The World In The Life Of A Guy – Part 12 – Putting Two Together

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Before I start, I wanted to say that this series has been a great way to reflect on the various ways men and women are different, as well as how those differences really impact how we go through the world.  After this post, I want to take a bit of time away from this series as a means to collect myself and to try new regularized topics to write about, I will come back intermittently to post about these topics, but after a year I am ready to try something new. Thank you for following along with this, I have enjoyed it.

As I started, so shall I end.  With sex and relationships.

I’ve spent a long time asking women my age about their relationship experiences, what it is like to be with a guy, and for what they tell me, I’m surprised a lot of them keep wanting to be in one. Stories I’ve heard, go into great detail about the enormous breaches of personal trust and faith in the partners they were with.  Stories of being forced or compelled to do things they didn’t want to do, harassed or abused, or even worse.  The stories were not all doom and gloom, but the sheer regularity of these negative experiences among people I have talked to is disheartening.  With each stories told to me the list of things that haunted me.  Haunt me, telling me of what I could be, but compelling me to go out to heal and not to hurt.  I don’t shy away from these stories, and I am supremely grateful for those who have shared their experiences with me, it keeps me aware of how bad it could be. In the end what bothers me how people can people can think so little of others, or feel entitled to something that should be shared. The bar for relationships a lot of women is a lot lower than it should be.  Women aren’t perfect, women are just people, and should at least be treated with the decency of an ordinary person, and sometimes they fight to get that much.

It makes me fear my own missteps, vivid things I may have done better. Progress is all about learning from my mistakes, to be better but with people and keep moving forward. Through it all, I’ve got scars on my heart from it, scars that seem to be growing and I don’t know what to do.

I think I’m afraid of sex, that powerful act that like a void, never seems to be satiated completely.  I think I always have been.  I can give you every excuse in the book for this fear, my religious upbringing, my less than stellar early life experiences with girls, or just the world of cold videos of porn on the internet but each of these would just seem to be a contributor or symptom of a much bigger issue.

Expression.

My experiences have taught me to that care is to give, and what else is there to give but myself.  I gave up pieces of myself to appease people early on.  Destroyed bits of my heart and soul to be okay with it.  I remember in high school, among the many strange things that happened to me was a girl. I had liked her at some point, and she had liked me, but the only thing was that our timing or wanting to be with each other ended up being off.  In liking me, she wanted express that in some way, so she ended up sending naked pictures of herself to me.  This is where curiosity kills, this might sound weird, but the curious part of me wanted to know more, but my heart and soul weren’t in it resisting me, telling me to stop this, that doing this was hurting me and wasn’t right.  She knew that I didn’t want a relationship because I told her that I wasn’t interested but she kept on with it (though I should have been more active to stop it). I didn’t though, not directly because I had always been told this was a good thing and that I should savor it and enjoy it even though it killed me inside. At the end of it all, in some strange way, it felt like someone was at least expressing that they wanted me to be that person in my life which felt good and started me down this road.

The experience sticks with me because it was the first of a lot of experiences that felt just not right for me. I may go into detail another time but for now, the point is I’ve had my fair share of good bad experiences, and it’s what I learned though that matters. In some way, I think most guys see similarly to me, that sex and sexual things are a form of intimacy and expression.  It is about power, desire, and in the best of times love.  The little voice in our head whispering that the only way to feel the connection is through that expression of two bodies of self. That the negation of advances recounts itself as a rejection of this expression and a rejection of expression means a rejection of self.
This type of thinking is ridiculous, but when feeling and desire is only expressed through such limited avenues, how else is that to come off.

This is why I am so afraid of sex because to me, its a giving of myself, leaving myself open and yet it can so quickly be given and taken from you. It can become from meaningful to meaningless swiftly and easily. Why would I want to do that to myself, to satiate if not only temporarily the urges that my body afflicts upon me? Used as a mechanism to fill the void of lonely disregard of heart, a cry for help and a stopgap for meaning.  Each time disregarded, carves away at our heart so that less and less of it comes back to us.  I want something more because I know more is out there.  I want to be open to the love of a different kind and nature. Expression of which can comes in different types and forms still foreign and mysterious to me. I don’t want it to be only about sex, there should always be more to it.

We keep coming back to relationships though, after each of our experiences to try again.  I don’t know why, I don’t understand it and I know I won’t go for a while but we keep trying out there, hoping and working for change.  The world of girls and guys is different in a lot of ways but this one is the same, we want a better future and we are, if not slowly, moving towards it together. I hope it will be one we can be proud of.

Not Anymore

So I needed to watch a sexual assault awareness video to register for classes
It was called Not Anymore
A long interactive video that seemed to drag
This isn’t the first video I’ve had to watch of this type
It probably won’t be the last
Some of the antics are ridiculous
Some of the acting is crazy
But it makes me wonder
Will this help anyone
Will this stop an attack
I can’t help but to feel that most of the time
Assailants know what they are doing
They may not label it at the time
They may not refer to themselves as a rapist
Or a sexual predator
But there has to be something deep down that had already told them that it was wrong
That what they were doing is bad
But it keeps on happening

Maybe it’s an effect of people believing that they are the exception to the rule
Maybe it’s them being in denial
But I doubt most rapists think their rapists
So will this video help?

This video becomes clear toward the end
It’s not for them
It’s for us
The ones who know right from wrong
The ones who see it happening and decide to look away
The ones who don’t want to have that awkward conversation with a friend
It’s telling us to do something
To act
And potentially be the hero somebody needs
or
To stop this violent act from happening again

So perhaps the video shouldn’t be called Not Anymore
But Now More Than Ever

Writing and Intimacy

I don’t know why I picked up that magazine, or why I had the time but as I sat there, I was entranced by the photographs that the magazine. I flipped slowly and carefully through each one of the pages, never looking at any page too deeply.  My fingers flipped through the pages as I double took on some of the more enticing ads and articles that they had, but one, in particular, caught my eye.  I was surprised to see it, there laid out before me, I stopped leafing through that book and took it in. What it was for escapes me but there before I was a woman, loosely clad, faced partially obscured by the limitations of the frame, leaning in and grabbing her chest.
The pores of her smooth skin were apparent as the camera’s clarity brought about every detail. Small folds of her breast shown through minute shadows radiating away from the hand that was holding firm.  There was a coy smile that painted itself on her face as it knew something much more than me. She seemed to have all the control and grace, as her hair was pushed off the way as not to obfuscate her body.
The image felt larger than the page and emanated a sense of both lust, and intimacy. A playfulness that jumped out reminded me of time long past and impressed the feeling of a sense of love and closeness.  It might seem strange, this photo might give all those things but its the expression through the body that say there was no worry, no fear, just a bit of fun because I trust you.  There were dark shades of color, as the backdrop of the bedroom came into view.  It makes you wonder what she was thinking about when that picture was taken, or if she was thinking at all.
The illusion of closeness and affection cast its spell on me, throwing back into my mind as I searched through buried memories of times when this feeling was more apparent. First came a sweet remembrance of love and touch but soon turned sour as my heart came to realize its absence. I began to miss intimacy, the bond of confidence and simple singular purpose that combines and intertwines the sense of body and spirit.  Being on that same stage with another human being, feeling the world vanishing as two beings remove themselves from the fold to enter a universe all their own.  I began to miss that feeling of no really caring about what about what was on the other side of that door because whatever it was, it didn’t matter anymore. I began to miss the quiet moments where hearts would if only for a moment connect.
Taken on a trip, my skin felt like it wanted to cry out for touch, to cross that physical barrier of the page to reclaim this lost feeling in a remiss heart. I was filled, just as blood coursed through my veins, with a desire in each of my limbs to reach out and grab whatever I could to bring me some sense of relief.  My heart called out “Come closer and listen to me, you have neglected me for too long and I want this”.  My eyes scanned the page to find some sense of truth that seemed to be lost to them and my brain remained silent, instructing my hands to turn the page and forget all of which I saw.

The World In The Life Of A Guy: Part 1 -Sex

Written on my wall since high school is a simple question printed on a label maker. “What Makes A Man?” it says.  This ambiguous question, with no clear answer, is something that I come back to regularly as I contend with realities of the world. Hearing stories about what men are capable of both good and bad makes me question what type of person I want to be. Over the last several months I’ve been posing questions to people around me about their interactions with men. The answers I received were confusing and at points horrifying. I want to show you what it’s like for a regular guy out there in the world, one who doesn’t necessarily know if he is an outlier or the rule.

Sex, it always starts with sex. A stupid place to start but a grand motivator for most men.  Guys will usually have a story about something they do or have done because of girl. I among them found my love of running because of a girl in high school telling me she liked guys with runners bodies. As I get older, this departs from the much more innocent motivations of young; a desire to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible is found. Guys are motivated by sex.  I can’t honestly deny this, what changes is willingness fight against this all-consuming emotion to find a higher ground to stand on.  In our mind, sex it presses up against us, invading our thoughts and without strong mental fortitude it wins out the day. It whispers fantasies and delusions into our ear, denying that reality in which we are for one that could possibly be if you were to play the game right. That is no way to condemn us to being sex fiends, but something we must contend with.  That inner strength is what I find as being the man is all about.  The ability to put these thoughts and feelings aside for something that is much greater than the hedonistic vices of sex can provide me.

It’s that relationship, though, between guys and gals that so intertwined with this dynamic that it becomes bogged down but the tension between friendship and sexuality.  From When Harry Met Sally, a movie about a man and woman attempting to have a friendship that eventually turns into a romantic relationship, even the one of the protagonists clearly states that he doesn’t believe men and women can be friends because sex will get in the way. This idea was foreign to me, why can’t we foster and hold relationships with people of the opposite gender?  It’s within the expectations that are held, the way we picture things when I say I have a relationship with a guy friend versus a girl friend. Not to mention the amount of narratives I’ve heard from women of always having to be wary of ulterior motives when entering a friendship with a guy.  With all I’ve heard, the hesitation is warranted.  Love is a drug, and we are addicts, so if you need a fix, you’ll try to get it from anywhere. 

Do I believe we different from the previous generations of human beings in such a way that we can deviate from this cycle of sexual magnetism?
No, but I do believe in the human spirit, which can look create the world we want and I do believe in values and the ability to motivate ourselves to relationships that go beyond sexual attraction.

In this regard, I find to be the best way to end this conversation about being a guy in this sexual environment is talking about what I strive for. This comes from many hours thinking about the kinds of relationships I want to foster along with listening to troubled tales of the lost souls out there in the world. My truest goal is to find a place and strength to be able to say no to sex.  With the ability to wait and find a sense of truth beyond the physicality of it all. Don’t get me wrong intimacy has a place in every adult relationship, but I don’t want to be under the control of these feelings. It’s not to deny them,  but to find a way to curb them appropriately. The world does not revolve around sex and I shouldn’t either, I want to enjoy the world and people for who they are and not have this lingering thought in the back of my mind. It’s what I am working towards, and something I want for my relationships in the future…but hey, at the end of the day I’m “just a guy” right.