Personal Diary, One month in.

 “Life doesn’t make a lot of sense, does it?” I look to him.
 He smiles. “Why do you say that?”
 I think for a second. “I don’t know, it just doesn’t,” I pause, “I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and I just don’t know anymore. Maybe other people’s live’s make sense, but mine doesn’t. I can’t make any sense of it.”
 “It doesn’t have to make sense to have purpose.”
 “I need it to make sense,” I’m quick to respond. “Or at the very least, I need it to be grounded in some sort of reality, or rationality. For my own sanity.”
 “Kevin, you need to stop,” He says sternly. “This is reality. This is your reality. I’ve been watching you recently, I’ve been with you, and I think you’ve been spending too much time trying to find ways to feel sorry for yourself.”
 I feel the tears well in my eyes, “That’s not fair,” I say to him. I look away, I feel a knot in my stomach and my teeth clench.
 “It’s not a criticism, it’s an observation.”
 “I don’t care,” I say, “it’s not fair.” I slowly rub my forehead, I close my eyes. I can feel the wet against my cheek and now the palm of my hand. I rub it with my thumb, stick it in my mouth. I can taste the salt.
 “Kevin, you’re thirty-two now.”
 “Oh, wow, thanks,” I say snidely. “Thanks for informing me of my age. I didn’t know.”
 “What I mean is maybe instead of crying you should ask yourself what is bothering you.”
 “I just told you, my life doesn’t make sense.”
 “That’s a very generic grievance, I hear it a lot and to be quite frank it doesn’t hold a lot of resonance with me.”
 “I don’t need it to resonate,” I feel myself getting angry. “I just thought I could tell you. I thought I could come to you when I needed to. I can do that, right?”
 “You can,” he says assuringly. “And I’m trying to help you. I’m trying to get you to understand what is bothering you.”
 I think about it. I wipe the tears and look to him. “I feel alone.”
 “In what sense?”
 “In exactly that sense, I’m not a part of anyone’s life.”
 “I would argue quite the opposite,” he says. “In fact, if that’s how you feel I would say you’re quite blind.”
 “I’m not blind, I know I’m loved. I know I have hundreds of people in this world that love me.”
 “So then why would you say you’re not a part of anyone’s life?” He asks.
 My thought trails off. I hear a car horn on the street. “You know I’m in Argentina right now?” I ask him.
 “Yes, I’m right here with you.”
 “Yeah, I guess.” I think for a second. “A few days ago I was in Chile. A few weeks ago Peru. You know what happens when you literally travel the world and meet hundreds of people? That’s what I do, right? With the Gay Men Project? I literally travel the world and meet hundreds of people. They invite me into their homes, and I witness their lives.”
 “Yes, you should feel very fortunate.”
 “I do,” I reply, “but then I leave.”
 “Yes, naturally.”
 “No, that’s the point. I leave. I get a taste of their life, but I’m not a part of it. I go to New York, I see friends, and then I leave. I go home to Oregon, spend time with family, and then I leave.”
 “All of those people, you’re a part of their lives.”
 “In sense,” I concede, “but only a guest player. If life was a TV show, I wouldn’t be a part of an ensemble cast. I’m the feature, the cameo, that random person that makes an appearance in one or two episodes and then is never seen again. There is not a single person in this world that would base an important decision in their life on me–”
 “I’m going to stop you right now, Kevin,” the sternness in his voice returns. “Like I said, you’re feeling sorry for yourself.”
 “I’m not–”
 “No, you are. And let me make this very clear,” he looks at me, “the life you lead is a result of the decisions you’ve made. If you feel lonely, it’s OK, you’re allowed. But don’t try and convince yourself it’s because no one wants you to be a part of their life. It’s because you have chosen to pursue a very specific path that doesn’t allow for it. For now.”
 I think about it.
 “If no one in this world would base an important decision in their life on you, it’s because you would prefer not to have to base important decisions in your life on anyone else. You require a certain freedom. If you had a boyfriend right now, or a partner, would you be doing the Gay Men Project? Would you be in Argentina?”
 I look down and grumble. “No.”
 “So what is it exactly that you want?” he asks.
 “I don’t know,” I think about it. “I guess I just want to share this experience with someone. If you were to ask me two years ago what my dream was, it would be this. Right now. This moment. To travel the world and do I what I love and meet interesting people. And I made it happen. I’m living it. And I guess I just thought I’d feel a certain way, and I don’t. I guess I just imagine dreams mean a lot more when you can share it with someone you love.”
 “That’s your problem, Kevin,” he says, “instead of realizing and appreciating the very real things in your life, you’re focusing on the things that you’re convinced you don’t have. Look Kevin, I believe in you. I think you can accomplish great things in life. But with that comes a certain level of sacrifice. You may be able to fool other people, but not me. I know the real thing you dream of is not to travel the world but to have that one true love, that one person to come home to every day, to have that family and a certain level of security and consistency in your life. But that time is not now, trust in me and what I have planned for you.”
 I look to him.
 “And know that you’re not alone,” he continues, “You’re never alone. There are literally people across this entire world that are cheering you on and want nothing but the best for you–for you to accomplish that which you are meant to do. And I am always with you.”
 “Yeah, but that’s the thing,” I interrupt. “You’re with me right now and yet I’m sitting alone in an apartment in Buenos Aires, Argentina.”
 “That’s the point,” he says, “I don’t have to be physically with you for you to be a part of my life. I don’t have to see you on a daily basis to have you in my thoughts. You don’t need to hear me say I love you to know that I do. Kevin, just continue on the path that you are on, have faith, and I promise you all will be as it is meant to be. Can you have faith?”
 I think about it. I look to him, and I slowly nod my head.


  1. Andreas

    Keven it is so interesting that u write this. It’s exactly what I felt when I was traveling. I felt lonely. Very lonely. And to be frank what I figured out is ecactly what u friend was telling u. I want that love. I want a stable base. I do have a BF but it just does not seem right anymore. Since he might marry soon. It was also one reason why wanted to get away. To get some distance. And it always came down to same. I wanna be loved. Truly and deeply. Maybe have a family. Now with 45 I could imagine having kids.

    Let me say that what u do right now makes a lot of sense for so many people and gives them hope that things can get better.

    With that all being said keep ur head held high and be proud and maybe take it a bit slower and invest a bit more time in the connections u make. Just an idea since I don’t really know how much time u invest.

    Hope talk to u soon

  2. Ray Smythe

    Kevin: Thanks for sharing. Your friend is right. If you had a partner right now, you would not have the freedom to explore your passion of the Gay Men Project. Just remember that you are running the show. If you want to pack it all up now and come back to Portland, New York, or Palm Springs… can. You can do this for a couple more months, a couple more years, or a couple more weeks. It is all in your control.

    What I found out with our little book about coming out was that every once in a while, you would get an e-mail or comment from someone who said the book really made a difference in their life or someone else’s . I think you will find the same thing only more frequently with your large project. Give yourself a ” hall pass ” and relax a little….don’t be so serious. Life will bring you plenty of pain, you need to create joy and I think you are doing just that with your project.

    Kevin….you are a real catch and if being partnered is that important to you now, cut the project short, and come back and look for a mate. You are the boss here……no one is going to criticize you for your actions. Life is a challenge for everyone. So look into your heart and decide what is MOST important to you. Frankly, many times I have said to myself that I give too much to others, but I have learned that you don’t always get a thank you when you want it……it happens in time.

    I hope my words have helped you……….just follow your heart! Ray xoxoxo

  3. Ed Freeman

    You should listen to your friend, Kevin. He tells me the same thing – he tells everybody who wants to make a difference the same thing – and he’s right. Any purposeful life involves sacrifice. And any real commitment means eliminating conflicting agendas. Maybe you don’t quite realize just how committed you really are – but there are hundreds of other people who do, and that’s the thing about you that they find so attractive. Live your life as if it mattered, and it will.

    p.s. You’re probably just homesick right now. Don’t worry; that’ll pass.

  4. Jem

    Oh Kevin, you are such an incredible man. Not only do you keep touching and sharing other people’s lives from around the globe with others around the globe through your beautiful pictures that snap little essences of other lives, but you write this absolutely amazing blog that is so incredibly honest and so deeply touching. You are one helluva beautiful soul and anybody would gladly take up with you. You will never have difficulty with that when you ready to settle down – I’m on the list amongst hundreds of others pounding the door and saying, choose me, Kevin! Lol! But it’s true. You are doing such an incredible job of touching lives. I sit here in relative isolation in a country where gay people can be imprisoned by law (though not often pushed that far) and I absolutely love what you are doing. It encourages me every time I read someone else’s story to go on. To tell myself, there are others who been through what you going through and you can do it. Hang on. Sometime somewhere it does get better. And thank you, thank you, thank you, for what you are doing. Thank you for all that you are sacrificing to do this. You will only see from the other side one day just how your project has impacted people everywhere who have gained courage to go on with their lives. I love you, Kevin, for what you are doing and who you are. Bless you, bless you, bless you!

  5. mmarkroy53


    Jem says it all. I anxiously await your postings and they are refreshing and make me feel like I am meeting and making friends around the world. Your eye to connect with the day to day of your subjects is incredible. Their stories are enlightening. You are doing so much good for so many people around the world. I loved your conversation, its openness, truth, hurt. It is one I had many times with myself, until I looked inward and realized that I was alone, but not lonely. Thank you for sharing. If you want to come over to brazil and kick back for awhile, Roberto and I and our menagerie of rescue animals would be happy to host.

    • Ray Smythe

      What a warm and loving comment from your friend in Brazil. I think we all feel lonely at times….it is just human nature. I think people need purpose in life and you have that in spades. The old quote, ” Activity and sadness are
      incompatible,” so fits you. Many people have no direction and get frustrated. You have a goal and a passion. Enjoy the journey.

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