28 October 2023
By Chris Chi
Sharing stories about us
Hello beautiful people!
I hope you are all doing fine! Please love yourself and love those who matter to you.
It’s Ok. It’s Alright.
I guess I don’t share a lot of personal stories, despite that taleofmen has shared hundreds of stories of others till this day. What stories to share? That’s the difficult part. As I have passed 41st birthday, it’s definilty not easy to cherry pick the most meaningful/best stories to tell. Emotions are hidden deep and somehow I feel reluctant to touch them. I used to keep diaries at high school, for almost 2 years. Throughout my university period, I wrote essays on a big Chinese internet Forum called Tianya where I met amazing like-minded people. Even after moving to Belgium, I kept an online journal on wordpress from 2006 to 2012. Then I stopped, because of cancer.
My partner got cancer. We acted strong. We tried to carry out our life normally. We stayed optimistic. “It’s ok. It’s alright.” He would get the necessary treatment at the hospital and follow up controls. I would try to keep life on its right track, combining work and everything else. We got relieved when he was cured of cancer. The joy was incredible. It lasted about one year until cancer came back. We did the same things again. We held on.
Then they found tumors in other organs. He went through transplants. I was there. For the first time, I broke down, staring at the empty patient room after his bed was carried away to the surgery room. I was scared. For the first time, the thought of living without him came into my mind. The emptiness was so real, not only of the physical space but also of my future. Luckily the surgery was successful. We felt that we were lucky. After a while, it came back again. Then again and again. I lost count how many times he was told that, the cancer was back, in his lungs, in his liver, in his spin. We tried to stay optimistic coz that’s the only thing we could do. And it has become part of our life.
Yesterday, after coming back from the hospital, he told me to sit next to him on the sofa, then told me that the doctors said his cancer was incurable this time. They would stop the chemo. I knew what these words meant, but still asked “what does this mean?”. The denial, then the pain. For over 10 years, we tried to stay optimistic and hold our heads over the water. This time, how do we carry on? Everything has changed. I couldn’t stop myself from tearing up. I can’t describe my emotions. I even don’t know how he was feeling at that moment. I asked him. He only said he’s trying his best to be strong. That’s typical him, being strong, for both of us. He never gives up.
It’s really hard to express how it’s like. After all, it’s been a struggle of a decade. It has become part of our life, even though I don’t know what’s lying ahead of us and how I can cope once the day has come. We told ourselves to keep our spirit high until next week we receive more information from the doctors. We know that’s the only thing we could do now.
It was a sleepless night. Lying in bed, I felt hallow and in my mind, darkness. A voice keeps echoing in my head: “You can’t make it alone. How can you grave the lose of someone you have built a life with for all these years? How can you live on your own after that? Can you come out of this emptiness?”
No one knows what life will be like in the future. I really hope it’s going to be ok and alright.
(Ramiro in Buenos Aires, Argentina)
I met Ramiro in Buenos Aires. His instagram ID is hedgehog. When we met, he asked me if I knew what hedgehog dilemma was. He said this was exactly how he felt.
“The hedgehog’s dilemma, or sometimes the porcupine dilemma, is a metaphor about the challenges of human intimacy. It imagines a group of hedgehogs who want to huddle together for warmth in the winter, but they cannot avoid sticking each other with their sharp spines. Though they all want a close mutual relationship, their own prickly nature might make this impossible. Arthur Schopenhauer conceived this metaphor for the state of the individual in society. Despite goodwill, humans cannot be intimate without the risk of mutual harm, leading to cautious and tentative relationships. It is wise to be guarded with others for fear of getting hurt and also fear of causing hurt. The dilemma may encourage self-imposed isolation”.
1.5 years have passed. I wonder if he still feels this way. Did he break out of the shell? Or has he transformed from a hedgehog with spines to a man who dares to love and to be loved?
Exposing myself, in general, is something I have recently started doing. Or rather, started doing again.
As a kid I would be the one always to be first-in-line for an adventure or any other kind of activity really. No matter who or what was asked, I wanted to be part of the event, always with a smile on my face. One could say I was a pretty social kid I guess…
Things would change as I grew up though, mainly as I’d go through adolescence.
Unknowingly, I started creating an invisible barrier between me and the rest of the world, both physically and emotionally. This did not mean I didn’t have friends or didn’t like to hang out with my classmates, but rather I started to become more reserved and introverted, not letting people know the “real me” or approach to me intimately.
Any kind of physical touching would make me really uncomfortable and generate within me a sort of disgust, be it a hug or a mere touching of the hand. I also felt pretty uncomfortable when exposing skin or being bare-chested, which is why I’d usually wear long-sleeved shirts no matter how hot the day was or be reticent to remove my shirt when invited to pool parties (sometimes I’d do so, but after a lot of “mental preparation”).
Emotionally speaking, I shut myself to the outside world. It was hard for me to tell if I was happy, sad, joyful or enjoying being in the company of others. I was not attracted to neither women nor men and started to consider myself asexual. This didn’t put a toll on me though, in fact I was very comfortable being like this and I think it allowed me to put more energy in other areas of my life such as my studies.
Retrospectively, I believe all of these attitudes were part of a “defense mechanism” my body put forward to protect me from what I believed were ways in which the outside world could harm me. I was afraid of being mocked because of what I liked or disliked, what activities I would do or wouldn’t do, what my hobbies were, who I might be attracted to…but at the same time and after some years, the yearning to connect with people struck back, the fear of being hurt or hurting others still lingering though; a hedgehog’s dilemma, longing for the warmth of others to not freeze but unable to get too close so as not to be hurt…
Fortunately, in the following years I came to peace with my own “demons” (or at least some of them) and am enjoying of an amazing and beautiful relationship and opening up my feelings and personal thoughts with people. This of course was not an easy feat, nor I could have done it alone. I was fortunate of having crossed paths with great people who contributed to accept myself, see things through a different lens and eventually and with a lot of patience, having the courage to move forward as I am.
The journey not being over yet and many shackles still to be broken, but I hope and know I will eventually get there…and exposing myself to a camera lens being one of the opportunities to accept me as I am.
As a kid, I used to hate Mondays because they meant I had to go back to school, with its batch of rules and obligations.
Now that I’m a big boy – even a young daddy – engaged in a stable relationship, I’ve started considering every Monday as the first day of my second privy life. A kind of unbridled and kinkier version of myself, with endless prospects of discovery and thrilling lust.
As many gay men in their forties, I experienced the pitfalls of gay dating websites in their early stages, then Grindr and similar apps – maintaining myself in a continuous sexual arousal state ever since. With an ever-expanding range of choices, lots of disappointments… and a few gold nuggets.
One of them is a lover boy I had the incredible chance to discover, with whom I spent some of the most intense moments of my whole life. Of course, as a stunning younger sexy guy (15 years younger than I am), he enjoys his own experiences I can’t be jealous of. But he always comes back to daddy, and we have these delicious old habits of meeting up secretly on Mondays in the most unlikely – but discreet – places.
Among them, day use hotel rooms give a particular savior to our stolen moments. No fear of being recognized, the incomparable spice of forbidden games, and hours letting go as far as our bodies and minds can do. A kind of Tantric sex enjoyed by two blessed castaways, with intertwined sweaty bodies on their relentless way to absolute ecstasy.
Every time, the mere idea of these meetings drives me wet as hell, until he finally removes my boxer shorts and gives me that special thrill, worshipping my hard cock drenched in excitement up to the hilt.
Every time, licking his beautiful hairy ass and inhaling his heady scent makes me feel sooo high…
Every time, burying myself into him gives me chills on my way to seventh heaven, exploding in him as he cums in my wake all over his beautiful strong chest.
And every time I fall into his arms, I can’t help but thinking: “oh boy, I love Mondays…”
— Story by @kinkyqueergallery
FEATURED ARTIST: Jon Ariza De Miguel
Photographer: Jon @jonchikdub
Tale of Men Needs Your Support!