Birds in the shade.
#5yj #5yearjourney #orlando #lakes #birds #blackandwhite #animals #wildlife #outdoors
A quality that I admire and am attracted to is confidence. It’s something that I’ve worked hard to find and maintain with myself and it’s something that I try to help others discover in themselves. I think that we can and should have it, but I find that many people don’t. I blame rejection and the fear of rejection.
When we’ve been rejected often times it hurts. Okay, it almost always hurts to be rejected. It’s not a walk in the park or a piece of German chocolate cake or if you don’t like chocolate or coconut then you don’t know what you’re missing out on, but I guess you could have red velvet or carrot or even just white (vanilla?) cake and pretend that it’s just as good. It’s not, but you can pretend.
Anyway, rejection sucks ass and not in a good way. Wait, is there a good way to suck ass? Nevermind. Rejection sucks!
Lack of confidence comes from fear of being rejected or failing. We have bad experiences and then decide that because of them we shouldn’t try anymore and we lose confidence in succeeding in whatever we should be trying to accomplish in both our personal and professional lives. Instead of facing challenges or change, we automatically decide that we can’t or that we’re not good enough and we don’t even try. It’s a lack of confidence.
In my personal life, if someone wants to impress me and win me over emotionally for romance, they can’t do it by telling me all about the things they can’t do, they show me what they can do. Not that everyone wants to date me or impress me, but I know that I find confidence attractive. It turns me on. It’s not only a romantic relationship thing, I want to be surrounded by confident people.
What I am learning on 5YJ is that there are a lot of people without confidence. It’s preventing people from pursing their dreams, working towards bettering themselves, finding and keeping friends, and ultimately from living a happy life. It scares me.
One of the things that have helped me find my own confidence was facing fears. I started with small fears and then worked up towards bigger fears. I had a fear of basic training (boot camp) and joined the Air Force. I had a fear of big cities and moved to LA. I had a fear of living on the streets and lived on the streets of New York for nearly a year. I had a fear of meeting strangers and began this journey where I meet strangers every day. It’s been challenging, but with each fear faced, I’ve become more confident (and sometimes crossed over into cocky, but I’m almost always put in my place. Ha). Don’t get me wrong, I’ve has plenty of rejection that I’ve had to work through. Right now, I’m rejected just about every week and usually more than once a week while I’m on couch surfing and looking for places to stay while traveling. I usually have to send 20 - 40 couch requests a week. I usually get about 30% response and of those responses most are rejections.
In my personal life, I have met a few guys that I saw potential for being more than friends, but me traveling on 5YJ prevented it from becoming more. Regardless of the chemistry between us and the connection we shared, I was rejected.
If every time that I was rejected I would give up on pursing being happy in whatever part of my life I was rejected in, I’d be a miserable person and it would show. When you lack confidence in yourself, it shows and most usually people notice.
Confidence takes practice. It takes be rejected or failing so that we can learn and grow before moving forward, but the more challenges and obsticles we face and overcome, the more our condidence grows.
It takes time. It takes practice. It takes not giving up at the first sign of failure or rejection. It takes realizing that just because something didn’t work that time, it doesn’t mean it won’t ever work. It just didn’t work that time. It’s not something you should give up on or not have confidence in yourself because. Learn whatever lesson you can from the failure or rejection (and there’s always a lesson to be learned) and move forward with that new found knowledge. Gradually you’ll start to believe in yourself more and more and with that your confidence grows and as your confidence grows people will become more attracted to wanting to be a part of your life.
Something that I haven’t quite figured out yet is a way to go about meeting locals outside of my hosts and their circle of friends and family without using “sex” and “dating” apps. I’m not complaining about it tho. I’m just not sure how else I would go about meeting people to include in 5YJ in the cities that I visit other than through the occasional person that follows the journey on social networks and wants to meet. These apps have introduced me to a variety of locals that I wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity to meet. I’m thankful for it for more than just having a way to meet people tho. Meeting locals that have no idea what 5YJ is until they see my profile on one of these apps is a great way for me to see what’s going on with the local GBTQ communities (I would say LGBTQ, but I’m not meeting lesbians..at least not through these apps.), give a chance for GBTQ guys to be a part of something that I think is pretty cool, and to make some great friends along the way.
When I sign on to one of the apps (Okcupid, Grindr, Scruff, or Mister) I sign on without having expectations of anything. I get on and I am able to chat with local gay, bi, transgender, and questioning men. I can ask locals about the area, common interests, how long they’ve lived in the area, where they moved from (if they moved to the area), why they moved, etc. The questions go on and on and with that I am also able to answer questions about myself, why I’m in the area, what 5YJ is, etc. Then if things work out, maybe we meet or maybe we don’t and just favorite each other and become “pen pals” or maybe we don’t meet or ever talk again or maybe we meet and fall madly, deeply in love with one another and never want to leave each other’s side again, the journey ends, we have adopt babies and a maybe a puppy and live happily ever after. Okay the last one is the last thing on my mind, but hey, anything is possible, yes? Whatever happens I’m fine with, I don’t have expectations in it. I am, however, addicted to meeting people and it not just being about sex, but it having some real value or substance to it. I want to connect with people on a deeper level. I want to hear their stories and for us to be able to create our own stories together from the experience that we share.
There is no balance between personal and business. I don’t consider this journey business at all. If I take time to meet someone, I am open to connecting with them at least as friends. And as long as feel good and safe with meeting someone (there are some things about some people that tell me that it would be a bad idea to meet or communicate with the person…I’ve gotten better with going with my intuition since beginning this.) and there is time available on my schedule, I’ll meet a person and see what happens. Sometimes I really click with someone on a personal level and we can be friends and sometimes I see potential for more and go with that feeling (usually until the person realizes that pursuing something more with a guy that’s traveling for 5 years is not a good idea). Regardless of what happens, I know without a doubt that every person that I meet, there is a story and a lesson to learn. EVERY SINGLE PERSON HAS A LESSON that they are ready and willing to teach if I will just pay attention, listen, and watch. EVERY SINGLE PERSON YOU MEET has a lesson to teach you if you’ll just pay attention, listen, and watch. I guarantee it. It never fails.
When I go to a Starbucks (or any coffee place with wifi) to work it is to do photos edits, write, be among the locals and other travelers, and to talk to locals in the area through these apps. If you don’t know, these apps are apps that you can download and put a profile up about yourself and your interests (I use this to talk about 5YJ). They use GPS to be able to locate where you are and you can see other men that are close to you wherever you are. You go through and chat to anyone that interests you and maybe make a connection. A lot of people use them strictly for hookups (sex). I struggled with doing straight up hookups. I won’t lie, I have done them, but I hate them. I despise them. I would rather really connect with a person or people and if we get to the point of sex naturally and there is a mutual attraction, then so be it, but not unless everything is right. It’s rare for me to meet a guy that I feel comfortable doing anything sexual with. It just doesn’t happen. It has to be someone that I would consider having a relationship with - we have to connect emotionally as much as we connect physically. If I can’t see having a relationship with the person, I can’t see having sex with them. That’s that. Does a relationship with the person always work out? Apparently not…I ain’t got no ring on my finger yet do I? (I’m kidding in the sense that I don’t need marriage or a ring or even a label to be happy in a relationship) They have to be someone that I would consider having a relationship with, getting to that point takes a lot more than getting to the sex. I mean after all I’m on this journey thing and traveling and stuff, so it would take a lot of team work and a game plan for that to happen. Most people just aren’t willing to go through all of that and if they’re not willing to go through that and work with me on a plan to make it work, then I know that a relationship or marriage would never work and I know to not play games with it and move on from it while still hopefully maintaining a friendship.
Anyway, this isn’t the “Jer’s search for love” blog.
I use the apps to find people in the local area to talk to and to hopefully meet and include in 5YJ and beyond that hopefully (and selfishly) I hope to make friends and real connections in the places that I visit. It been working great. I’ve met great people in each of the cities that I’ve visited and using apps that some people would just tie to hooking up or dating and making them work for something much different. I’m doing it and able to include other gay, bi, curious, and transgender people in something pretty cool. Sometimes we’re a bit left out of things. There’s no denying that. I’m proud to say that while 5YJ is not ALL about the LGBTQ community. I more than embrace it. I am a proud member of it.
With all that being said, I would love to find a way to meet straight people while on my journey too. I have had quite a few straight hosts, but I would love to have the opportunity to meet other straight people while on 5YJ too. It’s important to me, I just haven’t quite figured out a way to pull it off just yet. My hope is that as 5YJ grows and more people hear about it that it will open up the doors to meeting more straight people and being able to include them in 5YJ and beyond that make friends. Until then, these apps are what I have and I’m taking full advantage of them.
My second day at Paul’s vacation home in Kissimmee was spent at Starbucks doing some work on writing and photos edits while also using these apps to connect with the locals. The locals here in Kissimmee (and Orlando) have been overall accepting of me and 5YJ. Now then, unless it’s Okcupid, I won’t usually try to find people to talk to. Maybe that is bad and maybe it isn’t, but what I have discovered is that usually if I try to talk to people on the “sex apps” with my profile talking about 5YJ, they don’t always respond and most likely it’s because they are there strictly for sex and wouldn’t want to be a part of making friends or being a part of 5YJ. So, I usually let people talk to me if they want to and just leave it at that. And I can honestly say that Kissimmee and Orlando have been places that people stepped up and talked to me and it wasn’t always about sex (if someone comes at me with something sexual first thing, regardless of what app it’s on, I most usually ignore them. It’s a turn off. If I wouldn’t say it to someone meeting them in person instead of on an app, I wouldn’t say it on an app….Also, am not likely to be able to have a conversation with someone who just talks about how cute I am or giving me compliments. I don’t like saying “You too” to “You’re cute “or “you’re sexy”, so usually I just say thanks and the conversation more often than not ends there. :-/ ). People have been more open to talking about 5YJ and getting to know me in Kissimmee and Orlando. I appreciate that. A time that originally was supposed to be set aside as a like a down time or vacation time for me, quickly became a full schedule with locals wanting to meet and do other things besides sex :-0 .
I got a message from Paul telling me he was on his way home and wanted to know where I was and if I wanted a ride back home. He’s ridiculously courteous. I told him that I would rather have the exercise and walk home.
I got home and was surprised to hear that the neighbors downstairs had invited both Paul and I downstairs for dinner which meant that meatloaf would have to wait for another night. This might sound rude, but I wasn’t up to going downstairs to meet Paul’s friends yet. Paul had warned me that they would drill me with questions about my journey and that they didn’t like the idea of Paul having a stranger come and stay with him and that it wouldn’t be safe to do. I won’t lie. It bothered me. For the past 8 months I’ve had to work hard to prove myself and what this journey is about. Many many people assume that I must be having sex with the hosts or that I’m just going into homes and lounging around drinking beer and getting high, eating food, and just on some free ride for 5 years. They don’t see what I do. They don’t bother to check out the site. They don’t hear the stories that I share, they don’t see the photos that I take along the way. They haven’t read any of the books that I’ve released (for free). They haven’t taken the time to get to know me or see me and what’s happening on this journey. They would rather make some outlandish (at least for me) assumptions about who I am and what I’m doing and just believe that that is who I am. It’s beyond frustrating. It comes with what I’m doing, I guess. I didn’t want to spend another night or any more of my time trying to convince others that what I’m doing is good and that their assumptions are completely wrong. I don’t feel the need to do that anymore. I don’t feel the need to explain that what I am doing is work even if I’m not making money that is directly tied to the work that I’m doing. I think for some people, it takes actually experiencing it for themselves to see and understand it and that’s okay, but I wasn’t ready emotionally to answer questions only to justify what I’m doing in people’s minds. I would do it eventually, but that night was not the night for it.
Paul explained to them that I had work to do and wouldn’t be joining them. They seemed to understand, I guess.
Later that night, Paul and I stayed up late in the living room talking again. It wasn’t as late as the first night. I loved hearing more stories about his vacations and love for Disney and different stuff that he had done throughout the day. He told me more about life in Cape Cod and I was able to tell him more about growing up in Oklahoma and Arkansas and the different places I’ve lived and my life experiences. There is hardly ever anything that is really off limits in talks with hosts. It’s open communication and safe to share anything and everything that either of us would want to talk about.
The time came and Paul went to bed and I stayed up a bit late writing more (I’ve been behind by anywhere from a week to 9 days on blog posts about my days. It’s the long windiness, I know, but I don’t want to miss anything and don’t want anyone to feel left out.). Another great day in Kissimmee and another day to be thankful that Paul has given me a place to stay with my own room. I feel at home with it. Feels great to have my own space for a bit. I love it and I love being able to spend time with someone that doesn’t aggressively pursue sex with me.
"I don’t remember any of this shit."
Got to meet up with Paul and his neighbors and friends, Marvin & WE (Marvin is to my left and WE is to Paul’s right) for lunch at Sam’s Club - something that Marvin and WE do almost daily. They are a couple of gay men that have been together 36 years. Sooooo many great stories to be told from these two. I couldn’t stop laughing, they kept me going. From talking about 5YJ to stories about their relationship to WE telling a story about a snowy road trip to pick up furniture with a trailer and the breaks going out while they were going downhill…at the end of the story Marvin looked over at me and said “I don’t remember any of this shit.” Haha. I died. Lol. Good times.
“Now you can write about these two old queens you met in Florida.” Lol.
#5yj #5yearjourney #kissimmee #men #gay #samsclub #gaymen #talk #travel #stories #people #goodtimes #gaycouples #couples #guys #men
Stitch probably didn’t know what was happening here. Haha. I gave him the biggest hug I’ve ever given a costumed character before in my life.
When I was disowned by my family for being gay in 2008, I couldn’t get Stitch and Ohana out of my mind. I was determined to not just survive, but to thrive even if my blood family didn’t want anything to do with me. To some it might be dumb or not make any sense, but when I came out I had no one but a new (and first) boyfriend and this idea of having courage when I was alone and believing that just like Stitch, I would find my Ohana and over the last 6 years since, I have and I’m thankful for it every day AND it just keeps growing. :)
For anyone that is just coming out or considering coming out or even just questioning. Know that it may be challenging, but regardless of what happens there are people out there that care.
#5yj #5yearjourney #disneyworld #disney #people #travel #stitch #gay #lgbt #lgbtq #comingout #gays #inspirational