What is perhaps most frustrating is reading through old material and realising that, barring changes in age and location, shit is still pretty much the same. There might be a good deal of improvement, sure, but the core fucking issue is still goddamn there.
There’s this monolithic problem that sits atop my life, a colossal wall of but I don’t want to or maybe tomorrow or fuck I could really do with a great jacking off right now. I chip away at it from time to time, but the boulder blocking the way still rests invulnerable with inertia.
This is a forum post I where I put up an excerpt from a private journal I was keeping in October of 2013. Again, barring details, it word-for-word describes what I’m still stuck with:
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This is an excerpt from a journal entry that I wrote today. There’s a lengthy chunk of text that precedes the discussion of vulnerability, which has been highlighted in bold, so feel free to skip towards the end. I’ve added a note or two clarifying points I thought were pertinent.
[Background: Times have been tough lately, fell off the wagon with my general routine of studying, exercise, cooking, cleaning etc. Had a moment of weakness on Thursday where I began texting my ex, being needy as fuck, looking to her for comfort as I did in the past. She was unreceptive.]
I’ve continually made it clear to myself that once I find someone else, all of this desperation and neediness surrounding my ex will evaporate. Lately, I’ve used E——*, the engaged girl I approached in biochemistry, as an example of the type of person that waits for me if I persevere. Even just passing her on campus today and talking for a minute or two, I felt loads better.
However, when I regress, as happens from time to time, I can so quickly slip into this state where old habits lure me towards the past. My mind has been conditioned for twenty years to seek the easy way out, and it’s become very good at it.
Today was a good example. Having missed a day of buproprion yesterday, I took 300mg at around 09:30. Two to three hours later, my libido was through the fucking roof**. I remember that it started right before I went into my genetics lecture: I read something about sexual morphology, and immediately, the memories of kinky times spent in bed with my ex flooded back. One thing I will perpetually miss, until I find it again, was my ex’s body. God fucking damnit. Anyway, later, in the [study centre], I sat there overcome with lust. It was funny, in a way. Of course, my mind fixated on my ex. I’d made plans with her yesterday to meet with her at the end of my exams to drink those two beers she’d bought from overseas when were still together. So, today, I felt compelled to dream up all sorts of strategies and manipulations whereby I could create a scenario where we would sleep together without any adverse consequences.
It goes without saying that, blinded by lust, my rationality went out the window, and it wasn’t until I left the [study centre], had the chat with E, and spent afternoon in the physiology building writing the test and socialising with the other students that I got myself back together. I’m thankful that I didn’t give in to my compulsions (‘Hey [my ex], what are you doing Wednesday night? Do you want to come over to [my town] and go out with me and my friends (and maybe fuck afterwards)?’). However, something good did come of it: a new motivator.
It’s something that’s still an issue. Though I make an effort to construct reasonable, healthy reasons to enact routine and discipline, they don’t stick. Yesterday, Sunday, I spent the entire day playing Age of Empires 2. I rationalised it by saying ‘yeah, I deserve a break, I’ll pay for it later’.
The ‘paying’ is a reference to a saying that I used to remind myself that actions have consequences: you pay for everything that you do. It’s another way of expressing my belief that life is pain, where that hardship and discomfort can be viewed as a sort of currency. It can be borrowed, postponing it and placing one in debt (procrastinating with work, remaining willfully ignorant of the ramifications of unwise decisions, giving in to compulsions); or, it can be earned up front, and used as an investment to buy the joys of life, which will earn interest over time. Examples of the latter should be obvious: studying to receive an excellent score, a sterling record and an enjoyable career; exercising despite fatigue to yield health and an improved personal appearance; resisting the urge to regress to bad habits and instead commit to developing new ones, and so on and so forth. In fact, as always, it can be summed up as simply staying the course***.
However, I digress. The original point that I wished to make was the illustration of the ‘new motivator’. Come to think of it, it’s not exactly a new one, but it has rather gained a renewed importance in my mind. What is it?
Sex. Love. Lust. Romanticism. Intimacy.
Combining their inherent joys and the developmental events that have caused me to revel in intimacy, I find the experience of being close to another to be intensely rewarding. I’ve gained small reminders in this direction in my recent viewings of pornography: the overwhelming primal drive to fuck almost takes over. If it didn’t immediately dissipate following orgasm, I imagine I’d be up all night furiously pursuing some noble goal. It’s been around three months since my post-breakup rampage****, and my instincts don’t seem to be attenuated by masturbation. Granted, today the bupropion was likely the cause, but fuck, life is too short to be missing out on glorious sex.
A given corollary is that I first have to find someone that I like, someone I’m intellectually, humorously and spiritually compatible with before I can really enjoy sex. This is why any sexual pursuit of [my ex] will never end well: I’m not into her anymore. The blissful ignorance of youth and novel exploration has long since passed, and I am now tasked with proving myself to a worthy mate, lest I sit with mediocrity forever.
Ironically, finding a girl who I can enter an enjoyable sexual relationship with has little to do with sex itself. You could argue that my course of action is masculine in nature: the plan to build, to conquer, to emerge victorious through strength, truth and perseverance. However, for at least the next two to three months, the path involves little, if any, actual sexual intercourse. That’s the reward that comes at the end. And holy fuck, it’s going to be fucking great.
Upon coming to understand the concept of vulnerability as posited by Mark Manson, I’ve used it to great effect as of late. I view it as using complete and utter honesty (tempered with prudence, of course) in my interactions with both myself and others. Utilising it has caused a number of changes:
First, it simplifies most, if not all interactions, especially with the opposite sex. Whereas before, if I liked someone and was unsure if the feelings were reciprocal, I’d play it safe, trying to lead the relationship to where I wanted it to be while rocking the boat as little as possible. Of course, I invariably got nowhere, and the pursuits often fizzled out before anything could come of it.
Now, however, the cards are made plain from the get-go. I’m in the process of seeing someone who knows my intentions are not platonic because I told her when I met her, which makes things delightfully unambiguous. Another example would be when I went up to a girl in my genetics class, simply said ‘Hey, I know this is really crazy and random, but I think you’re really cute, and I wanted to come and meet you’, whereupon she replied with a huge, kind grin, saying ‘Aw, that’s so sweet, but I’m sorry, I have a boyfriend. Thank you so much though.’ It was a great experience, and eliminated what would’ve been a considerable amount of platonic time-wasting that would’ve occurred had I taken the Nice Guy route.
Secondly, it prevents me from lying to both myself and others. Friday night, when I was talking to someone I was interested in, I felt a pang of discomfort each time I attempted to spin or sugar-coat my stories to make me look better. I knew I couldn’t be completely honest while trying to portray myself as someone I’m not, so I stumbled over my words at times as I tried to express myself vulnerably. I am effectively forced to not compromise at all times. A good example of this is that when I’m out with friends, I choose to rather go home and get some sleep in preparation for the next day’s work, whereas before I would instead stick around until 4AM in the hopes that I’ll find some attractive, drunk girl to take home and fuck to gain some kind of validation.
And so we come full circle. I really, really want to get laid in a fulfilling relationship, because it feels fucking awesome. However, it’s going to take work to get there. My standards are pretty high, and I see no reason to drop them. Of course, if I’m to get the calibre of girl I’m after, then I have to first build myself up into who I want to be, so that when the time comes, I can express myself openly and truthfully, coming from a place of authenticity instead of one characterised by insecure sugar-coating and latent self-doubt. I can’t stand in front of her and convey the image of a handsome, intelligent, talented, ambitious and driven young man when I fucked around for hours watching random shit on YouTube that day.
So, this commitment to study, to exercise, to do the right thing in social situations despite the difficulty, this is what will lead me to the great sexual relationship I’m after. In practice, it’s similar to the pursuance of anything worthwhile: pay the price up front, deal with delayed gratification, and reap the rewards at the end.
* The first girl I worked up the courage to approach after applying Models. Turns out she was engaged, but she complimented me on my bravery, and I remain on good terms with both her and her fiance.
** Bupropion seems to have an effect on me whereby, if I take another dose after having missed it for a significant length of time, my libido goes nuts. Apparently I’m not the only one.
*** By staying the course I mean deliberately planning each hour of every day, managing my time so that none of it goes to waste. This usually involves sitting down each evening and allocating the hours of the next day to one activity or another (e.g. 05:00-06:00 wake up/prep, 06:00-10:00 Study, 10:00-12:00 Class, 12:00-14:00 Gym, 14:00-16:00 Lab work, 16:00-18:00 Study, 18:00-20:00 Socializing, 20:00- rest), after having evaluated my performance of the day just past. I use the pomodoro method with an iPhone app to set and track my study goals. Completion of all of the pomodoros, in addition to gym and other responsibilities, counts as a success. Sticking to this approach for a few days has yielded pervasive benefits, but it’s still very hard to follow.
**** Following the break-up in April, I hooked up with a string of girls to try and placate the heartbreak. This ranged from a ONS to a three-week fling, and everything in between. I found that I gained little joy from meaningless sex (i.e. no emotional connection) and that I hated settling in fear of being alone.