Dear Stranger: Make It!

I initially wrote this song 5 years ago to motivate myself. And recently, I rerecorded the song and my love for it has been reawakened. We can Do, Be, and Have anything we can imagine. It truly is a matter of belief. The Universe consistently reminds me of this and I would like to pass it along.

The song, “Make It,” appears on the EP, Veritas, which I recently released. All music and editing was done by me, using free clips from Pexels.com to take the video places I have yet to visit. Tell me how the song/video makes you feel and listen to the rest of the songs from Veritas on Spotify and all other streaming platforms.

Zipolite, Vol III: POV

Heaven on earth

One day, I was at my place, waiting for the afternoon heat to dissipate. I had music playing and was singing along, when I heard a knock at the door. I was not expecting anyone and with this surprise, came urgency on my end, to answer the door, out of curiosity. Because I was naked, I just opened the door enough to peek my head out and when I did, I saw that it as my friend who was knocking and in an attempt to quickly escape the sun, when I began opening the door, he immediately walked in. And for a moment, I was embarrassed, “I am sorry, I am naked I didn’t expect anyone.” To which he responded, “cool” and gave me a hug and continued on, like nothing was happening. Then I remembered…. I’m in Zipolite.

One morning, I went running and saw all the morning regulars, and because Zipolite is a tourist destination, every now and again, there is a rush of new people. This was one of those mornings. A beautiful man, about my age, was running the opposite way as me, which is ideal, because each lap, we would have a new chance to glance at each other. I honestly couldn’t believe how beautiful he was, not in the commercial sense, but in the human sense. I was excited when I started my final lap, to see him again. But, as I ran, there was no sight of him. “Hmmmm,” I thought. I got to the end of the beach, my run now finished, and there he was, in the water. I felt an urge to speak to him and to my surprise, as I walked toward him, he quickly started leaving the water… and not to come toward me. I chose not to take it personally, but I was surprised. That is, until saw his body once he exited the water. He had, by far, the biggest erection, I think I had ever seen in person and he ran to his shorts in the sand, quickly put them on and ran away. Easily, one of the most beautiful experiences of my life.

I only know of one restaurant in Zipolite that delivers; Salmastro. And when the heat was too much or I had a video to finish editing, I would order some delicious food from there, delivery. On one of these occasions, I heard the moto of the guy who always delivers as he was arriving and so I quickly went to get money, to pay him. My place was on the second floor and so he would walk up the stairs, which emptied onto a patio of sorts, and wait for me there. I got to the door, greeted him, took the food and placed it on the counter. I began counting the money and because he was at a lower height than me, as he was standing a few stairs lower, I noticed that he was looking at something on me. And when I looked down, I saw that my robe, which was tied closed had opened below the belt, exposing my penis. And he looked at it, like it was a tree or a rose and continued on, like nothing happened. And I felt the love of acceptance.

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Zipolite, Volume II: Puedes…

When I first arrived to Zipolite, I spoke to The Universe directly; “When I leave this place, I will be a completely different person. I am ready to learn what I need to learn to move closer to my highest self. I am ready. Challenge me.” It is worth noting that Zipolite, at times, feels like a vortex, one of those places on the planet with an open window to another dimension… or something like that. And it wasn’t long before my expansion would begin.

Nicolas is like no one I have ever met. I firs made his acquaintance, a 30 something from Chile, living in Zipolite. Physically, he resembles a gymnast who models on the side. Energetically, he is a son of God… The Universe… All That Is… WHATEVER THE FUCK YOU WANT TO CALL IT. His energy is strong, his spiritual evolution is evident, and his desire to play is inspiring.

One day Nicolas said to me, “I will help you with your back.” I had surgery for scoliosis, 19 years ago and while I am in impeccable physical condition, overall, there has been room for improvement in the area of flexibility, in my back. He first invited me to run with him from Zipolite to Mazunte; about a 5 mile run, with both inclines and heat combining to make a rather average distance, into a CHALLENGE. When we arrived in Mazunte, we headed straight for Punta Cometa, running off the road and through the trees, at full speed. Running down the cliff, jumping from rock to rock, until we got to the beach. Washed our bodies off, briefly, in the water, which is curiously silent until the moment the water comes in and what was previously a serene scene transforms for just a few seconds into something potentially violent.

We immediately jumped into a yoga session, which he led and afterwards, he headed in the water for a swim. Before Zipolite, I had not spent a great deal of time at the beach. And swimming was not on the top of my list of “Things to Do.” An experience, being knocked over by a wave at the age of 4, dampened my interest in the water, severely. So, I just watched Nicolas, as he so elegantly floated with the soft waves and violent crashes. Coming out of the water, he asked if I would like to join him. “Oh, I can’t really swim.” I replied. To which, he simply responded, “Puedes.”

Anytime I attempted to explain why I could not do something, Nicolas would respond with, “Puedes” and nothing more. And each time, I learned that I indeed, could. Our regular yoga sessions were right before sunset in Zipolite and I would participate, completely nude. Being naked while taking on challenges of will and dispelling fears can feel like a vulnerable experience, and that’s why I did it and I didn’t care who sat and watched as I stretched myself in ways that scared me. ME. And Nicolas would guide me, breathing through, and stretching further than I ever thought possible.

And something remarkable about my experiences with Nicolas, is that he was just a peer. Another guy, same age, similar interests, who said, “I am your friend, I am going to help you.” He didn’t judge me in moments of vulnerability, he was actual rather indifferent. It was as though, he knew what I had forgotten and would patiently wait for me to remember, “Puedes.”

This was also the most fraternal experience I had had since college. Somehow, it had been years since I had been around another guy who was confident, nurturing, into physical closeness, and not consumed with sex. I felt I could exhale around him and not worry that he was after something else. I remember standing in front of a mirror at his house and he was explaining an area of my body he thought was really developed, and because my Spanish is not 100% and he does not speak English at all, he came over, stood behind me (looking in the mirror) and pulled down my pants to point it out to me. And I melted. Just at finally having a friendship with this level of closeness, trust, and growing with another guy.

When we first met, I told Nicolas, “You have something that I would like to see in myself and I would like to be around you, so I can learn how.” And so I did. And to this day, whenever I have a doubt in my mind about my ability to do something, I hear his voice in my head, saying, “Puedes.”

listen to my new ep, “Veritas,” on spotify

Zipolite Volume I: Rituals

I lived in Zipolite, a rural nude beach in Oaxaca, Mexico for about 7 months. It was not my first time at a nude beach, but it is the longest I have stayed at one. I’ve been told there are at least three versions of each of us; the one we show the general public, the one we show loved ones, and the one we keep to ourselves. When I think of the truest version of me, that being is, in no way, afraid of nudity. In fact, this version of me embraces nudity, especially with peers. Nudity shared with peers feels like a rain of acceptance washing over you, sprinkled with curiosity, and limitless moments of beauty and expression. It’s exciting, beautiful, and “nothing going on here,” all at the same time.

It was clear to me that each day at the beach would help me expand, to fill the shoes, I am meant to wear in this world. So, like many, I rose with the sun each morning, around 6am. I would walk through the rural beach town, from my place to the beach, in nothing but bikini briefs, no shoes. This daily ritual alone summoned a feeling of being part of nature; your feet constantly touching the earth, the majority of your body fully exposed on the street (nudity is only permitted on the actual beach), and often times, seemingly very modest locals, showering you with glances. You feel the rawness of what you are doing, you feel that the confidence you develop from this isn’t always common. You begin to realize yourself.

Meditation (Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico) Photo: ELIE VILLETTE

Once I arrived at the beach each morning, I would run in my bikini briefs, up and down the beach… over and over, for at least an hour. So, as everyone in the town would rise and make their way to the beach, at some point, I ‘d say about 50-60% of the town would cross my path, coming out to watch the sunrise, doing yoga, going for their morning stroll, laughing with friends. And this community of early risers, served as my witnesses, it is as though, they all silently agreed to help me in this expansion, simply by being observers.

After I finished running, I would go to Playa del Amor, which is a more secluded part of the beach, known for being the place where the gays hang out the most during the day, and not all coincidentally, the place where public sex happens nearly each night, like a ritual. In the mornings, however, there were far fewer people and typically, the vibe was very chill. So, I would go there, and completely disrobe. There would be 3-4 men there, at that time of morning, sitting by the rocks that form a cul de sac, whose mouth is where the sea meets the land. Everything beyond the rocks, where (typically, but not exclusively) men sat, was a stage. You were being observed by all, in all your glory. I would like to note that the vibe of this beach was also very chill and accepting, but of course their was an underlying arousal of excitement at so many beautiful, naked bodies running around together.

When I disrobed, I would first walk out to the water to wash the sweat and sand off, from my run. And there is something to be said about being in what can feel like a vulnerable state; you’ve just run for an hour, you are out of breath, at this point, you are the only one who isn’t just sitting and everybody is watching you. I chose to embrace it. It felt powerful. What did I care? What did they care? I knew I loved seeing people being their beautiful, natural selves and I imagined that others did the same. Then, I would find a nice place in the sand and begin my 20 minute stretch routine, completely naked. Guys would, of course, watch and at other moments, they would completely forget about me and it is the combination of those two things, that felt so beautiful. Of course, you want to see. I want to see. But, also, it’s whatever. It’s not a big deal. I loved that. Many times guys would begin their own, naked morning routine alongside me, which provided a silent feeling of belonging and comradery.

I saw men catch erections at the beach while running, sleeping, and just getting excited from talking to someone. And it is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Casual public erections that were treated like the temporary, natural body functions they are. It was as though, I began to see life, beyond society. Life, out in the world. In Nature. Everyone was kind, accepting and curious. This daily ritual served as the foundation for my self acceptance and my choice to bask in the awe of nature. And to allow myself to be seen. Not hiding behind identities and brands and zip codes and degrees, but rather showing up as a being on this planet, just as confused, excited, curious, and aroused as everyone else on the planet. I started getting closer and closer to merging the version of myself I show the public, with the version of myself I had previously, never shown anyone.

This morning routine is just the tip of the iceberg. As you can imagine, living at a nude beach in Mexico that is specifically known for being a haven to those who don’t deny their homo-erotic desires, meeting people from all over the world, beautiful men and their bodies, their personalities, their ways of expressing themselves….. anyway, I will share more about all of that, in this series.

Until next time…

h.o.e.

Listen to my new EP, “Veritas,” streaming now on SPotify

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yesterday

yesterday, I text my mother and said,

“I think if I were more of a conformist, you would celebrate me more”

how do you think she responded?

yesterday, I text my sister and…

she did not respond

how do you think i reacted?

yesterday, a boy text me,

hello” and I reciprocated and then he said nothing more

how do you think i felt about that?

yesterday, a photographer said,

“covid covid, covid, covid” and I said, “I’m not interested in talking about this.”

how do you think he thinks about me now?

yesterday, I had food delivered and,

I tipped over 100%

how do you think they spent the money?

yesterday, a boy asked me to hang out,

I said, “sure”, and then at 6pm, he just asked how my week was.

how do you think that came to be?

yesterday, I matched with someone on tinder and after 10 minutes they said,

would you like me to be your bottom? – I said, I don’t know – he then unmatched me

how do you think he thinks about that?

yesterday,

I did my best

how do you think that helped me?

mess with the bull…

Heaven on earth

I went to Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico to be free and to grow. When I arrived, I said, “Zipolite, when this is all over, I would like to be a completely different person. Someone far more empowered.” It wasn’t my first time at this nude, extremely gay-friendly beach and so I knew my request would be met with learning experiences, as this is a magical beach town and everyone knows it.

It wasn’t long before I met someone. A guy. A Taurus. We were just walking down the beach and… the next thing you know, we were naked in my airbnb, doing what boys do, when no one is watching. But, it was clear from the first moment we met, this was going to be a learning experience. Initially we were overwhelmed with all that we had in common, but before we could revel in the details, the plot thickened. As it oft does. You see, this guy lost his job the very day we met. And before we did anything sexual, I spent some time comforting him as he cried on my bed. I have enough love in my heart, patience, and understanding to lend to a person in need, especially someone I have just met. So, I had no problem with this, but what I didn’t know, was that this information served as a kick to a metaphorical door, that slowly opened over time, to allow for a flood of circumstances that would color our lives and ask us to transform.

The next few days we spent together, unseparated. And it was on day three that the other shoe dropped. You see, the place where this guy was living, was provided by his employer and he was no longer employed and so… yes, you guessed it. They kicked him out.

I know.

I know.

I know.

His only options were to go back to his hometown, where the possibilities seemed, to him, to be limit-full or find a way to stay in Zipolite. Seeing this dilemma, I offered for him to stay with me.

Now, listen.

I was not unaware of the possibility that the intention could exist within him, to take advantage of me. As a matter of fact, when we first began exchanging stories of our lives, I noticed that every story he told involved him cheating on someone, using someone, stealing something out of revenge, and so forth. He even admitted, “sometimes when I meet people, I make sure to make a good impression and I am very good and responsible with them in the beginning, so that I establish myself with them, and so later, I can completely stop doing it, all together, without it being noticed, because I’ve already established a reputation as a responsible, good guy.”

The possibilities were not lost on me. I had my own intention, which was to be of service. I know that everyone in this world is trying to find their way, and I have been practicing not taking the things they do, personally. And, to not be afraid to help someone who, perhaps, thinks you are unaware of the fact that they want something from you. In my life, it has been the selflessness of others that has shown me that is possible to be different. To exist in a different way. To live under a more empowering paradigm. And so, I used this opportunity as a chance to see how much I could be a lighthouse.

I also knew that, as someone who is usually very independent, when I find myself romantically involved with someone, I can somehow become very attached. And I wanted to see if I could be different.

Our first weeks together, were a breeze. This guy is a chef and so he cooked everyday. He even adopted a vegan diet while staying with me. And I paid for everything.

This guy is a Taurus, I am a Scorpio. It is match that I have been hearing about for years. The point of conflict being that a Taurus is typically concerned with beauty and status while the Scorpio is typically concerned with feelings and control. Could we overcome?

Flags of various colors were raised. The first, being, that the more time we spent together, the less he listened to me. As a matter of fact, he interrupted me on a consistent basis. A voice in my head said, “this is going to annoy you. you should get away now.” But, I really wanted to see just how unbothered I could be. In my spiritual journey, I have learned that, it’s not about what happens to you, it’s about how you deal with it. And I saw this as a challenge. How can you navigate this? How can you change the narrative in your mind to something more empowering?

He also slowly became quite dismissive. Literally waiving his hand at me to end a conversation. What an opportunity! I thought. These things that this guy has a habit of doing, just so happen to be things that I have let annoy me since the beginning of time; not being heard, being dismissed. In the “past” my ego would have taken control and attempted to set everyone in their place. But, over the years, I’ve become a different person. As a Scorpio, I don’t use my stinger very often, because I know I can hurt others. I tried an approach, previously unrealized.

“So, you don’t have to change your behavior for me. I understand that is how life works. I can’t make anyone else change, I can only change myself. What I will say, is that you are dismissive when speaking to me and I am not interested in that behavior.”

It was the most straight-forward, non-judgmental approach I have taken to these sorts of “issues”. And this guy was receptive. Initially. But, with a lack of space to digest my experiences, I found myself in a whirlwind. Each day, curious to know what would surface. For both him and me.

I was finding myself being defensive and in the moment being able to change.

Wow!

I hadn’t done that before. Hearing myself and changing before I could even be noticed by the other.

I was learning to give people more space. I could see how much I would linger and attach myself and in these moments, I would think, “no, you don’t have to do that.” And I would walk away or go do something else altogether. I was beginning to love the challenge.

Then one day, this guy stopped sleeping in bed with me, without saying anything. This lack of understanding and communication seemed… off. To say the least. And this voice kept saying, “he is using you. he doesn’t like you, he likes what you are doing for him and so he is trying to slowly create a new reality without discussing it with you, so that he can have his cake and eat it too.” We had only been in each other’s company for about a week and a half.

Was this fear or intuition? I wasn’t sure. And the whirlwind I was in, kept me from being able to hear the difference. So, I asked him one night,

Are you finding yourself less attracted to me?

… No, why do you say that?

Well, you are slowly becoming non-affectionate and you’ve moved from the bed without saying a word.

silence

No… no. Sometimes I feel like kissing you and being close and sometimes I don’t.

The Project

At some point early on, we decided to work on a video together for a song of mine. This video would serve as a launch to a kickstarter for an even bigger project, that would allow me to hire locals, who in this time, are looking for opportunities to make money and to pay him a fee for directing the next project which would help him open his restaurant. You see this guy has worked as a director, directing a documentary, which I found interesting. And I, just so happen to have all the experience I have in creating. But, from the beginning, our lack of understanding the other, stood in our way.

It started when he made the schedule on his own. “Why would you do that?” I asked. To which, I got no response. I could see that the schedule could use adjusting. I have been producing my own work and organizing rehearsals with dancers and other performers on my own for over 10 years. And as a performer, I have been part of such processes for about 16 years. So, at the very least, I had a foundation upon which I was standing. My goal in these moments, was to discover how I could use my talents in these situations without having an ego trip.

I was not unaware of the fact that I had more experience with these things than him, but I was also aware, that when one “doesn’t know” something and they have some underlying insecurity, when someone tries to help them, they might attack. I’ve seen it a million times and I saw the potential in him.

And so this was my challenge; how can I be assertive without trying to take control?

I suggested that we have a production meeting. Something standard, that could help us look over the details and have a better understanding of how we would move forward. It is worth mentioning that everything he wrote was in Spanish and on set everyone only spoke Spanish and while I am about 60-70% fluent in Spanish, it was clear to me that there were some details that I was not understanding. And little did I know, this request would be the end. Because, he refused to ever have a meeting and talk over everything. Refused.

It was surprising for me, as in The US, this would never be acceptable. He would be fired. And I couldn’t wrap my brain around why he always, always seemed to shy away from clarity. It was as though, he hated the notion.

I knew for myself that this is not the way I would ever enjoy working, but remember, I saw this as a challenge. I had to remind myself daily. “This isn’t how you would do things, but here you are, so how can you navigate this differently?” We began meeting the performers who agreed to appear in the video and red flags began rising immediately.

  1. He made the star of my video someone else, not just anyone, but a guy I previously had a sexual relationship with. AND someone he gave his number to right before meeting me. And I only discovered the details of this from listening to the explanation he gave the group. I thought, “this is why I wanted to have a production meeting.” He also flirted with this guy in front of me, while living with me, and I was paying for everything. When I said to him, “why would you make my video centered around someone else without us having a conversation about it?” To which he responded, “it shows humility when an artist can let someone else take center stage.” Which, duh, but why do you think this is a decision you should be making without me? The whirlwind was thickening. I knew a lot of what was happening didn’t work for me, but this was next level. It was bold. He would even try to manipulate me, asking me to go to the other room and set up lights for him when this other guy entered the space, in order to have the chance to be alone with him. Coming from manipulative parents, I could see through this. Crystal Clear. I spoke with the other guy, because I thought of him as a friend. I told him everything and said, “look, it’s not my business what you both do, but I’m just asking that while we are working you could just not flirt back with him, it is very distracting for me. I’m doing my best.” But, this seemed to serve as ego boost for this guy, who saw this as an opportunity not to be there for me, but to get closer to this guy that was living with me. The director also compared us, saying this other guy was better than me. Something I found to be wildly inappropriate. This other dude even echoed things that the director said to me in private, exact words, which let me know they were in communication, talking negatively about me.
  2. When meeting the group of performers, he described me as, “kind of an audio visual artist, well… I guess he is an audio visual artist.” It became clear that the person directing a video for me, didn’t even have supportive thoughts about me. He hadn’t even watched all my videos, or listened to what this process means to me, which is important when collaborating. He told the performers, “if you want to see an example of our work, watch my documentary.” And I thought, how is your documentary an example of OUR work? I have over 13 videos I produced on my own. But, somehow this has become about you.
  3. The first time I asked to speak with him was after a day of filming where I got no direction, I didn’t even know what was in frame or what he thought this moment signified for my character. I approached him and put out my hand, as to help him up from his seat and he pushed my hand away. He then stood up and puffed his chest. I said, “what are you doing is this some kind of defense mechanism?” to which he responded, “yeah, deal with it, because I’m not going to change.” I brought up the topic and hand and he walked away, with an attitude of not caring. I just stared at him, because I had never seen this behavior from him, BUT i had seen it from guys with insecurities in the past. He then pushed past me with such force that I almost fell over. In that moment, I said, “I don’t think this will work for me,” and immediately his attitude changed, he was compassionate suddenly, “no I know, it’s my fault. Please you are so enlightened, please don’t take these things I am doing personally. I don’t want my ego to get in the way of this project.” Another night, we were having the time of our lives, singing and running along the beach and as soon as we got home, he changed, he became hostile, almost like another person. He said, “stop saying nice things to me. I don’t want to hear it anymore. I don’t care if we were meant to find each other. Stop talking about it.” In this moment, I was rubbing his arm. I then removed my touch. “Oh, and now you stopped touching me. Why did you do that? Look, I get like this sometimes when I drink. I should go to bed before I say something I don’t mean.”

Surprisingly, we was still calling me “baby” and “honey”. It was all very confusing. He even accidentally said it in front of the group and the other guy and I watched him, catch himself as he did it and this moment was probably the most telling of all.

At this point, the only thing, that kept me invested was the opportunity to see if I could indeed get through this experience and find a way to not let these things that were happening bother me. To become completely unmoved emotionally by what was happening.

To finally become…

unfuckwithable

That, however, did not come to pass. The last day on set was filled with tension. He refused to speak with me, the artist, on set. He had an attitude with me, he never told me anything that was happening and he continued to flirt with this other guy in front of me. I did manage to find a way to not take the flirting personally. I was doing okay. We had so many things to discuss, we hadn’t completed all that we planned that day and we only had one more day of filming left. Even though all that was coming to pass was extreme and not a situation I would normally find myself in, I really felt pretty good by the end of the day, because I was getting better and not taking things personally. But, when he didn’t show up to our meeting to review choreography and scheduling. I was done. It was the never ending story. I was torn up, because I knew the others had no idea what was going on and to cancel felt like I was letting everyone down, but when I considered spending another 12 hour day with him and this energy, him ignoring me, giving me attitude, flirting with this other guy, this other guy now decidedly flirting back, I thought, “you know what, I’m not interested.” And so I canceled.

I sent a message to the group explaining that we were no longer continuing with the project. And it tore my heart apart. But, overall I was grateful for the experience. This experience showed me how I create problems for myself, how I sometimes give more than I should, how I often don’t take my time getting to know someone before moving forward with them, how sometimes I fall back so hard that I almost disappear, and how I could work even harder to understand Spanish. I don’t judge this guy at all, I love him. I gave him a place to stay for 3 weeks, I fed him, and I never held it over his head. I gave him money. I even spent $100 on a domain name for a website and designed it for him. I was there for him. When I asked for the footage to try to put something together with what we had, he said, “since we are no longer collaborating, it will cost you.” I could have tried to guilt him and such, but that’s not what I am about.

For his sake, it would be beneficial for him to learn from this situation, because there is a gap between his behavior and view of the world and the person he wants to be. But, instead of focusing on that, I am focusing on closing my own gap. Because I too, have changes to make. Lessons to learn. For example,

when you mess with the bull….

you get bull shit.