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.

Hello again..

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It’s been way too long since I’ve written anything on this blog, other than posting a video here and there.  I think I’m well overdue for sure.

I originally set this blog up to explore my writing, and give myself a creative outlet.  It also gave me an opportunity to let people know about the things going on in my life, whether they lived here in London, or back home in Canada.  And for whomever else around the world who found my ramblings interesting.

The thing is, when I first started this blog, I was still trying to find my way around and set a life for myself in London.  And that has happened.

Just yesterday I realized I’ve been living in London for a whole year now, and it amazes me how things have changed in a year.  Hell, it amazes me how things have changed in the past few months!  The past year has just flown by…

Since moving to the new flat in Vauxhall back in March, life has definitely gotten more interesting.  I find myself getting out there more and more to meet new people, and mainly thanks to joining the London Raiders (a gay/lesbian softball group), I have managed to find an amazing group of friends.

But on top of that, I’ve also changed jobs, not by choice unfortunately.  The company I was working for, an outsourcing call centre in Chiswick/Gunnersbury, had moved me to a temporary campaign a few months ago for a banking group, which was a welcome change form the usual broadband I had been doing for ages.  The problem was, once the call volumes went down and they started looking at cutting people from the campaign, there was nowhere else to move me to in the company.

Now because I was still on a temporary contract after 9 some odd months, they only had to give me a week’s notice that they were letting me out of my contract.  And with the current economic downturn in the UK, I was not looking forward to job hunting .. luckily, I was technically only unemployed for a whole 3 days until I was hired at my new job, at another outsourcing company.  At least it pays the bills…

008Around the same time, I was headed to Copenhagen with the Raiders to participate in the 2nd World OutGames, an event that originated in Montreal while I was living there.  We originally were going to be competing in both men’s and women’s softball, but there weren’t enough teams for a men’s tournament, so instead it was a mixed team tournament .. with 3 teams, and 2 of them from our group.

056Luckily, and this was mostly because our guys complained about the lack of an actual tournament, we were allowed to join a second sport and not have to pay a second registration fee.  So, since I’ve been doing it since I was 9 years old, I signed up for the Bowling competition, and am I ever glad I did – I won the GOLD MEDAL for Singles bowling, and a SILVER MEDAL for Double (Social division)!!!  And on top of that, the softball team I was on won a SILVER MEDAL as well!

That’s right.  I came home a triple medal winner!  Talk about completely unexpected..

On top of the successes of Copenhagen, my social and love lives have been positively in overdrive. Ok, maybe that’s a bit of an overexageration, but it does seem like I’ve been going out more and more lately.  It could partly be due to the summer winding down, and everyone trying to get those last BBQ’s in before it gets too chilly.  Whatever the reason, it’s been lots of fun, and I really don’t want it to stop…

As for my love/sex life, well … I won’t go into too much detail, but let’s just say something has changed over the past couple months.  All of a sudden, I’m getting a lot more attention from guys, and not the usual mingers I usually get hitting on me.  I’ve met and had some fun with some really REALLY good looking guys lately, and more seem to be coming out of the woodwork.  Like, these are guys who probably wouldn’t have even looked at me twice a year ago.  But because I’m probably much more comfortable about myself these days, even if I look exactly the same I did a year ago, I’m drawing these guys in.

Whatever the reason for the added attention, I’ve definitely been enjoying myself.  But the interesting thing is, last weekend I met this handsome, sexy older man (he’s 52!!) for drinks and I can honestly see something coming out of it.  We spent most of the weekend together (and no, it wasn’t all in bed!!), and have been chatting all week since.  I don’t know where it’s going, or even if it is going somewhere, but I’m sure going to go with it for now and see if it leads somewhere.

Of course, I do have my reservations regarding him, mostly due to him having 4 children from his first marriage (to a woman), his impending divorce from his husband (marriage number two..), and his being 16 years older than me, but I’m willing to see.  For now.

Other than all that, life is life – dull, routine, mundane.  Just like everyone else’s life, I suppose.

May have to change that.  😉

~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!