The Big Secret To A Healthy Life

A good night's rest can completely change your life. Seriously, it can.

Think about it.

How amazing do you feel after a solid night's rest? I don't know about you, but a good night's sleep can completely change my behavior, mood, and habits, which is why I think it's time we had a little talk about sleep.

When discussing health, mentally or physically, we often talk about diet, supplements, and exercise, but the one big thing that can change everything is sleep.

In today's crazy rat race we often get sucked into our jobs, staying up late, and pushing our body's to the max, but we aren't allowing these precious machines the adequate time to relax, rejuvenate, and reset.

Honestly, you can eat the healthiest foods, workout 6 days a week, and do everything else perfect, but if you aren't getting enough or the right kind of sleep you won't find your body, mind, and soul feeling elevated, healthy, and fit.

Because of all of this, I knew I had to team up with Beautyrest Sleeptracker to share this amazing new standalone sleep monitoring device. The Sleeptracker will literally turn any bed into a smart bed by analyzing your entire sleep ecosystem, and provide highly accurate analytics revolving around your slumber.

There's no obnoxious wearable, set up is beyond easy, and you get all your data sent right to your phone through the Beautyrest Sleeptracker App. The patented system measures your respiration and heart rate with a 90% accuracy, and will truly provide you with information that will help you sleep deeper. 

This isn't just about giving you numbers, this is about coaching you to fall asleep faster, sleep deeper, and wake up feeling even more refreshed. 

You wouldn't keep using your phone after it's battery is dead, and you don't expect to feel great eating unhealthy food, so why would you allow yourself to have anything but the perfect night's sleep?

It's time to learn how to wind down, fall asleep more easily, and sleep soundly throughout the night. It's time to check out the Beautyrest Sleeptracker! You're only doing yourself a disservice by not sleeping like a baby every night, and both myself and the Beautyrest Sleeptracker want to help you get there.

Happy sleeping my gorgeous human beings! #ISleepTo maintain my health.

Posted on July 15, 2017 .

To Everyone Who Has Let Go Of A Toxic Father

As Father’s Day approaches it serves as a big reminder that not all of us will be celebrating. 

I have many friends that have had their dads pass away, and my heart goes out to all of them because they didn’t chose to not celebrate Father’s Day. However, my heart also goes out to those who have had to make the very hard decision to say good bye to their fathers, not because they’re no longer around, but because they were toxic to our lives.

I know that these two things are not the same, but I can speak from first hand experience and the heart that it doesn’t make this day any less painful, or act as a big reminder that many of us have had to say goodbye to someone who we once called Dad.

While I may not have physically lost my father, I have had to deal with the feelings of loss, and although I know he exists somewhere in the world, it doesn’t change the fact that he is no longer in my life.

Many of you will not understand why so many of us have had to let the men in our lives, who were supposed to be our father figures go, but for all of you who do, know that I get it.

I know what it feels like to wish you had a male role model in your life to show you how to be a man, or what it feels like to be a daddy’s girl. I know what it feels like to wish you had someone to go to when you just needed a big bear hug, or have conversations about life with. I know what it feels like to wish you could go to you dad and ask for advice on life, money, love, or any number of topics that you see your friends go to their dads for. I know what it feels like to wish you had your dad around to take care of your mom, who doesn’t know how to take care of herself. I know what it feels like to wish you had that built in support that comes from a dad. I know what it feels like to be reminded that you don’t have your dad around, and that he was never really that nice to you, but you tried so hard to make him like you.

It’s a hard thing to explain to anyone how you could cut someone out of your life, especially a parent, but when someone treats you badly, mentally and physically hurts your family, and manipulates all the relationships in their lives, you just learn that no title or amount of blood gives someone the right to be in your life. 

It truly is one of the hardest decisions we’ve had to make, and it’s something we think about all the time because we know they are alive, but when we see how much brighter, lighter, and more peaceful our lives have become without this person, we can’t deny that we made the right decision. It doesn’t make it any less painful, and thinking about it still hurts, but knowing we’ve found peace makes us feel just that, peaceful. 

We tried and struggled to help our dads find their own peace, but as we learn, you can’t force someone to do anything, especially a parent. Even though we have let these men go, we don’t wish them ill will. We still hope that one day they find their own sense of peace, love, success, and joy because we know they’ve struggled to find those things their whole lives. 

So while Father’s Day is a day meant to celebrate dads, remember that it’s a day to also celebrate yourself, and the hard, but mature decisions you’ve made for yourself to have a better life. If you have a mom that stepped up and did the work of two parents than celebrate her today, and if you don’t have parents at all that you can celebrate today than celebrate your amazing friends, mentors, or family members who have become the fathers you deserve to have in your life.

While it’s just one day a year, it’s still a day that can make many of us feel sad, down, and a little bit lonelier, but what we all need to remember is that we can learn from our fathers regardless of if they are in our lives. We can either chose to be the victim and feel bad for ourselves, or learn from our father’s mistakes, and be the men and women they could never be. Father’s day will come and go, but who you decide to be, and how you decide to influence the world will last forever, so remember that there is a world of people out there that love you for all the reasons your father couldn’t, and we are proud of the men and women you have become.

Keep shining bright, keep being better than your father, and let love continue to guide you on your journey to be the ultimate version of yourself. 

Posted on June 18, 2017 .

Open-Faced Breakie Sandwich

Multigrain whole wheat bread, plump tomatoes, and tofu sausage topped with two over easy eggs. It's my high protein open-faced breakie sandwich. 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 Organic Free Range Eggs
  • 2 Pieces of Multigrain Whole Wheat Bread
  • 1 Tofu Sausage
  • 1/2 a Tomato
  • Avocado Mayonnaise 
  • Chili Flakes
  • Ground Pepper
  • Pink Himalayan Salt

Prepare:

  1. Slice your tomato.
  2. Cut your tofu sausage into 4 pieces.
  3. Heat your tofu sausage in skillet on stove top till lightly brown.
  4. Toast your 2 pieces of bread.
  5. Spread avocado mayonnaise onto toast.
  6. Add tomato slices to bread.
  7. Add 2 pieces of your tofu sausage to each slice of bread.
  8. On same skillet cook your two eggs to over easy.
  9. Add 1 egg to each slice of bread.
  10. Top with red chili flakes, pink Himalayan salt, and ground pepper. 

BAM!

And there you have a delicious and nutritious breakie sandwich. 

Posted on May 22, 2017 .

Brooklyn Botanic Garden: Cherry Blossom Season

Every year in April the blossoming of cherry blossoms, or sakura as they are known in Japanese, become a spectacle across the Northern Hemisphere. In New York, we have our own cherry blossom season at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and for the first time ever I went to witness their incredible bloom.

Hanami is the centuries-old practice of picnicking under a blooming cherry blossom, and was originally limited to the elite of the Imperial Court; however, centuries later this relaxing practice has become one that people from all walks of life enjoy.

In conjunction with Buddhist influence and Japanese culture, cherry blossoms are thought to represent the ephemeral nature of life, and embody the concept of mono no aware or "the pathos of things.". I've always found these gifts from nature to be dazzling, but after learning about their symbolism I feel even more connected to these pink wonders.

If you have the chance I highly recommend going to take part in hanami for yourself, and dozing off underneath these Japanese symbols for clouds.

Posted on May 2, 2017 .

Why Finding The Gay Gene Is A Big Problem

And why we need to stop looking for it.

Homosexuality has existed in societies across the globe for as long as we can go back in time. The Greeks, Romans, indigenous tribes, Europeans, and even early Americans had a level of fluid sexuality that permeated throughout their cultures, and that existed on a spectrum that most weren’t fixated on the way too many people are today. 

Homosexuals have played important roles in communities as leaders, religious figures, inventors, artists, politicians and a number of highly important social developers. However as the need to neatly organize and make sense of things has become a common occurrence in modern society due to religious ideals, a shift in how we view a relationship that isn’t between one man and one woman has become unholy, and therefore unwelcome, unnatural, and sinful.

Thus, we began the search to find out what makes someone a homosexual. We began asking all sorts of questions about how something so “wrong” could happen: Is it nature or nurture? Does it come from the mother or the father? Is it hereditary? Is there a gay gene?

There must be a reason why some men and women become homosexuals, and we are on a quest to answer this mind boggling occurrence.

But why?

Why is it that we feel the need to determine how or why someone could be attracted to someone who shares the same genitalia? 

As someone who struggled for years with his sexuality, I get why so many people are so obsessed with finding out what makes a lot of us “different,” but the thing is, who cares? Once I accepted this part of myself that really isn’t that big of a deal, I no longer cared why I was “this way.” Furthermore the fact that we spend millions of dollars of research to try and decipher this unimportant thing is ridiculous, and ultimately tells an entire population of people that something is wrong with them.

Are we trying to find a gene, so we can then find a cure? 

While some scientist my argue that pinpointing a gene could allow for medical breakthroughs, I have to argue that there seems no real benefit to pinpointing a gene. Yes, gay men deal with certain types of diseases more commonly than straight men, but these illnesses usually comes from the act of sex, and/or years of mental hardship that are correlated to constantly hearing you’re less than from those around you.

Excuse me while I geek out for a second, but lets look at something like the X-men.

While X-men isn’t explicitly about homosexuality, there are tons of articles, papers, and commentary about how the sci-fi superheroes represent a metaphor for homosexuality, and it’s beyond apparent when you take a deeper look at what is going on within this graphic novel. A minority group of individuals that are different are subjected to ridicule, persecution, and experiments to cure them. They struggle to accept themselves at younger ages, and eventually grow up to find that what makes them different makes them powerful, strong, and heroic.

Sound familiar?

If you ask me being gay has been an amazing gift of self-exploration, self-discovery, and has forced me to look deeper into what matters at a younger age than many of my straight counterparts. I’ve been introduced to amazing men and women who are changing the way our world operates, I have a network of friends internationally, and I’ve found empathy, compassion, and love in extremely deep ways because of what makes me different. I’m not saying that this is what being gay is all about, or that everyone who is a homosexual feels the same way.

What I am saying is that we need to stop spending valuable dollars to pinpoint what makes someone a homosexual, a top, a bottom, more feminine, or more masculine. Jezebel recently released an article, Born To Bottom, that breaks down a study done in Toronto, and a few others that looked to discover why some men may be more prone to being a top or a bottom. The author is clearly intrigued, but writes with a slight air of distaste. Overall this piece feels like feeding into pointless fodder. 

Again, I must ask, who cares?

To be honest, I think the better question is, if you do care, why? Why are you so interested in knowing what makes someone the way they are?

In our modern culture we are starting to see a greater acceptance for homosexuality, but there still is a huge population of people that think of homosexuals as deviants, monsters, and inhuman. Right now as I write this piece, gay men and their allies are being beaten, tortured, and killed in Chechnya. Concentration camps are being discovered, and Russia and the rest of the world is doing pretty much nothing about this.

Why?

Because gay is still not ok. Because politicians rather look out for profit than for humanity. Because projection, deflection, and avoidance are ways to avoid one’s own shame. Because by putting down one group of people another is able to lift themselves up without looking in the mirror and questioning what they can do to change their own lives for the better. We’ve seen it with race, so why wouldn’t we see it with sexuality? 

It is even a practice within the gay community. Certainly not to this extent, but gay communities segregate themselves based off of skin color, age, perceived levels of masculinity and felinity, and the list goes on. Certain subgroups of gay men self appoint themselves as better than other subgroups because they need to put someone else down because they feel put down by their own insecurities, another group of people, religious beliefs, heterosexuals, or whatever reason you can come up with.

At the end of the day what we need to be focusing on isn’t what makes us different, but what unites us. The conversations about nature versus nurture, a gay gene, or where does homosexuality come from need to stop immediately. This is demoralizing, destructive, and leaves impressionable minds thinking negatively about themselves or their peers. We need to focus our energy, time, resources, and money on real issues.

Homosexuality has been discussed as natures own way of dealing with overpopulation, and as a random occurrence that “affects” about 5 percent of the American population. We may never know why some of us are attracted to the same sex, and why others are attracted to the opposite, and that is ok.

I don’t want to find the gay gene so I can spread it, I don’t want to find the gay gene so I can cure it, and I don’t need to find out there is a gay gene to make sense of myself or others, so I think it’s time we all agreed that there just isn’t a gay gene, and went on to discuss more important issues.

Personally, I think it’s better if we never fully understand everything. Life is a mystery, and whether we’re gay or straight, rich or poor, white or black, we have the opportunity to be good, kind, lovingpeople that look out for one another, that fight for what is right, and that help bring about the positive change our world is in desperate need of.

I think it’s time that we finally close this case, and move on once and for all. The sooner we stop worrying about trivial things, the sooner younger generations won’t think twice about loving whoever they want, and just look to love, and that is a healthy world.

Posted on May 2, 2017 .

One & Only Hayman Island: My 'Treat-Yourself' Weekend

A truly one and only experience.

When I decided to come to Australia I had no set plans except that I was going to fly in and out of Sydney. Everything from there on out was up in the air.

After arriving in Sydney and narrowing down the few specifics of where I wanted to go, and who I wanted to see, I knew everything would just work out from there.

And for the record, it did.

As a child of nature, one thing I knew I had to do during my first trip to Australia was to go and swim at the Great Barrier Reef. I didn’t know exactly where that was, how I was going to get there, and where I was going to stay, but after talking to a few friends and doing some research I found an incredible getaway that took care of all my questions.

One & Only Hayman Island Resort came up when asking one of my travel savvy friends where would be the best place to stay to visit the Great Barrier Reef. I had never heard of this gorgeous resort, but once I saw a few of pictures I knew I had to have a “treat-yourself” pre birthday weekend at this piece of paradise.

If I’m being honest, I very rarely treat myself to luxurious experiences because growing up my family struggled financially. Yes, I travel quite often, but I tend to do everything on a budget. However, as I head into my final year in my 20’s, I knew that this was something I had to do for myself, especially being that I was going to be able to fulfill one of my top bucket list items.

So I did.

A quick train ride from The Gold Coast to Brisbane, a flight from Brisbane to Hamilton Island, and BAM, I landed at the beginning of my One & Only experience. I knew that I had set something very special up for myself, but I had no idea how truly special One & Only would turn out to be.

As soon as I got off the plane I was greeted by one of the incredible staff members from One & Only Hayman Island Resort. Sarah helped collect my bags, and brought me to the yacht, yes yacht, that would take me the hour long ride from Hamilton Island to Hayman Island. I, along with the four couples aboard, was treated to champagne, snacks, and an interesting conversation with a younger couple from The Sunshine Coast celebrating their 4 year anniversary while riding this beautiful boat. 

As we approached the island, a team of One & Only staff members waved us in, and greeted each of us personally before being taken on a private tour of the truly incredible resort. 

Think the jungle meets island luxury, and that is where I found myself in awe.

After being escorted to my beyond gorgeous suite, I started my “treat-yourself” weekend with a delicious sashimi lunch at the resorts main pool, and then was off to a Swedish Deep-Tissue Massage that was insane. My masseuse, Dheeraj Shrestha from Nepal, and who has 10 years’ experience had the hands of an angel, and after being on a number of flights healed my achy body. I left feeling beyond relaxed, and decided to go for a sunset swim in one of the resorts salt watered pools.

A feeling of peace just kind of followed me from here on out while at One & Only Hayman Island.

My first day was concluded with a delicious dinner at the resorts Italian restaurant, Amici. A glass or two of Rose, lobster pasta, and the fish of the day left me feeling perfectly satisfied as I made my way back to my suite to quickly fall into one of the best sleeps I have ever had.

Waking up on day two to the sound of Cockatoos was truly magical. My alarm on my phone usually plays a gentle jungle bird symphony, so to wake up to the real life version was beyond special. 

Once I dragged myself out of bed, I had a beautiful breakfast at Pacific, and a casual paddle board session that left me reflecting on how truly grateful I was for what I’ve made my life to be. After watching giant Trevally Fish feed at the resort's Marina, I escaped to Blue Pearl Island by speedboat to snorkel around the Great Barrier Reef. 

I could try to explain how unbelievable this experience was, but words and pictures could never do justice to how magnificent seeing the Great Barrier Reef with your own two eyes truly is. It’s an experience of a lifetime, and I will forever forget the colors, patterns, and amazing creatures that roam around this natural wonder of the world.

A hike to the top of Whitsunday’s lookout point, and a session of meditation on the beach, left me feeling beyond grateful for the days exploration. 

As if things could get more eventful, I was treated to an indulging Chef’s Table experience that happens only once a week at the resort. This dinner, which I had the pleasure of experiencing with 13 other resort guests was a decadent immersion into fine dinning. This by far was one of my favorite activities during my stay at One & Only. I left this dinner having made new friends from around the world, and engaging my senses on multiple levels. 

The night concluded with some of us heading over to Aquazure for a night cap, which lead to some incredible conversation amongst this highly diverse group of people.

Before I knew it my third and final day had come. I wrapped up my stay with one final breakfast accompanied by two of the hotels amazing senior staff, who gave me some great insight into island living and things to do in Melbourne. An hour long ride back to Hamilton Island on the resort’s luxury yacht perfectly wrapped up one of the best weekends of my life, and just like that I was off to Melbourne.

I can honestly say that my final weekend of 28 was perfect, and that this was all because of One & Only Hayman Island.

I’ve always said it isn’t so much what you see, but who you meet along the way that makes travel so interesting, and my stay at One & Only solidified this thought for me. The resort sprinkled an indescribable magic with its welcoming and relaxing vibe that allowed me to interact with some truly inspiring and beautiful souls.

I met a gorgeous newlywed Indian couple, whose “small” wedding of 600 people in Bali sounded beyond incredible, and we made a promise to see each other again. I received an open invitation to dinner whenever I’m back in Sydney by a CEO and his stylish wife, who were beyond welcoming. I connected with a younger couple, who moved out of the city to a more rural part of Australia to breathe a little easier, and give their two adorable boys a better life. I met two of the most beautiful, friendly, and successful people I’ve ever met, who just happened to be this incredible couple. I got to dine, explore, and hike with a woman, who made my stay all the more amazing, and reminded me that I’ve got this weird sixth sense for understanding people.

Overall I couldn’t have asked for a better “treat-yourself” weekend, and I will forever remember all the adventures I went on, the people I met, and my overall stay at this piece of paradise.

28 you were truly great!

Posted on March 27, 2017 .

It's My 29th Birthday.

I've officially begun my last year in the 20's. Hello 29.

As I sit in my birthday suit and look back on the past 28 years I can't help but feel incredibly grateful, emotional, and blessed.

At moments it's felt like I've had everything working against me, but I've never let that stop me from pushing harder and harder to make my dreams come true. This trip to Australia is the first time I've really traveled alone, and to be honest I was a little stressed about being "by myself." I say "by myself" because as I've traveled from city to city, I've made friends, seen old friends, and had my own company to finally enjoy.

Everyone half joked I'd come here and fall in love because that is just who I am. Funny enough, everyone was right.

I have fallen deeply in love. I've fallen deeply in love with a country that I've dreamt of seeing my entire life, and more importantly I've fallen in love with myself. I say this not in an obnoxious way, but in a way that's necessary.

For a long long long time I didn't like Barrett. I didn't like the way I looked, the way I sounded, the way others treated me, and I didn't like my own company. As I write this I'm overwhelmed at how far I've come from that person.

This trip has been a journey not just through Australia, but through my own soul, and I can honestly say I've found part of myself here. Im waking up saying hello to 29 feeling loved not just by others, but by myself, and damn does it feel good.

In honor of my birthday if anyone would like to donate to my blog today and tomorrow (as I'm ahead by a day for many of you), I will be redonating that money to Save The Children, an organization that helps children around the world. Thank you everyone for being a part of my journey, for sharing your stories, and for making 29 already an amazing year.

Donate

If 29 is anything like 28, I already know it's going to be a magnificent year!

Posted on March 14, 2017 .

A Response To 'Fire Island' The TV Show

As someone who has had a large part of my career grounded in the public eye, I have dealt with my fair share of praise, but with that praise has come a lot of hate.

When I first found out that there was going to be a reality TV show based on Fire Island, I have to admit I was extremely skeptical because this island sees a lot. It’s a refuge for the LGBTQ community to find sun, fun, and whatever else you’re looking for.

The boys are everywhere, excess is plentiful, and while many find peace and quiet on this paradise of an island, many travel to Fire Island to let loose and party till the wee hours of the morning.

After watching the first trailer released for the show I found myself uneasy at what was initially being shown. It’s what you would expect from any reality TV show. There’s drama, drinking, hooking up, and more drama.

Am I surprised? No.

Reality TV as we’ve come to know it thrives on it’s audiences watching characters they love to hate, and hate to love. I say characters because that is what anyone who signs up for reality TV becomes, a character. 

While I wasn’t asked to participate in this specific show, I have been asked to participate in two other highly known gaycentric shows. The offer to have yourself, and ideally your work taken to another level is beyond tempting, but as we’ve watched, ridiculed, and ultimately trashed many gay men’s lives, I just couldn’t stomach the thought of my message of love and positivity being twisted by producers and editors into something other than that.

It’s what you sign up for when you agree to do reality TV. You are basically agreeing to allow someone else edit your life, which often is very different than how we all try to personify our lives. We live in a world where everything is filtered, edited, and photoshopped, so when a TV show comes around that is a little more real many find themselves feeling personally objectified and stereotyped.

I get it completely.

I understand why so many gay men are not super pumped with how we are being depicted in this new show. As a community we’ve been fighting for equality, to be taken seriously, and to not be demonized, and it feels like this show may fuel the flame of so many stereotypes so many of us fight against.

However, I think we all need to stop and take a deep breath before we jump down the throats of all these guys, and this show. 

Firstly, the show hasn’t aired yet, so we don’t fully know what is going to come up, and how these guys are going to depict our community. For all we know there could be some serious conversations had about very serious subject matter that often doesn’t get such a public platform. 

My fingers are crossed.

Secondly, this show like every other reality show doesn’t represent all of us, and while I wish more than anyone that we could have a gay Oprah, it just hasn’t happened yet. I’m trying my hardest to be that person, and spark important conversations, but even I’ve been told to, “kill myself,” because of something I wrote that was misinterpreted. 

If anyone is down to make this show please hit me up.

We’ve got Anderson Cooper, Nate Burkas, Andy Cohen, Ru Paul, and many others that have made themselves household names through TV, but I think we still struggle to have someone be the voice of our community. It’s an incredibly difficult task to ask of anyone, and as gay men we’re still figuring out so much. 

We will never be able to please everyone, and this show is a prime example of that. For all the guys frustrated and outraged by Fire Island, there are a lot out there that are super excited to watch for whatever reasons.

What disappoints me more than anything is that the show hasn’t come out, and we’re already making judgements about it. Yes, I’m not thrilled that our gay community has another show where we aren’t depicted as powerful, successful, and business oriented people, but what reality TV show focuses on those attributes?

In some ways I’m not pleased that this is our latest feature in mainstream media, but I’m trying to find the bright side to this latest show.

For one thing I know some of the guys personally, and they’re total sweethearts. Yes, they’re young, good looking, and have wild sides, but who doesn’t?

I think that many of us need to take a long hard look in the mirror as we start to place so much judgement on these guys because I bet everyone who is quick to rip these guys to shreds has done everything they dislike. Sure, it hasn’t been on TV, but it’s happened.

I think it’s beyond ironic that so many gay men are so quick to bully, judge, and belittle anyone that doesn’t fit their ideals. This is what we’re fighting against, so how can we progress when our own community can't back each other up. I’m not saying you have to be the biggest fan of everything that comes your way, but what I am saying is to be careful with what you put out there, respect others, and don’t go below the belt.

Remember we all have the power to do more, so if you don’t like something be the change you want to see.

I think if anything we need to use this show as a jumping off point for a larger discussion about our media as a whole, and what we’ve allowed and ultimately fed into. While lots of people loved to hate Finding Prince Charming, it was still watched enough to be renewed for a second season, and don’t even get me started on the Real Housewives franchise.

I’d be the first in line to sign up for a TV show that went deeper, talked about things like HIV, Marriage Equality, and LGBTQ rights, but that show doesn’t exist. It isn’t sexy, fun, or super exciting, but it’s what we need, and from the sound of it, it’s what a lot of us want to see.

I think what we all need to remember is that we’re one step behind our straight counterparts because until we finally come out, we’re left hiding some of the most authentic pieces of ourselves. We don’t follow one pretty line of growing up and maturing. We have to pave new paths and roads for ourselves, find mentors that can share their wisdom, and fight even harder to just be ourselves.

Ultimately, what I hope comes from this show is that we do get more gay men into public spheres to represent us on all levels. I hope that the boys say words like HIV, kiss other boys, and show some of the magic that so many of us have experienced while on Fire Island.

Remember everything happens one step at a time, and while this isn’t necessarily the equality we’ve all been looking for, it still is a step somewhere. I wish all the guys luck with there new found notoriety, and hope we’re all pleasantly surprised. 

Posted on March 10, 2017 .

Australian Gay Pride: Cheap Thrills

Sydney Mardi Gras.

Coming to Australia has been a 20 year dream, and as I conclude my tenth day here I can honestly say it’s been just that, a dream. I’m not entirely sure why I’ve dreamt of coming here for so long, but it’s been a place that has fascinated me forever. The weather, the general attitude, the people have all mesmerized me, and every time I see something new I can feel my mind expanding and my heart growing.

I tried to have as little expectations as possible, but when you’ve fantasized about something for so long it’s kind of hard. With that said, my expectations have been blown away. 

Sydney was the first stop on my month long tour of Australia, and the main attraction was Mardi Gras. It wasn’t my main reason for coming, but my ex, who is Australian, and someone who’s opinion I will always respect, suggested I come for this life experience. Coming over from America for this festival I thought it was similar to our version of Mardi Gras, so when I got here, and two days later found out that it was Australia’s version of Pride, I was super surprised.

Thanks to an amazing group of guys I know from NY, I had the opportunity of a lifetime to join their float, and be in the parade. All my Aussie friends agreed this was something I had to do. What was to come would blow any ideas I had about this festival out of the water, and leave me with an experience I will never forget.

When I signed up to join The Glamcocks float, I thought I was signing up to wave and dance around on a float, but what I would later realize was that I was signing up for so much more. Yes, we had three dance rehearsals to learn legitimate choreography, and yes, this felt like gay bring it on, but what I had actually agreed to was making amazing new friendships with guys I will know forever, and to spreading a message of love as loudly as possible.

This group of amazingly fun and accepting men instantly took me into their family, taught me some fierce moves, and helped me experience Mardi Gras in a way I will never fully be able to describe.

Everything from learning the dance, to meeting before hand to get ready, to partying our butts off before we even walked in the parade was just so magical. 

The holding area for all the different floats partaking in Mardi Gras is a party all on its own, and I couldn’t imagine not experiencing this wild good time with locals and internationals from all over. Meeting so many people, seeing so much diversity, and just feeling the love was overwhelming and something I wish I could share, but it’s truly something you just have to experience for yourself in real life.

I particularly was intrigued with the group next to us in the holding area. The “R U OK” Float was full of gay and straight men and women who truly came to have an amazing time, were covered head-to-toe in gold glitter, and represent something I was beyond impressed by. R U OK is a national day here in Australia that promotes asking your friends and family if they are ok, and is taken very seriously.

America I think we need to take some notes.

Not to get too serious, but this is something I loved, and I’m disappointed we don’t have something like this in the states because mental and emotional health is something we need to be talking about more, especially with today’s political climate.

Anyways...

The main attraction, which we became while walking down Oxford St, was performing our dance to Sia’s “Cheap Thrills.” We were so fired up from all the fun before hand that the second we started our 45 minute “walk,” we were all ready to give the crowd everything we had.

Dancing in a speedo in front of hundreds of thousands of people may sound mortifying to some people, and to be honest I was a bit self-conscious before I got to the parade, but my fellow Glamcocks insisted I wear one, and once I saw how excited everyone was, I just wanted to have fun and dance my heart out. 

And that is exactly what we did.

The 45 minutes flew by as we repeated our choreography over and over, and gave it our all. As we came to the final stopping point, I found myself disappointed that it was over so quickly, and wanted to just keep going. Our energy levels were soaring, and it was clear that everyone in attendance was having a total blast.

However, all good things must come to an end, and while I did end up dancing till 6 am the next morning, I can honestly say there is nothing like dancing in the Mardi Gras Parade.

While we have lots of different celebrations of Pride in the US, there’s something so much more electric about Sydney’s Mardi Gras. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s at night, or that here I’m a foreigner. Whatever the reason is, it just is.

My final day in Sydney was wrapped up by seeing an old friend, her mom, and her local friends. They all loved hearing about my crazy experience, and sharing it only solidified how amazing the whole experience truly was. It was a great way to say good bye to the experience of a lifetime, and an even better way to remember how lucky I am to have such an amazing life full of love, acceptance, and adventure.

I will truly never ever forget all The Glamcocks I danced my heart out with, and this magical day as a whole. It would be impossible to.

I will also never forget the gratitude I felt being able to participate in a celebration that symbolizes everything being just about love. Fire fighters, police officers, straight and gay, young and old, and every race and religion were represented in the parade. It was the ultimate reminder that while I am so lucky, too many people around the world still have to live in fear and hide being authentically themselves.

While Mardi Gras is one big party, it’s what it represents that makes it so important to not only our LGBTQ community, but humanity as a whole. Right now our world is facing a lot of ugliness, challenges, and hatred. In some ways we’re all being forced to look deep inside of ourselves to question what it is that we really stand for, and while I’ve known this for a long time, Mardi Gras only made my desire to stand for love for everyone even stronger.

I came. I saw. And I danced with every ounce of my soul for every person out there, who feels afraid to be their gorgeous, unique, and imperfectly perfect self. May my journey through Mardi Gras be a reminder to anyone and everyone that life is too short not to be yourself, to make new friends, and to do the things that scare you.

If nothing else, I want everyone out there who is doubting themselves and reading this to know there are millions of people out there who support you being whoever you want to be, and know it doesn’t only get better, it gets freaking amazing!

Posted on March 9, 2017 .

BarrettLust: An Australian Adventure

It's like wanderlust, but my own version.

Day 1. The beginning.

While I may have made it to my ultimate promise land, Australia, it definitely didn’t come stress free.

The journey started off with a full day in NYC, where the weather was beyond perfect, and I saw some of my favorite people. I had an unexpected and interesting send off from someone very important in my life, and found myself feeling lighter than I have in a while. I can’t completely explain why I feel like this day was the end of a really big chapter in my life, but something cosmic was shifting as I prepared to leave NYC for this epic adventure.

I think it may have been that a few of my worlds were colliding, and that this has been a trip I’ve wanted to take since I was really young. I haven’t traveled this far away ever, and if I’m being completely honest, I’m hoping that I fall in love with this country as much as I have dreamt, and relocate for a while.

Add to the fact that I know I won’t be returning to the same apartment that my life had found stability in, and it becomes all the more apparent that the most important chapter in my life thus far, really is over. 

NYC is incredible, but it starts to feel small, overwhelming, and excessive for no reason. The rat race is never ending, and I think I’m just ready for something new, something different, something unknown. I’ve been craving knowledge and the opportunity to learn for some time now, and think that traveling is one of the ultimate ways to learn about life.

If I’m being honest with myself, I know that if I do return home, I won’t be coming back as the same person I left. You never can after something like this, you just understand the world a little better, which helps you understand yourself better.

Even as I sit here writing this, I’m staring at the ocean, a city, and a beach, how could you not fall in love with this?

Anyways, only time will tell what is meant to be.

Getting back to the tale at hand, I found myself rushing to pack as the minutes flew by, and I realized I needed to leave my apartment asap. Lying to myself about how bad traffic would be, and against my better judgement, I called an Uber, and finally found myself embarking on the first leg of my long journey to get to Australia. Within 5 minutes it became apparent that my Uber driver was lying to me about how congested traffic really was, and after 25 minutes not going anywhere, I decided I had to “jump ship” and get on the subway. 

At this point panic started to kick in as I was mortified I wasn’t going to actually make my flight, and miss my dream trip. I caught the subway, got to Penn Station, and had to wait 15 minutes for the next NJ Transit train to Newark. I had less than 2 hours till my flight was boarding, and this didn’t fall into the suggested 3 hour arrival time for my flight.

FUCKKKKKKKKKKK!

I’m someone who fully believes in karma, and while I was stressed about not making my flight, I knew deep down that the universe would align, and everything would work out. As it always does.

And as life would have it, I did make my flight, and a very nice woman let me cut her in line for security, which sped everything up so much that I actually was a full minute early to boarding time.

My 5 hour flight from NY to Vancouver was painless, and I ended up staying awake the whole way. It was a strategic move, so that I would be more likely to sleep the 15 hours it was going to take to get to Sydney. At my layover, I met a super friendly Canadian, Emily, while sitting at the bar doing the whole "solo traveler thing." We discussed world politics, the difference between our countries, and shared a really nice moment bonding over the desire to help heal the world in our own ways. I’ll probably never see her again, but it’s those type of interactions that stick with us, and add value to our lives.

At 11:15 pm, it was finally time to commence the final leg of this long journey, and because I had found my way to food and a new friend, as I often do, I forgot to ask the lovely people at Canada Air if they could change my seat. I’m not fussy, but sitting in the middle seat for 15 hours just didn’t sound fun, so when I did finally remember the only thing they could accommodate me with was a better middle seat that would possibly have no one next to me in the other middle seat (it was the middle row with 4 seats). 

I found my way to seat 22e, and just as I thought the coast was clear, an Aussie gal heading home sat down next to me. Being the kind gentleman I pride myself on being I offered to trade my rather comfortable middle seat with the girl in front of her, so that these two friends could sit next to each other. However, I definitely ended up trading down as I ended up next to quite a broad bloke and had one of those annoying boxes blocking my leg room. As I found myself getting slightly frustrated at this uncomfortable seat, which I had also grossly overpaid for. 

Side note: I was originally supposed to go to Australia with my then beau for the holidays, and we booked our tickets kind of last minute, so they were rather expensive, but because we broke up, we agreed it would probably be best if we didn’t take the trip together, and I would go later. The flight I was on was a lot less expensive, and I couldn’t help but feel slightly cheated at having spent so much money, and being stuck in the seat I essentially put myself in. However, I told myself that this was just more karma points, and life would pay me back.

Any who, I planned on staying up for a few more hours, so that I could sleep the majority of the flight. I lasted an hour in the air before I fell asleep watching a movie, which is something I never do. I didn’t even need to take the NyQuil I had packed to help fall asleep because I was so exhausted from being up for nearly 24 hours, and with just 3 hours to go, I woke up supremely close to my final destination, and in my mind, paradise.

One more movie watched, and bam, I had made it to Sydney! 

I have heard from countless people that Sydney is more like Los Angeles, and Melbourne is more like San Fran or New York, but coming here I promised myself that I would make my own judgements. With that said, landing in Sydney with the grey skies that have plagued the city for the past few days, it did feel a bit like Los Angeles during “June gloom.” 

However, as I drove from the airport through the city to Bondi, where I’m Airbnbing a room from a friend of a friend, I felt and saw what makes this city so magical to so many people. There is a slight European vibe to the city, and the combination of beach meets city is more prominent than anything in LA. 

I arrived at my Airbnb to meet, Nikki, who I’m renting a spare room from, and found my journey complete. The skies miraculously opened up to reveal the sun, which the forecast had not expected, and my first day in Sydney had officially begun.

Nikki was sweet enough to show me around Bondi, where we found ourselves a few hours later sitting at the beach just enjoying the sun, and it was at this moment that I knew the universe was showing me its karmic beauty. That for all the stress in getting to the airport, for the shitty seat I had to endure during my long flight, and the trials and tribulations of the past 28 years, life was smiling at me.

Here I was in Sydney, Australia enjoying the sun, which wasn’t supposed to, and hadn’t been out in a few days, talking to someone that was only a stranger a few hours ago, and truly just enjoying life. It may not sound very exciting to a lot of people, but this is the type of thing I live for. Enjoying beautiful weather, meeting new people, and experiencing a new culture. This is living.

The day was made even sweeter as I got to meet up with a bunch of Aussies and some other New Yorkers that are here celebrating Mardi Gras (Sydney’s version of Pride). It was funny to walk into a place I had never been, full of a lot of people I had never met, but have it feel somewhat familiar. Life is interesting in that way, and if nothing else I can honestly say I already love Sydney.

I’m looking forward to sharing this month’s adventure with you all, and I know it’s going to be incredible, simply for the fact that I know I have the power to make it so.

Posted on February 26, 2017 .

40 Reasons Why I Will Always Love My Exes

It’s hard to look back at past relationships, but if we do, we can eventually see that we learned a lot from them. 

This is why I will always love my exes:

  1. They taught me how to love in different ways, and that being in love will feel and look very different with different people.
  2. They taught me things I didn't know about myself, and reminded me of the things I’m sure of about myself.
  3. They taught me what my limits are, and where I draw the line.
  4. They taught me that I like flowers for no reason, and love letters written from the heart.
  5. They taught me that my love language is words of affirmations, and not acts of service.
  6. They taught me that I not only love romance, but that I need romance.
  7. They taught me that not everyone is going to understand the journey I was and am on, but I need my partner to.
  8. They taught me who I knew I could be, and who I knew I couldn’t be.
  9. They taught me to push for more, and to never settle.
  10. They taught me who I wanted to be, and who I don’t want to be.
  11. They taught me to be honest with myself, and that I can’t hide my emotions very well.
  12. They taught me that being naked is fun, and so is sharing a shower. 
  13. They taught me that I can sense a lot, and that communication is key.
  14. They taught me that I can be stubborn, but I’m willing to admit when I’m wrong.
  15. They taught me that I am not perfect, and that no one is.
  16. They taught me that saying, "I'm sorry," is very hard, but a necessary thing to learn how to do.
  17. They taught me that I have strong convictions, and I’m not willing to waiver on most of them.
  18. They taught me that I am sensitive, and that will scare some people.
  19. They taught me what I'm willing to put up with, and what I’m not.
  20. They taught me that I will not do long distance, but that I was willing to try.
  21. They taught me that I’m not attracted to jealousy, but I understand it now.
  22. They taught me what I want, and what I don’t.
  23. They taught me what I need in a relationship, and that that won’t always be met.
  24. They taught me that I have to love myself before I could love them, and that that goes both ways.
  25. They taught me that because I loved them, didn’t mean they loved themselves.
  26. They taught me that I will always have things to work on, and so will my partner. 
  27. That taught me that you can love someone, and not be in love with him forever. 
  28. They taught me that someone can love you, but not be right for you.
  29. They taught me to fall, but do it knowing that the person you love may not fall with you.
  30. They taught me that I like sharing my bed with someone, even if I don’t sleep as well.
  31. They taught me that you won’t ever fully know who someone is, even after years of dating.
  32. They taught me that I like surprises, but only good ones.
  33. They taught me that I like physical touch, and I’m not afraid of PDA.
  34. They taught me that I don’t have a type, but I know almost instantly if I’m into you.
  35. They taught me that I love love, and that love isn’t meant to be difficult.
  36. They taught me that relationships take work, but when to draw the line.
  37. They taught me that I’m looking for someone who is working on himself, and that is beyond important to me.
  38. They taught me that no matter how much I love someone, I can't force or guide someone to change if he doesn’t want to.
  39. They taught me that I’d rather play and not win, then never play at all.
  40. Ultimately, they taught me who I am, and who I am not.

Every relationship we have is a challenge sent to us for reasons we may not know at the time, but will eventually come to understand. While it would be easy to look back with frustration, anger, and bitterness at past relationships, I think it's far more productive to look back and honor the months and years we've spent with the people that we loved. 

I rather look back at the time I spent with my exes, as lessons learned then time wasted. I’d rather think that each relationship was beautiful, important, and something that enriched my life, even though it’s hard to swallow the technical failure that comes with the end, then something ugly.

It's weird to think we can share a bed with someone for years, and then never speak, but so is life. 

In the end, by not doing or giving us what we needed, we learned a lot from our exes, but by doing and giving us other things, we also learned a lot from them. It’s because of this that we must let pieces our my hearts forever belong to each one of these people, and why we will continue to let the seeds they planted, grow into a forest of love that will forever be inside of our souls and hearts.  

I dedicate this to all the lovers. May you never stop loving and learning along the way.

Posted on February 23, 2017 .

10 Quotes To Live By From 'The Alchemist'

After having everyone and their mom tell me that I should read "The Alchemist," I finally got around to it. Let me just say, I can't believe it's taken me almost 29 years to read this fantastic book, and it truly spoke to my soul. Paulo Coelho truly speaks to your soul, and reminds you of the dreams you dreamt as a child. He pushes you to ask why you haven't looked to fulfill them, and inspires you to dream again.

 If you haven't read it, than I highly recommend reading it asap. It's beyond charming, insightful, and a super quick read.

I found myself being reminded of things I preach, and had to make a note of the 10 quotes that really hit home for me. 

I hope you feel inspired by these magical words, and remember that if you aren't living your dream then you aren't really living.

Here they are:

1. “But, as time passes a mysterious force begins to convince (people) that (living you dreams) will be impossible. This mysterious force appears to be negative, but actually shows you how to realize your Personal Legend. It prepares your spirit and your will, because there is one great truth on this planet: whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It’s your mission on earth.”

2. “If I could, I’d write a whole encyclopedia about the words luck and coincidence. It’s with those words that the universal language is written.”

3. “It’s not what enters men’s mouths that’s evil. It’s what comes out of their mouths that is.”

4. “The wise man understood that this natural world is only an image and a copy of paradise. The existence of the world is simply a guarantee that there exists a world that is perfect. God created the world so that, through its visible objects, men could understand his spiritual teachings and the marvels of his wisdom. That’s what I mean by action.”

5. “You’ll never be able to escape from your heart. So it’s better to listen to what it has to say. That way, you’ll never have to fear an unanticipated blow.”

6 “Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second f the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”

7. “I have inside of me the winds, the deserts, the oceans, the stars, and everything created in the universe. We were all made by the same hand, and we have the same soul.”

8. “Love is the force that transforms and improves the Soul of the World…It is we who nourish the Soul of the World, and the world we live in will be either better or worse. And that’s where the power of love comes in. Because when we love, we always strive to become better than we are.”

9 “‘But this payment goes well beyond my generosity,’ the monk responded. Don’t say that again. Life might be listening, and give you less the next time.”

10. “No matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally he doesn’t know it.”

May you find you be reminded of your Personal Legend that you were so sure of as a child, and feel free to chase it wherever it may take you. 

Check out my kit of mindful books here: MINDFUL READING

Posted on February 22, 2017 .

An Open Thank You Letter To Milo Yiannopoulos

Dear Milo,

I want to start this letter out by saying thank you. 

Thank you for reminding me why I do what I do. Thank you for reminding me that even when I get tired, exhausted, and feel like there’s no point in writing another piece because I may never meet the people that they positively affect, I know I have to.

People like you are why so many of us live in fear, and why the LGBTQ community constantly has to fight uphill.

You don’t represent us, and you don’t have any right to claim you’re a member of this accepting community.

You think it’s cute, charming, and funny to attack pretty much anyone, but it’s not. You thought you could ride this train all the way to the bank, and while you’ve made more money than I believe you should’ve, it’s clear you’re going down quickly.

I hope you’ve been saving because your fifteen minutes are about to expire.

You’re a troll, and trolls eventually have to go back under the bridge from which they came because the ugliness that you spew will not be accepted, tolerated, or given a platform. 

More and more companies are not willing to make a quick buck, and as we continue to protest hateful speech and actions, more companies will have to follow suit. The majority of people around the world have spoken, and you’re old news.

To be honest, I kind of hate that I even took time out of my day to write this letter, but I feel this needs to be said on behalf of all the people you’ve offended and deeply hurt in so many ways.

Your words and actions have consequences, and you are finally reaping what you’ve sowed.

The frustrating part behind your whole shtick is that I don’t even believe, you believe most of the ignorant garbage you spew. If you do, then I feel even more badly for you.

It’s hard to watch someone like you rise to notoriety quickly because you don’t deserve to be a household name, but you found the easy formula to make a quick buck, get your fifteen minutes, and have what I call the “quick explosion.” 

The thing about the “quick explosion” is that it never lasts, you weren’t thoughtful, mindful, and dedicated to lifting people up, which comes with a slow burn. Slow burns take time, care, and require a lot of saying no to opportunities that aren’t right, but you wouldn’t understand that. A slow burn means you’ve made a positive impact, people respect you, and want to continue to see you succeed. A slow burn has lasting power, and you’re on your way out.

You’re a puppet, a cheap form of entertainment, and a phony. You saw an easy in as the token Breitbart gay, and that is how we will remember you. A sellout. 

As I sit and right this piece, you’ve already been banned from Twitter, had one of your books canceled, and you’ve resigned from Breitbart, which I’m sure you’re going to try and turn into a victimized story to make another quick buck. We’re not having it, we don’t care about your career, and more and more people will start to forget who you are.

You’ve made your bed, you’ve showed the world who you really are, and we will accept you as the person you’ve wanted to be known as. 

If you’re as smart and manipulative as I think you are, than you have a chance to now use your platform to champion for the very people you fought against. I don’t think many people will accept a quick change of heart from you, so now you have the opportunity to start rebuilding. If I may be candid, it might be best for you to disappear from the public eye for a while because no matter how you try and spin this your actions will not feel sincere.

It’s people like you who truly test the person I claim to be because it’s really hard to sit here, and try to end this on a kind and positive note. However, if I can continue to be a positive example for others then I have to say, I still wish you well. I hope you take time to reflect on the really poor choices you’ve made, and understand that you are unconscious, and you need to wake up quickly.

You’ve helped pushed an extremely dangerous agenda with very serious ramifications, and you can’t just walk away from this. You’e been a talking head for very ignorant, backwards thinking, and delusional politicians because you had dollar signs in your eyes. I truly hope you find the light one day, and try to make an amends for all you have done, but I hope it’s done behind the scenes where we don’t have to look at you.

Cheap tricks are cheap tricks, and while I will continue to try and love everyone, I don’t have to like you.

I want to say thank you again for reminding me of who I don’t want to be, and being an example for so many impressionable minds of what not to do. I hope more people come out of the metaphorical closet because of you to show what real gay men look like. 

And as a final sentiment, I’m grateful for you because you’ve reignited my passion to champion for those who don’t have a public voice, and can’t say what needs to be said to lost souls like you.

I think I can confidently say this on behalf of a lot of people, “Good grief. It’s about time you got what you had coming to you. And one last thing, Honey, I can recommend some really good hairstylists because yours has jacked you up.” Now may you rest in peace wherever it is you end up, and find the soul that I know is hidden somewhere deep inside of you.

Thank You Again,

Barrett

P.S. Take a look at the picture above, that guy to the right of me, Mr. Vice President Biden, is what a real leader, and LGBTQ ally looks like. He is the reason why us gays can get married. You should think about thanking him sometime soon.

Posted on February 21, 2017 .

10 Reasons Why Gay Dating Is Really Hard

Dating is difficult in general, but gay dating is even harder.

Being gay adds another level of complexity to the dating process, and because we’re all men, we make this process of looking for a mate all the more difficult. Our walls are high, our hearts are guarded, and we’re still all figuring out exactly what we’re looking for because for many of us, we didn’t see what we’re trying to create growing up.

As someone who longs for love, I’ve tried to really analyze what it is that makes dating as gay men more complex, and this is what my personal history has concluded.

1. We’re all sex monsters.

We are first and foremost men, which means most of our libidos run high, but then add to the equation the fact that we’re dating other men, and bam. I don’t care who you are, or how you identify yourself (Bear, Twink, Jock, Daddy, etc), we’re all constantly horny. It literally is scientifically driven due to the fact that we have testosterone pumping through our bodies. 

Add to the fact that our culture is obsessed with imagery and sex, and it becomes almost impossible to escape thoughts of sex. Even if you’re able to find yourself not so wound up, there’s a good chance your gym, your job, your night out, or whatever is going to make you want to do what men are programmed to do, and spill your seed. 

As gay men the testosterone levels are doubled in the dating world, and we are constantly playing with fire as we try to think with our brains and not our dicks. 

2. Sex is easy.

Going one step deeper into the conversation about gay men and sex, we have to acknowledge how easy it is to find sex. 

With “dating” app culture running amok, gay men by far have the easiest outlets to look for sex. Add to the fact that when we go to gay bars, almost everyone in that room is a possible partner in some way, and our chances are doubled. This isn’t the case for our straight counterparts.

Additionally, many of us grew up insecure and full of shame, so part of coming out is feeling sexually liberated. However, we often mistake the ease and casualness of the sex we can, and do have, as something other than what it really is. We’re looking to fulfill a void within ourselves with a physical pleasure that does in fact feel good, but often doesn’t lead to the substance we crave in a juxtapositional way.

Sex is great, but sex with substance is harder and harder to come by the more casual we are about this physical act.

3. We say we want one thing, but really want another.

Continuing the conversation from the last point, we often are beyond indecisive about what it is that we really want.

Being gay is confusing. There’s no right or wrong way to be gay. However, we have to find out what we want on our own because we don’t grow up in a predominantly gay world. Once we break the norm, and find comfortability within our own sexuality, everything else is up for debate. 

Who do we want to be? Who do we want to date? Do we want to get married? Do we want kids? Do we want to be monogamous?  

All the “normal” expectations of our straight counterparts are a lot less expected, and we find ourselves craving the single life one day, and looking for the love of our life the next. Who, if we do meet, we most likely end up sleeping with, and confusing the relationship further. Revert back to points 1 and 2.

It’s a vicious cycle, and truly causes so many dating problems. Thus it’s beyond difficult to meet someone we’re attracted to in every way, and keep our pants on. It’s totally possible, but the thought always is, “why would we?” 

4. We have very deep scars.

As gay men we grow up hiding parts of ourselves because gay still is considered different, and in a lot of places, bad. 

We feel like we have to hide a part of ourselves everyday for many formative years, which means we are neglecting other parts of ourselves that should be receiving precious energy. So when we finally do come out, we often confuse this as dealing with our issues, when in fact, this is just the beginning to dealing with what our issues really are.

It’s beyond hard to be vulnerable with someone else, especially when so many of us are uncomfortable with being vulnerable with ourselves. Admitting that life isn’t peaches and cream isn’t fun, but the less honest we are with ourselves, the more guarded we become, and the more we keep our walls up.

Our insecurity is beyond high from all the shame we felt growing up, and even after we’ve dealt with it, it feels all too real when we are hurt again in the dating process.

5. We go through a second adolescence.

Because we held back from being authentically ourselves for most of our adolescence and the beginning of our adult lives, we get a chance to do it all over when we come out. We get to test new waters, try new things, and explore a whole new world full of men, sex, drugs, alcohol, and it’s dangerous. 

When we partake in all of these new things, we’re at an age when we have disposable incomes. We aren’t being monitored by our parents, and we have the world at our fingertips. The cherry on top of all of this, is that this usually happens in a big city, or at least some place bigger than the hometown we grew up in, where excess is welcomed.

It’s very easy to get sucked into all the fun, excess, and fabulousness that this new stage offers. The question is, when is enough enough? It’s an age old tale that too many men get sucked into this world, and never come out. This is also why it’s known as the “Peter Pan Syndrome” unofficially. 

6. We have unrealistic expectations.

Gay men are beyond picky, and we feel like we can be because with social media the pool of possibilities feels endless. We think that if one guy doesn’t work out than we can just kick him to the curb, and find ourselves an even better version of gentleman X.

We are men with egos, and we strive to be the best at everything we do because it was something we learned as closeted children. If we could be amazing at everything we did, we thought that maybe you wouldn’t be able to tell what was different about us. However, this tends to lead to us having crazy expectations for ourselves, and therefore our mates as well. 

Everyone is supposed to look like a model, have an Adonis body, be super successful, like everything we like, and fit the molds we've created that no one can ever actually live up to.

We all expect to have perfect tens for partners even if we aren’t a ten, which no one is, and the quest for this mythical creature ruins our ability to see how amazing the man in front of us truly is.

7. Timing is everything.

If we are lucky enough to find this mythical ten than it’s usually because he was just recently set free from his last relationship. Men like this aren’t single for long.

While this sounds great, it usually means that he’s going to be feeling insecure, and needing to go through his own version of realizing how hard dating is again. 

Even if we’re ready to date, and we’ve found ourselves maturing past a lot of these points that doesn’t mean that Mr. Dreamboat is ready. His ego is hurt. He needs to rediscover himself, and prove that he is desirable to not only you, but many men, and unless you’re willing to feel a little hurt and wait, Mr. Dreamboat wasn’t the ten you thought he was.

Add to the fact that gays often date with the seasons, and half the year is either thought of as warm single, and often slutty season, or as a cold cuddling more relationship based time of the year. 

We forget that we are still animals, and like our furry friends, our bodies change with the tides and seasons in a very natural way. However, gay men are quick to use the seasons as an excuse to why we are "allowed" to behave in certain ways. 

8. There isn’t pressure to be coupled up.

As men we don’t have a ticking biological clock, so being single isn’t as frowned upon as in the straight world. The pressure to partner up isn’t as paramount, and we’re ok being a certain age and single. 

We aren't definitely going to have kids, which is why most heterosexual people start to couple up and settle down. And even today straight couples are waiting longer and longer to have children.

However, even when we do couple up, the way in which we operate as couples is quite different than straight couples. The concept of monogamy isn’t a given, and just because you want to be in a relationship in a certain way doesn’t mean your partner is going to want the same things long term.

Add to the fact that a lot of our friends are single, and it becomes almost more normal to be single in the gay world than in a healthy relationship. We even joke that gay years are like dog years for relationships. 

And for better or worse, the second something starts to go sour, we have reminders that there are men everywhere. We don’t have a lot of the commitments locking us in to relationships like straight couples do, and our single friends without even realizing it exemplify the lives we could be living. 

Our social circles are full of these perpetual bachelors, who appear to enjoy their singledom, and constantly question why we are looking to settle down. We all have a friend or two, who claims to love being single, but through candid conversations it become apparent he isn't addressing his deeper wounds from past loves and life. These single gay friends come with their own baggage, and will often project that we too need to sow our wild oats.

Every where we turn, it almost feels like we have everything telling us not to commit. 

9. We are afraid of commitment.

Getting married wasn't an option for our community until very recently, so commitment from a legal standpoint was actually far from a lot of our minds. This in some subconscious way made us less serious when it came to dating. Now that we can get married more and more of us are starting to think longer term, and if something isn’t clicking we jump ship, and don’t even try to see if we can work things out.

It's easier to just keep reverting back to all the other points that making dating hard than it is to try and work on something with someone we thought we really liked. Dating is hard, being in a couple is hard, but it shouldn't be this hard, right? We let our minds drift, we make assumptions, and half the time we aren't even communicating how we are feeling with our partners. 

The fact that we also can’t stop looking for the next best thing doesn’t help, and only perpetuates the lack of commitment in the gay community.

10. Jealousy plagues our community. 

Yes, not all of us are jealous, or at least to an unhealthy point, but going back to issues of shame and insecurity that stem from our youth, we often have a hard time trusting that we are good enough. From this destructive flaw we then end up projecting our neuroses onto our partners, and find ourselves jealous for no reason.

Again, almost everywhere we go that is gaycentric is filled with men, who could be our lover, or take away our lover, and it’s stressful, plays tricks on our minds, and breeds a jealousy that can kill even the strongest of bonds. 

Even if we are lucky enough to find someone special and start dating, jealousy can creep within the relationship. Subconsciously or consciously we have levels of competition that exists between us and our partners because again, we’re both men, and on some levels compare ourselves against each other. 

Mix in a lack of communication, which as men we are more likely to be bad at, and it's a recipe for disaster. 

While it can feel like dating, and ultimately finding someone amazing is impossible in the gay world, we have to remain optimistic if we really do want to find someone. Now more than ever, strong committed gay couples exist in public spheres, which means there are examples of what we can have.

We need to stop perpetuating the idea that all the good ones are either taken, straight, or live far away. The language we use when talking about dating needs to be positive and upbeat, and we have to stop confusing proper courting with endless casual sex. We need to stop using every excuse in the book, and start working on ourselves because we aren't perfect either.

For every reason listed as to why gay dating is hard, there are even more reasons why we can claim that finding a partner feels impossible, but the truth is, we just have to keep working on ourselves, stay vulnerable, and allow our hearts to stay open even after we’ve experienced hurt and pain.

In a world where our options are open more than ever, we have to remember that the guy we follow on social media is someone we are romanticizing, and just because we think he acts a certain way doesn’t mean he will actually live up to the story we’ve created in our heads. For all the sexy singles out there that we follow, and would like to have sex with, only a few will ever come into our lives, and even then who knows if they’d even look at us the way we look at them.

We need to stop looking past the amazing men that are right in front of our faces, and start understanding that the sex part of a relationship will evolve. In the end, we'll ultimately be looking for a best friend, a companion to build a full life with, and maybe one day move away from all the craziness with.

It’s beyond difficult to meet someone we’re attracted to in every way, and if we do, we have to remember that no one is perfect. If we are lucky enough to meet someone with whom our souls connect in an effortless way, we need to water that relationship because it is rare. If we find someone that treats us well, is kind, and looks at us like we look at them than we’ve found someone special, regardless of all the rules. Relationships are hard work, and nothing comes easy, so keep your head up, and don’t stress if you haven’t found your partner quite yet.

Gay dating is really hard, but nothing worth having comes easy, so lead with love and positivity, and more than anything just be open to what could be.