I said thanks for sharing but in reality I’m still thinking “your life is so different lol and this doesn’t help me in the slightest.”
Messages from the gay Asians were a little bit more helpful. Understanding of what it means to be the only son and the weird preoccupation with carrying on the bloodline. The Asian guilt of causing problems for the family. Potential of not just being ostracized by family, but the idea of immediate family being ostracized from the extended family network.
What helped most was talking to my sister, cousin, and close friends. And if course D (I don’t mention him usually because I figure that’s given). Sometimes you just need to vent and have someone agree with you without protest. Like, you aren’t looking for advice. You just want to complain and have people complain with you lol. You can start being productive afterwards.
In other news, I’ve been working out with D for almost 2 months. I’m filling in my shirts better and I’m pretty proud of myself so far haha.
Beimen, Taipei, Taiwan
Boxes and boxes piled to the ceiling from the last major move, some I can no longer keep by me. For six years, they’ve been sealed shut and tucked away in a remote location in the suburbs. I don’t think I can KonMari my way out of this one.
I’m almost deathly allergic to dust, so the box of childhood stuffed animals had to go. My dad made the final call when I wasn’t there (mostly because his allergies are worse than mine). I didn’t even get to say goodbye.
I can never carry that many physical items with me, but it’s the trinkets, toys and report cards that bring back entire stories. I’m so scared the garbage truck took away the chances for me to have those flashbacks again.
Pride. A feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.
To me, I take pride in a lot of things that have happened in my life. My health, job, education, personal finance, relationships, and friendships. All these qualities and achievements have ended up in my favor – in one way or another – and the person who I am today is someone that I can take pride in.
All except for one.
June is gay pride month, and people all around the world are celebrating the leaps and bounds the world has taken for LGBT rights. Take pride in your sexuality, they say. Don’t be afraid of who will judge you. Don’t be afraid of who you are as a person.
I grew up in a very macho household. As the oldest of three boys, I stereotypically inherited the traits of the responsible leader. Be the one that your brothers look up to, they say. Be independent and steadfast. Be the one that carries on your family name with pride.
For a long time, I was ashamed of being gay. I viewed it as a blemish to everything I’ve worked so hard on. I viewed it as a dishonor to my parents, who would have to carry the burden of telling others they have a gay son.
In time, I hope that one day I’ll learn to accept myself and who I am. The strange, yet unique combinations of what personifies and makes me, me.
Note: I was looking through my drafts and realized I wrote this one year ago during last pride. After experiencing a bit of New York and seeing how accepting everyone can be, I’ve definitely started to love that part of myself a bit more. I do have a long way to go, but tiny steps in the right direction are better than none.
Back Sliding and ReBreaking Up
I wanted to leave but I felt selfish leaving you on the day you worked so hard for.
It didn’t really occur to me or maybe I just didn’t care. But idk if I can do this back sliding thing anymore.
As you lectured me over dinner on relationships and how I can do better. How I’m trying to find my career and to do better. And although you say these with good intention, I just couldn’t help but to think, why are we even doing this? I need to do better.
After the dinner talk, your trying to hold my hand in a public place or being all cutesy next to me, started to get on my nerves. You want me to do better in my life yet you toy with my emotions. We were supposed to just fuck and call it a day. And we both know that is never the case.
We eat, we bang, we cuddle, we sleep over, we have breakfast and we part ways. We talk to each other here and there. It feels like a fucked up long distance relationship that is going nowhere.
I feel at a loss with you. There are emotions still there. You do relationshipy things still. Yet you could clearly say over dinner, that I’m not the one for you.
Anyways, it feels like a losing game and I’m just tired of playing it.