I’ve always been an introvert, an outsider, not one of the ‘in crowd.’ It started at school where I was a shy, chubby boy who was rubbish at rugby and didn’t speak to a girl until I went to university. That boy still exists, I’ve just got better at hiding him, laying down layers of defence mechanisms to convince the watching world that I’m confident, capable and charismatic. I’ve got quite good at it, a chameleon hiding amongst the hyenas.
I’m married to a wonderful woman and we have three fantastic kids, in addition to the world’s most disobedient border terrier. I hold down a responsible, interesting job and we are financially comfortable. I’ve run ten marathons and written and published three books. Not bad at all. Yet, beneath it all, I still feel I’m on the outside, looking in. I still believe others look down at me and close ranks when I dare to edge towards them.
You might say this is all in my head, to wake up and smell the coffee. But old habits die hard and this is one of the hardest. My natural leaning is still to change my personality, beliefs and morals to fit in with others. I’m willing to discard my true self and play a role in order to be accepted by the cool kids. This temptation is probably at its highest on social media where it’s so easy to forget who you are and create an alternative version of the truth.
The great thing about temptation, though, is that you can resist it. Which is what I do. Every day I try to be me. Sometimes it works to my benefit while on other occasions I fall flat on my face in spectacular fashion. But at least what you see is what you get. Warts and all. This is why I turn up here every day and write. To connect with, and encourage, others who feel equally torn between reality and fantasy. I say…be true to who you are, even if it leaves you on the outside looking in.