March 24, 2007

Emotional Courage

Dear Lover,

The last week or so, I've been rediscovering something about myself. I've rediscovered that I'm an astoundingly intense person. Everything I do or say, I tend to put the full force of my heart and soul behind it. This means that every aspect of my life is filled with passion and intensity, burning just below the smooth surface, plainly obvious to anyone who wishes to look closely.

I've begun to realize that such intensity can be rather intimidating to a great deal of people. After all, we tend to live in a world that prefers to keep things light and superficial. And the level of intensity that I generate is antithetical to that preference. This is especially true when you consider that my openness and intensity tends to evoke similar reactions in those around me. To be honest, I think that response frightens a good many people more than my own intensity. It's one thing to see that in another person, but it's quite another to experience it in your own life.

I realize now, Lover, that you will need to be a truly emotionally courageous man. You will need to be the kind of guy who can look into the smoldering fire in my eyes and not back away. You might flinch, and you might even have to take a step back to prepare yourself from pressing on. But in the end, if our love is to work, you will press on. You're the kind of person that will be able to look within yourself, find the strength to face both what you see in my eyes and whatever it may evoke from your own heart and soul. After all, that is what attracts you to me, as well as what attracts me to you.

Passionately yours,

March 4, 2007

Love means getting hurt

Dear Lover,

The past couple of weeks have reminded me that sometimes, love involves pain. All the fairy tales in the world have done us a terrible disservice by lying to us about this stark truth. So many of us -- myself included at times -- go through life hoping that when we find true love, we will enter into the realm of happily ever after and never feel the pangs of heartache or sorrow again. So when we discover this lie for what it is, we often assume we've done something wrong.

I know better than this, Lover. True love will always involve heartache and pain. This is because we live as imperfect humans in an imperfect world, doing our best to share our lives and our hearts with one another. Mistakes are always made, and our openness and vulnerability allow those mistakes to wound us. To deny that fact is to deny our very nature and the very nature of love. This is especially true for someone who loves so freely and openly, someone like me.

But here's the thing, Lover. I wouldn't have it any other way. Long ago, I discovered that if there truly is love in my heart, then any pain that comes as a result is precious. After all, that pain is a sign that I truly am loving freely, and that is the greatest gift that I could ever give myself. It's also the greatest gift I could ever give you, and I will cherish that gift, even with its thorny downside, with every fiber of my being.

I want you to really think about that, Lover. I want you to allow it to sink into the depths of your soul, and find the freedom that this offers you there. I know you're not perfect. I know that you will do things that will hurt me from time to time, no matter how thoughtful and caring you are. And while I don't want you to use this fact to be intentionally thoughtless and uncaring, I don't want you to be afraid of making those mistakes along the way. Because in the end, I will cherish even the mistakes we both make along the way. I will look at my tears I shed as we walk together, and count them as gold.

Tearfully yours,
-- Jarred.

June 18, 2006


Dear Lover,

As I was wandering about today, I got thinking about these letters I've written to you. And it occurred to me that it would be awesome if, after finally meeting you, I found out you were writing similar letters to me. After all, I've put a lot of time into thinking about what I'd like you to be like, and it only seems fair that you should be given the chance to express your hopes about what I'm like.

Unfortunately, I can't write those letters for you. But it seems appropriate to me to take this time to write you not about what I hope to find in you, but what I can promise you will find in me. After all, it's only fair.

The first thing that I can promise you is fidelity. I believe in commitments. I believe they're the center of any healthy love relationship. I'm not one that is going to fly the first time there's a small hiccup in our relationship. Nor am I the kind to be on the lookout for the "bigger better deal." When I know that I'm with you, I fully intend to stay with you. (I'd be crazy not to.)

When the problems do come (and let's face it, all relationships have their problems), I promise to work with you to find solutions rather than playing the blame game. There are few (if any) obstacles that two dedicated people cannot overcome one way or another, and I'm ready to do my part to find the way to overcome every last obstacle.

I promise to be sensitive to your needs and feelings. That's not to say I won't goof up from time to time, but I promise that I will listen, and do my best to respect and honor both your feelings and needs, and fulfill them whenever I reasonably can.

When I'm upset, I promise to try my best to handle the situation and my feelings in a mature way. I will also talk it over with you rather than making you play "guess what's annoying Jarred now." After all, it's best for both of us if we talk these things over.

I also offer to share my love of life and all the joys and pleasures it has to offer with you. Relationships are hard work, but I promise to do all I can to make sure that you find it all well worth your effort.

There are many more things I can offer you, Lover. And I anxiously await to share them with you. And by all means, if there's something I haven't mentioned, please let me know. After all, if your my perfect lover, I must be yours, too.

Learning from disappointment

Dear Lover,

I have to admit, I'm a bit disappointed today. Up until last night, I thought I had actually found you. I had met a guy a while back, and based on circumstances and conversations, I began to believe that he was you. Well, it turns out that I had royally misinterpreted things, and my hopes that my wait and search were almost over came crashing down. So now I find myself a little sadder today (don't worry though, as I'm sure I'll recover soon enough) as I return to a more uncertain wait.

But I'm writing you today to do more than cry on your shoulder. This unfortunate experience has also given me more insight as to the kind of person I hope you'll be. You see, the reason I thought Sean was you was because he made a few statements that were a bit open-ended. He meant that as off-handed comments. And at first, I took them as such. But as time went on -- and after he made a particular comment that was a bit hard not to misinterpret at least a little -- I started getting the distinct impression that he was trying to express a romantic interest in a somewhat subtle way, the kind often attempted by those of us who are somewhat shy. So based on these incorrect interpretations, I came to an equally uncorrect decision.

When we finally and truly meet, I hope that you are daring enough to express your possible interest more directly. I don't want to have to rely on subtle hints and undertones in comments that could be misinterpreted. After all, it would save a great deal of trouble. I also hope you'll be the kind of person who's more direct in communicating in the relationship -- both as it starts and as it moves into a mature commitment. After all, it's so much easier than having to try and second guess intended meanings and connotations.

Don't get me wrong, Lover. I'm not expecting you to take all of the risks in the realm of communications. After all, it wouldn't be fair to me to ask you to always stick your ass on the line and face potential disappointment. I'm willing to be just as direct. When we meet, I'm more than willing to be the first to express interest, as scary as that thought may be to me. All I ask is that before I put my ass on that line, I at least would like to know there's something of a chance. (For example, I don't want to spend a great deal of time working up the courage to ask you out, only to find out you're engaged at the critical moment.)

In the end, Lover, I guess it's about vulnerability as much as it's about visibility. The two are interrelated, after all. So I guess in the end, I hope you're the kind of person who realizes that too, and are willing to chance the vulnerability necessary to help make my job of finding you a little easier. After all, you're so wonderful, I want to find you so that I can spend and share my life with you.

Longingly yours,

April 14, 2006

Inner Work and Desirability

Dear Lover,

I'm sorry it's been so long since I last wrote you. It's not because I've given up on you. But I had to turn my eyes inward for a while. You see, it occurred to me that I while I haven't given up on you, I might have given up on myself for a while.

You see, Lover, a long time ago, I didn't think very highly of myself. I considered myself unworthy of love -- especially from someone as excellent as I believe you to be. I spent a long time alone working to correct that. And now, I know I'm a great guy and deserving of love and respect from other people -- especially my special someone.

But recently, I've become aware that it's time to peel away another layer of that same onion. While I may now see myself as a great and lovable person, I don't always see myself as a desirable person -- both sexually and otherwise. And I began to see that I was in a position where if we had met, I would rely on your desire for me to make me feel desirable. And that would be just as disastrous as when I used to rely on others' love to make me feel lovable.

I want you to desire me in every way possible. But I need to feel that I'm desirable in those ways all on myself. I cannot rely on you to generate my sense of self-worth even in the realm of desirability. So I've been taking some time to work once again upon my self-perception. I don't think I'll ever be done with that process. But that's okay with me. I hope it will be okay with you. I think it will, because I envision you as the kind of person who can understand and appreciate that sort of thing.

I think I may still be struggling with this issue of feeling desirable when I meet you. And that's okay too. But I want you to make me a promise. I want you to promise that while you reassure me that you really do want me, you will also remind me that I can't rely on you to feel desirable. I need you to encourage me to work on this myself and for myself. After all, I think that's an important part of relationships: challenging each other to be more than we currently are.

Fondly yours,
-- Jarred.

January 20, 2006

On Intimacy (Not Sex)

Dear Lover,

I've been in "hopeless romantic" mood all weekend. I've watched three different movies since yesterday morning that have centered around relationships between two guys. This isn't typical of me, but I guess I'm just in that state of mind where I want to be reminded that such love and tenderness really can exist.

The last movie I watched -- in fact, I just finished it mere minutes ago -- was a nice British film called "Beautiful Thing." It was slow in places (which seems to be common in just about every British film I've watched), but it was a wonderful and touching story. It was about two teenage boys who were neighbors and their struggles as they discovered they loved one another, but had to deal with all of the difficulties in pursuing a relationship.

The scene that really touched me, though (well, other than the scene where Jaime rubbed creme into the welts on Ste's back and told him he was quite attractive) was the final scene. This is the scene where Ste and Jaime end up slow dancing in the middle of the square near their home. As they start to dance, a crowd starts to gather round them, and Jaime's mother and another neighbor (also female) end up joining the young lovers, dancing one another. And as they danced, the four of them talked back and forth, laughing (mainly about what Ste's abusive father would have to say if he was there to see the scene) and just enjoying one another while the crowd watched in wonder.

I'd love to be a part of a scene like that with you, Lover. There was a tender intimacy and sweet love wrapped up into it. It's something that could never be expressed half as adequately in all the grandiose "romantic dates" and nights of passionate lovemaking in the world. It's a gentle beauty and sense of serenity that can only come from those small, simple things, those moments that create a perfect moment of intimacy and love simply by the fact that they are an instant of absolutely sweet and genuine togetherness. I long for those moments, and I revel in the thought of someday finding them with you.

Fondly yours,

Finding opportunities

Originally written 12 August 2005.

Dear Lover,

I got an incredible surprise in the mail yesterday. The Rush-Henrietta school district dropped fliers in everyone's mailboxes for "continuing education" courses. You're probably familiar with these kinds of courses. They're the short little courses (one to eight evening sessions total) on a bunch of different topics. The topics range from learning to play euchre to learning CPR, and just about everything in between. I got looking into it, and I see where they offer a couple of blogging courses and creative writing classes this fall. So I think I'm going to see about signing up. It'll give me the perfect opportunity to get out of the house and meet other people. Who knows, maybe I'll even meet you there. I'm not counting on that, though. After all, I don't want to hinge my whole life on meeting you.

If nothing else, these classes will give me an opportunity to meet other people in general. After all, I could use some friends in this new area. And what better way to do so than in a setting where we're all working on and discussing a common interest. This will give the chance to get a social life going. And whether these particular events lead me directly to you, it's something I need, so that I'm ready when I do meet you.

But to be honest, Lover, this has me very excited. After writing to you a couple weeks ago about my fears of how to put myself out there to meet people and even find you, it was incredible to find such a precious opportunity fall into my lap -- or my mailbox, if you want to get literal about it. It helps to remind me that if I open myself up and express my desires and needs while looking for ways to meet them, opportunities just rise up. I just have to be open to them. This just reaffirms my confidence that we will eventually find one another, Lover. And with any luck, we'll both have some wonderful times and life changing experiences along the way.

Excitedly yours,
-- Jarred.

Fearing the search

Originally written 23 July 2005.

Dear Lover,

I went out for about an hour tonight. I figured that since it was my first Saturday night in Rochester, it was appropriate to get at least a brief taste of the night life. So I got out my driving directions and found Nasty D's. i don't know if you've ever been there. For all I know, you wre there tonight. Wouldn't that be funny?

I kind of liked this place. it wasn't as noisy as some clubs I've been in. And having separate and complete floors for dancing and social interractions made it less overwhelming, I think. I sat upstairs for a while, watchign people dance. It was fun and exhilerating. If tehre had been more people -- or at least if it didn't seem like everyone else knew each other -- I might even have joined in. I could definitely see myself going dancing with you.

I'm still not sure I could meet you by going there, though. At least not if you didn't take the initiative to strike up a conversation with me. That bothers me, though. I'm not sure I shold rely on you takign the initiative -- at a club or elsewhere. I just wish I could find a way to take it myself and still be more or less comfortable. Or at least feel natural doing it.

I gess I'm just afraid my shy, introverted nature will keep us apart, Lover. Oh, I have no problems talking to people, don't get me wrong. Once the ice gets broken, I am usually quite warm and friendly. i'd even go so far as to say I'm downright charming on many occasions. It's just a matter of getting the ball rolling.

Deep down, I think I know it'll be okay, Lover. But right now, I'm just afraid. There's so much I don't know and don't see right now, and that has me scared. i have so much to do and so many options -- and I have the sense that there are still options I don't know about -- I just worry about whetehr I will make the right choices.

I guess I just need to trust myself -- or just grit my teeth and make whatever choices I feel are rightand necessary despite my doubts and fears. Wish me luck, Lover.

Fondly yours,
-- Jarred.

On sharing

Originally written 17 July 2005.

Dear Lover,

It's me again. I went out tonight. I wanted to do a bit of shopping and then decided to go to Friendly's aftwards to get a bite to eat and do some reading. And while I was there, I thought of you. So I wanted to write you again.

Actually, my thought processes started out by thinking of my last boyfriend, Mike. I forget exactly what thought crossed my mind, but it was something that I had an impulse to share it with Mike before I remembered that, well, he and I aren't talking any more. Which had me a little sad. Because it reminded me that I don't have someone right now with whom I can share those little things that cross my mind or those little events in life that excite me.

Which then made me think of you, because that's the kind of thing I look forward to sharing with you. I look forward to being able to call you, drop you a quick email, and eventually even come home to you and tell you about those little insignificant things that happened to me, but meant enough to me on some level that I just have to share it with you. Even the silly stuff, like the cutesie quote from some insipid Disney sequel I was watching that made me giggle. And I can just picture you listening quietly and intently, only to chuckle, shake your head, and tell me how much you love me.

I think that's a mistake people tend to make, Lover. They actually think that the person they're with has to have all the same interests they do and has to find all the same things neat or interesting. I don't think that's true at all. I don't need you to think that my cutesie quotes from insipid Disney sequels are interesting and neat. All I need from you is to acknowledge that I think they are neat and give me the love and attention of sharing it with you. Because in the end, what I'm really sharing with you is my own response, my own excitement, and my own joy. The cause of it isn't all that important. But if you can sit there and share in those little moments of excitement and love me for them, then you will be a truly fantastic lover.

And of course, I look forward to doing the same for you. I don't really care what gets you excited (well, besides me) or passionate, but I do hope that something (in addition to me) gets you excited and passionate. And I hope that you share that with me. I may not have the same interest in whatever it is, but I know that seeing your face light up and your words fill with deep feeling will be something that fills my own heart. And I look forward to that sort of thing.

Well, Lover, it's late at night. And I should probably get to bed. But I just wanted to take a moment to write and share this with you. I love you, and I hope you're dreaming sweet things.

-- Jarred.

The letter that started it all

Originally written 26 June 2005.

Dear Lover,

I have no idea who you are. I may not have even met you yet. But I know you're out there, and I know you're dreaming of finding me, just as I'm dreaming of finding you. I know that in time, if we both continue to live our lives and walk down our respective paths, we're bound to meet. I look forward to that day. In fact, I find it necessary to remind myself to slow down and enjoy the journey until that day comes. After all, our meeting will be so much wondrous if I use this time to prepare.

With that in mind, I decided I wanted to write you a letter. Who knows, maybe it'll become a series of letters. I just thought it would be a good idea to tell you who I am, who I hope you are, what I'm afraid of, and what's important to you. (That's a lot to write about, so I think this will be more than one letter.)

Let's start out with who I hope you are and what's important to me. After all, helping you to understand this will help you (and myself) realize that out of all the men out there, you are the one who is my true lover. I think that to me, the most important thing is that you are yourself. I don't want someone who tries to be what you think I want. I don't want you to try to impress me. Lover, you are what impresses me. Your genuine nature, your ability to be sincerely you, and your beautiful (by definition rather than by design) expression of your soul is what matters to me.

This means that you know yourself. You know your feelings, and you're not afraid to face them. Okay, maybe that's not exactly accurate. Maybe you are a little afraid from time to time. But you're willing to face them anyways. And you're willing to explore them and share them with someone like me.

You're also willing to listen to me when I talk about my feelings. Not necessarily to fix or heal them, but to just hear them and let me know that they matter to you because I matter to you. And you're willing to let me face whatever feelings -- beautiful or frightening -- that come up, because you know it's a part of me and that allowing me to do so will make me a better person and a better lover.

You're also someone who is willing to be imperfect and accept an imperfect person like me. But more importantly, you are someone who can look at imperfection -- mine, yours, or anyone else's -- and see a beauty in it. This is because you understand that our imperfections is what make us human, and often make us completely adorable.

You are someone who understands that being is at least as important as doing. While you are a lot of fun and can walk through a weekend of fast-paced activity for the two of us with great energy, you're not afraid to slow down either. You enjoy a quiet night as we sit on a couch in one another's arms, talking about intimate subjects as barely audible instrumental music plays in the background. You can sit comfortably with me as the conversation dies away for a few minutes and we just sit, listening to each other's deep, rhythmic breathing.

Sex. Let's face it, it's important. It's important to me, and as my Lover, it's important to you. But I think it's more important that we understand sex in the same light. Like me, you're someone who doesn't believe that sex is about "being good" or "being bad." You're someone who doesn't worry about your "performance," because you're someone who understands that I'm not going to give you a report card in the morning.

I want someone who sees sex as an act of intimacy and exploration. I want someone whow knows it's about learning how each of us reacts to touch. I want someone who understands that it's about enjoying ourselves and each other and connecting on a totally different, more incredible level. And I want someone who can appreciate that it's as much about enjoying the physical and emotional sensations of the process as it is about the end result. And I want you to be someone who isn't afraid to help me remember all this on those occasions where I lose my own way.

I want to take this moment to tell you that looks don't matter to me. Well, that's not entirely accurate. Looks do matter to me. I have to be able to look at you and think, "Damn, I want to take him home!" But you don't have to be a CK model for that to happen. My understanding of what is good looking is much more subtle than that. To be honest, the things that attract me to you are probably not tangible at all. They're as much about how you carry yourself, how you express yourself and your feelings with your face and body, and how your eyes sparkle with excitement when your passionate, as about a certain body type, or certain defining features. To be honest, I think that as long as you are comfortable with yourself, I will be drooling inside within minutes of spending time with you.

Well, Lover, there's probably more. But I think this is enough for now. I know you're out there, and now we both know what you're like -- or at least have a few good ideas. I hope that this will help you find your way to me when the time is right. Until then, know that my thoughts are with you. See you soon.

Desirously yours,
-- Jarred.