Tag Archives: lessons learnt

Duality.

Sometimes I think I try too hard; the key to not losing ones sanity seems to be try as little as possible-that way if you fail, it won’t hurt as much.

That’s always been my attitude to life-particularly in things which I know I will be no good at: from the inconsequential, like sport, to the absolutely essential-my career. I put in as little effort as I can get away with, because I know, deep inside, that I am no good.

Can I safely say that I’ve put my heart and soul into proving myself at my job? Of course I can’t. Because whilst I could be doing things to better myself career wise, things like reading scientific articles or even preparing to return to uni by getting a start on my subjects, which I hasten to add, will be completely new to me; I am sitting around, twiddling my thumbs, reading fucking worthless shit on buzzfeed and obsessively checking tinder and Grindr every few minutes. As though I would have suddenly become popular in that short span of time.

I could be doing something infinitely more valuable with my free time and instead, I am dragging my feet and wasting that precious time. With the amount of free down time I’ve had at work in the past year, I could have done several online courses, written a book, learnt mandarin, learnt how to cook properly, found a boyfriend (haha, that’s a big joke…); point being I could have achieved something, I could have been a contender, to quote On The Waterfront.. But I didn’t.

Choice is a very loaded term; because yes, some things you can choose, some are already chosen for you. I could have chosen to spend my free time in a more constructive manner. I could have made that commitment towards.. something. Instead I made the choice to focus inward, to try and force love to happen; and love-well that’s one thing you cannot choose.

Sometimes, I read stuff that I’ve written, when I am in a more stable frame of mind and I wonder. I wonder how I could be so together in that moment, how perceptive I am, how rational compared to the shithole irrational person I am at times. I can accept that I have a duality in my nature; I can accept that-I have to accept that. But what I cannot accept is that I should know better and I don’t; that I continually make the same mistakes over and over again. And I continually point out that I make those mistakes, and yet I can’t seem to make the lesson stick (another familiar and overused line in my writing oeuvre). I feel like some, if not most of my readers are so tired, so very sick of the familiar path that I tread. I feel like some of them have given up on me as I have already given up on myself…

I know and don’t learn. That’s who I am, that is the duality in my nature; to be both extremely self aware and yet so absolutely stupidly ignorant.

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Now and then..

Dear past self,
It’s me, your future writing. This isn’t some kind of Lake House shit with a magic postbox or anything… These are just some things which I wish you knew back then.

It’s not a shameful thing to still be a virgin. There was no need to rush into losing your virginity. You weren’t missing out on anything earth shattering, I can assure you of that much…. You should have kept your sense of your own worth. You shouldn’t have just given your virginity to the first person who came by, like it didn’t mean anything. Because it does. And once you sold it at such a low price, your own sense of self worth was debased. I am not blaming you, but from the distance of time, it seemed like a really stupid thing to do. So what if your younger sister was getting it on? What crime would it have been to have saved it for a man who would have truly valued it?

Ah, past self. I wish you hadn’t confused love and desperation. When you are desperate, you sell yourself short. Yes, certainly there was a swelling panic at the aegis of time. But look where it’s gotten us? In the future, where I am, you are still where you started out from, single with no prospects. I wish you hadn’t gotten into such hungry desperation that you threw yourself, unblinkingly, blindly into the arms of the first man who showed you any interest. I wish you hadn’t sold yourself so short and bent over backwards just so that this man would not leave. Look where that got you…

Past self; if there’s one thing I wish you had understood then, it’s to have put yourself first; to always ask ‘what is it that I want?’ Not ‘what is it that other people want for me.’ Yes, had you thought things through, you would undoubtedly have taken a different route. Sure, in terms of the career, you had to do what you had to do: the stark choice was to go home to a country where your sexuality would have been repressed; so I understand, it had to be done. But past self; I wish you hadn’t been so scared of trying new things, I wish you had joined the gay swim club earlier; I wish you had taken the opportunity to mingle with other gay men who would have guided you through your early days of being a homosexual. You would not have believed, mistakenly, that shows like Queer As Folk were an accurate representation of what gay life involved; that all gay men slept around, went to clubs and freely gave their bodies away, all in the name of liberation. What was so liberating about having a different man each week? What was so freeing about being on your knees in a club toilet blowing of a man you didn’t even know? And as much as you call it experimentation, rebellion even, I know that you felt dirty after. I know that you would come home, lie in bed and cry. It was empty, and I wish you’d known it enough then to have stopped.

Past self, I wish you hadn’t given your heart away so easily; I would have told you that you and D would never have lasted. And that M was bad news right from the start. A was never going to have found you an equal. I wish you hadn’t tried so hard with them that you tried to be what you thought they wanted. It wouldn’t have worked. I wish you hadn’t given up your spirit, your fierce unwillingness to compromise. Just because you were lonely. Weren’t you lonelier when you couldn’t be who you really were with these men?

Past self, I know that were you to meet me, you would insouciantly ask me what the fuck happened. How did we end up this way, you would ask. This isn’t what you wanted, I am aware. You never wanted to end up a sad sack 30 year old with no idea of what he wants and no genuine prospects. And I apologise. Because as the years went by, past self, we kept making the same mistakes; and with each mistake, I got more brittle. I am sorry we ended up this way. But I cannot go back and fix it. Neither could you have known this was the future.

All we can do now, is to ensure our future self is fixed. To do that, I must embrace my past self, and integrate those lessons I learnt the hard way into my life. Past self, I promise you that our future will be brighter…