Thursday, 16 April 2015

Hold On For Dear Love: Part II

Hello all,
And welcome to the second part of 'Hold On For Dear Love'. This picks up exactly where the last one finished, so if you haven't read that, make sure to read that here. So, without further ado, I shall continue.

The Return Of The Passionate Man Kiss
I don’t know if this is a common problem or not, but one of the hardest aspects of facing this, our first real argument (in slow-motion. Without the yelling), was the knowledge that I had hurt him so deeply. It was something that I really struggled with. We had caused one another so much unbearable pain that it seemed impossible to return to the feelings of joy and happiness that I had associated with him. It resulted in two very different reactions. Mine was to become needy and a tad clingy, needing reassurance that our love was strong, while his appeared to be a bit more distant, allowing time to heal all wounds. Like much of this month, the answer to this problem lay in compromise and honesty.
   It began the next Sunday when Finn was showcasing his company’s game in the city. As I’m in the city every Sunday (having joined a film club. Again, watch this space, I may do a blog post on that), I decided to drop by. He seemed pleased to see me, but was distracted by some people looking at his game. Honestly, this had been what I was hoping for, that he would be too busy to talk to me, so I said goodbye and he hugged me before I headed off to watch a film about a bi-polar dad that frustrated me.
   After the film, I walked around the city, wasting time until 3 when the exhibition finished, not wanting to get in his way. Stopping into JB Hi-Fi, I heard Marina & The Diamonds’ ‘I’m A Ruin’ playing and realised that it was perfect the summation of what I was feeling at the time. I’ve currently listened to this song 16 times since then and it has become the anthem of pain.
   At 3, I headed back to the stall just as they were closing up. I said he looked sexy, but he later revealed that he found this embarrassing in such a professional situation (which was true. In my defence, the exhibition had closed when I said it). As I helped him pack up, I gave him cookies and felt a bit like the team mascot. It is after all an adorable little skeleton reaper.
   We caught the train home together and talked about a couple of the lingering issues from the previous day. I pointed out that he had seemed distant, but he said he hadn’t meant or noticed it and allowed me to cuddle up to him on the train. As he gets off the station before I do, I figured that he would get off and I continued on. However, when we approached the station, he said, “I thought you were coming with me.” I beamed as I walked off the train with him. As he dropped me off home, we kissed and it was amazing.
   However, it wasn’t until the following Friday that true passion returned to our relationship. It was Good Friday and the gay club that we’ve been to many times was having a Boylesque show which he wished to attend, with or without me. True to my promise to give the gay community a chance, I said I would love to go. I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it and when we got there my worst fears were confirmed. It was sexualised, drunk and nothing like what I enjoy. My dancing is like watching a full body bobblehead doll and my boyfriend’s attempts to get my legs to move were fruitless as best. I drank a bit, but still I wasn’t enjoying myself, partially because of all the people pointing out how adorable a couple we were. You would think this would be a good thing, but there’s something so condescending, particularly when I said we’d been together almost a year. It’s like I became a little baby which everyone had permission to faun over.
   It was while I was in this heightened emotional state that my boyfriend said we were going to be catching a maxi-cab with the group we’d gone with and so wouldn’t be leaving til 3. I felt my brain panic and began scratching my thumb. The difference this time was that it lasted a very, very long time and I subconsciously started scratching to the beat of the song. Ironic that my nails could feel it, yet my legs couldn’t. Eventually, I scratched so deeply that I ripped a layer of skin from my thumb which I told Finn about. He pulled me aside and asked if everything was okay. I assured him that it was. Basically, I lied. This was our night and I wasn’t going to let my insecurities destroy it for us. And boy was I glad I didn’t. At about 1, I had that magic drink.
   There’s a common misconception about being drunk which basically says it happens in stages. You go through tipsy to smashed to completely off your face. I’ve never found this. No, my drunk scale goes not drunk, not drunk, not drunk, very, very drunk. And it usually only takes that one magic drink to get there. It’s almost impossible to tell when you’re going to be like Arthur pulling the sword out of the stone and become completely drunk. It’s like a roulette game, but it is one that is most definitely worth playing. Because not drunk at a gay club me isn’t fun. My uni brain goes into overdrive as I consider Boyleque as an example of the gay community’s obsession and sexualisation of the male body leading to unrealistic body expectations (this was particularly relevant to me because it was something I’d picked on Finn about as well as my own body image issues). However, very drunk me is far more fun. Very drunk me is cuddly, affectionate and quite silly. Now, guess what happens when very drunk me meets very drunk Finn? He’d got this way shortly after entering the club, but as soon as I got in on the act, you couldn’t pull us away from one another.
  Just under a year ago, I had revealed my feelings to Finn by getting very drunk, leading to a drunken make-out session which has been affectionately termed the passionate man kiss. At no other time in the 11 months since had we ever had a passionate man kiss. There had been sexy man kisses and romantic man kisses and dizzy man kisses but there had never been a drunken passionate man kiss like that night. The feeling was electric, charging us up as we couldn’t keep our hands off one another. In a crazy drunken instant, we had rediscovered the intimacy that I thought was lost after I had hurt him so badly. It was the first time since the argument that our interactions hadn’t been defined by it. It was the first truly hopeful moment we’d had.
   In the week or so since then, we’ve faced the ongoing issues in our relationship and there has been hardly any day which didn’t lead to a heartbreaking D&M where we considered our future together. Then the other day, I slept over at his place and we spent the next day together before he dropped me off home and I realised with a sudden jolt that this was the first day we’d been together where we hadn’t faced the possibility of us separating. It was the first time that the pain didn’t define us and we became stronger. It was the first day of our future.

Lost And Found
At a later counsellor’s appointment, she argued that this, while being my worst week of the year, was also one of the most important. This was the moment, the hard, painful moment, that was the key to my future. This was the week where I had to contain the feelings I was having in order to survive. This was the week I realised that I was stronger than pain and that it didn’t define me anymore. This was the week I realised what I was fighting for, that losing Finn would be unbearable and that my taking him for granted was really not okay. However, this was also the week that proved that despite everything going wrong, that despite the rain and the storm and the void, that despite everything, I would survive. And not just survive, but that I would live. It was the week I finally
believed what Derek said to Meredith when he proposed to her in Grey’s Anatomy; “You say you’re all dark and twisty. It’s not a flaw, it’s a strength. It makes you who you are.” I realised that my pain was not strong enough to defeat me, it is what makes me brave. It is the week I finally realised a bigger part of me; that I am not the quiet, sad, emotionally stunted teenager in the corner, that I am on the journey to becoming someone better and that that journey was not an impossible task.
   For Finn and I’s relationship, its importance cannot be overstated. This is the moment we moved out of the honeymoon phase and were truly forced to decide what we really want out of our relationship. It was the moment we grew confident enough to speak openly about our future as a couple, that forever was potentially a very long time away and that more realistic goals would be more healthy. That’s not to say that this is over, that all the problems and issues we have have been miraculously solved. It’s not. We are still two vastly different people who do the world in very different ways, but there’s the feeling that sometimes love is enough. There’s this quote from The Mary Tyler Moore Show (which is something that Finn despises) which I think sums up my feelings about this. When asked why he has never cheated on his wife despite being married for 20 years, Lou Grant says “I don’t know. I guess I love her. I figured that, there are enough things in life where you... cop out and compromise and make excuses. There’s gotta be one thing where you say, “Is this the way it should be? Yes or no?” And if it matters enough so that it’s “yes”, then that’s what you do. I love her. So that’s what I do.”
   I love Finn, despite our differences. I love the way he smiles, the way he laughs. I love how he’s obsessed with his hair. I love how he doesn’t judge anyone, unless they’re from a religious organisation. I love how he is proud to be gay. I love how he dances and lip-synchs to Sia’s ‘Elastic Heart’. I love how he’s the kindest, most gentle person you’ll ever meet but he leaves scream metal. I love how he’ll try anything at least once. I love how he never gives up on anything, most of all his dreams. I love how he arranged his room. I love how when he sees any animal, he becomes a pile of adorable. I love how he’s so peaceful and goes with the flow. I love how he’s not afraid to be vulnerable. I love how he holds me. I love how he kisses me. I love how he dresses. I love his voice. I even love it when he’s embarrassing (like the way he dances to Sia’s ‘Elastic Heart’). I love him. I love everything about him. Finn, I love you in a big, embarrassing, awkward, perfectly imperfect way. Or if Shonda Rhimes was writing my life; “I love you... in a really, really big... pretend to like your taste in music, let you eat the last piece of cheesecake, hold a radio over my head outside your window, unfortunate way that makes me hate you... Love you.”
   So, I will whether the storm. I will be a better man and a better boyfriend. But “I know you don’t understand me. I don’t understand me” (Dammit, Shonda Rhimes, you wordsmith). I love him, so that’s what I’ll do. Because sometimes love is enough to whether even the hardest of times.

Love and thanks,
David Gumball-Watson

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