Well it’s not been a full week since we last spoke – since my ‘blip’. It is my 30th birthday in less than two weeks and I’m not going to lie, I think I am having a little bit of a quarter life crisis (that is a little ambitious as I don’t think with what I’ve put my body through that I will be living to 120). I think my problem is that I’m not where I thought I would be by the time I turned thirty. I’m worrying about money, what I want to do career wise – I actually don’t know.
I had a bit of a wake-up call this week when someone who I am very close to and whose opinion I value a lot told me I was becoming very self obsessed and self-indulgent, urging me to grow up and take responsibility for being an adult with adult responsibilities. It hurt like a slap around the face and my initial snap reaction was to lash out and throw my toys out of the pram. Do you know what though – they were right. Damn it!
I think I deserve more in life – like the world owes me something. What an absolute douche! The world owes me nothing. I know I’m not alone in this but what is it about the gay scene that tries to convince us that we’re better than what we really are? That if we’re not perfect, we’re damaged. Surely though if we are all perfect at the same time, then none of us are – no? This is an article for another time, though.
I do need to grow up. Be more responsible with money. Drink less. Enjoy life more. Stop dwelling on that fact I think I am owed more, that I am special…
As you can see it’s been a soul-searching few days. I have lots to look forward to: my birthday, my brother’s wedding, and my holiday to New York. Then I will be saving every single penny I can until my wedding next September. My fiancé and me will have to become hermits.
I have enjoyed listening to Andy Cohen’s audio-books this week… I have a bit of a daddy crush on him… I wonder what the chance we can meet him in New York is. I’m off to Hampstead ponds with my friends tomorrow for a picnic, weather permitting. They are dog-sitting the cutest little Milo and I cannot wait to meet him. I’m seeing my friend Laura and her gorgeous little boy Harrison on Monday. My fiancé is also heading home with an Indian takeaway for us as I type. Shhh, don’t tell my Herbalife coach – there are no calories at the weekends.
Oh, I’d also just like to take a second to tell my fiancé I love him and to thank him for bearing with me during my wobbles. Sorry. TO THE MOON & BACK.
This week’s letter has come from the lovely Chris. Here is his question…
For all my life I’ve been really contented in my sexuality. I’ve never once felt any inner turmoil about being gay, it’s always felt natural and comfortable to me but since I suffer with depression and anxiety I don’t feel like I’m currently embracing a gay lifestyle enough to sate my needs. I am currently living at home and commuting to University because the prospect of living on my own was too daunting. I’m moving back on campus next year but for the intervening four months I feel like I can’t embrace a gay lifestyle – I feel out of the loop.
I’ve never had a relationship and I have a complex of being easily disposed of and fundamentally unlikable and unattractive. I hate the way I look and even though I’m told I’m attractive, I can see so much evidence to suggest I’m not. I’ve never had a relationship, been on a date, have little experience sexually and I don’t have people fawning over me on social media.
I keep falling for guys really quickly and hoping that something will materialise but so far since I joined Uni 11 guys have come and gone and basically tossed me to one side after giving me the slenderest of opportunities. I seem to fall for people I can’t get – like actors from London or vloggers from across the Ocean – and the pursuit of romance and a vibrant gay social life just seems so pointless and given how little success I’ve had so far, I can’t see it changing any time soon.
I feel abnormal and out of the loop and I’m beginning to return to a really dark place.
Chris, 19 x
Thanks for writing to me. I know you’ve wanted to for a while and I am sure getting all these thoughts out there and writing them down has been at least a little cathartic for you. I hope it has.
There are lots of things going on here, which I am going to try to help you with but firstly you are not abnormal. I promise you that. What is normal anyway?
If you are comparing yourself to how you see other gay men living out their lives on social media, that is giving you a very skewed view of what is going on in their lives. This is not an honest representation of what is going on in their lives.
Trust me, I am as guilty as anyone for this: I am a prolific twitter and live my life out 140 characters at a time for everyone to see. It’s not healthy and it’s one of the things I need to curb – but that isn’t really who I am. I am also friends with a fair few people from Twitter and I can assure you that they are not completely like their online personas. I can’t speak for all, but the vast majority of people online are almost creating a character, being who they want to be or who they think people want them to be. It isn’t the real them. As a general rule people aren’t telling the full story. So honestly, it is not healthy to compare yourselves to them.
If I can use my experience to help you at all then my biggest piece of advice would be don’t let seeking the attention and flirtation of others, particularly online, to be what you use to validate yourself. It’s taken me nearly thirty years to get to grips with this. You are nineteen and if you can learn this now you will save yourself a lot of pain and heartache. Everyone does it, but it doesn’t make it right.
Real validation comes from accepting yourself: your positives and negatives. Finding joy and contentment out of being yourself and finding out what truly makes you happy. I recommend you read the book The Velvet Rage by Alan Downs.
You need to realise how lucky you are. The fact that you have always been contented in your sexuality and comfortable with who you are is such a blessing. So many people go through years of distress over this so own how great it is that you’ve always had the confidence to feel contented. You are lucky.
Before you start looking for a relationship and getting your rocks off with other guys stop and think why you need this. This is another form of you looking to validate yourself through others. You say you have depression. Are you on medication for this or seeking counselling? I would suggest going to see your doctor and talking over your options.
I know you want me to give you a quick fix and tell you how to get every guy you want in the next four months before you go back to Uni, but I can’t. Sorry.
Personally, I think a much better way to spend this time is to find out what you are actually looking for from your life, from a relationship, from another guy. Find you. There is nothing more attractive to another person than someone who is confident and contented in them self. Confidence – not cockiness – is so sexy.
You say you are confident in your sexuality but at present I don’t think you are in other elements of your life. Your sexuality is such a small part of who you are. Don’t let this define you. You are so much more than who your penis stands to attention for. I think your letting your sexuality take over your life.
Also I am sure you are attractive, we all hate things about the way we look. I can assure you that these London actors and international vloggers you like hate things about the way they look too. That’s human nature. If you don’t like the way you look do something about it. Go shopping for some new clothes, get a haircut, or stay the way you are and learn to love yourself a little bit better. As RuPaul says, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else”. That wise woman speaks the truth.
I’m sorry that these guys at Uni have treated you badly, that sucks. Boys can be dicks. My suggestion would be to step back for a bit and stay away from them until you know what you want. I’m not telling you to be a monk, but be kind to yourself, take care of yourself: you only get one of you. Also to sate your needs there is always porn, or your hand and a good imagination.
I think you idolise these vloggers and actors because you know they are unattainable and you ultimately won’t get hurt. It’s a form of self-preservation, but ultimately it can also be self-destructive. We all have crushes (see above for my current one on Andy Cohen) but don’t let it consume you.
I think moving back onto campus will be great for you because you can really embrace the University lifestyle. I would suggest you join your Universitys LGBT society and meet like-minded people. Social media is great, but it will never beat meeting and socialising with people in real life. Also people are a lot more genuine and honest when they aren’t hiding behind their 140 characters and their phone or computer screens.
I really wish you all the love and luck in the world and I have every confidence that the next year for you has the potential to be one of the best years of your life. Who knows when you are more comfortable in yourself and stop looking for the validation of others and looking for a boy or relationship to complete you, you might just meet your perfect man. I know it’s a cliché – but it can happen. Trust me I know.
Massive hugs and if you ever want to write or ask me advice again please do.
Want to chat?
If you have a problem you’d like me to help you with please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Live life, and love.