Exciting highs and heartbreaking lows, all in one crazy year

So far this year we have experienced exciting highs and heartbreaking lows. An interesting part of the human condition is how both of those can show us how fragile and vulnerable we can be. A material possession can make us feel excited and happy. Then quickly after that we can experience having no control about a painful loss and feel hopeless. And yet, above all those things we can choose to focus on the things that are important, the things that matter and choose to be happy.

When 2015 started I had no idea so many changes will happen… and so quickly. 2014 was a pretty good year with nothing incredibly out of the ordinary. One of the highlights being having my baby brother move to Dallas.

Then 2015 started and right from the beginning made itself known as the year of new experiences, good and bad.

Vroom, vroom, get out of me car

One of the first things that changed was that I got the itch for a new car and Mark guided me through the process which was great, because I really don’t know much about cars. Yes, my man spends a good amount of his free time reading about cars. How’s that for gay a stereotype? I said goodbye to my old X-Terra and said hello to a new Mazda 3, which I love.

Mazda 3

Goodbye Spork, you beautiful weirdo

Then sadness knocked at our door. Mark had his beloved cat Spork for 18 years and she stole my heart. I never imagined having a cat and even less loving a cat as much as I loved her. Early this year we had to say goodbye to her and it was a very painful time. We saw the signs but still those last few weeks were very sad. It’s crazy how empty a house can feel when that pet is no longer around.

A new, exciting opportunity

In March, I was approached with a new job opportunity as Social Media Manager for The Liberty Project and after careful consideration I accepted. It was an interesting time, especially because it was the first big decision I made without my Dad’s advice. Whenever there was something work related, he was the first person I called. Thankfully, now I have another great man in my life who stands by me and helps me make smart decisions. I know somewhere out there, Dad is happy that I found a man like Mark.

One of the hardest things about leaving my job at The Dallas Morning News was saying goodbye to some of the best people I’ve ever met. But that’s okay, in my first article for The Liberty Project I talk about relationships like that where “there is the group of people who will always be there. No matter what happens, or how far you go, they hold on to your story and you hold on to theirs.”

I’ve been at my new job for three months and it’s been exciting. The Liberty Project is the modern incarnation of Liberty, a national lifestyle magazine that was published from 1924 to 1950. You can check what we do on our site, on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Google+.

A photo posted by randduren (@randduren) on

Cloris Leachcat and Gort, then more heartbreak

Several months after saying goodbye to Spork we decided to bring some kitties home. We brought our beautiful Oriental Shorthairs Cloris Leachcat and Gort to our home in May and we fell quickly in love. They took over our hearts with their quiet meows, their running like crazy and their distinct personalities.

Sadly, last week when we took them to get spayed and neutered, Gort had a bad reaction to the anesthesia and we had to say goodbye to a beloved kitty once again. It was so unexpected and painful. He had so much life in him and was such a cute cat. We are still struggling with the loss and trying to give Cloris all the love and attention she needs now that she no longer has her brother. We will be bringing her a companion soon so she has someone to play. You can tell she misses her brother.

Big changes coming very soon

While we just got over the first half of the year, one of the biggest changes is quickly approaching. And it may or may not involve a big move (!!!). I am pushing myself to blog more often and will be writing about or whole experience, plus a fun family vacation happening soon.

These Past Few Weeks… And Children

I’ve been meaning to write for a while but haven’t really made the time for it. I have doing a little bit of traveling and also had my brother staying with me for a while which made for a great time.

I went back home for a while to take care of some family things. Thankfully, my boss allowed me to work from there which was great. During my time there I barely saw anyone I know, other than a few people from my family and two of my best friends. Why? I really don’t know. I just wanted to go and be with my family, I didn’t want to be pressured into anything, not even telling my story. It was a mental vacation, I went to the beach every single day I was there. Not necessarily to go in the water but to sit, think, relax.

I have a lot to think of, it has been a year since I came out and I have to say, this has been a weirdly great year. I didn’t know what to expect after coming out. There are many horror stories out there but I am glad that this hasn’t been my experience. As I mentioned in a previous post part of my experience has been a roller coaster, and not necessarily in a bad way. There are some things that I find myself getting over. I am getting over the fact that I am gay. Not that I am not, but being a homosexual doesn’t necessarily determine who I am. It’s just a part of my life. I don’t have the need to be the poster child for a movement, even though I want to help those that are going through the struggles that I went through. I want to show others that even when people are against them and don’t understand them there is plenty in life to be grateful for. I guess I just don’t fit in most stereotypes. I am a little too gay for my straight friends and a little to straight for my gay friends, and I am totally okay with that.

Going back to my time back home, as you know, if you have been following my posts, even though most of my family has been super supportive, mom hasn’t grasped the idea that her son is gay. She is understanding it a bit more, even though she rarely brings the subject to the table. What scares her is that she thinks that her chances to someday see me with children are gone. This is definitely something that I have thought about a lot. I told her that the fact that I am gay in no way says that I will not have children. Yes, it may be in a different way, but I believe one of my missions in life is to be a father. I’ve had a great example from my father and it is definitely something that I want to pass on.

This post has definitely been all over the place, I will gather my thoughts better next time and will post more often.

You are loved.

The Dating Rollercoaster of a Gay Newbie

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I’m a newbie. As I have mentioned before I had been in relationship with girls but never with a guy, or even dated one. All of my relationships with girls happened after being friends with them for a while so the transition was very organic. It just happened. I was never the guy to go out and hit on girls to get in their pants… for obvious reasons. I always believed in respecting people and a big part on this is not using them to satisfy my own desires. I have always preferred solid relationships over fleeting ones, and well, we all know these are harder to find.

When I came to my senses and decided to be true to myself as a gay man a lot of things happened. Some of these things were exciting, some were scary and some taught me very important lessons. Looking back at how it all happened I can’t help but laugh. For someone that really had a hard time talking to girls, other than my friends, I was being very “successful” in the gay dating scene.

In the first few months, there was a new date basically every week. I was surprised. Very surprised. My friends were surprised. I wondered how long was that going to last. Some of my friends said that I was like a sheltered high school kid that was finally experiencing college. It felt like that. I went from not having a “romantic” life to meeting all these guys and experiencing a whole spectre of emotions and very interesting scenarios. This post would be too long if I write about what I learned in each one of them, but I will be sporadically writing about what I learned as time goes by.

You know when kids get a sugar high? They run and jump around only to crash a little afterwards? Yeah, that’s what ended up happening. I am grateful for the running around and meeting so many people so fast but I just crashed. I believe this may be because I was becoming someone I really am not. My feelings were getting too involved and to be honest I am not the type to be dating like that. One of my main problems is that deep inside what I want is a solid relationship and I tried to fit everyone I met in that box. I could’ve enjoyed the process more if I was more casual about it. My mindset should’ve been to meet someone, get a new friend and take it from there. What I was doing was meeting someone and saying: “I think this guy can be great as a partner”. After knowing him for 3.5 seconds. Crazy, I know. The worst part of this is that my wanting a relationship was so strong that I really didn’t care to know the person well enough, so I lowered my standards of what I was looking for. I know these guys were really not what I want, or need. I guess hindsight really is 20/20.

Things have changed. I am over the rollercoaster period and am now taking some time to chill and relax. I am taking some time to think and reflect on what happened in the first few months of coming out. Most important I am taking some time to solidify who I am as man, period. The fact that I am openly gay now doesn’t have to change my values or the things I believed to be right. I am the same guy, but no longer carrying the burden of lying to myself about who I really am.

Peace.