There are some people who can watch horror movies while eating. Some people can put their bare butts on public toilet seats. There are those who can eat the leftovers off of other people’s plates. Right or wrong, I am not any of these people. I guess you can say I have a sensitive stomach. It has recently occurred to me that I also have “sensitive sexuality”.

This has nothing to do with being squeamish or a prude. It’s just an acknowledgment that my insides are changing. In the past, if a man was attractive and fun, that was enough to possibly start something. But now, as I’ve gone on date after date with no response on my part, I realize that’s no longer enough. Friendship and a real connection have to come first. This seems backwards in a society where Married At First Sight and Dating Naked are actual shows with real participants; where a text that says “S’up?”, or contains only an emoji, passes for communication; where people want to know your credit score before they know your middle name. I am, perhaps, a dinosaur. A dreamy, old-fashioned character in a Charlotte Bronte novel.

Maybe so. And so be it. I want to be able to get to know people – all people – without agenda or expectation. I want to be friends first, before anything else is expected or demanded from me. I want to communicate with people, men and women, in complete sentences, about things that matter. I want to share and learn from people, love them, want the best for them, and know that they want that for me in return. I don’t know if I can find all this in a lover. But what I do know is that I have some wonderful friends whom I love very much. For me, for now, that’s enough.

Aside from navel-gazing, I’ve also gotten back to my art. Below is my latest piece, a tribute to a level of consciousness beyond the mundane details of the day-to-day. It’s called “Beyond Birth and Death,” a nod to the concept of Nirvana, a state of consciousness where all worldly passions – those desires and cravings which cause us so much suffering – are finally extinguished.

"Beyond Birth and Death" 18" X 24", Acrylic on canvas
“Beyond Birth and Death” 18″ X 24″, Acrylic on canvas