Not Fitting The Stereotype

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As empowering as it can be to stand out from the crowd by being a unique individual, it can also be a hinderance in society in general. But do I really stand out from those around me, or is that just my own perception of myself?

I’ve always considered myself an ‘average’ gay man – average looks, average abilities, average personality. etc – but haven’t been able to correlate how I perceive myself physically (short, fat, hairy, bald, etc) with how others see me or what they’re looking for in a potential partner.

Obviously, when it comes to the bear community, there’s a different aesthetic sought after, which is great for those who are into that type of guy.  And physically I suppose I do have that stereotypcial ‘bear’ look.

Now here’s the kicker – despite that physical similarity, I don’t particularly feel part of the bear community.  Just like when I was younger and would hang out with my thinner (twinkier) friends at the bars they enjoyed, I still feel like I’m an outsider looking inside.

And to add to it, I’m an anomaly because I’m not a lesbian-bear  – a bear who’s attracted to other bears.  Instead, I like what would be called a ‘chaser’ or ‘admirer’  – generally fitter or thinner guys, somewhat masculine, good looking (to me), etc – who are into bigger guys.

And I definitely find the super fit, muscular guys in the magazines very attractive.. even if I consider them unattainable.

In the end, I still feel like the average queer that I’ve always considered myself, regardless of which subsect of the community I’m spending time with.  I don’t necessarily stand out compared to others, and my true personality only comes out for the rate few that take the time to get to know me.

I suppose I have never really empathised with the mindset of the bear community because I’ve never really seen myself as one, despite my outward appearance.

In my mind, I guess I see myself as being an average guy with an average body.. and I tend to get a nasty surprise whenever I see myself in the mirror.

I guess I’ve never fully embraced my size or bear-stature.  I do not enjoy being a bigger guy.  I don’t find my body generally attractive, regardless of what other guys have said to me.

I kind of feel like there’s a thinner, fitter version of myself screaming from the inside to get out.

No, I’m not delusional.  LOL

But most of all, I’ve spent most of my life feeling helpless about my body and it’s outward appearance.  My weight over the years has risen and risen, with a few fluctuations here and there.

I would ‘try’ to eat healthier but would end up either ‘treating myself’ too often for doing so well with my food, or I’d still overeat regardless of how healthy the food I was eating was.

Last summer, I was at my absolute heaviest (about 300lbs/136 kgs) and I was starting to have issues walking, breathing, and having regular back pain.  I would run out of breathe after maybe a 10 minute walk and would need to stop for a rest.

So… what is a chubby, lazy guy to do?

Initially I started taking a fat suppressant prescribed by an on-line pharmacy, which I definitely do NOT reccommend. It just made me feel sick and gave me really bad diarrhea on a daily basis.

Around the beginning of the year, I started to make myself walk part of all of the way home from work (45 minutes each way).  This helped, but walking the same route daily got boring fast.

So a couple of months ago I finally got off my ass and joined a gym.  This wasn’t easy as I’ve always felt very self-conscious about going to a gym.  Trying to work out whilst surrounded by fit, muscular guys just felt intimidating.

But I’ve been doing my best for the most part.  I haven’t been on a specific diet, but just trying to eat healthier where I can and cut out sugars, snacking, and all the rest of the yummy foods we’re not supposed to eat regularly.

I don’t have a specific weight goal in mind, but looking to just feel better in my skin.. and perhaps get back to around the weight I was a few years back.  But now I find myself down to about 260 lbs/118 kgs.  Most of that weight loss is since Christmas.

And I’m quite happy with my progress and I’m hoping to keep it going to see if I can lose some more weight.  But again, it’s not with a specific set goal, but instead an intermediate hopeful weight.

I know I’ll never be one of those super fit guys in the magazines, and I’m not hoping to be.  I just want to be comfortable in my own body and feel attractive to myself.. and others obviously.

And if it helps me meet some cute guy who likes me for me, and not my size, then all the better for it.

Photo with cast of ‘Drag Becomes Her’ – (L to R) Peaches Christ, Jinkx Monsoon, ME, BenDeLaCreme, and Major Scales.

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Overcoming Loneliness as a Gay Man

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Loneliness can be a bitch at times, and for some people it can hit harder than for others. And regardless of how one might identify sexually, loneliness can sometimes overwhelm those within the LGBT+ community.

At least it does for me at times, though don’t know if it’s specific to me being gay.

For some, this loneliness can stem from sexual or gender identity discrimination, or even from rejection from their biological families.  Though some might say these feelings of loneliness is to be expected despite our community’s supposed mandate of love and inclusiveness, and trying to ‘choose’ our families.  Unfortunately not everyone can fit into the existing cliques or social circles.

I was reading an article about gay men battling loneliness and it got me thinking about my own life.  A lot of the time, I feel isolated from others but this is something that comes and goes in my life depending on what’s going on at that point.  One day I can feel great, loved, and on top of the world.. but the next I can be curled up in the ball staring at my phone thinking nobody even likes me enough to call.

Obviously, left unchecked this can lead to depression, anxiety, loss of confidence, and all sorts of other issues in my life.

When it’s really bad, I feel like I’m on a deserted island looking across to the mainland where everyone else is enjoying life, and I can only watch as there’s no way to get across to the others.  So in others words, I’m curled up on my sofa feeling sorry for myself, watching people’s posts on Facebook or Instagram of how fabulous their lives are.

Obviously social media isn’t an accurate depiction of people’s lives, but when you don’t hear from people sometimes that’s the only way to hear about what they are up to.

Anyway, the article I was reading (link is at the bottom of the page) listed several ‘tips’ on how to overcome this loneliness.  And although accurate with its advice, it was fairly generic if you ask me, with a focus on substance abuse and reaching out to a therapist.

Often people will tell me if I’m feeling lonely then I just need to get out and be around other people.  Because apparently (in their mind) it’s just that easy.  And for them it probably is.

What those who don’t suffer from feelings of loneliness don’t understand is that you could be standing in the middle of a crowd filled with people you know, and you’ll still feel alone.  It’s like there’s a disconnect from others around you.

When we were all first coming out or realising our sexual identities, we would isolate ourselves or pull away from those around us to ensure our ‘secret’ isn’t found out.  That proverbial closet prevented us from making meaningful connections with others (family included) because of how different we felt from them.  This was probably an emotionally stressful period for most.

After coming out, those feelings of isolation probably went away for most people as they started to meet other people like them and build new social circles.  But for others, that might have highlighted for them how they don’t fit into the groups around them.  Even when those groups are comprised of other people supposedly like them with similar interests.

When I first came out, I met an amazing group of people some of which I’m still in virtual contact with now over 20 years later.  We were mostly all new to being out and living in a small town, so we all came together to support each other.

But like anything in life, this only lasted for so long as people moved away, moved on, found relationships and so forth.  It’s a recurring situation through life, and sometimes it’s hit me harder than others, contributing to those feelings of loneliness as I would try to move past it all to find new friends all over again.  And again.

Most self-help articles advise the best thing to do is to join a social or interest group as a way to feel less lonely.  And for some people this works.

For me, this was only fleeting as I tried several different outlets over the years – gay softball or bowling groups, naturist social groups, gay geeks, cinema groups, etc – but nothing truly fit me.  Sure, I’d meet a few new people and start going out a bit more, but then as people broke off as they tend to do, I was still left in the same situation wondering where everyone went.

So where does that leave me?  Trying to meet guys through the ‘dating’ apps or nightclubs usually leads to failure as these are more for those looking for sex and they’re focused more on physical interactions.  And after all these years, I’m just so over the whole bar and club scene these days.

I try to reach out to people when I’m feeling lonely, but unfortunately that doesn’t always work out.  People (in London) are generally always busy or booked up well in advance, so there’s little room for last minute plans.  Or they are the type that only want to be around when things are going good, so will purposely avoid you when you’re down.

Like anything in life, this too will be a work in progress as I try to help myself.  Or maybe I’ll just wear out my Netflix subscription by spending another weekend at home alone on the sofa.

Who knows. 😉

Source: 5 Tips to Overcome Your Loneliness as a Gay Man

A Day in Pompeii

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April last year I had the idea that I wanted to visit and explore the ruins of Pompeii, possibly staying in nearby Naples as they was the closest big city.  I was considering it for my summer holidays last yet, as I generally always take a week off around my birthday.

But I made the mistake of asking an Italian mate of mine his opinion of visiting Naples, and whether he could suggest which areas to stay in.  His response – go somewhere else.

He literally didn’t have a single good thing to say about the area – dangerous, dirty, uninteresting – and suggested I go to Sorrento instead on the other site of Pompeii (about the same distance from the ruins, but to the south).

Well, I look into staying in Sorrento or further south on the Amalfi Coast (as he also suggested), and the rooms were probably at least 3 times the cost as they were in Naples.  And from what I read online, there really wasn’t anything historic in that area.

It was more of a tourist trap, even if the views are gorgeous.

So I talked myself out of going and went to Spain instead (again).  Barcelona and Sitges were amazing, but it was more a beach holiday than the city/historical break that I’d wanted.

Anyway flash forward to my disappointing trip to Paris this past Spring (read about that here and here), I started to think about where I wanted to visit next, and I looked at Pompeii once more.  Figured the weather might still be decent in late September…

Only this time I almost gave up booking as it seemed like EVERYONE was visiting that area the month before I was looking to go… including my Italian friend (and his husband) that talked me out of going last year!!  The cheek!

I almost went somewhere else, but said screw it.. I want to go to Pompeii.  So I booked my trip, and I had an absolutely amazing time.

Honestly, I don’t know what my friend’s issue with Naples was as I quite liked it.  Perhaps it helped that I had rented myself a little studio apartment in the historic area so it was easy to walk around everywhere (which I did.. my poor feet).

But think it also helped that I met several locals that made me feel welcome.  One guy I was chatting to online as I arrived offered to pick me up and show me around the area a bit in his car.

I was somewhat hesitant (being a stranger and all..), but I went with my gut and we had an amazing evening driving up the coast, and then he took me to the ‘best pizzeria in Naples’ according to him – the pizza and home-made beer were astounding.

I spent most of the next day relaxing in the studio before going out in the afternoon for more wandering around the city.  This time I ended up just north of the historic area where it was clear this was the ‘real Naples‘ – narrow streets, washing hanging from the doorways/balconies, people talking to their neighbours across the street.

It really allowed me to see the true city away from the tourist crap, and I love that about a city.

Finally on the Sunday I made my way out of the city to Pompeii.

I hadn’t realised just how big this excavated city really was until 4 hours later when I was still walking around and still hadn’t seen it all.  Guess the online travel bloggers were right after all – don’t try to do all of Pompeii in one day.  It was just too much.

But luckily the route I’d unintentionally took (I just picked a direction and started walking, then got out the site map to see where I was) allowed me to see most of the major buildings – the amphitheatre, multiple gardens, the Basilica, the baths, and the grand theatre (pictured to the right) just to name a few.

But more than anything it was just amazing to be standing in a place so enriched with history (and mystery), to see the reconstructed ruins, and read about the different buildings (had the site guide on my mobile).

Just being there made all the idiocy in planning the trip worth it.

As for Naples itself, I do hope to return for another visit sometime in the future and see more of the surrounding areas.  There was just too much to see in such a short period of time.  Plus now I know some people in the area, so that helps.

Now.. where to next?  😀

Feelings of Frustrations

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Following on from my recent post about how lazy I’ve been with my writing, there’s been another thing that’s been bothering me – my job.  Or more specifically, how I’m treated at work.

After 4 years, I’ve basically gotten to my breaking point with this place. Not only am I basically left alone to completely run our department myself (the ‘site supervisor’ rarely comes into the office or calls me’), but I’m also the only one from my division not working out of head office.

The rest of the regional office I work out of is full of another division, and is mostly made of up of ex-tradespeople turned supervisors/managers.  So needless to say, they’re not the most professional office-wise.

But because of this situation, I’m literally cut off from both those around me and those within my division at head office.  I work completely alone (with occasional assistance from head office when they feel like it), and the rest of the people in the office tend to ignore me or forget I’m even there.

It can be quite lonely at times, especially as my phone rarely rings (work is mostly email based), and it be nice just to have someone to chat to as I go about my day.

The ignoring got to an all-time low last week – I’d just returned from an extended weekend break in Naples (Italy), and not a single person in the office asked how my trip was!!! 

Instead, they were all fawning over this girl (my old colleague before she got moved last year) who had just returned from a drug-fuelled weekend in Ibiza… who had been off the same three days I was.  They kept asking her about the parties she’d attended, raptly listening to her funny stories of things that happened, and laughing at how strung out she still looked after being back a couple days.

I literally sat there most of the day absolutely livid and wondering if I was just imagining things. I came very close repeatedly that day to yelling out ‘I enjoyed my holiday too, thanks for asking!‘, but I restrained myself.  Somehow.

Perhaps they’d just thought I’d been off sick (even if I’d said the week before I was going away..), but even so then shouldn’t someone at least have asked if I was feeling better?

The funny thing is I don’t really care what these people think of me.. or at least I shouldn’t.  It’s not like I’d ever be friends with any of them outside of work, or even have much in common with any of them.  I should just ignore them as they do me (I regularly get missed out on coffee runs).

In fact there have been times over the years where I’ve literally cringed when I’ve heard some of them talk, be it about politics, vocalising their overt trans or islamophobia, or just their general cluelessness about the world around them.

I suppose a lot of it comes down to the pure liberalism of how I live my life, and how that really doesn’t fit into those I work amongst (I literally was the only one in my office to vote ‘Remain’ during Brexit..).

I keep telling myself I need to start looking for a new job.. and I really do after this incident.  How can I keep working in such a toxic environment?  My boss can’t (and wouldn’t) do anything about it, cause what can he really do?  ‘Make’ them talk to me like I’m in grade school?

Besides, he doesn’t even work in my office.. and never comes to visit.

*Sigh*

Yeah.. I need to look for a new job where I’m more part of a team, and where people actually interact.  Where it isn’t a matter of piling everything onto me to complete (single point of failure..), and the workload is shared.

If only it was that easy and simple.

Bear With Me

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Haven’t disappeared again… just life gets busy sometimes, and before you know it several weeks have passed.

Plus it’s summertime and the weather has been faaaab for once in the UK (recent heat wave), so been enjoying it where I can.

Though sadly have only been to the beach once. . Need to fix that. 😉

Paris Pt 2 – Breathing at the Basilica

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Continued from Part 1

When it was all said and done, I was unsurprisingly happy when my last day in Paris arrived.  Usually when I got to the end of a holiday, the last thing I’d want to do is to go home but this time I was counting down the hours.

In fact at one point earlier in the trip, I’d actually looked at changing my train ticket to an earlier one, but it was way too expensive.

Unfortunately for me, I’d been ‘smart’ about my bookings and ensured I had a late train back to London.  Which meant after I’d checked out of the hotel, I had the entire afternoon and early evening to kill.

How silly of me.  LOL

But unbeknownst to me, the worst part of that entire trip had yet to happen as I made my way to the train station to stow my luggage, and walked to the area of Montmartre.

I’d decided to use my last afternoon to spend the afternoon exploring the Basilica du Sacre-Coeur de Montmartre.  It’s a gorgeous church and has amazing views once you climb the hill at Montmartre.

And amazing it was.  The hill up to the church wasn’t too bad, and at least there were steps and benches you could stop for a breather as you make your way to the top.  Plus it was the first truly sunny day whilst I’d been in Paris, so there were loads of people out and sitting on the grassy hill enjoying the rare April sunshine.

It was all lovely and bright, and even a street-hawker’s attempt to get some money out of me didn’t change things.  The church inside was absolutely gorgeous and well worth the climb up the hill.

What wasn’t so great was my own stupid decision to climb the 300+ stairs to the top of the church for the stunning 360 degree views of the city.  I’d been warned by friends not to do this, but I figured why not since I was already in Paris and I may not get an opportunity to do this again.

For an overweight smoker, that was not a great idea. A really bad, almost dangerous idea.

To get to the top, you had to walk up an enclosed, narrow, winding staircase which had barely any windows and nowhere to stop to catch your breath.  I obviously didn’t run up the stairs and was trying to pace myself, but about half of the way up I started to have chest pains and difficulty breathing.

I expected to be winded after the stairs, but not that.

By the time I’d reached a brief outer walkway before the last of the stairs to the top, I literally couldn’t breath and sounded worse than the most extreme asthmatic.  And the pains in my chest had me scared shitless that I was going to have a heart attack while in Paris.  Alone.

The people behind me caught up to me about 15 minutes later, and they checked to see if I was ok and had water, as they could hear me all the way down the stairs.

After a rest, I eventually made my way up the final narrow stairway (I had to squeeze my fat ass through in a few spots) to the top of the basilica and stayed there for at least a good half hour totally ignoring the views while I tried to catch my breath.  At one point a kind older gentleman there with his adult daughter started to rub my back to help me with my breathing… not sure if it helped or if he was just trying to hit on me.  LOL

Once I taken my prerequisite pictures of the view (amazing.. but not worth that agony), I slowly made my way down the stairs (separate staircase) and spent the next hour on the hill near the church catching my breath.  And downing a couple bottles of water in the process.

And that pain in my chest?  It lingered with me for a couple of days after I’d returned to London making me wonder if I had done some sort of damage to my heart or lungs…and gave me a really good scare.

Which of course was also a catalyst for me to try to quit smoking again by going back to the vape (it’s been almost 3 months now), so at least one good thing came out of it.

Now if only I could get my fat ass to the gym. 😉

Paris Pt 1 – Love of Travel

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Like a lot of people out there, I absolutely love to travel and explore new places.  There’s no better feeling than wandering around a city you’ve never been to before to get a feel of the place, admire the different architecture, and get first-hand experience of a different culture.

And because I love nothing better than exploring a city by foot and find some hidden gems, I would always ensure I’ve found a place to stay that was fairly central without breaking my budget.  Or making me share a bathroom with strangers.  *Shudders*

But for some reason I completely ignored my own instincts when I went to Paris this past April.  And that probably attributed to why I didn’t enjoy this trip as much as I might have.

I’d never really considered Paris a ‘must see’ city on my bucket list, but more of a ‘one of these days’ sort of place.  Or at least I’d hope to be able to go with someone special once day.

Originally when I was looking to take some much needed time off in the Spring, I had planned on spending a few days splayed out on a Spanish nude beach.  But a co-worker had just come back from Paris with his wife (for Valentine’s Day no less), and he kept extolling how amazing the city was that I eventually decided to try something new instead of yet another trip to Spain (went to Spain 5 times last year alone…).  He kept raving about how amazing the city was, and how terrific the hotel they’d stayed at was, how easy it was to get around, and so forth.

So out of curiosity, I looked into it and surprisingly found a great Eurostar deal, and the hotel he’d suggested was probably one of the cheapest I’d found (especially when it included breakfast and wasn’t just a single bed).  So in the end I figured why the hell not.

Damn I wish I’d gone to the beach as originally planned…

The first mistake was that stupid hotel.  Sure, it was clean, the (very) basic breakfast was filling enough, the room fairly comfortable, and the neighbourhood was very quiet … all quite good things in the end.  But it basically just felt like any other plain, generic budget hotel chain you could find anywhere in the world, and that was the problem for me.  No Parisian feel to it.

Plus it was SOOOOOO far away from central Paris.  I ended up spending too much time and money on the stuffy Metro system.  And the directions my co-worker had given me took me on a longer and more complicated route to find the place upon arrival.

He clearly didn’t check a map when they went.

There wasn’t much nearby the hotel, and on the Sunday evening literally everything was closed in the area including the restaurants.  So I found myself trekking all over just to find a place open to have dinner and buy cigarettes.  And because I hadn’t planned on that, I didn’t have any transit tickets with me, so had to walk about 45 minutes to get back to the hotel.

Besides the issues with the hotel, I just didn’t find myself excited about being in Paris itself.

Now I’m not sure if it was my disappointment over the hotel, but I just couldn’t get myself excited to tour around Paris.  Sure, I did all the usual things – Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Sacre-Coeur, the Louvre, and so forth – but none of it got me excited or thrilled that I was in Paris.

It also didn’t help things any that I was having issues with the battery on my mobile, as it kept dying on me mid-afternoon.  And this was with me not leaving the hotel until almost noon each day with a full charge.

So more than anything I kept feeling frustrated in Paris.  And as my legs were a bit sore, the last thing I’d wanted to do was to wander the streets like I normally would… so I ended up doing a hop-on hop-off bus tour around the city and only going to the major tourist points.

And for some reason, the last thing I’d felt like doing each night was trek back into central Paris to go out to one of the gay bars.  I’d stopped at one not too far from Notre Dame on my first afternoon there, and I just wasn’t impressed.  And this was a place friends of mine had recommended to me.

So moral of the story?  Do your own research into where to stay.  Go with your gut when picking a location.  And go where you truly want to go, not where everyone says you should.

Next – Part 2 of the trip, and the issues I had on my last day.

Making Plans

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Ok… pet-peeve time.

Am I the only one who gets frustrated with people who’ll agree to potential plans but won’t seem to narrow down a date or time?  Where it feels like there’s more back and forth about when to meet up than there should be?

Why is it so damn hard to pinpoint when and where to meet up with someone?  It isn’t rocket-science after all.

This isn’t a new frustration for me.  I may not be the most decisive person, but I definitely prefer to have a solid idea of what it going on instead of the general vagueness that most seem to live with.  I like to know where and when I need to be somewhere, instead of this floating around some seem to do.

The best example of this is when people say we should ‘hang out sometime’ but never really narrow down when they’d like this to happen.  And god forbid they actually make the effort to actually arrange something.

Maybe this is done as a ‘place-marker’ so they don’t have to actually commit to anything.  Or so they can see if a better offer comes along.  But to then turn around later on and complain that the other person didn’t plan anything, it’s a piss off because they had the opportunity and didn’t even try.

I suppose a lot of people out there (myself included probably) are just waiting on someone else to make the first move in arranging something.  This could be a laziness issue (me LOL), a fear of rejection (me again…), or their lives are already so busy that they don’t have the time to actually plan something (everyone else it seems…).

And speaking of those with the over-active diaries and social lives… They seem quick to say something about meeting up, but never seem to be able to say when they’re available when asked.  And then a month or two down the line, the same conversation starts all over again with the same results.

Or if they do make plans, they don’t seem to even narrow down when it’ll actually happen on the day.  For example, I was chatting to an online mate one Saturday morning about finally meeting up in person for a coffee, and to me the implication was it was going to be earlier rather than later as he said he had things to do later in the afternoon.

But instead they continued to be vague throughout the day about what’s going on and whether or not it was actually going to happen.  The messages back and forth never set down exactly when they wanted to meet up, and it was a lot of ‘I’ll let you know when..’ sort of things.

And to me, that’s the rudest thing you can do to a person.  How self-involved can one person be that they expect the other to just sit around waiting on them to decide they’re finally ready to meet up?  Do they think they’re that important that the world should wait on them?

I may not have had much planned for that day, but I definitely didn’t expect to spend my whole afternoon waiting on him to finally show up just past 4pm.  I had other options for the afternoon and could have done one of them instead.

Oh and if we agree to meet up, then please know WHERE we need to meet.  Don’t tell me it’s around such-and-such area only for me to travel across town to get there, and then an hour or so later you tell me it’s actually a different area that I could have gotten to easily.  And you’re already there waiting for me.

Or when I’m already en-route to where you’d agreed to meet but you suddenly change the location and it’s totally in the opposite direction.  Meaning I now have to spent time re-determining how to get there, and probably back-tracking on myself to get there.

And please, do expect a slap if you even THINK of complaining I’m late after all that shit.  LOL

Manners maketh the man, people…

 

Friendships are Weird

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I’ve always had trouble making friends, and sometimes I think it’s because some people are just weird.  Or at least how they treat their friendships can be.

We all have those friend where it’s hard to recall how the friendship started in the first place… or why it’s even continued to this day.

Or we’ve looked at a friend and wondered why the hell we’re even friends.  There isn’t much in common between us or many mutual friends, and sometimes there are things they do that just make them beyond annoying.

But I think that’s normal.  Or at least I hope it is, because I’m positive there must be some people out there that look at me the same way.  LOL

Now I know I can sometimes have a slightly skewed view on things, and friendships aren’t any different.  And any perceived weirdness may just be in my own head…

I sometimes feel like certain friendships aren’t equally balanced, where the one person’s needs are being met more than the other’s.  Examples of this could be where everyone always ends up doing what the more extroverted person wants, or they tend to steer most conversations towards what they want to talk about.

In fact, when they do monopolise the conversation with a more introverted person, it can become quite difficult for that shyer person to get their point or needs across, let alone met.  Which can become quite frustrating.

And sometimes these overly social people can easily miss the signs that their less-outgoing friends aren’t on the same page as them (or even in the same book).  They can get so focused on their own enjoyment of life that they might not notice that those around them may feel left out or left behind.

Or they’re so busy with their own lives that there’s no time or recognition that perhaps a dear friend may need someone to talk through some things or a shoulder to cry on.  Or even just hang out with without it being a party night or loads of people around.

Or perhaps they do realise the other person needs to talk through things but purposely ignores or pushes it aside so they don’t have to listen to another person’s negativity.

Then there are those in committed relationships who seem to only hang out with other couples, inadvertently excluding their single friends from any plans.  Or even if they do include them, they end up being the only single at the ‘party’.

And of course my biggest pet-peeve is those who’re so wrapped up in their active lives that they don’t realise they’re excluding those who may not be as busy.  I don’t think it’s done with any sort of malice, but there are those out there who’ll make out like they don’t plan anything… but yet they never have any time to hang out.

Or they’ll make you feel bad for feeling left out, making it seem like it’s your own fault because you aren’t making the plans or organising events for people to get together.  That it’s your own fault that people don’t include you.

Obviously every person can manage their lives their own way, and that’s fair enough.  To each their own.  Some just like being busy all the time.

But to me, if you’re so busy that you can’t make time for a supposedly good friend when they need you (and not have to ‘schedule’ it in ahead of time…), then how can you possibly expect them to do the same?

Friendships are weird and wonderful things… but they need to go both ways sometimes.

Just a Face in the Crowd

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Sometimes it’s hard to feel like I stand out in life.  That there’s something about me that makes me unique from everyone else.

And I don’t think this is the same as having a purpose in life.  This is more about feeling like there’s something special about myself that others may find interesting and make them want to get to know me better.

Or perhaps I just feel like I’m a boring person.  That I don’t really have much to talk about when trying to have a conversation with people.

Or maybe I’m just crap at talking about myself.

And as silly as it may seem to some, I actually feel slightly horrified when someone DOES try to engage me in small talk about me and my life.  For whatever reason, I’ll freeze up and act like there’s nothing of interest to talk about.  I’ll literally downplay anything exciting that’s been going on recently.

Curiously when I look back, this has actually been an ongoing thing most of my life.  It’s like if I actually boast about something good that’s been going on, then maybe that other person may figure out that there’s really not much interesting about me.  Or that maybe I really don’t deserve the accolades being given, rightfully earned or not.

Maybe I’m just afraid of being the centre of attention.

Is it a self-confidence issue?  Definitely.

I’m not sure why, but I grew up feeling like I wasn’t good enough or didn’t fit a certain expectation of who I should be as an adult.  As if there was some standard I never felt I could live up to, so ended up spending most of my life feeling less than everyone else around me.

Or perhaps in my youth, it was instilled in me that doing well and showing off how well you did was a bad thing.  That it made me boastful or egotistic in some way to celebrate any accomplishments I might have made.

An example of this was about 9 years ago when I travelled to Copenhagen with my LBGT softball group to compete in the World OutGames.  Because there weren’t enough teams for a proper men’s tournament, the organisers allowed us to compete in another sport of our choosing for no additional fee.

As I’d been bowling since I was 9 years old, I decided it be a laugh to sign up for the bowling tournament.  There were a few other guys doing the same, so I’d still know a few people and wouldn’t feel too out of place around strangers.

Now the big shock was how I somehow found my groove and kicked some serious ass.  And I ended up winning a Gold in the singles competition and a Silver in the doubles.  This was especially shocking as I’d never really won much as a kid/teen in bowling competitions, and was an average bowler at best as an adult.

But afterwards I got all shy and almost embarrassed that I’d done so well in the tournament!

I even tried to hide my medals behind each other as we marched in the Pride parade with the rest of the athletes at the end of the week.  Like most things in my life, I downplayed my accomplishment and even tried to give excuses why I won.

Stupid huh?

I seem to do it in most aspects of my life.  Hell, I even do it with this blog that I’ve been writing for almost 10 years now.  I’ll get all shy when someone shows the least bit of interest in my writing or asks to read any of it, when I should be truly proud of what I’ve created here over the past decade.

Odds are other people probably feel like I stand out more than I think I do and that I am special in some way.  And hopefully one day I can allow myself to feel that about myself too.