Still Alive

Once again, I catch myself feeling sorry for myself. This is starting to become a more and more frequent occurrence, and it sucks.

My small light at the end of the tunnel is still there, I’m sure. I just think the tunnel I have to travel through has become so much longer that the light can no longer be seen. If the light is not there anymore, I don’t really understand what the point would be continuing. It would be so much easier to just give up, curl into a foetal position and wait for a miracle. Fat chance of that. So I’m stuck being down for now.

What has brought all this on? Who knows. I’ve been supporting my parents for almost a year now, and my savings are completely exhausted now – they have been for months. These are the savings with which I intended to emigrate to the country of milk and honey (other gay people).

So, I’m currently living hand to mouth, forking over more than half of my pay to my parents. I know kids are supposed to look after their parents at some point in their lives – I just never expected it to be this soon, and I certainly never expected to resent it. I feel awful about not being the “perfect son” I thought it was. I haven’t told them (or intimated in any other way) that I resent it. Non-the-less, I do. And that makes me feel down.

Or perhaps its because I’m stuck in the middle of nowhere, with no social interaction. Although, even if I was in town, the few people I count as friends are so spread out around the country I would only get to see them once a month at the most.

Maybe its because I’m trapped in my job due to my rather precarious financial situation. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t exactly hate my job – I just really can’t concentrate on it. I planned to leave in October this year in order to begin my new life, and now that has fallen through and I really do feel trapped now.

Seeing other people happy just makes me more unhappy. My best friends, Ciara and Jason, have been together for about two years now and they are happy. My ex, Wayne DiddlePoo is moving countries as he has “found love”, and my other ex, Allen, has been dating someone for the last 6 months. I, of course, isolate myself against this by leaving them alone as much as possible. I really have become a hermit now.

So, one of the signs of depression is reckless behaviour. Whilst I’m not drinking and driving (I got that out of my system before I came out), I have started hooking up for one night stands. This is something I would not ordinarily do. I’ve had 4 one night stands (different guys) in the last two months. Before that my last ‘hook up’ was November 2014, and then before that, December 2013. So I usually average one one night stand a year. So this is an interesting development. Not entirely enjoyable, as I hate myself afterwards – don’t you feel dirty when you hook up with a stranger just to get off?

Anyway, thanks for listening cyberspace. Sometimes you’re the only one I can talk to.

Blast From The Past / The One That Got Away

I ran into someone today. Someone who used to be very important to me. Its been over a year since I last saw him, and more than three years since we dated.

We started chatting online about four years ago, after I had broken things off with Wayne. After exchanging messages for a few days, we decided to meet up for lunch. I liked him as soon as he opened his mouth. He was definitely much more camp than I thought I would ever be comfortable, but his loud, happy personality shone through, and I was a goner.

With me living out of town at that time, nothing came of it until month’s later when I moved to town and moved in with Ciara. We would message each other every once in a while, just to keep in touch. One day, Ciara, Henry and I were going to a firework display, and I mentioned it to Allen (That’s his name, well, its his name on this blog anyway) and we agreed to meet up at the fireworks. We all had a good time, and, afterwards we went to our local bar for drinks and karaoke. At that time, my drinking was out of control, and I remember very little of the night. Henry and Ciara went home early and Allen and I stayed at the bar for a lot longer. Allen dropped me at home afterwards, and I tried to kiss him (he told me the next day – I don’t actually remember).

The next day, Allen came around for a visit. He filled in the black holes in my memory. And that’s when he told me that he was interested in someone else, and wanted to see what would happen there. That was the first time that Allen hurt me. We agreed to stay friends though. And that’s when things started to get weird.

Allen started coming over almost every night, and he’s a very touchy-feely guy. He has to touch you when he talks, has to hug when saying hello or when saying goodbye. We were both working late hours, so quite often, chatting in the lounge, late at night, he would fall asleep with his head in my lap, and, with me being the hopeless sap that I am, I would stay awake in the chair, trying not to wake him, running my fingers through his hair. I had made the decision that I would not make another move. He was interested in someone else , and I would wait and see what happened with that.

One night, we were on the couch chatting. Ciara had gone to bed. Henry was out drinking with some of his loser buddies. Then he told me that he liked me, and he kissed me. It was good.

We sort of went steady for about a month, and then he hurt me again. In a text message, I got the usual story – its wasn’t me, it was him. He wasn’t ready to go steady with anyone.

We still hung out once in a while, the time between each meeting became longer and longer. For a while, we became gym partners and saw each other daily, but then that faded too. And, now my story has come full circle, and I’m standing in a supermarket, looking at him. I see him first – he hasn’t seen me yet. I make the decision to sneak past and hope he doesn’t see me. Cowardly? Yes, probably.

Five minutes later, I feel a trolley lightly bump into the back of my legs. Its him. He’s spotted me. We hug and do the usual quick catchup you do when you see someone in a supermarket. I’m flustered and have no idea what to say. Its just dawned on me that I’m still really into him.

The usual plans are made to get together for coffee sometime. I’m not holding my breath. I probably couldn’t handle it even if he did want to be friends again.

Failed Dreams

Your dreams seldom work out the way you plan. Sometimes, they work out differently. Sometimes, they don’t work out at all. I suppose it’s a matter of perspective whether or not a dream has failed or simply taken a different direction. At what point in the pursuit of a dream does one decide that it is a failure and that the time has come to throw a dream onto the pile of broken hopes that fill up most of our lives?
My dream, for example, has reached the stage at which the time has come for a decision. After encountering seemingly insurmountable (or at least vastly discouraging – I always exaggerate) odds, I need to choose whether to continue to attempt to attain my dream, or to leave it to rot on the roadside along with all my other failed goals (at least it wouldn’t be lonely – it could join in with the rest of my new year resolutions to quit smoking, get a six pack).

What is my dream? Living in a homophobic country, and being forced to always hide the fact that I’m gay except from my closest friends and family, my dream is to escape to another country where I can just be myself without having to worry about peoples’ reactions or judgement. I judge myself harshly enough thank you – I don’t need anyone else’s judgment. Escape to a country where in order to meet a decent guy, I am not necessarily limited to online dating sites, and even if I were, there would be many more men in my area to pick from (and, possibly, more men to get rejected by – but let’s not go there today). Escape to a country where I could actually, maybe, potentially dance with a guy in a public place without fear of being ridiculed, harassed or arrested. It’s a fairly simple dream I think. However, it’s not a dream that is going to fall into my lap and one day I’ll just wake up in said country. I have to work for it.

Now, however, certain unforeseen circumstances have occurred in my private life that required me to empty out my piggy bank of virtually everything I have in order to save the two people in my life who mean the most to me. I now have nothing left with which to move to this amazingly accepting country. It is almost certain that this money can never be repaid to me, and whilst I most certainly do not begrudge these two people in the least, it has led me to this decision I now have to make.

Just postpone the move? A simple, logical answer to a seemingly drawn out issue? Not so simple. I would need to start saving again, from scratch. My job will expire in a year, I’m currently sending most of my money to these two people until they can get on their feet (which could be a while), and there is 90% unemployment here so the chances of finding a decent job that will pay enough for me to even be able to save is unlikely (we don’t earn much money in the third world).

Hence my dilemma. Keep going for the dream? If so, how? If not, what do I do in a year’s time?
I’ve made a decision. Even though a dream may not appear to be achievable, is it really time to discard it and mark it as a failure? For once in my life, I’m going to say no. If, in a year’s time, I have very little money saved up, I’ll get on a bus and cross the border. I may not be able to fly. I may not be able to afford a rental car or a hotel room. I may not be able to get to the city I want to. I may not be able to survive for as long as I may like without a job. My dream may not fulfil itself exactly, but I will achieve its essence. I will move to this other country. I may struggle, and I may even fail dismally and have to move back to this one. But how will I know until I try with all my might. Some dreams aren’t worth giving up on.

Don’t give up on your dreams either. Our lives are full of our own failures. Look back on your dreams that you’ve discarded along the way. How many of these could have been achieved if you had just held on until the pieces started coming together into something that resembled at least the essence of your dream? If you’re anything like me, there will be quite a few.

Update

4 Months after my last blog post. Wow.  I really am bad. Time for  an Update.

Ciara and Sarah have left the country for six months. So far they have been to France and are now in England trying to get jobs. Did you know that there is an interview for Mc Donalds? And there is a one month wait for the interview? Finding work in England must be tough. After six month’s they will come back to Fantasia for a while before finally leaving for America. I envy them greatly, and miss them even more. Jason is now working at a mine in the middle of nowhere and doesn’t come into town any more. So I miss him too.

I haven’t heard from Henry since he smashed up the windows at my house in town, and I am now living on the farm where he won’t be able to find me if he wanted to.

My parents have, of late, been a great worry to me. When our economy collapsed in the 90s, my parents lost their pensions and so, have no savings whatsoever. Then, when the shit hit the fan at their job, they resigned. With unemployment in Fantasia at over 90%, losing your job is not a matter to be taken lightly. They would have landed up on my doorstep, or on my sister’s doorstep. Whilst my sister and I have always known that one day we would be responsible for our parents, we were not anticipating that this would be quite so soon and found ourselves rather unprepared. As soon as I heard they had handed in their resignations, my dreams of leaving Fantasia crumbled around me. My savings would be required to move them to the city where we are so that we could look after them (We couldn’t afford to support them in another city with rent and all that). However, that seems to have fallen aside. They retracted their resignations and are staying on with their current employer. My sister and I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

My boss has decided to force me to have a student from England come and stay at my house. This is less than thrilling. He is driving me crazy, never shuts up and knows everything (oh, to be young and know everything again). I’m stuck sharing my little house with this complete fool until the middle of August. Thrilling.

Well, as I really use this blog as a means to get my feelings out, there will be future posts about my parents leaving their job (and then not),  and their will also be a post about this student. But I’m at work now, so its probably time to start earning my wage.

 

The Usual Resolutions

Well, its been forever since my last post.

Of course, its the new year, and its time to compile a wish list of things I want to (but probably won’t) do in 2014.

 And the nominees are:

  • Blog more regularly (of course)
  • Lose weight
  • Save more money to allow me to leave the country.

To aid in my endeavours, I have purchased a mountain bike. Living on a farm has the advantages of a huge amount of open space to ride a bike. The only issue – I’m incredibly unfit. I don’t need a lot of space – I’m tired after 30minutes. I went on a 10km ride with my boss the other day (he’s a keen mountain biker). When I got home, I had to throw up, but I did it. Now I just need to keep it up. I’m not fat or anything, but I would like to redistribute my weight away from the mid region and maybe into a small amount of muscle.

Saving. Not my favourite thing. I have currently saved up 23% of what I need to have to move to Cape Town. I’m hoping that by October 2015 I will have saved enough money to go for it.

Well, now that I’ve put my resolutions in writing and saved them in internet-land, how could I fail?

Third World Police

Yesterday, I had the rather dubious honour of having to go to our local police station to clear some cattle for slaughter. This is usually a rather long and mundane chore: You get there, find a policeman ask if they have the right forms (which they won’t) and then you collect a policeman and drive him to his headquarters 40km away so that he can collect the necessary forms and then you can return and actually begin clearing your cattle. It takes at least two to three hours. I digress.

So, upon my arrival at the police station yesterday, I found the lone policeman on duty in his office, asked him if he had the necessary forms. He didn’t, so I asked if I could take him to headquarters to collect the forms. He said it was no problem, however, I would have to wait a few minutes for him to deal with “another case”.

A few minutes turned out to be forty five, and “another case” turned out to be a maid who had been accused of stealing clothes from her employer. The maid was seated on the floor of the police station (criminals aren’t allowed chairs here), barefoot (stops suspects running away when being questioned) while her boss was telling the policeman she had caught the maid putting clothes into a suitcase and hiding them. The suitcase had been brought as evidence and contained three second hand dresses and a really old blanket.

The policeman then began ‘interviewing’ the suspect. Whilst seated on the floor, the maid was asked a question. If she wasn’t quick enough with the answer or if the policeman was not satisfied with the answer, the maid would be beaten with the officer’s truncheon and the buttocks, feet, legs, arms, palms. Whilst the officer did not use his full strength, he used enough force to hurt the woman. This went on for half an hour or so. Eventually, after the woman admitted to stealing the clothes and blanket the office made her stand up, and slapped her across the face with his open hand.  Then he made her take her hand away from her face and slapped her a couple more times.

Now, anyone reading this would probably wonder why I had not tried to put an end to this situation by standing up for the woman and reporting the policeman in question to his superior. Those of you wondering why do not live in the third world. This is not an unusual occurrence, and whilst I agree with the fact that it is wrong, this behaviour is the way our entire police force operates, including the higher up authorities.

To give you some idea of the total and utter lack of interest shown by our police, let me tell you about something that happened here two years ago. Some people from a neighbouring farm came and told us that a member of their family had come to poach fish from our dam, and had never come back home. That was about two weeks prior. So now, they wanted us to have a look and see if he had drowned in the dam. So we went to the dam, saw a hand sticking up above the surface and retrieved the body. We took the body to office to await the police. The police were called, and never came. The body lay in the sun for over two hours, smelling out the place rather badly. The police eventually arrived, and only after we had offered to give them an entire cow for  their efforts. After, they came, they refused to carry the body to the morgue, and we were not permitted to do this ourselves due to legal issues. It took the bribe of another cow to convince them that it was their job to deal with the dead body.

So, what I saw at the police station yesterday got me thinking. If they are going to beat up a young woman for stealing a couple of second hand dresses, which probably carries a one year jail sentence, what would they do to a homosexual, a crime which carries a sentence of between nine and fourteen years? I’ve heard the rumours of what happens to gay guys: severe beatings, “corrective” rape, harassment. It would most certainly not be an ideal situation. And that is one of the reasons I want to leave this country. Its a crime to be me.

I’ve looked into various routes by which I can claim asylum in UK or US and other countries. However, my country is listed as a country where asylum cannot be claimed for homosexuality as it is possible to live your life here “discreetly” without “drawing attention” to your status as a homosexual. In light of the recent threat to report me to the police for being gay (See my last post: Online Dating – The Foreigner Part Two), what will I do if I get called into a police station to get “interviewed”. Any my crime? Being myself? Blocking someone online? I’m probably being paranoid and either the guy won’t report me to the police, or the police won’t follow it up. Nevertheless, its a nerve-racking train of thought.

Online Dating – Foreigner

One of the many problems I encounter when chatting online to people from other countries is that they have no idea of what living in a third world country actually means.

For instance, they think that our entire population live in mud huts with grass roofs with no roads or cities. They also think that there are lions and other dangerous animals all over the place.

They also have an especially hard time accepting the fact that white people do actually live in the third world. Yes, we are a minority group, I will grant you that, but we do exist in the third world.

I have a screen capture of one such conversation below. This gentleman was quite sure that there were no white people in Fantasia, and that there was no way I could be white. In fact, he even knew someone who had come to Fantasia white, and gone back black.

Image

Please allow me to correct some common misconceptions about the third world:

 

  • Yes, white people live here.
  • No, you do not change colour when you live here (you may get sunburnt, but you will return to your natural colour
  • No, we do not all live in mud huts with grass houses. In fact, many of homes are better and bigger than those found in the first world.
  • We have roads and cities. They may be full of potholes, and our buildings may not be as tall or fancy as yours, and yes our cities are very much smaller than yours, but we have them.
  • Yes, we have more wild life than the first world. However, they do not generally roam through the streets and they are to be found in the bush away from human population.
  • We do not eat people, and for the most part do not practice voodoo or witchcraft

 

Whilst I’m sure that most people are not quite as naive as the above gentleman, this is not the first time I’ve had to explain the third world to a foreigner

 

Coming Out To Myself – Part Three

So, I now knew I was gay. And I hated it. My parents were really concerned about my frame of mind at this point. I was still partially drunk, my company vehicle was completely trashed, and I was obviously not fit to be left alone. The got me cleaned up, made me call my boss to tell him about my vehicle, even drove me to his house so I could tell him my whole life story. He was understanding, however, he couldn’t save my job and I ended up being fired. So now, in my view, my life was at the lowest point ever, and all I could think of was that this whole situation had come about as a result of being gay.

I moved back with my parents the same day (talk about some very surprised room mates), and I locked myself in my room for at least a week (I can’t really remember how long it was – but it was a while). I came out for meals and that was it. I’m not sure what was going through my mind – I think I was just numb from everything that had gone down. My sister would come over on an almost daily basis, and whilst she never came to see me, I could hear my parents talking to her in hushed, concerned tones.

Eventually, I woke up and decided that as bad as life seemed, I eventually had to get out of bed and face it.

First priority was to get another job and get myself back into my independence with my own place sorted. Living with your folks is great on a short term basis, but eventually they will drive you crazy, no matter how wonderful they are. So I somehow managed to get a job on a farm about an hour out of town. Part of the package was a company house on the premises and that would suit me perfectly. My folks weren’t too happy with the idea of me going to live out in the bush, with no vehicle to get into town and no social life what so ever. To me though, the idea of being left absolutely alone was exactly what I needed at the time. So, I took the job, moved to the farm and started to learn how to like myself all over again.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a list of methods for you to like yourself. However, I have found that if you spend enough time with yourself, you eventually have no choice but to deal with any problems that you have with yourself. Now I’m not recommending that anyone follows my example and completely runs away from life and everyone in it. A hermit’s life is not for everyone. I managed to live with it for about a year before I had to get back into the real world. I moved back to town, and met Wayne DiddlePoo and Henry Klutz and Ciara Hershley. And, ironically, it was Henry Klutz (He has a whole category allocated to him if you want to read about him), who forced me to accept myself, in a hurry. Wherever I went as I was introduced as “The Gay Guy” (In a good way, with no negative connotations) and I had to adapt quickly.

I have gotten over hating myself, and I now realise that being gay is as much a part of me as anything else. So why fight it? Its not a battle I can win. If the Church can’t accept me as I am, then I can’t accept the Church. If people go around talking about me behind my back, that is a flaw in their character, not in mine. And if my country won’t accept me as I am, then I will move to one that will.

I know that life will have many more challenges to throw at me. Accepting that I was gay was one of the toughest ones I ever faced, but I overcame it. I can overcome anything.

 

Coming Out To Myself – Part Two

So, I started working, and the changes were metamorphic. People didn’t care that you were different from them, there was no longer a need to suppress my individuality in order to conform to everyone else. Everyone was tolerated for their individuality and there was no constant insulting name-calling that would put me back into my little box. I still didn’t fully understand that I was a gay person. Yes, I knew what a gay man was (in theory), and I knew that I was attracted to men but the connection eluded me still – but not for too much longer.

I started going out to clubs and bars with friends from work – it was much easier making friends at work than it had been at high school. However, I always felt like the third wheel. I was always “The Single Guy” tagging along with my friends and their partners. I had no interest in dating a girl, and I saw myself as being alone forever – a rather depressing thought. I started drinking more and more, and with an alcohol tolerance as low as mine, this was not a great idea.

I opened up a profile on a gay dating website at last. And, no, it still didn’t quite click that I was gay. Call me retarded if you will (I have said in the previous post that I am just a tad slow with my own personal growth). I started chatting to this guy on there and we arranged to meet up at his house. It would be the first time I did anything with a guy (at age 22, this I know is pretty sad). And yes, after this encounter, it really did hit home that I was a ‘fag’, a ‘homo’, a ‘queer’. In fact, it hit me so hard, that after my encounter with said gentleman above, I went out drinking till 5 in the morning, and crashed my company car into a lamp post on my way home. I now knew I was gay, and I was not happy about it.

Why me? Why did I have to be gay, in a third world country where it was punishable by law. Where my chances of finding a partner were miniscule. After nine years at a catholic school, I was very familiar with the church’s opinion of gay people. I truly hated myself. Luckily, I realised that this – being gay – was something I couldn’t handle by myself. I needed help before I did something stupid like kill myself or hurt someone else through my drunk driving. I made the decision to call my parents and ask them to come and help me.

They came to see me within the hour. I was a total and complete mess, still half drunk as well. My opening line was  “I’m gay”, and I promptly burst into tears and started sobbing my guts out. My parents gave me hug, told me they weren’t surprised, had expected it and their only question was why it had taken me so long to tell them (yes I have wonderful parents).  My dad said it would take him a while to come to terms with it because he is a religious man, but that it didn’t affect the fact that he loved me and would continue to support me in whatever I did.

So, I had finally come out to myself, and my parents (within 24 hours). Now came the more difficult part. Accepting it for myself. I didn’t want to be gay. I just wanted to be normal.