You Do You.

Hello Everyone! I know it’s been like…2 weeks since I made a post, but I’ve been busy talking with people and answering the question whether Garrett and I are still together and a plethora of other questions. A couple of you had me laughing when I responded to your messages and you told me you were fangirling over me responding. (Heads up, as long as you don’t send a “hey” message I generally try to respond to everyone’s messages and questions!)

Some of the points may be scattered, try to stay with me. Lots of you have told me that you wished you had more friends like me because you could have more decent conversations (Thanks, Glenn!).  What I told Glenn (and others) is that you need to put out into the universe what you want to attract to you, be it friends or romantic partners. It’s called the law of attraction. Think about it for a minute, when you’re in a good mood do you want to be around someone who’s going to, either intentionally or unintentionally, shit on your parade? My guess is probably not.

Glenn explained that there wasn’t a shortage of people in his life and that he always tries to be kind, helpful, and loyal, he just happens to give people too many chances. He’s not the first one to tell me that and what I think everyone needs to realize is that the number one person that people look out for is themselves.

It’s been my experience that people will always, ALWAYS, walk over and take advantage of anyone that gives them the opportunity. I discovered this as a naïve small-town Montana boy who moved to the big ol East Coast where people won’t even look you in the eyes when they pass by. What I’m going to tell you is going to sound terrible but hear me out.

Be selfish. Make yourself your priority because I promise you, no one else is going to make you a priority. I give advice from quotes that I’ve stolen from Wordporn or Poemporn and one of my favorites to this day is, “If you keep avoiding self-love, the universe will keep sending people who also avoid loving you, hoping you get a little clue.” – I’ll let you reread that and let it sink in.

When I first moved to the East Coast I didn’t move for myself, I moved for someone. Someone that I put their needs even above my own. To be completely honest, I hated myself, I hated who I was, and I didn’t love myself, I felt like my sole purpose in life was to make him and other people happy and I did everything I possibly could to make him happy. I bought expensive Broadway tickets, I’d go out of my way to go visit him and bring him dinners at work, I went to all his performances and helped promote his band, I MOVED ACROSS THE FUCKING COUNTRY TO FINALLY BE WITH HIM. But the harder I tried the more he let me down.

After everything we went through it still ended with him doing what was best for him regardless of me. Which is how it should be, but it really hurt not being someone’s priority and that was when something in me snapped. I was sick and fucking tired of playing a supporting role in my own fucking life.

After he broke up with me that was when I decided enough was enough. I was done trying to make other people happy because no one seemed to care about making me happy. I quit listening to other people’s opinions about my hair and clothes and what I was doing with my life. I made myself the priority I’ve never been in someone else’s life, and that was when things changed for me.

It’s freeing, honestly, once you realize no one is ever, EVER, going to care for you the way YOU care for you opened my eyes. No more was I a slave to making myself available for people. To quote Susan Cain, “Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you’re supposed to. Stay home on New Year’s Eve if that’s what makes you happy. Skip the committee meeting. Cross the street to avoid making aimless chitchat with random acquaintances. Read. Cook. Run. Write a story.

Sure living the way you want is going to piss some people off, I learned that when I got ‘Faggot’ delivered to my inbox from a few closeted fellows who saw Catfish and felt the need to seek me out to tell me how much they hate me. “If you don’t like me, but still watch everything I do, Bitch you a fan.” and as Rupauls mother used to say, “People talking shit since the beginning of time unless they paying your bills, pay them bitches no mind”

It’s okay to want your own happiness. It’s okay to care about yourself the most. You are not obligated to sit there and smile and swallow every bit of shit everyone heaps on you. You are more than furniture, you’re more than window dressing, you’re human and you have the right to say, “That was shitty of you,” you have a right to protest your own mistreatment and set boundaries for respectful interactions. The rest of the world doesn’t realize you have this right and they will act offended and appalled when you exercise it, but it’s yours.” ~Unknown

Don’t forget that. I know this post was heavy with quotes, but that’s just because they can say what I think so much better. I have a quote wall in my cubicle at work and I have some of these quotes posted so that I see them every day. I think you should try the same thing, put it in your locker, your cube, on your phones wallpaper, where ever you’re going to keep seeing it so you keep reminding yourself until it becomes second nature.

If you have questions or want advice you’re more than welcome to message me on facebook or send me an email (zak@zakawry.com) as I said I always try to respond and give any advice when I can.

Are We Still Together?

Hello Everyone!

Gosh, I’ve had such an overwhelming response of nice messages I’ve barely been able to keep up! If you’re reading this right now it’s more than likely because you saw my episode of Catfish last night and want to know if Garrett and I are still together. So I thought I would write this short post and answer everyone’s burning question.

Sorry to disappoint but Garrett and I were never officially “together”. We still talk and we still tell each other we love each other, but no, we are not together. Distance is a really shitty thing. We both want each other but know because of the distance it would only end in heartbreak. He made plans to move with his best friend this summer and he is a man of his word, which I respect, and so it would be at least a year before he would be ready to move out of Kansas and I don’t want to move somewhere that far and new only to move again in less than a year.

After watching the episode I even made the leap today saying that maybe we should reconsider dating, because the episode brought back all of my feelings and I realized I don’t care about the distance or how long it would take but, unfortunately, it’s just bad timing right now. Don’t be sad though that’s the beauty of life, nothing is permanent, I’m making plans to go see him once he’s settled this summer and I’ll be holding out hope that I will be with the love of my life this time next year. Everyone cross your fingers for me!

Love,
Zak Awry

PS. I will cut you if you try to hit on my future husband.

What you need to know about PrEP.

One of my followers was pretty concerned about me and being safe after my last post talking about having had an STI. We made a deal that he’ll quit smoking if I “play safe”. Now, something to keep in mind if you’re a gay or bisexual male, condoms are great for preventing STI’s but they can still break/tear and leave you at risk not just for the common STI’s like HPV, gonorrhea, or chlamydia but also HIV. The others can be cured with a couple pills or a shot in the ass and you’re on your way, HIV is a life-long disease that, while manageable, will affect your daily life and it is now completely preventable.

I briefly talked about being on Truvada on my Let’s Talk Sex post. What is Truvada you ask? Truvada is a pre-exposure prophylactic (PrEP) that’s anywhere from 92-99% effective against the spread of HIV. If you don’t believe me google Truvada and get the facts yourself.

I’m shocked at the number of guys I talk to that have no idea what this is or choose not to be on it because they don’t think they need it. As gay and bisexual men (depending on the state you live in), we have many free benefits to take advantage of and you might even get your Truvada for free, why snub your nose at a free prescription, woman don’t even get birth control for free.

PrEP is only for people at high risk for HIV (Which news flash, if you’re having casual anal sex, either receptive or giving, you’re at a high risk. Or sharing needles, but that’s a different conversation).  Truvada is barely marketed at all. There’s a widespread fear that if the risk of HIV is taken out of the equation for gay men than the use of condoms will decline and we’ll end up with super strains of gonorrhea and chlamydia that are drug resistant and overall that the spread of STI’s will rise.

I was all for being put on Truvada when I first found out about it but when I tried to get a prescription I found out that the doctor didn’t know what it was, didn’t care, and wasn’t going to prescribe it to me (Montana thinking right there) so I pretty much ditched the idea because I didn’t think I was having enough casual sex to be at risk. I always knew my partners and trusted that they were tested and knew their status. That was until I had a “friends with benefits” that I didn’t know very well who was open about his high number of sexual partners, I was afraid that maybe he was one of those people that assumed no symptoms meant no problem so I was concerned with whether he actually knew his status or not.

Although we barely did anything that would warrant the spread of HIV a friend of mine made me extremely paranoid and I went in to the hospital to get PEP (which is Post-exposure prophylactic) which is a combination of drugs that are effective against fighting the HIV virus up to 72 hours after being exposed to it. Although the doctor told me my chances of getting HIV were very slim in my interaction she was impressed at my knowledge and desire to be responsible and recommended PEP for me. That was how she set her trap.

I had to follow up with her a month later and she was insistent on me getting on PrEP. Who was I to argue when I’m sitting in that office because I just had a scare, that’s like saying, “No I don’t think it will rain today” as it’s raining on you. I was reluctant at first because I didn’t want people to think I was this huge slut for being on PrEP and that I just slept with everyone or have someone assume that they didn’t have to use protection with me because I’m on PrEP.

First of all, you don’t even have to tell anyone you’re on it I just happen to keep mine on my bathroom counter so I remember to take them daily, so naturally people ask questions when they see them. I’m not going to try and sell you on this because the choice is yours I just think you should know about it and know you have options to take extra precautions to take care of your body and future self.

Everyone always says they’re clean in the heat of the moment but if that were always true we would have already eradicated all these infections and diseases by now. It’s your body, don’t trust just anyone with it and don’t believe anything said in the heat of the moment, perhaps the person doesn’t think they have anything because they don’t have symptoms.  Always use condoms guys but add to your protection with Truvada.

If anyone has questions or personal comments you’re welcome to send me a personal email and I promise to answer it zak@zakawry.com.  I try to avoid Facebook because of all the ads but you’re welcome to message me on Facebook too if email is too old school for you.  Your questions are what keep me going guys, nothing is off limits.

Life Update

I have had a few questions from people (Hi Alex!) asking how I can be so open about my life, What I tell people and what I keep private. I am not afraid of what people think of me and etc. So I just don’t care. I get to hide behind a computer and type out the stuff in my head without worry of offending someone, boring someone, or inconveniencing someone, they can choose when and where they read my babbling.

As for what I choose to tell people — I’m an open book. You’re judging me one way or another right this second either negatively or positively so what the fuck do I care if you know I had an STD, or moved across the country for love or made a bad decision getting laser hair removal. It’s not your life and if you want to judge me for my actions so be it, perhaps you’ll learn a lesson from me and NOT follow my mistakes. I write about life experiences and hope they have helped a person. I want you all to avoid the pitfalls I ran into.

I’ve been dealing with a lot these last few weeks. I’m suing my roommate, I just taped a show for MTV (Catfish if you must know) Had the holidays and trying to decide where to move. I moved to Delaware on a whim because I fell in love with a boy, rookie mistake, I lied and said it was for school and now that school is done, no guy around here has given me a reason to stay, and my job certainly hasn’t given me a reason to stay, so I know that it’s time to move on.

If you’re no longer being challenged in life or you’re not happy with your situation, CHANGE IT. I have no idea what I’m going to do, to be honest. I have a feeling I’m going to purge as much of my stuff as I can, rent the cheapest trailer I can find and just city hop for a couple months. Try Columbus OH out for 6 months and if I like it cool I’ll stay and look for a more permanent job, if I don’t I’ll pack my few things again and move to the next city on my life until I can nail down the place I want to live.

Moving’s hard unless you have someone or something you’re moving too and I think that’s why so many people stay in their hometowns. They have nothing or no one to move for so why bother disrupting what they know. I literally printed out a US map spun around a lot and stuck a pin in it to see where I was going to move to.

Sacramento is probably the closest to the pin I put in Cali so looks like I *MAY* be moving across the country again. I just have a lot of dependents going on right now and the next upcoming months should be able to give me an indication of how I’m going to choose my next location. My dear friend Andrew is very sick so I may end up in Tennessee taking care of him because he’s become more than a friend, he’s become family and you make sacrifices for family right?

If my house sells fast enough I’ll be down in Tennessee as soon as I get my stuff loaded up, if not then I’ll head to Columbus take an English as a 2nd language teaching program and go teach people in Thailand English, or get my graduate degree in social work and come back east to go to Widener to get my Ph.D. in Human Sexuality.

I probably sound like I’m wicked smart and have my life together right? Well jokes on you, I don’t even know what I’m having for dinner tonight. I just live my life with not wanting to live in regret. I want to live a full life and I want to know what would happen if I dated that guy that’s perfect for me but I’m too afraid he might hurt me. I want to move to a new city I’ve never visited with a guy I’ve internet dated for months.

So we’ll see what the next few months hold, how fast my house sells, and where I end up. Hell, I might just stay in Delaware for my therapist alone.
If you like my posts remember to subscribe I’ve stopped putting them on Facebook as much because my IT guy won’t fix my thumbnail viewer.

So IF there is a computer guy out there that can help me with SSL and thumbnail views I don’t have much money (any really, this is a free blog) but would totally appreciate some help so I might be able to get back to posting regularly.

Love my little Awry’s *Muah*

Be Bold

I thought having to work on my vacation back home was totally gonna ruin things for me and get in the way but as it turns out it seems to be one of the few things keeping me sane while I’m locked away in this house with no car, slick and icy roads, and friends that all simply didn’t care enough to throw a parade or take days off work for me, it’s fine, I’m not mad.

No, I honestly jest about my friends I get it they have lives and more important things to do than to drop everything to go out to lunch with me or get drinks or get more drinks. I’ve been lucky enough to get into contact with one of my followers on here. Who’s become a good friend (HI ANDREW!) and he’s been keeping me sane while being locked alone in this house like Rapunzel (only with better hair).

With Christmas being less than a week away I’ve never felt less Christmassy ever. I’ve been surprisingly sober this trip and I’m not sure if that’s a life improvement thing or a shitty weather thing but it’s been nice so far. I’ve had a pleasant deep conversation with my dad regarding different sexuality, trans people, and attractions. Which if you knew my dad would probably be surprised to find out that we had a conversation about it and we discussed how I wanted to go to graduate school for a master in Human Sexuality.

But what I want to talk about is how I found it curious when my controller at work told me that she’s only met two people in her life who have been, as she put it, “This is who I am, take it or leave it.” So I guess she’s saying I have self-confidence in being myself? I’ve had multiple people listen to my suggestion of how to handle a situation and tell me they’re not me, they can’t just do that. They also are amazed at my willingness to go out to dinner by myself, move blindly to a different state, and overall just sure in everything I do.

I have never found myself to be a confident person. I will often times form my own opinion and just simply keep it to myself for fear that I’ll sound ridiculous or sound like a terrible person. I’m constantly unsure of my decisions and change my mind at least 10 times before finally settling on something, and I see a therapist twice a month to keep me on track.

I think what people are seeing in me is my serving face. After being a server for 7 years I know how to be likable and look like I know what I’m doing when in reality I don’t remember what the table I was just at asked for. My life is a hot mess filled with all sorts of self-doubts and insecurities but the trick is if you’re going to be weird, be confident about it.

I don’t care what people think about me as long as it’s what I want them to think. I heard that quote somewhere and have pretty much lived my life by it. People perceive me exactly the way I want them to, a white middle class, quiet, gay boy that’s super shy. I’m always the one you least expect to get a DUI, STI, addiction, eating disorder or anything else. I want to come across as a goody-goody and it’s worked for me so far.

Why am I wasting my time confessing this to you? Because I want you all to be cognizant that just because someone portrays themselves a certain way they probably are just as self-conscious and scared as you. The difference is that I don’t like living my life wondering, “What if…” I don’t want to wonder what it’s like dating a guy, I’ll straight up pursue him. I don’t want to end up as some 55-year-old Woody’s patron (a gay bar in Philly) watching the 21 and 22-year-old twinks dance and drool over them because I let life choose the safe path for me where I didn’t get hurt by anyone because I didn’t let them in.

I want to live a life worth talking to people about. I love reacting nonchalantly when I tell people I lived in New Zealand for a year. I want to know that I gave this life my best effort so that someday when I’m in an old folks home sitting in my rocker next to the window I can remember that one time I moved across the country for a boy I loved, or how I ended up on national TV or becoming an English teacher abroad.

I’ll leave you with my favorite quote,
“You’re one of those people who’ve been blessed not only with talent, but with self-awareness. And that means you get to choose what you want to do with your life, instead of life choosing for you. But having that power, the power to choose can be a double-edged sword. Because you can choose wrong.” ~Tommy Wallach.

If nothing else, Fake it until you make it.
Until next time my lovelies.

Have a Merry christmahanakwanzika

Clippings

He took a haggard breath looking up from his deathbed with complete clarity as the beeping of the machines fell silent around him.

“I’ve made many friends in this life, some of them for a short time, others for a lifetime. I can even remember my first friend from when I was five, but it is you that I’m glad who gets to be my last friend.” 

his grip slowly softens and the light fades out of his eyes as he expels his final breath.

Converting a Straight Guy

I pull up just as the first few snowflakes start to drift down.
“Here” I text.

Moments later a tall slim figure emerges from the house and glides down the driveway. He pops the car door open and gets in. A smile spreads across his face, “Hey man, long time no see. How you been?” his dark brown eyes matching perfectly to his fuzzy bomber hat

I smile, elated that this is finally happening. “I’m doing pretty good man.” Trying to act as straight as possible. We gaze into each other’s eyes for a moment, a sense of longing perhaps, before he breaks eye contact and sputters off into what he’s been up to these last few months.

I do my best to concentrate on the road and his talking while thinking about running my hand up his upper thigh. Ever since I met this guy I’ve wanted to jam my tongue down his throat. He’s nervous, I can tell from the slew of words that have not ceased coming out of his mouth since we broke eye contact.

“So you said you thought you were gay?” I interjected wanting to get to the real reason why we were here, “What makes you think you’re gay?”

“Well it all started when I was at the gym with my buddy, Tim” he paused as if contemplating if he’s really going to tell this story, “And then he like showed me this work out technique and touched my body and…..I don’t know….it just felt, funny”

I instantly go into therapist mode validating that these feelings were indeed real and that he was in an enclosed space with hormones, pheromones, and testosterone floating around in the air. Sexuality is fluid so it’s very normal to be aroused or turned on when you’re around a bunch of sweaty bodies working out.

He turns and looks at me deadpan and says, “I didn’t contact you to talk about this.” An almost hunger in his eye.

Damn, wish I would have known this before I picked him up. I’d have at least brushed my teeth and reapplied deodorant.

“Oh…..kay??? So, uh why did you contact me? You said that you had so many questions and I had all the answers.”

“I want to get physical… with you… and you know…see if I like it.”
God damn it, where were you when I was in high school?
He keeps talking all the way to my house. We get inside and awkwardly sit on the couch. I sit with just my knee touching him. He’s obviously very nervous. He pulls his knees up to his chest and wraps his arms around his legs. I put on some Netflix to try and relieve some of the tension.

I keep trying to get him to talk letting him get it all out in the open and I start caressing his arm and ask if this is alright, he’s hesitant at first but then shakes his head yes fully letting himself enjoy the attention. I lean back on the couch pulling him with me so that he’s the little spoon with my arms around the front of him. He rolls back into the safety of my embrace and looks up at me as we kiss. Nothing passionate, just a simple kiss to test the waters and see how he feels about it.

“This feels amazing,” he says and I smile remembering back to the first time I got to cuddle with a guy and it just feels so right.

After a few moments, I can see his brow furrow.

“I’m sorry,” he says regretfully biting his bottom lip.

“Why?” I ask leaning down and kissing him on his lips again this time more passionately.

“Because you’re gonna hate me.” He looks off to side. “I’m just not looking for a relati-“

I can see the look of guilt on his face from a mile away. “Let me guess,” I interrupt, “there’s some guy you think you might like and you wanted to use me as practice before approaching him?”

He sat quietly confirming my suspicion.

He looked like a puppy from an ASPCA commercial and I can’t help but laugh to myself and say, “Look, you’re not the only one here not looking for a relationship. I happy to help you anyway I can whether that’s answering questions about coming out or whether that’s helping you determine if you’re gay.”

A look of surprise and relief wash over his face as he can’t believe I’m ok with this scenario.

“You’re seriously the coolest,” he says as he hugs me and kisses me again embracing me for just a second longer.

Nothing but some making out and heavy petting happened (Sorry to disappoint) but he was able to figure out that he definitely enjoyed it and decided that he was gay. Not the exact way I imaged helping someone come to terms with their sexuality but at least he was able to figure it out before I did.

Make sure to subscribe to me, I have big BIG news in the next few months.