On Valentines Day

This year Valentines Day coincides with Ash Wednesday. To a significant portion of the population this doesn’t mean much. They still celebrate as usual, minus the meat if they’re being especially devout, and for the non-religious it changes nothing.  For me it means I’m typing this as I sit alone at The Empanada Company with a spinach and cheese filled puff pastry washing every bite down with a healthy dose of regret.  

I generally try to avoid the pity party of being single on Valentines Day, but I’ve already cried twice this morning listening to “Liability” by Lorde and another time later just because work stress got to me. I just feel spent. I’ve spent most of my life repressing who I am because the Catholic Church isn’t super supportive of its gay followers and since I’ve been out I’ve pretty much avoided dating because my family doesn’t approve, hereby finding myself in this quandary where I don’t want to be alone and yet continue to be to appease others. This isn’t the lifestyle of someone wanting to be their authentic self.  To be fair even if I was putting myself out there, I’d probably still be single, because that’s just how life works.  

So here I am, now enjoying a chocolate filled empanada and typing this because I’m feeling so tired of this way of doing things. Say I was a straight man, and there was a girl I wanted to ask out there is no pressure whatsoever of going up to them and doing it. If they’re into you they say yes. If they’re not, they say no. And If they’re a lesbian then they’ll say no and you would justify it to yourself saying well it’s not my fault. For me it isn’t so simple. If I go up to a guy I like and try to ask them out without knowing their sexuality I risk both public embarrassment if I’m rejected as well as possible physical harm depending on how fragile the masculinity of said boy. There isn’t a no harm-no foul mechanism built in for me. In my situation I’ve now put this guy in the mindset that, if he’s straight I’ve now questioned his heterosexuality and his manhood and potentially ruined a friendship. I personally don’t have enough built-in confidence to risk this. I physically lock up thinking about it. 

I don’t know these days whether this situation is something I’ve made up in my mind or some remnant of Catholic guilt, where even though I know being me isn’t a problem, I was raised thinking otherwise and that lingers on. I personally have he belief that Jesus is pretty cool with me. I’ve never killed anyone and try to be a decent person even if my resting bitch face says otherwise. I hate the double standard of the church, especially among the Trump/Conservative echo chamber. The church disapproves of many actions, like birth control and pre-marital sex, yet those couples are still all cool in the eyes of the higher ups do to their ability to procreate. Meanwhile I’m still stuck in the back pew looking on while everyone else enjoys the god-given liberties inherent of their hetero graces. To them, Jesus said love everyone, but not them. I see how silly that is, and I’d like to think that I’m not in the minority here, but let’s be real. Traditions are hard to break and an institution like the Church takes ages to make progressive changes. Can’t hurt to wish and pray otherwise.


I recently went to a pre-screening of the movie, “Love, Simon” and words can’t even begin to explain what it felt like to see a version of myself on screen. The movie is an adaptation of Becky Albertalli’s , “Simon vs. the Homo Saphiens Agenda” centering around a high school student who slowly begins coming to terms with his sexual identity through an anonymous email correspondence with a fellow student and then finds himself outed by a fellow classmate and dealing with the fallout from everything. Growing up, I never had access to books or movies about gay boys like myself. I never had anyone saying that it was okay to be yourself.  So for me these works of art are therapeutic, because I know they will be a source of strength and encouragement to the me’s of the future, those boys and girls who are thinking they’re not normal. Being a teenager is hard enough, hell, being an adult isn’t much better and when you have a conflict of identity on top of it all it begins to weigh on you and that pressure is enough to drive you mad. I honestly believe this movie will save lives. It means the world to see a movie where the gay character is happy and authentic and not there to play the part of the humorous sidekick or tragic Oscar winning plot line.  It comes out in March and I encourage everyone to see it regardless of sexuality because it’s important to see things that stretch your world view. 

I knew I wanted to write a Valentines Day post this year and I didn’t know how it was going to turn out, but I know this. It’s okay to love. Yourself, others, friends, family, pets, food. It’s  okay to love meaningfully and free of guilt. It’s okay to love life. It’s okay to love the idea of love. To do otherwise is to do yourself a disservice. I’ll be finishing my night with a workout, followed by a back to back screening of 500 Days of Summer and The Fault in Your Stars with a bottle of white wine I put in the chiller last night. It may not be ideal, but it’s completely  and utterly me and I love that it’s my tradition. 


Happy Valentines Day.  



On Dressing for Yourself

So I started a project of sorts

in October that I had no intention of doing, but has ended up being what I look forward to most every day. To set the scene I should let you know that I work for a very small business that has a fairly relaxed and casual environment. To that point, I’d fallen into a terrible habit of not really dressing to impress. You could routinely find me showing up to work in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. To be fair, our boss had a similar uniform. In recent months, however, I’d started to hear critique for being so casual and not dressing to my role and I took that to heart. The next day or so I came to work in an outfit that I was really feeling and jokingly asked a coworker to take a photo of me for the ‘gram. I enjoyed getting complimented (cause duh) and decided that this could be something I do every day. I’d already been following a few prominent men’s fashion influencers and decided I’d try to do what they do in a Buzzfeed style 30-day challenge.

 One of the first shots that I took, trying too hard obvi. 

One of the first shots that I took, trying too hard obvi. 


I have no expectations for this going anywhere professionally, but I do find comfort in the routine. It has turned into a daily therapy session of sorts. As I’ve written about before, I have a long ongoing history of hating my appearance. Body image issues and I go back a loooong way, probably back to elementary school when I was already pushing into men’s clothing sizes as early as 4th grade. So I’ve been struggling with this my whole life and yet lately it hasn’t been as bad when I’ve been working on this “fashion diary” of sorts.

 Chicago, how I love thee.

Chicago, how I love thee.


When all of the media you consume shows the same 50 iterations of what the ideal male is, it gets hard to be comfortable in a “less desirable” body. It is very hard to feel sexy or interesting when you’re the big guy in the crowd. And to their credit, I have to say my coworkers are some of the most supportive people I know, and real to boot. They’re the first ones to compliment an outfit or notice when I change something up. They’re also the first ones to call me out if I don’t shave, and lately over my receding hairline (fuck genetics).  Ultimately, however, they’ve been my biggest support group. It’s even gotten to a point where they fight over who takes my daily outfit photo! The best part about these last few months has been finding my own acceptance. I went through 12 weeks of therapy in college to try to work through some of this to no avail, yet the simple act of taking a photo of myself each day and posting it for all to see is suddenly working.

I think it helps that we live in a society that is drastically more accepting than 2001. I don’t feel terrible posting photos of my double chin or where my waist is looking thick. Back in my self-portraiture years, I had this super unhealthy habit of editing out all of my flaws which when I look back on now, makes me so ashamed. Why was I not happy with myself then?

 This is the first look where I really thought, damn I can do this. 

This is the first look where I really thought, damn I can do this. 


I know you’re probably tired of me playing the gay card, but I think it has a lot to do with my general acceptance of myself. Just 5 years ago I was afraid of coming out and I think that translated to an unhealthy relationship with my body. I remember the year before I came out I was in the best shape of my life because I felt like if I couldn’t address the “problem”  of my sexuality, I could deal with my body image issues. I ended most nights in a late night run at the campus gym literally pouring my self-hatred into my workouts. And let me tell you, it made me even more unhappy. When I finally came out I felt sooooooo much more comfortable in my own body. It was unreal the change that occurred in my day-to-day. Now that I’ve been out for a few years I’ve been better able to cope with my sense of self and the body that I live in. Not everyone can get perfect abs (Yes I know it’s theoretically possible, but not probable for this blogger). I’m 25, the age, I feel, where we really come into our own. Yes, I’m still single and I live with my parents, and am not necessarily utilizing my journalism degree to its full potential, but ya know what? I’m happy. I’m really fucking happy.

 My most liked photo to date. You can't tell but these pants are pinstripe and were terrifying to wear in public!

My most liked photo to date. You can't tell but these pants are pinstripe and were terrifying to wear in public!


I can’t say that a daily fashion journal will be the solution to anyone else’s happiness, but like try it maybe? You might be surprised. For now, I’m comfortable in my skin and excited to see this project through a full year now and see who I am on the other side. Just remember our favorite Princess Mia Thermopolis’ favorite quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Wear what makes you feel good, and everything else will follow.

Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent
— Eleanor Roosevelt