Last night, shortly after I went to bed I woke up to horrendous stomach cramps. I was curled up in a ball on my bed wondering what drug I could take to ease the pain. I popped a couple of paracetamol, an omeprazole and even considered taking a tramadol. All respect for dignity went out the window and I searched through the drawers of my Airbnb, I found some heavy duty ibuprofen, so I popped one of those as well. It didn’t seem to do much, I was still in pain, and every time I laid down it would get worse. I didn’t sleep at all that night. I walked around, got in the bath, had a shower. Did everything I could to take my mind off the pain. I was worried I had appendicitis, and I was completely alone, in Madrid, in an apartment which needs about 5 keys to get out of. God only knows what would happen if there was a fire, and I couldn’t find the keys. I had visions of the episode of Sex & The City where Miranda chokes in her apartment, and has a panic attack about the reality of being alone, and the possibility of also dying alone. I thought about everything that night. I walked around my apartment, thinking about my family and my friends, my ex boyfriends, my career, all my realities came flying at me all at once. I was in a beautiful, beautiful apartment in Madrid, alone. It almost didn’t matter how much I’d spent to live here, because when you have no one to share it with, it almost makes it seem invalid. I’d started speaking with my ex again, which I know was a bad idea, but I felt like I needed familiarity, and I needed to speak with someone who once loved me, and cared for me, and knew how my brain worked. When your health isn’t good, life’s realities become so much clearer. Everything becomes transparent, and you suddenly realise what you take for granted and how little you take notice of all the small, but important things that exist in your life. When I woke up in the morning I contemplated going to the hospital, I didn’t have my European Health Insurance Card with me, but in a moment of pain & madness at about 3am I went online and applied for one, so I knew I was covered. I left my apartment and went to a local pharmacy. The pharmacists in Spain are a lot more like doctors than the pharmacists in the UK, so I figured I’d go in and ask. She thought it was probably trapped wind. The sexiest of all digestive issues. It’s funny, as she said it to me, while I was hunched over in pain, I still managed to giggle as she suggested what medication I should take. I went back to my apartment to hide, I didn’t feel well enough to see anyone or do anything, so I stayed indoors on my own and it had me thinking about a lot. I’d been in Spain for a few months, and speak very little Spanish. I was picking up basic words and phrases, but nothing close to being able to converse. It was very isolating. Even meeting Spanish people who could speak English felt like hard work. The language barrier was a big one, and as much as I was pretending it didn’t exist, it did. I’m an insular person, in the work that I create, and in the life that I live, and so being alone doesn’t bother me, to a certain extent, but when I spend too long alone I start to feel a bit manic, like an unsocialised dog. I almost forget how to speak or connect with people. My parents always thought I was slightly on the spectrum as a child, I’m not sure about that, but I’m definitely not ordinary. I overthink and overanalyse myself, and every situation, which makes my anxiety increase, and the more time I spend alone, the easier it rises. I question my life choices, and the way I project myself to the world. I worry that the message I send out to the world is the wrong one, and the decision that I’ve made to share my body so freely is going to be a future regret. I judge myself for being lazy, and I hate the idea of me wasting my talents. I think about the fact that I’m misunderstood, and the disconnection between the reality of my life, and the person that people see online. I feel guilt about how ungrateful I feel while I’m travelling the world, and experiencing things that some may never, because I somehow still feel unaccomplished, and like a cheat.
I think about my future, and I worry about the things that may or may not come. I worry every day that the small world I’ve built for myself will collapse around me. I worry that no one will ever love me because of how much I share my body. And I worry that I will never have it all, and I will have to settle for one or the other.
At what point in life do we have to accept adulthood and start behaving like our parents did when we were children? I still live life like a child. A child with a few more responsibilities, a lot more freedom, and a bit more money. So many things scare me. Taxes, property, health. And all it takes is one of these things to flash up like a red light, and my whole sanity is triggered.
But what’s the point of growing up? As a gay man, I don’t see responsibilities in my future like heterosexual people do. I don’t really see children in my future, and at this stage I’ll be lucky to ever buy property. So why not just live in the moment? I’m living an odd life at the moment, but I’m also providing for myself. No one is paying for anything for me, I’m self sufficient, and I live a pretty enviable existence at the present time, but I somehow still feel unfulfilled, embarrassed, and envious when I see people my age buying houses, getting married, being promoted, and preaching about innocent simplicities.
I know how much I secretly love what I do, and I love creating pictures, and films, which celebrate my body, my sexuality, and my person, but sometimes I wonder who I would be if I’d never made the decision to do this, and who I will be because I made the decision to do this. Life is so different for everyone, we should never compare to one another, but for some reason we all do.
My stomach started to feel better after I took the medication given to me by the pharmacist. Nothing miraculous, but enough for me to behave like normal again. Still, I stayed in my house and decided to make a film. I thought this was a moment that I should share. A still moment in time, that was honest and truthful. Not erotic in the slightest, but authentic and hopefully an opportunity for you to further connect to me as not only an object of your desire, but as an English boy, who lives in Spain for the moment, who is real, and who deserves to be connected to in a real way. I’m not perfect, but my life is a living truth, it is real, it is honest, it is greatness, it is hurt. My life is the honest journey of a gay man who may not meet the expectations that this world has laid out for him, or who may not replicate the archetype of the successful 30 year old gay white male, but the individual reality that I live is still valid, and it is still lived.