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…

 

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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.

Self-Help (Article) Overload

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Over the past couple of years, I’d gotten into the habit of posting re-hashed versions of self-help articles that others had written. I would read them, and then rewrite them from my perspective.

It works to an extent, as it allowed me to give my opinion on a wide range of topics, most of them being things I felt I was going through at the time. So in my mind, I was sort of doing a bit of self therapy by writing my version of these pieces.

I honestly can’t say if it was a good thing or not, or even it was anything remotely original. Sometimes it even felt like I was just rewording what had already been said instead of actually giving my option on the topic.

But as well, I noticed after awhile that I tended towards two main types of topics – gay dating tips and mental health issues.

And I’m by no means an expert in either subject.

It probably gave a contrasting and possibly confusing blend for those reading my site – one day I’d post about the joys of online dating profiles, and then the next about needing to build up self-esteem.

Or perhaps (to some) it gave them more of an insight into how I viewed the world.. and that’s the perspective I’m REALLY hoping people went for. 😉

For awhile I found myself constantly searching the internet for interesting articles about whatever idea had popped into my head, or whatever depressive or anxiety-ridden ‘symptom’ I’d convinced myself I had that day .. and then any links I didn’t use that day, I would save them in my blog drafts to use another day.

So today (or is it last night now..), I was scrolling through the saved drafts, and it’s a plethora of cheesy and almost ridiculous sounding articles. Though, some could be helpful…

  • 7 Obvious Signs He Wants to Hook Up and Not Date
  • The Thirst is Real (kinda don’t want to know about that…)
  • Secrets of Happily Single Gay Men.. Who Really Want a Boyfriend
  • Writing Your Way to Happiness (I still might read this one..)
  • What Your Friends with Social Anxiety Want You To Know
  • Table For One – The Rise of Solo Dining

And the list goes on and on.. over 100 saved article links or potential post ideas, some even ranging as far back as 2013!!

To be fair, when I was regularly ‘writing’ these posts, it was usually because I wasn’t happy about something in my life so wanted to get some perspective and help myself somehow.

But it was also usually because there really wasn’t much actually going on in my life at that moment (or day), and my own loneliness or insecurities drove me to the keyboard to ‘fix myself’.

I can’t honestly say if that was a good thing or not, if it even helped at the time, or even if I’ll never do it again if I continue to post regularly.

Though I do have to sometimes laugh at myself… posting tips on online dating or maintaining a relationship, when I was sitting home alone and still had never had a boyfriend.

Maybe I was self sabotaging my own personal life by over-thinking it all.

And maybe I still do.. while sitting at home alone. 😉

Nine Months Later…

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Nine months later…

That’s how long ago since I last posted on this site.  Since I decided I needed to take a break, especially as I hadn’t posted much over the course of last summer.

I figured it was the best thing to do.  I was clearly ‘too busy’ with life or work or whatever to keep things going regularly.  I’d felt that I needed to concentrate on other things at the time, instead of spending it writing on here.

Or perhaps I felt I didn’t need this platform any more, be it as an online journal of sorts to ‘talk’ my way through some issue I was having.  Or as a way to showcase my writing.

Or that I’d lost my ‘voice’.

And it was all a load of bullshit.  Excuses, the lot of them.

Yes, work had become a hell of a lot busier and exhausting, which just ended up being an excuse why I’d pulled away from the world.

Why I hadn’t spoken to or seen any of my friends in months.

Why I wasn’t writing anymore.

Why I hadn’t been getting through my (work authorised) online course.

Why I’d started smoking again and gained even more weight.

Why I started a downward spiral into loneliness and depressive behaviours that fed into my feelings of unworthiness.

Why, for all intents and purposes, it basically seemed like I was giving up on life.

And you know what?  I think I was in a way.

I’d convinced myself that nobody wanted to hang out with me, so why bother even trying to reach out to anyone.

That even less people would want to date me, so what was the point of trying to maintain any sort of positive self-image.

That I was going to continue to be stuck in my dead-end job until they forced me out or I died.. whichever came first.

Cheery thoughts, huh?

That’s where I’ve been over the past nine months, more or less.  Some days are better than others, but then there are the ones that just make me want to curl up in a ball and cry.

Or the days that make me hate the world and everyone in it for how I seem to feel like I’m ‘treated’.  But at the same time, I still wished there was just one person by myself willing to comfort me as I battled my way out of the darkness.

Life hasn’t been a complete barrage of doom and gloom for me these past none months.

I’ve gone on a few holidays (as usual), some better than others.  There’s been time spent with friends, and time spent alone.  There’s been laughs and tears.  There’s been lots (LOTS) of good food and some not so good food.

And through it all, I’d felt like something was missing from my life.  That there had to be something that could allow me to focus all this anger, sadness, joy, ennui, confusion, and a million other emotions.

That there was a passion missing from my life that everyone else (seemingly) all appeared to possess.

Was that this blog?  My writing?  My unfinished novel and story ideas that I haven’t touched in about a year?

I honestly don’t know.  And I don’t know if this is my return to my blog or not.

I just know that I felt like writing today for the first time in a very long time.

And it felt great.

London Attacks – The Aftermath

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Seven people have been killed in central London after three men drove a van into pedestrians on London Bridge and launched a knife attack on people enjoying a Saturday night out in pubs and restaurants around Borough Market.

Source: BBC News

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-40147164

It’s a scary world we live in these days.

Last night I was snuggled up on my sofa watching a cheesy movie on Netflix when I started to see reports on Facebook about an attack at London Bridge.  What the police have now labelled a terrorist attack, and was quite similar to the on Westminster Bridge several months back.

I read what I could about it, which wasn’t much at the time, until suddenly there were reports of a second attack (by the same men) in Borough Market, which is right by London Bridge.  Reports of men running around stabbing innocent people as they enjoy a usual Saturday night out in the pubs.

By this time, the news-wires were ablaze of different reports and sightings, and Facebook seemed to be filling with statuses asking if people were ok.

And then about almost 2 hours after the initial attacks at London Bridge, there were reports of a possible third attack in Vauxhall (which isn’t anywhere near the first two) … but in the end this turned out to just be a false alarm as it was ‘just a stabbing’ (if there is such a thing..).

What I found scary is a lot of people I know go out in Vauxhall all the time, and many of them were at Royal Vauxhall Tavern for the usual Saturday night frivolities. Even though it was deemed to not be part of the attacks at London Bridge, there was still a bit of a lock-down at the time in the club to ensure everyone’s safety.

And of course, this does hit somewhat close to home for me as Vauxhall was my old neighbourhood.  I’d lived in the area for almost 5 years and loved (almost) every moment of it.  In fact, I only moved out of the area because I couldn’t afford it anymore.

Of course last night the emotions were flowing quite freely as I read the various news reports about the incidents .. and thought it somewhat sad that the Vauxhall situation was dropped from the news as soon as it was determined to not be part of the terrorist attack.  Regardless of whether it was or not, someone potentially lost their life and that should never be trivialised.

Anyway.. the whole point of these terrorist groups attacking cities like London, Manchester and any number of other cities around the world, is to incite fear and distrust amongst those who live there.  There have been tweets from a certain world ‘leader’ trying to use this latest attack to gain momentum for his travel bans… and that’s just sick.

But as scary as it seemed last night, today just feels like another day living in the big wide world.  And that is a damn GOOD thing.  We can’t allow these religious zealots to make us feel afraid to leave our homes, or to live our lives as we normally would.  We can’t allow them to make us feel bad because of where we live or how we live our lives.

Some may think that’s being callous and inconsiderate to those who did lose their lives or were injured in last night’s attacks, but it isn’t really.  Nobody is saying to forget what happened or act like it never did, because that would be foolish.  We’re not going to pretend it never existed.

Instead, we’re going to use this to bolster our resolve to not give into the terror.  To be more aware of our surroundings, and be alert to those who may want to do us harm.  To maintain our way of life without allowing the terrorists to install bigotry or racism against our fellow Britons, regardless of what faith they may maintain.

What it also does is puts certain things in our lives into a different perspective, and those worries or insecurities from yesterday just seem frivolous.  And last night’s knee-jerk reaction that maybe it was time to leave London now seems silly in the light of day.

I count myself quite lucky that I was nowhere near all of the insanity last night, and that nobody I’m aware of was directly affected by it.  But it doesn’t mean that I’m not peripherally affected by it, same as everyone else who lives in this city.

This is the world we live in, and no matter where you go, things like this will still happen.  So instead of running and hiding, it’s all about getting back out there and continuing to enjoy life as it happens.

Don’t give in to the terror.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40148737

Fat Shamed at the Gym

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I recently had a chance to read the below article about a guy who’s a bit over-weight who was made to feel bad about himself because of his weight.  Have a read:

http://www.gaypopbuzz.com/i-was-fat-shamed-by-a-gay-man-at-my-gym/

Now of course I have several things wrong with this article.. not the least the reaction of the muscle-bound narciscist who’d fat-shamed the author when he’d invited him to going him for a baseball game.

Not a date. Not sex. Not a romantic dinner for two.  A freakin’ baseball game.

Obviously, the author probably was hoping for more than just two ‘bros’ hanging out at the game, but that’s not the way it came across in his invitation.  He just seemed to be trying to be friendly.

And in my opinion, the author had every right to feel bad after the muscle guy tried to ‘fat-shame’ him.  And kudos to him for being able to shed about 100 lbs, and looking to work off a bit more.  It’s never an easy thing to do, and the older you get the harder it is to lose the weight.

Trust me on that one…

One thing I did have an issue with in the article is how the author seemed to buy into society’s view of what is healthy or fit or ‘fat’.  And from a chubby guy’s point of view, it’s like he’s ‘fat-shaming’ himself and anyone else who doesn’t have a trim waist.

He said he was 5’10” and about 200 lbs.. now while that isn’t what society considers as fit or standardly healthy, it isn’t obese either.  Or maybe he’s just going on what he feels is own ideal weight.

When I’d first opened this article, I was hoping for something a bit more enlightening surrounding the experience of being a bigger guy going to a gym.. but instead of being encouraging, the author just allowed himself to buy into the usual sterepotypes of gays in the gym – that they’re only there to hook up.

I’m sure a gym can be a very social place and a great way to meet new people, but if you’re there to focus on exercising, cruising the other guys isn’t going to help you meet your goals in the end.

But perhaps that’s my own insecurities surounding going to a gym getting the better of me.  I haven’t stepped inside a gym in about 3 years, and it had been a good decade before then…

I keep telling myself I’m going to join a gym to help boost my weight loss – especially as it’s ground to a halt after returning from holidays.  I have been trying to keep up my daily walking, with goals to hit 40 minutes or 6000 steps a day, whichever one comes first.

But that’s been a bit hit and miss most days, and my diet hasn’t exactly been the best either… but it’s not bad like it used to be, though I do have my days.  I seem to be alright throughout the day, especially at work, but at night the desire to snack kicks in.

It’s not like I don’t know what I need to do to lose the weight, or what foods I should or shouldn’t eat.  I think at times it’s more about will-power and the feeling like whatever I’m doing it isn’t making much of a difference.

It’s hard when you’re sitting there munching on celery and counting every calorie when the skinny people around you are chowing down on crisps or McDonalds with a care in the world.. and they never seem to gain a single pound.

(yes… I know it’s all about metabalisms and activity levels.. just venting my frustrations and how stressed it makes me.)

Before my holidays I’d lost about 25 lbs, and have surprisingly kept it off a month later which is fantastic.  My goal is to lose another 40 – 50 lbs, which would bring me back to the weight I was abpout 5 years ago.

Just wish there was an easier way to do it.. I hate going to a gym.

Damn, I’m lazy LOL

I’m Feeling Stressed…

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I hate feeling stressed.  It’s an awful feeling and it makes me want to do things I know I shouldn’t – like go off my diet or start smoking again. Neither of which I want to do.

But somethings lately have just been bugging me, and I wish I could exorcise these feelings and get back to working towards a more positive and healthy ‘me’.

Part of all this could be the ‘post-holiday blues’.. since I returned from Gran Canaria a few weeks ago, I’ve been feeling quite ‘blah’ and the typically grey UK weather hasn’t helped any either.

I swear my tan faded the moment I stepped off the plane.  LOL

Not to mention my diet seems to have stalled a bit since I returned.  I seem to eat fairly healthy throughout the day, but once I get home it’s like I have no will power.. and that’s with me rarely buying anything snack-like.

But it’s not like I don’t already have a weekend to Madrid planned in a couple week’s time.  Plus I’m considering going to Naples and Pompeii in early July as a late birthday trip… so I don’t think it’s that.

Perhaps it’s the impending visit from my landlord next weekend and that he’s staying at the flat for about a month – he lives in Belgium but occasionally has to come to London for work so he’s kept a bedroom for himself.

He’s not a bad guy but I don’t feel completely relaxed or comfortable having people over when he’s there.  He knows I’m gay and has said he doesn’t care if I have someone over, but it’s a comfort thing.

But to be honest, him visiting is more of an inconvenience than anything.. and just means I need to make sure I’m wearing clothes when I leave my bedroom.  LOL

Ok… Let’s just face the elephant in the room and address the true source of my current stress load – it’s work.  It was slightly stressful before my holidays and it’s just gotten worse since.

Basically, it was decided last year to bring in a new computer system for our division, and my colleague was jointly tasked with assisting the developers to build it so it was ‘fit for purpose’.  I wasn’t assigned the task at the time as I was expected to be on holidays during the original launch period (end of June 2016).

But since she’s not a technical person and isn’t that good with implementing processes, things kind of went to shit.  Especially as she spent most of her time flirting with the programmer when he’d visit our offices to work on the program together.

Anyway, things kept getting pushed farther and farther back until finally it was realised that what had been build was absolute crap, and it had to start almost from scratch again… so the project was reassigned to someone at the other office and she gotten things done.

And then suddenly things for our part of the division got dropped into my lap a few months back, and I had to get our part up and running via systems testing.  Despite not knowing anything about the program really.

So there I was just before my holidays having to teach myself a program that wasn’t working completely, and go back and forth with the developers to try to mold how things work somewhat.

But as with anything in life, I wasn’t even asked if I wanted to do this.  I was just expected to ‘fix it’ as I’m seen as the ‘computer guy’.  And they’ve now decided that I’ll be our new system’s ‘expert’, meaning any problems people have they’ll come to me for it instead of the developers.

Oh joy… lucky me.

Meanwhile, here we are several weeks after the program launched and my department is the only one who can’t even use it because the developers haven’t loaded our correct rates yet.  The rest of the department is fine for the most part, and they can get things done.  But we can’t.

Like I said to one of our supervisors this morning, it’s like our little department is the forgotten step-child.  And no matter how much I chase things up, it’s like I’m talking to a brick wall.

*Sigh*.. As much as I could say I don’t feel appreciated in my current job, I know that’s not completely correct.  I do get messages of thanks or notes of appreciation from the bosses, but it’s almost to the point where it’s expected that I’ll just get things done.  And quickly and efficiently as well.

I’ve been told that I’m getting another (very small) raise – the 2nd in the last 6 months or so – which is great, but I’ll believe it when I have the signed paperwork in front of me.

I do wonder why I’m still with this company after almost 3 years.  I’m pretty sure I could potentially get more money at other companies, but yet I haven’t been looking around at all.

It’s partly because this office is so convenient to where I’m living (I can literally walk home in just under 45 minutes), but also because I know if I leave this job right now I’ll have to pay them money..

They’re paying for my PRINCE2 certification, and part of the agreement is if I left within 2 years of starting the course then I’ll have to pay back a certain percentage of the costs (standard for most companies these days..).

But is that worth sticking around this place for another 2 years?  Of continuing to feeling used and pushed to do more and more?

I suppose only time will tell.. until then, I need to get studying.  The certification isn’t going to complete itself.

Friends Aren’t Always Forever

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Part of reason I wrote my recent post ‘Friendship Can Be Fleeting‘ was because I’ve been thinking a lot about some of the friendships that have dropped by the wayside over the past year or so.  And some of these friendships were ones that I had expected to last the test of time.

Growing up I didn’t have a lot of truly close friends.  Or at least nobody I could really call my ‘best friend’.  It was usually more about groups of friends all hanging out together, with some hanging out together more than others but I wasn’t always included in that.

But since moving to London, I’d met two different guys that I thought would be there until the end.  We’d talk almost daily about all sorts of shit, even if it was just to bitch about something stupid at work.  And it’s been the relatively recent loss of each of them that has been playing on my mind a bit.

Obviously when I say ‘loss’, I don’t mean that I misplaced them or they’ve passed away or something disastrous happened between us (at least not from my perspective).  They’re just not around any more.  The calls, texts, and messages have withered up and dried up.

And in one case, their profile has suddenly disappeared from my Facebook.

Man And Woman Help Silhouette In MountainsThe first guy is the one that hurts the most, as we’d been friends for over 8 years.  We’d always promised we’d be there for each other no matter what, even if one of us started a new relationship.

We’d been super close for many years and used to go away on weekends together (he lives in Scotland).  We even used to spend out birthdays together each year (2 days apart).

The last time we saw each other was on our birthday weekend in Brighton almost 2 years ago, and he’d been a bit out of it.  He finally told me a few months later that he’d been distracted as there was someone at his work he really fancied… and it was a woman.

I’d only known him as gay, so was a bit shocked initially but it didn’t change anything.  I didn’t care that he was suddenly interested in a woman instead of guys. I was just as encouraging regarding his feelings towards this woman as I would have been if it was a man.

Love is love, after all.

And all through the initial dating bits, I was still there as normal.  I listened to his insecurities and gave advise where I could, and so forth.  And I waited for details on how their first date went.  As normal.

But once they actually started dating, the messages from him slowly started to petter out until the point where a general message went unanswered by him for months. At one point when things were a bit rocky between them, suddenly he was there again to chat.. but then it was back to silence once they got back together.

20130206112854socially-awkwardOh, and they’ve come to London together twice since they got together, and I only found out after the fact or once I’d seen it on Facebook.  There was no suggestion of me meeting his lady friend.

One of the last actual conversations we had, he was trying to get me to become Facebook friends with one of his mates up in Scotland (that I’d met once years ago).  Because his mate needed other ‘gay friends’.

Riiight…

He’d recently promised to be in touch on a certain day to chat.. but that was over a week ago and I’ve not heard anything.  It’s almost seemed like he’s tried to distance himself from all his old gay friends…

As for the other guy, well… I kinda saw it coming to an extent, as he’d done it before.

We’d first met over 5 years ago when I lived in Vauxhall, and initially we were casually seeing each other for a bit before he cooled things off because ‘he didn’t want a boyfriend’, and then ended up with a boyfriend within a couple months.

A year or two later we had a bit of a blow up after a night out at a club where he ditched me to head home with his ‘neighbour’ (he was single again at this point).  I wrote about it in a fit of anger at the time (click HERE to read), which he subsequently read and blasted me for.

That was the first time he’d ‘dumped’ my friendship.

Then a couple years ago he’d messaged me out of the blue, and after awhile we ended up being just friends again.  In fact, during a quite low period of mine he was one of the few people that had stayed by me, allowing me to rant and rave about my feelings.

39th-birthday-cheaters-250But then things started to change once he started working from home, as he stopping hanging out socially with me.  In fact, he wouldn’t even come out for my birthday last year because he wasn’t feeling ‘social’ and had too much work to do.

Communication between us started to become less frequent, and when I did hear from him, it was like he was completing a chore. Like he felt obligated to check in on me or something.

And when we would talk, he would always try to deflect any discussions about his life.  And would seem like he barely listened to what I was saying based one his responses.  It was odd.

In the last conversation we had end of July, he briefly mentioned that he’d started a new job and had moved flats to a different part of London.. over a month prior! And when I asked why he hadn’t told me sooner, he said ‘I’m telling you now’ as if I was prying.

During that conversation it was clear he wasn’t listening or interested in what I was saying, but when I’d said something about being unhappy at work, he responded ‘that’s good’. I’d called him on it at the time, but it was brushed off once again..

And that was it.  It wasn’t too long after that I noticed that he’d either deleted his Facebook profile or had blocked me.

Ummm.. bye?

Obviously I’m well aware that changes happen in all of our lives, and sometimes people do drift apart.  But regardless of how it happens, it still hurts when you’re the one left behind wondering what happened.

It can make life quite lonely when it feels like there’s nobody to talk to on a regular basis.

80 Days and Counting

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November 22nd, 2016.

That’s a day I’ll keep in mind for awhile.  For most people, it’s just a day like any other.  It’s not a holiday or someone’s birthday or anniversary.  It’s just another day really.

Only it’s not for me – It’s the day I quit smoking.

Well, sort of.

Some might say that I’ve just swapped once vice for a new one, as I’m now using a Vape e-cigarette instead of actually smoking.  But to me, it’s just a stepping stone to actually becoming smoke-free in the future after about 25 years of it.  I hope.

It hasn’t been a walk in the park, to say the least.  I really loved the act of smoking (though not necessarily the smell of them).  That first drag off of a badly needed cigarette was absolutely bliss, almost orgasmic.  And the cravings for the act of smoking itself has been almost frenzied at times.

But I’m getting there, one day at a time.

For some reason, after the weekend previous to the above date, something in me snapped.  Just the thought of having a cigarette made me cringe with disgust.  For the first time in my life.

smoking12This change was two-fold as far as I could tell.

Firstly, like most people, it easily had to do with money.  Since April, I’d mostly been smoking duty-free cigarettes I’d purchased from abroad or friends had picked them up for me on their travels.

Basically, the thought of going back to paying UK prices for cigarettes made me cringe.  And with recent/new regulations, it meant things were just going to get more expensive.

But mostly I think it had to do with a (naked) house party I’d attended that weekend.

At one point during the party, I was chatting with a few guys near the garden door as I faffed with the host’s bathrobe (garden was overlooked, and it was easier than finding my clothes upstairs).  And perhaps it was just my imagination, but there seemed to be a sense of pity from them about the lengths I was going to have a cigarette.

I suddenly felt desperate and slightly pathetic about it all.  And I suddenly wondered why the hell I was still doing this to myself after two and a half decades… and just thinking about that length of time really pulled me up short.  It was quite jarring to suddenly realise I had been smoking for more than half my life.

Fucking hell…

So that Monday morning, I only had 1 cigarette left in my pack which I smoked on my way to work.  And I had absolutely no desire to buy another .. though I did bum a couple smokes off of a colleague that day to get me through.

Instead I’d decided I’d give vaping a try for a bit, and went to the local vape shop near my flat to see what options there were.  I’d heard of many people who’d turned to vaping and seemed to be doing quite well.  The model I’d decided on was out of stock, so had to come back the next evening.

So I bought my last 10 pack of cigarettes on my way home, purposely choosing a brand I didn’t normally smoke or enjoy.

vape-penAnd so far, after just over 80 days of not smoking, I’m still going strong and have only had 2 cigarettes since – one Christmas Eve, and one on a night out with colleagues when we were quite drunk.

And interestingly, neither cigarette made me want to buy a pack or start smoking again.  That alone is a good sign.

But there has been a down side as well… I’ve been gaining weight like crazy since quitting. And as a bigger guy already, it was something I didn’t need.

I had hoped by switching to the vape that the weight gain could have been prevented, and that perhaps I would start getting a bit more active.  But unfortunately, the on-and-off-again foot/ankle/knee issues I’ve been having since coming back from Canada in October haven’t helped at all.

In fact, it’s made me quite lazy.

So now here I am, more than 80 days later, and I’m having to work on my health issues alongside my pseudo non-smoking habits (I don’t really use the vape that much some days).  I don’t necessarily eat that badly most days, but it’s more about the quantities and the lack of exercise.

And I definitely had a shock upon weighing myself last week… I’ve topped out at almost 21 stone (that’s around 300 lbs or 130 kg… fuck 😦 ).

So… now I’ve started to watch my caloric intake and make myself walk a bit every day, even part way to work/home a few times a week.  And I’ve signed up for the free ‘gym & swim’ card at my local council’s leisure centre that will allow me to use the facilities in the afternoons on the weekends and any time on Fridays.

Hopefully with these little changes, things can improve somewhat.  I’m sure a part of my recent lack of feeling social has a lot to do with this, and each have impacted the other.

Oh and hopefully I can lose a few pounds before my next holiday in Gran Canaria.. I’m fairly comfortable in just my skin and all, but not when I’m feeling like a beached-whale. 😉

Close up of bare chested man holding scissors and squeezing stomach

Close up of bare chested man holding scissors and squeezing stomach