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.

Gay Bowling League – Finals!

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spaceballspaceballLike I mentioned quite awhile back, I joined a Gay Bowling League as run by the London Raiders, a Gay Softball League.  Well, last night was the ‘Finals’ or championship if you prefer.

bowlingAll the teams were divided into 2 divisions, Cup and Plate, based on the points they’d accumulated over the course of the ‘season’.  Our team was put into the Plate group, and starting the finals, we were in the lead.

Well, not that surprisingly, our team, the Pin Bowl Wizards, won our division!  Then again, our Plate division was the bottom half of the teams…

Anyway, normally I’d meet up with Andrew beforehand for dinner at Nando’s and then we’d go to the lanes together.  Last night though, I had to meet up with James beforehand in order for us to finalize the paperwork for the new flat and literally sign off on the lease.

Which was something like 25 some odd pages, and we had to initial each page!!  I swear, there were clauses in there for every little thing you could think of.  Craziness.

Once I sorted all that out with James, off I went to the bowling alley.. and I was there a lot earlier than I thought I would be.  I probably could have still met Andrew for dinner after all, but it would have been rushed.

The night went well, with us killing the first team we played against, and then us having to go up against our direct competition for the last game.  Going into last night, they were only 4 points behind us.

Well, all of our team spent the entire game watching the scoreboard closely while they drank pitchers of beer and just had fun.  Sure we beat them and all, but we had to stop ourselves from staring at the scores several times.  Basically, we got all competitive and forgot to have fun with it until almost the end of the game.

The funny thing was, I got put up against their spare bowler, who’s this cute little bear-cub-type guy.  All during the game, we didn’t even say a word to each other (apparently he’s really competetive too), then afterwards we were joking around and giving each other a big hug like we’ve known each other for ages.  Odd for someone I haven’t met before .. I think.  He looks familiar from somewhere.  Probably online or maybe I’ve seen him at some bar at some point.  Who knows..

Anyway .. so now the bowling season is over, and this weekend they’re having their first training session for the softball.  I still haven’t decided if I want to join the softball league (I haven’t played since probably the mid-80’s .. LOL), but if I do it would definitely be great way to continue to meet new people, and it would also give me a bit of exercise every week.

There’s a ‘Meet the Raiders’ event this Friday night in Soho, so I think I’ll probably go to that and decide from there.

Wonder if that cute guy will be there .. LMAO

~M

The Gay Bowling League

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So, last night I went to a Gay Bowling League run by the London Raiders as a spare bowler.  This was thanks to an invite from my friend Andrew, to whom I’d happened to mention about finding a gay bowling league just before New Year’s (see Looking for a Few Good Friends).

Just to explain, the London Raiders is a gay softball league that plays fairly regularly throughout the Spring/Summer, has been known to go to other countries for tournaments, and is planning on going to the 2008 Out Games in Copenhagen this July.  A few years ago, they attending the inaugural Out Games in Montreal.  I’m amazed I didn’t meet any of them back then, as I was living in Montreal at the time.

Anyway, the bowling league is only held once a month, usually near the begining of the month, at a bowling alley near Elephant & Castle Station.  The alleys aren’t the nicest in the world, and the balls are so dirty (no puns, please… we had enough of those tonight!), but it was a cozy place.

One thing I should explain is I can bowl fairly well, eventhough I haven’t really bowled in the past 10 years.  I started bowling when I was about 9 years old, and spent pretty much every Saturday morning/afternoon at the bowling alley during the school year in a youth bowling league.  Then, once I graduated from the youth league at 18, I became a bowling coach for that league, and by that time I was also working at the alleys after school and on weekends.  Needless to say, for a couple years, I spent quite a lot of time at the bowling alley between working there, coaching, and bowling in several leagues myself.  I quit bowling at one point because it became too competitive and wasn’t fun anymore.

So, when I’d decided I wanted to find a gay bowling league in London, I definitely just wanted to find one that was for fun, and wasn’t too serious.  This decision was also due to me wanting to start making some new friends outside of the usual gay/bar/club scene.  And this definitely seems to be a good choice on my part.

Since the bowling didn’t start until 8pm, Andrew and I decided to grab some supper at the nearby Nando’s retaurant (basically a sit-down chicken shop as far as I’m concerned), and then head on over.

Once at the lanes, we looked for his team captain, Jane, and he immediately introduced me as a ‘ringer’ and that I could bowl over 200 … and then repeated it to the others on the team.  Great … now there was pressure for me to be good.  I just wanted to have fun.  lol

Well, I did have fun, and I kicked ass on the lanes.  Where everyone else was struggling to get over 100, I easily sailed past 150 during the first game and our team won 6 out of the 7 points available.  And then during the second game against a different team (moved lanes), we easily kicked ass, again winning 6 out of the 7 points.

And I bowled a 202 game, and that was with me fucking up the last 2 or 3 frames (I was trying too hard at that point).

Oh, and did I mention we were all drinking during this as well?  I wasn’t anywhere near drunk, but I was feeling pretty good after 2 pints and 2 large bottles of cider (about 1.5 pints per bottle).  I’d had loads of practice way back when drinking and bowling, and not getting so pissed I couldn’t bowl.

Anyway, throughout the night I got to know the team members, including an older gay couple (Rob & Ricky), who were both very touchy-feely but not in a pervy sort of way.  The rest of the team (other than Andrew) were lesbians who were quite sweet and friendly.

And by the end of the night, all of them told me I HAD to come back next month and keep coming back.  In fact, Jane even went so far as to say she’d become a non-bowling team captain if it meant I could bowl in her stead.

In other words, I’ve been drafted in the London Raiders Bowling League.  Exactly what I was hoping for, and I can’t wait to go again!

Looking For a Few Good Friends

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As most people in my life know, I moved to London about 4 months ago from Canada and I’ve had an amazing time setting up my life here.

Unfortunately there’s a few things missing, namely some romance (see Eternally Single) and some good friends.  Sure there are other things as well, like a decent career (don’t get me started on working in call centres, please!) or a place to truly call home, but I don’t want to go into those right now.u0205_colton_03_x322

I literally mean that I need to find myself some people I can truly calls friends … and haven’t either already slept with them, or want to.  I never claimed to be an angel, I just come across that way … well, maybe in my dreams.  😉

Since moving to London, I have met a couple of people that I can call friends, but none of them would be even remotely considered a ‘best’ friend, let alone a close one.  To me a close/best friend is someone who wants to talk to you basically every day, and right now I’m lucky if my mobile even rings once a day … and that’s usually a text message, not someone calling.

Also, some of these new ‘friends’ are people I work with, and I’ve noticed that when you’re not at work, you don’t hear from them.  That doesn’t work for me either.

Once again, I’ve been given the same advice regarding this as I was about being so painfully single: that I need to be patient because I’ve only been in London for 4 months.  I understand the advice, but you’d think after 4 months I’d have met at least one person that wouldn’t mind hanging out on a fairly regular basis.

I think what I’m having trouble adjusting to living here in London, is that people here are always busy.  They always have somewhere to go and someone to meet.  They always have something to do, and right now I feel like I’m floundering.

Luckily, this is something I can do something about.  Thanks to my friend Andrew (who I briefly dated a couple of months ago), I’m joining a gay bowling league of sorts.  It’s actually a softball league, but they bowl in the off-season, and this could be a good way for me to start making some new friends … in a non-sexual way.  I’d been contemplating joining some kind of group like this for awhile now, and it was just good timing when Andrew mentioned it to me over drinks just before New Year’s.

So, hopefully joining this group will not only give me something to do once or twice a month, but it’ll hopefully lead to me actually meeting some new people in London.  My fingers are crossed … just have to relax and remember it won’t all happen in one night.

Wish me luck!