It’s intoxicating being a journalist. You write and have a medium in which you share your work to a professional masthead which has gathered your readership. Sometimes when you’re in a small newspaper you deceive yourself into believing that entire audience belongs to you. Until of course you try writing and sharing something on your own blog, or your own Facebook.
I came on here to write about something else and ended up having a different tangent. But I suppose I was easing into this with the point that I spend so much time attempting to connect to the world around me, and undoubtedly I do, and yet I don’t feel it.
I’m an anxious person and not so great at talking. But give me a camera and a room of work contacts and I know how to run the room. Because I have a purpose. People acceptt me because I have a reason to be there. My journalist persona is a social crutch. And when for some reason I don’t have the voice as myself as a journalist I’m a completely different person. I no longer have the reach and influence that I thought I had.
I was in a relationship for a while in which I had a reason not to obsess about work. I stepped back. And when it ended I needed to focus on work to keep the hurt absent. When I concentrated on aspects of my personal life, such as finding references for a new house to stay in, buying a bed mattress, or food shopping, it was too hard. I wasn’t any good at it.
Then I joined Tinder again. This dating app was what led to my first serious relationship. And so when I joined it again after the break-up in a small town where the proportion of men to women are infamously against my odds, it was hard. It took days to even be able to “swipe right” in favour of a girl’s photo. And then I’ve barely matched since.
Last night my housemate and I had beers and deep and meaningful conversations as I cooked scotch fillet steak which was risking being overdue on its best before. I tried to get him into the new Legend of Zelda. He passed out on the couch and so the party ended. I woke this morning ready to go to work and that’s when I had an epiphany.
I’d fallen into the Tinder trap of judging girls as either “not interested” or “way too good for me so why try?” There was no middle ground. I wondered if I should stop being so picky and try swiping right on a girl I normally would not, because it was out of the comfort zone.
So many Tinder profiles loved camping and 4WD and fishing (I live in the outback) and not things that I didn’t have the confidence to do myself. I kept thinking I needed to do these things. I needed to be fitter. I needed to be someone more than just married into my job. Yet was this all there was? Was this the only way I could meet people? No.
I’d allowed this trap to distract me from important personal connection. Of waiting for girls to match with me online before I did anything on my own. I waited for their approval. I waited for their timing in the hope we’d match.
I had a whole day. So I decided to do something active. But I wasn’t inspired more than that so I put out a cry for help on Facebook. “I’m not part of a social club. what sport can I play today?” I asked.
Athletics, golf, jogging, swimming, and pool were suggested. I chose to go golfing. I’d put off membership for months so a contact of mine and his son and I went out on the course this afternoon for a few holes.
I feel horrible right now; like Edward Cullen with a sunburn. But it was worth it. I did something different. And that actually takes a lot to get to that point when not motivated by approval of a girl or your job. I’m a 27-year-old man who for years chose whatever was given to me because I had no better option. I made do and was insecure about the decision until it no longer was applicable. I need to do more for myself and not be guided or branded by anything else. And I need to do all this before it’s too late, because without finding my real, yet quieter voice, I’m going to be cut off from community that feels the same I do.