Ten years ago, when I was 16, if you had asked me if I liked being me, I would have said no. Becoming increasingly disenchanted with the world around me, losing the majority of my boyish enthusiasm to crippling depression, no real idea of where I was going in life, increasing academic pressure coupled with the expectation that I'd do well, thus heaping more on, and the constant formation of romantic relationships around me, none of which actually involved me.
Fast forward ten years, and where do you find me? Single, unemployed, destitute. Living in my parents' house with very little to look forward to, barring the odd social occasion, many of which I can't actually afford. Small things aggravate me, large things slow me down. Nothing has stopped me completely, but that doesn't mean that it can't.
However, I have one thing on my side... I like being me.
It took me years to work this out. But I like being ILB. I settled down into bed last night at about 1:30am, and felt warm, slightly smiling to myself. I am [my real name], and I am ILB, and I can be contented with that, I thought. Random thing to think at 1:30am, but then again - why not think that?
Hating myself would be so easy. After all, how many archetypes do I fill? The nice guy who never gets the girls? The fall-guy? The clown? The comic sidekick, the second banana, the underappreciated genius, the geek? My temperament doesn't allow for any bravado that isn't false. I have very little force and I don't like to persuade. Physically, I am weak. I pale, in terms of sexual attractiveness, into relative insignificance, when compared to other boys, even over media such as the Internet. Hugs? Yes. Sex? Oh, please. I'm not that kind of lovely. And am I funny? Am I talented? I may well be. Nobody knows, because nobody came to my last gig and therefore I didn't play it.
But, despite all that - maybe because of all that - I like being who I am. Mostly. I don't think anyone really likes being who they are all the time. We all have something we'd see in the Mirror of Erised. But I'm coming to see me in a much more positive light. I have daydreams about a sex blogger comic book series, where I appear as one of the main team players, compete with halo and 1337 skills. And it's not such a bad life, after all, even if you are stuck at home, when you have friends over the Internet you can talk to. When someone says something to me on Twitter, I feel loved. And that's a hard feeling to come by. But it happens.
I don't like the situation I'm in. I think we are all aware that I would work much better being in a totally different setting - but then again, the one I'm in does allow for a lot of thought, self-deprecating humour, devastatingly witty banter and outright lies. And if there's a gap that needs filling, I'm willing to fill it. Because of the person I am, the person who I like being...
...who shines with light - albeit maybe just a little too brightly.