Positivity 101 and Beets 102

Whether we are in the same boat or not, that these events or thoughts have come at you in the past or recently, or whether you are here to understand who I am, we are human alike.

I was at the gym recently and minding my own business, listening to the heaviest pop playlist I could find to push harder for gains and motivate my movements. Usually, between sets, I search for new recipes online or I respond to emails and text messages from friends. On this special occasion, I noticed a two men lurking around, all eyes preying, bodies peacocking.

These two men, 10 years apart, had worked out together for the most part of the last hour and had begun their cooldown, or as I would call it “their socializing”. If I had Grindr on my phone open, no surprise would’ve come from finding them both online, obviously looking for fresh meat.

Ignoring them proved a hard task once they had zeroed-in on me. Some gay men find this interesting, or have a sudden ego surge. I honestly cannot fathom the need to hook up at a gym. I am no prude, but there is a sense what’s appropriate and not which simply doesn’t add up to the scheme.

The two men were taking photos of themselves flexing in the mirror and playing around with their egos the same way every other gym bighead does. At that point, I had gone back to my bench press workout and done a set. Having had forgotten my water bottle, I walked over to the fountain and noticed they’d stopped aiming the phone to take pictures of themselveds but rather had decided I would be the subject. The first thought that came to my mind was: “I’m being ridiculous, they’re just fooling around”, until one of them looked up at me and then down again to the phone and raised it one more time to take another photo as I was walking back to my bench press.

I could have said something, but I was feeling uncomfortable and slightly violated of my privacy (regardless of our public location). I can’t begin to imagine how women who deal with this on a regular basis feel. Was it that they liked my outfit? Was it that they found I looked ridiculous, stupid or ugly? Was it that they both thought I looked hot and they couldn’t help but snap a photo? Was it that I was being chosen for a future gangbang? Or was it they too found I looked like Macklemore and had to grab a pic really quick to show their friends?

You could flip this situation and be flattered that someone finds you picture-worthy. You could simply let them have their fun and laugh it off. In my situation, I simply reduced back to who I was as a teenager feeling assaulted by bullies, even if I knew this wasn’t the same situation. I am 10 years older, gained 10 years of maturity and I’ve learned to let go.

In these moments when I feel like I am worthless and want to cry because other gay men make me feel like I am unapproachable for whatever reason, when they could come and talk to me, I think of Jonathan Van Ness and his positivy and self-loving and caring attitude. I start feeling better immediately. Knowing that I am a uber-social person and love to interact rather than waste time on apps and social media, I wish it were as easy for other men. And it bums me out because I end up feeling alone, which frustrates me because I know feeling lonely is a common trait amongst gay men. All the same, my morality still feels like it wasn’t acceptable for these guys to take my photo. I didn’t go crazy on them to delete the content off of their phones. Hell, let them enjoy their fun while it lasts. I am full of contradictions, my father would say.

And so I decided that today I would write about this event on the blog to stop feeling like I am so alone in the world because I know I am not. At the same time, I wanted to drop this tangy-tart-sweet Beet Relish recipe I found in old books near the end of March. Yep, I am seriously doing another beet recipe on the blog. And if you think I’m about done eating Beets, take that finger out of your eye; there’s a special brownie recipe coming up verys soon! That, my friend, is how you turn bitterness to contentment.

BEET RELISH RECIPE

PREP TIME: 10MIN / COOK TIME: 30 MIN / COOL DOWN: 40 MIN

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 cups peeled, small cube-cut BEETS
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
HOW TO

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium. Add onion and ginger and cook until onion is softened, 3 min. Add everything else.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until beets are just tender and liquid is slightly reduced, about 30 min. Remove from heat and stir in Dijon. Cool completely, then transfer to a masson jar and refrigerate. Can be kept for up to 2 weeks.

Serve with Beef, Potatoes, meat pies, or over creme cheese bagels!

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