It has been a stressful week.
Last Thursday, I ended my relationship with Sam. Why? He had a lot of baggage, too much for me to take on (like he said as part of the package). Ultimately, I broke up with him because he was not making me feel good about myself. I need to be around someone who genuinely likes and appreciates me. Although he said that he liked me on many occasions, it was not true love. It felt like he was punishing me for being liked by him.
The other week at Ultimate Frisbee, one of the girls who I have met a few times pointed out that I do GoodGym, I work for a cancer charity and I help shy guys overcome their social anxiety. She described me as a kind person and expressed that if there were more people like me in the world, the world would be an easier place to live in. These words touched me. I do not perceive myself as overly special in any way. I do what I can. I try to maintain the right thoughts. But I might not go the full extra mile (UNIQLO fiasco is an example of this).
I have noticed that both my MH Champion and friends have remained conspicuously quiet on the Sam situation. Almost like the universe is telling me that there are so many other people in my life who like and appreciate me. Why was I pursuing a relationship with a guy who does not? Was this like a form of Self Harm / Self Deprecation? I have all of these hobbies and interests that I pursue within the community. Yet I was with a guy who could not see past his own insecurities to notice any of the activities that I do. The conversation became dominated by talk of our "relationship" It felt shallow and contrived.
It was a relief when I made it out of there. Although I do not have a sweet tooth, I rewarded myself with desserts.
Although I promised my agent that I would dedicate considerable time and energy into finding a replacement guitarist, I did not really try that hard. I put a few shout-outs on Facebook and everything seemed to fall into my lap and work out well. A guitarist who was voted the UK's Best Jazz Guitarist in the 2016 British Jazz Awards contacted me. He was able to collect me and drop me off at Guildford. We were able to finish slightly early and get away without upsetting the bride. I earmarked some train times from Guildford back to London so that I could make the Mini Pride Picnic in time. The guitarist sped me back and I was able to make the 19:49 fast train. Everything went smoothly. I was lucky.
Next weekend, another client is paying me an extra £20 for food & drink because there is a line on my show advance form about requiring food & drink that auto-completes as standard. I thought that it would be a nice gesture to pass this unexpected extra £20 to the original booked guitarist as a token of thanks / cancellation fee, as he was extremely helpful and understanding via WhatsApp. I did not wish to pressurise him whichever way but although his petrol fee would have cost £175 (more than the £135 fee for the gig), he said that he would do it if I were stuck. I appreciated his help.
The agent also paid me an extra £16 for the train ticket.
Sometimes, life does have its ways of working things out, without me even needing to try much. Perhaps it was simply a case of not stressing too much. This week, I paid more attention to the energy flows rather than what was actually happening, i.e., looking at circumstance and eventuality in pure, elementary "give and take" mechanics. It worked. I was able to divert the various energy flows to enable circumstances to work in my favour. I am being paid for the gig. Plus I was able to make the Mini Pride Festival. It is the best of both worlds!
On my victory joy ride on the fast train from Guildford to London, I felt the urge to send the following message to the attendees of tomorrow's Rise & Shy. For reasons to be explained below.
Just a quick message to say that I am really looking forward to seeing you tomorrow in Clapham Common (meeting outside Clapham Common tube station). Can you please message me to say if you are coming for the run or just the coffee/breakfast after? Just to get numbers. Do feel free to message me on [number]. Thanks, see you tomorrow �� rory xxx
From: Rory Duffy
On Saturday, I managed to make the Mini Pride in Green Park at 8:40. I showed Sam's final messages, voice notes and videos to quite a few people at the festival. Again, the general message that I received was that the guy is "unhinged", I had a "lucky escape" and I "dodged a bullet". The overriding message was Astoundment and wonderment at why I reacted so "nicely". "I would have blocked long before that happened" said one person. "Get rid of him, he is not good for you, you deserve so much better!" said another person.
The trouble is, I care too much. I like to analyse and think on a situation comprehensively. I like to go into the finer details. And I like to give someone my time of day. Because it is free. If I can respond positively and pragmatically to a situation and learn from it, I am getting something back from the situation in terms of personal development. It does not need to take much effort. I like to process things fully. I do not "move on" easily. My friend TRN asked me about the Sam situation. At first, I was hesitant to go into it. TRN said "it is OK if you do not want to talk about it". I said "that is precisely the problem. I DO want to talk about it". After which, I launched into a blow-by-blow account of everything that had happened, messages, media and all. Later in the conversation, TRN told me to "move on" quite sternly. Telling me to "move on" might have been a combination of a) his projected interests (a form of Sympathy Fatigue) and b) his concern for my interests. I apologised and explained the above to him. He sympathised with my inclination to analyse. But he seemed concerned that I was wasting too much of my time and energy on something / someone "unworthy" of it. At which point, I said that it is not the people and situations that are important. It is my response to them. What I choose to do about them. What I might learn from them. These are the most important aspects for me. At this, TRN relented. He seemed to understand. He said "whatever works for you". I clarified that I did not feel hurt by the experience. I might have felt pissed off and annoyed about it. But the main thing is that I was not hurting. If anyone was hurting, it was him. TRN agreed that this is the most important thing.
There were approximately 70 people at the Mini Pride. There was a speaker set up and people were dancing outside. The atmosphere was festive and there was even carrot cake and various salads. At one point, I was sat down taking 2 guys through the messages from Sam, when I noticed that HZ was there out of the corner of my eye. He was in mid-embrace with someone else. I decided that I do not need to ignore him, but also I do not need to talk with him unless he talks with me first. Although I felt a little self-conscious and awkward (the last time that I saw him was 2 weeks ago when I asked him if I could kiss him), I forced myself to enjoy the party and do the social butterfly routine. I do not think that HZ was there for a long time as I did not see him anywhere afterwards.
What else happened? I spoke to one of the other co-organisers about Yasmin. I said that I felt a little hesitant about expressing my opinion on the WhatsApp group. But I felt strongly that it was wrong to block her from the groups on the basis of her Suicidal Ideation. I told them about a similar situation 2 years ago where my account was suspended on "Ele Friends" (run by MIND) because I was posting suicidal messages. I did not know where else to go. I was at rock bottom. It was a cry for help. And how suspending my account was the worst possible thing that the charity could do. I admired Yasmin for opening up about her mental health struggles on the WhatsApp group. It was a brave and courageous thing to do. Especially if it might have been perceived as "not the correct arena". Maybe the conversation might have been shifted to a separate arena where it might have been considered more "appropriate". But it was great that she did reach out and I admire her for that. I told the co-organiser that he was welcome to pass her my number. Yes, we are not trained psychotherapists. But regardless of that, it is important to talk and engage with someone when they are experiencing suicidal thoughts. Not block them, suspend their accounts and restrict their choices on the basis that their messages are "triggering" for others. If anything, they need more channels of support. A support network. Suicide is a taboo and it is all the more important that people become use to talking about it and engaging with the topic openly.
At 10pm, we left the park as a group of about 40 people. I was happy when we cleared up all of our rubbish. It only took 10-15 minutes. And everyone did their bit as a joint team effort. The last thing that I would have wanted would have been to be part of a litter bug community. When we left, the park was spotless. I was very happy about that.
Approximately 20 people went to Chinatown, I was in the other group of 20 people that went to Soho Square to drink.
I had a chat with one of the younger boys who told me a story about how he had fallen in love with his best friend and how the experience had changed him. Emotionally, he is still thinking about this guy. He is not able to love another guy as much as he loved his best friend. No other guys compare to him. But he puts pressure on himself to "move on". I pointed out that the fact that no other guy matches up to this guy means that he has high expectations. And the higher your expectations, the greater you become at protecting yourself. The love that he felt for this guy has changed him in some way. This story resonated with me because it reminded me of what happened with Andy. And how it snowballed. To be able to love someone with that much breadth and depth is a rare gift. Not many people have that. And to put yourself in situations where you might feel vulnerable and become hurt again shows real strength and courage. There is no pressure for him to "move on". That is a societal imposition. A projection. He should explore what happened and try to address it in himself. Maybe understand what happened and why he thought that it did not work out. Yes, the other guy might have been "straight" but who knows? This has happened to me before. I have been left assuming that this relationship did not work out. But then I realise that this was nothing more than a self-imposed projection arising out of an imposed societal expectation to "move on". I told the guy that what he felt for this other guy is important. He must explore it. Embrace it. Address it. And most of all, feel good about it. To be able to tell such a story and come out of it with the ability to discourse it in words. That is a real achievement. I asked him if he kept a journal. He said that he did but that he tore it up because he felt ashamed about it. This is the problem. Even when you "burn" something, you rid yourself of the physical evidence. But you are still left with the tendrils of emotional and psychological residue that comes with those actualities and circumstances. It is inextricable. There is something powerful about writing out your life story and putting actuality to account. Changing your own personal relationship with what happened by putting it in your terms. So that it is in a place where it belongs, ridding you of the need to re-hash it over and over again.
Read More (burning analogy): 15/11/2020
Later in the night, I was chatting and flirting (in Spanish) with a Latino guy called Marvin. He is 2 months older than me (34). I cannot remember much (it must have been the wine) but the next thing that I knew, we were kissing. It was pretty strong and arousing. He said that he was not looking for a relationship. Just a bit of fun. We will see! People often say that. The reality is that we never know what we are looking for until we find it. This week's experience with Sam has only hammered that home to me harder. Marvin & I exchanged numbers and a few messages when he left. I sat down with the other girls who had noticed the two of us kissing. I could not suppress the grin on my face. I told them that I felt slightly stunned. And that this is the normal way in which I respond to kissing. It sends me off into euphoria. Who knows whether or not I might meet up with this guy again? It might have been a one-off. If he is not up for a relationship, I can respect his wish and not feel the need to contact him. I feel satisfied in myself that I have sent the Last Message. And I feel happy that I have had a nice kiss with a guy. I needed that.
Towards the end of the night, I met a girl and told her what had happened with Sam. And I felt sad about him all over again. Suddenly, I was seized with a desire to do something about my sadness for him. Although he had blocked me on WhatsApp, I knew that I could reach out to him on Facebook. So I did. Sure enough, he called me a "bad person".
Despite this seemingly pointless exchange, I felt happier. It was a nice message. Kindness is free. I have the strength and capacity to give something to someone without expecting anything back in return.
Like Jesus said:
Eye for Eye
Things happen for a reason. On my way home, remembering that I would need to rise bright and early for the Meetup event that I had thoughtfully scheduled in the morning, I checked the app to see who would be attending. Fortunately, only 2 people were signed up and they are both guys who I know and trust. So I was able to easily message them. I had laid the groundwork by sending the above message. Since I had not heard from anyone that they would be running, I messaged both guys to confirm that I would only be doing the coffee, not the run.
Jun 29, 2021, 10:42 PM
We had a nice 2-hour coffee session in Clapham. I told them about my experience of having matched with Hafyz on OkCupid and later discovering on Happn that we had crossed paths in Vauxhall. How random! Things Happn for a reason.
Last week, I thought that we were going to meet up. But I sent Hafyz my number and he did not reply. Even though it sounded like he was about to ask me out. Not to worry. Plenty more irons in the fire. I came up with an analogy about snagging guys as being like planting seeds. It is like The Parable of the Sower. I seem to be quoting Jesus a lot lately. I will do so once more.
The Last Message rule is like planting a seed. I have done my best. I am not expecting anything back. I am free to carry on with my life. Somewhere down the line, I might receive a pleasant surprise. A message might pop up on my phone when I am least expecting it. This is what planting seeds with guys is all about. Keeping my options generating in multitude. With some guys, the soil is infertile and toxic, preventing a relationship from sprouting. With other guys, the soil is fertile and rich in nutrients. It is completely random and unpredictable. Invariably due to the energy that I manifest, i.e., the groundwork that I lay and the seeds that I plant.
I love memes. One of my favourite memes is one about not forcing someone around to hear a message when they are not ready to receive but never underestimating the power of planting a seed. Whoever has ears, let them hear, after all!
Read More: 14/02/2020
Throughout the day, I exchanged a few messages with Sam (via Facebook). I felt a little worried that I had potentially opened up another "can of worms" by messaging him last night. Getting myself back into that cycle of abuse. But as long as I continue to maintain my distance, I can do nothing wrong. An apology is an apology. He has un-blocked me on WhatsApp. I would not like to get back into that again. I will leave it. It is positive that we are having this conversation via Facebook (at least this way, he cannot send voice notes). Almost like the new medium represents the newly platonic phase of our relationship. I would like to keep it this way. He is less of a threat now. He messages me. I message back. But I keep my replies short and neutral. I am too tired. Hopefully he becomes bored and stops replying to my messages. And life carries on.
I am feeling great! Lying low and avoiding / ignoring the England match as much as possible. On Thursday, I also ended things with the guy I was seeing. I am still in love with Rob but I guess we are on a natural break. It felt good to get myself out of a potentially hazardous situation with Sam.
Sam's reaction was extreme. He reacted badly. But I patiently messaged him after and he ended up apologising to me.
He was like that, impulsive and aggressive. It was an abusive relationship. One in which I did not feel safe
Ultimately, Sam was not making me feel good about myself. Which is important, regardless of how attractive he might seem. Pursuing a "relationship" with him was like a form of Self Deprecation. So I came to my senses. And got myself out of there...quick!
He could not see past his own insecurities to be able to develop a bond with a guy, let alone love another person. It (not he) = the relationship, was toxic. Or it was having a toxic effect on both of us.
Well, I made the right decision. My MH Champion and friends were notably quiet throughout the Sam situation. This was the Universe telling me that he was not healthy for me. There are plenty of people who like and appreciate me. So the fact that I was pursuing Sam astounded quite a few people, when they read the messages, audio notes and videos, and heard what I was telling them. I do have a tendency to put myself in some very dangerous and precarious situations! Out of naiveté more than anything, but also I try to believe the best in people, and sometimes that can be taken advantage of.
On Thursday, I ended it with him. On Friday, he lashed out and blocked me. Last night, I messaged him on Facebook. Today he apologised to me. So it is fine, I have managed to back off and get to a safe distance. Without severing ties completely. Which is the best possible result for me. So I feel happy and relieved.
Last night, I pulled in Soho Square. At 3am. It was just a kiss, I doubt that it is going to go any further than that.
Well, I got myself out of a good situation and I have made the right decision. Definitely. And I am proud of the way in which I handled it. I hardly needed any help. Somehow, I knew what I needed / wanted to say. And how to resolve the situation. Without knowingly upsetting anyone.
[17:58, 09/07/2021] Rory Duffy: Hey Rob how are you?
From: Shy Bi's & Gay Guys
Rory spent the first few years of his life in an ice cave, carving out his palace of wonder. He's a bit of a love doll, but he who melts the ice shall have his reward.
332 Brixton Road
Samaritans, 24 hours, on 116123 or email:
I have been recommended to acknowledge and process all that I have been though, where it all started from how it has affected me.