[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.
[01:02, 04/08/2021] Lily: Rory seriously, what are you doing man?.. We have asked you so many times, can you please stop using our name and images?
[01:17, 04/08/2021] Seyi 🏳️🌈: Hi Rory are you ok? What happened?
[21:10, 03/08/2021] CW: Hey, I can see there's a bit of tension. I hope you aren't getting overwhelmed with it and I'm here if you need help
[21:49, 03/08/2021] Cyrece: Hey
I nearly added "Why, were people saying that I am malicious?" But I realised that this question might sound defensive. Or cause awkwardness / tension. So I decided not to.
[21:28, 03/08/2021] Jaron: Hey Rory, I want to apologize for jumping the gun there, and asking if you directly copied the group name and logo. I don’t know if you actually own that new group in the new place or have an arrangement with the new folks. I hope you folks all do have a new arrangement and that it isn’t some silly sabotage. I’ve met you in person a few times, I think you’re lovely and kind — so this’d be totally out of character for you!
[08:04, 04/08/2021] Rory Duffy: I think that's you in this photo 😊
I nearly replied to say that none of the other admins had contacted me since Saturday and that I had messaged Lily first thing this morning. But I decided against it.
Anything involving (trying to) control others. Bound to end in disaster. Have I not learned my lesson? I cannot control others. I can only control myself. This is why I was holding back for so long when the messages were coming thick and fast last night. The others might have interpreted my delay as me "not defending myself". Or judging me for allowing people to make such accusations at me.
My plan was (as always) to sleep on it and respond in the morning. I had even drafted a message. It might have been a mistake taking my phone to bed. To check that Lily had not tampered with the Meetup page. Of course, she did precisely that, late at night, when I least expected it. When I noticed, I responded on impulse. Obviously, this is what caught me out. The thought that I had put into this drafted message to send first thing the following morning overrode my ability to think rationally. I had not prepared myself for the possibility that Lily would beat me to it. I simply did not believe that she was capable. I was proved wrong.
[09:42, 04/08/2021] Rob: You ok? I saw they were talking about you In the group
I do not know why I am asking Rob to see messages about me. It is probably my OCD. I am trying to gather as much information as I possibly can. In case I can use it against someone? Maybe. People should be using a WhatsApp group to say atrocities about someone to others behind their back. It is not nice. It seems that this is what the WhatsApp group is for. They talk about Jenny. Originally, it was her group that she set up. This is why I have become involved. I know how Jenny feels. It is triggering for me to have seen her treated in this way. Having known her for 2 years. Not many people in that group know her. If they did, they would not be making such hurtful accusations about her. This is what has fuelled my interfering. Defending Jenny. Taking matters into my own hands. I have chosen to do this in a somewhat unconventional way. And it has backfired.
It takes time to process and learn. I have been up for most of the night. I am shattered. I received my due karma for what I did on Saturday evening.
First thing this morning, when I replied to Lily, I was mindful that anything that I said to her would effectively be screen shot and broadcast to a WhatsApp group of 217 people. Therefore, I needed to choose my words extra carefully. I think that I did OK. Given the circumstances.
The attempted takeover might have been a way for me to re-address the balance. Hosting it in my Meetup page would counter-balance any resentment that I might feel towards the others for the lack of respect that they showed towards Jenny. And a way for me to remain involved. But to have it in my terms. So that I was not feeling alienated.
I found myself caught in a "political" hail storm. When the split occurred, I felt torn between the 2 sides. I naturally gravitated towards supporting Jenny and the original group. I went with my gut instinct. However, I did not want to be alienated from the rebels. They forced me to choose a side. Now I realise (painful as it is), I chose the correct side, because it was not fair of the rebels to make me choose! This is why I tried to take over. Because it was the only way in which I could see myself staying involved in both groups amicably. My loyalty is with Jenny and I wanted to represent her as much as possible. I felt that I could not do that if I sided completely with the rebels. There was no compromise. It was either / or. And this is what I have been struggling with.
My initial thought to send to Lily was:
Hey Lily, I didn't mean to confuse anyone! I don't understand why we cannot work together.
But that might have triggered Lily asking awkward questions about the Instagram raid. Which I might not have been prepared to answer. Apart from possibly damaging my reputation and undermining the trust of others in myself, I might have risked outing Jenny (despite her telling me not to). Which I was not prepared to do. Since Jenny asked me not to tell anyone about her part in the Instagram raid, I might have been forced to take false responsibility for what Jenny did. This would affect my reputation. Something that I am not prepared to risk.
Perhaps the Instagram raid was a little impulsive of me? It was too early to tell what would happen with the group. My understanding was that the Instagram account was Jenny's property and that the rebels had hijacked it. This is why my immediate objective was to change the login details and give it back to Jenny. I had no idea that the account was linked to Claire's email address. Or that Jenny would simply delete everything on it. The impulse was partly Jenny. The reality is we share responsibility 50/50.
At the time, I saw this as karma for Anna kicking Jenny off the WhatsApp buckets. Unfortunately, I did not foresee that this might create a subsequent trust breach. And a reluctancy for the rebel admins to work with me (under the assumption that I was working with Jenny). Everything was moving too quickly for me to properly understand what was happening. And my immediate priority was to support Jenny as much as possible.
Despite the trauma of last night's incident, I feel that I have come out of it relatively unscathed.
Yes, it is disappointing and frustrating that the possibility of becoming self-appointed organiser of their park Meetup slipped through my grasp. The Instagram raid and subsequent breach of trust will have certainly played a massive part in the admins reluctance to work with me (as pointed out by Sam L). However, at least I tried to take the opportunity. I owe myself that. I did what I had to do. It did not work. It was a clever and controversial manoeuvre. Although it came off successfully, it backfired, despite my best efforts. Things happen for a reason. And at least I took others' advice when they told me that I am too nice and needed to grow a backbone. Which I hear so often!
I have reverted the group back to London Gay Socials (LGS). I can keep it on the side (as I have done so far) for something better for which I could use it in future. If GaySocial accost me of taking their name, I can at least say that the group was that name before I took over LGS and before GaySocial changed their name from London Lads. And that I did try to rebrand it but was overruled.
Interestingly, I did! And this is precisely what happened! Another prediction. 01/10/21
How am I feeling generally?
I do not know where I am going in my life. My music is not happening. THT are not booking me. I am lacking the motivation. Last night's experience has put a massive dent in my confidence. Not only with Meetup (since I feel unable to continue attending the Saturday park events). But also with dating and relationships in general.
I am experiencing flashbacks of incidents like at school where I feverishly tried to set up clubs and control other people. Or at university, college and music career where I tried to form bands. Throughout my life, I have consistently proven to myself unable to work in teams. Whenever I try to step up and take authority, I end up alienating people. Yet when I play Mr Nice Guy (like I have been doing with these Diáspora recordings), I let people walk all over me. Maybe there is something within me (a trigger?) that is preventing me from having a positive relationship with myself enough to have a positive relationship with others? Or maybe it is simply that my personal standards are too high and that I constantly project my internal standards on the external world (in vain)? This would include both groups (personal and professional) and one-to-one relationships. Maybe I expect too much of others and find myself easily disappointed?
I am feeling like I am giving up on my life. Many unfinished projects and unresolved accounts. I look around my room. I see items such as my colour-coded music folders / band costume collections that have not been touched in months or years. Clothes that I have not worn. Not feeling able to pick up the phone even to my parents because I feel alienated from them. Recordings scattered around my computers that have not been completed. Unfinished conversations on dating apps and WhatsApp that I am lacking the energy and motivation to continue. Everything around me feels transient and ephemeral like it will never reach a stage of completion.
As it currently stands: I still plan to put myself to eternal rest on my 40th birthday. I have been planning to do that for 2 years. I set myself a 2-step life exit plan.
I will do step 2 on my 40th birthday. Late at night. I have 6 years remaining. I want to ensure that these last 6 years of my life I am having fun. Buying clothes. Partying. Even if I never end up in a perfect relationship, at least I will be enjoying those remaining 6 years. I cannot see myself living beyond 40. And that is perfectly OK. Materially, I am lucky. I can still maintain a good quality of life until then. I still have 6 summers in which to drink, dance, prance and socialise (even if it does not lead to anything). And I can still go out on a high note. There is nothing wrong with that. I think that it is better to leave this world in the way in which I desire to live, that is the main thing. To not harbour any regrets.
There is a taboo about suicide. People are ill-equipped to talk about it. But for me, this is a social construct. And nothing more. There is a certain comfort in knowing that I cannot possibly descend to any lower depths. And that I will soon be free of my discomfort. It feels better to sit at the bottom of that well that the sickly sensation of falling into it. If my life has no purpose or reason, why continue with it? When the resources of the world should be put to better uses? Each time and energy pocket to its respective allocation as I like to say.
[11:58, 02/11/2019] Victoria: You are such a horrible person
2 years ago, I joined Meetup as part of my recovery plan for my depression. 2 years later, things have changed. Meetup has become a trigger for my depression.
Is my depression because of the people (Anna, Lily etc.) who have invaded that environment and made it hostile for me? Add Hafyz and HZ to the mix. Sooner or later, Avi Taler will enter that environment. And it will all come together beautifully and ironically. Actors in masks who once sought me, who now seek other spirits that I do not recognise. Creating the perfect conditions for my sadness.
Is my depression because of me? Is it because I seep everything good out? Maybe Victoria Wills was right about me all along. After all, she knew me for 12 years. Longer than most of my friends (who come and go). She witnessed the cycles of thought and action that I manifested and repeated over and over again during those years. We met at university. Our first bonding experience was over a guy (Steve) who I had an infatuation for who did not reciprocate my feelings for him. Did I hold too high expectations of him? Or were my expectations in myself too high not to destroy my relationship with him? This was in 2007. 12 years later, in 2019, I called her out because she cancelled a Halloween party (for no transparent reason other than that I was the only one who confirmed) and exited a WhatsApp group. Throughout my life, people have been telling me that I need to have more confidence and stand up for myself. I have tried to do that. I have tried to stand up for my friends (Jenny being the current example). But whenever I do that, I fail. Is this the poisonous effect that Victoria Wills sees within me? The idea that whatever I touch (whether it be a relationship or a group venture), breaks? Is that what happened with Avi Taler?
Last night, I had a fantasy that I will message Avi Taler on my 40th birthday. Just before taking the drugs, I will say to him:
Dear Avi. Tonight, I am leaving this world. I am saying goodnight. And although I have missed you during these intervening years, I want you to know that I don't blame you. This is why it is important for me that our history is part of my story. Because it meant so much to me. And I never wanted to see you go. But you did go. Despite however much I tried to prevent that. This is why you have become a part of me and who I am. Forever.
Now that my reputation among Meetup is potentially weakened, is this the reflection that I will now see in other people when I force myself to return to those park events?
Screw it. Life is too much effort. I spend too much time thinking, worrying and ruminating. The easiest way in which to escape is to accept that my life is not sustainable. I need to escape. Nothing that I have tried is working for me anymore. Dating. Meetup. Music. Gym. Relationships. Friendships. Family. Job.
I am back to thinking this:
It will happen. On my 40th birthday. I have the money in my account to buy the drugs. Several hundred pounds. It will not go to waste. This journal? It will remain online. It will be made prominent on the night of my death. An elaborated suicide note. I will have nothing to hide anymore. If I left unexpectedly, at least people might be able to read and understand the narrative leading up to it. And I will not be leaving anyone guessing, questioning or speculating. Because it is as important for others to find answers as it is for me to seek solace and comfort in death. 🙏
Thinking and planning this has helped to clear my mind. After all of these months, planning my death again is exciting and liberating. Like starting a new project. I feel an openness. A white space. A serene tranquility. I do not need to try as hard as I have been trying throughout my life. Yes, I still have some years to go. 6 years to be precise. I do not know what I am going to do with those years. Everything else, I have tried and failed. Maybe there is nothing left for me to try.
I keep telling myself that the most important relationship in life is with myself. I keep telling myself that. Maybe it is not enough.
With suicide, I must be in a lucid mindset to go through with it. If I tell someone that I am feeling suicidal, that is like raising a cry for help. At a microcosmic level, it is me telling myself that there is something to live for and something worth fighting for. If I purify that relationship with self in a way in which I am at peace with my imminent suicide, it will be easier to carry out. This is why it is important to carry it out when I am feeling well. Not when I am feeling depressed. This is the key. I must be feeling sufficiently fulfilled enough in myself to know that I have lived my life to the fullest. And that there is no reason for me to continue beyond a certain point. In this way, I will embed the notion of suicide into my everyday rational (rather than irrational) state. I will normalise and trivialise it so that it feels less drastic, extreme or threatening. It will feel natural, like putting myself to sleep at the end of a long day. I will feel satisfied, quenched and tired. But not sad. I can instil it in myself that my life has no meaning. And feel OK with that. Gracefully surrendering those pillars in life that give me something to hold onto or fight for to the welcoming darkness. Embrace suicide as a routine or a procedure. Nothing to be afraid of.
My planned exit: overdose on barbiturates. 👌
How am I doing? ❤️
What is going on? Lara says that there is more drama. Lily is having a go at me?
I think so. It is over. 😪
Jenny advises me to screenshot what I sent to them.
I cannot. I am banned.
Lily is in touch again, I can understand her frustration but I think that it’s important to investigate the root of where all of this started, which I think Jenny & I both agree on.
[16:11, 04/08/2021] Lily: Rory I hope you can understand where this frustration is coming from when you've completely ghosted everyone, and simply took the imagery and made it your own thing
I will reply later. I am going to the gym. I need some headspace to think.
With regards to the drama that Lara mentioned to Jenny, I apologised to Jenny for not flagging sooner. I was still shell shocked from the night before and not wanting to stress her out when she has already had enough on her plate.
Rob forwarded me these from the group chat.
Jenny thinks that they are dreadful.
More from Lily. It seems reasonable, but I would only go if Jenny is there.
[16:58, 04/08/2021] Lily: It's not that we "don't need you as an admin", is that after the donations and Instagram fiasco, we don't know who to trust
I have apologised to Jenny for troubling her. I want to keep her informed.
Jenny advises me not to go. She says that they are manipulative and controlling.
If Jenny is not up for it, I will not. 👌
@Sam @Claire @Anna please add yourselves to the group and I will set you up as the same, you will be able to tweak copy/images/events etc., as desired. I will remain on there in name only. I will not require any financial contribution as this is on a pre-existing organisers account and I already receive donations via my shy group (so I am all covered). Please feel free to set up your own separate...
[15:56, 03/08/2021] ?: that being said... he didn't respond do any of our requests, and he didn't consult us before doing all this. And all admind unanimously agreed we wanted to do things differently.
I have asked Jenny to let me know if she is comfortable with me sending this to Lily. I will probably do it in the morning. Jenny says that it looks good but she will read through it tomorrow. What kind of allegations were they making about donations? I cannot remember exactly, I was not paying attention. Financially, Jenny has been in the minus over the years with that group!
I have apologised again for not consulting Jenny before Saturday but I thought that things needed shaking up for this to come to light. Which it looks like it has, judging by some of the screenshots people that have been sending me. I have taken the consequences. There is no need to mention the Instagram raid (none of their business). I focused on what generally happened. And glossed over the potential coffee with scheduling complications. 👌
Interesting, Jaron messaged me this morning (see top of page, tabbed). He seems to be creating more drama in the act of wishing not to create more drama 🤔
It was wise not to reply to him this morning. He appears to be ambivalent / on the fence. He might have repeated what I said to him privately amongst the group chat.
I disagree with the part about me not "saying a word". I did not "duplicate" the group. And I did announce the Meetup page to the other admins on Saturday evening. There is distortion going on here. Chinese whispers.
Also, notice how it is always the same ones shutting down the conversation who are creating the "drama".
CW is sorry that I received all of this shit for trying to do something nice. She will not say what she wants to as she does not want to be put on the banned list, too (seems to be a lot of that going on these days). But anyone who knows me would know that I am not being horrible.
I feel paranoid about putting anything in writing these days. In case it is traced.
CW does not blame me. This seems so judgemental.
I was petrified, too afraid to say anything. For about a week. More than a week. It is over.
And now something that I have done in good heart has been thrown in my face. CW is sorry.
CW is thinking of me.
It has been a difficult day but I am feeling a bit better now 😌 🙏 I am praying for the members.
CW hears that I am going to see Lily. When did she hear that? She put it in the group.
How are things with Hafyz? No update. Am I OK with that? Not sure. I have had too much on my mind with all of this. I do not have the headspace or emotion to deal with guys right now, much as I would love to. 😍
I must work on myself. Or take care of myself, I think that this is the correct expression. It is good that I am putting myself first.
[22/05/2021, 00:41:42] Sam: Also you really are unique and so charming, I actually liked you and hope we can build a strong connection xx
Why did I take 24 hours to reply? I needed time to process what Sam had said and work out a suitable response. My main concern was being able to reciprocate without giving away too much of myself. Or giving away something that I might not get back in return. I am still hurting from the way in which I reciprocated to Avi Taler and he disappeared. This trauma is now affecting the way in which I operate now. I am afraid of trusting someone or coming across "too strong" to the extent that I do not let myself express how I feel about someone for fear of rejection.
Eventually, I decided to reciprocate in the simplest possible way, simply by mirroring what Sam said to me (rather than re-formulating it in my own way):
[26/05/2021, 09:32:22] Rory Duffy: I hope too ☺️ xx
Sam's response was a little confusing and made me feel uncomfortable.
[26/05/2021, 23:03:31] Sam: 😂😂
Why? Because it made me feel like I had simply ticked a box. I was merely the capper to a great week not that he wanted anything serious with me. Validation. What is making me think that? Because it has happened to me in the past. So many times. A guy comes along. He enters my life. I resist him. The guy kisses me and/or tries to have sex with me. He plays with my feelings. He gets me out of my box, like a toy. And as soon as I reciprocate, he disappears. But is this what actually happened or is it all in my mind? LV once noted that I feel myself "used". Maybe those prior occurrences were projections in themselves. Where did all of this start? I can see how my mode of thinking has become cemented. It is a snowball effect. Over the weekend, I explained this thought process to a few people and their initial reactions were generally of amazement and dismay. Because they see me in different eyes to the way in which I see myself.
I showed JW & Tom the last messages exchanged between Sam & I. I was bamboozled by the interaction. Hence the 3-week stall. At some level, I was conscious that there was a danger of projecting and manifesting negatively i.e., automatically thinking the worst, that the same might be happening all over again and turning that into a reality simply by thinking about it in those terms. But literally, I did not know how to move the conversation forwards in a way that was positive yet assertive. There was no "call to action". Yet Sam had sent the last message. Like Avi Taler rightfully said to me once, texting has its price of misunderstandings sometimes (Avi 2). JW & Tom explained that Sam was initially offended because I took 24 hours to reply. They went on to explain that Sam has not messaged me because he believes that I do not like him. Since the last message was sent by Sam and I have not replied. They urged me to message him ASAP. I faltered. I did not know what to say. Sam's last messages before my birthday were confusing and ambiguous. I felt uncomfortable with them due to the above reasons. I never intended to "not respond". I was simply taking time to formulate my response.
The last message policy is a mechanism that I have in place to safeguard my personal happiness and comfort. Whenever I am in any doubt or insecurity, I ensure that I send the last message. It means that regardless of whether or not the other person responds, I ensure that I take the opportunity to have the last word and show the best version of myself. Putting the control and power back into myself. Putting the ball back in the other person's court. To this day, Avi Taler has not responded to the last message that I sent him on 8th March 2020. That might be hanging over him for the rest of his life. Or maybe he does not care. Regardless of that, the fact that I took the opportunity and spoke out for myself alone has made me happy. This is the most important point. I am focusing on ME, not on HIM. By sending that last message.
Now, in this scenario, I have technically failed myself in that regard. Hand on heart, this 3-week stalling was completely my bad. Not unlike the 7-month stalling with Avi Taler. 7 months to 3 weeks albeit a massive improvement! I regretted not immediately sending Sam a thumbs up ( 👍 ) or an "Xxx" to sign out in the nicest possible way. It was my birthday. I was trying to concentrate on building my mood back up again since not hearing from him on Wednesday.
My thought process was that Sam might disappear like many others have done. I thought that I might never see or hear from him ever again. I like you, too. Thank you very much! Box ticked. Move on to the next guy and leech their validation. During our 1st date, it transpired that Sam uses the same gym as me (PureGym Oval). I was in the mindset that if I did not hear from him ever again, I might at least bump into him in the gym and awkwardly question why he was not back in touch then. If the worst happened and I did not bump into him in the gym, I could always message him on New Year's Day like I did with Avi Taler. But these negative thoughts are symptomatic of how I used to think. They indicate that my confidence has slipped slightly. See how I am manifesting future events that have not yet happened simply by playing them out in my mind?
On the topic of validation, I have now realised that there is nothing necessarily wrong with validation. We are human beings. We are social creatures. We want to feel loved and appreciated. We want to be something to someone. Celebrities. Commodities on a microscopic level. Micro-icons. Or "Microns". This is why we have Facebook and Instagram. In personal relationships, we can even use others for our validation, as long as there is no deception about it. If a friend would like to use me for their validation, I have no problem with that. I recognise that there is an Ego. And that it is healthy and important for people to have an Ego. A sense of identity. If I can help my friends by helping them to feel good about themselves, I am more than happy to help them. The problem occurs is when someone dresses up their need for validation in something else. Buttering up the other person. Grooming them for their immediate gains and needs. Future Faking. Tricking others into a false sense of security.
For a few minutes, I gave Tom my phone. I let him take over my WhatsApp. Tom is a psychologist. He is adept at working out other people's issues. Tom worked his magic on the conversation and suddenly, somehow, I have a beautiful date for next Friday with Sam. Bingo!
[12/06/2021, 18:02:14] Rory Duffy: Hey 👋 how have you been? Sorry I haven’t been in touch, been dealing with family stuff. I hope you’ve been well, would be good to meet up again 😊 x
Miracle! Or maybe not...
It turns out that these thoughts were all in the mind. My mind was playing tricks on me. Sam does like me. He thought that I was not interested because I was taking time to reply to his messages (or, in his mind, I was not responding to his messages). Although we are speculating about Sam's thoughts, this alternative reality changed my whole perception of matters and made me realise that I have been letting my inferiority complex define me.
Pay particular attention to the message "Great, I'm up for anywhere but can never go wrong with Italian?" Smooth move. Up for anything yet casually revealing a preference. Opens it up to interpretation on different levels. Tom certainly has a way with words. Like I said to Victoria Wills on 2nd May 2019, I wish that I could let someone else take over my mind and do the driving for a few moments. Give me a break.
When I was hanging out with JW & Tom, Sam continued messaging me. I let JW & Tom read the messages before I read them myself. They were encouraging me. See? He is interested! What did he say? Before I had the chance to read Sam's messages, Tom was already typing on my behalf. I reclined back on the grass and casually sipped my drink while Tom worked the voodoo on Sam. This was wonderful. This was exactly what I needed. Momentarily, I felt lifted up. Unburdened with the pressure. I want to move forwards with someone. But as soon as someone messages me, I might feel stressed and anxious. Not because of the content of the messages themselves (most of Sam's messages are nice and complimentary). But because they put the ball in my court. I feel under pressure to come up with a suitable response. A mirror. A reciprocation. Once in a while, it is nice to have a break. At times, I put my phone in my bag because I wanted to chill. Every time that I put my phone away, JW & Tom were asking if he has replied and encouraging me to message him back immediately.
Later on Saturday evening, another friend from the Meetup observed that I over-analyse messages and that this prevents me from moving forwards with people. He urged me to message back straight away without thinking through so much. Enjoy life. Be honest. Express how I feel about him. A narrative that I hear often (possibly because it is true). My issue? While I appreciate and value honesty, I trusted Avi Taler with my feelings. He put his arm around me and insisted that I could be honest with him. He said that my messages concerned him because I was using euphoric words like "giddy" and that my feelings for him had overtaken his feelings for me (Avi 5). After this, he ghosted me. Experiences like this have taught me that while honesty is important, it is not wise to open up to someone who I barely know. Especially if I feel emotionally unsafe and out of my comfort zone. Sadly, some people might not be worthy of my trust. No matter how much they make themselves out to be. There is nothing dishonest about acting more selective about what I choose to reveal and not reveal. Based on my own internal judgements. The advice that I have received from family and friends ("play it cool", "do not reveal too much, too soon, to someone who I barely know" etc.) has embedded me in the discipline of thinking through my messages and interactions. It has made me extremely guarded and self-controlled. But it is a delicate balancing act. Perhaps I have gone to the other extreme of playing it cool that others simply think that I am not interested in them?
I stayed in Green Park until 11pm and I was back there 12 hours later, at 11am Sunday morning to play ultimate frisbee. During which, Sam messaged me again:
[13/06/2021, 13:21:29] Sam: Afternoon gorgeous 😘 hope you are having a chilled Sunday xx
OK. Not bad. The blow kiss felt a little unnatural because I have only met the guy once. But I included it in there since he sent one to me and I thought that I should mirror. The heat is on. 😛
I guess that as long as I play it pedestrian and act like a comfortable pair of slippers, I cannot go wrong. I slip into my docile, "West Country" ice cream persona. That seems to work well. It is not perfect, but it is OK. It is grounded. I am not promising anything that I cannot necessarily give. This is my nuance of "playing it cool". Say the least words possible in messages. Keep messaging to a minimum. Some of Sam's messages come across (to me) as a little kinky and flirtatious. Not a problem. But something to be aware of. Maybe it is the heat? Maybe it is a cultural influence? Maybe his temperament requires someone less volatile who might rein him in a little? Who knows. I might well be the ice to his fire ❄️🔥
[13/06/2021, 13:58:24] Sam: Hahaha yea seriously it was soooo hot and remember My body was full of poison from yesterday
What concerns me slightly is that there seems to be a lot of definition going on before the "thing" has actually happened. For example, Sam sent me a voice note explaining that he hoped not for a couple of one night stands but he wants a "connection", a "boyfriend", a "relationship". This is lovely. It shows that his intentions about me are serious. But his personal notions of those concepts might be different from my notions.
I do not think that this will be a problem, though, as long as we effectively manage another another's expectations without deceiving one another. We can have a good relationship. When he asked me if I am top or bottom, he appreciated my response:
[12/06/2021, 22:59:08] Rory Duffy: It depends on my mood ☺️ it doesn’t need to be the make or break of anything, I’d like to see you again, let’s enjoy our time together next Friday 🤗 xx
JW asked me if there has been any more messages from Sam. I explained how Tom worked his magic and suddenly somehow I have a date for Friday. The guy (Sam) seems overly sex-oriented. I am not sure if I can keep up / maintain that. JW rightfully says that there is only one way to find out.
What did Tom say? I asked him what is the nicest, kindest response when someone asks you if you are top or bottom 😈 it is so narrow-minded 🙄 I does not matter to me. I could not care less. But I feel uncomfortable about answering. I do not know Sam well. Actually, Tom thinks that is an important question. It can make or break something. He would simply answer honestly and go from there. I did end up saying that it depends on my mood and was not the make or break of anything 🤷♂️ it seemed to do the trick - Sam said “nice response”. Tom hopes that I have an active sex life with him 😈
At least I have gleaned something. The purple demon emoji ( 😈 ) might be a universal code word. It means that the guy wants to sleep with me, right?
But for me, sex should not be something that is planned. It should happen naturally. I cannot say with certainty what will happen on Friday night. I know that I am not ready to jump into bed with him. I should not go home with him. I should not take him home with me. On the 2nd date? Yes, we kissed on the 1st date. Normally, I would try to avoid doing that. Yet it did happen this time. It felt natural and the right thing to do. But sleeping with him? That is a big no no. Had we not kissed, I might not have felt so depressed about not hearing from him the night before my birthday. But maybe that is all part of the process. A Love Hangover.
Last night, the angel who spoke to me through Maria (she loves it when I say that) raised the concern that I might be letting down Sam if I refuse to sleep with him on Friday night. This is true. However, my immediate response was that I do not have any fear in disappointing him because I know that I will not disappoint him. This is what manifestation is all about. Believing in what I want and manifesting it. I am in control of my thoughts, words and actions. I have shown interest in him without giving him any indication that I am ready to jump into bed with him. At the moment, all that I would like to do is sit down with him. Talk to him. Get to know him. Go out for a nice Italian meal and maybe some drinks afterwards. Maria pointed out the possibility that he might interpret the dinner and drinks as leading up to something. At some point during the course of the evening, I must make it clear to him from the outset that I have no intention of jumping into bed with him tonight. But it is difficult to choose the right moment.
Maria suggests that maybe sex is more important to Sam than it is to me. There we go. Different notions of a "connection" or a "relationship", indeed. That is not a problem, in itself. The key is how we mitigate any differences that might occur during our encounters. Sure, sex might not be as important to me as it is for him. But that does not need to be a problem. There are ways around it. We can still make it happen if we both make certain compromises. After all, the joy of a relationship is in discovering and working all of these things out. This does not need to happen now. Or even on Friday, to an extent. It is a process. A relationship does not need to be something that happens overnight. What is the point of defining something before letting it happen naturally? The point is that I have a great date on Friday. All I need to do is enjoy myself. Not to think too much on it. Have fun. Nothing needs to be decided or defined. We might get into a conversation about our relationship. We might not need to. But there is no pressure or urgency to do so.
It is nice that Sam has said that he is up for a relationship. But past experience has proven that it is important to listen to people's actions as well as their words. If I am making him wait, then it shows that I am more invested in sustaining a relationship rather than a random fling. And if this is what he truly wants, he will appreciate that and slow down.
Like I said to my other friend yesterday: the rules of shopping can apply to dating. If I go on a shopping trip and spend no money, it has been a successful shopping trip! Last Wednesday at Camden Market. I spent only £6 on a bag. Nothing more. If I wake up in my own bed next Saturday morning with no-one else in it, mission accomplished! 💪
[26/05/2021, 09:32:22] Rory Duffy: I hope too ☺️ xx
[12/06/2021, 18:02:14] Rory Duffy: Hey 👋 how have you been? Sorry I haven’t been in touch, been dealing with family stuff. I hope you’ve been well, would be good to meet up again 😊 x
[12/06/2021, 19:35:32] Sam: <attached: 00000081-AUDIO-2021-06-12-19-35-32.opus>
[12/06/2021, 23:03:20] Sam: <attached: 00000087-AUDIO-2021-06-12-23-03-20.opus>
[13/06/2021, 13:21:29] Sam: Afternoon gorgeous 😘 hope you are having a chilled Sunday xx
[13/06/2021, 13:58:47] Sam: 😂😂😂
There are a number of issues that come up when talking about labels and diagnosis. One of which is the process of diagnosis. How does one accommodate that new label? What does it mean for them? What did they go through? Where are they with it now?
In terms of the experience of acquiring that label of ASD / Neurodiversity, each one of our journeys are different, as well as "coming out" in terms of being queer. There are 2 experiences at play:
Stages of autism realisation meme on Instagram.
In the process of appropriating that term - whether something around gender / sexuality or autism - there is invariably the question of: if I am taking the term, am I allowed to take the label when I "should not be having it"? Am I entitled to it? There is a lot of judgement going on. This can be problematic. On the one hand, some people can be discriminated against for being autistic or queer. There is anxiety around taking that label and around how others might respond to your adoption of it. On the other hand, other people are envious and there can be a misconception. The label might not be fun!
If we are taking that label, part of that process is saying "my issues are real" or "my experiences are valid". When you have gone through a lifetime of experience where you have been negated or denied, e.g., people have asked you such questions as:
To go from accepting the above to suddenly saying that all of the above is wrong (societal imposed norms) and that my experience is right, is a massive leap.
What has been my experience? In terms of my sexual preferences, I "came out" twice. When I was 18 (see Andy) and again when I was 32 (see Avi). In both scenarios, the issue was not to do with my sexuality because I am already comfortable with that. The issue was to do with rejection (or, at least, perceived rejection) in terms of how I chose to interpret it and how I processed it. The fact that both were guys and not girls was neither here nor there. There was a deeper issue of validation. Of course, there were similar situations earlier on where the love interest was a girl. I am not 100% sure if I felt the sense of "rejection" any deeper or whether those earlier experiences might have compounded and contributed towards my acute dissatisfaction in myself. A piece of Spanish homework which I am unable to retrieve snapshotted my projections / predictions of Loneliness during my teens.
My parents found it hard to talk about my sexuality. They buried it down. They conveniently forgot. I went through the process all over again 14 years later. I suppose that I have never been open about my sexuality, though. Perhaps because I do not see it as a major "issue". One cannot be blamed for forgetting about it if I hardly mention it. Nevertheless, my sexuality has always been a somewhat lesser challenge.
The most challenging aspect of my autism is the fact that it is not diagnosed. I relate to all of the questions / difficulties described in the 4th paragraph about appropriating the term. I have struggled between wanting to embrace the term and respecting an NHS decision that was made about me. 4 years ago, I was assessed for autism. I scored above the threshold in 2 out of 3 assessments. I needed 100% to qualify for the diagnosis. The clinical report explained that there are elements of my personality suggestive of the condition and that more reasonable explanation might be sought via alternative diagnoses. Such as a deep-seated Social Anxiety and issues around sexual identity. Both of which might be explored further via CBT. 3 years later, my care worker at the CMHT (Community Mental Health Team) pointed out that the fact that I did not qualify for the diagnosis is irrelevant. I have a clinical report. I am entitled to use it. It is no employer's business to know that I was not diagnosed. The important fact is that I have that clinical report and that I am entitled to use it. This advice came from a clinical mental health specialist working for the NHS (Lambeth North Short-Term Service). I ensured that I wrote it down. Ever since then, I have ticked that box labeled "disability", even though I personally no longer perceive my autism as a "disability". More on that story later.
Read More: 07/02/2020
My sexuality (or sexual preferences) has been less of a challenge. I have never accepted the word "gay". I have talked about "straight" experiences, e.g., when I was a student, I had a "one night stand" (if you could call it that) with a woman called Lindsey. She offered me sex but I could not bring myself to do it. This does not draw away from the fact that there is definitely a bit of "straightness" in me! Generally, I reject labels when it comes to my sexual preferences. Alternatively, I might describe myself as sexually "agnostic". I approach it in an open-ended way. I love who I love, regardless of their gender identity. For me "LGBTQI+" is more about freedom of expression at a wider level than mere sexual or romantic / amorous choices.
How do I manage to circumvent the minefield of language and labels among LGBTQI+ circuits? I buy into the belief of creating one's own reality but being open to other people's realities at the same time. That is to say not one reality being the definitive "truth". When I encounter people at the Meetup events, I am occupying the space with words but at the same time ensuring that I am open to other people's words and that there is a level playing field. And making my own internal judgement about whether or not I wish to fully endorse or embrace other people's words (feel free to disagree internally, but not necessarily state my disagreement unless the question is asked or my stance is challenged). I ensure that I use disclaimers e.g., "that last statement might have been a bit binary". Always remaining mindful that I might be acting judgementally and correcting myself where I feel that it is appropriate (I hate the word "appropriate" so I am using it loosely, here). But without acting apologetic all of the time. It is a difficult balance. I feel like I am spinning plates. Most people act cool and acknowledge that it is complicated to know which language to use in certain settings and situations. So it is not normally a problem. There is definitely a balance to be had. But I can set that balance within myself in terms of what I choose to say and how I choose to act.
Invariably, labels are trying to concretise something that, in essence, does not normally fit into a box, e.g., the label of Neurodiversity. Yes, absolutely, I can call myself autistic if that is how I choose to interpret my assessment. I am entitled to feel a sense of belonging within that category. The diagnosis of autism is the best effort to appropriate something that cannot be appropriated. That is the real struggle. The diagnostic criteria is by no means perfect. It is never going to be perfect. It is useful. But it will never account for every condition, perceived internally, externally or otherwise. It is tricky for us to allow ourselves to feel that this label is right for us when we do not specifically fall into that box.
In gender and sexuality, language is massively expanded. Previously, there was limited language to express all of the different genders and sexual preferences. There was plenty of "I am not this" and "I am not that". With autism and Neurodiversity, there can be the added feeling of wanting to be accepted in society and wanting to fit into the right box (whether a self-imposed feeling or otherwise). There are labels and terms that do not quite fit. Lots of people might feel like they are not getting it quite right. These are the difficulties in labelling. The fact that there can never easily be a uniqueness within one particular label.
What labels were offensive / upsetting ways of describing me? At Marling school, I was bullied. The students called me "batty boy". They said that my mind was "addled" by Wycliffe (I did not see this to be the case). The teachers commented that I was "naughty" and "oversensitive". For them, it was an issue of behaviour (on my part). They would say to me "how can you be so smart and yet so stupid?" These were the abusive, damaging ways in which I was addressed by both students and teachers at Marling School, Stroud.
What labels were adopted by myself as a way of justifying / rationalising myself? Later on, in sixth form, people who were more friendly towards me described me as "eccentric". I adopted this word because it sounded more positive. My friend Sarah (the same Sarah with whom I travelled to France) once said that I fall just outside the box labeled "other".
They can be liberating in the sense that they short-circuit potentially tenuous conversations and open up connections with people and spaces. Through shared experiences, they can bring a sense of power socially. This is something that I experienced during Sixth Form. Most of the people with whom I was associating identified as being outsiders or somehow different from the norm. They rebelled against society in the way in which they dressed and the language that they used. There was a shared rebellion aspect at play. Paradoxically, the rejection of the establishment (in theory) engendered itself through the endorsement (in practice) of a label! As being "anti-establishment".
However, labels can also potentially limit the options that we give ourselves and one another. There is a dynamic at play between what we want to perceive and what is perceived. The juxtaposition of these labels and the way in which this throws up so many complexities and contradictions is something that fascinates me. It is indeed both a liberation and a limitation.
There is an interesting discussion:
The word "disability" being used to describe autism is a classic example. In terms of society (or, at least, in legal terms), it is widely considered to be a "disability". Regardless of the fact that autistic people vary in terms of whether or not they think that it is a "disability".
Social Anxiety is another example of a label that can be falsely vindicated. Example of my friend repeatedly saying that he needs to "fix" or "cure" his Social Anxiety. Repeatedly, I tell him "actually, maybe you do not, there is nothing wrong with you." I tell him that he is putting too much pressure on himself to be a certain way and he is fine as he is. It is not the Social Anxiety that is the problem. But maybe his perception of it could be changed. So that he does not perceive it as such a negative condition of worth. It can be managed. He can find ways of accepting or embracing Social Anxiety and turning it into a positive. Too many people see it as "Self Harm". But the only person who can define it as any form of "harm" is the person who is doing the ruminating. No one else has the authority to define their level of pain. Any definition is a deflection of how they feel about the person's Social Anxiety onto the "socially anxious" person. Which is why it is easy to fall into the trap of perceiving Social Anxiety as a negative condition of worth. If this is a common misconception in society and the misconception is all that they have ever experienced.
There is definitely a question of what extent society is the "problem". In terms of its inability to cope or accommodate versus its tendency to normalise and impose. This is the paradox of labels and where the conflict point can invariably arise.
What label would I take as a compliment? How did I come to the conclusion that I might either have autism or be autistic (adopt autism as a label to define myself, to a certain degree)?
It has come to me in bits and pieces. Gradually, I have put together a picture, piecemeal throughout my life. It was a gradual process. That is how I came to it.
Conversations about autism. Because it is a minority, not the "norm" and not in the general narrative, there is a depleted awareness of autism. People need to have a corridor into it. Because it is not in the general narrative, there is less value in society and less opportunity / opening from someone else to give "permission" to embark down that particular route. That is not to say that there is none at all. There is a lot more than there used to be. But it is still less commonly regarded as some other states of being. Many times in the group, it has been said that everyone's personal experience of autism is as individual and unique as the person. This makes it harder to pinpoint, label, define and diagnose.
I grew up with other people who I might have perceived to have had greater challenges than I did. I saw it in them but did not necessarily think that this was me. One of my school friends, MN, was a example of this. My perception of his experience as a greater challenge than mine was due to the fact that he was taken out of school and transferred to a special school that would more adequately cater towards his needs and requirements. My mum was a learning support specialist for over 20 years. She knows all about ADHD, ASD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and other cognitive or physiological conditions having taught students who experienced those. She identified MN as having more acute difficulties than me (in terms of the fact that he transferred schools but I did not). While it is not entirely possible to compare and contrast conditions on the basis of which school one attended, it might be considered a pseudo-measurable indicator.
At 17, when I admitted to Holly that was bisexual, she said the best and the nicest words possible:
"Are you comfortable?"
I could not have put it better. It shifted the emphasis from how society might feel about me to how I might feel about myself - which is more important. I have never adopted the label "gay". And that is fine. But the fact remains that this friend said the most healthy words that a best friend could wish for. This was while we were sat outside on the street at a house party.
It is helpful to dissect and delineate what it means to be "gay" or autistic. Language helps to limit, trivialise, reduce and take out the complexity of what goes on. But in doing so, it can invariably lead to the question of whether or not to adopt it as "me". We know ourselves best to know that we are not that simple. There is an ambiguity of where to place self.
Holly was someone who I connected to on a deeper level. We used to have deep, philosophical conversations. She was like a therapist. She had that therapist vibe about her. Someone who was insightful yet caring. Someone who made caring seem easy. I have always tried to emulate that quality that she had. We had an important connection. Perhaps our connection was more than a "friendship" (another label). For us, walking around school together holding hands did not feel like a big deal. It felt natural. I probably had romantic feelings towards her. But I did not care because I was feeling fulfilled from the friendship / relationship regardless of whether or not she reciprocated. That did not matter to me. This dynamic is rare. Despite our estrangement, many times, I have searched for her on Facebook but not found her. And resorted to posting her poem on my website with a note requesting her to contact me if she ever came across it.
It is amazing to have access to those people who you can connect with, who can open up something within you like that. At such a young age (16-18). Some people are angels, put in your life to help you towards certain truths. Labels are not all bad. Holly would ask me what I was thinking or how I felt about a certain situation. She would focus on my response to it rather than the situation at hand. I sent her a suicidal text message. She turned up on my front door step holding a lollipop. People who show up like that when you most need them reveal who your true friends are. For these reasons, I definitely believe in Destiny, Fate and Serendipity. For better or for worse.
There are also generic words that can act as neutral labels, either positive or negative, variant on which context they are used. A classic example is "intense". I often use this neutral term to describe myself. Based on how others (friends and strangers alike) have responded to me and my narrative. There is an anticipation of how people can perceive us which might dictate who we are. There is an added pressure to hone down certain aspects of personality to keep myself "safe". There is a dilemma between authenticity, safety and accessibility. It is a challenging experience to mediate between those issues that not everyone has had to deal with.
Last weekend, I said some crazy things to my friend at the Meetup. I cannot remember what I said. The morning after, I was tempted to message her to apologise if I freaked her out. But I consciously forced myself not to act apologetic. Why should I apologise for who I am? The internal dialogue involved me assuring myself that if it was still bugging me weeks later, I could always casually bring it up in conversation and drop in a disclaimer. But I know my friend well enough to pre-empt how she might respond. "Relax, Rory! You did not say anything that freaked me out!"
At another Meetup sometime in October 2019, CB reprimanded me for talking to Norman about angels, demons and psychosis. "You cannot go around talking to strangers about stuff like that! You will scare them off!" Although she had my best interests at heart, she was effectively speaking on behalf of someone who she did not know. I am a believer of individual responsibility. My view is that if it did freak someone out, they might tell me directly. As it turned out, Norman and I became good friends. He had no problem with some of the things that I mentioned to him on our first meeting about people considering having me sectioned. It is not a big deal for me to be that open to other people about what is going on in my life. Why should it be for them? Especially if they are the ones asking the questions! Besides, why should I lie about who I am for the sake of appeasing a stranger?
[18:45, 19/10/2019] CB: Ok well thats not something you should ever tell Rob or a future boyfriend as it’s freaky! Just focus on the good side of religion
Anxiety is another one. As a social pejorative, it is contextual. As an existentialist, anxiety is not a "disability". It is perfectly OK. Labels that we ascribe to ourselves can be interpreted positively or negatively depending on how we might feel about them in certain contexts.
Honesty is a classic one. Exhausted by the Miz example / scenario, which throws up a load of questions concerning the nature of honesty. What constitutes honesty. People can say that they are "honest" but (in my perception, at least) not act honestly with me. Some choice examples that raise these questions:
Miz: Every now and again I spill the honesty box on mental health.
Miz: Rory it’s been six months and this is harassing me - I didn’t reply, I’m busy, I have various things going on in my life and I don’t need to have to handle you as well.
[08/03/2019, 16:52:39] Avi: I just like to be honest and frank about things
[16/01/2020, 16:22:07] Rory Duffy: If you said I could be honest with you then make such profound judgement of me over something I said that it gave you second thoughts (if that’s what happened, still yet to confirm this?)
[26/01/2020, 22:47:43] Avi: I find this whole situation very distracting and your last message seemed as if you were not even trying to understand. I cannot handle with this.
[11/02/2020, 11:41:43] Rory Duffy: I appreciate the fact that you said you like to be honest and frank about things and I hope you will remain the same.
[04:03, 02/11/2019] Victoria: Cancel tomorrow
[10:39, 02/11/2019] Victoria: I cancelled cos you were the only person
[11:24, 02/11/2019] Rory Duffy: Thanks, we're working through it 😔🙏
[11:57, 02/11/2019] Victoria: You are a shit person
There is a variation in people who lay claim to their "honesty" versus honourable people like my ex-boyfriend JR who described himself as "dishonest".
[18:19, 01/09/2019] Rory Duffy: I never said you cheated me
Actually, in saying that (regardless of whether or not he acted honestly), the act of saying that was honest. He was not giving himself enough credit. There is an overlap between honesty and intensity. These generic terms can be adopted as part of people's rationale / justification. Is it honest when "appropriate to the situation"? Does honesty depend on the context? Is honesty a form of transparency in every sense of the word, or is posting someone's explanation in a WhatsApp group considered "inappropriate" regardless of whether the person (Victoria Wills) showed honesty in her rationale for cancelling the party? There is a widespread disparity and disagreement among different people in terms of how they perceive honesty and transparency. There is a spectrum at play. Ultimately it illustrates that the term is merely a label and cannot possibly account for every eventuality.
Intensity and honesty is something that people have expressed as something that they like about me. How can I justify claiming who I am? And finding that those same people who have expressed their appreciation of my honesty become the same people who act avoidant towards that? And I am not saying justifying via means of one particular scenario. I am talking parameters, here. This junction is difficult. We might start to feel comfortable about ourselves. Subsequently, we face people or society who do not feel comfortable, discriminate or refuse to acknowledge who we are. Often, the exact same people who advocated our identity and sense of comfort in the first place!
[11:54, 02/11/2019] Victoria: Says you
There is a powerful dialogue of wanting to be seen versus not wanting to be seen.
23:26 Rory: It's wonderful to feel noticed
Sometimes, there is a paradox where people say or clay claim to a quality and act completely the opposite (as demonstrated by the above 3 examples). This raises a certain irony or perceived sense of hypocrisy. It is a social paradox. A pertinency of topic. Often, I find myself in a "cul-de-sac" whereby people do not seem to emulate a logical argument or I cannot quite understand their logic, which I perceive to be "twisted". Subsequently, I need to step back because I can no longer engage with it in a way in which is meaningful to me. It made me think about the distinction between disengaging from a person versus disengaging from a situation (Read More: 03/12/2020). The boundary can often become blurred.
Cue the paradox of Victoria enforcing about people being "there for me". If we apply the rule of Reverse Psychology, she was essentially saying that she was not there for me. By saying that, it was a form of disengagement. Effectively closing the door to an open dialogue.
Finally, some labels can annoy you. There are tick boxes in terms of disability, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and a number of other categories. You have to go online. The computer forces you into choosing / defining identify in a somewhat narrow set of choices. Computer programmers (data officers) have the power to do that. Shoehorning people into subsets of language.
Note her use of the word "Busy"!
Empathy was the hot topic in yesterday's staff meeting. Empathy vs Sympathy. How would I feel about someone leaving messages on my personal posts going on and on about making contact? The answer: I would not have let it get to that stage. I would have responded long before then. The reason for doing that was because I was messaging her via "conventional means" (via private message) once a month. But she was not responding. Yet she kept popping up on my Facebook news feed 👻
I wanted an experiment to see if my messages were being read. There seemed to be a communication breakdown,
If someone left messages on my personal posts going on and on about making contact, I would not have deleted them like she did (2x). I might have commented with "I have PM'd you" or something along those lines. And dealt with it. I would not have knowingly ignored them in the hope that they go away. Her message suggests to me that this is what she was doing. Just to be sure, I thought that I would check. I would not have blocked another person on Facebook without giving them some sort of prior affirmation, preference or warning.
I should not say "thank you for being honest". This might incite anger. Honesty has become a territorial word. People lay claim to their own "honesty". But one person's "honesty" might be drastically different from another person's "honesty". I must respect that, no matter how much I might resent it.
Miz has laid claim to her own "honesty".
By my definition, she has not acted honestly with me (by not responding in the hope that it might go away, i.e., hiding, as her response suggests). I must respect that her view might be different from mine.
What is that last line going to achieve? Implying that she has ignored me might be the equivalent to inciting nuclear war. Maybe remove the "I will not ignore you" bit?
What are the steps to be taken if I suspect that someone might be deliberately ghosting me?
In this scenario, Miz used the word "harassing". This is a strong word. I Googled it and all sorts of legal stuff came up. The word makes me sound like a criminal. If I messaged or posted something to any other Facebook friend, would that be considered a form of "harassment"?
I must consider that this person might be in a poor state of mind.
This year has been the hardest in a long time, as we all know for general reasons, but personally, I'm shit.
Interestingly, Victoria used similar language in her flurry of WhatsApp messages to me on 2nd November.
[10:52, 02/11/2019] Victoria: Mate look this is too much drama
The crude expletives in both messages suggest that there might be a problem.
I would like to thank Miz and acknowledge her message in a non-confrontational way. I do not know how to do it.
I wrote down a list of steps that could be taken. I do not know how to “translate” those steps into a positive response.
I could probably write a “no problem at all and thank you for letting me know” type message. But I feel that I ought to say something rather than simply "suck it up". Her message suggests that she has ignored me. I would like to show my friend that I do not ignore my friends. I have been open by responding and acknowledging what she said.
I thought about saying:-
Hi Miz. No problem at all and thank you for letting me know! You are welcome to contact me if there is anything you need. 😊 All the best, Rory
I ended up contacting one of my LGBTQI Autism Group leaders. This is a topic that comes up repeatedly each month.
Firstly, the leader thinks that my message ("Hi Miz, I hope you are well. I have reached out to you several times since August but not heard back. Just wondering if there has been a problem? Cheers, Rory") was well worded and polite. Consequently, she thinks that Miz' reply feels a little extreme. How many messages had I sent her before this one with no reply?
This morning was via SMS, after she blocked me on Facebook.
I agree that her reply feels a little extreme.
How do I feel about her reply?
The reason that she asks this is that there is a question about:
It may be:
No judgement on this. Something to think about.
I opted for option B).
I feel that her reply was defensive, which suggests that there might be a problem. I thought that the ignoring and blocking approach was unnecessary. She might have simply said that she did not have the time from the outset. Her message suggests a "knowingly ignoring something in the hope that it will go away”-type approach. Personally, I do not agree with this approach. It sends mixed messages and achieves nothing except confuse matters.
I am not worried about the friendship whichever way. I would not behave like that. I would not have a problem keeping in touch with a friend or ex-colleague. I understand that other people do not necessarily share my view. If this is the make-or-break of the friendship, so be it. After all (by my own definition at least), if I reach out to a “friend” and they do not respond after 6 months after much chasing and leaving me feeling anxious in that "weird grey area", they are not a true “friend” to me.
That said, I prefer to establish that line in a clearly defined way to help alleviate my anxiety of the unknown. That is why I find these interactions useful in terms of clarity. Rather than being left with nothing but a vague, ambiguous silence. Exactly the "weird grey area" that Miz describes. Having been in that area herself, she knows what it feels like to be in that area.
In terms of a reply, the leader says that my thinking is perfect. Totally spot on.
She would say:
Hi Miz. No problem at all and thank you for letting me know! You are welcome to contact me if there is anything you need. 😊 All the best, Rory
She would remove “I will not ignore you”. To Miz, it might sound like I am judging her for ignoring me. She might read it as a passive aggressive “dig”. The group leader knows that non-autistic people are exhausting with their non-literal thinking!!
My personal code of conduct would be to reply. I have a "Last Message" policy (regardless of whether or not the other person replies). It is a mental health coping mechanism that helps me to feel satisfied in myself that I have done all that I can by ensuring that I reply. It transfers the "control" from the other person back onto myself. If someone does not hear from me in a while, it means that I am still thinking about their message and formulating my response. 🤓
I like the suggested response:-
Hi Miz. No problem at all and thank you for letting me know! I didn’t mean to harass you. You are welcome to contact me if there is anything you need. 😊 All the best, Rory
That is perfect — spot on.
I will send that and not expect anything back. In terms of the above, that will help me tremendously. In my mind, it is flagged as resolved. ✅
I agree 100% about the “ignore” bit. It might be taken as a judgement. This is the danger when dealing with non-autistic people. They might "read into it" in a different way. Rather than taking something at face value.
It is the Manifestation rule: if I think that someone is deliberately ignoring me = they are deliberately ignoring me. Do not let on that I think that they are deliberately ignoring me. That way, I let it get to me. Do not allow them to deliberately ignore me. Push back. Do not let them win. I know my worth. I know that I deserve to be treated well.
2 years ago, Avi added me on Facebook (his initiative). 2 years later, he has unfriended me.
The unfriending might have happened recently. It is not long (less than 2 months) since I last checked. I do not understand what good can come out of this.
Treating human beings like disposable trash cans. I cannot deny that it hurts. It appears as though he wants to hurt me.
That is my depression talking. He does not want to hurt me. He is not trying to hurt me.
I do not understand why I am so affected by this. It is still raw. 😪
Well, it is not final. Nothing is final. Unless he chooses to boycott every possible place where he could possibly run into me. Unfriending me on Facebook suggests that he is in denial about even knowing me. This is what hurts most of all. The truth is: no-one can completely hide.
Al least my mind continues to be open.
And I am writing. I am feeling. I am breathing. I am living.
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.