Monday is tank therapy night
Tank and I are interviewing therapists to help us fix things. We've been through a few therapists. It's hard to find someone that meets our acceptance criteria:
- Gay friendly
- BDSM friendly
- Poly friendly
- Is actually a licensed therapist
- Challenges us
Actually, the first four have been pretty easy to meet. It's number five that's hard.
Most therapists we've worked with are pushovers, making them about as useful as an encouraging wall.
My current therapist is great at challenging me. He routinely forces me to examine the root issue and attack that... Sadly, he won't take tank and I together as it's a conflict of interest.
We've had some progress on our own, but we definitely need some guided help for tank to repair his damage, and for me to stop fearing him abandoning me again.
Folsom was a great chance to rebuild trust with tank on high protocol, and he did great... But, when we returned, I didn't feel that much more secure. I still worry he's going to break my heart or use me again.
Our most recent therapist meets the first three acceptance criteria, but is struggling with the second two.
I'm a little concerned with his competence since he spent part of our session telling us about his hypnosis practice and fluency in body language. Tank is reserving judgement until second session.
We ended up having a better session by complaining about the new therapist together. In doing so, we identified some of the big issues and their broad solutions:
- I don't trust tank. If he can demonstrate honesty consistently this will build trust back.
- I don't feel secure with tank. This is a result of him abandoning me, so I think if he consistently demonstrates that he's supportive and reliable, I should feel secure.
- I don't feel valued by tank. This one is difficult. When tank tried to compromise with racists lobbing death threats at me, it made me feel like my life didn't matter to him. I'm not really sure how he can make me feel valued.
Tank is quick to remind me that he has not repeated any of these bad behaviors since we reconnected. That makes me worried. He could've been treating me better this entire time, why now?
My first ever professional photoshoot
My foray into photography started as a form of self therapy.
I struggled with my body dysmorphia as a young adult and used self portraits to find parts of myself that I loved. As I conquered my body image issues, my photography grew more confident. There was less to hide, more things I was happy with.
Today, I feel I'm "cured," although most of my photography continues to be self portraits. I have had trouble relinquishing that control even when approached by talented professionals (like Venfield 8) or friends who needed a body (I was too timid to do a major part on Where the bears are).
I've been a fan of Tim Palen's work for many years, first finding him through Francois Sagat, he kept popping up in places I loved, from slick it up to Amanda Lapour. He was a technical genius in composition, I've saved many of his photos to my "homage" folder should I have an opportunity to recreate something he's done and possibly learn from it.
Imagine what it felt like to be asked by Tim for a photoshoot...
"I'm obsessed with photographing you.
Please come to LA.
Please shoot with me.
I was flabbergasted. I thought it was a mistake and told him so. I'm just this guy who takes photos of his butt. What's a legend doing talking to me?
As we talked, I learned we shared a mutual appreciation. He followed my blog, my photography, even my newsletter.
This was real.
After weeks of going back and forth, I finally overcame my fear of giving up control, and we set a date for a photoshoot.
The timing was perfect. I had an extra day before my cruise to Mexico with my pups and I'd be in the best shape of my life (270lbs with 20" arms!!!).
Tim received me at his Hollywood studio. The first thing I noticed was this sign:
Didn't want to mess up my first photoshoot, so my phone went in airplane mode and I have no photos of this event. Instead, I have bad drawings.
I'll start with Tim's studio:
Very efficient studio space hidden under the Hunger Games arena.
I was a nervous wreck.
Do you know anyone who's amongst the best at what they do? In the world? I've never been so intimidated in my life! I was physically shaking.
Tim was a gentleman. Walked me through a calibration exercise to help me relax with some photos and simple direction. After a few rounds I was calm. A few more and I was in sync with him, following the timing of his photos and changing my pose between shutter clicks.
The direction he gave me was direct and fluid, I briefly felt like an extension of his will.
The shoot only lasted a few hours but we managed to squeeze in a handful of different looks:
I'm really excited to see how everything comes out. The few shots he shared from his camera were really striking.
I'll be sure to share them soon as I get them.
Off to San Diego for a gay cruise through Mexico
After the photoshoot with Tim Palen, I continued down to San Diego with my pups for an Atlantis gay cruise through Mexico. I'm really excited. It's Angus' first time out of the country and our first trip all together. I love gay cruises. For one week, you live with thousands of gay men in a floating city where gay parties, buffets, and drag cabaret is the norm. It's wonderful.