By: Travon Bracey
I hate dating. Dating is terrible. I hate dating. Dating is the devil.
I haven't had a good experience dating people. It is a phase that we all have to go through when it comes to getting to know someone. However, I came up with a solution for myself on how I would gain patience in getting to know someone without feeling or being pressured. But, I must tell you a bit of a background to my past dating life, especially from recent situations since I've been single.
Living in Atlanta can be a reality show.
I came out of the closet when I was 16 years old and like many, I didn't have anyone guiding me on how to handle the queer life. One of the many things that I felt went wrong during my coming out days was dating because while coming out of the closet, I had to learn how to adjust to men that were completely comfortable with themselves. However, dating around that age was easier than I thought when I came to the realization as an adult. Guys practically threw themselves on to me between the ages of 16 through 21. As old folks would say, 'You don't know what love is' and like many of us, we thought we were in love and we knew what we were during. I did a lot of exploring around that age with different types of men. At 17 going on 18, I fell in love with my first guy. At 19, I was so in love with my first love after he and I ended our relationship I used my next boyfriend just to recover from the heartbreak that I was dealing with to come to find out that I didn't need the boy in the first place because he wasn't the one for me (especially since I was using him the whole time). At 21, I got engaged to a guy that was approximately 22 years older than me. But when I hit 22, after my engagement and relationship ended with the older guy, I was back out into the single world, ready to date other people and let love find me all over again. But, that hasn't gone too well.
One of the key goals for myself after my last relationship was to work on myself socially, mentally, physically, and spiritually. I am happy to say that my goals have been accomplished but no one told me the hell that I had to go through with guys during the 'dating' phase that would put me in the independent mindset of just wanting to be by myself at this current time of my life. I didn't expect the drama, the stupidity, the immaturity and the confusing aspect of men. I've been single now for almost two years. I haven't felt the need to want to be in a relationship with anyone that I had come across to since early 2015 and it's almost 2018. It is all because men are dead to me.
Dating takes a lot of patience and time for me. I can't just jump into a relationship with anyone just by having a good vibe with them. I have this rule for myself that I would place a guy under a 90 to 180 day dating probation period where I would not claim him as a boyfriend until he was able to meet every qualification that I wanted. If a guy meets most qualifications by 90 to 120 days, he's considered a keeper, but after 120 days, if the qualifications are still taking its course of approval, then he may not be the one for me and I am just wasting my time. Some of those qualifications include going on a date, having great communications, learning his past life, learning the basics of who he is as an individual, getting to know his closest friends, going out in public with him and having a mutual agreement on dating each other. As simple as that may sound, many guys failed to meet those qualifications. In an old, personal blog that I once had on Tumblr, I introduced the 90-to-180 dating probation period plan but it just didn't work as well as I thought it would in my head. I started to feel that having the dating plan l ruin a lot on why I couldn't get a person to date me because I was putting so much pressure on them and myself by keeping an organized list of qualifications operated on a timely schedule. However, I don't completely blame myself for why I am not dating anyone now for that matter because guys really don't know what they want or how to keep someone's interest.
I have been through many situations with guys since I have been single. Many of these situations are problems that I have to learn my lesson from and will continue to watch out for as I get older and continue to date. Several situations that I was in with guys that were a common cycle was that most of the guys that I tried to date didn't know what they wanted. I don't understand why guys would put themselves on a fucking dating app, write on their profile that they want an LTR (long-term-relationship) but meet a guy that wants what their profile is asking for but then over the course of time of getting to know one another, they would come to you to explain that they don't know what they want. Now, I know what you may be thinking. Yes, lots of guys do change their mind about a person when they get to know a person because some of us to come to the realization that the guy may not be for us. But, in my situations, it would be either because they are still in love with their ex's, they are mentally depressed and having worked on themselves, or they just like to play games with innocent dudes that they seek because they may miss the single life once they get ready to want to settle down. But, why are there so many confusing mother fuckers out there in the dating world? Why can't guys focus on their flaws, work on them, and then step out back into the dating world without causing someone to wast their time and energy on them? Why do they have to make dating so damn difficult? Why is dating so fucked up in the black gay community? Well, that's another conversation that we will save later on in life.
With all that I went through with guys, it was time to find a situation for myself that would mentally prepare me to be happy without the pressuring of getting to know someone. One day, I decided to say ENOUGH is ENOUGH. I was tired of being on those dating apps such as Jack'd, Grindr and Tinder trying to find people to converse and date with. So many guys I came into contact with wanted nothing but sex. However, Tinder was an enjoyment as far as being a customer to their product because I love how if a person accepts you and you accept that person, you both become a potential match with each other when in doubt that still didn't do shit for me because most of who I was matching with were cute with dry ass conversations and if we did have conversations, they would get very personal with me about their mental health, which I wasn't interested in being a life coach to them AT ALL. So, I deleted the apps and put myself on a dating strike. The dating strike consists of focusing on myself financially, spiritually, and mentally, work on gaining friendships, work on my craft, and allow myself to breathe away from the emotional terror of dating guys. So far guys, it's working out great, however, I do get lonely, so I decided to gain a friend with benefits.
The joy of having a friend with benefits does me justice. I can't explain to you how wonderful it is to not be pressured and just remotely have them for your own sensual and comfort needs. But, then one day, I thought to myself, "Travon, you always had great friends with benefits situations in the past that led you to great and healthy relationships." I strongly put that into my mind and thought about it deeply because a lot of my relationships in the past was a gain of interest through a 'friends with benefits' agreement that over the course of time, we established a relationship after organic vibes and connections with no pressure of feeling like we were dating. Sitting back at thinking about this had me like, "Man, I wish I would have thought about this a long time ago." As I recall saying in the beginning of this essay, I hate dating. But, if I am a friends with benefits agreement with someone and the organic feelings occur, it makes it easier for me not to feel any type of pressure of dating the person. I am sure you may be thinking at this point, "Well, Travon that sounds like you have to physically be in lust with someone to then organically mix mental feelings with each other over the course of time to be with them." Yeah, it does sound like that, even though not all of my friends with benefits agreement involve sexual acts. Part of friends with benefits agreement is getting to know the person, their vibe, and understanding who they are. Now, if you are a person that has experience bad friends with benefits situations, this essay isn't for you because with you are the personal problem or you are meeting the wrong people to have an agreement with. That's a conversation for another time. But, if you are a person that hates the dating phase like I do and have had or like to have friends with benefits agreement with someone where you want to have an organic approach to happen over the course of time, then I say go and take my advice.
In the midst of all of this, I come to say that dating is terrible and I wish I didn't have to experience it. Being a queer man requires a lot of work because we are challenged by many things in this life that we have chosen for ourselves and sometimes unprepared for what is going to be presented to us. Dating is the most irritating thing that I have to do in my life but if I have to come up with a way to be satisfied with getting to know someone by establishing a friends with benefits agreement with them and it makes me happy, then I am willing to sacrifice and challenge myself without putting any pressure on myself or on others. As far as dating, however, it is really terrifying to do because you never know who you are going to meet that may fuck it up for the long run.
Do you hate dating like I hate dating?
Do you have a solution to how to date without the feeling of dating someone?
Do you have any advice to give to me about this?
Comment below. I am open to every advice and constructive criticism.
What's up guys?
I hope everyone is liking the new ArtREV: The Hub™ website because I am doing a lot of new and exciting changes to the company that I can't wait for everyone to experience in the midst of 2018. Meanwhile, my team asked me to do a '25-Questions' interview where I ask questions about things that a lot of people may or may not know about me. I am super excited to be doing this and I am even more excited to let everyone learn who I am as an individual.
Let's get started!!!!
(Questions are written by ArtREV: The Hub™'s team.)
Hope everyone enjoyed reading this 25-Questions interview that my team came up with for me. If you have any ideas of things that I should write about in the Editor's Corner section or if you have any ideas of what I or my team should write about in any of the sections, please don't hesitate to email us at email@example.com and if you would like to be part of the ArtREV community, please go to the JOIN page and apply for FREE.
To the 22-year old self of me,
Let me start off by saying something that you sing to yourself every day.
Come on and walk with me, Lord
Come on and walk with me, Lord
These are words that you sing in your head whenever you are thinking deeply about your life, Travon.
23 may not be anything to a lot of people but 23 is a significant number to you,
Especially when you’ve been through so much shit that you can only look at your past as a lesson learned.
You are not afraid to tell your story anymore.
You are not afraid to let people shut your thoughts down of courage and power.
You will not stand to see your people continue to stop yourself from winning.
23 is all about taking control.
The first 22 years of your life had questions that you couldn’t answer.
But, now …
And you will stick to what you know what’s best for Travon.
You are a victim of depression,
A victim of rape,
A victim of racism,
A victim of bullying,
A victim of robbery,
A victim of being a hero,
A victim of ADHD.
You are a victim of being a black man trying to make it in this world.
Historically, you were challenged. Day in and day out. Travon, you were listening, walking, writing, talking, creating, and studying.
You did whatever you could to survive the first 22 years of your life.
It wasn’t easy. To some thought, if it wasn’t for God or common sense, you would be dead.
You fought battles that no other person around you has fought.
You bathe every negativity out of your body but for some reason, it comes back from time to time to place dirt onto your skin.
Sometimes, you would laugh while walking alone thinking about some of the actions that you did in the past.
And I am here to tell you, Travon, the 23-year old you, that it’s okay. Continue to not be afraid.
There are many things that you are ashamed of that you have done in your life.
I know it’s not easy for you to tell people this, but you did it to protect yourself.
In the past, you’d hurt people.
Sometimes, people had hurt you.
Again, do not be ashamed of this. You’re only human.
You used to be ashamed of your natural beauty.
Your homosexuality and epicene,
Your beliefs of spirituality,
Your vocal speech,
And the deepest secret of all,
To heal yourself from your regrets, sometimes you would take alternative routes to heal your wounds.
Copulation, indo, grog, yoga, meditation, singing, dancing, writing, painting, talking to a friend, reading a book about black history, looking into the stars at night, screaming on top of your lungs when no one is around, cursing everyone out around you, cursing strangers out that you felt was a threat to you, violently touching your mother because you were angry at her for not recognizing your good and for her putting her hands on you, running into the dark woods of the night and spent the night alone feeling the breeze of the midnight winds, walking 14 miles in 93-degree weather from home to Downtown Atlanta for 6 hours straight, go to church to praise the Lord when you were confused about your own spirituality, listening to a catalog of Solange’s records and steal from your kind as a child.
Some of it was good.
Some of it was bad.
But, there was a purpose.
All of your life, you tried to prove to people that you are different.
You’re still going to do that at the age of 23. I know this for sure because you sometimes don’t stick to what you say in setting a goal for yourself.
But, people know already that you are and there’s no need to prove it.
You are a great human being.
Sometimes, you don’t think that because whenever something happens to you, you compare yourself to hell.
You are smart.
You are beautiful.
You are kind.
You are creative.
You are mature.
You are strong.
You are Travon.
Depression for the past 11 years haunted you.
You weren't happy and it took you a long time to understand why.
You went to rehab twice in your life to seek the answers.
The second time that you went back, you found out that the answer was sitting inside of you the whole time.
Somehow, you found it just by looking at yourself in the mirror for an entire hour.
You shocked you.
You surprised yourself.
Then you cried your eyes out because the whole time, the answer was within you.
You never seem to ask for help with love ones and friends.
Mostly, you would keep stuff to yourself from someone misjudging you.
You had once lock yourself in your room and not come out for days because you were ashamed of something that happened to you.
As much as you disliked your mother at the time, you wanted to let her know that her baby was sexually abused.
You wanted to tell your brother.
You wanted to tell your father.
You wanted to tell your aunt.
You wanted to tell your grandmother.
You wanted to tell your best friends and close friends.
You wanted to tell your associate.
But, not one word was spoken.
It haunted you. You cried at night. You attempted to even kill yourself, not in a way that anyone would kill themselves but tried to convince a person that you will not speak of to pull the trigger because you gave up on life.
You kept continuously blaming yourself for trying to save the 4-year old little girl that got hit by a car on December 22, 2015.
You keep beating yourself up for it.
But you are a hero.
God blessed you with $5,000 after winning a fashion contest and you’d instead had other plans of using the money by paying the little girl’s entire funeral.
You are a hero.
That little girl is looking at you in the sky and smiling at you because she is watching her hero be somebody every, single day.
She knows that you think about her every day. But she wanted you to heal from her death and focus on your life.
You got held at gunpoint 4 times in your life.
Never did you ever think you would be a victim of this but it happened.
But, you are still alive but you let every experience haunt you deep inside.
You developed PTSD and your anxiety became higher.
You have had 34 panic attacks in your life.
The only reason why you know how many there were because every time you have panic attacks, you would write the feelings and causes of each one of them into your phone and/or laptop.
Luckily, you only had one at 22, July 27th to be exact.
The same day your ex-boyfriend died 3 years ago of that date.
Through all that you go through, you have a gifted heart.
You can never leave friendships to go because you are afraid that you won’t have anyone when you need them.
Love is one of the most important feelings of your life.
As a child, you thought that love came from toys because you used to imagine building a city full of love.
As a teenager, love kept finding you but you didn’t find love because love wasn’t the same love that you’d imagined when you was a child.
As an adult, love is beautiful to you. You embrace love because it’s who you are.
Don’t be afraid to continue to love the way that you do.
In the end, take control. Be careful, but take control.
You got this. Your loved ones got your back.
You are more beautiful than you were 23 years ago.
I am proud to be you, Travon
The 23-year old you.
EXCLUSIVE: Interviewing Travon About AfroPunk Fest Atlanta Experience (with Contributor Ariel Gibson)
[Written By: Ariel Gibson]
I been knowing Travon for quite sometime. I was pleased to see him at AfroPunk Fest Atlanta and couldn't help to catch up with him. After the weekend of the festival, I called him up to do an interview with him and he decided to collaborate with ArtREV to publish the interview onto his website. Of course I said yes. Our conversation was so good and I just couldn't help to talk about his entire outfit and experience at AfroPunk.
T h e F e m i n i s m o f M e l a n i n .
It is the time that black women are honored through the concept of art by a black man.
Black women are the most unique feminine human beings in this world.
You can't tell me that a black woman doesn't deserve the honor.
She cooks your meals every night.
She bathes you until your masculine skin is clean.
She walks with confidence, knowing that she's the shit.
She loves and cares for the children that she'd birth.
Her natural hair flows with the sounds of the wind.
Her language is bold, sharp, and undeniably fearless.
Her walk says that she's a woman of fierceness.
Her love can touch a thousand hearts.
Black women are queens.
Black women are kings.
Black women are the fighters of the spirit.
Black women are capable of making you crave for the taste of her presence.
Don't tell a black woman that she can't speak.
She will do more than just speaking in tongue.
Open her closet door and you would want to see her do her own runway show.
Give a black woman a dress,
and see how she fucks with everyone's mind as she enters the room.
And like I said before ...
It is time for a black man to honor a black woman.
It is with great honor to announce my first major artistic directing project. I have been brainstorming, researching, finding inspiration, and pre-producing extremely hard to create this new project. For 8 months, I prepared myself to be challenged by exploring many different objectives of what I wanted my first major artistic directing project to consist of. Black women have been an inspiration to me since I was a child. My mother, my grandmother, and my aunt all taught me the value of how a black woman can raise a black man. This project is dedicated to the black women in my family and the black women that I've come in contact with over the years. You guys are in for a big surprise as this project will be releasing anonymously between October through January. I am currently working with a photographer, filmmaker, fashion designers, and other creatives to produce one of the best pro-black art projects.
This year I've been revamping VON HAUS & Co., and creating re-installments to ArtREV: The Hub to make sure that my new journey as an upcoming Creative and Artistic Director comes to life. Originally, the project was called 'Shades of Melanin', but decided that I wanted my first artistic directing project to be in honor of my love femininity and black women. There will be plenty of sneak peeks and promo videos that I will be putting via social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) to keep my audience waiting for this big project that I've been working on for the longest. This project only consist of 4 different skin tone black women. I will be announcing a secretive casting call very soon.
And to all of my supporters through the years, thank you.
[By: Travon Bracey]
Dear Mrs. Swinger,
First off, I just want to say Happy Birthday to you. I am sure you are enjoying your birthday and make you have many blessings to come.
I missed you so much since you left The Art Institute of Atlanta-Decatur. A lot of us miss you, to be quite honest. I never got a chance to thank you for all that you'd done for me with your teachings. You were the most incredible professor thus far since I've been in college and I am in currently in my senior year.
I still remember my first class with you, which was Apparel Fit & Construction, at the very beginning of my bachelor's program. I didn't expect to have a professor like yourself, but what I loved about your teaching was that you were driven and passionate in making a big impact on our future. You taught me the importance of never giving up, always maintain my professionalism, keep on track with fashion & textile trends, and most of all, be myself. There were so many times in the classroom where I was too scared to speak up but you gave me the confidence to have a voice.
Because of you, I have taken your teachings of textiles and apply it to my everyday life. Because of you, I can't stop touching and analyzing fabric whenever I go to a retail store or whenever I go to a fabric store. Because of you and your love for textiles, I decided to change my career from being a Trend Forecaster and/or Wardrobe Stylist, to becoming an Artistic Director of Fashion & Art.
You were like a mother to us. We honored, cherished, and loved you like you were our mother of fashion. We came into your class as "the unprepared" and came out as "I am ready to work". And sure, your work was challenging for both of the classes that I took, but at the end of it all, your classes and teachings prepared me for a brighter future.
I hope everything back in your hometown is going quite well. Happy Birthday again and remember, continue to be "The Swinger That Keeps On Swinging".
P.S. Yes, I stole your picture and edit it.
Am I Right To Apologize For Their Actions Or Should I Not Standby PRoudly to Protect My Sexual Orientation? [Exclusive]
[By: Travon Bracey]
And there it was.
As I thought I was going to go out and enjoy my night with my homies.
As I thought this was going to be the night of my life.
As I thought I was ready to see no notions overshadowing my fun of pride.
As I thought they would all get along for one night.
Suddenly, it happened. Friday night. Fights in a gas station. Saturday night. Parking lots fight. Sunday night. Shooting at a parking lot fight. Disrespect. Immaturity. Stupidity. Though I am used to my people acting this way, it became an embarrassment to see the same people that I associate myself with destroying each other ungratefully in the light of the public.
What am I talking about you may ask? I am talking about Black Pride.
Black Pride is supposed to be here for us. It supposes to teach us the value of who we are. It suppose to celebrate the freedom of expression while being leaders and having a voice for our community. It suppose to be an event that let us get wild, but show ourselves that we were powerful, regardless of the fact that we are black and gay. But, I didn't see Black Pride. I saw Black Destruction.
As a 22-year-old male, I always want to know why are things the way they are. At 9, I studied about my ancestors that suffered and lost over 400 years worth of history, leading to us black folk today in why are we the way that we are. This world is a hard world for blacks in be in. Everything seems to be taken by white supremacy (or at least that's how I see it). For some reason, they are willing to watch us destroy our community, our pride, our knowledge, and most of all, each other. Today, I am still curious, but I've gained knowledge over the last 13 years. But, in 2016, we are dealing with so much. Economically, we are losing our old, historical communities. Gentrification has hit us and we are to follow its command due to the power of our money as it's becoming lower standards to afford living somewhere that's not as wish worthy as we would like anymore. Politically, we are the force to vote for people that we'd never trusted in the past. Socially, black people, gay people, Hispanic people, foreigners, young people -- we all have a voice, yet we are being rejected, lied to, killed, and treated unfairly after fighting for our rights even though we thought everything would be okay because our parents and grandparents fought for our rights in be a free citizen over 60 years ago. Though we are taught these tragic observations, we still try to see if there's a way for us to live life without being affected by the cruelty that they are preparing for us to have.
Now, take that information that I just said and apply it to what I am about to say.
ArtREV Magazine is looking for a team to grow with in 2016. As the Editor-In-Chief, I want to be able to make ArtREV a growing sensation. Since 2013, I have been getting lots of great responses to how the magazine's brand image is and you guys like it. So, I am willing to give you all an opportunity to be part of ArtREV's world.
We are looking for interns that consist in writing, photography, video production, public relations and we are also looking for contributing writers. We want ArtREV to be as active on the internet as possible. Let's make ArtREV big. Let's make ArtREV iconic. Let's make ArtREV fun. Join us today and please part of the greatest online magazine in the world.
To apply, send your name, age, school (if applicable) (must be 16 years of age or older), your resume and/or cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can message us through our website at http://artrevmagazine.weebly.com/contact. We are so excited to have you guys part of our team.
-Travon M. Bracey
Founder, Editor-In-Chief at ArtREV: The Innovation
[By: Travon Bracey]
I hope everyone has a great holiday. It is 2016 and so, there are new things to talk about, new things to discover, new goals to achieve, and I am willing to help you guys make it through your year this year. I was on Twitter today and I realized that there are a lot of important people in the industry that follows me. I never pay attention to it, because my twitter is meant for me to say a lot of things, even when I don't want to put it on Facebook, I state my opinion about a lot of things on Twitter, sometimes uncensored. But, hey! We are all adults here. But I am just amazed at the companies that follow me. Some of these companies that I will state are companies that I have been affiliated with in my career before and companies that are near where I live, which is in Atlanta, of course. And if you don't follow me on Twitter, I subject you do that now @ AFROhoganY. Without Twitter, I must say that I wouldn't have the career that I have today. Twitter opened doors for new business partners, new friends in the US and overseas, new adventures in the fashion industry, and it even keeps me up to date on my favorite celebrity/singer of all of time, Solange Knowles (which she is the reason why I joined Twitter back in 2009 in the first place.
These 10 companies are exceptional companies that you should be following on Twitter. They follow me because they see something in me and because of their commitment to following me, I am going to do the honors to introduce these Twitter accounts to everyone that follows me to follow these profiles before.
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