My own journey

Second year: Expanding possibilities

Over the summer, I started dabbling in other pursuits: Now that the salsa season had ended, I signed up for 2 months of fencing lessons, which sadly turned out disappointing. It was fun to try, but after years of freestyle fighting with all sorts of foam weaponry, this discipline seemed rather limited by arbitrary rules ("So... you're saying it'd be ...discourteous... to strike at my opponent's exposed legs?") and the skill ceiling was disappointingly low. We had international level teachers who had been fencing for decades, and instead of them being able to annihilate me at will, I could walk in from the street and score about one in four points by my second lesson. It was fun to try, but fencing didn't seem to have much to offer me for the time invested, so I quickly dropped this discipline again and moved on.

I discovered a form of brief workout, that had a private coach to make sure I wasn't using my body poorly (reinforcing bad posture), and which was time efficient enough to have me putting in a burst once a week - enough to at least make me aware of and better able to use a handful of the bigger muscle groups in my body. After starting these regular workouts I also took up a season of parkour, which was great fun and taught me to use my body in more natural, playful and efficient manners, but I had to break it off a few months in, because the teachers (fitness nuts who worked out 6 hours a day, 7 days a week) were acting with reckless disregard for my body's health in how they pushed me. Even as I was in worse condition than many, I found that I could still enjoy many benefits of the lessons because I had the confidence to take breaks or go easy when they were pressing the group too ridiculously, but a few months down the road after a 45 minute warmup-session of jumping up and down concrete stairs, my knees kindly informed me that I was headed straight for injury if I continued to accept teaching from those people. So I dropped it, though once again happy with having tried something new, and happy with the many useful basics I had learned over just a few months.

Though I had no use for a car in my daily life (being quite happy with my bike and the public transportation), I knew I'd want a driver's license eventually and figured now was as good a time as any. The cheaper way would have been to take a quick burst of lessons and pass the exam out in the country. Still, it was essential for me that I'd feel comfortable driving in the city and I wanted to build up my routine slow enough that it would be less of a problem when I went years without getting occasion to use it, so I decided the right option for me was to take it in the middle of the city, with occasional lessons over a 6 month period, even if it wound up costing a couple of extra lessons to make up for it.

I've always been an extreme optimist, but after moving to the city I noticed that I was starting to feel more and more unlucky, which was very out of character for me. I considered why I might be feeling that way, and realized that my habits from my old home often had me noticing how lucky I was, when I caught some of the daily busses just in the nick of time or similar small things like that. Rationally, I realized that I was probably experiencing about a similar share of "lucky" and "unlucky" outcomes after moving, but that I had allowed my mind to get into a habit of focusing on the bad ones, when my daily habits changed. Now that I was aware of this, I made the conscious decision that my mind's focus should once again be on the good outcomes and, ever since that insight, it's been natural for me to be lucky.

Meanwhile my relationship had started going downhill. I felt I truly loved her, and was always naively convinced we would be living happily ever after, even as a part of me was constantly in doubt, because I had never let myself experience what relationships with other women would be like before committing like this. We had spent great summer holidays together, with me enjoying the company of her family (we almost never saw my family or friends together), but over the autumn she experienced some emotional instability. It wasn't so much that this happened - I was prepared to be her saving knight and stand by her through such times - but rather that she said there was nothing to do about it; that she would have to break down and pick herself together every year. This I couldn't be a part of and, for perhaps the first time ever, I made a clear demand in our relationship: That I needed her to believe that things could get better and this was something we could overcome with time. She reluctantly agreed to this, but over the coming months she disrespected me on two occasions. Both were about something inconsequential, but I could not accept such behavior from her and so we broke up.

As I looked back on that relationship, I realized how extremely inhibited I had been in it. All of our serious conversations had happened via texting and MSN - even our break-up, though that wasn't really planned when the conversation started. I also found that I had allowed myself to become a really boring person around her, with us not really having much to do besides watching movies and having sex, since I basically felt a need for her permission to do anything else than that when we were together. As I got a bit of distance, it also occurred to me that while I had stayed active and tried to develop myself "for her", she had been very content with her routines, and that while she was a bit out of shape, I had been forcing myself to believe that looks didn't matter for me, because I was such a good and proper person, by the values society had taught me. A common thread in all of this, is that these were all inhibitions/disconnects with my own desires that I myself had allowed to happen.

I had always been passionate about learning to please women sexually, and had sought out such information online. A few months after the relationship, I traveled the dark shady corners of the internet and heard mention of David Shade's products. I was skeptic about the high prices and extreme claims, but gave The Secrets of Female Sexuality (.uk / .ca) a try and was utterly sold - when I speak of how you will sometimes encounter great experts who will teach you a subject from a completely new angle, yet make it so much easier and make so much more sense than the limiting beliefs society has been feeding you all your life, this book is one of the greatest examples you will ever encounter. It literally changed my perspective on this aspect of reality overnight and instantly showed me how it could be easy to go beyond what I had previously thought humanly possible.

As I started working my way through all the David Shade products, I was longing for the opportunity to lead women through these kinds of pleasure. I took some interactions in that direction, but it quickly became apparent to me that I was failing miserably; even the friends who had seemed hot for me while I was unavailable, and the women on casual dating sites, seemed suddenly uninterested, now that I was a nice guy broadcasting neediness. I was frustrated by this total lack of control - on a deep level it simple felt wrong for me as a guy to not be able to attract women, or to not be able to act on the attraction on the rare cases when they did seem initially interested.

I had heard of the book The Game(.uk / .ca), and how it was possible to learn seduction. While I had hesitated quite a bit to explore that direction, it only took a few months of total lack of control to at least read it and see what it was about. This was an entertaining read, that opened my eyes to a great many possibilities and elements of communication that had completely passed me by. The methods laid out in the book felt extremely incongruent with who I am (through my later journey I've realized that they screen for validation-seeking low self-esteem women), but with this door now open, I discovered David DeAngelo, who offered a lot of great programs on developing my masculine identity and simply becoming aware of body language, sexual tension and other subtle aspects of communication and the signals I was broadcasting. His programs on "inner game" (basically identity and confidence) helped me build the foundations of a stronger identity and going through the mental transition to seeing myself as a man - which shouldn't have been a powerful change in an adult male being, but quite frankly we're suffering an epidemic of guys, boys and miscellaneous other male beings who still don't see themselves as men, nor have any clue how to get there.

During this progress, I started forming some of the closest friendships I've had, with people who were likewise in the process of finding and developing themselves, who lived at my dorm and liked to spontaneously crash for some gaming a few times a week. I also explored new possibilities for the roles I took in my social circles, deciding to make use of a cheaply rented house associated with our dorm and actually throw a large scale party for once and on my own initiative (and not caring all that much that it turned out more convenient to place that sort of birthday party 1-2 months after the actual date). Having actually met some of my online friends in real life for the first time during the autumn, when a Croatian professor stopped by my place for a few days during his work in Denmark, along with another Danish friend, I also found my sense of possibility suddenly expanded in this regard. On one of the last evenings when I recall being really thoroughly bored, I defaulted to planning something exciting and, spotting a hole in my calendar 3 weekends hence, "organized" our first international guild meeting by writing our 200 members and inviting anyone who cared to join, to crash my place at that time. This modest amount of planning and initiative proved quite sufficient to enjoy a great time with 9 people from 6 countries, and laid the groundwork for a full-week event over the summer and a couple of additional events in the following years. During these events, I also noticed how this group of adults enjoyed simply playing around with board games and childhood games like water fights and hide & seek. Somehow I learned that most adults were still able to enjoy childlike play, though I found that most social settings were far too rigid for them to ever consider anything of the sort.

I carried on writing/performing at the cabaret and the junior LARP, became part of the volunteer tutor crew for new students and took a few months of bollywood dance lessons - not a huge success but had the unexpected side-effect of landing me as the sole man on a team of 30 young women, since it apparently isn't considered a masculine past-time outside India. Over the summer, I switched my gentler exercise for weekly crossfit, which was extremely tough but also felt more rewarding, and went for my first international LARP experience with 6300 players in Germany - a fun experience, though it turned out to be more of a LARP-festival than serious plot- and character-driven play.

Tutoring was a particularly developing experience: Over the spring, we spent a lot of weekends getting to know each other, so we could split into the teams that we felt would work best together, prepare and plan for a month and then let it all culminate in two weeks of 24/7 dedication, with the latter week being the intro trip when each team had full responsibility for ~50 new students. This sort of leadership role and cooperation was by itself a great learning experience, but we also followed it up with evaluations of both the process but also brutally honest and off-the-record evaluations of each other. It was a surprise to realize that I had never before had such an opportunity for blatantly honest feedback from people I had worked so closely with, through responsibility, pressure and lack of sleep. Back then, one person summed my current state up really well when he said that I was a person without middle ground: Everything I did, I would either do awesomely great or spectacularly bad, with nothing in-between falling into plain mediocrity. The unfiltered feedback, and this observation in particular, really strengthened my motivation to go from extreme specialist to all-around capable renaissance man.

Next up: Third year: Breaching the comfort-zone

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