Saturday, December 10, 2011
36 days to 40
Entering the sixth form I made a conscious effort to completely reinvent myself; something I've fairly successfully pulled off twice over the course of the last 40 years. It didn't hurt that I dropped some weight over that summer, and the platonic (though I'd wished for two years that she'd be more) girlfriend that had shared my love of heavy metal, videogames, and geeky movies had finally caved and noticed that I was more than just an awesome study buddy. Suddenly I was visible. I made new friends (hardly any of my old crew had stayed at school past 16,) I started playing guitar in a band, I grew my hair long, and for some reason people started to seek out what I had to say about things.
The shyness remained though. I don't remember why I chose to deal with it the way that I did, but as a life strategy it has served me very well ever since; if in doubt, I would move towards whatever made me most uncomfortable. I'd get up on-stage to play in the band, I'd volunteer for speaking engagements, I'd try and reach out to new people, but all of it was always almost debilitating in how nerve-wracking it was. Looking back now, I wonder if someone encouraged me to behave this way, or if it was some piece of advice from my grandad (the source of much practical life-knowledge in my youth; his best being "just say yes and take no notice,) I really don't recall. Still...it's something that worked for me, and I will no doubt be imparting it to my own boys when they get older.