The Jaded Millennial

"Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitudes." – Walt Whitman

The compulsion to repeat

All this has happened before, and all of it will happen again.

There is something particularly troubling that occurs when I meet someone that excites me. I go overboard. I’m not sure there is any better way to describe it. It so happens that every couple of months I encounter a guy whom I deem so enticing, so incredible, of such great intelligence that I find myself head over heels after one date. Some would call it love at first sight. If only it were that bullshit. In fact, while aware of my own subjectivity in assessing one’s attributes and regarding them as alluring and of the reality that I only construct those attributes as such because of some deep-seated issues, I am also conscious of another little tidbit: they are not that great. They are not so great as to justify my behavior. And that strikes me as completely absurd. Yet I do this repeatedly.

I am often tortured by an incessant anxiety when I am not in their presence, and I find that the anxiety is at its most intense when they cancel our plans or don’t want to hang out a particular time. Basically, whenever it becomes apparent to me that they don’t want to hang out at any and all times, which probably means they’re simply well-adjusted, something that made me fall for them in the first place. Either that or they’re emotionally unavailable but, spoiler alert, I may have a thing for that too. Yet oftentimes, even if I think I did something wrong, it doesn’t translate to self-doubt. What it becomes is a frustration that boils down to this: “I am rather amazing and pretty good looking, so please hang out with me at any and all times so that you will see that and you will stay. Please stay.”

This pattern that I feel compelled to repeat exposes something that truly saddens me. However strongly I feel about these guys I meet, they are never as important as what they symbolize, which is a sense of grounding. For the past few years I’ve been in a state of aimlessness, and I can’t seem to escape it. As a matter of fact, I romanticize it, glorify its meaning to myself and to others. Most of what I write is a romanticization of my lack of direction and purpose, the emptiness of it. And it is not something I am yet ready to put a stop to. Glorifying my lack of purpose gives me, ironically, a sense of meaning. Thus, the only part of my life that I can allow myself to be grounded by, something I desperately crave, is represented by my romantic entanglements. But, I go overboard. I push it too much. I become anxious, worried that it may take them too long to fall for me. If they do, I have a feeling that after a few months, a year, I would quite possibly grow bored or tired of them, because, remember, they weren’t that great to justify my initial behavior in the first place. Wash, rinse, repeat.

“Don’t wait too long.”

Happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. – Viktor E. Frankl

They say clinginess is a very unattractive feature… wait, I’ve been over this already. I used to be very clingy, you see. And then I thought I overcame that. But behavioral patterns have a way of resurfacing time and time again. Viktor E. Frankl’s notion of happiness is problematic. Initially, I believed that by simply substituting the word happiness with the word love in that particular quote, I found the solution to clinginess. “You can’t pursue love,” I said to myself. And that seemed to work, if merely as a great censorship tool when talking to potential new love interests. Yet Frankl seems to be saying the complete opposite, that happiness ensues from your pursuit of love. Not only pursuit, but a complete surrender to another person. This is the same man who was in a concentration camp and the meaning of life he came up with amounted to love of another. “I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved,” he wrote. That, if anything, is the definition of idealization. Perhaps that in suffering, at the lowest and weakest point of the human spirit, you shouldn’t be delineating philosophies of life to conduct yourself by later on, or worse, for others to conduct themselves by.

Perhaps I’m scared that he may be right, that I may never find happiness, since in the past two years I couldn’t even hold on to anything long enough to warrant a surrender. I’m scared that I may empathize, given that some of my few moments of bliss occur in contemplation of a beloved person. It’s bullshit, though, because my happiness shouldn’t be directly linked to and engendered by the existence of another person in my life. Yet I wish it was bullshit. Two days ago, I met someone. Handsome, adorable, smart, complex, troubled and with whom I have so much in common. A smile and demeanor that made me joyous. Upon returning home that night, I thought to myself, “I suppose that’s a good reason to stay here now.” I should point out that I have recently moved to a new city and a new country and I had been contemplating leaving. Yet now it’s been made clear to me that he only wants to be friends. Perhaps that was a lot of pressure to put on someone who’s not even interested in kissing me.

But my beloved person… he’s on the other end of the world now. However, even if so far away, the fact that he exists gives me some comfort. He is unlike anyone I have ever met and the time together was simply remarkable, if frustrating. But something truly noteworthy about that period was that it brought to light an even deeper fear of loneliness. I was always aware of that fear, of course, but he managed to produce a desire in me I didn’t think was possible and, instantly, a failing. He wants a family. And I had never thought I could hope for that in my life. There it was, the only person I met in my twenty-two years that I could imagine having a family with telling me this. “But to have a family I need to be someone that can be relied upon,” he then told me. That he needs time for self-development. And to that I replied:

“Don’t wait too long.”

And right as I said it, it broke my heart.

“Are you strong enough to be yourself?”

Around the age of fifteen, I came to the realization that I am gay. In this pivotal moment, I made a friend, and what he said to me elicited a simple acceptance of this part of me. I don’t remember wallowing in misery or hating who I was. It became matter-of-fact. Yet there was something else that this process engendered in me. “There are two types of gay people,” he wrote to me, “the ones who say they are gay and screw everything that moves. Then there are the gays who simply love differently, nothing about them changes.” I became neither. I was special, suddenly. And the way to remain special wasn’t to conform to any types of gay people, but to reject them, as I rejected being shaped by the cultural norms of my environment. How could I ever expect that nothing about me would change because of my sexuality? It’s a nice, effective notion to advance gay rights movements. “We’re all the same!” Except we’re not, are we? But it isn’t my sexuality that differentiated me from my straight friend at the time who thought my new friend had turned me gay. It is what I made of it. It’s something all of us do, we make narratives out of experiences, out of things that we believe are intrinsic to our identities. Being gay is inherently a part of me. What I have become because of it is not inherent, but constructed. My identity is forever shaped by the narratives I made of my life experiences. I wasn’t hurt by my straight friend’s ignorance, my narrative was already constructed. “I am gay. This is who I am. And I am normal.” Eventually, my actions gave legitimacy to my statements, and his ignorance lost. His narrative had to change.

The friend that I made at that time, however, pointed out the importance of discovering whether I am strong enough to be myself. I am strong enough to be gay. To endure the trials that come with it. But “I am gay” is not equal to “this is who I am”. Who I am is a construct of past experiences, a constant negotiation and re-negotiation of events and people and actions. Was my mom too distant and too preoccupied to give the attention and affection a momma’s boy needed? Has my dad’s tacit disappointment and disinterest in me caused my yearning for validation? Did realizing I was gay override those issues, since I didn’t need my mom’s affection or have to care about my father’s feelings towards me anymore? Since there was suddenly something special about me, a part of me that was hidden from everyone else, I found comfort in that, instead of my parents. But does any of this matter when identity is constantly shifting through reconstitution of past events? Yes and no. Yes, identity is certainly fluid, but it is also constructed around repetition, as Butler stated. In your repetitive behavior you can notice, if you look hard enough and consult some Psychology 101, the underlying effects of your parents actions.

Am I strong enough to be myself? I think that question is rendered irrelevant by what I’ve said. Who is this “I” that I need to be strong enough to be? Politically, sure, be proud that you’re gay. But shouldn’t we be evolved enough to not be affected by other people’s ignorance about sexuality? I’m over it, honestly. I’m an introvert. I am reserved. But I’ve come to realize I have no issues kissing my date in public or holding his hand, and that is simply because I am not acknowledging the world around me. My behavior is not politically driven. But an inner conflict begins with a self-awareness regarding my repetitive behavior right as I’m conducting myself, especially with the person I’m dating, since interacting with someone you deeply like is an incentive towards a reevaluation of yourself. So, would self-awareness be enough to change repetitive behavior? Can I shift my identity from a reliance on future possibilities, an inescapable facet of my personality engendered by myself as a teenager needing to survive in the wake of the dissociation from the people around me, and towards a reliance on allowing comfort from the present moment? Could the moments of joy spent with someone alleviate the intolerable burden of being?

Part II.

I hesitated. My reaction time is usually rather slow, and that is due to an uncertainty engendered by my severe lack of drive. Decisions are not made on the spur of the moment, since I constantly reassess where my interest in something lies. Needless to say, it is usually meager. Why should I go downstairs with him? Where does that fall within my parameters of desire? Why did he have to signal me to follow instead of saying something, anything? Probably because that would have ruined the sensual atmosphere that he thought us kissing and rubbing up against each other had created. Also, it was rather authoritative. Without figuring out where my interest lied, I got up and followed. Yet while he was going down the stairs, he turned his head briefly. Where’s your authoritative confidence now?

We entered the bedroom and then he pushed me on the bed.  His piercing eyes and playfully mischievous smile made me disgusted. I remembered that look from other very nice guys I went to bed with. On two separate occasions I felt like a prey, when nothing from their prior behavior signaled that any such thing would occur.

I was lying on my back, then on top of him; we were making out. This went on for a bit. I was already growing tired of it. He took off my jumper and I felt compelled to take off his. He took off my pants and threw them away on the floor. I felt that was an unnecessary display of passion. I suppose I wasn’t feeling quite comfortable. Then as he pulled my hair hard and slapped me on the ass, all I could think of was, “Oh, ’cause you’re short…” Meaning he was releasing his frustrations about his height and exerting dominance over me. Eventually, I realized where my interest lied. And I told him, “I don’t think I want to go any further.” He suddenly changed back to his warm-hearted nature, reassuring me that he understands perfectly. That everything is alright.

Maybe that’s why I don’t like nice people. And when I make that statement to others, they’re always so perplexed, or think that I believe the niceness is fake. But that’s not the case. This guy was so very nice, and so kind. But seeing him in this “intimate” light, all I could think of was, how are you the same person? Is that what intimacy is, performing a dynamic which you’re not able to in your day-to-day life, e.g. dominance over the prey, which is also coincidentally taller than you?

I’m proud of myself that I’m the same with everyone. A misanthrope, a cynic, an amateur psychologist… But does that mean I can’t be intimate with someone? Because I can’t shut off and be less of what I am in that moment? A friend said to me: “When we fuck, we fuck. And when we’re being psychologists, we’re being psychologists.” Maybe truer words were never spoken.

I worry that my entire life will be a struggle to get rid of my sexual inhibitions. London feels like the wrong place to succeed at that. It seems like nobody has time to wait to build something with another person. And I don’t think I’ll get anything out of being a whore, since I’m not a very sexual person.

But, I masturbate. So, yeah. Such logic.

Part I.

The neighborhood proved exhilarating. In its history, yes, since apparently Earls Court district has been the home of such names as Freddie Mercury, Alfred Hitchcock and even Princess Diana at one point or another. Currently John Barrowman and Gary Barlow also reside there. Thanks, wikipedia. Yet, as I was walking towards the guy’s address, I wasn’t aware of these facts. But I was struck by such sophistication and style in the buildings. I could tell I was in the presence of greatness when a middle-aged woman walking one of those Chinese Crested hairless dogs passed by me. As I turned the corner and reached my destination, it was rather disappointing. A bland, square, apartment complex. It wasn’t the fact that I wished he lived in one of those expensive and refined houses I passed by, since he is just twenty-four, but it had to do rather with the architectural mismatch. A fleeting moment of disappointment, however. That should hardly matter to me at this point.

“God, this place looks horrible,” I thought, looking at the white hallways with the uncomfortably low ceiling. It seemed as though a hospital and college dorm were merged into one building. Not a good combination. I knocked at his door. A few seconds passed. “Didn’t he just open the door for me downstairs like a minute ago?”, I thought, feeling a bit uneasy suddenly with the idea of meeting someone for the first time at their place.

“Hey,” he said with a smile as he opened the door.

“Hi. Fuck, you’re short…” I think you can imagine which part was audible. Handsome, curly blond hair with blue eyes. But I already knew that. I didn’t know his height though, because Tinder doesn’t make you complete a profile. And it is rather weird to ask someone how tall they are. But, “oh my God, the place is bigger on the inside. This is my Doctor Who moment, ” I thought to myself as I followed him up the stairs to the open living room and kitchen. But he’s no Matt Smith. Obviously.

I remembered what he had written on his profile, which was “wine o’clock is my favorite time of the day”.”Oh, well. That should improve things,” I thought. I hesitated as to where to sit on the couch as he headed for the fridge and came back with a bottle of wine and a glass. A half empty glass was already on the table near the couch. I’m not sure if that should be viewed as sad or not.

“So much chanting today from the stadium. Did you hear it on your way here?,” he said to me after he sat down quite far away on the couch, but not noticeably far.

“There’s a stadium? I’ve never actually been to this area before.”

“Yeah, Chelsea. There was like a football game and all the fans were chanting on the way to the tube… How long have you been in London for?”

“About seven months. You?”

“Two years. How are you liking it?”

“Ah, the inescapable question. It’s a mixed bag, honestly.”

It has become so tiring explaining to everyone how London has failed me. Recounting the same ideas, that it is alienating, that it is quite difficult to find people to connect with, people that can become your friends and not merely acquaintances or classmates. And everyone nods approvingly while nothing from hearing their experiences proves they know how it feels. And with him I don’t believe it was very different. He went on to explain just how irritating winter in London can be. How he failed to see the sun for three months once because he had to leave for his job in finance quite early in the morning and left work too late. Now he goes skiing and sunbathing abroad in the winter, or back to Paris where he is so glad he kept his place, or across South America for two months. The struggle is real.

“I’ve heard that summer in London might make me fall in love with it,” I told him, believing that it is more in line with the discussion. He agreed, telling me of the barbecues every weekend and of how happy British people can become due to good weather. I think that neither the person that told me that initially, nor this guy really knew anything about what I find enjoyable.

“Last summer I didn’t spend the weekends here, however,” he went on. “I went to Nice to my parents’ beach house.”

“I’ve heard Nice is quite crowded.”

“Yes, but the house is more secluded. It has a pool and it was quite a lot of fun.”

As he was telling me this, I couldn’t help but draw comparisons between his experience and a few chapters in the book The Line of Beauty, especially because it was standing on a shelf behind him. In the book, a politician and his family spent quite a lot of time in the summers in a mansion in France, lounging by the pool and so on. I commented on this comparison, but I don’t believe he understood that in the book this upper class family is not depicted in a very positive light.

We went on talking about books. The conversation was very harmonious. As a matter of fact, it had been this way from the beginning of the night. He proved to be educated, receptive, intelligent. There were a few moments, however, where I was unsure whether he was aware of the pretentiousness of his life stories. I was talking about LA as one of my possible dream cities to live in, and he was quite indignant at the thought: “Why would you want to live there? I was there once on my way to Japan to visit my dad when I was sixteen, and it was awful. Only three days and I wanted to go back to Paris so bad.”


He got up to bring the bottle and filled up the empty glasses. When he came back, he sat down closer to me. “Subtle,” I thought. I was still talking about The Hours, I think, when he put his hand on my knee. As he was looking at me quite intently, having also brought his face closer to mine, I was still very interested in what I was talking about that I didn’t want to stop. Yet I felt I had to, and so he leaned in and kissed me. He lifted me and laid me on the couch, continuing to kiss me. For a half-French guy, he wasn’t very good at it. I was a bit bothered by his stubble irritating my skin so I couldn’t really get into it either.

He got up and signaled me to follow. It felt a bit odd and unnerving. As if responding well to the conversation was a sign that “the subject is ready.”

To be continued…


Me: I met the actor tonight. We had a nice time. But we didn’t do anything, we didn’t even kiss. Although that may be because he’s in rehearsals and I have a cold. At least I hope so. I was my usual melancholic, intelligent, but depressive self.  Maybe not overtly depressive, but I feel there’s so much pain in the way I compose myself these days.

I’m very sad right now. I don’t know what the reason is anymore. Postmodernism, maybe. It’s fucked me up a bit.

A: You shouldn’t take it so seriously.

Me: It’s very serious to me right now. Forget about postmodernism, the things about identity and different selves. That I don’t know who I am anymore is something else. But London is really bad for me at this point. I hate everything and everyone. And, at the same time, I can’t hide behind that anymore. I know very well know that the city is not at fault, the people are not at fault for my hatred of them. I am. I am the common denominator. When I went to Hyde Park with those girls that afternoon, they were genuinely happy about everything around them, and I couldn’t stand it. I can’t put the blame on other people anymore for my dislike of them.

I can’t take this city much longer.

A: You’re coming home soon.

Me: And I feel rejected by everyone, even as I try to pretend I don’t, even to myself. Even this guy kicked me out. And while he may have done it quite nicely, and I understand why given his profession… I don’t know.

A: This thing with the actor, don’t take it too seriously, really. Don’t transpose it into something bigger than it is.

Me: I am not. It’s about the fact that I want someone’s embrace. Someone that counts.

A: Aww… Well, there are times like these.

Me: And he hugged me at the beginning, and as I left. But that’s not what I wanted. Well, not as a curteousy.

There was this scene on Shameless recently. I watched the episode today. The main character, this girl, has been through fucking hell this season. And it all started because of this one guy. After all of it, destroyed as she was, the girl went to his place and started punching him and crying and saying how she should’ve told the cops his name and things would’ve been better.

And as she was crying so much and holding her hands around her, she took a step towards the guy. Then she covered her eyes with her hand because she realized there’s nothing he can do to comfort her.

I cried so much.

A: First of all, stop watching shows that mess you up, it’s not good for you.

Me: I don’t have what to hang onto anymore, that is me. To say: oh, I am this, I am that.

A: You do. You are still yourself. You just can’t find people to make connections with. But sometimes that’s hard for everyone. And you are still you, with your periodical sadness, as if it just takes over you at certain times. You haven’t felt like this in a while. It’s hard, and I understand, loneliness can be terrifying. But don’t let it forget who you are. And, well, this thing with the actor, it is what it is. Don’t make more of it.

Me: Forget about him, he’s not the reason for this.

A: Was he the trigger?

Me: No, it’s how I act with these people. I have such a defeated attitude all the time. I am intelligent, but its only use at this point is to explain how everything about me is joyless. How am I supposed to make anyone like me?

A: Well, you’re not supposed to make people like you. I mean, when have you ever done that? You know how it is, the people that are great are those who appreciate this part of you.

The thing with the depression, though, that’s not good. I’m not being very coherent, I know.

Me: I understand that I’m not supposed to make people like me.

A: I realize that you need someone, with whom you can have some sort of connection. Right?

Me: Yeah.

A: It’s just that you can’t force these things, either they come naturally or they don’t.

Me: I will say that, in all of it, I am proud of myself that I am still the same with everyone.

A: Yeah, it is really important to be true to yourself.

Me: I am not performing anything.

I texted him:

‘I hope at the end of the day I’m not an uncomfortable presence or one that brings others down. It was nice to see you again. Good night.’

A: Did he reply?

Me: No.

A: Well, just get some sleep. Don’t think about it anymore, it’s nighttime, our brains are predisposed to these sort of ideas. Maybe you’ll feel better in the morning.

We miss you here a lot.

Me: You don’t even know how much I miss you two.

A: Well, just a bit longer, and it’ll be okay.

Me: Good night.

A: Night.


My life is in a whirl, all kinds of stuff and I don’t know if I could offer anything to you (I don’t want to not offer anything). Why can’t you just show up on the bus, sit next to me and dazzle me with your sophisticated English? If it starts on the bus, it can be just a good memory, a cute encounter on the bus. It doesn’t have to be a disappointment in the end, while the internet thing always is.

I met him about a week after we started talking. Before the actual encounter, there was a disconnect in our exchange of thoughts and remarks, partly because the conversations were carried out by email, but also because he was one of those people who avoided answering certain things for God knows what reason and there was a sense of mystery that went along with it. He was interesting. Irritating at times, but he piqued my curiosity and excited me. Even this paragraph at the beginning, which he wrote to me in a fragmented way in a few emails, seems rather sweet, if dubious. But why the fuck would I want a memory of a cute encounter on the bus that would never lead to anything anyway? Such an outdated view of modern communication and romance. And the way he mentioned to me that he’s ‘the only human being without Facebook’ because he loathes it, should have set off some real hipster alarm bells for me. No one cares about Facebook anymore, really. It’s simply a way to keep up with the people you know. To which he replied: ‘certainly while slyly fucking up, blemishing, destroying your relations, connections that spring from the colorfulness of human nature.’ Because a cute encounter on the bus will certainly be more powerful than maintaining a friendship on Facebook after perhaps moving away. Such logic.

My preconceived idea of him prior to meeting reminds of David Shields’ post-structuralist idea that ‘the perceiver by his very presence changes what’s perceived’. I wanted him to be interesting, so I linked my perception of him with ideas that create excitement in me. Then I met him. And from the instant I laid eyes on him from across the street, the excitement vanished. I had gone on one or two dates in the weeks leading up to this, but they never amounted to much. I didn’t think much of them before, it became worse once I saw them, and I tolerated their presence for the duration of consuming one beverage. But with him it was a disappointment, because I did think something of him. And I saw this scrawny guy, just a bit shorter than me, with ears sticking out and blue pants with a rope belt. That last detail was quite a lot to handle. Physical appearance aside, he had no presence. There was no complexity that I felt in his struggle to make sense of where he was in his life. Plus, he was a vegetarian. He was right, he was a disappointment, but I doubt the internet had much to do with it.

Very often I find myself comparing the connection I expect to have with someone, romantically, with how I felt in the moments spent with the person I talked about in an earlier post. I think about him sometimes. There was something magnetic that drew me to him, and it was the combination of a seemingly troubled soul, aloofness and beauty. Nothing before or ever since made me feel that way. Not even my ex-boyfriend of a year and a half sparked such overwhelming emotion. His kiss, his embrace, they meant the world. Now I am constantly pretentiously callous and in a state of disinterest that ‘sometimes I think I’ve felt everything I’m ever gonna feel’ (Spike Jonze, Her).


I’m known to be a person with a certain flair for the dramatic. I try to deny it as much as I can and shrug it off as just blatant exaggeration for increased comic effect, but when you sit an entire afternoon discussing with your friends how the way you’re coming out to your parents is by inviting them to your wedding to another guy and yell “surprise!”, something is rather off. I actually took it so far that I started thinking whether E! or Bravo would finance it and make a wedding special on the struggles of a foreign gay youth being rejected on his wedding day by his Eastern European parents. Americans would eat that shit up.

This began during my adolescent years, I would say. I used to long for drama, for a feeling of excitement in my life. I was a very lonely teenager, but that was of my own fault. Once I made serious inquiries into my own sexuality and came to terms with being gay, I was suddenly different from the rest, I was more interesting, in my eyes. I assumed no one would really understand or accept me, so I began to detach myself emotionally from family and made very few friends. But I assumed wrong, because it wasn’t necessarily the case, I just very rarely allowed people the possibility. For instance, I had a crush on a classmate in high school, and I told him about me. He reacted very badly, as you’d expect, but he came around. He put his preconceived notions aside and genuinely tried to be my friend, just because I trusted him enough to tell him this. I didn’t want him to understand me, though, I wanted him to kiss me. I didn’t want anyone to understand me, to accept me, because that wouldn’t have worked with my martyr complex, so I pushed people away. I had friends in high school, of course, but I didn’t have any real connection with them, expect maybe with one or two. But then college came around, and I was a different person by then. I was adamant that I wouldn’t let being gay define me and now it doesn’t. I left those things behind. However, I’m no less dramatic. I channel it differently, perhaps.

I’m known to be a stressed out person. Actually, I’m something resembling a giant ball of stress. It is an unmistakable trait of mine, that I am very tense, that I stress out about much of what is going on in my life. These days, I think that is how the dramatic aspect of my personality comes out in full force. A certain part of me thinks it is because the stakes are simply not that high. For instance, there’s that examination period in university during which I am wreck. I am so stressed out all the time, I overdo it with the amount of coffee and cola I consume, and, in the end, the results are quite impressive. But to what cost? And what exactly would happen if I don’t stress? I would probably still get good grades, so the stakes wouldn’t be there if my body weren’t also destroyed in the process. This strange notion that “things are good” is very foreign to me. I seem to live in a general state of dissatisfaction, especially with myself, which simply undercuts my chances of actually living my life, and not merely observing on the sidelines. So I allow myself to be dramatic sometimes, since it reveals to myself that I can still get excited about life.

A connection

A person’s sexual choice is the result and sum of their fundamental convictions. Tell me what a person finds sexually attractive and I will tell you their entire philosophy of life. Show me the person they sleep with and I will tell you their valuation of themselves. No matter what corruption they’re taught about the virtue of selflessness, sex is the most profoundly selfish of all acts, an act which they cannot perform for any motive but their own enjoyment – just try to think of performing it in a spirit of selfless charity! – an act which is not possible in self-abasement, only in self-exultation, only on the confidence of being desired and being worthy of desire. It is an act that forces them to stand naked in spirit, as well as in body, and accept their real ego as their standard of value. They will always be attracted to the person who reflects their deepest vision of themselves, the person whose surrender permits them to experience – or to fake – a sense of self-esteem. ― Ayn Rand, “Atlas Shrugged”

Ayn Rand’s quote from her most famous novel resonated with me in a considerable way, as did many things in the other brilliant novel of hers, “The Fountainhead”. But I didn’t expect it to correspond so closely and with such an intensity to my own experiences.  Needless to say, I met someone new. Yet this individual, from our very first encounter, made my life instantly much more interesting and I only met him a week ago. I’m still trying to establish whether this was a good or a bad thing. Not that I expect the world to be within these parameters of morality, but knowing me, the world of drugs, alcohol and partying that the people around me were attempting to initiate me in could have done some serious damage. The aforementioned phrase, knowing me, implies that, since I am a highly impressionable and sensitive individual, I could have easily fallen prey to these circumstances surrounding me. But this was a world I hated, of drugs and partying, so I didn’t partake in any of it. I sidelined myself, observing this new environment, observing him mostly. In the span of three days I’ve seen him drunk, high and sober, and he fascinated me. The many facets of his personality were made clearer the more I spoke with him. The carefree, happy-go-lucky persona that he conveyed during his period of intoxication soon revealed a kind, loving but troubled soul, dealing with issues that may be far beyond his twenty years of age. I believe he seldom manages to make sense of what is going on in his mind. That Robbie Williams’ “Feel” is the song that characterizes him the most is highly revelatory in this regard, especially with the “my head speaks a language I don’t understand”. I couldn’t pretend to know what it was that inflicted such overwhelming emotional distress in him at times. That he was introduced to the world of alcohol and drugs at a very young age, that he was influenced by certain older and more experienced individuals around him, may be either the causes of his pain or the consequences of a preexisting problem.

I was very attracted to him. At the same time, and maybe because of it, I felt a relentless need to help him. Because I found what he was dealing with strangely similar to my own issues, of depression, loneliness, identity, an incessant and almost primal need for affection that is anything but carnal. Perhaps I am over-emphasizing some similarities to make myself accept comfort from him, but nonetheless,  I truly believe I could have become like him were the circumstances of my childhood and young adulthood akin to his. A matter of nature versus nurture, after all. Comparing the two of us, it is clear we took different paths and have contrasting manners in which we deal with our problems. But he reflected my deepest vision of myself, and I didn’t need to have sex with him to realize that. I felt a strong desire to help him so that, in the process, I could help myself as well.

However, he left. To travel around Europe, he said, something he had done numerous times in the past. A sort of escapism, perhaps, though not necessarily the tendency to escape the physical reality and its surroundings, but mostly the one pertaining to his mind. It saddened me to see such a scattered and messy person actively rejecting stability. I may very well be in the wrong here, though, for in all of this, he still manages to find moments of happiness and joy, and I know he’ll have many of those this summer. I don’t think I could say the same thing about me.


“Are you one of those people who says on a first date, ‘I’m really not in a hurry to meet somebody, I figure if it happens, it happens’? Because those are the most desperate people of all. I’m just saying this so that if you are this person, you aren’t hiding it from anybody.
There is no shame in being hungry for another person. There is no shame in wanting very much to share your life with somebody.”  – Augusten Burroughs

No, you are definitely not hiding it from anyone. They say clinginess is a very unattractive feature  in a person. If that is the case, I may just be the ugliest mutt you ever laid eyes on. It is certainly not a voluntary decision. Ever since I was a teenager, I would go through all of these relationships, few as they may have been, out of mere neediness for another human being. Hardly a revolutionary fact that loneliness is difficult to endure. In this premature and persistent search for a relationship, I denied myself the idea of going through a promiscuous phase out of sheer pride and dignity. Was it too much to need the comfort of a relationship for my very first sexual relations to occur? An ex-boyfriend from a few years ago, who I was severely infatuated with, was reluctant in going forward with the aforementioned sexual relations because he believed it would have triggered a promiscuous phase in me. As if once I popped my cherry, I would suddenly feel the need to screw every other guy from here to Hanoi. Little did he know, that little foray into fornication would have had less to do with pleasure and more to do with an ill-fated necessity to cement the relationship.

But maybe I should have used the past tense. While my particular brand of clinginess carried itself right into my very first serious relationship, which lasted for a little over a year and a half, I believe it may be a matter of the past. When this need of clinging on to him so tightly faded, so did the love, albeit a reductive statement, that I was able to offer at the time. To give you an idea of just how awful of a human being I was in the first few months, I would like to say that I question my own loving behavior in that time. That particular cloying behavior was excessively affectionate, so that whenever he wouldn’t reciprocate with the same amount of treacle and sentimentality, I would have something over him. I’m finding it hard to vindicate myself for it, and for how the relationship ended, but the only comfort I can give myself in regards to this is that it wasn’t intentional. And also, that I’ve changed. I am still very much hungry, as Augusten says, for another person. However, I’ve come to understand that it is not in my control. Love is not in my control. I should give myself over to circumstances, the ones regarding other people. As Viktor E. Frankl said, “Happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.” I believe the same about love. Most of the times the circumstances won’t work in my favor. Sometimes they will devastate me. One should try, though, on the off chance that they do.


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