As I came to my sexuality by the time I was 14, I had always been meticulous and strategic about growing up, like my great grandmother would often tell me; “you need dreams for plans”. And boy I dreamed to find that special someone to come home to everynight. Have a big house and a family of my own. It was the dream that they sold to our grandparents, our parents, and to us anyway...
Gotta love being young and reckless, the thrills of liking someone, the chase, the dopamine rush, the confidence... the doubt. Even the most painful and melancholic aspects of each illusion (at finding true love) full of surprise and nostalgia.
As I grew older, the internet started granting us many freedoms that would ultimately make us prisoners to its culture. Online dating gained momentum and as early as 15 most of my peers in high-school were on dating apps like Tinder. Looking back at it, it was just a game. We all looked for relationships at an age we couldn’t even understand our own needs. Girls would look for love with strangers, while boys would look for trophies and success stories to brag about. Thankfully online dating never took a toll on me that early on. As for me, I was joyful and graceful without much effort. Dating someone just meant hanging out and making out, but I was on Grindr - the stakes were different.​​
By the time I was 18, I’d been living on my own for the first time. I worked as a digital archivist for a emblematic gay artist and discovered my talent for portraiture. I was getting paid for passion projects, having all the free time in the world and walking down empty DC streets after midnight. Having the unrestrained ability to do as I pleased for the first time since leaving my parents nest made me feel adventurous and open-minded. I was on grindr, tinder, and a handful of dating sites I can’t even recall at this points. I’d had a few boyfriends, a fair taste of men, and a handful of mediocre sex (which at the time probably felt great).
It wasn’t until I was 20 that hookup culture slowly but surely started to die on me. I liked to go out, get drunk, have great passionate sex, dress fun; but I despised my generation for being so narcissistic, cynical and careless.
I then realized I was probably a sapiosexual, always had been; an up and coming term for people like me, people who appreciate intellect and personalities over physical aspect - although the latter is definitely important to me. While I‘ve always resisted to put myself in a box, the philosophy behind this label resonated with me. In my own words, it meant finding other people who know life only has a small number of real bonds meant to last a lifetime, which must be treated with dignity and respect in order to flourish.
And so I started focusing on nurturing meaningful relationships, despite a stubborn on and off interest to keep grindr to this very day. Without having paid close attention to my love life for a few months, I met someone special whilst writing an article about the effects of Grindr on its users' psychology (which was curiously shelved by the publisher)
I wish I could say we kept in touch, as our interests seemed to align in a friendly, playful manner; but though our romantic friendship unraveled beautifully it then came to a sudden yet understandable end.
Still torn about losing a friend, I later met another special guy on Tinder, a tourist. He was charming, funny, noble and humble despite his background. Our chemistry felt so unique, we decided to pursue a long distance relationship which blossomed and spanned for over 2 years. The time difference surprisingly became the biggest, if not the only challenge. We exchanged letters for a few months before reuniting again. Though we did not consider ourselves polyamorous or dwell too much in the gay scene, we certainly became free sexual beings; learning to nurture our freedom to explore and make new connections. We never dealt with jealousy and our transparency cemented our love beyond the confinements and etiquette of relationships.
Despite our triumph to avoid ill-fated arguments, I slowly woke up to the signs that he had gotten too comfortable to love me properly once my creativity stifled entirely. Although we cared for one another like family,  we expected very different things for our future and his lack of motivation was setting me back; I needed to find someone with the same creative drive and means to succeed. I’d be ungrateful to complain about what we achieved together as it truly became a blueprint for how I want things to be when the right man comes along. 
And so, even after chasing the rainbow and reaching the very end of it... I still have a thirst for the unknown, whoever he is.
You can follow my photography projects on Instagram at @lucid.strangers​​​ and be notified of any new stories by joining our newsletter here.