How In The Hell You Love Yourself?

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This was how I rocked up to work on the day that my company turned pink in support of Cancer Research (note the sparkly pink nails!) Now this is a far cry from how I would normally dress. Normally, given the choice, I’d sport all black with maybe a dark coloured t-shirt but I wanted to be fun and participate in the event. Sadly not a lot of people followed suit.

Now I’ll begin with the positives. I got a lot of compliments on my “barbie” t-shirt which, if you know me at all, is actually Trixie Mattel but perhaps that was a little too niche for the small town folk where I live. I also got a lot of compliments on my Grease Pink Ladies jacket.

I did also receive my fair share of small-town gossip, gender prejudice and basic sexism/homophobia. One person said “I hope you’re not going out like that, you’ll get the wrong kind of looks.” Another one asked “Why does it say Ladies on your jacket when you’re a man?” And I got a lot of Princess and Barbie comments.

Something I did rather enjoy was the personality that came out when my confidence came through. It was a defence mechanism but my brain was already planning responses to comments before they were even said. Somebody asked me if Danny was picking me up after work for some Summer Lovin’, to which I replied “There are worse things I could do.” Or when somebody else asked me which Pink Lady I was supposed to be, my reply was “I can be whichever one you want.” It was a kind of confidence I’d never expressed when other people were around.

But my confidence didn’t last very long and after about three hours I was ready to call it a day and never leave my room again for a couple of weeks. What could possibly have happened that is so drastic? Well, his name’s Charley. If you follow this blog then you know about Charley. He comes into my work and I’m fairly besotted with him because he’s gorgeous. I don’t have the confidence to talk to him (because he’s young and cute and I feel old and overweight) but recently a friend at work happened to let slip to him that he had an admirer (that admirer would be me!) Apparently, according to her, he was flattered etc. I found all this out on Wednesday and the first time I saw him was today, when I was dressed in my Pink Ladies and Trixie Mattell outfit.

Well, he didn’t say anything. I was operating the self-serve checkouts and he always goes through self-serve, apart from today when he decided to go through a manned checkout. Well, I felt like I was being ignored or at least avoided. And it made my confidence come back down to earth with a thud.

I’ve spoken of love and lust before and about how sometimes I don’t feel that I’m anybody’s type and that I’ll be eternally single. In my head I had built my hopes up to when I next saw Charley that he might initiate a conversation and then I’d be able to go from there with things. His avoidance of me was a bludgeon to my soul. And it’s funny how one simple thing can undermine all of the compliments you’ve had during the day. Suddenly I felt like a freak and an idiot for even attempting to step outside of my comfort zone.

The sad thing is that I did like the outfit. I like sort of cosplay movie/video game drag and since watching RuPaul’s Drag Race I’ve found myself able to admit that to myself and others. But I’m so desperate for love that I’m willing to bend and break who I am just to fit other people’s likes. Like now, I have a list in my mind of things I want to change to make me more of a person that Charley would like. I see the slightly camp things I like (high heels and drag) and want to change them because what if that’s what he doesn’t like about me? I want to lose weight because I feel I’m too fat for anybody to ever love. I want to basically change myself to be the ideal person for Charley, but I know then that I won’t be me.

There’s a sort of resentment too, that this would be the first day I see Charley since he found out I liked him, and I was dressed like that. Surely it shouldn’t make a difference but I need something to blame about why he doesn’t like me and I’m currently inclined to blame the outfit. If, next time I see him, he doesn’t talk to me, I will blame something else; my hair, my weight, my glasses etc. The list goes on.

This shows up in other ways too. I’ve been considering getting a tattoo for a long time but I recently read on somebody’s dating profile “I hate tattoos” and so now I’m scared to get one because what if my ideal guy (perhaps Charley) hates tattoos? Then I’ll end up hating that about myself because I feel it’s preventing me from getting love.

What I really wanted was some open and honest advice about how to love ones self and how to be comfortable in doing things you want to do. How do you say “Fine, if you don’t like that part about me then that’s your problem because I’m not changing it.” And when I hear about the drag performers from Drag Race having boyfriends or husbands or partners, I wonder how they were comfortable enough with their drag side to attract a partner that was also comfortable enough with that side of them?

 

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The Problem With Love, Simon

It’s rather painful to write this because I actually did and do adore Love, Simon. It’s a brilliant story that I hope helps and brings comfort to those going through a similar predicament. However, this isn’t a review of the film, if you want that then you can go here. This is sort of a review of the impact it had on my mental health.

As we know I struggle with jealousy and so advanced screenings, journalist screenings, private screenings, celebrity interviews and other such media benefits have had me sort of unsure as to whether life is worth it recently. I’ve been such a huge fan of the book and the film since I saw the trailer that it actually caused me to have a mental breakdown seeing other people getting these benefits. (Fun story, I actually had to leave work early because of a mental breakdown after seeing Riyadh Khalaf post on twitter an excerpt from his interview with Nick Robinson and Katherine Langford).

My first thought of this film was about how old it made me feel. I’m not a teenager anymore, pushing close to my thirties if we’re being honest, and I struggle with the idea of life not having as much opportunity as it does when we’re teenagers. Simon talks about how everything will be different when he goes off to University and can live as himself, I miss having this optimism because I certainly don’t see a lot of hope in my future.

Along with feeling old, this made me feel like my best days are behind me. My time to achieve anything has gone and the cast of this film is primarily younger than me and so they’ve already achieved more in their life than I ever will. I struggle with not blaming my parents for this because of the way I was raised and the singular focus on traditional masculine pursuits (mainly sports because acting was not a consideration of my parents).

And do you ever get nostalgic for your teenage years? Not just the blind optimism that comes with them but that almost total lack of responsibility you have? I still don’t know how to be an adult properly and I don’t feel I properly progressed from being a teenager to being an adult so now I just feel like a broken adult.

As much as I miss my teenage years, I’m also quite sad that they weren’t as entertaining. Like, my first kiss wasn’t until I was twenty-one, I never went to high-school dances, I’ve never had a boyfriend, and never got invited to parties and it’s these sort of “firsts” (the cliche ones you see in all teenage movies) that I just somehow feel like I missed out on. I never did the usual teenage thing of just cutting loose and having fun and so when Simon gets drunk and sings Karaoke at a party it made me wish I had days like that as a teenager. Or when he gets a kiss on the Ferris Wheel. Or when he kisses Blue when they get into the car. It’s all just that teenage feeling that I’m nostalgic for, although can you be nostalgic for something you’ve only ever seen in movies and never experienced?

As you’ve probably guessed by the title of the film Love, Simon is a love story. I find it very difficult to swallow because it’s an uplifting, positive gay love story and I just don’t feel that same positivity towards my own love life. Not only do I miss the idea of a hopeful future but I also feel that I will be eternally single and so the idea of somebody else having a happy love story is a difficult idea for me to accept. Let’s also not mention about how I had to go to the cinema on my own to see this film because I have basically zero friends at this time.

Okay and let’s be honest, Nick Robinson is hot. I get this feeling with hot guys all the time. I love seeing them (because let’s face it, who doesn’t?) but at the same time I feel my crippling ugliness and insignificance just reinforced by their beauty. And so the inevitable beauty I see in them soon just turns into hatred for myself and it becomes very difficult to see them (this happens with real people too, not just celebrities) without feeling like dirt on their shoe.

And let’s talk about the teachers in the film. The teachers jump on any hint of homophobia and try to stomp it out immediately. This isn’t real life. I went through years of bullying and the teachers, despite numerous complaints, did absolutely nothing about it. This is why I don’t get a very positive mental attitude whenever school situations are portrayed. Also the classmates rally around Simon and support him when he needs it. Something else that wasn’t realistic for me. Sure, I had friends who supported me (I argue that maybe that shouldn’t be plural) but never did I receive the kind of support from other students or teachers that Simon does.

My depression is also a product of my own daydreams too. For a while I’ve had this idea that Charley, a guy who comes into my workplace and is openly gay, would be at the screening. He’d see me, recognise me from work and then, after the film, would come up to me and talk to me. Yeah, my brain really just sets me up for disappointment because realistically I know the chances of that happening are very low but there’s a tiny bit of my brain that believes there’s a possibility and that part seems to have priority. So you can imagine the onset of depression when I’m sat in a room with not only no Charley but no gay guys in general, and instead it’s full of teenage girls and their mums.

Represent!

My family is a bit like the American Military circa 1995; Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

I have two nephews; Lucas, who is five, and Milo, who turned two today. For Milo’s birthday I decided to buy him some new books (having grown exceptionally tired of reading the same ones a hundred times), and I knew about Olly Pike and his LGBT+ and diverse children’s books. And so I bought three; Jamie, Prince Henry and Princess Penny and The Pea.

Growing up I always assumed my family to be quite liberal and open but since coming out I’ve realised that’s not exactly the case. My family has never been completely comfortable with the “political correctness gone mad” that the world seems to be embracing. My mother has even said the brilliant phrase “I don’t have a problem with gay people, I just don’t want the media shoving it down my throat” which she thought was an innocent enough comment to make. But that was also why I wanted to buy the books, as an education for them as well.

My brother didn’t exactly welcome the books with open arms. In fact his tone was quite accusatory and I believe he thought I was doing something rather insidious by buying the books. Like the indoctrination of the Hitler Youth, I think my brother thought I was trying to brainwash his children into believing “Gay Is The Way”.

At first glance my brother saw Princess Penny and The Pea and proclaimed “Is she in a wheelchair? Oh god.” He then went on to at least open the book titled Jamie before shaking his head and exclaiming “Oh god, they don’t have wicked step-sisters anymore, it’s step-brother’s now.” With an eye-roll and an audible sigh.

I tried to explain to my brother that they were supposed to be books to help Lucas and Milo realise that people are different and that there’s nothing wrong with it and they shouldn’t be treated any differently, but he didn’t buy it. “Why do they have to be gay? Or disabled? Or anything like that?” Because, as I tried to explain to him, there are too many books written about straight, able-bodied, cis men and women. But, once again, I was accused of pushing an agenda onto his children. Even when you try and explain that Princess Penny’s disability is never explicitly stated in the story, he replied with “why put her in a wheelchair then?” Because she’s a person and some people are in wheelchairs.

“If you had kids,” He began saying, “would you be comfortable with me buying them books about football players and stuff like that?” What he failed to see was the difference in representation between the two; you cannot for one moment believe LGBT+ people are as represented in the media as professional football players. You can pick up a children’s book about football in pretty much any shop you go into, you have to specially search for LGBT+ inclusive literature. But, yes, I’d be fine if I had children and he wanted to buy them a book about football. If he wanted to open their eyes to a world they didn’t know existed and teach them about a subject they knew nothing about, then yes, go ahead.

“But they’re too young to understand that sort of thing.” A child is never too young for understanding acceptance and tolerance of other people. I don’t know what age he thinks is appropriate for children to learn about LGBT issues and diversity because you see straight relationships portrayed in children’s media all the time.

You see I’ve written before about my nephews and about how sometimes my family doesn’t realise what they’re saying, like when they say “pink is for girls” or “only girls paint their nails” (to the point that Lucas told me the other day that boys painting their nails is disgusting).

I think I’m sort of treating the kids how I would have liked to have been treated. Not in a “living vicariously through them” sort of way, but more in the way that I wish I had somebody in my family who was open enough for me to talk to when I was feeling alone and scared. I also know the implications that growing up in a very binary gender household, with no alternatives to the stereotypical masculine hobbies and past-times, can have on a person’s mental health.

I’m not asking for them to specifically sit down and explain to them the ins and outs of the LGBT+ society and explain what every single letter means, or even the many ways in which a person can end up disabled, but by including books featuring these people it allows them to ask questions when they’re ready. Just put the books into the list of books you already read to them and it’ll be fine.

Twitter Policy

Twitter has a history of banning people for stupid reasons whilst letting other people get away with whatever they want. Well, this came up on my timeline earlier:Banningreason

Yes, somebody got their account temporarily limited for saying the phrase “kill me now”.

I’m not sure how much of a secret it is considering the kind of things that Twitter actually lets you get away with, but it’s true, in the terms and conditions you’re not allowed to post anything suicidal.

Let’s first address why this is.

A few months back I read an article where somebody had been murdering teenagers he met on social media platforms. The way he gained his victims trust was through “mutual understanding of suicidal tendencies”. Whether he did or did not have suicidal tendencies is not the issue, the issue is that this person used social media to seek out, manipulate and ultimately murder those in need of serious help. So it’s sort of understandable, knowing that there are people out there like this, that you wouldn’t be allowed to talk about suicide on social media. Not to mention, as I’ve been told many times before, talk of suicide is a buzzkill and people don’t really want to hear about it. For some it’s too raw, for some it’s too real and for some it’s just simply something they want to ignore.

I do suppose the smallest amount of kudos in the world goes to Twitter for at least putting “Please know that there are people out there who care about you, and you are not alone”. I say this because it’s really not that comforting if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts and when you see this treatment happen to somebody using “kill me now” in a rhetorical way, it sort of undermines everything because you know it’s not coming from a place of care, it’s just coming from a computer whose algorithm has picked up on the words “kill me”.

So if somebody is legitimately saying they want to commit suicide and you temporarily limit their account, what does this mean? Well, as seen above it means you can only send Direct Messages to people who follow you. This seriously cuts down the social interaction portion of the social media platform. So if, like me, you don’t have a lot of “real life friends” and a lot of your interaction is online, then you are essentially isolating somebody who is already feeling isolated. You’re not helping them down off of the ledge, you’re simply moving the crowd away and then pushing them closer to the edge. It’s possibly the worst way that you could deal with somebody who is actually going through a suicidal time.

And what you’re actually doing is adding to the stigma of suicide. Instead of getting in touch with the individual with some links to suicide hotlines in their country or groups that could help, you’re just putting a finger over their mouth and whispering “Shhh, nobody wants to talk about that” which just makes them feel even more marginalised and abnormal. You’re stopping people asking for help because you’re telling them it’s something to be ashamed of or afraid of when in reality it’s just something that you need to work through with help. The key point here is “with help” because I don’t know of anybody who got through suicidal tendencies alone and so if you take away their social interaction then they’ve suddenly got less people to help them.

Let’s also touch briefly on the idea of why people have suicidal tendencies. There are hundreds, if not thousands of reasons, but I’ll tell you one of mine; loss of control. When I feel my life isn’t mine to live then sometimes I consider whether it’s worth living any longer. So on Twitter I have a space that is mine, that I can say what I want and if people want to listen they can and if they don’t then they don’t, up to them. But you’re taking away my space with this policy and enforcing the idea that it’s only borrowed or rented space because ultimately it belongs to you and you control everything. If you think that’s an exaggeration then you’re very lucky to have never had mental health problems.

I do understand that you can’t personally reach out to every single person who shows up on your algorithm but one of the major problems with this message is that it stinks of corporate crap. Any personal touch you tried for at the beginning is washed away completely by the end.

What Are You Worth?

Having binge-watched it almost obsessively and eagerly anticipating a series two, I never thought I’d comment on how the new series of Queer Eye has affected my mental health in a negative way. But, sadly, this is going to be that post.

There are two episodes of Queer Eye that I struggle to watch; “To Gay or Not Too Gay” and “Hose Before Bros”.

To Gay or Not Too Gay is an episode where the Fab 5 makeover the “straightest gay guy in Atlanta” in an attempt to help him come out to his step-mother. I actually very much appreciated this episode because I realised they had dropped the “for the straight guy” schtick but it quickly turned into difficulty for me to watch. That’s because this episode reinforced the stereotype that I really hate about gay men, that apparently all gay men are fit, toned, tanned, slim, slender, etc. The guy they made-over dressed a little bit preppy but was still successful, fit and had a boyfriend. He even felt comfortable enough in his own skin to go shirtless and/or to wear a harness and go to various gay events. Sure, he hadn’t come out to his step-mother and so they sort of framed it around that, but it felt hollow for me because we weren’t seeing a gay man in desperate need of a make-over.

Queer Eye itself isn’t exactly an easy thing for me to watch anyway, what with the Fab 5 being made up of successful, good looking gay guys which I become slightly envious of. Most notably Antoni Porowski has received a lot of publicity because of his dashing looks, with few people actually concentrating on what else he brings to the table.

The other episode’s struggle can be summed up in one word; Superman. Since the show aired the firefighter who Karamo Brown nicknamed Superman has been quite the object of thirst. Even on the show they capitalised on any and every moment to get those shirtless or sexy shots of him, and he wasn’t even the one getting the make-over. People lust over him like crazy. Now I’m not saying he’s not hot, because he is, but somebody even posted on Twitter about “Superman” saying; “good morning to fireman Micah from episode 8 of the Queer Eye reboot and no one else”. It’s this attitude that just because he’s attractive he is more worthy of your attention than others. This really makes me feel worthless because I’m not as attractive as him.

Now I know a lot of this comes down to my own body image issues but being bombarded with attractive people, and sidelining those that aren’t as attractive, really reinforces the idea of worth and value and that unless you look good you aren’t worth as much focus. This is how I feel whenever I see a picture or a gif of “Superman”. It makes me realise I’m probably never going to look like that and so what is the point of even trying? It’s this sort of thinking that leads me to extreme views of self-harm because I hate how I look compared to this god-like person. But this isn’t just Queer Eye that does it. Attractive people are pushed to the forefront in everything we do and given accolades and opportunities that wouldn’t be available to people who look like…well…me. The media really does reinforce this idea that the world is cast like a movie and if you’re not attractive then you’re not the main character. At times I feel like I’m an extra, and the director is trying to lose me at the back somewhere so nobody can see the ugly person in the show.

And let’s revert back to the episode where they dropped the “for the straight guy”. Because this is what, being a member of the LGBT+ community, I struggle with the most. The LGBT+ community does a lot to put its best foot forward but sadly sometimes that comes at the expense of pretending some of us don’t exist. Look at dating apps or websites and you’ll notice that almost all of the men on there are fit, toned, tanned, slim, slender. They basically fit any category that can be considered “above average” for a positive body image. You very rarely see normal gay couples, or diverse gay couples, featured on these adverts.

Beauty is something we are supposed to enjoy, but I find myself enjoying beauty less and less as time goes on. We’re talking primarily about physical beauty here but I find myself struggling to enjoy works of art because of their beauty and the unrealistic expectations it puts on people.

Now let’s get a little bit personal.

There’s a guy who comes into my work called Charley. I’ve mentioned him in a previous post. He is gorgeous (personal opinion, yes, but it’s also widely acknowledged by people I have spoken to). Now when he first came into my workplace I used to love it because, obviously, the eye candy factor. But slowly over time I’ve grown to hate him coming into my work, his appearance has a dramatically negative affect on my mental health. That’s because I can’t appreciate how good looking he is without realising everything I’m not. I can’t see him as good looking without also seeing myself as unworthy, overweight, too tall, stupid hair, stupid glasses, awkward smile, half-arsed shave, etc. I still see him as beautiful but all of these things come up with it too. And this is why I struggle with those episodes of Queer Eye and with the media in general sometimes. It’s because I can’t separate their beauty from my faults. The two are linked in my mind and so when somebody mentions how good looking Antoni is or Superman is or when I’m forced to see the guy in the harness with rippling abs, well then that is just like telling me I’m too ugly to be worth your time.

This could also be more personal than I even thought. Going back, I don’t get attention from people who look like that. It’s not a pity party, it’s just a fact. I’ve met some drop-dead gorgeous guys and ninety percent of the times they don’t even know I’m there. The other ten percent of the time they know I’m there but I’m not worth giving the time of day to. So maybe it’s my warped mind believing that good looking and beautiful people will always be selfish, stuck-up, conceited, self involved arseholes towards me because I’m not as attractive.

Gun Control

So there’s obviously been a lot of debate over the last few days about the issue of Gun Control.

I grew up and still live in the UK in which we have strict gun control laws. To this day I don’t even know how I would go about getting a gun. I don’t know who I’d have to ask, what permits to have, what checks would be needed, etc. I don’t know anything about owning a gun because it’s so damn difficult to get one. I’m talking about basic guns too, we’re not even talking about Assault Rifles (which are the ones used in school shootings), which are totally illegal in this country because, as is common sense, no civilian needs an assault rifle. There’s just no need for it. Yet I know for a fact you can walk into most places in America and purchase a gun, and not even just a basic one, a semi-automatic weapon.

There’s been some rather horrific points made in opposition to upping gun control in the US. The first one I want to address comes from Tomi Lahren who tweeted “Can the Left let the families grieve for even 24 hours before they push their anti-gun and anti-gunowner agenda? My goodness. This isn’t about a gun it’s about another lunatic. ” So I understand there’s a grieving progress and you do have to respect it, but grief doesn’t get in the way of law. Just because somebody is grieving, doesn’t mean you can’t debate the issue (as you clearly don’t mind doing). Also, there are kids that were in the classrooms, that lost their friends and families, who have taken to Twitter to tell you to reconsider your gun laws. This could have been such a nice sentiment too, you could have come across as a real caring person, had you not used words such as “push their…agenda” which just makes your statement inflammatory and undermines your “care” for the families.

Senator Marco Rubio said “I’m trying to be clear and honest here, someone who has decided to commit this crime, they will find a way to get the gun to do it.” This takes me back to something my dad said to me when I was growing up. My dad used to say that if you’re going to be burgled then they’ll find a way inside the house. This doesn’t mean we left the doors and windows open for them to make it easier though. Without gun control your idea of buying firearms is like leaving a door open for a burglar to break in.

I want to step into something personal here because I wouldn’t be alive today if the UK didn’t have such strict gun laws. In my suicidal times I have thought about how I’d end my life and the easiest way for me to do it would be taking a gun to my head. It’s not a nice thought but we have to admit these things before we can get over them. But yes, if I were an American citizen then in my darkest hours I would have gone out, bought a gun and ended everything. The fact of the matter is that you can’t do it over here. If you’re having a dark time then you can’t wander out and get a gun within the hour, you’d have to wait weeks or even months, by which time the feelings you were having have had a chance to pass. And so no, if people do want to do things like this, it doesn’t mean they will definitely find a way to get a gun.

Tomi Lahren believes “This isn’t about a gun it’s about another lunatic.” You’re half right. It’s about both. But let’s look at the “lunatic”, which then enters us into a mental health discussion. If we want to help people like this, trying to help them not commit these crimes, then we have to address the issues as to why this happens. We can look at things like bullying, mental illness, drugs, alcohol, etc because yes, all of these things can play a part in why a person does something. But there’s one factor that every school shooting has in common; it’s done because these people can EASILY get guns. Helping the mentally ill would be increasing checks and restricting the ability to own guns. Even if we just cut out the assault rifles (so I’m not taking away precious gun ownership entirely), you would see a decrease in the number of school shootings and the number of fatalities in these incidents.

I also don’t get the Right Wing desire towards owning a gun. If you ask them why they need to own a gun they usually say protection, although that doesn’t really cover it (there’s plenty of other forms of protection you can have legally). What it really boils down to is the idea that you want to be in control. You want to have that gun because it makes you feel good and it gives you that rush because you control whether somebody else lives or dies. It is, in essence, the real reason people own high powered and military grade weaponry, it makes them feel bigger than they are.

Valentines Day

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I have posted this gif three times to my Twitter already; twice in updates and then once in a reply comment to somebody. Now I began to wonder if I was posting it a bit too much but then I realised that three times is nothing compared to how many times this feeling hits me, especially over the Valentines Day period.

Valentines Day has me confused a lot of the time because it’s not the single day in the year where I feel the most alone. That award probably goes to Christmas Day or New Years Eve just because the concentration of feelings are limited to one single day and that’s usually when we’re all gathered as a family and I feel completely single (true fact, I’m the only single person in my family over the age of 5). Valentines Day doesn’t do that, it doesn’t congregate a family together and make you concentrate all of those feelings into one single day. No, instead you get to feel miserable and single over a couple of days when you see people buying flowers and chocolates and updating their Facebook and Twitter Status’s and the like, it’s less like Christmas where you feel you’re fighting one battle and instead you feel like you’re fighting a war everyday.

But don’t get me wrong. I’m not going to hate on Valentines Day because I know that if I had a boyfriend I’d do something sweet for Valentines Day and I’d actually buy into the commercial stuff, just because I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic at heart. So I won’t slate it for being commercialised and overpriced (despite the fact that it completely is).

I found myself this morning wishing that Valentines Day was a holiday because I didn’t want to have to get out of bed and go into work. I don’t want to hear about other people’s plans for Valentines Day and I certainly don’t want other people pitying me for having to work on Valentines Day evening. Yeah, I have the evening shift so I’m expecting a lot of patronising “Valentines Day is overrated anyway” or “It’s sad they make you work tonight of all nights”. I struggle as well because I don’t really know what I want somebody to say to me either, I can’t think of a lot of things that would make it easier.

My relationship with Valentines Day, as most things do, stems back to when I was a kid. A big deal isn’t really made of the day when you’re in junior school or below, it’s only when you hit Secondary school (High School) that it suddenly becomes a thing. Before that you’re expected to make cards for your mum and obviously it’s close to Mother’s Day so sometimes schools choose that instead. But I remember quite vividly having to go to school one Valentines Day when everybody was walking around with single red roses or bouquets of flowers and chocolates and just all the usual stuff. And now yes, that’s a nice gesture, but it also compounds the fact that I’m single.

Valentines Day provides a boat-load of depression gunpowder stored up inside my head all primed and ready to be lit. That’s a dangerous situation to be in because I don’t know what the spark will be that will inevitably set me exploding. Some days it’s a simple red rose that I don’t get, sometimes it’s seeing happy couples on Facebook, who the hell knows? But I do know what somebody else will consider a nice gesture will seem to me like the end of the world at some point today. And I don’t know how to not feel like that, this is a feeling that’s been instilled in me every year since I was born and so it’s not like I can just go “oh, that’s nice” and brush it aside like I could most days of the year. Valentines Day (and the lead up to it) is a constant barrage of reminders that you’re alone. Just imagine every time somebody bought flowers or chocolates for Valentines Day that you are slapped around the face. A couple of times you could probably brush off and forget about but when you feel like you’ve been slapped a couple of hundred times then it becomes difficult to stomach anything more than crawling into bed and crying until the day is over.

I also struggle with Valentines Day because it’s supposed to be the day that you can tell people you love them without any sort of judgement or repercussions. Well, if you’ve read my previous post then you know nothing goes without repercussions. As such there are guys I really want to confess my feelings for but I’m scared. I’m scared because history has shown me I’ll either be greeted with disdain, ignored or deemed “psycho” (all of which has happened). So Valentines Day to me is another day when I have so much emotion inside of me, so many feelings I want to tell people, but can’t out of complete and utter fear.

My Queer Eye Profile

I have spent the last two days binge watching the newest season of Queer Eye. One of the things I love is that since the original they have dropped the “For The Straight Guy” from the title because now it’s about makeovers and not about the gay/straight divide. There’s still some issues to be explored but it doesn’t primarily focus on that anymore, it’s now about helping people more than anything.

The main thing I like is how they break a life down into five categories and a specialist comes in to help you fix that aspect of your life, or at least teaches you how to maintain it.

In this post I am going to try and construct a Queer Eye Profile for myself.

Basics

Age – 27

Height – 6’2

Weight – 216 lbs

Design

I still live with my parents where I have a single room that has never been decorated since I moved in. It has beige walls with a beige carpet and the only thing design aspect I put my opinion into are the numerous black cabinets stocked full of movies and books. I spend 90% of my time in one single corner of my room where the computer is and it’s only two foot away from where my bed is, making it easy to roll out of bed and just sit on the computer all day. It’s not a bachelor pad, it’s not an elegantly designed room, it always just feels like it’s unfinished and in the middle of change. I also have my own bathroom, although the bath doesn’t work and it doesn’t have a shower so I have to use the one over my parents side of the house which is rather inconvenient at times.

Food

I can’t remember a time when I have actually cooked a meal. My parents prepare dinner for me all the time and when I’m going to be at work in the evening then I just usually have a bowl of cereal for dinner. Even at University I lived on SuperNoodles and pasta but nothing fancy, just pasta in a bowl with some barbecue sauce and cheese. I’m very fussy when it comes to food and textures so my diet fluctuates between diet shakes and porridge to pizza and chips. The food is usually beige and has often been described as “kids food” because it’s processed and unhealthy. Don’t even get me started on vegetables. Yuck. I eat a lot of sweets as well, because I have a huge sweet-tooth. So on the times when I’m not trying to diet and lose weight I can munch through dozens of packets of sweets without even noticing I’m doing it.

Grooming

By far probably the easiest to describe because it’s virtually non-existent. I spend less than a minute on my appearance when I’m going out and if I’m not leaving the house then all I do is brush my hair and not care how awful it looks. My hair regime consists of sticking my head under some water and then brushing it across so I have the hairstyle of a 1920s gangster, or Hitler. I lock it in place with a huge amount of hairspray so it doesn’t move. I’ve been at a loss with what to do with my hair since I cut it short (having used to have shoulder length hair which everybody hated) and I’m still undecided as to whether I want it long or short. I shave once a week and only because I have to go to work, if I have time off work then I just don’t shave until I have to go back and I end up looking homeless.

Wardrobe

At this moment, typing this, I do not currently own a wardrobe. I own a sort of display stand with sections for different types of clothes although I pretty much wear the same things day-in and day-out. I’ve only ever bought a handful of my clothes with 99% of my stuff having been bought by my mother or being gifts for Christmas or Birthdays. A lot of my clothes are black and I’m not a huge lover of colour just because I feel it draws attention to me and I’m not prepared for that. I hate shopping for clothes because I hate being on the larger side of things and it always makes me depressed, plus my mother has instilled the idea that spending more than £3 on a t-shirt is a horrific waste of money.

I have basically no self-style. And I live in tracksuit bottoms when I’m at home or my one pair of jeans when I leave the house.

Culture

I’ve never been in a relationship. I’m on numerous dating websites and stuff but I lack the self-confidence to send any messages to guys I match with or like. I have a slight distrust of the LGBT community because I had a drastically bad experience with the society at University and since then I’ve distanced myself from the crowd. I also consider myself “too old” for the whole “gay scene” and don’t know where else to find love.

I also suffer with depression and anxiety (stemming from a lot of things such as body image issues and bullying) and so I work a dead-end job in retail, fifteen hours a week, four days a week, and end up hating myself because I’m not following my dream of journalism. I enjoy raising awareness of mental health issues and mental health is a huge part of my life because it’s affected me so much, I just haven’t found a platform for myself yet. I tried YouTube but my self-confidence doesn’t always get on well with YouTube, especially when I don’t get the view count I want. As such I sort of stick to just this blog.

The anxiety and depression also leads me to practically never leaving the house. I go to work and the gym once a week (sometimes) but apart from that I basically never go outside. I have practically zero friends (I have colleagues and acquaintances, but nobody I know socially on a regular basis).

It’s Not What You Know

Donald Trump set up his “empire” starting with just a “small loan of one million dollars” from his father. If this isn’t just the pinnacle of nepotism then I don’t know what is. Firstly, if you think one million dollars is a small loan then you’re jaded and misguided and you have no right to talk about money as if you’re self-made. Secondly, if your family can afford to lend you one million dollars then you’re not exactly going to struggle in life as it is.

It’s this idea of nepotism that, on occasions, really has me exceptionally depressed.

The problem I have with nepotism is that it affords luxuries and experiences that other people can only dream of. If my father were CEO of a company then I’d be able to learn on the job when he ultimately appointed me a position within said company. It’s not a privilege that people like me get, we don’t get that sort of experience.

My first example, because she’s been all over my newsfeed recently, is Stephanie McMahon. Her grandfather passed the business down to her father and now ultimately it’s being passed down to her. I’m not saying she hasn’t worked for her position because I know some of her history, where she started off working in the lower ranks and stuff modelling t-shirts as a child and working the lower rungs of the ladder. But this is still an experience most people wouldn’t get. Some days I simply dream of being backstage at a WWE event, let alone working at one with the intention of working my way up. She was also afforded WWE training (as all children of WWE superstars are), which is an experience I would have loved but my parents were never into it.

Now I’m not blaming her for where she is today. She wouldn’t have got where she is by just sitting back and letting daddy do all the work for her. But while people are desperately trying to build ladders made of twigs to higher platforms, her father have her a solid steel ladder and all she had to do was not fall off.

The Yogscast. I’ve mentioned these a couple of times before in previous articles but this is ultimately what nepotism is. The YOGS in Yogscast stands for Ye Old Goon Squad which was the name of a party in WOW (don’t ask the specifics, I’m not a WOW guy). You can often hear of them talking about how they used to do things together in WOW and so it’s no wonder they got the jobs as content creators. Lewis and Simon would have had the initial success but everybody else was allowed the opportunity that others don’t have. People don’t go into YouTube with a pre-set audience but being friends with Lewis and Simon allowed some of these people to begin a channel with a successful channel already willing to promote them and back their audience. It’s not the same as starting out with zero viewers and absolutely no successful channel endorsements.

Let’s stick with the topic of YouTubers and take a look at Shane Dawson. Now Shane Dawson is another self-made YouTuber in that he was there at the beginning and took advantage of the timing and opportunity given to him. But, can we say the same for the other people who have garnered a large following off of his back? But who are these people? Shanna Malcolm, Drew Monson, Ryland Adams, Bobby Burns and a number of other people. Now I’m not saying, once again, that these people don’t work for what they’ve got, but Shane Dawson featuring them in videos and promoting them gives them that ladder they need to get to the next level. They don’t need to do the difficult task of gaining viewers, simply keeping them and as long as they’re friends with Shane then that won’t be difficult. It is the equivalent of being allowed a billboard in Times Square just because of who you’re friends with. Not saying you didn’t work hard in making that billboard, but people wouldn’t see it if it wasn’t for your friend.

And finally, where would ASMR be without collaboration videos. The good ol’ “look at who I can get to feature in my videos” video. Most of the time this doesn’t improve sound quality, some people can do better on their own, but it’s shameless self-promotion using others to gain their audience. It’s not a bad thing, it’s how promoting your channel works, but it’s just that being friends with these people allows you the opportunity to create that channel with an already existing fanbase.

What I’m saying is that if I were friends with Shane Dawson, Simon and/or Lewis of the Yogscast or any ASMRtist with a significant audience then it wouldn’t be starting from square one for me. It would be like starting on square four or five from which it’s almost impossible to not garner the audience.

Oh and let’s not mention the added bonuses of better cameras, better microphones, better video editing software and editing techniques from professionals. All of these are things that square one starters don’t have. We have basic editing packages that we barely know how to use and basic cameras that we are learning with but we don’t get the view count for trying, we just get criticised that our cameras aren’t good enough or our video editing isn’t good enough.

I think this is one of the reasons I get uptight with YouTube a lot more than anything else, it’s that people complain and don’t realise the opportunities that they have been given, and it annoys me even more when these opportunities have been given through nepotism more than talent or interest.

This is also why I get uptight when people criticise me for asking for help. I’m asking for help to improve my situation, not just because I’m attention seeking (which some people have accused me of).

(As always, no offence is meant to anybody, I’m simply stating what I see from an outsiders point of view).

Lonely This Christmas

“Christmas has the ability to surround you with people, and still make you feel super alone.”

These aren’t actually my words but they’ve been ringing around in my head for the last thirteen hours, ever since Mr Meridian posted them on his Twitter.

I can’t talk much about Christmas growing up because I grew up in a house of Jehovah’s Witnesses and so we didn’t really have Christmas. We weren’t as strict as other households but we didn’t have all the decorations and the festivities and such, it was more just a time to be with family. So that was eight years of my life (between the ages of eight and sixteen) when, as a minor, I was forced to follow along with the religion of my parents choosing.

The funny thing is that I actually love Christmas. I love the excitement people get when they open presents I have bought them. I actually like shopping for presents and spending time to think what other people might like. Even if they don’t like it, I like to think I’ve put some effort into it. Some people say it’s the thought that counts but I feel it’s the effort, that you can really tell somebody has been thinking about you by the presents they get you. It’s a lot more than “here’s some socks and you should be thankful you got anything because it’s the thought that counts”.

Christmas is also a time when I get to play board games. I’ve not found anybody who can match me in a game of Monopoly (everybody usually gives up and I win by default) so we don’t get to play that, but I love all board games and so I just love the idea of turning the television off and playing them rather than sitting silently in a room staring at a box. It’s also the only time of year that my family really indulges me in this, all the other times they’re too busy or have other things to do. Only at Christmas do we sit down as a family and play them.

But, even with all this and the included festivities that my work puts on, I still feel a little bit empty around Christmas. This year has been particularly hard. I have three brothers, all older, who all have either moved or will be moving into new houses in the next month or two. Add onto this the fact that my brother’s are all in long-term relationships and two out of the three of them have children. Me? Where am I? Well, I’m in the same place I’ve always been. Single. Always and forever single.

This is a tough point most of the year but at Christmas it’s very much emphasised because you’re surrounded by people. Even when playing board games, I make the numbers uneven and the teams uneven because I’m single and so the choice is don’t play or remember that you’re single. And when it comes to going to bed, after all of the festivities and holiday stuff, I’m just going to go to my room on my own and feel inevitably single when I’m alone in my bed.

Now I’m not saying I dislike Christmas, I’m just saying I’d like somebody to spend it with. But then this isn’t just Christmas. I want somebody to spend every day with. I want somebody to talk to about things and somebody who actually wants to spend time with me, not because they’re related or we work together. I just want to feel wanted. But, as I’ve said, this isn’t only Christmas, Christmas is just a time when everything is magnified and you’re forced to take stock of where everybody is in their life in regards to relationships and family and it just emphasises the idea of being alone.

It’s even difficult after Christmas, as I found when returning to work. You get asked the question “did you have a good Christmas?” or “what did you do for Christmas?” and the fact of the matter is that for me it’s just another day of the year. It’s another day when I feel alone and want somebody but you can’t say that because you’re not allowed to be miserable at Christmas, you have to say “yeah, it was good”. It’s also a day where nothing else changes. I can’t say “Well, on Christmas day we went to visit my partner’s parents and then on boxing day we visited my parents” etc. It’s just “I woke up, opened some presents, played some games, went back to sleep”.

Oh and don’t even get me started on how vivid and romance based my dreams have been recently that make you wake up, realise it was a dream and feel bad about how you now have to go back to real life which isn’t anywhere near as nice.

There’s a few more factors to Christmas that I have a hard time with (people not putting  a lot of thought into presents and/or not wanting to do anything but watch television) but I won’t go into those because they make me sound ungrateful, plus the biggest hardship I  have is being alone.

But, as I found this year when I discovered Sarah Millican’s #JoinIn on Twitter. I’m alone but I feel my loneliness is superficial when compared to other people’s and so I feel bad for complaining about it when other people have it worse than I do.

Also Christmas finishing brings up some new problems for singletons like myself, mainly New Year. New Year’s Eve is a time when, at midnight, everybody celebrates the New Year and kisses are shared. Even for me and my group of friends who never really put much stock into the whole New Year tradition stuff, even at midnight we would stop what we were doing and they would all share kisses with their partners to celebrate the New Year. It’s little things like that, like being the only person with nobody, that make you wonder about the point of everything.