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Thursday, 8 November 2018

Thank you, next.

I’m tired, fully exhausted from putting so much energy & effort into dating but really not getting much back. Since I was small I’ve always wanted big love, I can recall listening to love songs and belting out Christina Milian, Monica, Brandy & Faith Evans songs, feeling the words even though I’d never felt the feeling. 

I’ve been dating since I was 15, that’s 13 years of bullshit, let downs, ultra clingy men, abusive relationships, toxic ones, bland ones, ones where there’s no match or spark, unions rooted in the physical and one in the mental. I’ve had my fair share of flings that burned out but only three boyfriends. One lasted five years, one eleven months and the last one was two and a half years, that started in 2013 & ended in 2015. Since then I’ve been dating but largely and mostly, I’ve been single. 

Admittedly now I’m at this weird stage, where I want something but at the same time I want nothing, I’ve invested so much into men in the past and got little return, and now I feel like is there any point? 

Im now led to believe that we are largely 
all the same - fuck boys. We hurt each other unintentionally and sometimes intentionally for our own selfish gain, we play games as we’re confused yet dont want to be left lonely... 

I’m usually so liberal, open and calm but I feel abused, bored, used, jaded and damaged. So much so that the night feels more of a friendly place, more alive and more interesting. Even if I know so many of those who I encounter will offer fickle, fleeting,fantasy connections ones that I won’t have to chase as they so clearly won’t last, even if in a chemical induced moment it seems like it could be a new beginning but the hard truth is there will probably be no future in sight. 

If I’m honest the dance floor feels safer and allows me to disappear even more so than another mans bed, for me music soothes me sweeter than the lines that fall from the lips of another, and dancing makes me feel alive. Or maybe I’m no longer addicted to the idea of love and simply prefer what’s readily on offer lust. 

I’ve lost the person I used to be. Yet loss isn’t always negative and even in loss you can gain from the pain, knowledge, insight and growth. I grew by losing a job, losing friends and losing lovers, and in the process I gained knowledge that made me sharper, stronger and more resilient. 

In any case I now realize in many ways that a lot of what I was searching for couldn’t really be found in others. Stability I could give to myself by making my work work, by surrounding myself with people that do things instead of moaning about doing things, by leaving a city that was my home but started to feel like a bitter prison. I feel freer now, hanging with friends, family, living in Berlin and appreciating small moments that can become big memories, in the right company at the right time. And now I know myself more than I did back then wanting them. So thank you, next.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

We need to talk about Grindr.

Dear entitled, it’s time to do and be better. 

I’ve been using Grindr on/off for the past 8 years, it would have been earlier if I’m being honest but I didn’t want to get rid of my Blackberry for an iPhone so it meant I couldn’t be active on it as Blackberry didn’t support the app. In my years of use, I’ve been abused countless times for my looks or colour and I’ve been fetishized and objectified. Long gone are the days when I thought o wow there’s an app full of other queers, hoping that it would be a place for friends and fulfilling meets opposed to fucking or ‘fun’ in its many forms. 

Of course, as a gay young man it affects my mental health to be reduced to a colour or body part, of course, I feel frustrated, sad and angry every time that’s usually most times on the app people ask me for hookups. I know the app was designed for that, and finding who’s near but as someone who in their daily life works with building, nurturing, supporting and contributing to online communities, I often wonder why can’t the leading gay ‘dating’ app do and be better. 

I guess people will say hey why don’t you delete it? For me it’s simple there are few places to meet other queers openly, I can’t just walk up to some guy I find attractive in the street and compliment and flirt. Also being on the app reduces my desire/ need to go out partying even if it means I must suffer from fickle interactions, and for all its sins in the long term, it’s another place where we can celebrate ourselves even there are repercussions. 

We have inherited all these freedoms but what do we do with them? I’ve always preferred dating to hookups, plus here (Berlin) you can hook up in a cubicle and even on the dance floor! it’s like why do I need Grindr to talk and talk and leave my house to go off into the night not knowing if I’m in danger... I think being black is bad but what about transgendered individuals, or those who are disabled or don’t fit any of the average fetish bills?

I guess for me Grindr is an open playground where many are playing games I don’t feel like playing, in the cities I’ve lived my race has meant I’m a minority on the app, meaning I feel like I’ve always felt like I’ve had to seek validation from a majority. This said majority where arrogance is rife, with bios filled with dos and dont’s and hate before the first interaction. I would and could never say I don’t find a certain race attractive, as far I am concerned my type is everyone I’m attracted to and those who aren’t is everyone I’m not. 

I may have lived in cities/ countries and partied at places, where Caucasian’s are the populace, I may have seen magazine covers, watched films, looked at art that features and promote one ideal viewpoint of beauty but that doesn’t mean just because a diverse range of beauty isn’t celebrated often that  I should discredit and ignore. The issue here is when the white body is worth more than any other race and valued higher in most circles then that’s when/ why we have a problem. 
This gives privilege and power to a populace that in many ways bully, deny and critique others and turn places into an open battlefield and war zone. 

Grindr has promised to do more and has launched a ‘Kindr’ campaign with videos featuring parts of the community which has been marginalized, hearing their voices and experiences only solidifies how tragic the app is. It’s a step in the right direction but the key question is how will they police the users who are abusive and serial offenders. It’s a large part of their job to community manage and ensures that their users feel and remain safe. 

The bottom line is, does Grindr really care about us? Does it care about our mental health? If we’re safe with sex? If we’re cautious about who we meet? Are there ways to protect the vulnerable and disempower those who use their privilege as a weapon to be quite frankly bigots, racists and bullies? When these questions are answered and practices but in place then maybe I can acknowledge that it truly has become kindr. 

Monday, 20 August 2018

Fuck boys come in all forms

This has to be the most fucked up romantic situation I’ve ever been in. But nonetheless I’m in it, living in it, feeling it and hurting from it. It’s no secret that I spent a large part of 2018 feeling worthless. I was depressed and stressed, but I endured. The fact is I moved to Berlin alone, for a job, a job that ultimately wasn’t the right fit, I lost my nan while I was here and things fell apart with the guy I was first dating prior in Berlin. All of these things were overwhelming, causing a numbness, functioning but not really feeling. 

Early on in this state of mine, I met a man... he was charming, persistent and caring. Slowly but surely I warmed to him, he helped me heal in so many ways and by the time I knew it my feelings were super strong for him. 
Now said individual used to live in Istanbul, in which he visited regularly. On one visit while we were dating, he hooked up with his ex and discovered he still had feelings for him... Now it would of been so much easier if it was a clean break of ‘I’m so sorry but I still love my ex and have deep feelings for him, deeper than I have in this and for you’ harsh lines yet at the least it means I hurt, heal and move on. 

But no he lied, hid things and pretended all was ok. For me I knew something was up as I was trying to get past a wall I couldn’t break, I thought his emotional coldness meant we couldn’t connect but I was wrong. OneSunday night in a club his friend decided to tell me what was up and going on, I still don’t know if this was to protect me or because they hate me, none the less it opened the gates to a discussion that needed to be had. 

It turned out he and his ex, who’s from America and at the end of this summer had to return to resume his life there, had planned a summer of love and to make the most of the time being near one another by meeting and going to concerts in Berlin and Istanbul. 

Now all of this would of been fine, if I was told from the get go where I stood. We were not exclusive and nothing was said in  that order. But he was the only one I was dating, so I guess I felt like a fool to have focused this much energy on one person and for this to be happening.Either way I was left feeling like 2nd best, not good enough, an option to fallback on because the first option isn’t available. In truth, it hurt to know that if said ex lived in Europe they would be together. 

My friends told me I deserved more and  gave me hard honest truths about the situation, but I was lost, confused and upset, I couldn’t  listen and wouldn’t hear rational advice as my feelings overwhelmed my thoughts. I was lost to my feelings, the sadness was a sickness and he was the cure and cause to my problems. I felt like an idiot but I couldn’t  fight it.  I knew that I needed. to push past and through, I knew I need to become whole and heal but it was hard to move on when I he was paralyzed by another and I paralyzed by him. 

That was written prior to certain events, events that led to me saying you know what fuck this. I was uncertain and unsure when I wrote that but I knew I was at the end of my tether. 

The events were we spent a weekend hanging out, it was cute and I got to know his friends better, went to a lake, Thai park and an open air cinema, he was being super nice and somehow and someway I could tell a storm was coming. 

The storm was him saying he’s going to festival for the weekend and won’t be contactable as he’ll not have reception. I thought cool ok... but that wasn’t the only thing. The same day I went to a club with my friends, a club he said he’d never go to in the summer but nonetheless he turned up with the guy in question. Instead of arguing, being angry or upset I just walked off and decided to enjoy my night and lose myself to the music. I didn’t hear from him until four days later when he decided to message some sad bullshit that didn’t own any of his mistakes as I guess I’ve learned by now he’s never one in the wrong said example below. 

On the weekend we hanged he told me point blank to control my emotions, instead of trying to understand them and soothe me. Especially  when it’s in relation to him fucking others and a past, a past that he’s made present when an ex is still looming large.... his words stung but that sting woke me up to the reality of him. 

I hanged on prior as I felt there still could be hope, I wanted to know who exactly he was beyond the facade of this kind, caring, childlike, innocent man. Prior to this I didn’t see the , self serving, lying, manipulative individual that I see now, I didn’t know how cruel and cold he could be or how he’d become this. I needed those moments we spent to understand who I was and what was happening, I didn’t like the way he made me feel - sad, angry, bitter, jealous, unworthy. My reaction to him/ his energy, our togetherness was so different from that of anyone else I’ve been with, ever. I guess when you’re not getting enough from someone who says one thing and does another you become irrational, erratic and emotional. 

In any case I’m not bitter just bored of feeling like shit and emotionally abusing myself to be in a situation that isn’t serving me in full. I still care for and about him, and I’m so thankful I met him as I wouldn’t be in Berlin still. I appreciate the  times we spent together and I’m also grateful for the lessons he taught me. I’m now more of an emotional being who sees no shame in being open and honest. So goodbye to all that wreck and baggage and hello to the new now. 

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

The silent rage.

What do you do when everywhere you go feels like a cage? 

It’s a feeling I’ve carried with me for a long time now, an anger that’s simmered slowly and a rage that’s been built upon largely by a frustration that takes its toll on me, bit by bit. 

How can I dance, when there are screams louder than music? 

Quite frankly I’m tired of feeling oppressed being a minority in straight places, being a minority in gay places, being a minority at cultural events, being a minority in Berlin. It’s boring to talk about race and sexuality, yes I know there’s those more privileged than I who think that racism is over and equality has been won! There’s even those who are the same sexuality or race as me but don’t want to disturb the peace and are content and complacent with their place in the world. Then there are people like me who want more then what they’ve been given, thankful for what we’ve inherited but also aware that we need to push on so others can inherit a world better than our current one. 

Why can’t I sleep? is because I’m too conscious, too woke? 

I for one am tired and bored, it’s driving me crazy that I have to feel this way and with each passing year, the rage builds and is now a monster. That monster doesn’t want violence it wants platforms, it wants to change and it wants doors opened and it knows that this can be done by discussions, debates, visibility and protests that pave way for progress. 

Why I fight, is it to further the freedoms inherited from battles I never fought? 

I don’t want the next generation to have to carry this burden around with them, to feel excluded from being a fashion designer or working in culture due to feeling like they won’t fit in. The fight for freedom continues, that is freedom in its many forms. We’ve been defeated but in defeat it allows us to know who we’re fighting and what exactly it’s for. We’ve all got battles to face but it’s the war that needs to be won. 

Friday, 29 June 2018

Lost to love and lust

I was listening to a pop song, yes a pop song for all those who look down on the top 40! Music has always soothed me and you know what Selena Gomez, back to you played and I listened... I had just got back from a trip from Prague where I met up with a boy I was dating. Long story short he was interesting, intriguing, artistic and intense. The intensity scared me yet also pulled me in! He could read me and understand me in ways I hadn’t been before, but we fell apart. The energy he used to give faltered and we were both fighting battles that we couldn’t fight together so it went cold. Cold in the sense we never communicated but I still had a soft spot kept warm for him. 

Gong to see him was a beautiful ceremony, we fought to align our energy and finally when we did it was soft and soothing, a goodbye to who we were and a hello to who we’ve become. 

On coming back home I felt lonely as fuck, cleansed but missing something the guy I was dating wasn’t hitting me up with energy he was before, emotionally cold or just simply couldn’t handle the goodbye I had to say in Prague. So this week I’ve been a shell, feeling lonely and lost, trying to understand who I am and what I’m becoming, learning from love and lust. 

My friend is fighting his own battles similar but different to mine and here’s what I had to say, when he thought he wasted five years being lost to someone he loved deeply: 

No waste as you did you, even if you were shy or scared it’s something... you didn’t stay still imprisoned in London, you lived even if ghosts cling to you and rode with with you... love as life is weird, this yearning to give, to feel, to want, to hold, to share... it fuels my frustrations at the state our community is in... hook ups, drug abuse, alcoholism -! Are we lonely? Or confused, we’re still misfits, there’s still shame. 

Either way we shouldn’t disrespect our ex- lovers beacuse they loved who we were for all their faults and for all our flaws.. they too were fighting to be, and we both know becoming isn’t easy its a fight to live and learn and understand. They give us lessons... if you were socially awkward with him or in that time you pushed through and became something other than what he knew.., isn’t that the most amazing fuk you? When L said I’ll never get a job? What happened... these boys bite back with all they can try but break ups usually mean you’ve both outgrown each other and if you haven’t then the other has to learn to grow and that’s what you did. 

This is probably my most honest post ever but you know what I have to put myself out there xx 

Thursday, 31 May 2018

All wounds hurt when pressed.

In recent days I’ve had two unpleasant experiences. Usually, I can shake these off and push it to the side, cancel it out and calm down. But I’m getting tired of doing that, pretending that each insult isn’t like being lashed with a whip, leaving scars. 

 I’ve been called a faggot, while with my friend in Gesundbrunnen, walking from his place to the station by a group of Turkish lads. Then three days after, looked at angrily while said person glaring at me spits on the ground, evidently disgusted in something or another. Now, in this case, I didn’t know if it was my race or sexuality that caused discomfort/anger or maybe both? In any case, these incidents highlight that there’s still so much hatred in our cities streets, hidden under banners of liberalism and open arms slogans. 

It’s been easy to rise above this and brush off the verbal attacks, happy that they remain just that. Yet in any Case, they still unsettle me. They awaken this fear, the same fear that makes me shy away from holding my dates' hand or going for a kiss in public. Then there’s the shame the same shame that existed in the younger me, wondering was it ok to be this way, be attracted to who I was attracted to and love who I love - men. 

I was attacked once before in London, on New Year’s Day. My friends and I were on our way to a party and ended up being heckled, verbally and then physically abused. I ended up with a deep cut to my eyebrow while my friend had several teeth knocked out, all because we were gay.  

It’s sad that society still harbours such hatred for people different from themselves. And even sadder that most verbal and some physical cases go unreported, meaning the perpetrators are free to continue their reign of terror with no repercussions. The best thing is to not pretend that we’re past discrimination, it exists in people in alarming numbers.

I want to go to the next-level the next time this happens and report it, I don’t know the laws and rules in Germany but I know that in Britain, such malicious crap can go down as a hate crime. Either way, I’ll do my research and find out how to do so, as silence is no longer an option. 

Friday, 6 April 2018

The Price of Poverty.

It’s no secret that I’ve been poor. My money has always gone on my passions rather than my desires. As a designer, any spare change went on materials, as a publisher extra cash went into production and as a brand manager a lot of money went on the commute to work. 

Being poor is something you can think of and fear but not really know the feeling until it hits. Poverty is mean, it causes you to think and feel down, every breath seems to cost money. Sometimes all you can do is hope for depression as at least in those dark moments, you cease to need the fuel of food - with hunger eliminated as a side effect. In the process dark moods end up saving you money on a day or twos meals, without having to suffer hunger pain. 

You think you can calculate the costs of the meager money you have, but it’s just not that easy, 
Things happen that can’t be accounted for. Take for example flatmates inviting you to dinner and your pride not allowing you to say no. At dinner you cut corners but still end up spending €10, afterward you end up annoyed, knowing that it could have gone on a week worth of food and not just one dinner. Either way, you shrug and try not to feel guilty. Other times it’s your friends who buy you drinks at bars, even though you insist they don’t and after three rounds on them, you scramble to the bar to at least buy one round, even though you know that it will hurt your pockets in the long run. 

The main pain of poverty for those newly imprisoned is the loss of freedom. If you’ve lost a job you suddenly inherit life’s most precious asset - time. But now you have time but no money. Instantly you’re robbed of being able to do what others do/ what you did before. You can no longer go where you like, eat what you want or buy the little luxuries/ bare necessities which you did before. Everything is considered, measured and debated. If you spend here can you thrift there? It’s mentally exhausting to think so much and physically draining to eat so little. 

Friday, 30 March 2018

On fitting in/ having clubbing anxiety.

So I like to dance, but I’ll admit it and hold my hands up and say I’m not the best dancer but I like to move, groove and lose myself to the music. The issue here though is that dancing means going out and going out has its issues. 

One of the main problems for me is that the gay establishments, I usually frequent don’t really have the sort of men that I’m attracted too (not to sound bigheaded). I find it really hard to find the right vibe that fits me. If someone is too handsome I’ll be intimidated, cursing everyone including myself for feeling inadequate, beneath them, not right. If they’re not my type but persist on trying to get my attention or in some cases pester and not get the hint it can sometimes ruin the night. It may sound stupid but sometimes when someone is constantly watching you it can feel unnerving and you can’t fully let go. Luckily sometimes the stars do align, with good music, cheap drinks, my type of guys and a nice buzz. It’s always great when the men aren’t  stiff, unapproachable or shallow. When they laugh, dance and look good, yet don’t think they’re gods. It allows nights that I can belong to, lose myself to the music and for my mood to soar, but these moments are rare. 

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Intimate doesn’t mean intimacy

For it’s a heavy breath to take to know that what you breathe in is pure and out toxic.Life is the journey but when you start to feel comfortable and confident time takes something away...

I struggle with being gay and it’s not the being gay that’s the issue, loving men plays no part in my despair it’s the men/ the man that seems to destroy me. In my lived experience I haven’t been fortunate  enough to receive a love I feel deeply, a guy I want badly and a relationship that’s healthy. I love men I just haven’t loved a man.

I crumble more and more inside with every high and horny message I get I feel more numb, more reduced, more nothingness, my optimism at finding something and someone special is diluted, I try blank it out but I can’t as I want something so bad that it’s frustrating that this is all I get and all I’ve had is boys who know nothing and have no self.... I’m hardened with snarky responses to most things, when others see wonder I detract from their moment, this is like some heavy veil I can’t lift and I’m numb getting even more so with each passing day. 

I’ve been on dates recently but I don’t feel the burn, I don’t see the brightness, I don’t feel the warmth. That easy ebb and flow, that pulls you towards another and makes you want to get to know all you can, to try and understand someone other than yourself. It’s all just something with Someone but it’s not the one. 

I find getting intimate is easy but intimacy is hard, I wonder do we have an issue with building pure and strong bonds?  In sustaining a committed, loving & nurturing relationship?  or is it simply in the game of like, lust and love I’m just no good at it? 

I’m losing my senses and in the process losing myself, I’m becoming something and someone that might just hate everything, feeling robbed of something I’ve always wanted... As just because I’m gay does it mean I have to struggle to find a lover, have a family and build a home, will it always be quick kisses, lewd messages and this sad lonely feeling?