Ennui

No that’s not an error. This post is about ennui, about Weltschmerz. That feeling of boredom with life and the world and your situation, the one that you can’t shake and that doesn’t seem to stem from anywhere specific.

Before you ask, no, I’m not depressed, I’m not even sad. I’m just a little disheartened maybe. Perhaps it’s just a world weariness from being caught up in the same kind of thing over and over. Just scroll back and you’ll see that not only is the same thing happening to me – or am I just doing the same thing over and over? -, but I’m sure I’ve written about having a similar kind of feeling before. Let me just apologise again right now, before you’ve read the whole thing – I promised more of an anecdote this time round, but nothing’s really happened since this morning, maybe I’ll intersperse this post with some real life examples, maybe not, I don’t plan these things, the words come as they please.

I’ve been listening to the new Lorde album today and it’s possible that her influence, paired with my unwillingness to study for this week’s exams has me feeling a particular sense of meh. It’s also possible that I’ve been feeling this way for a while, but that it’s been masked by other things while I mired in a weird state of being after my latest experience with feelings for a boy. I mean who really knows what brings these things to the forefront?

So, what do I do about feeling trapped in a world that is currently just not exciting? The only change I’ve made so far is writing two blog posts in one day for the first time in probably years, and to log out of Instagram. I do think social media probably plays a big role in my, and many other people’s, feeling of ennui. There’s this instant satisfaction that we have come to expect, and I think posting a picture and having hundreds of people seeing you and validating you may not be that healthy. For one thing, it’s just not real. I’ve definitely commented on this before, but that hasn’t stopped me from posting pictures, Boomerangs and meeting boys off of Grindr. I deleted that today as well,  by the way, but before you congratulate me, let’s see how long I last before I need the validarion of strangers again. Having said that, as much as a like on a post on here makes me feel good, that’s not what my blog is for – this is a pretty anonymous platform for me to vent in a semi-intellectual space, Instagram and Grindr are all about physicality and superficial ideals that I don’t necessarily fulfill, but that the gay community above all others kind of forces upon me and everyone else.

Did I lose my point somewhere in the jumble about social media, or does that jumble of seemingly irrelevant commentary just mirror what’s happening online and in our collective millennial psyche? I am a proud millennial by the way, I am in no way writing about how incorrectly we’re living our lives or how we seem to be screwing up everything the generations before us built up, go read something that still prints physical copies if that’s what you’re looking for.

Maybe I just need a break from spaces where I can see that people are doing more exciting things than I am – not just celebrities and heiresses but people I used to know. Isn’t it utterly annoying to see what people are up to when you haven’t spoken to them in years or maybe even ever, but you know everything about them?

Maybe I just need to transition fully from being a teenager to an adult. This is difficult, I’m still studying at 24. I’ve never had a real job or any responsibility and my parents still pay for everything, even though I’ve moved out of their house. Do you ever find yourself thinking about what you want your future-self to be like only to realise that many of these future-self goals are actually completely possible right now?

My future self has to be healthier, nicer and happier. Healthier? I buy my own groceries and cook my own food. I have a gym membership and can make my own decisions about what I order at restaurants. I still make the wrong choices and excuses to not go to gym. Nicer? I make snarky remarks and speak in sarcastic comments, mostly not intended to do harm or be hurtful, but I’m well aware that with just a bit of effort I could be nicer. When in my future exactly am I planning to start trying? Happier? Like I mentioned, I’m not unhappy, I’m just not reaching my goals in life and that makes me anxious.

Making an active decision to be all the things you want to be is probably the best thing to do. Maybe I should read one of those self empowerment books that I always pull faces at the thought of, or maybe I should just make an effort and change small things one at a time until I’m satisfied. Or maybe, in true twenty-something fashion, I’m doomed to feel ennui regardless of what U do, until I’m older and wiser.

 

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Internalizing

I feel like the subject of my most recent post has just been in my face and in my thoughts ever since I wrote it. It’s inescapable and it comes up when I see my couple-friends and even when I don’t, by way of social media in its many forms.

I saw them again this weekend, obviously, we’re good friends. After pre-gaming we went to a local hangout, where we ran into the fuckboy again. I mean, it’s not that unexpected or even as much of an issue as it would have been some time ago. We’re civil, and as I told his bestie while super drunk, and most likely completely against her will, that’s all we need. There was a bit more to this story, but that’s not what this post is about.

Honestly, I’m not completely sure what this post is all about. Half the couple just mentioned to me that they were unaware of my feelings for and concerning fuckboy. I was told that I internalize. Now that made me wonder if that’s what I do. I post on here about my complete emotional instability all the time, or at least occasionally. But do I actually speak to the people in my life about what’s going on with me? I guess not.

I’m a very open person. People know a lot about me, they know what happens in my life but they very rarely know how I feel about the things that they know bout. Then it freaks me out when someone assesses me as internalizing or as sensitive or really any adjective that describes a part of me that I didn’t actively share with them. Maybe that’s why I share so much? To overload news cycle, take attention away from what I’d rather not dwell on. It’s been known to work in certain recent political campaigns both locally and abroad.

Look at me pretending that I know anything about the human psyche. Two weeks of psychiatry hasn’t really equipped me to even deal with my own issues. Dear reader, thanks for sticking around through my absolutely ridiculous self-reflection, I promise the next one will be an anecdote with some more flesh.

Confession Time

Here I go again, into territories that are not so uncharted. I spoke previously about an ex that I was thinking of seeing again, but I swiftly and skillfully avoided reconnecting. After considering all the variables at play, I realised that I just wasn’t up for a first date with someone that I had had at least twenty dates with before.

I’m happy with my decision to let it slide. Instagram is still around, so I get to see his ever more attractive face from the comfort of my own home, without having to worry about the inevitable repeat of whatever went wrong in 2013.

I’ve been minding my own business and enjoying my break from varsity these last two weeks – no boys, not in any serious way at least. There has been some flirting with guys whose numbers I already posses, and I visited an old acquaintance two weekends ago. Other than that, just me, series and Stephen King, and friends and family of course.

Last night I got a text from a guy that I hadn’t seen in months. He told me he was bored and I suggested we go out. He said he didn’t want to, which I found odd after a text out of the blue, simply claiming to be home and bored, but whatever. I was going to let it go and continue my movie binge watching, when I got an even weirder text from him. He led with “Confession Time” and proceeded to tell me that he used to like me a little. I mean, I knew he used to like me since we went out once or twice when I also thought that I used to like him.

I’m not sure why we saw each other so few times. Actually, as I typed that last thought, I remembered. He was still hung up on someone and I was still hung up on someone else. Sometimes I wonder if I still am…

He’s two years younger than me, which isn’t usually something I’d go for, but he’s attractive. Portuguese, dark, great hair. The age thing is a bit of a problem, because he says things and sometimes maybe does things that are a bit young. Is that really an issue though? Can’t that just be fun? I’m thinking that maybe it bothered me more than it should have.

Something else that kind of irritated the crap out of me was that he would wear shorts and sneakers, Nike of course, when we went out. That’s all good and well for a daytime thing, but not when we go to drinks and a movie at night and to a nice cocktail place.

The last thing that really annoyed me about him was that my best friend didn’t like him. She met him once, for like 20 minutes, but how could I date someone that doesn’t get along with a friend. Not only would I get constant shit from this friend, but the boy could never come out with us. Even if I was the only one to know about the dislike, it would be awkward – I would have to watch fake pleasantness and, in the slightly paraphrased words of Nicki Minaj “phony bitches would  front they chum-chummy”.

Why even write about some kid who messaged me out of the blue for a quick, random and slightly awkward chat? Well, because I’m seeing him tonight. We’re going to see the movie that I was meant to go and see with the re-return from the first part of this post.

I’m unsure if he told me that he used to like me to find out if I ever liked him, which I didn’t admit to last night, or if he wanted to know if we could possibly still happen. Otherwise he may have just felt like telling me for no particular reason – simply to put it out there and let me know that those feelings are in the past.

It doesn’t matter all that much since I have no idea if I have any feelings for him somewhere hidden within. But, having said that, what if I do? I should not have agreed to and encouraged the idea of the movie tonight, but it’s the last installment in the Hunger Games franchise and I really want to see it.

So I’ve essentially set myself up for an awkward evening where neither one of us is going to know if it’s meant to end in a kiss, a hug or a business-like salute from me and a very confused wave from him.

 

 

Slim Pickings

It happened. I passed my prime, and I spoiled it.

So not much was happening on the dating front – the re-return had inevitably gone stale, even though he texted me again first, and the extended play, well he was always out of my league.

So tonight, it’s now two-thirty am, we went to Babylon, the very same gay club that I’ve mentioned before. The night started off slowly, the place was pretty empty, but it got full by midnight. My friends kept urging me to hook up with someone, and I kept saying there was no one that caught my eye. Lies. There were many potentials, but none of them seemed interested at all. I’m shy when it comes to club hookups, and I’m also not really keen on the whole one night stand idea, but come on, usually at least one or two guys try to hit on me.

I’m 22, which means the sweet spot for a gay social life has passed me by – the sweet spot being from 16 to 21. Our fresh faced younger “straight” friend, who I’ve always suspected, got free drinks and guys wanting him to leave with him. He’s 21, but with his perfect face and care-free demeanor he could pass for 17.

I’ve always known that gay years don’t exactly correspond with the normal passing of time, and I knew that if I wanted to settle down, I’d have to do it sooner rather than later, but hell, I never knew being 22, and by some accounts a catch, would translate as me leaving the party alone every night for the rest of time. I mean sure. I can still hook up on Grindr, or Tinder or whatever, but even those desperate guys seem content to only speak to me for one day and then forget about it.

I even skipped the traditional McD’s after a night out and am planning to run until I puke tomorrow, because I’m terrified of not even being attractive and young enough for a casual night of, well, you know.

I’m currently convinced that all those forever alone memes were created not only for me, but for all the old and decrepit gays out there that are older than 21.

Is this the end of my sex life and the end of my search for someone to spend my life with? It might sound melodramatic, but I looked banging tonight, and no one seemed to care.

The Re-return

I have this feeling that I’m going to have the option of re-returning to an old.. flame? Let’s call him that for now.

See, the re-return is the action of re-dating someone, be it a full fledged ex or even just someone who you vibed with for a while. I’ve always had a a strict no re-return rule – if things didn’t work the first time, there must have been a reason, and that action likely to repeat itself.

So the possible re-return, we’ll call him Designer, is a guy I met the year after I graduated from high school, in what I’m now calling my gap year. I dated someone else for a good portion of that year, and I met Designer after we broke up. He was attractive, sweet, funny and the nicest guy I had met in a while. We hit it off and started going out, sort of.  We saw a lot of each other and met each other’s friends, so I guess you can say we were dating.

In the very early stages, before we were really anything to each other, we went gay clubbing with some other friends. gay clubbing is almost always a mistake, a mistake with great music. Anyway, so Designer made out with someone right in front of me and that pissed me off. I should have called it off then and there, but if you’ve read anything I’ve posted before, you know I’m a sucker for punishment. So my response was to go make out with the same guy later that night. The things you think are a good idea when you’re young and slightly inebriated. We became exclusive that night.

We went strong for a while, but he worked full time, and I started my medical degree the next year, a little while after we started seeing each other. He was also not out yet, and we know how I feel about that – he’s out now though at least. I started seeing less and less of him as time went on and eventually we decided to end it, whatever it was.

I saw him out now and again, as happens in this city. With a population of more than 4 million and more than 7 million in the greater Jo’Burg area, you’d think I’d run into fewer exes when I go out. I ran into him again this year, in early May, when we were celebrating my birthday at the same gay club where we both made out with a handsome stranger that night many years ago. I got pretty crunk that night, it was for my birthday after all. So we made out, this designer and I.

It was good, but it was meant to be a one time thing. He texted me the next day and we chatted a bit for the next few days. The conversation fizzled out as it always seems to, until last week that is.

I wake up one morning last week to a text with a picture from one of the first times we went out way back when. I sent back a laughing emoji and mentioned that my hair was horrible back then, which is completely true by the way. He responds with a picture in which I’m trying my best to blue steel and pout and smolder all at once. It was terrible, but he followed the picture with a heart-for-eyes emoji. This made me smile and right there Id decided the conversation wouldn’t fizzle out so quickly this time.

We’ve been chatting since then and we plan to meet up some time to catch up. This follows my exes and ohs post, both because it seemed like a good follow-up and because somehow all of this is happening at once.

From what I’ve told you here, it may seem like I’m basing my opportunity for a re-return on very little. That’s because I’m scared he may read this in the future and the less I say about it, the better.

I do however feel like the opportunity is real. The question is just, have we changed and matured enough in the last three years for it to work this time, or am I setting myself up for disaster by even considering this?

Exes and Ohs

When a relationship ends things tend to be a little awkward. If you do the breaking up then the other party inevitably hates you for a period of time, even if they still love you. That seemed like a juxtaposition, but I’m sure many people have experienced this very weird emotional position – an example that I experience all the time is my folks, they annoy the hell out of me sometimes with their old-timey views and lack of understanding of things happening around them, but of course I still love them. When I’m broken up with, or even when I break up with someone, I feel something similar to this. I just can’t really go back to the person after I cool down and say sorry, I love you. But can you, after a cool-down period, go back and give them a a different kind of love? Can exes be friends?

Usually I’d say no. I’m fantastically good friends with some girls I dated way back when in primary school, because I have since come out, and anything in primary school can’t actually count when you’re in your twenties, right? Right. There are, however, no guys from my past that I’m actually properly friends with. I’ll see some of them out now and again, or send or receive a text from one if we need to discuss something specific. But friends? No, I still refer to them as ‘my ex’, not ‘my friend’.

This past weekend I had yet another birthday party with a theme – ‘Squares and Drapes’. If you don’t know what that theme entails, it’s from some Johnny Depp movie made in 1990. Anyway, I didn’t know what to wear and one of the very few people I knew was going to be there, was an ex. I sent him a text the morning of asking what I should wear, what I really wanted to gauge was if it was going to be an awkward evening or not. Turns out we’re fine now, almost two years after we broke up. I’m sure it helped that he’s been in a year-long relationship with someone new, even if it’s long distance. He seemed happy and we got along just fine.

The only hiccup was when I had to explain why I did not go to his birthday party a few months ago, even though quite a few of my friends ended up going. I said it was because I felt like I was the obligatory invite, the guy you invite because you feel like it’s the right thing to do – it’s the absolute worst when they actually end up coming. This explanation was mostly true. I also just didn’t feel like a room full of attractive gay guys when I’ve really been letting myself go for the last six months or so.

So that went well – we’re still not going to be in the business of inviting each other out to coffee or clubbing though. Still just ‘my ex’.

Now, some people may or may not remember Ben from at least two of my other recent posts. We vibed for like a month, that’s no time at all. I developed a semblance of feelings very quickly though, possibly just because I hadn’t had any for anyone in quite some time. Well whatever the reason for my ridiculous affections, they were there. Now it’s his birthday this coming weekend and lo and behold, he’s having a party. It’s Halloween themed – apt. Not only because it’s Halloween on Saturday (also JHB gay pride that day by the way), but because I’m terrified of going. I’ve been checking the Facebook event and many of my friends are going. So is Gaysian, from my extended play post.

The reason I’m terrified, is because we were never friends and we were never together, but we kind of broke up. We haven’t texted in weeks and it’s awkward when we run into each other, unlike the ex that I saw last week. I don’t want to go and be awkward and I don’t want to not go because then it’s obvious that I’m not going because I dread seeing him. Is it obvious?

Anyway, he invited 150 people. He’s personally told me that he dislikes some of the people on his guest-list. Am I one of those people for real this time? The one that you feel you have to invite to be polite, but secretly you really hope they don’t come.

What’s the right move here? Do I go because my friends are going, do I go because I want to show him that I’m over it, or do I not go and risk being the guy that can’t be friends with a whole group of people because of one failed relationship attempt with a member of said group?

Did I burn a bridge here? Or if I haven’t burnt one, am I risking doing just that?