Love on Grindr?

BLOG-POST-57Love on Grindr?

While in Barcelona, I was starting to get frustrated since it had been a few months in living here and I still had not met anybody that I liked. I was living in one of the gayest cities in the world and I definitely wanted to meet someone. With no luck, I decided to try Grindr.

At this point in my life, I was very naive and didn’t know much about anything including hooking up/dating apps. So once I tried it I saw all kinds of things, it was pretty crazy and a little disturbing to be honest. But through the clutter I found someone that caught my eye. I decided to say hi and he replied we exchanged some texts and soon after decided to meet for coffee.

When I arrived at the cafe, he looked just liked his picture or even more handsome. He had green eyes, brown hair and dark skin, he was visiting from Paris and was only in Barcelona for a couple of days. We talked for an hour or so and since I got a good vibe from him I decided to invite him to go out that night. I was planning to go out with some friends that night and thought it would be a good idea if he came. He told me he needed to see another friend and he would let me know if he would be able to join.

I really liked this guy, I thought he was a nice guy and really wanted him to come out with me and my friends. Later that night he texted me saying he would come out with us! We went out clubbing and by the end of the nigh we made out. I couldn’t believe this was happening! He came over to my place and we spent the night together and most of the day the next day. He only had one more night before heading back to Paris.

We ended our “whatever this was” with a nice dinner. We told each other that we would keep in touch. I was kind of disappointed because I felt I had found someone I like and this person didn’t even lived in the same city as me. I felt I had connected with him although we only spend a couple of days together. All I knew is that I wanted to get to know him better. I wanted to see if this perhaps could be more than a hook up, because up until the point I liked everything about him.

So a few days after he left, I couldn’t stop thinking about him and out of compulsion I decided to get a ticket to Paris. I know this sounds pretty crazy and obsessive, he did mention I should go visit him so I took his word. I went online just to look at prices and I couldn’t let this bargain go… 45 euros from Barcelona to Paris. I immediately bought the tickets and thought to myself if this doesn’t work out I can crash at friends place… I had a couple of friends living in Paris at the time.

So I was going to see this guys again… I felt I need to do this and see if there was really a chance for love there. So I just followed my heart, I was going to go to Paris for the first time and I was going to be with a spacial someone. How perfect could this be!

Living in Europe: Change of Perception

BARCELONA-GAY-BARCELONALiving in Europe: Change of Perception

Having been in Miami for the past 4 months, I was ready to go to Spain. As I mentioned, on my last post “OUT!” I was going to be home with my family, to spend some time with them and hoping to have some kind of conversation my sexuality or any questions they may have about it. But this never happened. By the end of my 4 months in Miami, I was ready to leave and experience life in another country.

I was really excited about moving to Barcelona, I was going to have to communicate in Spanish, study in Spanish and do everything in Spanish. Up until this point I had lived 10 years in USA, so this would be a big adjustment for me. I remember the first few weeks in Barcelona, when I was walking on the streets and if I ran into someone by mistake I would excuse myself in English “Sorry,” it would just come out. English was so ingrained in my head that it would just come out automatically. I was really excited about starting over, opening a bank account, new phone number, finding an apartment and of course meeting people and making new friends.

I felt really lucky to have this experience and to be living in this metropolitan city. I was looking forward to know closely the culture and meet the local people to really get a sense of the city. I remember before moving to Barcelona, I had this mentality of Spaniards being “cool” because the are part of Europe and  they look so polished and educated. I know, this sounds really stupid, it is a really dumb concept to have about a country and its people but that was mine before moving there.

Shortly after, I realized how mistaken I was about my conception. I quickly realized that I had put these people high up in my mind when in reality when in reality there were just as equal as anybody else. Yes, the country is beautiful and Barcelona is one of the most funnest cities I have ever lived in. But I have to say that throughout my time in Barcelona, it was really hard to penetrate their tight group of friends. Catalonians are very proud of their heritage and they speak a different dialect. It can be hard to understand, it is a mix between French and Spanish, they speak it among each other. It is a little sad to say but the whole time I was in Barcelona, I just felt like a tourist. I never felt part of the city, not because I didn’t want to feel part of it, it’s just that people in general do not make you feel welcome, I know this is a cultural thing.

I made great friends in Barcelona, most of them foreigners and some locals but one thing that the locals had in common is that at some point the had lived abroad. They were able to see that within their culture there is this divide, where people are not as open and friendly as the people that have left their countries and lived somewhere else at some point of their lives.

Throughout my time in Barcelona, I learned many things and one of them is that traveling really opens up your eyes and teaches you so much not only about other cultures but also about life, we learn so much about ourselves and how we act in different situations that perhaps we would never be exposed to if we never left our country or just our zone of comfort.

Work in Progress…

I am currently working on some things on the blog…. I want to nail down the voice and the story I am trying to tell.

I recently got some feedback from readers, They told me they felt like I stopped telling my story and started a new one without finishing what I started. They are curious to know what happened next in my life and would like to hear that up until the point where I am now, which is a completely different place.

I am thankful for the feedback and I will be making these changes to make sure you guys get a full picture of what is going on over here.

This is What’s Going On…

This is What’s Going On…

whats-going-on-now

I am now 28 years old and it has been 2 years since I moved back to San Francisco. I moved back to San Francisco after receiving my Masters in Communications in Barcelona, Spain. I made this decision after being in Miami (home) for a couple of months and not enjoying it there. I decided it was time for me to grow up and be an independent person and do what I wanted to do.

All I can say is that this decision has not been easy but it has been very rewarding, sometimes frustrating and at times stressful but like anything in life that’s how it goes. When I arrived, I desperately wanted to get a job at an advertising agency. It took me many months to get my foot in the door but I finally did and got the job I wanted. It was in Downtown San Francisco (Financial District) in one of the coolest building with all the great perks, free food, gym, etc. In college I always imagined myself taking the bus downtown and walking with very fashionable clothes to work, it was very exciting to know that this was going to happen!

Shortly after working at the agency I realized how corporate and structured everything really is. There was no room for creativity, which is kind of ironic being that it was an adverting agency. Wearing fashionable clothes and the whole idea of feeling “cool because I work downtown SF” quickly went away. Everything became a routine like any job and the culture and the daily responsibilities would leave a feeling of “I can do more than this.”

Soon after I was out of a job, although it was not my decision to stop working here, I knew it was coming. I was brought in as a contractor and the agency was going through a managerial shake up. Not having anything lined up, I had to do all kinds of stuff in order to support myself in this city.

One thing is knowing you don’t like something and knowing you can do more than what is being asked to do but I could see myself creating something, being my own boss and feeling proud of my own work – but what is it?

During this time I had no time to figure out what I wanted to do to fulfill my life. I needed to support myself and pay bills in other words, I had to HUSTLE. I did all kinds of job from assembling furniture to heavy lifting, anything that would help me pay my bills and support myself. I knew this could not be a long term thing but I also knew I did not want to go back to an office and work from 9 to 5. This kind of routine is not for me, I cannot be in the same place doing the same kind of work daily, I quickly lose interest and becomes a problem.

Not having an answer to what I wanted to do next brought negative thoughts, I felt kind of a failure for not having a job, money or savings, I had nothing! And just an FYI – I still have nothing, no money and no savings! But now it’s different, although my financial situation can be frustrating at times, I now have a clear view of what I want my projects to be and my determination to make them work.

I look forward to expanding on my current projects and sharing my struggles professionally and personally. Lately, I find myself thinking about life as an adult and how my perception of it keeps changing, is not easy but I’m learning how to find a balance to find the positive when things may look tough. I am learning that everything is about perspective and how we look at things, everything happens for a reason and is up to ourselves to make every experience positive or negative. – Life is about experiences good or bad and we learn from them.

What Happened?

So-What-HappenedWhat Happened?

I totally feel like a BIG flake…. Many months ago I said I was gonna come back and I came back for second and disappeared again and I am sorry about that. This is not the case this time, I promise! I owe everybody who cares about this blog an explanation about what happened and why I went away for a while.

As some of you  know, I created Zabi Knows it All a couple of years ago to talk about my experience coming out and hopefully help others through this process. I thought this would not only help myself by looking in retrospective at how far I have gone in my journey to self-acceptance but also inspire others who struggle with this.

I did this for a while and I truly enjoyed it, I still do! But at the time it was really hard to balance my time and maintaining the blog. I slowly started pushing it to the side until I completely let it go. Work, money and time had a lot to do with this and my priorities shifted, not that this is not important to me but at that time I needed to focus in other areas.

Not checking my blog periodically led me to lose my domain. I no longer owned zabiknowsitall.com, when I stopped blogging I always knew I would come back, I just needed the time to work on the things that needed my focus but after losing all of my information I thought, I moved my domain to zabiknowsitall.net and keep blogging that way. I did all the backend work to transfer all of my information from .com to .net (which for me is not easy at all!)  but when it was time to actually write and blog I was not present. I guess, my circumstances did not help which I will talk about on here.

This time I’m coming back again and I am committing to making this work. I love connecting with people from all over the world and talk about things that spark my interest about life and the struggles we encounter every day and how to overcome all of them.

Out

#lovewinsOUT!

Having come out to my parents was not easy, it was was of the hardest things I have aver done so far. I knew I had to do it in order to move forward with my life, be honest with myself and live an honest life. Even though some people say once you come out of the closet you feel this weight off your shoulders and you’re supposed to feel so much better, this did not happen to me.

I thought once I came out, I would instantly be fine and happy and OUT but it wasn’t quite like that. Although my family took it the best way possible, I still felt some kind of emptiness. Perhaps because I was going through a transition [transition & changes], where I had recently graduated, most of my friends had left the city and honestly I was kind of bored of the city. My mother’s constant calls did not help either, she was worried about my well-being and wanted me to be home closer to everyone else in the family. I knew I wanted a change in my life, I was definitely bored of San Francisco and wondered how life would be somewhere else. I knew I wanted to do more before settling in somewhere.

One day talking to my mother on the phone, I told her I would move back home to be closer to them but really,  I was planning on going back to school and I was thinking of the possibility of going to Spain. She agreed to it and once she said that I immediately started looking for schools in Barcelona to do a Masters. I was looking for a change, a new experience, a new place. I wanted to expand my horizons by leaning about other cultures, countries and a new continent. I was hesitant about moving back home because I knew I would have a hard time adjusting back to living under my parents roof and getting used to the city. I was really hoping that my plans of moving to Spain would work.

Luckily, things worked out the way I wanted them to work out. I got accepted to the school I applied in Spain, this meant I would be in Miami for four months before leaving for Spain. This would give me enough time to talk to my parents about my sexuality and hopefully move forward on understanding and accepting the fact that I was gay. I think they thought this was just a phase and eventually I would change my mind, for this reason I think it was important to spend time together to talk things out.

Coming Out: Parents

Coming Out: Parents

coming-out 2

Summer time in San Francisco can be very depressing, it’s the coldest and foggiest time of the year. Being tired of the weather and a much needed change of scenery, I decided to make a quick trip to Miami. It happened that that weekend was my  birthday too, so it was the perfect excuse to leave San Francisco and go home to spend time with my family and enjoy the warm weather.

Having thought about it for a long time I had made up my mind and was ready to come out to my parents. It felt right, I no longer wanted to lie every time they would ask me if I had a girlfriend. I did not want to have that stress in my life anymore. I wanted to tell them the truth about myself and feel good about myself. Even if they did not approve and cut me off financially  I already had a job, which I could support myself completely. I didn’t think my parents would cut me off financially but I wanted to have a plan in case things did not work out my way.

My visit to Miami was very short, given that the flight from San Francisco to Miami is about 6 hours plus time change, basically a lost day just travelling which left me with two full days in Miami. My main objective on this trip was to come out to my parents, I didn’t tell my sister that I was planning on doing this because I did not want to have any negative feedback (You should wait…blah blah blah), I was determined to do this and it was time for them to know. I had to find an appropriate time to tell them but because of my short visit this did not happen. I wanted to tell them both at the same time so they would not feel there was any favoritism and perhaps hurt them. But as I said, I did not find the right time to do this.

On my birthday, we went to the beach had a good time and before going home we decided to stop at Target. I decided to grab a coffee at the Starbucks inside Target, I sat with my father to drink the coffee. I had him in front of me, this was it! I wanted him to hear this from me but as I thought about it, I got more and more nervous. I couldn’t do it – I didn’t. For one reason or another my father switched places with my mother and he went shopping with my brother. My mother was now sitting in front of me, this was it… Now or never.

I felt my heart was going to get out of my chest, I started by saying: “Mom, you may already know but I needed to tell you, I’m gay” her face with dropped with sadness and shock, she said: “Why?” I explained further and we were both crying at a Starbucks in Target – Yes, I came out at Target! She held my hand and told me she loved me no matter what. She said: “you are my son as long as you are happy I’m happy”  I was very relieved with my mom’s reaction. I knew this would be a long process but we were definitely on the right track. I told her not to tell my dad because I wanted to tell him. She agreed to this and I thought I would be able to tell my father in time before I left. This never happened and I left for San Francisco the next day early in the morning.

It was hard to do this in such a short time, I don’t think there was time to process this information and talk more about it. I told my mother the night before leaving and then the next day I left very early in the morning. After coming out to my mother, she would call me everyday. I guess, she was worried about me and my well-being. Her hopes and dreams for me had been shifted (marriage, kids, family, wife?) Because I had asked not to tell my dad, she was not able to talk to him about anything, I was planning on telling my father the next time I was with him but given that we both live apart from each other, this would make it difficult to do.

It had been about a month or two and I noticed my father would not come up to the phone to talk to me and if he did it would be very briefly. I suspected my mother had told him, I asked my mother if she did. She told me she did because she felt she was keeping a secret from him and could barely sleep at night. I asked her how he took the news, she said: “Our love for you will never change.” I guess my father needed time to process this information, which I understood completely – It took me about 2 years to finally accept myself.

One of the things I was worried the most when coming out was how my family would treat me. Would it change? Would they look at me differently? What would they think of me? Would our interaction change? In my experience, nothing changed. Everybody in my family was very supportive and embraced it. Some of them did not quite understand it but accepted the fact that I’m gay. I know I cannot expect to be 100% fine with it because it took me a while to be fine with it myself but I had made the right step in order to move into that direction. They were all open to learn more about the gay community and try to understand.

I look back and think about the many years I thought about this to the point of almost driving myself crazy about the negative scenarios that could possibly be but this never happened and now this was finally over at least the harder part. I remember keeping this secret for the longest time and thinking I’d rather die than letting anyone know or find out about my sexuality. Over thinking something can bring us into a really dark place, where we can be our worst enemies.

I think we all know when is the right time to come out. We have to expect the worse and hope for the best as we never know what our family’s reaction can be. I decided to be honest with myself because I hate lying and I just wanted to be free of it all and live my life the way I wanted to – Luckily things worked out for me.

Changes and Transitions

Changes and Transitions

TRANSITIONS

There comes a time in our lives where we are so used to the routine that when is time to change we freak out. We think we have everything figured out and when it’s time to go further to the next level we are afraid or just not ready. This is exactly what happened to me right after college, I had been looking forward to graduating and being a responsible adult but when the time came I realized I was not ready for these changes.

After four years of hard work, I had finally reached my biggest goal yet, to become a college graduate – A professional. It was a mix of emotions because I was super excited to have reached something that I had set my mind on getting for a long time but at the same time I was hesitant for what was to come. I no longer needed to study, which I had done most of my life, and now it was time for me to act as an adult and support myself.

Luckily for me I landed a job right after college. I had the opportunity to be at an office and work from 9am-5pm having experienced this and working there for a few months. I realized I was too young for this to be doing this for the rest of my life. I was only 22 years old at the time and felt I needed to travel and have new experiences.

I was going through a weird transitions where I did not know where I stood, I had studied all of my life and that was what was expected from me. Now, this was over and now I had to face reality and  be a responsible adult. It was a tough time for me because I had to re-structure my life and set my priorities which had changed now that I had reached my biggest goal yet.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life,  I felt I was at time in my life where any decision I made would affect the rest of my life. If I keep the job, I would probably work and grow professionally and not have the time to travel and see the world. If I travel, I would probably have a hard time finding a job and most likely be stuck in life. I had thought about this over and over and I knew I did not want to go home, it felt going home would be a big step back in life and that was not the direction I wanted to go.

I knew I wanted to travel and see the world, I had never been to Europe other than Spain. I still wanted that experience of traveling and getting to see the different cultures in these countries. I did not just want to visit, I wanted to be there and learn about their lifestyle. It was obvious that I wanted to go somewhere else, San Francisco had been an incredible place that helped me grow and get to know myself better but I knew it was time for a change. I had been in San Francisco for 4 year and I was ready for something new and exciting. I was not sure how this would  happen but I knew I would make it happen.

Finishing a chapter in life and starting a new one is not always easy, I can frankly say that. I thought I was the only one but having shared my experience with friends and family, I have learned  that it is a common thing we all go through at some point in our lives. There is never a right or wrong answer when we decide what to do with our lives. We just have to take risks in life to in order to move forward and even if we don’t have the answers to our questions, take a break and soon you’ll find them.

Confident Shy Guy

Confident Shy Guy

Shy-and-confidentHaving talked about my new phase in life and how I felt great about myself (Self-Confidence), I noticed I am a shy person. Yes, I feel good about myself and though I do not think I am a hot, I know I am good looking person but going to bars and trying to start a conversation with an stranger is very hard for me.

As I said before, I have many friends and I consider myself a very social person and make friends easily but when it comes to meeting and there is an interest in between, like being physically attracted, I immediately shut down. I get nervous, shy and try not to talk to that person instead of doing the opposite. It’s a weird way of thinking but I do not want the person to know I am interested because it would be too obvious.

It can be very intimidating going to a bar and seeing many men staring at you. When that happens, I try to look everywhere but their eyes, I know if I look at their eyes I will feel uncomfortable and awkward, at least for me it will. I am not sure how to behave in a situation like this, should I look back and stare at the other person until they look away?

I have realized, I do not know myself in that sense, I don’t know what to say or do. I now have the freedom to pursuit what I want and what I like but I feel I do not know this part of me. I have never made a move on someone before, I never tried going after a girl because deep down I knew I was gay and never with a boy because I did not want people to know about my sexuality.

I am assuming that is another reason why I never had a relationship with a girl besides knowing that I was gay, I never knew how to hit on a girl. I guess, my confidence level to talk to someone and confess my interest was something that I avoided doing for being scared to rejection. I know rejection is part of life and we have to be okay with it when it happens but growing up I preferred not putting myself in a situation like that.

I was now aware that it was time to change this and be “less shy” time to get out of my confort zone to get the things I wanted. Even tough it is harder said than done, I was very optimistic and willing to push myself to change this about me. As my family says: “being shy does not take anywhere…. you miss many opportunities.” This is completely true, I now look back and though I knew I needed to change this about me it took me more time than I wished but at this point in my life I truly feel like the shyness in me has gone in regards to meeting people and holding conversations with strangers.