Hello there, I appreciate your interest and time in getting to know a bit about me. I’m Leander! I reside in The Hague, a city situated in the charming European country of Holland, also known as The Netherlands. My roots trace back to Delft, a quaint town neighboring The Hague. My father hails from Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, while my mother was born in Suriname, a South American nation.

My arrival on this planet occurred on July 17, 1980, during a scorching summer day, as per my mother’s recollection. I must admit, I was a bit tardy, arriving about two weeks past my due date. It seems I was in no rush to face the harsh world and was quite content staying in my mother’s womb indefinitely. Nonetheless, the inevitable moment arrived, and I made my entrance on the night of July 17, 1980, at 7:26 PM.

Reflecting on my upbringing, it’s clear that it wasn’t the easiest journey. I found myself to be somewhat of a loner, with a limited circle of friends due to my unique interests. Additionally, I was, well, let’s say “extra cared for” by my parents. I don’t want to label it as “overprotection,” but they were quite vigilant, which is understandable since I’m their only son. Yes, I’m an only child, and sometimes I wonder what it would have been like to have an older brother or sister. However, I remained the sole focus of their attention, which, in the end, I’ve come to accept.

I must admit, I was rather spoiled, a trait that has lingered into my present. But let’s not stray off topic and remain focused.

As I mentioned earlier, my journey through childhood was quite challenging. I never truly felt at ease with myself, always sensing that I didn’t quite fit in. During my elementary school years, I did have some peers I spent time with, but, for some inexplicable reason, I felt like I couldn’t fully express my true self. It’s hard to put into words, but I believe I had an innate awareness of my own “difference” from an early age, and, indeed, I was undeniably unique. Very unique, in fact.

My high school experience was undeniably rough. I managed to navigate the first year, which was a small victory in itself. However, the second year proved to be a nightmarish ordeal. I found myself attending a larger school with approximately 4,000 students, and this transition left me feeling profoundly uncomfortable and fearful.

My time at this school was relatively short-lived, as I was essentially bullied out of it when I was around 13 or 14 years old. This was a deeply traumatic experience that has left a lasting imprint in my memory. While I’ve learned to cope with it better over time, thanks to therapy, it was undeniably unpleasant. I vividly remember the dread I felt when, after school, I’d notice a group of bullies waiting for me by my bike outside the school. It was a paralyzing sensation, the fear of having nowhere to escape to, knowing that these bullies would taunt me, get physical, damage my bike, and even smear a peanut butter sandwich in my hair. Yes, it was that bad.

I kept this torment bottled up inside me, never revealing it to my parents until I reached the age of 21. Despite these trials, I eventually completed my high school education at the age of 18, thanks to an alternative evening schooling program. I’m proud to say that I did graduate in the end.

As I grew older, I continued to grapple with numerous internal struggles. It wasn’t until later in life that I came to the realization that my romantic attraction leaned towards boys instead of girls. However, at a certain age, it’s common to suppress or disregard these feelings, primarily due to the prevailing societal attitudes that often label such attractions as bad, disgusting, unnatural, or simply wrong.

There were a few individuals who began to suspect that I might be gay. I’m not entirely sure if this contributed to the bullying I experienced in school or if it was unrelated. Nonetheless, because so many people view being gay as wrong, I, too, started to internalize this belief at some point.

Upon receiving my high school diploma, I had the opportunity to further my education. However, I didn’t stick with it for long because, in early 2000, I made the decision to pack my bags and embark on a journey to Ireland. It marked my first experience of leaving home, securing my first job, and immersing myself in an entirely new environment. The escape from the familiar felt refreshing, and I resided in Ireland for nearly two years.

Eventually, a sense of boredom and homesickness crept in, prompting my return to Holland for a few months. But the allure of new horizons beckoned, and I soon found myself relocating to London. I had received a job offer at the Air France office in the Wembley area of the city and completed a one-month training program. However, the high cost of living in London quickly became apparent, prompting me to make the pragmatic decision to return home once again. It was a swift departure from London, but it seemed like the right choice given the financial challenges posed by the city’s expenses.

Back in the Netherlands, I experienced a period of unemployment that lasted nearly six months. Then, I secured a job at KLM in Amsterdam. My journey with KLM commenced with training, and I officially joined the workforce in July 2002. Starting something new was a bit daunting, as it meant meeting new people and adjusting to a fresh environment. I dedicated seven years to my role there, ultimately concluding my tenure in September 2009.

By 2002, I had become more self-aware of my sexuality, acknowledging that I was gay. Despite the prevalent societal prejudices against it, I had been engaging in a lot of introspection and self-discovery. It wasn’t long before I mustered the courage to come out to my parents, though the experience was quite dramatic. Strangely enough, the words “I am gay” didn’t quite escape my lips during the conversation.

We were engaged in a heartfelt dialogue about other matters, and I hinted at having something important to share. The room was filled with lengthy silences, and it was my dad who eventually encouraged me to express it, to which I simply nodded in agreement. What was surprising, however, was the reaction from both of my parents. I had preconceived notions that my mom would be accepting while my dad might react negatively. As it turned out, it was quite the opposite. It felt like a curveball, especially because I had always been closer to my mother, leading me to assume she’d be more understanding. Yet, the situation was awkward; my mom cried, I cried, and it was just an emotionally charged moment.

I engaged in further introspection, confided in my friends, and gradually grew more accepting of my own identity. I came to realize that it’s perfectly fine to be gay. Love transcends gender, and it’s not a matter of choice. I mean, if it were a choice, would anyone willingly opt to face discrimination and prejudice? It’s a serious question to ponder..

Around the same period when I came out to my parents, they began to come to terms with it, albeit without discussing it openly. It was during this time that I started to open up to my parents about my high school experiences, including the bullying I endured. Sharing this with them was a relief, and they expressed a wish that I had confided in them sooner. However, I suppose I had my own fears that held me back.

The relationship with my parents grew closer as I met someone special in the fall of 2008. His name was Stefan, and we crossed paths through an online BlackBerry forum. He added me on BlackBerry Messenger, and our conversations led us to connect on MSN and later Skype. Eventually, he became my boyfriend, even though he was a decade younger than me.

In the summer of 2009, Stefan traveled to Holland to visit me, staying for two months. Of course, I had to introduce him to my parents, and they were incredibly supportive. They had the chance to meet Stefan, and everything went remarkably well. Stefan returned to Holland in December 2009 for Christmas and New Year’s. My feelings for him were deep and genuine, and he reciprocated that love and care in kind. We shared many wonderful moments together.

In September 2009, I made the difficult choice to leave my job after dedicating seven years to it. I was grappling with depression and sadness, and unresolved issues from my past began to resurface and torment me. These struggles affected my job performance, as I found it increasingly challenging to carry out my tasks effectively. I was unhappy with who I had become, overwhelmed by feelings of sadness, inadequacy, and a sense of not fitting in. In addition, I was battling with anxiety attacks, which further compounded my difficulties.

It was a time when I felt like I was losing myself, my thoughts consumed by a myriad of issues from my past and profound questions about my own identity. I couldn’t understand why I acted in certain ways or why I harbored unexplained fears. Consequently, I made the decision to step away from my job, recognizing that it was the right choice for me at that moment. I needed the space to reflect and work through these pressing matters.

The grip of depression on me continued to tighten, and I found myself wrestling with persistent sadness. It was a challenging time marked by a sense of directionlessness; I felt lost and uncertain about what I truly wanted. After several months of unemployment, I had to navigate the process of registering at the unemployment office, which, I must say, did not go as smoothly as I had hoped.

As time passed, my sadness deepened, and the treatment I received at the unemployment office didn’t align with my expectations. Memories from the past resurfaced, intensifying my emotional struggles. I began to grapple with social anxiety, experiencing nervous breakdowns, and I frequently felt emotionally drained and fragile. Additionally, I started to experience auditory and visual hallucinations, though I’ll delve into those experiences in more detail later on.

Following six months at the unemployment office, I was directed to Social Services at the beginning of 2010 due to my ongoing unemployment. Unfortunately, my experience there was far from positive; I felt as though I was just another face in the crowd of unemployed individuals they had to handle. It became clear that I needed a respite, a well-deserved break from the challenges I was facing.

In May 2010, I embarked on a journey to Toronto alongside my friend Cindy, where we visited Stefan. It was my inaugural visit to Canada, and I must admit, I fell in love with the place. Even though my stay was just two weeks, it was an incredible and memorable experience. Leaving and returning home was an emotional ordeal because Stefan meant the world to me. He held a special place in my heart as my first love.

Upon my return from Canada, I found myself entangled with Social Services once again. I dreaded what they called “service,” and unbeknownst to them, my mental state was deteriorating. I felt increasingly despondent, frequently in tears, and plagued by nervous breakdowns. Moreover, I continued to experience hallucinations, both visual and auditory.

I withdrew, spending most of my days hidden away at home, relying on Skype to communicate with Stefan. It was only when my father intervened, coaxing me out of bed and my apartment, that I sought help from a doctor. During a lengthy conversation with my doctor, I bared my soul, detailing my emotions and the hallucinations that haunted me. In response, the doctor recommended that I consult a psychiatrist, and I followed through.

In June 2010, I had my initial session with the psychiatrist, and the diagnosis was striking: I was suffering from psychosis, a condition triggered by my severe depression. The lack of support and the unwillingness of Social Services to listen to my concerns had exacerbated my mental health struggles. However, I’m grateful that my father intervened and compelled me to seek professional help. Without his intervention, I shudder to think about the path I might have taken.

In August 2010, Stefan ended our relationship through BlackBerry Messenger, and I was utterly shattered. Dealing with this heartbreak, coupled with the other challenges I was facing, was exceptionally tough. I struggled to make sense of it all and it took several months to even begin to heal. I kept holding onto a glimmer of hope, but that hope was finally extinguished shortly after New Year’s when he made it abundantly clear that our relationship was truly over.

The dreams and plans we once had together were suddenly erased. Moving on was a lengthy and arduous process, particularly because we were accustomed to talking on Skype every day. The sudden absence of that connection was jarring and left me yearning for closure, although I couldn’t quite articulate why.

Considering the weight of everything I was already going through, the breakup added an extra layer of pain. However, I genuinely wish Stefan all the best, and I hope he finds what he’s been seeking. Gradually, I began to accept that our chapter had ended and started the slow process of moving forward.

In September 2010, I launched a new YouTube channel and began the practice of creating and uploading daily vlogs. I used this platform to share my life, experiences, and personal struggles, including my battle with depression, with the online community. I held nothing back, often using the vlogs as an emotional outlet, openly sharing moments of vulnerability, tears, and the whole gamut of my emotions on video.

The support and encouragement I received from viewers who watched my vlogs were invaluable to me, and I’m immensely grateful for it. Simultaneously, I continued my weekly therapy sessions and shared my experiences, as well as discussions from these sessions, with my YouTube audience.

In December 2010, I received an unexpected invitation from YouTube to become a partner. This partnership allowed me to earn income through advertisements displayed on my videos and channel. It came as quite a surprise because I consider myself to be D-List and becoming a YouTube partner was a challenging feat at that time, given that my subscriber count and view numbers weren’t particularly high. They still aren’t, but I have no complaints, and I’m appreciative of the opportunity.

I decided to conclude my daily vlogging journey after reaching my 900th vlog. Subsequently, I removed all my daily vlogs from my YouTube channel and transformed it into a Sims 4 gaming channel. On this new platform, I predominantly create speed build videos featuring houses and community lots for The Sims 4.

Since the beginning of 2016, my channel has seen a notable increase in subscribers, and I am truly appreciative of the views and feedback I received from people all around the world. This positive response serves as a significant source of motivation for me.

In February 2018, I embarked on a new venture: streaming on Twitch. I’ve continued to stream every weekend, and I genuinely relish the experience of playing games and engaging with a diverse audience. I maintain a light-hearted approach, not taking myself too seriously, and thoroughly enjoy banter and humor. It’s truly wonderful to connect with like-minded individuals in the Twitch community.

I continue to put in the effort to improve myself and to thoroughly explore my emotions and feelings. While I do encounter moments of sadness, I’ve acquired the ability to identify them and employ effective coping strategies. It’s an ongoing journey, but I remain optimistic and keep my spirits high.

Leander

I feel totally Tai Tai-ed!
September 27, 2008
A day in Belgium
June 2, 2007
Saying good-bye
August 29, 2008