By Chris Chi
Sharing stories about us
Hello beautiful people!
Life can be hard at times. Things can go upside down. I hope you will find the courage to come out of the troubles and carry on.
LIFE AS IT IS
(Me, by Tiago, in Ericeira, Portugal)
I have stopped asking “Why?” long time ago. It’s pointless as it can not turn back time and change the life that I am having now. It’s pointless in the sense that I don’t have any regret about the choices I have made in my life. I was 23 when I moved to Belgium and started to live together with my boyfriend. It’s been 18 years now and he might leave me forever in the near future. It hurts. How can you accept the fact that someone with whom you have spent almost half of your life is gone and how can you move on? I don’t know, to be honest. No one has the answers to these questions.
It’s been a tough period of three weeks. We went together to the hospital for radiotherapy everyday, except the weekend. The doctors told us that they couldn’t cure the cancer but only limit the growth of the tumor. We tried to stay positive and kept on fighting. But, it’s hard. It’s hard for both of us, physically and mentally. Just now, he cried, lying on the sofa and not being able to stand up. He told me that it’s too hard, holding my hands. He barely cries. I can count the times when he cried with one hand. I can see the cancer has broken him. It hurts immensely as we feel hopeless.
I kept on working as a distraction from this gloomy situation. Sometimes I found comfort in the classes and being surrounded by my students. Still, it’s not easy to find the balance. In the end, I am stressed and frustrated. The feeling of powerless haunts me. The whole world feels like a black hole, sucking out every ounce of joy and energy.
One night, he fell in the bathroom. I jumped out of the bed and saw him lying on the floor, shaking and struggling. He couldn’t manage to stand on his feet. It’s like he’s an empty shell which could break by the lightest touch. I tried to pull him upward. It’s not easy. He begged me to drag him onto the bed and mumbled “I can’t stand. I can’t stand…”. He’s so weak that I thought that’s the end. It’s the first time that I was confronted with this situation. It’s an understatement to say I was in total shocked. That night, I couldn’t sleep. I called my mom and asked her to come to Belgium. I was really scared.
I started seeing a psychologist. With her, I could voice my deepest fears and my darkest doubts. Every time, I broke down several times during a session. She gave me time to recover and to continue. The message is to focus on the positive things and creating nice moments. At the same time I should take care of myself so that I have the strength to take care of him and face the future. I know this is what we should do but it’s not easy when you are dealing with the shittiest situation in the world.
Life as what it is now is horrible. When I look out of the window, it feels like the outside world belongs to another dimension, like a movie and I am not a participant of it. The world outside doesn’t care about you and you seem to be bothered by it as you don’t have the energy anymore. This cold hard realization scares me a bit. I am trying to find an escape, but so far no success. Maybe that’s why I want to write my feelings down, a kind of escape to let them out and put myself at a distance to look at them, hopefully saving a last bit of sanity.
I asked my psychologist how the other people who have similar experiences cope with this situation. I told her that it’s so surrealistic to see people at the hospital at the oncology department. They seem OK and I know for sure that I am not OK. She said many people go through the same emotions and people also don’t show their emotions lightly. So, I guess, it’s the second reason why I wanna write about my experience, to let people know that it’s really hard. If you have people who are going through similar experiences, please find a way or another to let them know that you are here for them. They need comfort and care. Try to offer it, not just once to twice as they might refuse first out of politeness. Check up on them from time to time. Anything will help.
A PHOTO SHOOT
(Jeremy in Paris)
“I have had a hard time posing naked for the first time. I was thinking “What would she think, what will she say?”. As a Jewish psychiatrist myself, I am obviously referring to my mother. How the hell was she invited to such a private moment ?
I was outed, 17 years ago, at seventeen by a forgotten love letter written by my first lover. We met during a summer trip, we had a summer fling and after we parted, he sent me a letter. I moved from my parents’ house the same year, to start my medical studies in College. And when I packed to leave my teenager room, I forgot to carry with the letter me. In this letter, he wrote about how we met, how our hands accidentally touched at a crosswalk, how we kissed in Notting Hill and how we fucked for the first time on a rooftop of London. It was just like a dream. But the dream turned into a nightmare as I was getting familiar with the concept of a Freudian slip or acte manqué. My parents found the letter, and read it entirely. When I found out about it, I felt devastated, weak, exposed and naked. My mother’s firsts words to me were : “YOU’RE A SLUT !”. And her first act was to slap me in the face. I remember hearing those words and feeling this slap as it was yesterday.
Thus, years later, as I was getting naked for the first time in front of a camera, knowing I’ll leave an image of me naked for posterity, I thought about this letter. I couldn’t help but wonder : “Am I a slut? Is that slutty? Was she right about me? What would she think of me?”
It was a sunny Sunday morning of Spring. The photographer was meeting me at my appartement, in Paris. I didn’t know how things were supposed to happen. I was nervous. Then he knocked at my door, and I saw a handsome Brazilian man, with dark hair, scruffy beard, and a large comforting smile. But, I still didn’t know what to do, or what was expected of me to do. And as I was undressing myself, I really didn’t know what I was supposed to do with my body. I was shaking, and my head was filled with these unstoppable thoughts. I felt like I wasn’t good enough, I asked myself : « Why am I even doing that? »
Then things started to get easier. The photo shoot wasn’t exactly a casual shoot as the photographer was also a bondage master. He started to unfold his ropes, and knotting them around me. I was kind of afraid about the bondage thing, as it was a first to me. But, as I was being tied up, I felt more and more liberated. My eyes were closed and blinded by the ropes. My body and my movements were restricted and guided by the bonds. My face, my arms, my chest, my legs, my cock, my balls…The tighter the ropes were, the freer my mind was. And also the harder I was. It was a feeling I’ve never experienced before. I felt myself letting go of everything. I wasn’t afraid, I wasn’t thinking about anything else. I wasn’t thinking. I was just being.
I was at peace with myself, with my body and with my mind. It was like a meditative state, close to Nirvana. And I could fully enjoy and feel every time the ropes were moving on my body, every time Fabio, the photographer, touched my skin to move the ropes. Every one of his touch felt like a deflagration. Every time I took a breath, I felt the ropes tightening on my chest, squeezing me. I could feel my blood flowing through my veins, pumping through my body. And it felt good.
I couldn’t care about anything else, about my insecurities, about my body being too fat or not muscular enough. I completely forgot about the camera and I couldn’t care about my mother’s judgment anymore. I finally found the way to enjoy the beauty of this moment and to get out my head. I let myself get carried away and it turned out I had a lot of fun doing this shoot. I think we both had fun this day. “
(Antreas, in Athens)
You asked me how I was doing after you saw the photo I posted on Instagram. It brought me some comfort, seeing your face. Then I found this photo of you today, taken on my first trip in Greece. What strikes me is the calmness. It’s a beautifully captured moment. It was sunny and the light came through the window and fell on your bed. In your apartment, there were two cats, hiding from me. Even though you told me about your breakup and how you missed him, on this photo, you look perfect, without the sadness and I love the fact that how a photo can create a safe heaven for our emotions. You had barely white hair then. The last time when I saw you, you had more white hair, even in your beard. We joked about it. I love it. The witness of time passing by…how many years have we known each other? Do you still know? Now you are already back with your ex and you are happily married. I am glad to see that you are happy. I had what’s mine, this photo and the memories with you. So I am happy too. Hope to see you soon again and life will be better then.
JEROME & DANIEL
Jerome planned a shoot with me. Later he told me that he wanted his lover Daniel to join. There’s just something beautiful about shooting couples who are not shy to show their intimacy and passion. I am also feeling grateful towards them as this is the only photoshoot I have done this month. It’s certainly a moment of warmth.
FEATURED ARTIST: Antonius
“I remember how stressed I was having to document two friends of mine in their intimacy, i remember wanting to eternalize this moment that is usually ephemeral, where the two men are not aware about how they look, how they feel, or what position is captured. At some point E & I told me that they forgot I was in the room with them, which made me realize how much we’re not aware anymore of ourselves nor everything around in moments of pleasure, which is what I wanted to capture. The light was soft this day, it was a warm but cloudy day in September in Paris, the light was diffused and hitting the bed gracefully and their skin. I remember thinking that this moment that i’m capturing is a true testimony of love and pleasure”
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