I Don’t Know You Anymore, Jimmy

Isn’t it funny how someone can change your life? You never know just how much of a mark people can leave until they come flying into your life, rough you up a little and then, whether they stay or not, leave you questioning everything around yourself and their interaction. It’s even funnier when that person just happens to be your partner; or ex, so the case may be.

I must confess, I don’t do breakups very well. I’ve had two boyfriends in my life, just two, and the breakups were pretty messy. To this day I am still affected by them and their impacts on my life. They both taught me new things, they both introduced me to new people and they both pinned me down and submitted me to their world of interests… Something tells me you were worried where that sentence was going, but fret not I shall keep this clean.

But since breaking up with them back in 2014 and 2016 respectively, and yes I know it’s 2018 and to be harping on about this seems kinda sad but that’s me, and they have left an impression. So lets use this space and see what we can analyse from it, and see if maybe I can push through whatever it is that’s holding me back from whatever it is that I’m struggling to break through.

The boyfriend number 1

History – Ah yes, L. My first boyfriend who I met in the summer of 2012 after a hesitant first meeting. I bumbled off the train at Bristol Temple Meads where he picked me up and took us off to play minigolf, have lunch and watch a film. VERY 90s America cliché date. It was a lovely date. It was fun and I felt so relaxed and he was a perfect gentleman. Before long, we made it official and that was that. At the time I was studying in London, while he lived in Bristol. We made it work through weekend visits and Skype calls, but it just wasn’t enough. I missed him and wanted more time with him. So moved university and we moved in together. Yikes. But it was fine. We were fine. Life was fun. I had uni and a weekend job and he had his career. We enjoyed each others company and it worked wonders. Life was good.

Breaking point – In December 2013, after some heated tension and lack of emotion, I ended it. I loved him as a friend but I just couldn’t be there for him as anything else. I just didn’t feel anything more than like you would your best pal.

Impact – Urgh, this part. So I’ll keep it short. L got me very much interested in the Eurovision Song Contest and Star Trek. Oy vey. Now every year when I watch the spectacular, I think of him. And to be fair, we are still good friends to this day. Yes peeps, there is life after death. He tipsily mentioned his desire for the Czech entry and I can confirm it did make me blush. And yes, I’mma bit of a Trekkie. The amount of times I would go to uni and reference it for future developments in IT was kind of sad but it won me points in class for my open-minded approach to technology.

The Dark Side – Before you say it, that’s not me mixing my references. I know what Star Wars is, I’ve never seen it and never will. But yes, after the breakup, there was some darkness in my life. At the time of the breakup, I was still studying at university and in my final year. We agreed that it made sense that I would still live in the same apartment until the end of my degree. And I did. And a few months longer. But it turns out, living with your ex just isn’t healthy. Shocking. You see, the February after we broke up, he began seeing someone new. I, at this point, still hadn’t properly digested the actual breakup itself and when you couple this with Dissertation stress and depression, you get a side of me that I had never seen before. The truth is, I became Mr. Hyde. I had dark thoughts and was an absolute monster to L. I treated him like crap and said things that I dare not repeat to anyone. In short, I was a purebred psychopath and no one was safe.

Back To Reality – Come August, I finally broke down and I told him everything about how I was feeling. I told him the mood swings were due to a lack of self-confidence and that I just hadn’t had a chance to breathe since we broke up. We agreed that I would move out at the end of the month, and I did. I apologised to him a week later and explained where I was during the whole thing. He graciously accepted my apologies and understood that it was difficult. I TOLD YOU HE WAS AMAZING!

What I learned –  I learned a lot from this man. I learned to be happy with who I was because I was just a human being. I learned to think more scientifically about life matters, remembering to take out the emotion and then reapply it later. I learned to control my mood, my depression and my anxiety when everything was in chaos. I learned to take five minutes from a situation and breathe when everything around was suffocating me. I learned to embrace my sexuality, my nerdality and my own reality. I learned how to focus my attention on someone who was neither friend nor family member, but a lover. I learned to enjoy things around me, the things quite literally on my doorstep. I learned that despite everything we went through in the end, nothing can change our best moments, ones I can cherish as a friend. And I learned that Captain Kathryn Janeway is my favourite captain.

But in all seriousness, he taught me to be myself and to be grateful for the one I am with. He made me feel remarkable and he helped me to become better in mind and body. And that was his impact. And I say, to the man who has him now, I am so thankful he has someone he can share those things with. Someone he can share his limitless love with. I hope you cherish him deeply for everything that he is. And for goodness sakes, would you PLEASE get him that damned pug that he wants!!

The boyfriend number 2

History – Oh yes, J. My second boyfriend whom I met not long after I left Gloucestershire. This one plays on my mind a lot. There is a damage that has been caused and I can’t quite shake it off. I’ve battled through the highs and lows but at the end of it, he’s still there. He is, in fact, the reason I am writing this piece. And when you add the fact that his boyfriend stalks my social media with new accounts, it’s a headache just to focus. We had spoken previously but had lost contact. Then one fateful night, out of boredom, I decided to send him a text. And from there, a spark began. We met one day after I had finished working in his town and we went for a drink where I was in my nervous state and wouldn’t stop talking at a million miles a minute. We met again and again and before long we were more than just friends. Then, in January 2016, we made things official and began a relationship of pure lust and excitement. J was younger and, for lack of a better term, fitter. A kickboxing wrestler who worked at a gym. How on EARTH I bagged that I’ll never know (side note, we both got comfortable and put on weight, and the pettiness in me is happy about that because I’ve lost a load of that weight and he hasn’t. MOVING ON! We spent a lot of time together and even when I wanted my own time, he panicked and I felt guilty for leaving him. So I didn’t. Like I really didn’t leave except for work…

Breaking point – In November that year, after a couple of strained weeks and a heated argument, we met one evening where he told me that he couldn’t do it anymore. He couldn’t be with me, or anyone, because at the time he felt “nothing”. He was numb. At the time I accepted this because I knew his history with mental health, but when I look back at the details, well, you’ll read in a minute…

Impact – So while one boyfriend had me glittered and spocking, this one had a strong interest in Call Of Duty, RuPaul’s Drag Race and WWE. I ended up blowing out zombie brains, learning to tongue pop and now keep my eyes firmly fixed on the world of WWE. Like my heart broke for both Nikki Bella and John Cena and I will be DAMNED if I don’t see Natalya win a championship again! I even went to a ringside show where I was fortunate enough to see some of the now bigger names in WWE live. Finn Balor is just… Yeah, you know what I’m thinking so I’ll just stop there.

On top of that, his parents were amazing. His father taught me to drive and was a real champion of my efforts. We would talk about the war, old TV shows, classic cars, DIY and gardening. Proper dad-son moments. His mother and I would bond over life, Say Yes To The Dress, fashion, makeup and family affairs – hers, not the TV Show. And to this day I miss them so bloody much. Whenever I perform a perfect parallel park I desperately wanna text J’s dad, and when I see a nice dress I wanna send a picture to J’s mum to let her know. But I can’t…

The Dark Side – So you know I mentioned there were details? Well, here’s the thing, before J and I made things official, he had kind of made a decision to get back with his ex. This ex being the one who once broke J’s finger and left him stranded in a field for hours on end crying while he was getting high, but that’s just the T. After I explained to J how I felt and how for a while I had begun to see him as more than a friend with benefits, he gave us a chance. And I know I know, alarm bells really should have been ringing but hey, I was young…ish. Now fast forward to the breakup and not 6 weeks later, J and, we’ll call him Bob, J and Bob were together for Christmas. I didn’t find this out until the following February when we went to see Bianca Del Rio, and boy did the dark side rule me that day. Oh, I tore him to shreds on how evil he was, how heartless and gutless he was and just what a spineless little man he really turned out to be.

Back To Reality – We met a week later and I collected the last of my stuff from his house. I gave him a letter to give to his parents where I explained my gratitude to them and how much I loved them. I sat in my car while J stood at my door and as I slowly wept, before the snot induced onslaught, I asked questions that had wracked my brain for days. Why did you go back to him? Why was he given a second chance? Why didn’t you want to fix us? Why did you lie to me? How could you go back to someone who hurt you and broke you down, when I gave up friends and a career for you? Y’know, the questions we all ask when a relationship ends.

What I learned –  Don’t date a younger man. Don’t become second best. Don’t even become a sloppy second. Don’t forget yourself and who you are. Don’t lose sight of what you want. Don’t silence your happiness. Don’t bypass an opportunity in the name of “fun love”. Don’t ignore inconsistencies. Don’t let someone walk all over you, beat you down and turn you into someone you’re not. But don’t come out of it bitter because after reading this it’s quite easy to assume I’m bitter. But I’m not. I’m angry and I’m hurt, but the anger comes from the fact that Bob won’t leave me alone.

The boyfriend of 1 and 2

History – Me. You can read my blog to discover more about me but in relation to these two, well this is a new story. Before L, I was an overweight, depressed little homo who just didn’t know what his worth was or what life could be like. Before L, I believe that if I did find a man, that I only deserved to be in an abusive relationship. How messed up is that?! But during our time together I became a part of the person I am today and I started my weight loss. I gained control over my emotions and my depression became near non-existent. I realised my worth and knew what was my better.

Before J, I was rediscovering myself and the world around me and hadn’t quite had time to actually get over my breakup from L properly. I was lonely and in need of a friend, with no intentions of anything more committed. But life eh? During our time together there was a lot of fun. We had adventures and I got myself heavily involved in his world. It was simply young love.

Breaking point – During the breakups, I went through some phases that I’m thankful for the friends around me who kept me safe. With the break up from L, I went out drinking almost every night and committed a hotbed of sin left, right and center. With J, I got angry and drunk and was grateful that BeF was around to act as my voice of reason. But to this day I’m still hurt from him. There will always be those questions, y’know?

Impact – L has shown me how to love myself and respect the person I can be. The friendship we have is wonderful and I love him dearly for all he has done for me. My mental and physical health are all thanks to him and his impact on my life. And I pity those that couldn’t find a good friend like him from at least one of their ex-partners. We chat on occassion and we ask about our families and it’s just nice to know I have someone who knows me so well and who I can always talk to when times get too tough.

And then there’s J. To cut to the chase, I’m insecure, needy, paranoid, self-loathing, angry and quite frankly depressed. I believe he had little to no care for me towards the final few months. My love grows stronger for his mum and dad and I often fantasise about bumping into them and catching up. I can’t watch RPDR or read a piece of WWE without thinking about him. And to any man that requests more than just a chat, I instantly push him away for fear of being hurt at some point. And the Adonis-like men I’ve pushed away still haunts me to this day. What’s worse is the gay community sees this as “baggage” and “drama” they don’t wanna put up with. Cheers guys.

The Dark Side – I guess the darkness is inside of me. I guess I can’t quite get past what is deep-rooted in me. There’s something inside of me that just isn’t ready to move forward. Fear, jealousy, envy and pride all stand before me like guards protecting my mentality, my most fragile of possessions. I’m scared of losing a good friend if it goes wrong. I’m terrified of another man’s infidelity. I’m paralyzed by the thought that he would lie and deceive me. I’m far too panic-stricken to think about the positive “what ifs” that any hope of a connection just fizzles out like a damp squib. And right now, I need a spark.

One thing I do recall from both of them is that neither of them took a chance on my interests. In fact, I tried to have more of my interests and of my own identity and both of them didn’t want to participate. Back then, I didn’t want to do things alone and so my interests just got boxed away. I will fault L on one thing though. After our breakup, he took his new boyfriend rock climbing and to see Wicked, two things I so desperately wanted to do when we were together. Not going to lie, I was heartbroken. In fact, looking back on it now, I think that was what sparked the dark side. It was like a betrayal. That somehow my desires were merely worthless in comparison to his new companion. Alas, I forgave him, but I never forgot.

Back To Reality – At the moment I’m trying to focus on other areas. I want my body to be where it was before J, but after L, and I want my career to be something worth having. But a part of me is wondering, am I just using these as excuses to forget the other factors in my life that need tending? And have I pushed away the potential hopes that tried to lock down my Pandorian box?

What I learned – This is the first time I’ve ever written or thought about any of this like this. I often just let these thoughts run through my mind before I find something to occupy my time. As I read back through this I realised that at some point I was a smart, funny, caring, honest, lively and happy man. I peaked at a point when I was meant to be so low and overcame troubles during my hard times. I had help and guidance getting there but I made it in the end on my own merit. But then I let one person destroy that. I let someone ignore me, hurt me and beat me back down again. And after reflecting on this, I realise now that that person is me. My breakup from J was negative and it was painful. It changed my mentality and I let it. Ever since I’ve lashed out and pushed people away who have tried to care and men who’ve tried to connect. I’ve been overcome by depression and low self-esteem that I don’t even recognise myself. I’ve learned now that my own saboteur has pinned me down and submitted me to a part of their world of

The resolve – It’s time I take back some control of my life. My mind and my mental state have not been in place for some time now. My Twitter has glimpses of me and my Facebook has fizzled out to near death (and when I deactivate it soon, dead it shall be). In addition to that, my Instagram hasn’t a photo of me in FOREVER. The latter being the fact that I don’t like how I look right now. But in the real world, the place outside your screen, I’m not even me right now. I’m frustrated, I’m tired and I lack any self-confidence that I just can’t stop feeling less me.

Homo-hospice – I think I need to take a break from a lot of things. I need a break from men, a break from obsessing over losing weight, a break from thinking too much. I need to write more, for here and for my own mental health needs. I need to focus more on changing my life and removing the negative. I need to focus on getting that new job, on exuding a renewed confidence and focus on goals that will actually benefit me and my life and change it for the better. My most recent happiness was during a week off of work where I spent 3 days in Brighton with BeF and a weekend in Birmingham with a good friend. I was happy, at peace and thought about nothing but myself and my happiness. I need more of that in my life. I need to strive for more me

 

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Genuinely happy, genuinely loved

 

Thank you for reading and if you feel like you’re blocked off from life and happiness, from yourself, maybe you should think along these lines and see what you may have missed. I can honestly say this has been quite cathartic and has helped me to cleanse my mind, make sense of my goals and clarified my vision. I’ve removed those negatives from me and I’ve made them tangible. SO until next time, take care. Jimmy

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Life: An Honest Statement

Well hello there my fine folk. I must start with the usual apology for not being active more but to be honest, life eh?  I’m sorry. Now that that’s over, I wanted to just spill some beans on what life has had for me recently. I don’t particularly know where this is going, so please bear with if things don’t flow. I’m writing on emotion right now.

Back at the end of February this year, I had an interview for a job which I most desperately wanted. I would have been working in a university under the administration’s teams which aided in a student’s development and career prospects on completion of their degree. Long story short I didn’t get the job. The interview went well and my personality shone through. There was laughter, cheers and deep moments of seriousness. However, I fumbled on a question which was ultimately my downfall. On top of this, the head of the department was just concerned that I would be going from a retail role into an administrative position and was concerned I’d struggle.

After the phone call, I let the moment sink in. I processed it in my mind and aside from the fumbled question, I wouldn’t have changed a single thing. I know I perfected the practical assessment as I’m very talented, if I do say so myself, with Excel spreadsheets and data manipulation. But I do regret not voicing, when prompted, the administration I have to adhere to in my role as a store manager, alongside the countless amounts of training I do every week to maintain the position.

Now unlike before, I wasn’t depressed that I didn’t get the job, but merely sad. For those who know me well, education and personal development is a passion of mine so strong I could burst with how much it gives my life purpose to see others succeed after my support and tutelage. Therefore being part of a team that aided students and pushed them to be the best they could be and achieve the most out of their education, well it would have made my life. If only I’d said something.

So I did. The following day, I sent an email to the head of the department and put forward what I wished I had told her. I even included a request that she aid me in gaining some experience within an administrative role at the university. She first questioned why I didn’t bring up what I had wished to and agreed that it would be an excellent idea to support me with some admin experience. Fast-forward a few emails later and we had come to an agreement to get me a day at the university to help within a department to build up my criteria. Today was the day I was meant to attend, but due to a recent accident involving my forehead and a bathroom sink, I had to request a reschedule because of obvious reasons. She was most accommodating and we shall reconvene at a later date.

And that’s that. There was another interview but I had decided post-interview that I didn’t really want the position as it was completely different to what I was expecting. In addition to that, I assume I didn’t get it because it was exactly a month ago and they’ve not replied. LOL! And from that, I decided it was time to take the option I had been sidestepping all my life.

From around the age of 13, I went back and forth on the idea of a career that I wanted. One minute it was this and the next it was that. Then it was this again and then I’d go down the path to become another that. Before I knew it I wanted to be a cosmetic surgeon, a coffee shop owner, an interior designer, a journalist, a publications designer, and so on. But each time I realised these weren’t my true passion and just mere interest. So I went back to that first idea I had, teaching.

Yes, teaching. I want to be a teacher. I want to be a person who shaped young minds to become future doctors, musicians, historians, astronauts, athletes and so on. I wanted to help children understand the complications of modern linguistics. I wanted to be the champion of little Jessica as she dreams of becoming a spinal surgeon. I wanted to be the reason young Christopher achieved his wish to become an urban architect. I wanted to make some difference to lives of people I met, rather than standing behind a till all day making zero contribution to society. And that’s not me shading on those that do this. That’s fine if it’s what you want to do. For me it just isn’t.

As many of you may know, I actually have a degree. Yes m’am, I’m edumacated. Why I never made much use of my degree until now was simply because of the following two things: Graduate Schemes now request your A-Level results as a filtering process, of which mine are poor due to personal life issues at the time, and the salary for administration roles is dire, and I got bills to pay. So I threw myself into a job that pays more than administration and less than the national average for retail, in hopes that while it covered my expenses, I could come to some point of resolve with my career prospects. Shoot forward 2 and a half years later and I’m stuck in the monotonous rut that I am. Damn.

 

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See, cap and gown and everythang

 

Last year I began my application via Get Into Teaching, but put it on a back burner when it appeared my career prospects were set to improve greatly. Well clearly they didn’t because I’m in the same underpaid role as I was then, with more and more added to my job with less and less pay to go with it. So earlier this month, I rebooted my application and got the ball rolling. I’m 3/4 of the way through my UCAS application and it feels great to finally be making progress on this dream. It all feels RIGHT.

But now there appears to be a slight snafu. My degree is in Business Information Technology, a degree which primarily gave me the skills of business analysis and aligning business processes with IT systems. My course was 50% business and 50% IT coding. But I bloody HATED coding with a passion. It was difficult. It was confusing. It made little to no sense to me. I would code in Python, Visual Basic, HTML. They encouraged me to try JAVA and I screamed in their faces. It just wasn’t for me. But the business side of things, now that was me. I grew up in a family business and have even helped my brother to develop his now successful business. So business I get. Business is in my blood. However, due to the degree itself, I am more “suited” for teaching computing in schools. And that’s all fine and dandy when they want me to teach Microsoft Office, Adobe InDesign and basic HTML. But when I see the prospectus looking to go into the intense coding that I despise, well that just threw a spanner in the works. So I decided to look into early years and primary education, a path I could easily see myself venture down as my English, Maths and Science skills are excellent (well, at that level at least). But here’s the catch. There is a £28,000 bursary for computing and a less than £10,000 loan for teaching. And like I said, I got bills to pay but I hate coding. [Insert confused face emoji]

So I don’t know what to do. I honestly don’t know what to do. I know where my true passion lies, I know what my skill set is and I know what options are available to me. However, what I don’t know is how on earth I’m going to be able to do what I would love to do without somehow securing an extra £10,000 tax free money. If TSB wanna somehow mess up again and inject my bank account like they did some others, that’d be great.

I guess I’m at a crossroads in my life. I’m so Britney 2002. I’ve finally done something that many people to this day, twice my age, still haven’t achieved. I know what I want to do with my life. At 26 years of age, I want to be a teacher. I want to do the Monday to Friday, 7am to 6pm job of being a part of someone’s future. I want to champion curiosity, drive determination and encourage excellence. But I can’t. I don’t really know how to end this article as has become more of an open letter on my feelings. I’m hurt, a little betrayed, confused and feeling incredibly lost. So, for now, I thank you for reading and I hope you too don’t have to feel this way. I’m off to re-watch RuPaul’s Drag Race to help settle my head.

Feel free to leave any questions and comments. Feel even freer to leave debit card details*, sugar daddy phone numbers** and maybe even other routes I haven’t considered for funding. Thank you.

NB: I don’t believe in selling my organs.

*Please don’t leave your debit card details. This is sarcasm. Don’t be stupid!

**Again, sarcasm. Or is it? It is… Is it? YES IT IS!…

The Double Standard I Fight Every Day: Indirect Homophobia

Well hello there my friendly lil chickie doo! Genuinely don’t know where that came from!? Never have I ever said nor typed that in my LIFE!

Hello. I’ve been a little quiet lately and to those who actually pay attention, I do apologise, but life took some sort of twisted adventure recently. And in the coming weeks, I am sure I’ll reflect on it. But for now, I have something I really want to talk about. Something that has actually annoyed me for nearly a decade now… I HOLD GRUDGES OK! Stop judging me…

So the topic I am raising on my soapbox today is a form of indirect homophobia that I receive all too often from those close to me, those I call “friends”. I don’t quite think they realise what they’re saying, but I hope this can open the eyes of many people whom read this today. For all you know, you may be doing this too.

I’m not one to often stand on a dais and spout my anti-discriminatory patter, but I think it’s high time I start speaking out about a few things that need to be said once and for all.

You see, from a young age I have been a funny kid. I’m smart, witty and funny all in one. I’m so humble*. And when you’re a fat, ugly, spotty kid growing up in the nineties and noughties your humorous personality is all you have. So I built my connections with that humour, taking notes from Lee Evans and Little Britain, and just exaggerating my life around me. As a result I had a healthy friendship circle throughout school that kept me going during the hard times. And this skill of mine continued through university and into my work life.

At uni, I built a very strong friendship with so many people who I hold near and dear to this day. We may not speak often, sometimes for months on end, but I love and cherish them nonetheless. Our personalities bonded over sarcasm, catty remarks and downright stupidity. I once held a tortilla fight with a drunken flatmate and regularly sent voice note chats with a gal pal in strong Bristolian accents. You’re reading this thinking “ok…” but at the time these were the hilarious highlights of university living. I’m a loser, I get that.

But after a comment my friend made the other night, I’ve been left reeling and wracking my brain to understand societal views.

You see, when you’re an energetic, exaggerative heterosexual male, the world considers you funny, hilarious and downright marvelous. You’re a comedian. The sort that should be Live At The Apollo. But when you’re an energetic, exaggerative homosexual male, the world considers you effeminate and camp.

Now that’s just not on. What gives you the right to critique someone’s mannerisms and use terms what are often perceived in a negative way? What gives you the right to stand over someone and use a derogatory remark towards them?

Now I will point out there is no problem with people who do identify as an effeminate person. Male, female, non-binary, whatever you sex or gender, you do you. Peace, love and extra guacamole for me please. But I personally hate being told I’m camp whenever I pull out a humorous or bitchy remark.

That kind of remark kicks me down, holds me back and makes me second guess my next set of actions. I consciously rethink everything set to leave my lips for fear of ridicule or a snide remark for what and how I say it.

Growing up within a discriminatory household made my life very difficult. I was constantly pulled up on my mannerisms and movements. I was berated with physical and verbal abuse to “knock it out” of me. To this day I still hear a certain paternal voice in the back of my head, feeling the brutal pull of my arm away from my hip or a hand raised to my throat. I mean, daddy issues aside, I really struggle with men in my life because of the thought that the way I am is repulsive and mock-worthy.

The internalised homophobia in the gay community is one that is a constant struggle. Put yourself in my shoes (size 9.5 if you’re wondering): you’re intelligent, funny, witty, charming and thoroughly insecure, inside and out. You read through the online profile of that beautiful Adonis of a man that ticks every box you seek. He’s 6’4”, defined muscle, loves dogs and works in marketing for an animal charity. But then your roller coaster hits that peak and starts plummeting down the track into the abyss when you read that he’s “not into camp/fem guys”. How. Do. You. Feel? Cause guess what, I have read this almost every day of my Scruff scrolling life.

Scruff, for those who don’t know, is a dating app for gay/bisexual/curious men. I personally use it for friends (yeah no there are those of us that genuinely can’t abide a random hook up, soz). Through said app I have made many a friend throughout the years, and one ex-boyfriend (who is still a good friend to this day). But then there is the odd moment where I think to myself that I’m kinda lonely, kinda needy, kinda wanna grab a coffee, get to know a guy and see where life takes us. But that idea is swiftly knocked down like Gemma Colins on stage at Radio 1’s Teen Awards, because in their bio they say they’re not interested in “camp/fem guys”.

So I’m left with that conundrum: am I camp and effeminate? Or am I funny and witty, with an often bitchy edge? And unlike the 30 seconds they have on the Channel 4 game show, I’ve spent a good decade of my life scared to approach men, whether I’m attracted to them or just want friends, simply because this indirect homophobia I’ve received within my friendship circle and my own community.

Maybe the world will change. Maybe minds will open. Maybe homophobic homosexuals will stop their ways Maybe a giant cheeseburger containing only 100 calories and zero fat, sugar and carbs will be developed sooner rather than later. I doubt it. And I may sound pessimistic, but can you blame me?

So let me leave you with this. Instead of asking you a question to respond to this article, ask yourself a question:

What gives me the right to comment on someone’s mannerisms with a derogatory remark?

Thank you

[*That was sarcasm by the way]

Winning At Weight Loss

It was somewhat inevitable that this post was coming. Not going to lie I didn’t really want to write it for many reasons, of which I’ll go into in a sec. But my weight loss journey has been something of a Hallmark movie esque phenomenon, for it was never my destiny. I’m so extra…

Growing up I was this scrawny little kid who was running around and playing outside all day long. As the son of a catering business owning parents, food was always part of my life. Although fun fact, I wasn’t really an eater when I was a baby – but that soon changed clearly! And so I was always eating and snacking on food, burning it off as I ran around the fields and hilltops nearby. But then things changed when I grew more sedentary, plonking myself firmly in front of Cartoon Network and playing on my Gameboy. Ah the 90s, what a world it was. And then the weight came on, from pounds came the stones.

Now the reason I didn’t want to write this blog was because I have the common sense and basic intelligence to know the when, what, where, how and why of dieting. I have messed up so many times before I learned the trick to securing my success. But the world isn’t like that. We literally have to tell kids NOT to eat laundry supplies. So if you decide to follow any of my actions, I will NOT be held accountable for your negative results. Because trust me, there have been consequences to getting to where I am today.

The History

My size and weight was a big issue growing up. With the shallow world we lived in (and still somewhat do) my confidence was at rock bottom and my depression was creeping in faster and faster. Fat. Acne. Gay. Yep, I was the whole package. And it didn’t really change through puberty. Through my teens and tweens, I was at an awkward point. Although I recall a photo from many years ago where I wasn’t fat-fat, I was that fat you say you are and then wish you were when you really are fat. Y’know? Anywho, that was that. Then I went to uni where I ended up putting on goodness knows what in my first 2 years. During my first year, however, I lost a LOT after being quite ill for a couple of weeks. I estimate around 3 stone. In my second year I even joined a gym and was doing so well but as usual, life took over and my membership grew dusty and cold. Ooo, new bio tagline?

But then came my first boyfriend. Ah you, Mister Moneypenny, you devil in disguise you. While I lived in London for uni, he lived in Bristol and would travel down every weekend to see me. In such an event we would order a Dominos pizza EACH and a tub of Ben & Jerry’s EACH! You get the picture as to why I went up to a whopping 16 stone 8 pounds less than a year later. I was mortified. I was at my biggest, my ugliest, my worst. And one day I snapped. Not literally due to the weight, I mean can you imagine! No, inside I snapped and told myself no more. No more will you wake up and tell yourself you’re ugly, disgusting and worthless because of your weight. You will take back control.

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At 16st 8lbs, I knew I had to something

By this point, we had been renting a place together after I relocated uni to be closer to him and a few months later I started putting my plan into motion and purchased an £850 rowing machine. I am aware some of you would think this mad. , however,r knew exactly what I was doing. (1) I like rowing, it’s one of the best workouts and it’s enjoyable to me. And (2) I just spent £850 on an object you’re darn right I’m going to be using it! The stories I hear of people using their gym equipment as a handbag holder is astounding. From here, my journey began.

I decided my diet plan was most definitely going to be Slimming World based. I had used it before and found it effective. My friends had lost loads with it also. It’s not really a diet plan it’s just a way of living, making you cook more healthily and act more sensibly with food choices. I didn’t want to attend the groups as those kinds of settings unsettle me. Instead, I used information online, finding blogs, support threads, social media account, especially Instagram, and gathered all the information I needed. I also enlisted the help of my friend who attended the groups before. Wednesday 8th January 2014 it began. The rowing machine was built and my diet began. I performed 30 minutes a day every day and ate a 95% vegetarian diet, adding ham to things like skinny pizzas or my giant sandwiches. The weight dropped off. In my first week, I lost 8lbs! The following week this continued, the week after I lost 6, and 3 months later in total, I had lost 3 stone.

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3 stone down. LOOK a that hair!?

3 STONE!? How crazy is that?! And yet it was true. I was now 13 stone 8 pounds in weight and I felt amazing. My confidence had changed, my mood was merrier and my life was lifted. But I knew what I had to do next. After a week or two of trying to continue my journey, I couldn’t budge anything. Frustration began to settle in and I lost motivation. But after a little research online I discovered that my body was in a state of shock. That great amount of weight loss was too much too soon. My body was telling me I needed to stop, take it easy and take a break from it all. Begrudgingly I complied and for the following 9 months, I maintained a healthy diet with the odd naughty meal once a week. I didn’t use the rowing machine much/if at all as I just lost total motivation for it. And yes, within that year I put on almost a stone of what I lost. Was I upset? A little. But I got over it and come January 2015 I began my dieting once more, this time calorie counting. Thank the tech angels for developing My Fitness Pal because she really came in handy. We also bought a Cross Trainer and a Home Multi Gym – oh yeah, we were committed. And again, in 3 months I lost 3 stone. I found MY pattern and what works for ME, which is the basic element for anyone wanting to lose weight. Finding what works for you and sticking to it.

So what do I do exactly? Well, the below steps are what I take to achieve my success. Again, find what benefits you and don’t come back and blame me if you injure yourself or others.

Basic rules

I have three basic rules for dieting:

  1. Remember the reason why you need to lose weight. I’ve had people tell me they have poor breathing, sore joints, and to generally be healthier. I have even had women tell me their back hurts due to larger breasts or that they need to lose weight for easier conception. For me, I needed to stop waking up and telling myself everything I hated about myself before I got out of bed. Again, you do it for your reasons.
  2. Remember the reason how you reached the size you are. So many people have said to me they deserve to treat themselves when they’re dieting or they lose focus. TRUE. But to go out and have a McDonalds and a Dominos in the same day, or even spread over two days, that’s really not conducive to you and your end goal. I told myself ‘you are fat because you ate poorly and you did not move, you do not deserve a treat until you have earned it’. With that mentality, I would treat myself to one somewhat bad meal a week. This would usually be something like a few scoops of ice-cream with a cookie or a homemade chicken burger. But the next day I was straight back on to my diet.
  3. Remember the place you want to be. In my head, I just wanted to be smaller and healthier with my mental health improving alongside this. I had no set goal I wanted at the beginning and I can recall having a small meltdown one time when I discovered I could fit into a size small. My boyfriend at the time had to gently guide me out of the store because I seriously could not comprehend where I was in my journey. On my current journey, I printed out some pictures and pinned them to my mirror. These pictures are of me and my body at a much better time, ha! My lowest weight to my knowledge was just under 11 stone and I would fit comfortably in size small clothing. So my current mentality is to get back to that. Also, on my first time around, my friend also lost a load of weight and she became my inspiration. My thinspiration. So find your thinspiration. But please don’t make it some stick thin person because that’s just a bad idea. No skinny shaming by the way, some people are naturally slim so that’s fair.

Stick to this triple threat and you’re set to start your journey and maintain a mental focus.

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Both my legs now fit inside ONE leg of my old sweatpants!

Mentality

When exercising and dieting, I personally believe it’s 80% mental and 20% physical. If you’re not mentally prepared for this then you will fail. You will also need to get a little good cop bad cop. The good cop will praise EVERY achievement made. She will say yaasssss to you losing even 1lb of fat and say you deserve a glass of wine to celebrate after a week of working out.

The bad cop will tear you down when you decide you can’t be bothered to work out or when you decide you want that delicious bucket of fried chicken. He’ll also beat you down when you have a packet of biscuits every other day. He will destroy you and make you feel worthless for being bad, reminding you that when you’re good, you’re great. We don’t like him so we avoid him.

Tools

You will want a few tools along the way to really see the difference you’re making.

  • Weighing scales – to see the loss in numbers obviously
  • A tape measure – to measure those key areas of hips, tum, arms, legs and bum (not essential but always good when you get to week 4 and need a new wardrobe)
  • Photos – I use photos to see where I’ve been and as a timescale of my progress
  • My Fitness Pal – this one is optional too if you decide to calorie count. This will also help you focus on the foods high in fat and sugar. I personally try to stick to a low sugar diet
  • Friends and family – these will be your biggest champions overall. They will cheer you on and may even join you. Also, mums and dads, did you know you can use your child as a weight? There are so many exercise videos out there where the kids are the gym equipment, but at the same time, they’re just playing games as a family. It’s cute. My brovaries melt!
  • Instagram – I use Instagram to build my confidence. Any Selfie you see on there is not there for vanity reasons, they are there for me to look at and make me praise myself. And the validation from others is always a nice bonus. I also use it because I can find so many amazing meals and exercises and Slimming World friendly food. If you’re on there, follow me @Jimmothy and check out my favourite @Angiebabysexylady_sw.

Now here’s the (and I don’t know why) shocking part. You need to eat correctly and exercise. I know, crazy right?! Some people honestly think they can lose weight by eating a takeaway and exercising. Others think they can lose weight just through dieting alone and have no repercussions… Yeah, no. Eating well and exercising will result in:

  • Weight loss
  • Healthy muscle growth and development
  • Stronger immune system
  • Greater sense of self and purpose
  • Increased serotonin (aka happiness)
  • Less excess skin around your belly and chest area

And so much more. Why wouldn’t you want any of that?! And I get people will comment back and say “oh but I did and I was fine” or “ah but Sarah Jane Louise’s cats sisters owner down the street did and she looks fabulous”. I don’t have time to argue. I’m just stating what worked for me and millions of others. My pictures speak for themselves.

Food

This one’s a no-brainer but eat healthily. Increase your intake of natural meat (chicken, turkey, beef, pork, tuna, salmon, etc.) and your veggies (which surprises some people when I tell them that both salad vegetables and roast dinner vegetables are both vegetables). Foods like rice and pasta are also not the enemy. In fact each time, my diets were heavily pasta based. It’s filling and so versatile. Also make sure your plate is at least a third of vegetables as they’re delicious, nutritious, filling and help reduce your cravings for snacks. You also want to swap full fat drinks to diet, limit those skinny lattes to a treat choice and drink plenty of water. However, don’t stop a treat from time to time. The great thing about Slimming World and Weight Watchers is they don’t tell you off for having a bar of chocolate, and yes I know the bad cop above will break you, but that’s when you go over your daily limit. And when you achieve some great results, treat yoself! You just put in a lot of hard work to get there and you deserve to recognise that.

Sadly, however, the amount of people I’ve come across who won’t deviate from a salad leaf, I’ve just looked at them in pity because they’re so narrow-minded it becomes their downfall. It sounds awful but I admit that when I see those people a few weeks after such an interaction, I see they’ve given up and gone back to their old ways. What’s even worse is they then go around bad mouthing things like weight loss groups or people like the Body Coach because they themselves failed themselves. That may sound brutal but if people just looked at their situation from an outside perspective, maybe then they’d see their shortcomings.

Exercise

Ok, you don’t have to take on the extreme of buying your own gym equipment, but it’s an option. Not only are bits and pieces relatively affordable, but the bulkier items can be purchased on a payment plan. Just note, you won’t get far from the bailiffs if you forget to pay the bill for your treadmill ironically. But you don’t need equipment. Sounds odd but put some tins of baked beans in some bags and start raising them like dumbbells. In all honesty, what is the actual difference? Exactly! And walking, that’s free, running too, and you can even find groups for these online so you don’t need to do it alone. Plus it’s much safer.

And what you’re about to see is actually a picture I usually only reserve for those closest to me. The results below are what came about after performing 100 sit-ups for 66 days. Yes, in just 66 days and 6,600 sit-ups I went from left to right. I had also gone down 2 jean sizes to a 30-inch waist. Amazing huh! Now I will also admit I am very self-conscious about showing this picture so please don’t be mean coz I’m precious…

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Left: flabby & round. Right: smaller & firmer

And yes I’m aware it’s not perfect/ripped/toned/etc. but it’s an improvement and that’s fact. So if I continue doing 100 a day this year, with 1 day a week rest, can you imagine what difference that’ll make?

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Happier and healthier, despite the resting bitch face

And that’s it, my tips for getting slimmer and healthier. Think about your past, present, and future, punish and praise where necessary, treat yourself, eat right and exercise regularly. Following these simple things, you’ll surely see success. And please avoid these fad drinks and pills that promise to help you lose weight because they all require diet and exercise, so why not be more proud of your success from your own effort?

I’m now much happier than I ever was and much healthier too. I can run around with my nephews and nieces, I can buy and wear clothing that looks good and what I never use to wear as I didn’t want to stand out. I’m still on a journey because life has those moments, but I’m well prepared to take it one step at a time.

I hope this helps you and PLEASE ask me any questions you have about anything diet, weight loss or exercise related. I’m happy to help in any way I can and went you to achieve your best. Thanks for reading and if you too have some tips, post them below.

Addition post publishing:

After speaking with Emma Jane of Alternative Life Plan and Stephie Chapman of Stephie Chapman, there reminded me of the two other important thins that I also take on to reach my current weight loss goal.

Do not rush your journey. Focus on the factor of living and leading a healthier lifestyle. By rushing things you will lose big time and you won’t appreciate what you have actually done. Remain emotionally strong throughout and your success will be so much more permenant. Also, by crash dieting, you’ll ultimately put it all back on again. Research into The Biggest Loser contestants and see how many have kept the weight off. One guy can only eat 800 calories a day else risk it turning into fat! I’ve been in this position before but thankfully I have corrected this. But that’s something I will never help anyone do because you shouldn’t be silly enough to get there. Slow and steady wins the race my dear tortoise.

Also, myself and another blogger have even stated our current way of thinking is to aim for a physical goal than numerical. So instead of wanting to reach 10 stone in weight, we’re looking at achieving a size Small for example.

TMI Tag – From The Guy Who Forgot What TMI Meant Until He Finished Writing This Post

So I’ve been a little quiet lately. If that has upset you, sorry. If it hasn’t, RUDE! But so far January has been a busy, higgledy piggledy month for me and I just haven’t had a chance to sneeze, let alone type.

But I tapped open the Twitter app yesterday evening and saw a notification that the gorgeous Lena Dee had tagged me in a tweet. Curious to why, I discovered that I had been tagged in a post she wrote all about herself (here). I don’t often fill these out but this one seemed kind of fun. Consider this an extention to my 50 Things About Me post. So without futher ado…

  • What are you currently wearing?
    • An old, large Hollister hoodie, gym shorts (despite no longer being a gym member) and my black work socks – I’m a fashion guru dincha know
  • Have you ever been in love?
    • The list of people I’ve been in love with… It’s almost Lou Bega esque
  • Did you ever had a terrible breakup?
    • Yeah, both of them were. I seem to be the common denominator… MOVING ON!
  • How old are you?
    • Twenty-six! 90s child baby
  • How tall are you?
    • Five foot nine inches
  • How much do you weigh?
    • Ugh, really queen? 167lbs (and dropping thanks to Slimming world)
  • Do you have any piercings?
    • No, but I use to have 3 in my upper left ear. Had to take them out after it wouldn’t heal and I kept tearing them out
  • Do you have any tattoos?
    • I do. I have a Nintendo Gameboy on my left wrist, the phrase BLACK MARKET BEAUTY on my right wrist (both designed by me), and a geometric unicorn, that I got for free while my friend was still training, and you wouldn’t even think it was an apprentices’ work!
  • What’s your favourite drink?
    • Water trumps it all but if I was being boojee, Large Skinny Deaf Caramel Latte
  • What’s your favourite song?
  • What’s your Zodiac sign?
    • Sagittarius, but I never follow these things because I’m not that boojee
  • How long does it take you to shower?
    • I don’t have a shower in my place so it’s a great soak in the bath. Actually showers creep me out a bit but that’s another story
  • What’s your favourite show?
    • Once Upon A Time! Anything that involves magic and drama and I’m there! Plus the fact that it reworks the Disney storylines into something more mature is amazing!
  • What’s your favourite band?
    • Bastille, I just can’t fault their songs, their music style or them in general
  • Something you really miss?
    • My friends from university. They became family and I never get to seem them which breaks my soul
  • Where do you go when you’re sad?
    • Given that I have depression, a sad place can occur quite often, so I’ve become quite familiar with it. But I’ve learned to keep above it and stop myself from drowning in the bleak by recalling what makes me happy. Give it a go peeps!
  • How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
    • About 15 minutes but the issue is actually getting out of bed!
  • Have you ever been in a physical fight?
    • Yes. Plain and simple, yes. I never instigate however. Welcome to the homophobic, fat-phobic, Jimmy-phobic world. Plus siblings
  • What turns you on?
    • There isn’t enough time to go through the list. Lord send me to Church for salvation!
  • What turns you off?
    • Ignorance, bad odour, a poor attitude and men who throw their testosterone around like a bully
  • Quality you look for in a partner?
    • A person who sees others as equals, intelligence and humour. If you can insult yourself in a simple quip, hit me up
  • What’s your favourite colour?
    • Orange, because it makes me think of the energy in life and comfort of innocence at the same time
  • Loud music or soft?
    • Depends on mood, but probably more soft. I do love Classic FM
  • Favourite Quote?
    • “Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the ‘Titanic’ who waved off the dessert cart” – Erma Bombeck
  • Favourite actor?
    • Hugh Jackman. Enough said. Oh and my queen, Angela Lansbury of course
  • Do you have any fears? What they are?
    • Spiders and heights. I use to have a MASSIVE fear of flying but after my first time abroad and on an aeroplane, that left me
  • What’s the last thing that made you cry?
    • My reflection. KIDDING! Uhm, this is going to sound a bit soppy but the fear of losing a good friend of mine was quite painful. Thankfully I was just in a low mood and it got a little extra and me and said friend are fine!
  • Meaning behind your Blog Name?
    • At university, my best gal pal gave it to me as a nickname. She’s actually the only person who calls me it which I love. Please respect that and be mature and call me Jimmy (but never James or Jamie because trust me all hell will break loose)
  • Last time you said you loved someone?
    • A few days ago to the said friend I thought I was losing. He said it back. Yay.
  • Last book you read?
    • The Time Machine by H. G. Wells. I love a bit of nerding
  • The book you’re currently reading?
    • None YET but I aim to start The Handmaids Tale this weekend as it was a gift from a colleague
  • Last show you watched?
    • She Ra, I fall asleep to it every night. Ha!
  • Last place you were?
    • Dorset, visiting BeF to drop off a pre-birthday goodie box and then at my nephews as I won’t see him before his birthday
  • Last sport you played?
    • LOL!
  • Who’s the last person you talked to?
    • If we mean “talk talked” then BeF. Otherwise some almost 6 year old champ who makes my life worth it
  • Last song you sang?
    • Never Enough – Loren Allred – The Greatest Showman. I’m currently obsessed with the soundtrack
  • Favourite chat up line?
    • It’s too adult for here
  • Do you have a crush?
    • No, I just don’t have the time to let ‘love’ like that into my life
  • The relationship between you and the person you last texted?
    • BeF – She’s my best friend. And I can accept that I’m not hers, but I am most definitely in her top list. She’s just amazing. Intelligent, funny, grounded, natural, supportive, brave, beautifu
  • Favourite food?
    • Pizza because it’s life. And the history that I know of it just makes it ironic at how so many places charge an arm and a leg for one
  • Place you want to visit?
    • Everywhere. But mostly Canada
  • When’s the last time you kissed someone?
    • If it’s THAT kind of kiss, Berlin. Else my niece and nephew yesterday
  • Last time you were insulted?
    • Yesterday, when my boss told me that I could operate my store better on less hours… OK!
  • Favourite flavour of sweet?
    • Strawberry. Although YEARS ago my sister brought me back a back of Black Widow Spiders Cherry Cola boiled sweets from Australia. They were GORGEOUS! Can I find them anywhere? Can I buggery!
  • What instruments do you play?
    • The Kazoo
  • Favourite piece of jewellery?
    • I guess my watch as I don’t wear jewellery. Although I always clutch for my pearls
  • Last time you hung out with anyone?
    • Last night with BeF and my nephew and niece

And that’s it. That’s me. This TMI tag was fun, thank you Lena! I enjoyed answering these questions and I hope you peeps enjoyed reading them! Now go and check out Lena and her work and Follow her on Twitter yo, she’s amazing!

Who should answer these questions next? Tag them!

Thanks again for reading peeps. Check out my other posts for some my Berlin Adventure (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) or how about some food with a dancing moose?!

And feel free to leave me a comment below of 3 answers to any questions above, and follow me on Twitter and Instagram