The Bald and Not So Beautiful Anymore

I’m fucken’ tired of the new normal. I am sitting here, drink in hand, watching the president address the country. This, the umpteenth of his addresses, just adds on to my frustration. I have been in a dark place lately. Nowhere nearly as inescapable as i’ve been in the past, but dark nonetheless.

I am almost always convinced I have Covid-19. These days, a congested nose sends me reeling and having panic attacks, convinced that I am sick. I mean I haven’t seen a doctor since 2017. Whose to say i’m not? My poor partner must be exasperated. “You’re fine” has become his go to phrase whenever he senses my panic rising. I can feel him getting tired of always reassuring me.

Oh, I’m bald now. I had the bae shave my gorgeous (but almost matted) 4C hair. See, I was going to go to a salon but the fear won. How do bald people even sleep? I am cinstantly cold. Also, because I am Bigfoot’s closest living relative, my hair’s already growing back, so putting on shirts and jerseys is daunting.

I took several selfies today and I hated all of them. I don’t recognise myself. Maybe years of hard partying have finally caught up with a nigga. I used to be a regulation hottie. The other day, I went through my Instagram and was filled with such intense sadness. I miss early 20s Tshego. He was so creative and funny. The other aspects of his life might have been shit but he was a good kid who put himself out there.

Don’t get me wrong, my life, currently, is amazing. I have a wonderful partner who loves and motivates me, a healthier, more fun and loving relationship with my mother and family and believe it or not, I’m drinking less and less. I cook and bake now, plan what the family (the bae and I) will get up to daily and basically living my best kept spouse dream (still actively job hunting. Tell your dads to hire me. I write).

I just miss having a creative outlet. I miss believing that I am a capable writer. I read my shit and cringe. I’ll probably cringe at this tomorrow when the gin leaves my system.

I’ve been listening to songs and albums from my youth. Emiliana Torrini’s Tookah is a definite fave. I don’t think I appreciated it enough as a 23 year old partying and sexing it up. I just thought I was “cool and alternative”. This was also the time I thought toxicity made relationships cool. Oh to be young and full of faux angst! Torrini’s album is chockful of gems like ‘Home‘, which is one of the most beautiful love songs you’ll ever hear (You’re a roar in my heart
A song that won’t leave my mind
) and ‘Autumn Sun‘, a song about an affair which hits different when you’re in your 30s. When you’re young, affairs are adventures you embark upon because hey, you can bounce onto the next dick. But when you’re 30 and you’re trying to build a life with a gorgeous man with questionable communication skills, affairs, whether his or your own are a scary thing that could ruin everything.

I really am tired of the new normal but I accept it. I think it really puts me at ease when I see everyone in a mask and socially distancing but that doesn’t always happen because South Africa. I don’t watch the news as much as I did at the beginning of the pandemic but I am actively watching out for news about the vaccine. I’m sure we all miss outside.

Stay safe, kids.

Nonsense: This Is About Absolutely Nothing

I just spent seven minutes watching a video about chairs. I was strangely drawn to it. I don’t know whether it’s because it felt like something my mentor would do or maybe it’s because I really like videos about design?

This has become my life. I keep questioning my creativity. Or lack thereof. I mean I haven’t written in almost two years. Well, I have. Just not on here. I don’t know what suddenly possessed me to do it today.

So, I’m 30 now. The world’s dealing with a pandemic that has me by the balls (funny, considering that earlier today, I shared a CNN article about how COVID-19 can be found in semen). I am still in a relationship, which is unbelievably healthy. For the most part. I am in love with an amazing, funny and incredibly smart man. He’s just a bad communicator. I could go on about it drives me up the wall but that would be wasting all our time. I mean we don’t know how long this urge to write could last.

And it’s gone. That urge I mentioned moments ago? Gone.

I guess we’ll leave it here for now.

But hey, look. I’m writing again.

Humid Nights and Bitter Rosè

I hate Rosè wine. I’m sitting outside on the balcony, smoking and attempting to drink it while contemplating my life.

I haven’t wanted to live for most of the year. It’s gotten so bad that my most consistent support system is ready to give up on me.

It’s disempowering being unemployed. It sucks sending out your CV and being met with “we’re sorry but you don’t meet the requirements for said position.”

I’m sitting out on the balcony of a North West townhouse (for lack of a better word), with a great man waiting for me in bed. I just can’t seem to find myself with him because I’m scared he might realise what a fraud I am.

I do this weird thing where I’m super cool but then go on to mother the men I date. Some take it in their stride (like my current partner) but even I know it gets annoying as fuck.

I took an Alcoholics Anonymous test the other day. According to it, I’m a full blown alcoholic. Alcoholism runs in my family. I’ve always shamed those members who struggled with it. I have an uncle who gets so wasted that he has to be lulled or manipulated to sleep.

The other thing my family ignores completely is how a lot of the men from my paternal side suffer from mental health issues. I had an uncle, my father’s older brother, who was homeless and suffered from mental health issues. I never knew him but whenever I discuss how he clearly was not well with my mother, she dismisses it. I’ve always marveled at my mom’s ability to accept my queerness but not my atheism or mental illness. To her, I have issues I can easily solve. My mother doesn’t know that most of the times, I want to kill myself because I feel like a burden to the family.

When I’m not worrying about my family, I’m being a boyfriend to an amazing man who sometimes doesn’t understand that it’s not ok to coddle exes, whatever their distance. With the emotional range of a teaspoon, my boyfriend struggles with knowing when to cut people off

It’s almost 1am. I should go to bed but the mosquitoes here have decided that I’m the go-to suckee. Doubt this is what the cool kids mean when they say one is a “snack”. Sleeping in the North West is an extreme sport. Baby always thanks me for protecting him from the ‘squitoes. Is it my AB blood type?

I’m just writing here for the sake of doing it.

Just the ramblings of a rosè hating fag about to go to bed because mosquitoes are feasting on him.

Good night.

I’ll do better next time.

My Depression Makes Me Treat People Like Shit

I’ve been on a social media break for the last two or so weeks. This was brought on by recent heartbreak and solidified by the recent death of my dog.

But during this period, I realised something I think I’ve always known: I treat people who care about me like shit when I go through these episodes. Then I end up feeling like a dick and suicidal. I feel like they’d be better off with one less asshole (pun not intended) in the world.

Take Doris. She and I have been friends since primary school. I’m turning 28 in a few days. She wants to bake a cake for me. What do I do? I treat her like a nuisance. Or my other friend Refilwe. I can see she’s trying so hard to be supportive and understanding. What do I do? I put a barrier between or relationship.

It’s like this with everyone. I guess subconsciously, I’m trying to prepare them for life without me. Or I’m just really a dick.

Gay Culture is Hookup Culture

On Wednesday morning, I put an ad on the classified website AdsAfrica. In my ad, I was pretty clear about what I wanted: dick. The ad was meant to sound simple but ended up being a rambly, sort of needy mess:

The ad attracted several men who then inundated me with pics of their schlongs and dongs, all solicited, of course.

All of this had me thinking: is hookup culture synonymous with gay culture?

Gay culture is a lot of things. It’s relying on friends when family rejects you. It’s drinking with reckless abandon at a club on Monday night because all other aspects of your life are shit. Gay culture is learning to fight, not only for yourself but for the LGBTQ+ community. Gay culture is a lot of different things to a lot of different people. So it isn’t crazy to think that gay culture could also be hookup culture.

Historically, Queerness and Queer culture has been vilified. So how would you meet a potential lover, shag or friend when doing so could’ve gotten you arrested or killed? You would hookup, secretly. Whether you placed a cryptic classified in a newspaper or went cruising (don’t do this, kids) or frequented a bathhouse, hookup culture has been an integral part of the Queer movement. I do not doubt that many have met their significant others or friends via hooking up.

I’ve hooked up with so many men via apps and websites that cater to queer folk. One such hookup was with a gorgeous tall man from South America. Him and I met on MambaOnline’s MeetMarket one December afternoon. We proceeded to chat, he sent me a dick pic, but it never felt sleazy. Him and I had sex a couple of time but went on to become good friends. With benefits, naturally. So I guess in that way, gay culture became hookup culture for me. I’ve also had amazing, affirming sex with men I’ve met on these sites. So it isn’t all bad.

The idea for this post came to me earlier this week when I signed up on a site called OnlyLads. I then went on to download the app (everything has an app these days, hey?!). I then bumped into a guy I had had sex with at a club on the app. I laughed so hard because my friend had mentioned him earlier that night in conversation. The bloke was in my friend’s inbox, talking about wanting a relationship. I also laughed because every single time I’ve ever been on a dating app or site, I always come across his profiles. This Adonis who had banged me in a club needed help getting laid? There’s hope for us ugly ducklings then.

Society is becoming more accepting of Queer folk and Queer culture. Our stories are being told by mainstream media. Queer roles are finally being played by Queer folk (not as much as we’d like though) and people are doing the work needed to ensure better protections for Queer folk. What does this mean for queer hookup culture? Will Grindr survive inclusion? We’ll see.

Random Thoughts On: Relationships

I have managed to fail at another relationship. An off-hand comment triggered a series of events that have lead to the demise of yet another promising love affair.

After I tweeted that I was single again, a friend suggested that maybe, I wasn’t meant to be in relationships. And I get her point. When I was younger, I failed at relationships because I was insecure as fuck (see previous posts). The older I became, I destroyed my relationships because I loved obsessively. And now, I make reckless (sober) comments which get me into trouble. So maybe I’m just meant to stay single and be the chief ‘Hoe Is Life’ administrator.

But I really like relationships. I like the exclusivity monogamy sometimes brings. I love the feeling of falling into someone new. I love sending morning, afternoon and good night texts. I love the drunk sex, the morning blow jobs and day drinking with a significant other. I love surprising them with my knowledge of seemingly mundane things. I love introducing them to my weird musical tastes (current obsession: ‘Ancient Voices’ aka the Survivor theme song). I just love love, fam. But love isn’t overly fond of me.

I live in the hope that one day, I’ll meet a man who’ll be so in love with me that my flaws (and to be honest, there are a lot. #MenAreTrash) won’t scare him. A man who’ll love me so much that it’ll overwhelm me. A man with the right politics or at least one open to learning about the intersectionality of life, love and politics.

I am over the idea of a Mr Right. The thought of a Mr Right Now isn’t appealing to me anymore. I want to just find someone who wants to stay and fight for me. For us. I know he’ll come (and cum 😏). So for now, I’ll just focus on my career, drink a bit more liquor and work on my mental health so that I’m ready to be overwhelmed when he does show up.

Dating Men: A Queer Extreme Sport

​Also, dating men is an extreme sport, y’all. I don’t know how we do it.

You find one, cuff him kanti he doesn’t really like feminine men. Y’all break up.
You find one who doesn’t care that you’re feminine but is ironically, a misogynist. Now I have to dump you because you have outdated notions.
You find one who has no problem with you femininity, isn’t a misogynist but is transphobic. Misgendering people intentionally (always happens, I’ve noticed when Caitlyn Jenner is mentioned). Dumped. 
You find one who has isn’t transphobic, loves your femininity, isn’t a misogynist but forms part of the “I’m not like other queer men” brigade. This bunch oft shames Beyoncé loving queers, Lacantina and Liquid Blue and will try to sound faux intelligent by mentioning that we don’t need pride because straight people don’t have pride. Boy, bye.
Then you find one that’s amazing with his politics in place until you get to the “no fats, no femmes” part of his online dating profile. Says it’s his preference. Usually a gym bunny.
Then there are the lads who want a monogamous relationship but cheat. When you introduce an alternative to monogamy, they don’t believe in it. 
While all of this is happening, you have to meet guys online, decide whether they’re worth being serial killed for and go on dates. On these dates, you have to deal with narcissism, no real knowledge of how the world works, people being rude to waiters and his mêlée of friends who all came to check on him. In. The. Middle. Of. A. Date.

Did I mention abafana bamo kasi who hurl slurs at you the whole day only to give you bomb sex that night? These are also the ones most likely to kill you because fragile masculinity.

I could go on forever.

I really don’t know how we do it and go on to form very beautiful couplings….. 

Staying Alive When You Really Don’t Want To

2016 has been trash. Consistently. There was no time to rest before we were bombarded with more bad news.

Here in TsheggLand, the year started off fine (not counting antidepressants that left me constipated or that time the antidepressants I liked nearly got me killed) and gradually transgressed into a total shitpile. The details are unimportant but I am now almost 10 grand in debt, probably have some sort of health issue (because cigarettes, booze and fast food), single and very unhappy with my life.

Checking Out

For the past 3 months, I’ve been contemplating suicide. Not just once a month when the going gets tough. No. Daily. I have written several suicide notes and have thought of ways to do it that won’t be too painful or too slow. The suicide note is a complete list of my failures, people to call in case I finally do it and succeed and even a playlist. 24 whole songs to celebrate a life I don’t want anymore.

One of the main reasons I haven’t done it yet (one being that ironically, I’m afraid of death) is because of my Mother. See, I live with just her and she is quite elderly (yep, I’m a living cliché: 20 something year old failure still living at home). I don’t want to burden and scar her by letting her find my body. I also think my death would kill her, not that I’m important or anything. The thought of putting her through all that pain again (pain she surely felt after my Father died) is the reason I’m still on this miserable rock. I love my Mother too much to hurt her. 

It is the worst thing being alive when you no longer have the desire to. Nothing gives you pleasure anymore. Everything hurts all the time. You’re confronted, daily, by all your failures. The failure to make a success of yourself. The failure to make a relationship work. The failure at being a good son, brother, uncle and friend. It’s all there and there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it. I keep being told to go back to therapy. Here’s my thing: I’ll still be the no good failure when I leave the psychologist’s office, bbz. 

Here’s to hoping (haha!) that 2017 is better. If it isn’t, at least I’ll have enough courage to join the Forever 27 Club. But then I’d need some sort of talent to get in, no? Sigh. Even in death, I can’t win.

Attempting to date while black, queer and living with a mental health problem

​I’ve slept with several men, been on at least 3 dates and have had countless other men “speaking” to me in the last 8 months. At first, I had chosen to be single to reconnect, if you will, with Tshego. But now, 9 months since the end of that other love affair (you know, the one I’ve written exhaustively about. The one I continue to speak about in unguarded, drunk conversations), I’m beginning to wonder if my race, sexuality (or to be really specific, femininity) and mental illness are the reasons I’m not prospering romantically. 

Dating as a black queer man is notoriously hard. There are so many hurdles to jump over. There’s the stigma attached to feminine men. While this isn’t entirely unique to black queer men, I personally, think that it is worse in our community because of African views and notions of homosexuality, masculinity and gender roles in a relationship.

A few months ago, I went to a friend’s family braai. There, I met a cousin of his, let’s call him X, who is apparently, MSM. X then proceeded to tell me how crazy I made him (one does try) and said that we should date. I laughed it off and jokingly engaged him on this. He had it all planned out: He was going to love, fuck and protect me. He then asked where I lived and what I did for a living. I proceeded to tell him that I live in Soshanguve and that I’m a writer. That’s when X suggested that we go out soon, on my dime. Now, I have no problem taking people out but it’s what he said next that shocked me. “Ene ke nna tlebe ke tshwere karata ya banka, ankere ke nna monna?” basically, he had assumed that because I was more femme presenting than he is, I’d just give him control of my money because “black tops are so rare.”

But here’s the thing, black tops aren’t rare. They’re just in hiding because of society’s perceived notions of masculinity. It’s a toxic masculinity that doesn’t see beyond the binaries. It’s the type of masculinity that costs me a dick appointment and perhaps even a long term relationship after I call or send a voice note. I’ve never been ashamed of my femininity but I have started thinking that I need to “tone it down” in order to meet guys. Fucken’ tragic. Probably never happening. 

Then there’s the issue of my depression. Studies across the globe continue to state that LGBTQIA+ peoples’ rates of depression and anxiety exceed those of straight people. This, some guess, is a reaction to how society treats us. I got diagnosed with depression in November last year. It worsened after I quit my job (is it really a job if you worked there for 3 days?), The Aquarius dumped me (If you’re reading this, I need closure. And possibly goodbye sex) and I started realising that in the grand scheme of things, I ain’t shit. I sought help at the persistent urging of my friends. But the first 5 months of anti-depressants were the worst. Especially for my sex and love life.

I was put on Amitriptyline first. It left me constipated so even with all the preparation, sex was messy then. I legit think that’s why my regular casual sex bud never came back, even though he said he was a nurse and he understood. Men are fucky, hey?! Then I was on Fluoxetine which left me emotionless and without a libido. It did, however, cause me to forget stuff when I’d drink after taking it. Yes, I know it’s wrong to take anti-depressants with alcohol but I have a love-hate relationship with booze which I will address in a later post. But, I am told that at one point, I danced, topless (mkhaba and all), on a table at a local drinking establishment.

The worst and most terrifying, however, was when I walked in a daze for a good four hours, in the Tshwane CBD. I had been on a date. It went well until it came time to leave. My date excused himself to go to the bathroom. I closed my eyes for what seemed like a minute and when I opened them, I had no idea where I was. I left the restaurant and wandered the streets of Tshwane until I came to and realised that I was near the Bosman Gautrain station, with absolutely no idea how I got there. Because good people still exist, I managed to find shelter and reconnected with my date the following morning. Poor guy had almost gotten robbed looking for me. Not only had I placed my own life at risk, but another’s. A few weeks later, with the permission, but not blessing of my psychologist and psychiatrist, I went off the meds, choosing to opt for talk therapy instead. Again, with this love affair with booze. Also, I don’t think most black and brown men know how to deal with a partner with a mental illness. What with their own battles to fight.

What’s my point? Attempting to date while black, queer and living with a mental illness is hard. But it is not impossible. I live in the hope that I too can fall in love again one day with a man who’ll accept me with all my imperfections. I see queer love stories all over my social media feeds and when out socialising and I’m inspired. I just have to keep swiping right on Tinder till the one who’ll accept and love me, mkhaba et al.

The Guilt That Comes With Being Depressed

Sometime in November last year, I was diagnosed with depression. It was after I broke up with a guy I had been with for 6 months. All I remember about the days that followed was the crying, the insomnia and the obsession to have this man take me back. I was then diagnosed and started on a regiment of Amitriptyline to help me sleep. And it worked. For a while.

Then the pills didn’t work anymore. I started taking two at a time, hoping that they’ll help with the crippling pain I felt. I started drinking more than usual (because I’m basically borderline alcoholic, it’s hard to tell when this happens. A good sign: passing out at Lacantina) and then shit hit the proverbial fan. I can now reveal that the whole last week of December, I made plans to kill myself. If my family’s plans hadn’t been ruined, I probably wouldn’t have written this. I realised then that I needed urgent help and I sought it.

That’s when my psychiatrist started me on Fluoxetine, the drug I credit for making my life so much more bearable for the days I can’t speak to my psychologist.

Here’s the problem now: I feel guilty. Not guilty over being depressed as the title might suggest, but guilt about the trigger. I mean how dare I become depressed after a man leaves me when I didn’t become depressed after my father died? I feel like instead of resorting to heavy drinking and sleeping with all and sundry, I should have broken down then. Or when Leko died. After I found out, I bought two bottles of wine and sleeping pills. I think even then the plan was suicide but the wine got to me before I could do anything. How does one get over this guilt? You should hear and see people’s reactions when I tell them what triggered my depression. Said reactions add to my feelings of shame over being depressed over lost love instead of lost lives.

Not only that but I have close friends who have been dealing with depression their whole lives. I feel like my diagnosis, however valid, makes a mockery of all the pain and challenges they’ve been through. It makes me feel like I got diagnosed just for show. Like it’s some cool fad. All the cool kids are depressed, right?

Way forward? I have to resolve these feelings of guilt and shame (tautology?). A part of me has always been depressed but I couldn’t communicate it because of the stigma surrounding mental illness. I remember writing a suicide note in grade 11 or 12 and I had my friends give it to the school counsellor, just for laughs. I realise now that this was my first cry for help. She called my dad and when I got home, the first question I was asked was whether I was on drugs. I learnt then to keep my feelings and thoughts to myself especially where family’s involved. Occasionally, I’d slip up and explode on social media and because I’m Tshego, the dramatic gay bloke, people would just drum it up to an attention seeking stunt. I have no doubts that even now, there are people who feel/think like this.

All I can do, truly, is to keep up with my therapy and focus on a happier, healthier me. I know that I need to get over this guilt or otherwise I’m just setting myself back.