Thursday, 19 May 2011

I am who I am...

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.

15 comments:

wife10yearsin said...

At the risk of sounding trite, I think that whenever you next find yourself dating someone, she'll find the fact that you like yourself to be insanely attractive. So, good for you.

Catharine said...

I kind of know the feeling. I like myself now and it's nice, and a relief, and even though life's still far from perfect, that doesn't seem like a reason not to any more. It's amazing how much harder it is to completely hate yourself when you're out of your teens, it's brilliant.

But, annoyingly, the only times I actually hate myself now are caused by me actually liking myself and getting angry at myself if I think I've let myself down.

I'm considering trying to make my brain think I'm just completely and utterly average for a while, see how that goes.

Innocent Loverboy said...

@w10yi: If I ever manage to date anyone again, I'll let you know!

@Catharine: One of the points you make is the fact that even if you do feel good about yourself, when you feel you've let yourself down it's harder to get back up again. I identify entirely - I cried for about five hours when I failed to make my university's University Challenge team, and for about three days when my degree results came in. I recently found out, however, that I wasn't the only one to do that.

Still, it's difficult. Damned if you do, damned if you don't, eh?

Catharine said...

aww! at least they're quite exciting things to cry about.

the22ndcatch said...

We're the same age. Aged 16, I was lucky enough to have the direction I wanted to take already pinned down, plus the encouragement of a supportive family, and with high grades and all the other silly things that mattered back then, I think I was quite content. So I can't relate directly to the message of your post.

But I can say that I relate to your sensation of epiphenomena, particularly at 1:30am. I felt that contentment. After a struggle of conscience which you eventually resolve.

More importantly, at least for me given my line of work, I really enjoyed reading this post. I always enjoy your honesty, but this slice of your life is particularly well written.

When you start your comic book series, count me in.

-JY

Innocent Loverboy said...

At 16 I had the high grades myself - I always have, with nothing below a B at GCSEs, sufficient A2s to get me into university (although the ASs were a bit shit, so I redid a lot of the modules) and a 2:1 overall from uni, not too bad - and I had quite a lot of friends, although not many I could confide in too much. I also had the supportive family you mention. I wasn't particularly content, though. Maybe just as a side-effect of being me. I dunno. I never was.

And don't worry, my comic book series is constantly evolving in my head, due to the amount of graphic novels I read. I have a stylised picture of a still frame featuring you, me, James and Jake standing united against... some unknown enemy, superhero-stylée. I haven't defined the enemies yet.

I'd draw it, though, if I could draw. But bear in mind, if I could, you'd be in it.

Catharine said...

with lycra and everything?

Innocent Loverboy said...

Nope, my imagination doesn't go that far. If there were a graphic novel series about sex blogger superheroes, I imagine the men would wear suits, and the women would wear whatever they want.

[Nota Bené: The strikethrough HTML tag isn't allowed on Blogger comments; if it were, what I just wrote would be a lot funnier.]

Catharine said...

women in lycra are good too

Innocent Loverboy said...

True, that. Although I'd prefer them out of lycra.

Catharine said...

If the men are all in suits and the women are all naked I'm not reading.

Innocent Loverboy said...

I'm not sure. My brain puts all the women in pretty dresses, but I'm sure not all girls dress like that. And not all superheroes dress in lycra.

Uhm, pass. I tend to see the girls dressed up in... well, whatever they usually dress in!

Catharine said...

they're not superheroes, they're wedding guests!

Innocent Loverboy said...

Oddly enough, for the wedding of Green Arrow and Black Canary, everyone came in their superhero gear, just in case.

Catharine said...

"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?"

Also yes. :p

Stop telling fibs on the Internet!