I honestly thought I was stuck in ways I wasn’t proud of and I couldn’t do anything about it. Now I have, and I am so bloody proud.
Looking back, the changes in my life have been just bizarre over the last hundred or so days. It’s been a catalyst to ridding myself of another major timesink, Youtube and the internet in general, freeing up my life in myriad ways. My mind and conscience, which were always burdened by a secret shame in what I was doing, are feather light in the knowledge that I’m never going back.
I had always hated what I was doing, but I would always, despite my best intentions, get pulled back to those sites. At the end of last year, when it began to interfere with my Uni study, I knew I had to stop for good. Again. But this time, I found YBOP, and then the stories here gave me the motivation to stop on Christmas Eve.
The first few weeks were tough. Really tough. I was tired and moody for no reason for days at a time, and felt so such more awkward than usual that I couldn’t meet family friends in the eye when I talked to them, and even chatting with my best friend seemed a challenge. Talking to a lady at the teller was one of the most excruciatingly embarrassing three minutes of my life.Then things slowly started changed. I went jogging and swimming, culminating in running 12 miles the other weekend just on a whim (an exhausting mistake, as it turned out, but a cool story!) I started eating well. I started taking James Bond showers.The nurse giving me a jab made a flattering comment about my arms. The cute teller at the bank chatted with me for a while and asked if I was a swimmer. I joined a gym(!) for the first time in my life. Some days I barely felt like I could talk to people, even 50 days in, but they were becoming fewer. I went on a trip with my friends for a couple of weeks, just for the hell of it, something I would never normally do. Eating well, exercising well, Bond showering. I started doing yoga, I stated meditating. I felt healthy as heck.
I’ve always had a weird relationship with girls. I’m nineteen and I have never even kissed a girl, or held a girl’s hand. Yet I had ridiculously high standards of both looks and personality and felt a weird kind of… contempt, almost, for anyone who was beneath them, which was nearly everyone. But guys, thank God, that insane attitude has just completely dissipated over the last few months. Everyone looks beautiful to me, to the extent where sometimes I’ll just say to friends, “all the girls here look really pretty today,” or even once “all the girls here are dressed really beautifully today.” This is probably the best thing that has happened, to have dragged my mind free from that filthy mire and be able to appreciate real, natural women. That alone has made it worth it. To have girls noticing me back, and a friend (a girl who is in a relationship), smile at me while the group was talking about relationships and say “no-one would break up with you,” makes the whole experience even more amazing.
And then there was one amazing 24 hour period last week, one that would have seemed like an ambitious fantasy even two weeks ago and flat-out impossible, like some idealised lie, last year. One night, I went out to a party. I always have felt uncomfortably visible on any kind of dance floor, or even parties in general. But tonight, for the first time ever, I bloody danced without caring what anyone thought. Five guys came up to me over the night and hi fived me. Madness.
Got about 4 hours sleep before Uni, which usually is half my standard and would leave me dead, but today I was buzzing, and my heart was pounding in my chest all day, because that afternoon was the afternoon I had promised myself I would ask out a girl I really like for the first time in my entire life. A year ago, messed up by you-know-what, I literally never even thought to ask a girl out, because I expected it would work out that they should come to me. I was amazingly insecure and amazingly arrogant. How far away that seems now. I found her, summoned up all the courage I had, adrenaline coursing in my body. I’ve given speeches in front of hundreds of people before, and I promise you this was the most nerve-wracking thing I’ve ever done. And I asked.
I got home, went to the gym, where I swear an absolutely beautiful girl was a little flirty with me! Saw some friends, then went to another(!) party that evening. A girl I knew said her friends (plural) had told her I was the cutest guy there. Never happened before. And then…I saw the girl I had asked out that day, when I didn’t even know she was coming. I chatted with her for a while, comfortably, having a bit of a laugh together, even though it turns out we’re not going to go out. She has a boyfriend.
In a way, I don’t mind. I opened up after years of being closed, to someone I have genuine feelings for, in a way I never thought I could, and I’m so happy I could cry. In another way, I care so much that it hurts, and the next day I actually did get a bit teary for a few minutes. But I didn’t mope for hours, or get self-indulgent or angry like I’m sure I might have last year. I really like her as a friend, too, and am happy to stay that way.
Reading over this, it feels like a dream. People have noticed the changes in me. I can’t thank the people here enough for inspiring me to turn my life around. I know this all pretty saccharine, but I’m feeling giddy just articulating it all and reliving it again. I’m not religious, but I imagine this is how people who are born again must feel. I feel happy. I feel clean. For the first time in years, I feel like me.
It’s good to be back.