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Last night was the turn of Mauro, a 22 year old who resides in SP, Brazil. My fascination with Brazil continues; from the sun-drenched promenades to the grande humid forests and the beautiful, welcoming people to the rich cultural diversity. I continue to seek out the pleasures of which I want to be a part of. Mauro seems cool. There was no overriding obviousness to him being gay, despite him having stated that he lives in the gay district of his expansive city.

His dark eyes showed a maturity beyond his years while his quiet enthusiasm for detailing his life showed that primal, somewhat child-like, need to share and to be listened to. He detailed information about his free spirited parents who through open discussion warned and nurtured the specifics of drug taking: LSD, ecstasy, cocaine, weed.

I have a history with those drugs. Not of abusing them, although one period of my life could have been said to be a little bit excessive, I am and have been a responsible recreational user. Much the same as this guy.

One thing I notice about the Brazilian people that have somehow become my friends over the past year or so is their love for the beauty of their homelands. Frequently they’ll share photos of gorgeous landscapes and beaches, without realising the amount of taunt involved to man who desires such views, and they’ll share music and history. They are very proud of where they come from but also recognise the corruption that may be somewhat more evident that the more modern “western” countries.

My obsession with Brazilian culture steers from this guy a little. I now have the opportunity to practice meu portugues with Andre, a guy studying for his PhD in my city. One thing that needs to be overcome is shyness and nerves when speaking in Portuguese as I’ve read time and time again that mistakes from speaking the language straight away are what help language learners to progress more quickly.

Por agora, eu preciso ir.
For now, I must go.

Once again, I am trying to realign myself with peace, with a steady ground of which doesn’t shake from one’s own thoughts. After a year of achieving minor things, things that lead to a goal within a bigger goal on this journey, achieving stuff that doesn’t really matter but I seek to better myself in order to find peace and fulfilment. After a near-year of doing so, things seem to have slowed down. Or is that just an illusion of which I’ve created? Speed of time is just the same. But according to me, things have slowed down. This is in direct ratio with the way in which I am assessing the way I fulfil my desires. Fulfilling my desires in one way is just an escape from the facing a reality that I’ve long put off. At times, this reality eats me up, at other times I control my own reality. One thing’s for sure, everybody desires love and I am a being that is a part of the hyperbole ‘everybody’.

I aim to remain positive, a green haze of lust halts me somewhat. The beauty that lies within this grounded leaf doesn’t, for me, work in sync with me trying to fulfil my desires. But positive thoughts stem from the love my family give so easily, and acceptance, one which I crave but already have. This is what humans do to themselves. Lost control, send themselves a bit crazy, find routes to escape in. But me… escape from what? I live an extremely privileged life in comparison to some. My positive thinking course told me not to compare myself with anybody, but sometimes, to put things into perspective, comparing myself to the less fortunate helps. But having typed that out, it made me think “Who am I to judge that they are less fortunate?” Maybe they see the confusion within my eyes and in fact pity me.

Perhaps that was a little realisation there.

**

I’m still speaking to Tom, my Polish friend. He still in some way sparks an interest because his character is so different to anybody I know. This is not always positive. We clash and this isn’t because we are doing anything wrong; this is just an example of how two “normally” inclined people have such different characters that they clash, no matter how much one of them forces things to work. His character intrigues me. I don’t trust him. My instinct says he is playing games but he’s the kind of person who makes me look at myself and think “is it me playing games?” I’ll see what happens with him.

I’ve been chatting to this guy online for a couple of weeks now. It’s interesting to chat to these various random international people of whom I’d never actually cross paths with if it weren’t for the medium of online chatting. Such a medium poses an alternative for me to be further analytical about who I am, how I react to certain people, in what ways I seek attention, and how other people communicate too, past the typical parading of their schlong.

The latest guy, called Tom, from Poland, of early thirties, engaged my attention through an immediate depth of intelligent conversation. We haven’t really stopped talking and it’s been quite intense. This is not, for me, a romantic connection, but it’s surely a fascinating one.

He, quite simply, is the opposite of me and no clearer had that been than when the topic of religion arose. Now I’m an open minded guy, I support freedom of speech even if I disagree with the opinion being made – that is a right as a human.

I told Tom about how I offer a homestay, that is a place for international students to stay and be supported and guided in their chosen foreign country of study. When he queried where the student who is staying with me now is from and I replied Saudi Arabia, his face showed a very evident amount of disgust. His lip curled up, like Elvis Presley’s would have done, and snarled, joining his frown and negative body language.

From this started a debate of why he so opposed Muslims. All Muslims. The thing that I’m overly sensitive about in this debate is my own experiences of having been on the receiving end of such stereotypical prejudices because of the colour of my skin. I am not Muslim, I am Sikh, yet I’d still, in my old mining town community, be on the receiving end of racial abuse, at an age where I wasn’t able to understand people’s fears and ignorance and I wasn’t able to understand what was so different about me. I don’t seek sympathy or pity, those experiences made me stronger, I suppose they made me mature a little bit quicker than I should have, ultimately they aroused my interest in dispute and made me seek out a new life in a bigger city where such viewpoints weren’t common.

Tom has really challenged my tolerance of such views. I know that he is a nice guy, he’s sweet and works hard and isn’t racist. I feel like he’s misguided and is following the status quo in his country, Poland, that hasn’t had the same kind of mass immigration as Britain has had. He argued my points and my affinity to unity and one race, but he put across some pretty strong opinions bred by fear. I told him we have two core emotions, fear and love, and that his opinions are bred by fear, possibly from his local media and general use of Muslims to scapegoat wider problems or even worse, cover up what’s really going on.

He didn’t let up and I’m not really sure he understands why I was so opposed. I mean, we are opposites, from his uber structured way of thinking to my flailing, wispy, so called arty mind, to his focus and grit to my dream-like thoughts, to his harsh blunt opinions to my honest but softly approached manner of opinion. None of those things bothered me, it is not the differences that I’m so bothered about, and I respect his honesty. I celebrate difference. I love being able to talk and learn from people different to me, they may have something vital to teach me that I need to acquire to push me through life.

But, he didn’t quite understand that the reason I was so guarded on the issue was that stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination, intolerance and ignorance run deep in my past. You never really know how much something shaped you until it’s thrust back in to your consciousness.

It has posed an interesting debate and I have observed my own way of responding to him. I don’t want to change his opinion, that’s not my job to do, but I did want to make clear to him how such opinions could have an affect on somebody else without his conscious knowledge. I think if he’d have known it would have got such a response from me, he would have absolutely steered clear, because he likes my “friendship” or company.

Interesting though, people.

From Belgium.

The next in the line of mini crushes. His eyes are a striking blue; they pierced my through and through. As usual, I hold back, I put up a barrier and ask loads of questions so as to divert attention away from me. It works. Mostly all of the time. Chris sings. He wants to make that his career, he wants to succeed. He told me of a gig he had last Friday, the biggest he’s done, to 4,000 people. He joked. He smiled. His face is strong, a flat nose indented somewhat at the bridge. His expressions were full of humour before the inevitability of sleep made us succumb. He recently split from his girlfriend and hasn’t actually delved in to any sort of relations with a guy. He told me he’s attracted to ‘humans’ rather than a gender. Something I relate to.

I felt a twinge of yearning. Before I too eased my lust and rested my face.

When you wash your face tomorrow I want you to look at it and say “D says my face is alive and it is, it’s a lovely face.” Then go out, face the world and feel beautiful because you are.

 

**

Edit

This man had quite the profound effect on me. It’s like he came in to my life to teach me something, to show me how life could be if I don’t commit to being real. His story, one of repressed feelings and hidden identity well in to his 40s, struck a chord. It was like a big shining light opening from the skies, a message of courage and expression and being at one with the self. He told me of “old age”, of the importance of time once you reach your 40s, of loving the self, of not beating the self up inside and out, of living. He said my face is alive, it sparkles with life, something of which I would negate ordinarily. Sometimes it takes a stranger’s kind words to really make you listen. No matter how close you are to the nearest and dearest, words sometimes evade you, maybe from habit or taking shit for granted. I felt like I grew a little bit and I’m a step closer, because of this beautiful stranger, to who I want to be. It could be a fleeting bit of soul tugging, but it feels different. I feel like I’m wasting time. I feel older than my years in that respect.

I feel alive.

Today in my sordid late night lonely cam chats was Miguel. Brazilian Miguel. My how I love me my Brazilian men. At first, what sat staring back at me was his dancing pecks. Typically, any pecs of such calibre would not normally stop and chat to me; it’s not that I’m not good looking, I have a certain look, a unique look, which I celebrate (mostly, tried lying at first but who celebrates themselves all the time?). But he stopped to chat. There’s something about my curiosity for the South American land so huge that could be deemed as a bit of an obsession. I’ve travelled around the world, both ends, and that beautiful mass of contradictions is number one hot spot on my list, the guys that inhabit the place are one of the foremost reasons. The quality within their interaction, the friendliness and the openness to foreigners attracts me somewhat. And of course the partying ethos of which the nation portrays through the glittering celebration that is the carnival.

After confessing how horny he was, as most guys on those sites do, we continued on an all night cam chat session. He turned out to be kind and chatty and a doctor, stethoscope in hand as proof. His body was toned and lean, and there was no way for me to recognise his 5 foot 7 height until he told me. His face looked healthy and he had considerate, big brown eyes. By the end of it, we’d built quite a nice connection, though he seemed more attracted to me. I probably lied a couple of times in the moment, confessing his perfection, which I’d never do really, but it made him happy. He showed me around his flat, even stopping to pee with me there as a voyeuristic bystander.

Quite the dream and when I do go to Brazil I’m sure he’d more than accommodating.

Tonight was the turn of Ryan, a young man of Cardiff, his 21 years evidently plastered all over his youthful face. Without sounding as if this kid was simple, he was simple. I mean this in the kindest of manner; a simple shared laugh at something insignificant, a lack of knowledge of his own country, and a dreamer, one that could suggest such simplicity in catching a plane to Italy. As if it were that easy. His Bonnie, a 14 year old Jack Russell pig-alike, would make a fine suitor for my funny looking Staffy-cross, we joked. My complexity stood out, I felt it all over me, restraining itself, shown through a continuous shortening of lengthy words. Or through mirroring his simplicity by keeping conversation light, of where we lived, what we do, and a TV show he’ll appear on on the BBC. A kind face he had, with an unobtrusive naivety, a glow of irresponsibility – and yes, envy strikes.

21 was a great year for me; I robustly proclaim how the year was one of my finest. Of course, I don’t even remember why now, I just remember a feeling, a brilliant euphoria. I was in love, I was at uni, I had a huge 21st b’day party in which I felt truly loved, my skin glowed, my manner was free, I had no responsibility, I had no idea of how tough things would become, no idea how family life would make me succumb. A great year was 21. And I just hope that Ryan can keep such naivety and let freedom beseech him.