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

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Past/ Present/ Future. Tense.

I remember watching Mermaids, that film with Cher and Winona Ryder in, when I was very young, and the thing that I have taken with me is when Cher and the little girl say in unison, "Death is living in the past, or staying in one place too long." I remember thinking at the time how unsettling that must be- to keep moving from place to place, but at the same time, it's also clear that the constant moving was a way of avoiding having a past.

It won't surprise you to read that the last few months of my life have been fairly transitional. It's been full of realisations. When I was 20, I firmly believed that by this time in my life, I would be a fairly successful rock star and that I would be coasting a beautiful career high of drink and music and sex. What would happen beyond that, I hadn't quite figured out. My maxim was that I would kill myself when I was 28.

Now I'm less than 18 months away from 28, and I can't tell you that on my 28th birthday that I won't have that lingering thought at the back of my mind. The last couple of years I have just felt so... Well, old. It feels like I have lived for a lifetime already, and potentially, I will probably live another two of those lifetimes in just one. Killing yourself, it has seemed to me, has always been a way of reading the last chapter of the book before you finish, so it doesn't matter about the plot twists and interesting character developments, you can rest assured in the knowledge that you know exactly how the book will end, and it will end on your terms.

The sad thing about suicide is that it almost always (and inevitably) gets misconstrued by the people around you. So much so, that if you did it, you would have to come back to life to explain yourself as little bit and then die again. Which, you know, just isn't possible.

It's an idea I have discussed late at night with many of my lovers through my whole life, most of whom reply in a tone of desperation, asking me to consider a world for myself beyond that age. That there is living left to do. One lover even wrote a note to me and posted it, and it simply said, "I wish you could see a life for yourself beyond 28. Don't give in to your teenage self."

At the time I remember being strangely defiant about the note. I was 22.

I made a lot of decisions based on this incredible self belief that this was my destiny- this was how it will happen. I ended relationships and made caustic statements, I acted arrogantly and with a sense of superiority. However, I'm not going to tell you I had this massive change of heart recently because that's just not who I am. I still believe that I will be successful at *something* in this life. I feel that so far I've been digging for oil, I just haven't quite hit the reserve yet. Maybe I have just been approaching it in the wrong way.

Maybe I have reconsidered killing myself. I mean, you get to this age and you realise that life is just so... Long. People say that life is short. And yes it is in the respect that we only get one and it's too short to worry about doing things that will make other people unhappy. But apart from that, youth is just a period of your life, and at this stage, I really have spent more time as a child than I have as an adult. And as life goes on, it brings different stages. And I want that phase of contentment. It's out there for me somewhere, and perhaps it is something completely different to what I think it is, but I want to wake up one day and realise that everything is fine and there is nothing I have left to do or achieve. That day will exist in whatever form it takes and I look forward to it.

I also know now that the future is not a place. It is not somewhere you can drive to, or get to, or that the image in your head suddenly turns into reality. Life is mostly about the drive, but when you're constantly 5 steps ahead of yourself and punishing yourself for what you're not doing, it's really hard to appreciate the view.

I'm starting to think that after losing two very close friends who I loved perhaps more than I should have, and with another disaster bound to happen, that you will lose friends. All the time. You will love so many of those people but ultimately you will learn that people are transient and fairly fickle depending on their personal circumstances. And those circumstances can and will drive a wedge between you. Loyalty can be returned but will often be betrayed in the end. No matter how much a friend will assert their selflessness, they will do what is best for themselves. It is much easier to get over a lover than a really good friend. Sometimes the cuts they leave can be deeper, and their betrayal is far greater. And, even though it's incredibly difficult, you will make new friends in time.

But it doesn't make giving the old ones up any easier. And it doesn't make it easier when you realise you are no longer an important part of their life, and instead become a side show attraction. I believe you can never 'downgrade' a friendship. You cannot play second fiddle when you're used to coming first. When that starts to happen, it's over.

I am actually an okay person. I can be a stubborn shit head and very rude and indignant when I want to be, but most of the time I am okay. I am too smart, I'm well-humoured and creative. I may dress ostentatiously and be a bit brash and talkative, but there really is nothing wrong with any of that. Most of the time, you'll find it's other people who have problems that they want to impose on you. Leave them to it- it's their problem.

Whatever I think, especially when I'm down on myself, I've already achieved a great deal. I have just achieved an MA, I live alone in my own place in London and I support myself financially, I never rest on my laurels and I always try and improve myself. I may be a fantasist and live in a dream world, but I am also very driven and I never stop working to achieve those dreams. And if I carry on this way, I'm bound to hit on something in this life, even if it something small, it is my something.

Life is just now. And I have nothing else but this space. So I have to stop worrying about other people's shit and just get on with it. I just have to be Allan. Because, quite frankly, that's better than a lot of other things I could be.

I still have work to do. I'm not finished. I'll be back soon.


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