Friday, August 13, 2010
Addicted to Filling the Gap
If Dr. Laura was black and ranted on about the "big N" word it would've been acceptable but since she wasn't, her rant wasn't either. Well here goes my rant and remember I am one of you and being within my rank, I can criticize from within.
I refuse to become so addicted to Grindr that I can't have a meaningful conversation with a friend without looking at my phone every 5 minutes to see who's sending me a nude pic of themselves. I refuse to fall into the gap of online hookups in order to fill this gap within me. I refuse to feel like i'm a freak because I don't succumb to the status quo of my community. I refuse to create an alter porn-ego of myself and post pictures of my throbbing, hard penis to thousands of unknowns just to bait them in to love me. I refuse to feel like i'm not good enough because I don't get laid 2-3 times per week with 2-3 different strangers per week. I am not less-cool or attractive for it. I am more than just a slab of grade A man-meat and I want more than just man-meat. I want a real and whole man that isn't looking to find what's the next better catch every night on the online hook-up slot machine. Are we so jaded that what I am saying is so off the charts? Yet, if I dare say these things out loud to my friends or strangers, they would roll their eyes and look at me pitifully as if I was an idealistic Charlotte from Sex and the City. Are we so hungry for intimacy that we are willing to deny we have any feelings at all just to get it? Like a meth addict that loses his teeth to keep getting "fixed", have we given up a part of ourselves just to get our "fix"? We all need love, everyone knew this even before the Beatles sang about it. So why is it in the gay community we act like we don't really need it and that's it's enough to just "hook up"? Are we just taking the bare minimum because we don't feel we can get any more? Have we lost faith that there is anyone more out there? Is being pretty or hot all there is? Have we reduced ourselves to body measurements as if we were ancient Roman slave traders?
I post a pic of my latest tattoo on my facebook page and a girlfriend quickly comments on my Wall -"you're addicted!" I pause and soon realize it rings true. I am a little addicted.
I started out with one tattoo to mark the moment my first book was published. Then a 2nd when I turned 35. Then a 3rd humongous ancient Tibetan symbol in the center of my back to commemorate the peace Buddhism has brought to my life. Finally my 4th tat on my writing hand to constantly remind myself to be true to myself and to never whimp out on any opportunities life throws my way. Each and every time I would get addicted to the fear of the pain beforehand, the pain of the needle piercing my skin and then the sweet pain of my skin's cells responding to that pain and feeling my body heal. I would savor how that stinging pain would send goosebumps up my spine like a masochistic pleasure that shakes your insides so that you feel the sliver of space between your body and spirit. Each and every time I would feel satisfied after doing it because each one meant something, earning me an emotional badge by surviving my self-inflicted trial by fire.
Like Journey sings in Don't Stop Believing- "working hard to get my fill-everybody wants a thrill". Addictions come in endless shapes, sizes and flavors. They can be booty calls, midnight snickers, shopping, sport cars or funnel cakes-it doesn't matter. What matters is that there's an itch that needs a' scratchin'. A need that calls to be satisfied-a "gap" that needs a' fillin'. This "filling the gap" may sound pornographic and to some it is -literally. Ask any porn star what they love the most about their trade. They'll confess it's the constant flow of good sex with hot partners and they can never seem to get enough of it. The "gap" I'm talking about is one inside each and every one of us. The key is to find out what the hell it really is and eventually find that Snickers moment and finally feel sat-is-fied. We all have a desire to escape the misery of needing something. Buddhism teaches detachment is the only way to avoid suffering but we are human and we will always need a million things. The trick is to force yourself to stop needing ANY-thing and have the faith that whatever we do need will come to us naturally. When we finally do get there we realize that the one "thing" we need isn't a thing at all but a feeling.
Like Chinese food or a one night stand; these addictions leave you hungry for more moments later. They are brief respites; never enough to fill the gap inside long enough to last a lifetime. They are momentary stop-gap measures that like the temporary gulf oil cap, will eventually start to leak out all the dark pus we carry inside until we find the honest guts and self-realization to go in there and really clean house to find the true reasons behind each addiction or lack of self-love. The reasons are inside each and every one of us, secreted away so deeply that sometimes they are taken to the grave and never shared with even the closest of loved ones.
With so many opportunities for addiction, anyone can agree that moderation is the golden rule of life that we should all strive for, the foundation for happiness. For if we tip the scales to any one side, we eventually fall like the fatter end of a see saw. Just as the pendulum that swings too far to the left or the right, when it finally swings back to the middle, all is in equilibrium and all is at peace and the ying-yang tug of war of life is quelled for the moment. It is this coolness, this alive feeling that I yearn for. The hardest part is to find the least damaging way to fulfill it.
What are you addicted to? Where will you find your god; on Grindr, in the Mac store, in his abs, or within yourself?