A gay indie boy living in suburban South West London recounts his trials and tribulations dealing with sex, sexuality, growing up and getting older

Monday, November 23, 2009

Good things don't always come to you

So it’s Monday morning, I’m at work and I feel like I’m at school. Not because of work, no… I mean, I do have a lot to do, but it’s all the other stuff that’s getting my stomach in knots and the adrenalin pumping round my body.

This morning I woke up next to my boyfriend and checked my phone. The message read:

“Strange thought for a Sunday night, but I think you were the love of my life. And it makes me happy and a better human being for knowing that x”

Unfortunately, I had obviously lost the number a long time ago as it came up unrecognised. This sudden sense of dread came over me. Then came the inevitable question from boyfriend, who has obviously just seen the blood drain from my face, “Who is it from?”

“I don’t know,” I said, as I jumped out of bed to get ready.

But I could guess.

I started to ignore the fact and I jumped out of bed to get ready, suddenly taking stock of everything. Suddenly, somehow, I was in a relationship. A relationship for the first time where I have that residual feeling inside me that I know I love him more than he cares about me. And in a sense, I am doing it for the self-sacrificial punishment of it all. I’ve hurt so many people in my life, I think it’s time to grit my teeth and take it from someone else. I’ve already tried to go twice now, but part of me knows it’s wrong. And the other part just feels that he won’t let me go.

Healthy, non? I can hardly believe I am typing, or reading the words back to myself. I feel so insecure and needy and that is just not me at all. And yet somewhere out there, there are people reflecting on me as ‘the love of their life’. I know of a few men who would jump into bed with me, if not the chance to be with me. And all I think is why doesn’t he know that? Why isn’t he so madly crazy and feeling so lucky to have me? The truth is I know what I know. And this is a crutch, perhaps. A new favourite game I play. How long is it before he’s forced to tell me he doesn’t love me? In the next 3 months? When we move in together? After ten years of marriage?

We parted at the tube station in the rain. I give him a hug while some commuters shirk at our sexuality. I wish we were back in bed together in each other’s arms. I wish that he was telling me stupid stories, or cooing pillow talk at me. I wish we were laughing and talking about our imaginary puppies. I wish we were exploring each other’s bodies. But no- it’s a London relationship that’s lived in time constraints and schedules rather than romance. I turn my back because it’s too difficult to stay.

Nicotine withdrawals tug at me and distract my thoughts. I think about my job, and wonder what is happening with my life. The quintessential London boy and self-proclaimed ‘mock star’ is falling from grace pretty rapidly. My looks are fading, my hairline’s receding and so is my enthusiasm for life, and I’m only 26. I’m only 26 and I feel like I died about two years ago. I wish my job meant nothing to me, or meant everything to me. Sitting at the halfway mark actually makes life worse. You can’t devote yourself fully to your creative persuasions or your career and, as a consequence, both suffer.

Most of the time, I am tired. I can’t function. I go to work in the morning and I’m tired. I go to lunch and I’m tired. I come home and I’m too tired to make dinner. So beyond making money for myself and just about surviving, I don’t really do anything. I do not feel I have made a contribution to the world when I come home at night. I do not feel as though I have done something worthwhile and good that people will notice in 20 years time. I do not feel as if I have made new friends or connected with someone.

Everyone’s abandoning me, and it’s because of all the things I have said and done over all those years of my life. I finally feel like I’m paying my penance. They’ve finally seen that I harbour a lot of ugliness behind that sheen. And at the same time, I’ve been alienating myself from all my friends and relatives. There is something growing between us and creating distance. I don’t want to have to deal with it. I don’t want to talk about it. I certainly don’t want to face facts. I am vulnerable, and so I turn away from everyone to hide it. Because I am not a vulnerable person. I have always been strong, single and independent. Anything less would be a disappointment.

They’ve all changed, and I just can’t stand for life to turn out this way. People are having better success than me at the things I love to do, and my competitive streak just can’t stand it. And me? Just bitter. My friends are fed up with my arrogant antics and they migrate elsewhere, while I acrimoniously chastise myself for being that person- that open, honest and so, so judgemental person that looked down on my friend’s choices. Because, after all, I was so certain of my own glamorous future that I could afford to be this condescending.

I start to wonder if it really is nicotine withdrawals or just a horrible emptiness and dread. I start to think of things that would make me feel better. Running away to a life in a deserted country cottage in Suffolk with a lover I could fall into. I could run away from all those expectations I ever set up for myself, and from other people’s expectations of me. I could slow life down to the pace of the hour hand of a clock, and finally enjoy every minute instead of drowning myself in the immediacy of pleasure and decadence. Decadence and damage.

I think about moving to another country and becoming someone else. I have already reinvented myself several times, why not do it again, setting myself lower standards and having a normal life. I think about how much easier it would be to love the life I lived; to turn down the pressure on the steam cooker until I could see the days going by me. I think about being a quirky Brit in New York, or the ex-pat in Amsterdam, or enduring 10cm deep snow in the Canadian wilderness. I think about how luxurious it would be to step out of my skin.

I think about all the lovers I said goodbye to in the naïve ignorance that I could do better. There is no such thing as ‘better’. I held back from so many people I could have had a loving friendship with because I believed there was ‘better’. I stuck the knife in people’s hearts because of ‘better’.

Someone told me the other day that there is no such thing as success. It’s a construct on which we judge ourselves. And while that may be true, it provides very little consolation for a man who was a boy that was way too ambitious, and too big for his own boots. I wish I hadn’t wanted so much in the first place. I expected too much in life and I was bound to feel cheated.

I feel as though life is punishing me. This is my come-uppance and I must suffer it for any balance to be restored. I think I used to believe in destiny and now I find it hard to keep finding excuses for the things that happen. They all seem like a needless sadistic experiment on behalf of Fate. I question her now… If she’s there, why is she leading me down this path? What’s at the end of it? Have I not suffered enough?

I tell myself that things are not that bad. I am alive. I have job that I don’t hate. It’s just a bad day. And tomorrow things will be different. Tomorrow I’ll try to forget any of this is really happening. Good things? They don’t always come to you.


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