Nowhere To Go

I have talked before about my experience with depression. Thankfully now I am decently medicated and able to engage properly with my wonderful partner I am able to turn my eyes inwards a little more and think about those feelings, even fight them when necessary.

I have also spoken about photography and my love for making photographs. I have recently started using old film cameras rather than digital (Although the results are digitised) and am loving it.

So, I am going to put the two together.

One of the key aspects of depression is the feeling that you are trapped in some way; you feel like there is no way out, no options, no alternatives. Nowhere to go…

I have started planning work on a project to combine  my photography with my words on the subject of barriers and depression. This will be the first photography project I have ever undertaken but it feels right. It has been far too long since I wrote prose or poetry; and I have never limited myself in such a way as to have to focus and write on a specific subject. It will be an interesting experience.

I will keep you posted – as a starter here is one of the photographs that I will be including in the project.

bars
bars – 2016

Maybe I can have a photo-book created, perhaps to sell and donate the proceeds to a relevant charity, but I am not jumping ahead of myself, rather my aim is to enjoy the process and get my feelings and thoughts through the lens and pen.

Here and now

I can be a self absorbed, self pitying knob.

Feels a bit funny talking about being self absorbed on a forum that is essentially me saying to the world “read all about me!”, but what the hell. That’s a great dichotomy to start the day! This is a post for me, I need to write this stuff down so that I can process it and understand it. If you want to read it then great, but I am not expecting anyone to.

I guess I am feeling a bit angry, a bit upset/sad, and a bit disappointed. Who at? Well me of course.

I haven’t been a brilliant partner recently. Since coming out to my wonderful girlfriend she has been her trademark supportive amazing self. I on the other hand have become obsessed with my new found “identity” and researching/discovering who and what I am. I am a very obsessive person. When I have something that I am interested in, it’s like the rest of the world stops and I have to focus on that thing entirely.

Of course this leads to burn out and depression.

Sometimes it’s a slow burn, sometimes it’s a bright hot fire. My most recent thing has been one of the fires. It’s my photography, and I only just realised as I am writing this blog post. I got it into my head that because people are always saying how good my photos are that I could make some money from selling prints. This may be true, but I went after it in my standard way i.e. all guns blazing.

I created a facebook page and invited all my friends to  follow it. I created the Fine Art America page and of course expected that the world of art would immediately see what a messiah to the monochrome image I am and come beating down the door with battering rams of cash!

There’s nothing wrong with all of this. It’s pretty normal behavior for a new endevour I think? The problem comes when there isn’t a balance between that and day to day life.

When I get focused on something like that, it’s like everyday life kind of fades into the background. I stop looking after myself, I stop interacting with people, I forget to do things and don’t think about those around me.

Well it has to stop. I am drawing a line here, publicly and privately. No more. I am hurting the one person who has stood by me through everything and I can’t let that happen any more. I’m sorry.

Words are all well and good, I am good with words. But words only take you so far. There are only so many times you can say “I’m sorry” without your actions backing that up. That’s where I have been falling down, and I it’s because I am focusing on the wrong things, the important things are blurred, out of focus, and I need to reverse that.

So what can I do? Well one thing I can do is drop the constant thinking about selling my prints. I have set up the mechanism and they will either sell or they wont. If they do then that’s cool, if not, then it hasn’t cost me anything!

What else? Well from now on I need to be here and now. This is real life. The only life we get as far as we know. If I mess this up then I don’t get another chance, I don’t get to start over and learn from my mistakes, I need to learn now and learn fast.

So there we are. I bit of a ramble. I don’t know if anyone can relate and it doesn’t really matter to me. I have made a commitment to myself and to the most important person in my life. I will be better.

I can be better.

Thank You!

Hi folks

I wanted to just say a very quick thank you. I now have 14 followers by Worpress and email. Fourteen people who are interested in reading my self-analytical ramblings 🙂 I have a few post ideas stacked up and am getting more each day so you should see a fairly steady stream of stuff from me although I am not imposing any schedule on myself, that would only lead to a lower quality of post and feelings of guilt if/when I missed deadlines; I want to keep this upbeat and positive!

I am learning so much about myself, partially from writing and partly from reading other bloggers on WordPress. I am following loads of people who are in a similar boat to me, or who are at a much more developed stage in their sexual self awareness. I am making progress, and I will share that with you all as I go along.

Do you want to know anything in particular? Any questions? Any requests?

Tipsy and happy

I am working away and just got back to the hotel after dinner and a few drinks all am perhaps a little emotional but I just wanted to share how lucky I am to have a wonderful partner.

We have been together five years now and had a bit of a fling years ago before going our separate ways. We have an amazing daughter who is no blood relation to me but that doesn’t matter at all.

The point of this is to say how lucky I am to have her. I came out to her a few weeks ago and she basically blinked, held my hands and said she wasn’t surprised. Since then she has shown me again and again what love means and I cant imagine being without her.

Love finds a way and is completely blind to things that don’t matter to it. Trust your feelings and trust your loved ones.

Time for sleep now.  Hugs xxxxx

It’s frustrating

I am having to give myself active permission and encouragement to look at men in ‘that’ way. It’s hard to explain, I look at a picture for example of a well defined topless guy and my initial reaction will probably be a flash of attraction. All good so far!

The problem is that I then hit a brick wall in my mind. It’s as if years of denial have created a sort of  defense system in my head to stop me ‘going there’. I have to consciously push through it and tell myself that I am allowed to feel attracted, aroused even.

When looking at a naked woman I have none of the same blocks in place and can enjoy them freely and effortlessly.

It’s something that I am pretty sure will pass eventually but it’s a pain in the rear until then!

Any newly discovered bisexual pure pansexual people out there having the same thing happen?

What am I up to?

I saw on someone else’s blog recently that they make a regular post on what they are particularly enjoying at the moment. This seemed like a really good idea and something that I thought I would institute on here.

Reading!

I have always read a lot, as far back as I can remember I have had books around and have devoured pretty much any reading material that I can get my hands on. I started with The Hobbit at the age of about nine and moved on to The Lord of the Rings a few years later. That pretty much cemented me into loving fantasy. I added sci-fi in my early teens with lots of Arthur C Clarke, Orson Scott Card and Harry Harrison. More recently I have come to love the setting and flavour of “urban fantasy”. My first introduction was the Anita Blake series by Laurel K Hamilton which is great, but gets a bit samey after five or so novels. Much better examples are the Women of the Otherworld novels by Kelley Armstrong; she builds a completely believable world of the supernatural around us and alongside us. It’s one long story too, with characters dipping in and out and a very strong internal narrative.

Best of them all, and what I am currently completely addicted to is Harry Dresden. The Dresden Files books by Jim Butcher are, at least to me, the finest example of urban fantasy around. Obviously I haven’t read every single series and book in the genre, but they will have to go some to beat the Dresden Files! The books are each a self contained story with Harry at the centre, but there area also a number of continuing story arcs that carry through a number of books. All manner of supernatural creatures appear both as allies and enemies. We get vampires, werewolves and all manner of Fae from the Nevernever. I won’t go into any more detail since the stories are essentially mysteries and I don’t want to spoil anything, but do give them a go!

I am currently reading Turn Coat, which is the 11th in the series and if anything they are getting more page-turney rather than less.

Music!

Another of my great loves throught my life is music. I have touched a little in previous posts about how particular musical tastes intersect with what I now know about my sexuality, but that aside I cannot imagine my life without music. It’s probably the thing I would miss most on that theoretical shipwreck isle (other than obvious things like family…). There are some bands/artists that I have been listening to since the early eighties like Iron Maiden, Metallica, Madonna, Billy Joel, Slayer, Venom, Falco and many others. I did say I have varied tastes right?

Recently I have been on a bit of a voyage of musical discovery. I have always like David Bowie for his looks (See top of the page…) but I have never really explored his music beyond the huge hits that most people will have at least a passing familiarity with. I decided that I was going to listen to some complete albums and see what I thought. I put “Best Bowie albums” into google and found this list which seemed as good a place to start as any.

I started with Low, which is the first of the Berlin trilogy of albums released in the late seventies. It’s an unusual album with quite a heavy electronic flavour to it. It’s also quite dark, having been written at the height of Bowie’s cocaine habit.

After that I moved on to Hunky Dory, a much earlier album from 1971 that has “Changes” on it, one of Bowie’s most recognisable tracks. This album has a completely different feel, as if it is from 20 years apart from Low rather than just six. Station to Station, Aladdin Sane and (The Rise and Fall of ) Ziggy Stardust (and the Spiders from Mars) have been on constant rotation on my Spotify account for the last couple of weeks. David is one hell of a talent, to be able to be so damn good at so many different styles is almost inhuman.

OK so that was a bit longer than expected, and in my trademark rambling style to boot 🙂

What are you up to?

Pansexual definition and exploration

I identify as a pansexual cis male. So what does that mean to me?

Well, the cis bit is pretty straightforward; I identify as the gender that I was assigned at birth. It’s something that I have never questioned and one of the few things that I have been certain of my whole life. It’s probably fairer to say that it’s something I have never questioned. I have thought that I was gay and straight at various times over the years but never anything other than male. I have occasionally wondered what life as a woman is like, as the experience is, I am sure, very different, but that’s as far as it has gone.

When I had my “moment of clarity” regarding my orientation my initial reaction was that I was bisexual. It was a term that I understood and could relate to. I enjoy looking at a well built male as much as a curvaceous woman so that’s the term right? Well, not entirely as it turns out.

Frank!
Tim Curry as Dr Frank N Furter

The thing that got me thinking was The Rocky Horror Picture Show. One of my favourite films and a show I have been to see at the theater several times, one of the most fun evenings you can spend, I heartily recommend it to everyone! The central character is (in the film version) Tim Curry’s Dr Frank N Furter. Frank describes himself as a “Sweet Transvestite” in the song of the same name, which is one of the most famous from the show. I fell in love with Frank immediately. The swagger, the voice, the self-confidence, everything about Frank just oozes sex. He is clearly as interested in Brad as he is in Janet so I understood that he was bisexual (Again with Frank I think that Pansexual is more accurate, but more on that in a bit) especially once the Rocky story line comes in. I remember finding his appearance and behaviour confusing initially. I was about sixteen and pretty confused generally as are a lot of sixteen year olds! I was asking myself – Is he a man wanting to be a women? Is he a man pretending to be a woman? Is “He” actually a woman? Is he a man who just likes fishnets? Bear in mind that this was before the internet and information on sexuality/orientation/alternative lifestyles was rare or impossible to see deliberately or accidentally as a sixteen year old.

The conclusion I came to should have allowed me to self-identify there and then but you know what it’s like being a teenager; everything is wrong, nothing makes sense, you doubt yourself in every way and the world hates you…..

My conclusion was that I didn’t care! I found Frank intensely attractive and that was that.

Pansexual Flag
Pansexual Flag

To me, that is the essence of identifying as pansexual rather than bisexual. The term bisexual includes the term “bi-” coming from the Latin for “doubly” or “having two” and as such only really allows for a binary view of orientation and identification. Fair enough I find men and women attractive and could happily have a loving relationship with either, but that is also true of someone whose gender identity is fluid or androgynous. Essentially it is the PERSON that I am attracted to regardless of any extraneous details like how their body is built and out of what parts. I have settled down with a lovely, beautiful girl who I intend to be with till I die, but there is no reason why that couldn’t have been a man or indeed a genderfluid or androgynous person.

That’s not to say that I don’t care what someone looks like or that I fancy the pants off everyone. Of course I have my own preferences but gender is not one of them, I think that’s probably the simplest way to put it. Gender just isn’t part of the equation. I have a feeling that Frank would understand and probably feel the same.

In many ways it’s a great place to be. I feel unhindered and free to accept my feelings about anyone without any worries about falling in any particular box. It’s also particularly easy to stay “in the closet” in public since I can truthfully join in with the ogling of my fellow males. That’s a subject that I am agonising over at the moment. Part of me really wants to be “out” and honest with everyone, but I can’t bring myself to do it just yet.

As always, please let me know any thoughts. Do you recognise anything I have mentioned? Any questions? Anything you want me to talk about?

It’s OK

I wasn’t planning on posting today. I was planning on putting together an interesting retrospective of my childhood and all of the experiences that I can remember that were relevant to my recent orientation revelation and posting it later in the week. But hey, this is a diary isn’t it? And diaries are for writing whatever pops up and whatever is top of mind. This is a bit of a ramble, but it does have a point, honest!

I have always fancied girls. My earliest memories of anything even vaguely involving sexual attraction are in connection with girls (Debbie and Cheryl, hope you are well and happy!) and are from the age of about nine or so. I was an early developer, which is damn frustrating! As a trailblazer you have no one to follow if I may state the obvious for a second. I was noticing things that none of my friends seemed to see. All these suddenly interesting bumps and curves and I was the only one that could see them!

Of course at that age I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing with any of them. That changed with the discovery of a large box in the attic of a neighboring block of flats, full of magazines, but I will come to that in a later post.

I think I have always fancied boys too. By which I mean males, I don’t lust after schoolboys now in my early forties. I hate that I have to point that out, but I feel that I can say “I like girls” as an adult man and people will understand that I mean “women”, but if I as a grown man say “I like boys” it is immediately assumed by a vast majority of the population that I mean “little boys”.

I don’t think any schoolchild enjoys the showers after sport, but they terrified me. As an early developer I was noticeably physically different, and in school different is bad, but that wasn’t all. I was embarrassed by the stares, sure, but I also enjoyed the attention and my biggest fear was that I would react, physically. I have vague memories of being the first to finish showering almost every time, and dashing out to dry off and get dressed as quickly as I could to hide what I couldn’t control my sheer mental will. This would have been a little older, maybe 12 or so.

My bedroom wall was covered in pictures. My parents were cool with it thankfully so the wall that my bed was against was absolutely papered with cuttings from Smash Hits, Metal Hammer and Kerrang. I have always been musically complicated, but at least I have always been able to speak about that!

Sam Fox
Sam Fox in the 80’s

The biggest poster I had was of Sam Fox. Remember that this was the mid/late eighties and she was one of the most attractive page three models, and had released a single “Touch Me” and an album so was pretty much everywhere for a while. It was a black and white picture, revealing but not topless. I can remember pretty much every detail. The magazine cutouts were a variety. Fuzzbox were blu-tacked next to Slayer and I can distinctly remember a picture of Andy Bell (Lead singer from Erasure) bending suggestively over a kitchen counter that I was always fascinated by. It was from an interview in Smash Hits and I remember the phrase “homoerotic” being in there somewhere. All I knew was that it was “me-erotic”, as much so as Samantha was on the wall beside him.

Adam Ant
Adam Ant in the 80’s

The funny thing is that at no point in my childhood did I ever think that it was OK to find both of those pictures attractive. Getting aroused by Madonna in “Like a Virgin” was fine in my head, but being stirred by Adam Ant in Prince Charming or Nick Rhodes in Duran Duran was “wrong”. It didn’t stop it happening, or from me enjoying it, but it felt dirty and something that only I was doing, which if I am being completely honest probably added to the enjoyment!

If I could impart one piece of knowledge to a young person having the same sort of experiences it would be that it’s OK! Enjoy it, explore it, revel in it. Sexuality is a complicated thing and it can take a long while to sort out. It took me about thirty years so I know this to be true…. School is a complicated place too, and not a kind one to anyone not following the herd. I think that being honest to yourself and accepting your own feelings and urges and their direction is the main thing. I think that if I had accepted that I was attracted to my friends as well as my girlfriends then my life up to this point would have been a lot smoother and happier.

Have you had any similar experiences? Or are you currently going through something like I describe? Drop me a comment and I will reply as best I can.

So it begins….

Right then, what’s it all about?

It is a known fact that writing about significant event’s in one’s life can help understand them better. That is essentially why diaries have been so popular for centuries. Most diaries are never meant for anyone other than the writer to read them and the value isn’t so much in the reading anyway, it’s in the writing.

Writing slows us down. It takes more mental effort to think about something and then write than it does to just think and have the thoughts drift away again and be replaced by the mundane world. In this way the thoughts that we capture in the written word tend to be clearer and better formed. I say tend to be because nothing is certain or guaranteed, but this does highlight another benefit of writing especially in the modern world; editing! I wrote the “About Me” section (See the link in the header above) several times and published it at least a couple before settling on it’s current form, and I am sure it will change again!

So one aim of this blog is to help me order my thoughts.

Another less selfish aim is to help anyone who is going through what I am. Not that I am having a traumatic time or anything, quite the opposite in fact, but coming out to yourself is a BIG thing. You are acknowledging that you have been deceiving yourself. Coming out to others has another set of difficulties I am sure, but the deception can at least be justified internally. Again, this doesn’t have to be a negative thing but it is a thing.

So, dear reader, that’s my basic reasoning for starting this blog. I am hoping to post regularly and also hoping that it will be interesting, informative and at least a little fun! Some ideas I currently have for posts include :

Childhood – were there signs that I can remember?

Teen years – did I really just like Adam Ant and Boy George for their music? I fantasized about Madonna and Fuzzbox, did I about these guys too?

Young Adulthood – repression of the truth, more signs….neon ones…in pink….

The wonderful now.

Should I come out publicly?

I also want to use this as a bit of an outlet for sharing my thoughts and interests in general. My second post was a picture of David Bowie, expect more along those lines as well as some of my own photography and maybe even some poetry every now and then.

All that remains to be said is that if you are still reading, please subscribe either by the button on the right or the email form below and you will get posts as I publish them.

See you next time!