So being an openly gay individual inherently means that I am frequently subjected to judgement by many. All of the comments like ‘that’s not normal’, ‘it’s just a phase’, ‘you just haven’t met the right guy yet’ are relentless. To the strongest of minds they can be nullified and cast aside, to a young, depressed individual it’s just a torment.
As for me, when I would occasionally take some time to take stock and review my life and pass judgement on myself I didn’t think I was doing too badly. I was being honest with everyone about my feelings and intentions, in moments of darkness I explored my doubts and worries, in moments of recklessness I was still fundamentally a decent enough person not to go out of my way to hurt anyone else. So why wasn’t I happy?
I was failing. Failing in so many areas, I wasn’t being a good friend to any of the people who had been there for me when it mattered, (Jenna, Farrah, Emma, Sarah, Helen and Kirstie) I would barely speak with my family, if I dared to scratch the surface I’d actually find that I was truly rather selfish.
I had been at University long enough to find a routine, the same nights out, always at the same places with the same faces, and then once a month the same dance night at the club in Gunwharf. It was all getting a bit mundane. Then one evening I heard of a new event in town that would pull a different crowd. I was up for a party any night of the week and this promised to be something new and interesting.
There was to be an LGBT night at the Pyramid Centre, I arranged to go with Chris and Debbie, we enjoyed spending nights out together so this would just be another one of them. Chris arranged to meet a guy there, which left me and Debbie to our own devices, I happened to bump into Jennie and Louise while we were out.
By this time Jennie had moved into a steady relationship and I was over any inkling of a crush I may have previously had for her. Louise on the other hand, expressed an interest in me and we spent much of the evening drinking and dancing together. Chris, Debbie and I had gotten a taxi to the venue together and I had no idea how to get home from where we were. I’m not sure how it happened but at the end of the night I ended up with Louise (I didn’t know what had happened to Debbie and Chris who I’d arrived with) who I had little interest in romantically, having always preferred her friend Jennie.
Louise promised to walk me home from the venue, advising that it wasn’t far and that it wouldn’t be long before I recognised where I was. She clearly had an ulterior motive, before long we were stopped outside her home, and she asked if I knew where I was, I didn’t. My choices were to come in and call for a taxi (I had no money to pay for a taxi and she knew it) or stay the night.
Needless to say, I was young and dumb so I opted for ‘stay the night’ and it was quite an odd finish to the evening. I was just 18 years old, and I had ended up at a place that I didn’t know with a woman I had only met a handful of times. I wasn’t sure that I really wanted anything to happen between us but I let her take the lead, before I knew it we were in bed. She was older than me by about 7 years, she was in her mid twenties.
I remember that we had quite a wild night and she had specifically complimented me on my abilities since I was so young, which did wonders for my ego. Louise and I would continue to see each other over the coming month at the very least every Wednesday night.
However after that first night I met up with Debbie to retell the story of how my night had ended after the LGBT night at the Pyramid Centre. Debbie was appalled that I had let Louise take advantage of me, she called out that she was very sly in her tactics of promising to walk me home and then backing out when we arrived at hers for the evening. I hadn’t seen it that way, as being so young and naive I was happy with any night that ended with sex.
It would be a long time before I acknowledged that Louise was using me, we spent every Wednesday night together. It didn’t occur to me to question why she didn’t seem to want to spend time with me at any other part of the week, or that I was in a situation leading nowhere. For the first time since Katy I was having regular sex with someone and I thought it meant she cared about me. I was wrong.
My judgement couldn’t have been more wrong. In my desperation to move on I had fixated on Louise, wanting nothing more than another relationship to stop me thinking about Katy and all the stupid spiteful games we’d been playing. I think even one evening while drunk I decided to text her and tell her I loved her, the next time I saw her it couldn’t have been more clear that I was nothing to her. When I saw her out, she was with another woman who she introduced as her girlfriend. I was annoyed to say the least.
I wasn’t annoyed with Louise, I was annoyed with myself. My poor judgement had lead me directly to this situation. Debbie had seen it all along and had tried to warn me, but I was desperate to move on from Katy and I ignored her. I would never take my initial judgement for granted again, I would only ever be with someone if it felt like the right thing to do.