Thought Catalog
September 9, 2013

Winning Your Twenties

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Thought Catalog Flickr

Some people don’t know how to be a friend or a lover. Their insecurities and narcissism prevent them from ever establishing a meaningful connection with someone. I used to find it strange that the most insecure people could also be the most self-absorbed. Doesn’t that seem contradictory? If you don’t like yourself, why be so focused on…you? But now all of it makes perfect sense. So many people are just soooo in love with their neuroses that they can’t be bothered to look outside of themselves. They often complain about being single and wanting a partner but they don’t think about what that actually entails. They don’t realize that good love requires selflessness. It’s not about you anymore. In fact, falling in love with someone is one of the least selfish things you could do and that’s why so many people are alone. Perhaps that’s why I’ve been alone.

The only way to become the person you want to be is to accept the person you’ve been all along. The good, the bad, the not chic. All of it.

***

The other weekend I went to a couple’s housewarming party. They’re new friends of mine, just delightful people with hearts the size of grapefruits.  At first I was intimidated by their happiness. I mean, they’re gay. And in love. That alone makes me feel small and defective. But then I had to wash away those thoughts because, ew, what a terrible and unattractive way to live your life. Jealousy is a poison. It will infect your mind and keep you far away from all the great things you could ever want for yourself. You need to realize that there isn’t a cap on love and success. It’s not like, “Oh, this person took the last great job and the last great boyfriend so that means I can’t have one.” There’s always going to be room for you. Any other kind of thinking is self-sabotage.

Speaking of which, a few weeks ago I hooked up with someone off Grindr, the app that’s like the fast food of gay sex. It was the first and possibly last time for me because, as I’ve discovered in the past, emotionless sex is not something I’m able to do. If I can’t have love, I at least need a connection. Something that takes me beyond my dick because there’s nothing worse than cumnming and having your bones immediately fill with a sense of dread. You feel like a fool for being so powerless to your libido and now you’re stuck with another person you have to ignore on the street.



This guy I hooked up with was older and had an air of sadness hanging around him.  He told me that he had met most of his friends through these gay sex apps and that they hadn’t been reliable. They would hang out with him when it was convenient and ignore him when it wasn’t. Unfortunately, all of his “real” friends were married and had kids. “Their life is full, “he said, lying in my bed and trying to grasp at some post-coital intimacy. “They don’t really have time for me anymore.”

He kissed me goodbye and gave me his number. I didn’t give him mine. A few days later, he messaged me on Grindr, wanting to hang out again, but I didn’t respond. Here I was, another person who had disappointed him. Here he was, another person I had to ignore on the street.

***

I’ve spent so much of my twenties testing myself, seeing how far I could go before I retreated to what felt safe. That’s why I met the man off Grindr. I wanted to see if I could hook up with a stranger and have it feel okay, even though I already knew the answer. It’s like that quote, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the different result.” (I think that’s the quote anyway.) In the last year or two, I’ve broke a lot of bad habits. I no longer feel the need to test myself as much because I’m not in denial about the person I really am. I know my limits. I know what feels right. And seeking out the bad things doesn’t feel thrilling anymore. It just feels like shit.

I’ve been in the unique position to share my life for the last three years on this website. Some of it was so bleak with all the drugs and the loneliness and dating misadventures. I’m glad to have gone through it though with all of you readers standing by, even if some wish I would’ve just shut the hell up. The best part about sharing your experience with a bunch of random strangers is realizing that you’re not alone in your feelings. You are not crazy or weird. Everything you’re going through has been experienced by someone else. It seems like an obvious realization but it’s not an easy one to make when you’re in your twenties and trying to navigate your way through careers, friendships, and love for the very first time. You do feel alienated. You do feel clueless. I mean, I still have no idea what the hell I’m doing but I think for the first time that I’m headed in the right direction. We’ll see.

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