Last night, I had various thoughts about what questions I would ask Avi Taler if he were ever in touch again.
I also thought about my plans to order drugs on my 35th birthday in preparation for my 40th birthday. Why am I planning to do this? What (in life) is not working for me? It feels like every path that I follow, every road that I take, every avenue that I pursue ends at some point. Somewhere down the line, I find myself at a dead end with no alternative way to pass. This is life. Things come to an end.
Take my music, for example. I have been waiting almost two years to record with DG. I am paying her to do it. And we still have not been able to yet. This has held back all of my other projects. If I did not finish the album by the time that I turn 40 (because I am waiting for musicians), should I make the project files, assets and guide tracks available for someone else to finish, if I decide to die before then? Why is it that every other musician who I come across is successful in making music videos and getting bands together? Yet I am still struggling when I am recording people individually? Do people even remember that I am working on this album or will they assume that it will never be finished? Why do people praise my songwriting even though none of it is finished?
And then there is this LGS fiasco. I am being asked to co-promote a Monday night event. The DJ is putting pressure on me to spread the word among my networks and bring people to the venue. Yet the venue is not releasing the promo materials enabling me to promote myself. It is a catch 22. And I am not even being paid for it. I am stuck with a group on Meetup. I am coming up against a brick wall with the corresponding Facebook group (on which I am not an admin). And I am doing my best to remain positive.
What will be my next project / passion in life? That goes well for a while before coming to no obvious end?
Dating. I feel a fraction of the person who I was at the start of the summer. It seems that I am living to date rather than dating to live. I do not know what to talk about because I have become an empty shell. Last November, I took a six month break from it, came back and found Hafyz. Who then drained me of the remaining self confidence that I had managed to muster up in those intervening months since November in which I was not talking to him. The irony.
Life. I feel detached. Like I am not truly LIVING. Just going through the motions. Not feeling everything to its full extent. Physically, I am tired. Maybe it is because I am not eating properly? Yet even in the last week, I have consumed more calories than my daily allowances. And I am still feeling lethargic.
Above all, the overriding feeling of the past few weeks is loneliness. Yes, I have discussed how loneliness is a positive force and can leave us open and receptive to new experiences, people and situations. Yes, it is important for me to learn to live on my own before I can be with someone else. This is what I am struggling with. Every time that I find myself at a loose end or with a window of unspent time, I instantly try to fill it. Perhaps I am looking for something in the wrong places.
Yesterday, the DJ & I had a long phone conversation about LGS and about how he chose to walk away from it because it was causing him too much stress and aggravation. The DJ seemed dismayed that I was running all of these Meetup groups and events. He asked a pertinent question. Why are you doing all of this? Briefly, I alluded to my "relationship breakup" two years ago. I said that when one area of your life (in my case = relationship) is deficient, you have to boost the other areas of your life to supplement that. The circles of resilience theory. I stopped short of saying "to find a boyfriend". Maybe I did not need to say that. Maybe it was "obvious". Just like in the jazz circuit when people go to jam sessions all of the time, they are looking for a musical connection. I am doing exactly the same thing in the LGBTQ circuit as I did in the jazz circuit for so many years. Looking for something / someone. A connection. Perhaps this is just one of dead end those paths / roads / avenues. I must remind myself of the reason why I am doing this. To find another boyfriend? Or to find another Avi Taler? To whom I can say "I love you", without losing them?
Today, when I was on my way to the gym, I passed Ansh outside the Oval. He was shirtless. It was a hot day. I looked towards him but he looked down and pretended not to see me. Another empty shell. I cannot forget what a previous care coordinator said to me. Just be friends with him! Go out for a coffee with him! Have a chat! Has any of this happened? No. All that he wanted was sex. He kissed me and told asked me if we could keep it as "friends" between us. In other words, he friend zoned me. And subsequently booty messaged me a few months later.
[20:40, 25/06/2019] Rory Duffy: I thought I’d done something bad
[20:13, 07/07/2019] Rory Duffy: 😚
Since I was listening to the music on my phone, I was not quick enough to take a shirtless snapshot of Ansh from behind (since he looked the other way). However, I do have these shots of him that I snapped from Hinge a few months ago (6th May), which I have not yet shared. And which I have no reservation about sharing. Now that this has happened, I feel at liberty to share. The universe arranged circumstances in this way. 💁♂️
Even more ironic since last Friday's South Lambeth Bar Crawl was effectively a repetition of our date 2 years ago (Tito's followed by Tia Maria). Perhaps the universe is preparing me in this way. For the possibility that if I happen to walk around West London on a hot sunny day, I might see Avi Taler walking around shirtless. And he might look the other way. Mental note to self: ensure that I have my iPhone at the ready. This is why I cannot go to Heaven. It is like the spirit that is in there before has now departed the body. Leaving an empty shell. How triggering.
I wonder what is happening with Ansh. Does he experience similar self confidence issues to those that I am experiencing? I wonder if he writes anything down like I do? Probably not. Despite the fact that he works for Facebook. Why can boys not play nicely with one another? Have a positive rapport? It is because we are too insecure. Always protecting ourselves. Living our fears. Hiding away from others and not letting them see who we truly are. For fear of getting hurt or rejected. Reminder: this is why I should probably not kiss a guy on our first date. Because it raises the threshold for one or other to get hurt. And invariably, I am on the receiving end of rejection.
Why am I even thinking in this way? We met only once. Well, twice, if you count the time in Retro Bar on September 28th 2019. Is Ansh simply a manifestation? A projection of the guys who I have felt drawn to? Well I am feeling the same way about Avi Taler. And it is 2 years later.
[09:51, 19/08/2021] Rory Duffy: Never wanted them to be exes in the first place but they gave me no choice
Tireni forcefully tells me to "move on". I can see the logic in it. If I continually ruminate over 1, 2 or 3 guys, I might make myself an unhappy person. The reality is that I have ruminated on many guys. Not just the 3 mentioned here (Avi Taler, Ansh and Hafyz). To the extent that they have run into one another (= the manifestation, the repetition of history aspect). I tried to prevent that from happening.
After Roger, I took 3 years out and tried to "work on myself". Whatever that means. In 2019, I met Avi Taler, which brought me right back to square one. Although I have been consciously "working on myself" for the past two years (by documenting my thoughts and feelings and consulting friends, family and professionals openly and honestly about what I am struggling with), I still feel that I am in the same place as I was two years ago. Stuck. Grappling with self confidence issues. Because I am still being run and re-run through the mill of rejection. Which comes in many forms (ghosting, friend zoning and yet more friend zoning). During that process, I have had to learn the hard lesson that just because someone kisses me, it does not mean that they love me or that we are in a "relationship". I have been forced to learn that a kiss does not necessarily mean anything. I have been telling this to people. And now, they are contradicting me! Telling me that it DOES mean that the person wants a relationship. And that there IS a binary / polar distinction between friendship (what I have come to understand in a generic sense) and relationship. How does that make me feel about myself? What conclusion do I logically draw from this? That guys have never taken me seriously enough to even consider having a relationship with me? Yet they are free to kiss me if they want to? Like I am at their disposal?
All that I did was kiss Hafyz. I never wanted that to trigger the whole relationship conversation. I said that I had decided to abdicate that conversation. Because past experiences have proven that I cannot circumnavigate it and remain in one piece. Why did Hafyz have to initiate that conversation about our relationship? To put me in the position of being friend zoned and, by extension, rejected? I NEVER WANTED TO HAVE THAT CONVERSATION! All that we did was kiss. Why did it have to mean anything? Besides, was that not the whole point of dating? To develop a relationship? When something is working well in line with the desired dating context, why should I be made to feel criminalised for going along with the plan / by the book? Is this something that I am doing to myself? 😩
Tireni tells me to "move on". I get that. I understand it. And I accept the reasons. So, I understand the WHY. But I do not understand the HOW. It does not make sense in my head. Why should I pursue other guys if the right guys are already the ones who I have met? Just because things did not work out, it should not mean that we can have nothing at all. What is the point of investing in someone if all that we are going to be left with is nothing at all? I do not have the energy anymore.
I know that I am probably doing myself no favours by moping about my woes and feeling sorry for myself. I know that self pity is not attractive. But it helps to get my thoughts down here (if anything). Hopefully, I can release them in this way.
The other week, a stranger (Zakir) told me that I am "sad and vulnerable". This has affected me. I might not be "sad and vulnerable" unless I told myself that I am "sad and vulnerable". I have everything that I want in the world. And I am not alone. Yet I am feeling lonely. People tell me that I should not feel lonely. But I cannot help what I feel.
Rob is in touch. He is feeling depressed about life in general. There must be something going around. I should concentrate on him.
Last thought. I think that if I wanted to end myself, this would indicate that the relationship that I have with myself is at rock bottom. To the extent that I destroy myself.
I always chuckle when I encounter someone who I know or have already corresponded with on a dating app. And in the case of Manny Dom, this was no exception. 2 years ago, we matched on Chappy. The original conversation cannot be retrieved since the app has been discontinued. However, it went something along the lines of this. I asked him if his name "Dom" was short for Dominic. His response was that this is the way in which he behaves in bed. 😈
I asked him if he would like to come to the Cock Tavern. He asked me where that is. I told him that it is a gay venue in Kennington. To which he responded that he only "does" Soho. And that I should give him a shout next time that I am in Soho. And that was pretty much it.
Looking at his Tinder profile, it seems that he is another ephemeral pretty boy who is only interested in one thing.
Last night, Rob denied that we had ever engaged in sex together. I reminded him that we had done so 2x. On 15/11/2019 after the Eagle Meetup and after last July's Gay Picnic. Rob had no recollection of it. He suggested that he might have fallen asleep before we had the chance to do so. But he was insistent that we had not done it. This stung a little. It made me question my own ability in sex. When he saw how these words affected me, he apologised.
I suggested that I might not be not good ("vanilla") in bed. I even went so far as to suggest that I am having doubts about my sexuality. I might be asexual. I also expressed some insecurities about my frigidity.
Rob explained that he had tried to have sex with me but that I acted resistant, i.e., I rolled over in bed or said something to prevent him from having sex with me. I remember doing that the first time that he stayed over. But the other times? I am beginning to think that I do something subconsciously to protect myself from guys. I told him about my first three major guy crushes (Andy, FF and Nathan). I went into the psychology of how my experience of rejection became a Self Fulfilling Prophecy. And how I have built up these layers / boundaries from having been played by guys. To the extent that I am now extremely guarded and self-regulated. And that whenever I come close to engaging with someone sexually, something within my subconscious comes out of the woodwork and somehow sabotages it. Even without me noticing let alone trying. I have an inbuilt protection mechanism. It kicks in almost automatically. Because my protection is my fear of letting someone have their way with me. I feel afraid to let myself get out of control like I have done with guys in the past. Such that I have developed an aversion and a complex to sexual relationships.
Besides my internal thoughts, there are several pieces of external evidence to suggest this.
April 2, 2012
He remains single and there are certainly issues around sexual identity, which are still not resolved.
[22:39, 21/10/2019] LV: But you seem have problems with sex
[07/07/2021, 13:50:05] Sam: <attached: 00000893-AUDIO-2021-07-07-13-50-05.opus>
Maybe I am not 100% asexual but there is a certain repressed / suppressed sexuality. Or I have an element of frigidness / rigidness that stems from my social anxiety. Which some people mistake for vulnerability. Rob repeatedly insists that he sees me as a strong person (whenever I mention my perceived vulnerability to him).
LV pointed out that I seem to have problems with sex and that I feel myself "used". Could the problem be that I love and respect Rob too much to be able to arouse or excite him in sex with me? Or does he feel like I am delicate and that he cannot touch me due to my naivety and "pure" nature? It is difficult to say.
I told Rob about the Friends plot where Rachel and Joey get together. Rachel slaps Joey because of some self-defence mechanism from her past kicking in. In the end, they try to do it but realise that they are too good friends to be able to do anything physically with one another?
On Thursday night, I was chatting to the guy from the Meetup (the one who I had met at the coffee on 19/08/2021). I found his views Black & White. He drew a clear distinction between "friendship" and "relationship". My care coordinator encouraged me to have friendships with different guys. As a non-exclusive concept. Not to put all of my eggs in Rob's basket as she (plus my family and friends) used to say. Ever since, I have thought of friendships in a wide, generic sense. A friendship can have a romantic or sexual element. It can have both. Why should it mean anything? In the past, I used to think that simply because someone kisses me or tries to sleep with me, it means that they love me. I found myself hurting through thinking that. I was encouraged to get away from thinking that.
Now, I am being told completely the opposite. Not only that there is a clear distinction between "friendship" and "relationship" by this guy from the Meetup. But others, too, have been contradicting the advice that my care coordinator gave me. In advocating a "relationship" as an exclusive concept.
Take Sam, for example. Although the delivery might have been taken (by me) as harsh and insensitive, the message remains the same. Sam felt hurt because the compliments that I was giving him were interpreted as platonic rather than romantic. Is this partly why the relationship failed? Because I was too restrained and rigid in my responses to him? I cannot blame myself. In order for it Ito be an equal partnership, he needed to accept me for who I am and understand that I process emotions extremely deep beneath the surface. He described my English way of acting cold.
[05/07/2021, 15:56:29] Sam: <attached: 00000690-AUDIO-2021-07-05-15-56-29.opus>
[05/07/2021, 16:00:52] Sam: <attached: 00000694-AUDIO-2021-07-05-16-00-52.opus>
[07/07/2021, 15:51:50] Sam: This message was deleted.
With Hafyz, the boot was on the other foot. He decided to friend zone me. The relationship conversation had not even been instigated. The question had never been asked. All that I did was kiss him. I only expressed my love and appreciation for him through my actions and not my words. He took the kisses to mean something more than merely a friendship. There were two levels of "friendship" and "relationship". When, to me, friendship and relationship were one level and interchangeable. This is why I did not respond well to the friend zoning. Because I felt like I was being judged for the kissing and affectionate / amorous gestures. Or that the relationship was needlessly having a label applied to it when it was not necessary (in my opinion). I never wanted to have the "relationship" talk. But he brought that to the table. And in doing so, the conversation became dominated by it. Such that we could no longer maintain a natural or authentic rapport with one another.
Hafyz slammed the brakes down and brought the whole rapport to an abrupt end.
[16:42, 26/07/2021] Rory Duffy: You friend zoned me in front of a couple of my friends and said that us two needed boundaries etc. You made it sound like I had misunderstood stuff like you staying at mine etc. And you even said we were on our 4th or 5th date. You were giving mixed signals and then you said about me being on the spectrum which is why you didn't want to upset me.
This is not unlike what happened with Ron two years ago. Although with him, the delivery was slightly different. Rather than friend zoning, it was bread crumbing and benching. All that I wanted from Ron was a friendship. As my care coordinator advised me. Go out for coffee with him. Talk to him. But the trouble was, we were kissing, hugging and hanging out on an intimate basis. I was training myself to simply focus on reciprocating and enjoying his company without trying judge, label or read too deeply into it. To express love and appreciation through my actions (what I do) rather than my words (what I say). Apparently, this was not enough. The judgement was inevitably made.
[15:37, 04/09/2019] Rory Duffy: Hey Ron, haha no worries 😉 Picnic was ace thanks! Just to let you know, I’m looking for meaningful relationships - whether that’s friendship or something more serious. But not up for something that is random and intermittent. I’m very happy to have found a new friend in you and I’m not expecting anything more than that. I completely understand you’ve had exams and a holiday to organise so if now's not a good time then let’s pause things and if your situation changes then you’ve got my number or you’re very welcome to reach me via email ([email]) and I’d love to re-connect with you… ☺ Enjoy your well-deserved holiday! Cheers, Rory.
[19:30, 04/09/2019] Sonia: Well, what would you want from him Ror?
Rewind back to Avi Taler. He said that we had taken things too fast. Even though he was the one who instigated the kissing. Intimate gestures on that level raise a precedent. Sonia was right that things can get intense.
When I spoke to the guy on Friday, he advised me to take things slow. But how slow is slow? There might not be any hard and fast rules. It is all relative. Although he gave me some pointers (e.g., he said that it is OK to kiss on the first date but you should never engage in sex until at least the 7th / 8th date), this is completely relative. It depends on who is involved.
In all of the above examples, I have rushed my feelings.
Back to Rob. I am possibly paying the consequences (the karma) now for rushing my feelings with him back then.
Last night, Rob said that I deserve a better guy than him. Immediately, I asked him not to self subjugate or put himself down. Because that is likely to make me fall for him even more! I explained to him that no other guy has accepted me or shown me the same level of love and kindness that he has. No-one else compares. But maybe we have more of a mental / emotional connection than a physical / spiritual connection? Just because he accepts me and cares about me, that should not be reason alone to settle with him. Maybe that is a form of self subjugation in itself (from my part): settling for anyone less. But I even expressed to him last night that I have insecurities about my frigidness and that sometimes, I do not feel like I am enough for him. Hence his need to play around on Grindr and Scruff. To satisfy his physical drives. I do not know. I am an extremely thoughtful and spiritual guy. Although Rob is a great listener (he even asked me if that is what he is), I cannot discourse with him on a philosophical level like I do with LV, for example. Maybe it is just what it is. Like Sonia said, I might need someone who is in between Rob and Avi Taler. Like JR. A different blend. I have been having conversations on various dating apps but they have bored me to tears. And again, I turn back to Rob, thinking and feeling that he might be the one. Who knows?
Earlier on in the evening, I had offered to buy Rob a drink. He had said that he thought that we agreed not to do that anymore and that we were buying our own drinks separately. Maybe he needed more clarity from me in terms of where we are on that friendship versus relationship spectrum? To me, it is more about the boundaries of our friendship, e.g., whether we buy each other drinks or pay separately. When he had told me this, I felt like it was a rejection and I grew quiet. Not unlike that second time that we hooked up on 11/10/2019. Although in contrast to that evening, yesterday evening, I did not feel suicidal because of it. I also noticed that he grew quiet during the M&M. I had to make an active effort to involve him in meeting other people and introducing them to him. This is part of his shyness. He asked me not to let him hold him back and that if I wanted to talk to my friends, he would not stop me. I pointed out that these people at the drinks reception were more like acquaintances than friends. And that he was the true friend who I was here to see. I said "I am here for you". I knew that we would be departing together separately. This was out of the question. It was a given. And I was happy to do whatever he wished (whether this might be staying out in Soho for longer or going home). Such is the strength of our bond. It is nice that I stand by his side. Every time that he moved away from the main crowd, I would follow him back to the quiet corner. One of the Meetup members even noticed and described me as an "introverted host". This did not bother me. It was actually quite flattering to hear this. Because someone recognised it as introversion and not unfriendliness.
About the Meetup (and Meetup events in general). This morning, I felt anxious because I drank a lot last night and could not remember a lot of what I had said to people. Although I managed to (for the most part) stay off social media this time, I still said and did some erratic things in person.
This morning, I said to Rob that energy attracts energy. If I put negative energy out, I will receive negative energy back in. This means that I must stop bitching about people. The coup has passed. Now I must move on and stop getting involved. Otherwise, I risk burning bridges with people. Or creating a negative energy field around myself. It is OK to have a moan. But if I am constantly bitching about the rebels, people might start to feel affronted and upset. There is no point. I can still find positive ways of expressing the same thing. I think that I did mention something about there being two carbon copy / parallel groups and the whole drama being unnecessary. And that it being a stressful few weeks. That is OK. Maybe I did not say anything unkind or negative. Maybe I simply remember Jason's defensive reaction when I looked like I was going to launch into a rant and he had heard my explanation the previous Saturday?
[16:45, 21/10/2019] Sonia: Do you think you maybe rushed your feelings about him?
Regarding the Meetup events in general, I have decided to stop attending the late / Little Ku events and only attend the early / Retro events. That way, I would be attending only once per fortnight rather than once per week. Which is too much. I feel like I am on a hamster wheel of drinking and socialising. My life has no other purpose or direction. All that I end up doing is getting drunk and gossiping on a somewhat shallow level with people who I barely know or have anything in common with. I must get myself back on an even keel. I am living for the Meetup events instead of attending the Meetup events to LIVE. It has become imbalanced. All of these Meetup soap operas. I must remember why I started doing this in the first place. A recovery plan? To build back my life again after Avi Taler?
It is nice that I have shown dedication to the Meetup groups. Jenny has recognised that and delegated me as event host. This might have gone to my head ever so slightly. I might be tempted to feel like I am on a power trip just as much as those hungry rebel admins. After all, people have been approaching me and asking me if I organise these events. My response is that I have been "helping out" and that I am "holding fort" for Jenny. One person even described my online presence as ubiquitous and described me as the Meetup guru / posted boy. On various occasions, I have jokingly described myself as a Meetup whore / tart. Although it would be useful to understand my role within Jenny's group (assistant organiser, assistant to the organiser, event host or just temporarily helping out?). I can afford to back away ever so slightly. Jenny has proven that the Meetup events run themselves. All that she needs to do is book the venues. People know how to socialise. They can take care of themselves. They do not need me there to chaperone, "host" or act as a social catalyst. When I joined the Meetup group two years ago and Jenny was not physically present at the gathering, I was still able to socialise and make new friends. Even in the fragile mental state that I was in at the time.
Looking at the tabbed messages to Jenny, I might have been stressing out for no reason when everything is perfectly fine. Not to mention potentially stressing out Jenny by worrying. I do not think that she would have minded. If anything, it shows that I care and that I am looking out for her. I felt like the message "And I just wanted to ensure that they’re not trying to muscle in" might have sounded overly controlling. Apart from the fact that the Meetup group does not own that venue and other Meetup groups are perfectly entitled to book it if they wish. It might have sounded negative, jealous and territorial. Another sign that I might need to back off and stop interfering. I have a habit of this. I am a control freak. There is nothing wrong with that. But maybe, I could show that side of me with a little more discretion. Otherwise, I am acting like Lily.
[09:31, 21/08/2021] Jenny: are you going to the meetup tonight?
[19:13, 21/08/2021] Rory Duffy: Mario was asking if we wanted the others to move downstairs, I just said that they’re fine for now even if they’re not part of the meet-up they can join but he asked me to let him know if it gets too crowded up here and he can move people downstairs if necessary. It’s fine for the moment though, he was asking if you’re coming?
[20:48, 21/08/2021] Jenny: hey
Take today, for example. I had messaged the group (publicly and privately) to establish who would be at Green Park and at what time. Having heard nothing, I was prepared to spend a relaxing afternoon tidying my room and updating my journal. But no, one of the members got in touch to say that they were in Green Park. Of course (feeling responsible as an event host), I dropped everything, jumped on my bike and headed to Green Park. So that I could follow through on the promised event that had been scheduled on Meetup. This was honourable yet selfless of me.
Above all, I need a break from this perpetual hamster wheel. I attend more Meetup events than anyone else who I know (even organisers like Jenny). This is possibly part of my OCD. I go to extremes and indulge in obsessions / endure obsessive phases. Rather than balancing and integrating multiple interests in equal measure.
In the autumn, I will step down the Twilight events from twice per month to once per month. And I will bring back dinners into the mix. Roof terrace drinking events are great for the summer. But for the cooler, darker months, people want to be in the restaurants. Alex has come forward and expressed interest in hosting some Meetup events. He has even announced this on the WhatsApp group.
[12:45, 14/08/2021] Alex E: Good afternoon all!
I will ask Alex if he can host one or two Fridays in the months of October and November. He can choose a restaurant. I can book it in and schedule the events. He can host. This way, I can free myself up a little more to either attend other Meetup events (such as GS) or take much-needed Friday nights in and recuperate. I have been out drinking 2-3 times per week. My thought cycles and speech are starting to become jittery and slurred. This is a long-term effect of the alcohol. Although the alcohol helps me to alleviate anxiety (my social anxiety) in the short-term, it is creating more anxiety in the long-term, e.g., not remembering what I said or did the previous night and confusing dreams and reality in terms of things that I did or did not say and do.
My mum has suggested a 3-5 day retreat in Devon. I would go down to a residence, turn off my phone and all of my social media, cook vegan and vegetarian meals, take mindfulness meditation sessions, take a paper journal and write / draw and generally take a break from the rapidly spinning world outside. This seems like a healthy option. I am trying to work out my holidays this side of October. I have so many commitments in September that it is almost impossible for me to escape London. I have blotted out the last week in September for this purpose. I have put all of the early / Retro dates in my calendar to prevent conflicts. But I will definitely be stepping back from the late / Little Ku events and the Sunday picnics (when the weather grows colder).
I feel like I have lost my memory of how to self-validatte. It seems like I have fallen into the trap of needing to be in relationships with guys (or at least to hang around gay men) in order to obtain validation. That is understandable. I must remember what the guy said to me at the GS Meetup event on 07/12/2019.
One last thing. In order to heal the cracks in my vessel, I must learn a new skill. Whether that is Origami. Or digital drawing on an iPad. Or meditation. Practise it. Become proficient at it. This will boost my Self Esteem and teach me that I am able to do things and be self-sufficient. Practising a hobby or craft is a constructive, creative means of self-validation. Whatever it is. If I can validate myself, others will follow suit. The key is I must self-validate for the right reasons. For myself. Before I can think of being validated by others.
When I am at these Meetup events, I realise that the only two things that I am talking about are:
I am not actually talking about my hobbies and interests. And if I am asking others about their places of residence or occupations, I barely remember. There are several people who I recognise. But I cannot place when or where I met them. Let alone remember their name, occupation or place of residence! This is also understandable.
[09:59, 22/08/2021] Jenny: only 3 people have clicked attending for green park
[15:00, 22/08/2021] Pouyan 🏳️🌈: Hi where can I find you in green park?
Take Harry, for example. I met him the other week at the Cock Tavern / London Gay Socials (LGS) Meetup. He attended my South Lambeth bar crawl on Friday. Last night, he randomly turned up at the 20s and 30s Meetup (even though he is older). And I mistakenly asked him which part of Scotland he is from. Even though we had the conversation that he is half Barbadian / half Canadian (from Toronto) on Friday.
This might be part of my ASD. Being able to differentiate and identify people who I have met through different people. I have often recognised people but not consciously recalled how or why I know them, which can feel embarrassing.
Take Alexandra, for example. Last night, she attended. I had no recollection of her name, let alone the fact that she works as a health practitioner. For the first few minutes, I had to wrack my brains and concentrate on remembering where we had met. Even though we had practically spent all afternoon together the previous Sunday in Green Park!
ASD aside, the fact that this keeps happening indicates that I might possibly be attending too many Meetup events. They blur into one. I see so many people. But I find it difficult to maintain rapports with all of them because there are many people present and I see some people sporadically. I find it easier if I have the person's number and we are able to talk via WhatsApp between meetings.
[12:50, 22/08/2021] Rory Duffy: No worries!! Nice pics. Did you go out in the end?
The overarching feeling is that I have all of these acquaintances who I barely know on a shallow basis. We are attending these events and having banal, surface-level conversations about nothing in particular. Like whether or not someone made it to Heaven last Saturday. And my complexes about that nightclub based on past experiences and previous relationships. Wearing my heart on my sleeves. Serving up my psyche to random strangers who may or may not know how my mind operates. I am missing the depth of knowing someone intimately. So, although I am surrounded by people and I am not alone, I cannot help feeling lonely. Experiencing loneliness among a crowd of people. The reason that I am feeling this way might be because I have forgotten how to be on my own. This is a skill in itself. And why I must remind myself how to self-validatte. Keeping this journal is a good start. At least I am having a conscious dialogue with myself. But it might not be enough on its own merits. I must get back into my creative hobbies. Heal those cracks in my vessel. Reintroduce myself to my creative side.
Yes, dating guys is important to me. That is great and all. And in that way, I am taking care of my needs and desires. To a certain extent. But when the topic of conversation becomes dominated by men and whichever guy is the current flavour of the month, my narrative has become imbalanced. I am not focusing enough on myself. I am focusing too much on how I responded to guys who I barely know. Or (more importantly) who barely know me. This is what I must re-address. These ephemeral and meandering dating app / WhatsApp conversations (that fizzle out as quickly as they have popped up) are exhausting. They are draining my energies. All of the time, I am looking for someone and hoping for something and having my hopes dashed. I am focusing on what the person is saying and doing rather than how I am responding to it. I must focus on myself. I am a selfless, giving person. Doing all of these deeds for Jenny's Meetup group. Acting as chaperone / mentor and helping guys build their confidence in my group. I show kindness and selflessness. This is wonderful. But what about my confidence? I should give myself a bit of "me" time. Time for creativity. Finish editing that mini album that I recorded back in the spring. Get back to some creative writing. This is what I am lacking. Something to bring to these meetings and talk about. Other than the above mentioned topics. People have been telling me for weeks that I must look after myself. Now I am starting to remember (from the grey, alcohol-soaked recesses of my brain cells) what that means.
[21:08, 22/08/2021] Rob: Could you ask Jenny to add rosana to the group
[22:03, 22/08/2021] Rosana: has this group split in two? i see more than one group with a similar name on meetup
Interesting conversation regarding the recent split. I am including it in here because it is reassuring to know that I am not bitching even half as much as Jenny. And if I was bitching, I certainly was not the only one. I even got a mention / shout out!
I had no idea that the rebel admins used Jenny's mailing list (in addition to Lily using mine). Shocking.
[22:03, 22/08/2021] Rosana: has this group split in two? i see more than one group with a similar name on meetup
[08:08, 16/08/2021] Rory Duffy: Hey Megan. I am aware that I said a lot of things that I shouldn't have said, I was upset and quite triggered on Saturday night. Sorry for those messages. 😓
What have I learned from Megan?
The part about wanting to become a woman makes sense to me now. It always seemed like Hafyz was not sure of who he was or what he wanted. We were doing fine, but he slammed down the breaks for no apparent reason (other than the "moving too fast"). He tried to define and label our relationship. He said that he could not be with anyone right now because of the move and everything else. A week later, I found him on Tinder. Now, he is in Heaven and out for what he can get.
Megan describes Hafyz as "promiscuous" and "self-involved". She showed me the photo of them standing together. My heart melted at his cute smile. But we acknowledged that this is all that he is, a pretty face. It is a false façade. An empty shell, nothing else. There is no-one actually there beneath that façade. Sometimes, I talk about human bodies being occupied by spirits like they are possessed. Hafyz was simply a temptation. I need not be fooled by a pretty face! I was about to talk about the snake in the Garden of Eden (like I did with Roger, back in 2016). At this point, Megan told me that apparently, on Saturday night, Hafyz described himself as the "forbidden fruit". It is strange how the thought about the snake occurred to me a moment before Megan relayed what Hafyz said to me. It is almost like I predicted it. Several times, Megan reiterated that I do not deserve someone like him. I deserve someone better who will take care of me. I vouched that he did not hurt me but that I was hurt by him. He did not do anything wrong or bad. He was completely up front with me. But I needed to see him for what he was. As a test or a challenge. In my last messages to him, I told him that I knew myself well enough to know that I could show love and appreciation towards a person without feeling the need to define or label what I feel or expect the same back in return.
[16:43, 26/07/2021] Rory Duffy: I know myself well enough that I can show love and appreciation towards a person without feeling the need to define or label what I feel or expect the same back from the other person in return. I respect your boundaries so please feel free to decide what you want and go with it. 🙏
While this may or may not be true, it seems to me that Hafyz does not know what love is.
Out of all of the guys who I have been involved with, Hafyz is the only one who has no soul. I need to be happy with him or happy without him.
[13:53, 15/08/2021] Hafyz: Hi I called you will you be able to call me back?
With regards to the missed phone call and messages, I could let my curiosity get the better of me and find out exactly what Hafyz wanted to talk to me about. However, I do not feel a particular motivation or desire to do so. If he truly wanted and needed to speak with me, he could message me. He has not done so. This makes me less curious about what he has to say. The most likely possibility is that he feels like he messed up with Yasmin and wanted to give me his version of events (before CW and Megan could do so). That way, I might not judge him or think any less of him. I guess that he is too late. Mental note for future: observe the subject and how they interact with other people.
[23:24, 14/08/2021] Rory Duffy: If he has any self respect he will intervene
Sometimes, when I am under the influence of alcohol, my demons come out and I let rip on WhatsApp. I become a keyboard warrior. When I was left outside the club, I was on my own with nothing but a walk home and my phone to keep me company. I had half a dozen beers sloshing around inside me. It was a lethal combination. It is no wonder that I might have made some dramatic proclamations on WhatsApp that were triggering (both for me and the target audience). Megan did not mind at all. She assures me that I did nothing wrong. She has asked to message her or call her whenever I feel like talking. I have asked her to do the same.
Circle of irony.
Which brings me back to this: why should I apologise or be made to feel guilty simply for kissing someone and expressing love and action towards them?
Kissing sends me off in a spin of euphoria. It alleviates my depression but increases my anxiety. Some clinics have suggested that I might have elements of Bipolar condition (not "disorder", which is too much of a negative connotation). I experience extreme highs and lows. When I experience anxiety, I put myself in psychological or physical danger by virtue of manifestation. It increases my expectations. The unhealthy relationship that I have with myself is such that the anxiety triggers a mechanism within me. I try to take control of a situation. I end up sabotaging or breaking it in some way. Through my "poisonous" touch.
[11:58, 02/11/2019] Victoria: You are such a horrible person
[24/03/2019, 16:45:30] Avi: Are you alright?
Rather like when Avi Taler kissed me on 23/03/2019. On 28/03/2019, he expressed concern for my wellbeing because of my messages and the fact that I had used the word "giddy". Last night, I had a dream about Avi Taler (which has not happened in months). In the dream, he transitioned into a woman and listened to my composition on SoundCloud. This might have been triggered by what Megan said about Hafyz wanting to transition into a woman. These guys are not sure of themselves.
The same pattern with Avi Taler has repeated itself with Hafyz. I feel love intensely to the extent that it scares the guy away. Watch this video (posted by HZ, whose birthday it was yesterday).
In order to love another person, I must love myself. In order to make someone happy, I must make myself happy. The most important relationship that I will ever have in life is with myself.
A couple of years ago, I experienced psychosis. The first hallucination was during my second overdose on 10/07/2019. I had cleared out my bathroom cupboard. I was sat up against a tree in Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. I cannot remember how I arrived there. Ephemeral figures were drifting into my midst. But as they entered my field of vision, they disappeared. I was aware that there were certain messages that I needed to respond to. I quickly responded to those messages because I had the sudden sensation that I might evaporate into thin air if I did not. Such was the fragility of my trust in humanity, in myself. I was fragmented, transient and ephemeral. I also thought that my mum was coming to collect me when she was at home near Bristol (I was in London).
My mind was all over the place. I believed that I was being controlled by higher powers. My girlfriends were the manifestations of angels. My boyfriends were the manifestations of demons. All of these manifestations were ironic repetitions of recurring patterns in my life. Some of my girlfriends defected to the dark side and became dark angels. I was a medium. The angels and demons were passing messages to one another through myself acting as a medium. They were deliberating my future but not telling me my future. Instead forcing me to witness it unravel. They knew my destiny but I did not understand why they kept it from me.
In my second hallucination (17/10/2019), some of my exes appeared as office desk chairs. They were tormenting and teasing me with their silent, resolute presences. I was prostrating myself before them and asking them to take me now. I felt out of control. I needed other people to take control of my mind. To sit in the driving seat and let me become a passenger for a while. Just to give me a break from thinking. I also believed that these boyfriends were vexations of the same spirit. And that I was interacting with different aspects (faces) of the same underlying malevolent spirit who was sent to Earth to test me. My care coordinator helped me to understand that these beliefs about being controlled by external forces arose out of a lack in Self Esteem.
[18:52, 15/07/2021] Hafyz: Lol peroni’s my favourite beer
Another future faking, flag waving fool leading me on? Hafyz even talked about us going ice skating in the winter. 👻 🚩
Even during my lucidity, I believe in these convictions. My depression only serves to accentuate them. My disconnection from life and preoccupation with angels, demons and destiny became so acute that my mum considered having me sectioned. People believed that I was a risk to myself. I could not keep myself safe.
When I was a child, I experienced delirious episodes. When I had flu, the virus affected my mind as well as my body. The strongest experience was when I believed that the Earth was inflatable and filled with nothing but air and helium. It was swelling and I had the overriding sensation that if a pin dropped, the world would go BOOM. Other delirious episodes tended to be more abstract. I had the sensation that I was huge and that the objects in the room around me were so tiny that I might crunch them. Or the reverse. Where objects in the room would become large and disproportionate. Even in the darkness, I was overwhelmed with the sight and sensation of every detail on their surface.
With paranoia, I left my phone upstairs. I was downstairs. I believed that there were disenchanted fools listening to my every move through my phone. When I was in the street, I would seize up whenever someone crossed my path. As if they were about to attack me. All day Sunday, I felt paranoid that Hafyz had somehow read my messages and wanted to question me about them. I can understand how and why this has come about. The experience of sitting there petrified watching people making assessments of my character during the WhatsApp takedown on 4th August was enough to drive anyone to paranoia.
With depression, I think of it like a fragmented vase. We are delicate and breakable ceramics. When we experience depression, it is like the pieces of our lives (job, home, family, friends, relationships, hobbies and interests) become fragmented and separated. We start to feel detached from the world. Like we are observers simply going through the motions. It becomes hard for us to reconcile the different aspects of our lives. Because our lives are shattered. We lose that central core of energy (the glue) that holds these pieces together. This is why rediscovering ourselves through an alter-ego can help. An alter-ego is part of our personality (an extension) that has become separated from the rest of us. Rather like one of those ceramic pieces that has broken off from the vase. If we can tap into an alter-ego or persona, we can find an outlet for expressing ourselves in a new and different way. In the words of Atomic Kitten, this can help us to feel whole again.
This is why clothes are so important to me. When I was at the beginning of my depression (April 2019), Sonia advised me to go on a shopping spree. To pamper myself.
[12:14, 11/06/2019] Rory Duffy: I also did what you advised and took myself on a shopping trip, been shopping online, pimping up, pampering myself a bit
A month later, I told Victoria that my main fear was growing old.
Time is passing too fast for me, the summer will be gone in a flash and deep down my main fear now is growing old.
Victoria did not respond to that. As advised, I tried to make myself happy. Victoria could not see where I was coming from.
Like the shattered vase: the more that I hear snippets of information about Hafyz and about what happened on Saturday night, the more that I realise that he exhibits the self-indulgent characteristics of a person who is out for what he can get and cannot show me or anyone sufficient care or love to make a fulfilling relationship. And the less interest that I have in him. And the better I feel about myself not being around him. When we first met, he described himself as "self involved". This was a warning sign. Early on, he asked me to follow his Instagram. Another alarm bell. Although I felt disconcerted, I went along with it because I did not wish to judge or feel bad about anything. Maybe that was simply his way of making friends?
[14:15, 17/07/2021] Hafyz: Are you following me on Instagram?
But it only sucked me in further. It was healthy of me to get away from Hafyz before I became too sucked in. At some level, he realised that he could not give me the affection that I desired and he did not wish to hurt me. He detected my vulnerability. He interpreted my vulnerability (my kisses) as putting him on a pedestal of expectation. Like others have interpreted previously. They cannot handle my affections. They do not know how to show care. Like others, Hafyz pushed me away.
On Sunday, Hafyz wanted to speak with me (for some reason). I have kept my distance. Why? Because I am not obtaining enough validation or comfort out of our friendship to warrant me speaking to him. Maybe in the future, when I am hurting a little less, I might pluck up the courage to ask him to return my cap. Or, I might tell him to keep it because I can easily find another one. As a euphemism for easily finding another bloke like him. He is not different or special. I used to think that he was. But the mask has been removed. And the spark and wonderment has died out. I could do better than him. I am not avoiding him indefinitely. At some point, I will reply. When the time feels right. I am taking my time. I do not feel ready yet. At some point, I will feel ready. Right now, I feel unsafe and uncomfortable about Hafyz. I must take care of myself.
His birthday is coming up soon. He is a Libra. I will see on Facebook. Maybe then? 01/10/21
Why should people judge or feel afraid or threatened when we talk about depression and suicidal ideation? Why does society disengage and shy away from such topics? Why is the default to block or ban (on the basis that such topics are triggering for certain group members) when people simply need an outlet to talk and express themselves? Rather than alienating / isolating / segregating them even more than they feel already? Would that not want to make someone even more likely to go through with it? Where is the love? All that it takes is a little kindness. A friend. Sometimes, people make it feel like this is too much to ask. We must show compassion to ourselves and one another.
I have much love to give. One day, I hope that I will find someone who will appreciate and reciprocate that love. Obviously, it is impossible for Nathan to speak into this situation without knowing Hafyz or the situation. But Nathan would say that with everything that happened between us all of those years ago, he had no doubt then and has no doubt now that I am being entirely truthful and authentic about my feelings and desires and never played him false or unkindly; all of the unkindness and falsehood was on his part, because he was not being truthful about his own feelings and desires, and found it impossible to deal with what was happening between us. He knows that I find this difficult to accept but *I did nothing wrong* - it was all him, and he still admires how honest and open I was with him all the way along, when he hurt me so badly.
With Hafyz, I have again only been my true, authentic, lovely self and - regardless of how he has responded - that is something to be celebrated, not to feel guilt or regret over. Nathan is sorry that Hafyz has not been able or willing to respond to me in the way that I deserve, but that is on Hafyz, not on me. As Nathan and I both now, a relationship can only be a mutual blessing if both parties are committed to revealing their true selves to one another. Nathan has no doubt that this is all that I have ever done, and he wishes that Hafyz had been the person to do the same for me.
Nathan has no great advice, other than to somehow find a way to celebrate my wonderful and inspiring commitment to be truthful and authentic, even amidst heartbreak. Relationships are complicated. Nathan has been dating a guy since the start of this year, and there is much that is absolutely glorious and thrilling, but also much that is terrifying and exposing about opening oneself up to hurting someone and being hurt yourself. Is it worth it? History, poetry and stories seem to tell us that it is. But we must work it out for ourselves.
The guy who I was talking to described me as "sad and vulnerable". He observed that I do not love myself. Zakir, the guy from Cock the Tavern? Yes. Well, I wonder if he loves himself. He says that I seem "lost, without purpose or direction". He says that he wants to help me. But I listen to people's actions, not their words. And he says that I need a new hobby. I must be vigilant. It felt like he was hitting on me. I did not mind, of course, but it was a bit intense. I did not feel attracted to him. Well, he should have shared his life purpose with me. True. He says that I need to talk with someone on a regular basis.
It is true that lately, I have been feeling lost, without purpose or direction. I am pretty good at knowing what I want. And what triggers me. Outwardly, I seem driven and focused. But maybe that is because I put my energies into looking in the wrong places? It felt quite moving to hear that insight of me being "lost, without purpose or direction" from a complete stranger.
I talked to Zakir about my hang-ups with clothes. On Sunday, I went out to breakfast with Rob. I spent 5 minutes trying to decide which bag to bring and another 5 minutes trying to decide which buff (bandana) to wear. And then several minutes debating over which pair of sunglasses (even though the sun had not come out yet) and whether or not I should put on my earrings. We were just going for breakfast! Who cares? Although I recognise that no-one cares what I am wearing, it is important to me in terms of my self-perception. My clothes and accessories are my identity. They are an extension of my personality. They are an important part of who I am and how I perceive myself. And how I perceive myself is more important than how others perceive me. Rob is different in his dress style. His is more toned down and minimalist. I have a pair of Inaayayi joggers that I ordered from China that I ordered in Asian size (L) and are way too big. Fortunately the seller sent me the smaller size (S) at no extra cost. I have tried to flog the size L on Vinted but not managed to. Since I did not get Rob a birthday present, I offered him the joggers. He said that they were too "loud" for him. Although he likes me, he does not like me for my clothes. He likes me because he respects my colourful style and the way in which I feel about myself.
I showed Zakir a couple of other OCD traits that I have such as the fitness watch / VeryFitPro / MyFitnessPal calorie and nutrient tracking. The colour-coded ring binders where the colour logic matches the colour-coding of my band costumes. Even my socks are co-ordinated with whatever I am wearing. On blogs, I justify my text. When I was at school, I used to justify my handwriting! My mind is extremely structured and compartmentalised. Most people find it tiring. My thought processes are detailed, methodical, convoluted and drawn out. They cannot cope with it.
I explained that I am ASD. Zakir asked if I had considered the possibility that I have ADHD. This seemed like an odd question, since no-one has asked it to me before. His rationale for asking was that I seemed to be distracted all of the time. He asked me if I find it difficult to concentrate. Well, he got that wrong. Quite the opposite! I am shuttered. I can only concentrate on only one thing at a time. I eat the same meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner, every day of the week. Monday-Thursday is porridge for breakfast. Friday-Sunday is eggs on toast for breakfast. I have omelette lunches on my porridge days. And on the weekends, I have Linda McCartney sausages, half a tin of baked beans and instant mash. Every week. For my dinner, I will make a big pot, divide up my calories and freeze it in plastic tubs. In comparison to my dress sense, my eating and drinking habits are surprisingly bland and regimented. I do not consider myself a great cook. In 2018, I made a food blog, which you can view here. But I made the conscious choice not to continue it beyond 2018, since the screen shooting, editing and publishing takes time. Anyway, the food blog was part of my previous recovery plan from my 1st stint on anti-depressants. Although it helped me to look and feel better physically, did not really address what was going on mentally and emotionally. It was only in 2019 that I started this journal to help me regulate myself in those aspects.
Self control and regulation are important to me. The reason why I was crying on Wednesday was because I felt compromised and pushed into a state of mind where I felt out of control. Someone (Lily) overstepped my boundaries. Took advantage of me. Maybe I overstepped her boundaries by using her as a pawn on Meetup. Using a digital platform to make it look like she was scheduling in those events. Karma. Payback. We ended up hurting one another. I would not be surprised if she had been crying over the weekend. Like I assured Jenny, I would take the consequences for my actions. I certainly did. On Tuesday night, I sat there petrified, watching the whole conversation unfold in a WhatsApp group of 217 people. A conversation about me. Rather than respond instantly, I set myself a rule to withhold myself until I felt comfortable and ready to respond. One of the lesbians who knows me observed this and made it known to everyone.
[21:10, 03/08/2021] CW: @Rory Duffy is a nice guy. He doesn't always respond quickly because he likes to take time to respond to messages correctly. He probably isn't ignoring you
Patiently and resolutely, I set myself a rule to not respond until the following morning. However, I had already made Lily a co-organiser of the Meetup page on which I set up the group. She took advantage of my trust. I ought not to have been surprised. She took advantage of Jenny's trust by posting screenshots of the organisers chat onto the main group chat. She logged into the Meetup page, changed the branding back to how it was previously, moved the events and attendees over to her new page, even messaged the 2000+ members on my mailing list signposting them to her new page and posted the links on the WhatsApp group. Before I had the chance to respond. I was not expecting her to do that. It completely caught me off guard. It triggered me into betraying my own rules about not responding straight away. Betraying a part of myself. It forced me into a place where I felt out of control and out of my comfort zone. I felt the need to respond instantaneously. I had a message drafted for the following morning. Her actions provoked me into reacting impulsively. I reverted the branding, rescheduled in the event listings and posted the following message on the WhatsApp group.
Through this provocation, I felt like I had revealed more about myself in my actions than my words. This notion challenged the core of my thinking. It dented my confidence. It took my mind into a place where I was not intending for it to go. The reason why I was crying was because I felt like I had been pushed into losing control for a moment. I found myself in an environment where my trust was taken advantage of and that if I did not respond immediately, people would judge, make accusations about me and automatically think the worst of me. Lily did not give me time or space. This was the ultimate problem. Everything that happened that night was out of my control. All that I could do was sit and watch helplessly as I was first removed as an admin and second removed from the group entirely. I have never felt so powerless in my whole life. To be degraded like that in front of 217 people on a WhatsApp group.
It was no wonder that I felt suicidal on Wednesday. I felt like my actions had turned inwards on me, destroyed trust in me and that I would never recover from it.
It is true that I do feel lost, without purpose or direction. I do need a new hobby. I am conscious that I have been putting so much time, energy, thought and emotion into projects and people who do not value me. But l look back at my other projects e.g., Red & Black Music and Diáspora. Even though I have not pursued those projects for over a year, I still feel tired and exhausted. From having to manage musicians. From having to work out non-pressurising messages in the hope that this might convince them to do my recording project (he says bending over backwards). It is draining. In the past, I resorted to send standard messages all of the time to help me preserve my energy. Until people said that I was cold and impersonal. That it was supposed to be a band. Not a bank job. This has changed my relationship with music. Maybe this is the complex that I need to work on. In my head, music and managing people has become inextricable. I no longer have the confidence to sit down at the piano and play without judging myself or wondering whether or not it is worth it. I can listen to music and enjoy it but I cannot replicate or sustain that pleasure without agonising over how to overcome the obstacle of people and conflicting interests. Such is my relationship with music. Maybe this is a relationship that I need to heal. Because music should be an important part of me and who I am. Yet I feel like I cannot engage with it anymore because I am constantly thinking about other people. How they might respond. How invested they might be. Whether or not they would be down for recording or performing with me despite their honourable assurances that they will. Whether I listen or play for pleasure, my mind drifts into these anxiety-provoking thought cycles.
Thus, I have put my energies into other projects. The Meetup groups. I have come up against the same problem. Dealing with people. Managing people. Navigating their hidden agendas. Conflicts of interest. My school psych assessments always said that I was not good at working with others. Fair enough. Yet in this instance, I tried to work with Lily and the others. And I felt like my attempts were foiled. Maybe the tone of that message sent last Saturday was not quite right. A little too commanding and authoritative.
[18:37, 31/07/2021] Rory Duffy:
I took this approach because I felt like they had not respected Jenny. Someone needed to step up and show strength, leadership and decisiveness. This is the way that things are going to be. Since no-one else was doing that, I thought that this was the right thing to do! The other 4 admins seemed out of control. I did not wish to control them. But I felt that by emanating self-control in my words, I could inspire control and empowerment in them. Instilling trust while laying down the ground rules. Maybe this is not what they needed? I was not to know. They did not keep in the loop, despite me being still listed as an "admin". They came to their own conclusions. Without my input.
People constantly tell me that I am too kind and that I need to "grow some balls" or "show some spine". This was me attempting to do that. Jenny came onto the chat afterwards and testified that I am a "nice guy" and a "people pleaser". Maybe this helped others to understand the motives behind my words and actions.
[15:38, 04/08/2021] Jenny: Rory didn't steal anything. He's the kind of guy who wants to please everyone and doesn't like feuds or disagreements (read 'nice guy, people please').
Despite nailing it on Saturday evening, I took the repercussions for it on Tuesday night. It was humiliating enough being removed as an admin in front of all those people. Even more humiliating being kicked off the group entirely. I think that people recognised this. They branded it as "bullying". Despite the support that I have received, the experience has put a huge dent in my confidence. Once again, I have retreated into my shell. I have reverted to my meek, docile, doormat self. Until the next person comes along and tells me that I need to step up and "grab the bull by the horns". And the whole cycle starts all over again.
Why do I feel lost, without a sense of purpose or direction? Because the relationship that I have with myself is not one of self compassion or self love. I have tried to work on it. But I always seem to break whatever I touch since I am broken inside. Whatever project or direction I choose to take, something inside of me manifests and destroys whatever it is that I am trying to create or support. I do not know if this is a subconscious process. Zakir observed that I do not love myself. He said that I am outwardly confident, articulate and transparent, like an open book. But I lack Self Esteem. He could not understand why. I need to have more confidence in myself. He said that I am handsome, intelligent, talented and kind. He said that I have everything going for me. Why do I have such a low opinion of myself? I cannot remember ever saying to him that I did. It was something that he "read" through my words and body language. He said that I seemed unhappy in my demeanour. I explained to him that yesterday, I had been practically planning my own funeral. He recoiled at that and frowned. Maybe he was catching the end vibes of me coming out of that dip? Maybe I have repaired my mental state to some extent but physically and emotionally, I am still worn out from it? It is ironic that I wrote on Tuesday how I had never felt more confident ever before in my life and that same night, I experienced a knock to my confidence; a fall from a great height. It is true that I took a massive risk on Saturday. I took my confidence outside of its usual comfort zone. And I put myself in a vulnerable position through the act of doing so.
A memory sticks out. When I was at university, I spent Valentine's night drinking myself into an emotional wreck while listening to the James Blunt "Back To Bedlam" album. When the irony occurred of my loved up housemate returned with her loved up partner, I took off into the night and went to a house party. When I was at the house party, I tried to escape by climbing over the garden fence. Mary brought me into the house and put me in her bed. Her words were "I have always thought of you as a happy person, Rory, But you are not happy, really, are you?"
On the surface, I seem to be motivated, driven and incredibly organised. Decisive, career minded, planning ahead and sure of what I want. But deep down, am I really? Is this nothing more than a façade? Do I distract myself through my administration? Like many people, I long to be loved, valued and appreciated. And although there are probably several people who love, value and appreciate me, I do not seem to be allowing myself to see this. It is like there is a glass shell preventing any of that love from reaching me. I am so afraid of getting hurt. LV observed that my fear is in suffering and my suffering is in fear. I live my fear.
[23:04, 21/10/2019] LV: You need to live, Rory
Where did this originate? Why is it that my care coordinator sat me down in that room with my mum and asked me to write down 10 things that I like about myself, and how much I struggled? My mum kept making suggestions and I kept batting them back at her.
Read More: 28/10/2019
Whenever something goes wrong, I turn the blame and anguish inwards on myself. I want to find out how this process began. At work, I have a MH Champion. But I feel shy because I keep sending her long messages and she does not reply. Maybe I need more substantial care?
I put my happiness in external sources. Whether it is clothes or men. I invest my energies in my fixations on those things. People often misinterpret me. They say that I need to focus on myself more. Which I do agree with. But life is a reflective surface. Sometimes, in order to focus on ourselves, we need to focus on the responses that we have to the stimuli in our environments. Which is why I fixate on guys and drafting perfect messages to them. Or performing complicated manoeuvres with online shops, coupons, points and discount sales. I have a high attention to detail. I am hyper-sensitive. Some people do not understand that and they think that I am harming myself through my hyper-awareness and sensitivity to detail. They do not understand that it is not the guy who I am working on. It is myself. What am I going to say next time that I am in a similar situation with another guy? What am I going to do to ensure that I am getting what I want out of a relationship? These are the bigger questions that I am trying to address by working on these messages and interactions at a microcosmic level. The bigger questions are important. But it is impossible to work on them without breaking them down into granular particles (for me anyway). Is this taken to mean that I put all of my happiness into external sources? When I came out of hospital in April 2019, my family and friends were advising me to do little things to make me feel good. Find somewhere nice to live. By myself some nice summer clothes. Join Meetup. This is what I have been encouraged to do to make small enhancements to my life and make me feel happy. Maybe the mistake is that I have let those things dominate my life. Should I give up my material possessions and live a hermit life, one of more mental clarity, emotional stability and peace? Should I concentrate on helping others who are less fortunate than myself? Rather than my self-serving needs and interests? Would this be for the right reasons? People always tell me that I need to take care of myself. But how can I take care of myself if I am not taking care of others around me? It is a two-way process. If I live selfishly, is this not going to alienate me and jeopardise my relationships with others? My dad misunderstands me. He always catches me on the opposite side of whichever sine wave of mental discourse that I happen to be on. Like in June, for example, after my cousin's wedding picnic, I felt anxious about not knowing what to say to people because I did not know what questions to ask. To which my dad responded "it is important to ask people about themselves rather than only taking about yourself". This is what I was thinking anyway!!! Why did he feel the need to patronise me into thinking that I was not? Within the context of people telling me that I need to take care of myself and take back my life? It is confusing and contradictory.
Zakir says that I am "too much" of a relativist. In our conversation about ASD and ADHD, he was asking me if I was assessed. I confirmed yes. He asked me if I was diagnosed. I told him that I was assessed and that I have a clinical report. This is enough for me! He asked me again if the doctors qualified me for the diagnosis. I shot back "with all due respect, that is a personal question". Yes, I feel comfortable to have it in my journal, published openly. But I felt less comfortable having the question put to me by a stranger. I only tell those who I know and trust about my journal - this is key! I might have come across a little abrupt and over-assertive. My depression is part of who I am and I feel confident enough to talk about it openly. Maybe less so with my autism assessment (due to the way in which people interpret it). Immediately, the stranger backtracked and apologised. I clarified that I did not mind him asking. But that it was my choice of whether or not I choose to answer. And that I would not allow myself to feel pressurised by him. That said, I did feel the need to explain myself a little more. I used to say "I have autism". But now, I cannot be bothered. I simply say "I am autistic". Because people might not question otherwise. What is the whole point of having that lengthy conversation about my clinical report when people might not remember or care? By this point, Zakir seemed to twig that I had not qualified for the diagnosis. My response was, "if that is what you believe, you must believe it". We define our realities through what we believe. Seeing is not believing. Believing is seeing. Zakir cited that clinical reports are empirical. I responded by highlighting that clinical criteria evolves. It is not set in stone. It is not written in the stars. Zakir said that I am "too much of a relativist". My response was "on which spectrum"? Why would it be "too much". He said that it makes it difficult for me to articulate myself in a social context if there is no common ground. And we are back to labels. In recent months, I have been thinking a lot about labels and how we identify ourselves. I do not think that labels are completely wrong or bad. We must become masters of them and not slaves to them. They must be means to ends rather than ends in themselves. We can define ourselves through labels but we must not let labels define who we are. It is a paradox. I explained that I am a Ravenclaw. Harry Potter house. What is it about Ravenclaw that I identify with? We are outspoken. We are not afraid to be different. We fall just outside the box labelled "other". We think outside the box. We march to our own beat. We are individuals in every sense of the word.
I told him that I had studied existentialism. At school, I had read Kierkegaard and Sartre. We are the sum total of our actions, our reactions. We are the products of our experience. This is a philosophy that I buy into completely. We cannot simply "be" something that is "out there". We are gelatinous beings that absorb life through osmosis. Like chameleons, we evolve, morph and adapt to the environments (people, places and situations) that we find ourselves in. Zakir suggested that someone who might class themselves as "disabled" might not be "disabled" in clinical terms. My response was "so be it". In the eyes of other people and society. But does that matter? Is the most important factor not how we see ourselves? We are islands. We are on our own individual journeys through life. There is no true collective spirit. We are born alone. We die alone. Everything else in life simply comes and goes. Life happens. People come in and out of our lives and change it in some way. My response to someone who perceives themselves as disabled is to show compassion for their thoughts. Who are we to judge? We cannot see what is going on inside someone else's head. We do not know their life story. What they have been through. What they have experienced. I keep thinking of what happened with CL the other day and how one of the admins advised everyone to "avoid" her for their own safety. And how the admins advocated a "safe space" for the queer circuit through their toxic positivity and lack of integrity. Creating an environment that felt unsafe. One that ostracises people on the basis of what they believe. That is not a nice way to treat people. It is divisive and uncaring. It ironically goes against my whole notion of "queer". And against the "inclusive" nature on which they portray themselves and their group (see their Instagram: "Community ran inclusive LGBT+ meet up"). How can they call themselves "queer" and "inclusive" when they exclude people on the basis of social norms? Zakir told me about a man who underwent racial transition. He was born white and caucasian. But inside, he was Asian. My response to the transition was that this was something "beautiful and brilliant". The world needs more people who are individual and unique. How many people can say that they have been through a racial transition? It is an amazing story. It is unusual and different. It makes us question ourselves. It raises questions. To me, this is true progression.
I am working on myself. Lately, I have felt on my own in that. I am not receiving enough support. I have been concentrating my energies on helping other people, like Jenny. Because I have been in a similar position to her and I know how hard it feels. Empathy. That is a nice quality. Maybe I am giving too much to other people and not taking back enough for myself? Life is a confusing, complex and convoluted mirror maze of two-way projections. I told Zakir about Avi Taler. How our relationship seemed to break down in this complicated two-way projection. I told him that I loved him. He might not have been ready to hear that. Because (as suggested by a stranger at a Meetup on 07/12/2019 who did not know Avi Taler): he might not have loved himself. But in the act of telling him that I loved him, that, too, might have been evidence that I do not love myself. Because I find myself fixated on men who I am attracted to yet do not provide what I need emotionally or mentally? I told Avi Taler that I wanted to make him happy. His response was true. In order to make him happy, I must first make myself happy. It touched a nerve. The hardest challenge was hearing these words come from the one person who I wanted to make happy. Who ironically was happy with or without me.
I joined Meetup to find another Avi Taler! If he comes back, I might interpret this as the Universe wanting me to work on my relationship with him. 01/10/21
I do not buy into the "it is not you, it is the other person" philosophy. This is akin to playground bullying: "you started it. No, you started it!" It is not that simple. Projection (like that mirror maze) works in multiple directions. We cannot always control what happens to us. But we can control our responses to it. I keep repeating this mantra to myself. Yes, I might have thought that Avi Taler "played me" or "led me on". But I only think that he did because I allowed myself to be "played" and "led on" by him.
[12/01/2020, 12:26:07] Avi: I never meant to trick you, to play you, there was no plan or agenda or secret motives.
I cannot entirely blame Avi Taler. I was in a weak place. I was not fully in control of myself. I let myself become carried away. I had strong feelings for him. But they were feelings that sent me off balance. This is why I tried to take my life 3x that year. I was not able to master myself. I felt like all of these circumstances were happening to me for a specific reason (out of my control) and that I was being tested by external forces. Now I realise that this was a projection of my inner self onto the outer world. Avi Taler was worried about hurting me to the extent that he ended up hurting me. I was worried about get hurt to the extent that I allowed myself to get hurt by him. Both of us were in this love cycle where we were driven by our fears. At the time, I tried to change that. By drafting him a letter. A letter that I never sent. People told me to concentrate on myself. Sending that letter might have helped me to concentrate on myself. But I did not let myself realise this at the time due to the advice that was given to me by the people surrounding me. And in the end, Avi Taler wondered why I never enquired to him for answers and why I left it 7 months to attain closure. He had a point.
The way I'm understanding things (correct me if I'm wrong) is you're afraid of hurting me and I'm afraid of being hurt.
[12/01/2020, 12:26:07] Avi: I think it would be unfair on my behalf to put myself on your spot or judging you because there are probably many things I don't know, but I must say I can relate to the bad feeling you have had when you were waiting to hear from me and didn't, and blamed yourself for blowing it all up. I would suffer too, and I might have the thought of hurting myself as well, but I wouldn't help my urge to write the other person back and inquire for answers. What did stop you? What were you afraid of? Did you really think I'd be that rude that I'd ignore you or not respect your position and my obligation to clarify myself or explain? Why did you have to wait for 9 months to demand this closure? Was it worth it? All those moments were you giving up on your life, would they be worth it?
I am told that self compassion is a positive method. That we are part of a human race and share common human experience of pain and suffering. Self compassion is important. But it needs to be taught and learned. This is the paradox. No-one can teach it to you, but yourself. But you find yourself through other people and experiences (chameleon effect described above). And your responses teach you something about yourself in terms of where you find yourself in those experiences. And how you cultivate love, happiness and self compassion. Maybe it is not something taught and only something learned. I do not know. Just thinking out loud!
I need a lie in. I have had too many late nights stressing about stuff that is not important. I will turn off my alarm. I am out a lot. Only tonight. Last night, I met with Megan. We had a pizza and a chat. Megan is depressed. She is giving up on life. Did I manage to talk her around? Not really. I tried. I have been feeling the same this week. So, it is hard to do anything else but relate. At least she had company for that one evening.
I should not do anything silly. I am not going to yet. In 6 years. What is in 6 years? When I am 40. Then it will happen. It is nothing to be afraid of.
I have been triggered. I will come around in the morning. It has been several mornings. I understand why this has come about. Why? Lack of trust. In who? Myself. To do what? To do the right thing.
Rob says that I do. My heart is clean. I am one of the nicest people that he has known. That is why I worry. I feel so bad about what happened. With the Meet & Mingle. But I feel worse that I tried to do something, but timed it wrong. 😑
Rob says that is why I am a lovely person. This shows why.
I tried to do the right thing for Jenny. In a way that would not alienate me. My timing sucked. I worry that I have done something wrong.
Rob thinks that I should cancel Sunday. Take a break from it. It shows that I have a high moral compass. I am sensitive. And that is a nice quality.
I am not cancelling Sunday. It means a lot to me. Saturday, I wish that I could be there. Could be where? Little Ku.
Jenny has made an £800 loss off her Meetup group. The other "admins" are spreading hurtful allegations against her. It is toxic and upsetting. Well, there is no action going on in the WhatsApp group. I was going to ask Rob a favour. If he could export the chat. And email it to me. It is my OCD. I want to see everything. It is OK if it is too much to ask. Do I think that is a good idea? I want to see everything that is said about me and about Jenny. Yesterday, I messaged Lily. She has not yet replied. But I said pretty much all that I needed to say.
Just leave it. Let it go. I wish that I could. I should not get involved in it. Do people hate me? No. What is the general atmosphere? It is quiet. And, so far, the chat has been nice. I tried to boss them. But it did not work. I nailed it last Saturday. But the only thing that did not work was Tuesday. I left it too long. And they took advantage of my pause. What happened on Tuesday? The WhatsApp takedown. This shows that I care about the group so much. It was the biggest humiliation of my life. I have never felt so powerless. From admin to general member to kicked. It happened too quickly. Quicker than I could process, let alone respond to. Rob seems to think that I left. I was not kicked out. No, Lily kicked me. I sent her this (tabbed).
How is Jenny doing? She is OK. A bit stressed. Not sure which one of us is more stressed. Me or her. She has been hurt and taken advantage of. It is disgusting. Anyway, she is a strong person. She is taking it in her stride.
The four of them are on a power trip. Lily is one of the four of them. One of those "admins". She is the one who kicked me. Take no notice. They probably have issues, too. They have inflated egos. They are dictators. They think that they are in control. Anna, the one who kicked Rob, started it all. She undermined Jenny. Sam L is the only one out of them who has shown me the least empathy. Claire (Mitchell) has a bigger stick up her arse than the other 3 put together ("respect the admins"). Anna basically came out of nowhere and took over the group. Jenny bowed to her pressurising. Anna kicked Jenny.
Just leave them to their little clique. Not worth it.
[14:05, 05/08/2021] Rory Duffy: Hi Lily
I tried to take control. It did not work. Tabbed is that bomb dish message. The one that I sent to all of them (including Jenny) last Saturday. Boss move. It did not work. What happened on Tuesday night was the consequence of that. I knew that it would happen. I was prepared for it. But I did not expect it to happen so quickly. I felt caught off guard.
They have their own issues. I am invested in the original group. I do not want the new group to take over. They did not deserve it. It should not have been a coup. It should have been separate. It is disrespectful and a breach of trust. I could not believe it. I was in shock for 1.5 weeks. Jenny trusted us. And for them to do that, it is disgraceful. To her. To everything that she has built up. It is callous. It is mean. It is nasty. I tried to gift them a 2K member group on Meetup (for free) to quell things. To shut them up. But they slapped it back in my face. I wanted to support both sides, despite the circumstances. But they made it impossible for me. So now, I am with Jenny / LGBT 20s & 30s / Meet & Mingle. 💯
It is her concept and her vision quest. I want to support it.
Just forget them. I have my own group, which is doing great. Rob's group which he came up with. That was his idea. Rob says that I have built his group into something great, which he thanks me greatly for. I thank him. For coming up with the idea. Which I relate to. He has done a great deed, planting that seed. I hope that I can do it honour and justice. In his vision. He is a true Meetup hero. That needs to be recognised. 🤩
[18:37, 31/07/2021] Rory Duffy: @Claire just getting back to you on what is my take on all of this. My take is as follows:
Minor side thread to the ongoing 20s & 30s / Queer Meetup soap opera. Last Monday 26/07/2021, I went out for a meal and a drink with CW, one of the lesbians from the group. Given that this was "the morning after" the so-called "coup" (not to mention dealing with the Hafyz situation), I was an emotional wreck.
I was planning on keeping tight-lipped about the "coup" anyway. Although I was angry and upset about it, I did not wish to lay my cards on the table until I had decided what to do about it. My main reason for meeting CW that Monday evening was to discuss Hafyz. However, being an admin of that group, I was prepared for CW to bring up the topic of the "coup" and for me to dodge any questions.
During the course of the evening, CW told me that CL (a group member) was previously convicted, and served time, for child sex offences. CW is a friend of CL. CW would not usually tell anyone. But since I am a group admin, she felt that it was right that I should be made aware. Especially if the group is meeting in parks and open spaces where there might be children present. CW was considering the safety of the general public. She said that she believes CL is a reformed person and will not reoffend deliberately. Her transitioning is allegedly a cover up.
I simply listened.
Since the "coup" had only happened the night before, my emotions were still raw. That morning, Jenny & I had performed an Instagram raid. Apart from continuing to watch the "What in the actual gay" WhatsApp group, I had not heard directly from the rebel admins. I did not know what their plans would be with me (although they had no idea of my part in the Instagram raid). I had alluded to Sam L about my personal stuff (Hafyz situation) as a ruse to buy me some time. Although I agreed that the CL matter be taken into consideration, it was too early to say whether or not I would be staying on as an admin with the rebel group and what my role would be in this. There was no point in me mentioning anything to the others until I had clarified my role in the group. Which I still needed time for.
The morning after, CL messaged me.
[09:56, 27/07/2021] CL: Hi Rory CL here, how are you?
I was keeping a low profile and maintaining my silence. There were a couple of members of the group (including Yasmin who had exchanged numbers with Hafyz) who messaged me. I was feeling too paranoid and vulnerable to respond immediately. I intended to put off responding to CL until the following week. Once I had declared my true allegiance to Jenny in a way that would not cut me off from the park rebels. Once the drama died down.
Last night, I received the following messages from Jenny & CW.
I was about to respond and tell her that CW already mentioned this to me last Monday. But I decided that Jenny did not need to know that I knew about it. I did not wish to get involved. The more information that I give away, the more involved that I become.
However, I gleaned that the "C" meant Claire. And that Claire had messaged Jenny. So not all bad beef. It is reassuring to know that despite all of the tension between Jenny, myself and the 4 rebel admins, Claire has at least contacted Jenny.
10 minutes later, I received the following messages from CW.
[21:10, 02/08/2021] CW: Hey Rory, it's C New number.
Just as well that I did not mention to Jenny that CW had mentioned it to me last Monday! Again, I decided to withdraw from the conversation. It seemed that by messaging me and the other admins, CW was bringing about "aggro". At this point, I decided to hit the sack.
This morning, Of course, I found that this has exploded on the WhatsApp group. It was messy (see tabbed Queer 20s/30s LDN Chat).
What is my take on all of this?
No further comment needed.
What is Jenny's take on all of this?
[09:33, 03/08/2021] Jenny: Had you heard that info about CL before?
Again, no need to disclose to Jenny or anyone that I had heard that info about CL before. All that I needed to do was agree with Jenny. Let the members decide! Why are the admins getting off on yet another power trip from babysitting adults who are incapable of looking after themselves?
This whole conversation is ridiculous. Another exercise in inflating the admins' already swollen egos! Another specular display of unprofessionalism. Another extenuated publicity stunt of how out of control and poorly coordinated the admins are at running a group. Let alone addressing a sensitive issue in a way that cultivates respect and trust among their members. What a complete and utter shit show.
[09:34, 03/08/2021] Jenny: And the group isn't for children
I could not resist the "run by children, for children" comment.
Initially, I thought "OMG, Jenny might think that I am talking about her group". But no, Jenny understood perfectly what I meant. 😏
Last night, I pointed out to Jenny how the conversation (her presenting the facts of what happened with her Meetup group) does not need to happen in public. How funny, it is almost a prediction of what has happened here. 😓
From: Rory Duffy
This morning, I am starting to think seriously about whether or not I wish to be associated with these amateurs (Anna, Claire, Lily and Sam L). It might start to damage my reputation.
I could go with integrity, make a dramatic statement on the WhatsApp group, outline my reasons and step down as an admin. But what would that achieve apart from creating more temporary drama and less options / leverage for me?
I have come to a conclusion. While I am still an admin on the WhatsApp group, I still have some degree of influence and control. The other 4 admins must value my opinion to some extent (even if they are not asking for it). Either that, or they are scared of what I might do next. They did not see what happened on Saturday coming! Maybe keep them on their toes.
While I am an admin, I could always overthrow them completely. But now is not the time. Even if I did that now, it might make me unpopular among those poor clueless members. And where would that leave me? What would be the point of gaining control? While losing authority among members?
Apart from the fact that it would be stooping to their level. Influence is not won. It is earned. 01/10/21
[19:37, 02/08/2021] CL: Best of luck everyone.
[22:21, 02/08/2021] Claire: Hi all, many of you have noticed CL has left, after we asked them to leave the group and all in person events.
[22:51, 02/08/2021] +44: A huge shoutout to the admins who are selflessly trying to make this a safe space. Thank you ❤️
[09:33, 03/08/2021] Jenny: Had you heard that info about CL before?
[07:38, 02/08/2021] KD: Have emailed you the formal wedding invitation with timing details. Don’t bother coming home next week, it’s not really convenient to us or you either.
Initially, I tried to disengage from it. But my mum brought up the topic again at the end of the call.
Maybe they know that I might simply go ahead and run it past my aunt anyway. They feel threatened.
Why was I planning on going home? When we spoke last Monday, 26/07/2021, I was emotionally, mentally and physically crippled. Both by the Hafyz situation and the alleged "coup". It was "the morning after". It was raw. I was processing everything that had happened over the weekend. My parents decided that I was unwell and needed to go home.
On Sunday, when we spoke, I was in a much better state. Saturday evening's Queer Park Betrayal had come off without a hitch. I was feeling on top of the world. Yet the plan was to go home on Sunday 8th August. Evening, since I am hosting Jenny's Green Park Meetup.
Last night, I had an audition for a possibly residency gig at Ku Bar. It was possible that the DJ promoter might need me for the following Monday 9th August. The plan was to hold off booking my train for another 24 hours and confirming once I knew what was happening with the audition.
We had an argument over FaceTime. They were doing what they do best. Controlling, dictating and emotionally blackmailing me. Of course, they said that it is in my best interests. I threw it back at them by suggesting that it was more in their best interests than mine. Maybe this is why my mum is reacting personally to something that I said.
Do I get on well with my older brother? Yes. My parents find him easier to raise than me. He is sensible, compliant and family-oriented. I am the "wild one". My brother finds my parents easier to deal with than me. Probably because he is more conventional.
Clearly, my parents are concerned with my emotional, mental and physical wellbeing. But, like Sonia said to me a year ago, they have a strange way of caring. Every weekend, I am going out. 3 or 4 nights consecutively. Drinking, partying and socialising. Photos are emerging on Facebook. My parents are using the platform to spy on me. They have been critical and judgemental of who I am now. They do not like how much weight I have lost since coming off medication last year. They use words like "weird" and "gaunt" to describe how I look. Even though I am at my happiest looking the way in which I look now. They should be congratulating and complimenting me!
Over the last 12 months, I have worked hard at it. Not only in the diet and exercise regime. But also in the wardrobe choices that I have made. My parents should be asking me "are you comfortable with the way in which you look?" Taking care of my mental health. Rather than imposing their own views and beliefs onto me. It should be an open conversation. "How do you feel?" At this point in my life, I have felt more confident in myself than I have ever felt at any other point in my life. Despite what they want to think of me. What I think of myself is important. Those Facebook photos are a reflection of my increased confidence.
A year ago, I would have never have had the confidence to pull off what I engineered on Saturday night. Distancing myself from my parents has played a part in my increased confidence. I am trying not to blame them. But getting out of that family environment and associated cycles of criticism and self doubt has helped.
Better update my privacy settings...
Do my parents know that I am queer? Yes. Are they accepting of it? No. This is something that I have realised only now. In theory, they say that they are. In practice, they are not. My mum shies away from talking about guys and relationships. My dad will not even engage with me at all. The fact that I had to come out twice because they conveniently forgot says a lot.
I am beginning to realise that my parents are homophobic, transphobic and xenophobic. For example, their attitudes towards trans people. Branding them as "selfish". Asking me to date only British guys. Encouraging me to date girls.
The family environment is not accepting of who I am. It is a generational issue. They are too focused on what society thinks of me to focus on what I think of myself. Talking to them is starting to damage my mental health.
The above message from my mum says it all. Actually, I agree with her. It is not convenient for me to spend £50 on a GWR train ticket to put myself in a toxic environment for a few days. In which I am surrounded by discrimination and negativity. What is the point? No thanks.
My mum was even trying to dictate what train I take to Oxford. Travel the Saturday morning rather than directly from Friday's gig. Why should I? I am an adult. I can make these sorts of decisions for myself. Why should they take that personally? Yes my parents have booked a Travelodge. They have put a lot of thought into it. Well done. Presumably, they are expecting me to stay there with them. Another example of controlling, dictating and emotional blackmailing behaviour.
At least I know where I get it from. 😟
I might simply attend this wedding and disassociate myself completely from the family unit. Or not attend at all. I do not wish to be a part of a family unit that is so negative and discriminatory. My parents are not planning on attending the evening reception. I can always attend and not engage with them. What party poopers.
Just over a year ago, I was on the verge of saying to my cousin that I wished that I could substitute my parents with her parents.
[20:47, 17/05/2020] Rory Duffy: I can't stand the negativity of mum and dad
It is wise to not see my parents until the wedding. I might even book my own accommodation in Oxford. Rather than have to stay with them and pander to their rules and regulations. Attend the wedding separately. Avoid my parents. I know that this is a little extreme. And it might cause upset and offence. But I feel like doing that. Disengaging from them. I could even ask my cousin to put me on a separate table from them. I would rather not have them watching me like a hawk throughout the entire wedding breakfast. I would rather sit with my cousins' cousins Anna & Nina. That would be fun.
On the other hand, I might simply not attend at all. Let my aunt, uncle and cousins understand the reasons why. I have stepped out of the family. Let them deal with the consequences.
Whatever. No point responding to that message. Or engaging with it. Unless I hear any different. The best thing that I can do is to continue living my life in London. I am getting better at caring a little less. Or not caring at all.
The wedding is in a month. No need to tell my aunt and uncle that I will not be attending. I can cross that bridge if and when we need to. I always have that option if I need it. I am in a stronger position than my parents. I am no longer relying on them. They are relying on me to attend the wedding. I should not feel under pressure to attend if I feel less comfortable. No hard feelings on my cousin. I will send a financial contribution towards the wedding gift. And explain to him what has happened with my parents. It would only be more embarrassing for them if I were absent.
There is no need to say anything right now. Let those words come from them! Let them do the manifesting! If my parents tell me not to attend the wedding. Cue the advice of my care coordinator (in response to the "I will not reply any other texts you will send"). And of my MH Champion (every time she has shown a person that she does not care whichever way, they come back). My response will be "fine!" Let them scramble. And be prepared for the possibility that they might not back down. Taking care of myself is the secret to not caring.
GS picnic cancelled. Boo. Tracy has found someone else to perform at her party. Boo again. Well, in all fairness, Ade did say not to hold them to that date when I initially enquired about the date of the picnic. I took that risk by declining a music booking for in favour of a picnic. A picnic that was cancelled due to the rain. This year, summer has been crap and spring was completely non-existent. What should I expect?
Since I am trying to distance myself from the Queer 20s/30s London crowd for a week until the drama and hilarity subsides, I need alternative options for Saturday. I do not want to be sitting at home lying low. The only option that remains is attending ERD's birthday party. Which is something that I would like to do anyway. Since he has been so supportive of me recently. The only issue is that ML is also attending. I feel uncomfortable around him. Not to mention triggered by WhatsApp groups at this point. Understandably so.
I have asked CB to RSVP on both of our behalves. A previous entry (Read More: Listening Place 4) explains how unreliable she can be despite her best intentions. I would rather not subject myself to disappointment by having to travel alone. By appointing her as spokesperson for both of us, I am putting myself in a less vulnerable position. If she cancels, she would be cancelling for both of us. Which would make it less likely for her to cancel. Safeguarded. ✅
Notice how I also tried to discourage CB from looking at the train times. Until she proposed booking in advance. Which I endorsed ("Cool"). I know her pattern of setting a precedent and subsequently bailing on it. Or committing to something, backing out of her own commitment (despite enforcing that commitment on others) and accosting me if I respond disappointed or not at all. I am learning how to manage my expectations. Let us see how this plays out. It might be worth thinking of something alternative to do this Saturday in case she does bail.
[11:21, 03/08/2021] Rory Duffy: GS picnic has been cancelled and by this point, my gig client found someone else. 🙄
[13:06, 03/08/2021] CB: If we go to Brighton why not go early so we can go to the beach? And then last train home. I’d rather make a day of it! X
[13:22, 03/08/2021] CB: It’s actually better for me to go via east Croydon? X
[13:58, 03/08/2021] CB: I hope to come on Saturday @ERD and Rory too! Xx
[23:56, 20/07/2021] Tracy: Long shot but are you still playing the sax and for hire … you played my party 2 years ago and was amazing 🙏
He made me feel uncomfortable. I was too drunk anyway. I walked. I sent Jenny a dozen or so messages on my walk home from G-A-Y (see tabbed). I arrived home late and devoured an entire jar of pesto. 🙄
I basically left him with my girls and Prosecco bottle and told him to get on with it. For the remainder of the weekend, he was messaging me and trying to call me but I was crying for 2 days. In the end, I asked him the money for the Prosecco and my hat back (which he still has). He apologised for being unsure of what he wanted. He said that we had both learned something from this experience. I was like “yeah sure, speak soon darling 😘”
Lesson: never trust a stranger with my personal property? 👌🤠
Sorry to hear, he sounds annoying and a waste of time! I hate it when men try to say that you have issues, too. Have I had any further contact with him?
That was it. Anyway, I sent the Last Message. 💁♂️
We will see...
Men suck. And not in a good way!
Yes, they do that, too. 😉
[23:12, 24/07/2021] Rory Duffy: I’m in g-a-y balcony with Hafyz
So, it seems like Anna is doing our publicity for us (see tabbed)...
This message effectively proves:
Alternatively, should I lay claim to the responsibility of creating a Meetup page? Or should I simply say that a Meetup page has been created?
Just to alleviate any confusion. I have created a Meetup page for us all so we can continue to enjoy balmy Saturday afternoons out in Green Park. All admins are aware of this and Lily has already scheduled in the event listings, which you can find here:
[22:11, 03/08/2021] Cyrece: 🏳️🏳️ @Rory Duffy I'm holding up a white flag. I'm seeing you're reading all of these messages. Please can you come and explain??
[22:23, 03/08/2021] +44: “Whilst they remained admins of the group, micromanaging from some became a problem. A final email on Sunday 25th July made me question why I was tolerating borderline threatening messages (from one particular admin) when everything had been simple for years prior. It was at that point that I decided to remove all admins who I did not know.”
Thank you, Alex. That would be Anna.
Maybe a quick:
Anna is hosting this Saturday 7th August. Hope you can all make it 🌈
Too late. They have created a duplicate Meetup page.
[03/08/2021, 20:45:47] Anna: All those who have received an email from Jenny, if you're wondering, it's about me
[03/08/2021, 20:53:41] James: On the meetup page under leadership team yeah
[03/08/2021, 20:57:41] CW: @Anna Fill us in on the gossip! What was the email 😂
[03/08/2021, 21:02:59] Anna: There you go
[03/08/2021, 21:08:08] Anna: We asked him to revert back but haven't heard from him
[03/08/2021, 21:08:42] Yasmin: Oh wow.
[03/08/2021, 21:13:30] +44 left
[03/08/2021, 21:36:58] +44 7515 379171: You think this is confusing wait till you see TeneT
[03/08/2021, 21:44:20] +44: What happened to Jenny, why had she created her own group?
[03/08/2021, 21:48:27] +44: I love our park events, just worry this Jenny drama will be the focus for all the upcoming events…and this will only push people away…
[03/08/2021, 22:02:59] Lily: This is *exactly* what all the other admins said to Jenny and she said she didn't like that idea and proceeded to remove us from the admin group etc..
[04/08/2021, 00:59:23] Lily: Rory honestly you're really confusing everyone at this point
[04/08/2021, 01:05:47] +44: I literally was ready to go on my first meet on Green Park this weekend but now I have no idea what's going on xD
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.