This article has been sitting in my drafts folder for months with just three words written:
“SPILL GUTS HERE”.
But I couldn’t find the guts to spill my guts, until now.
I was discussing my tendency to keep thoughts and feelings to myself with my therapist Miguel on our weekly phone call, and he’s urged me to open up and share more openly on my blog.
Even if it seems painful.
Here goes nothing...
When I was a kid I was scared of making phone calls
Really. My mum used to have to cajole me into it. And I’m still not keen on using the telephone when other people are listening.
Almost every school report I ever got said “James needs to contribute more in class”
I didn’t talk much as I should have. And I still remember my teacher taking me aside to talk about shyness. He said I could get over it, but I was convinced it was genetic and couldn’t be changed. Guess who was right?
My first girlfriend dumped me after our first date
It was actually a double date with a couple of other kids from school. We went to see 12 Monkeys at the cinema, and I did my usual shy/awkward thing and hardly spoke a word. The next day her friend (not her!) phoned me up to say it was over.
I’m unbeaten at Monopoly
But maybe that’s because I’m the eldest of three siblings and it’s pretty easy to outwit someone years younger than you when you’re a kid.
Most of the time I have no idea what I’m doing.
In fact, I don’t think anyone really knows what they are doing. If it looks like they do, they’re most likely pretending. So I’ve given up on long-term planning. What will I be doing in 5 years from now? 10 years from now? I don’t know.
I haven’t spoken to my brother for more than 6 months
We fell out when we were living together a couple of years ago, and things haven’t been good since. I guess both of us are waiting for the other to make the first move.
Socialising with large groups of people isn’t my thing
I’d much prefer to go for a drink with one or two friends than a whole table full of people. When there are more people around, I have a habit of shutting down and letting others do the talking. (I’m working on this though).
I’m really bad at saying goodbye
Sometimes I’ll wait until no-one is looking and slip out the back rather than say goodbye. I don’t know why I find it so awkward to leave, but I do.
My most embarrassing moment?
When I was a student we were out clubbing at a drum’n’bass night. It was pretty dark, and everyone was jumping around a fair bit, and somehow I managed to put my hand down the back of some guy’s (baggy) trousers. Just for a split second. I guess I was waving my hands about too much. Thankfully he never worked out what had happened because it happened so fast.
Dancing makes me happy.
But usually I don’t have the confidence to dance with other people unless I’m drunk. (Otherwise I’m the guy standing on the side of the room with my arms crossed). Sometimes when I’m at home I’ll have a private dance-off in my bedroom if I’m feeling down or lethargic. Maybe we should do some Google Hangout dance sessions some time?
Writing makes me squirm
I’ve started waking up earlier so I can write, but a lot of the time I just lay on my bed staring up at the ceiling, or going round in circles checking my emails and social media. Sometimes for more than an hour. But I know that moving towards the things you feel afraid of leads to good things happening, so I guess it’s ok.
I wish I hadn’t stopped having piano lessons
After years learning to play the piano and getting to grade 5, I stopped when I was a teenager because I was bored of playing classical music. My parents told me I’d regret it. They were right.
My career in music never really got off the ground
I’ve been making electronic music since I was 19, and have self-published at least 3 albums worth of material. (Here’s one of my old MySpace accounts… ha). I even used to run a club night in Glasgow with a friend, but when I moved to London I stopped recording, and now my audio equipment is gathering dust around my bedroom. I still dream about being on stage playing my songs to people, but maybe it’s best to keep it that way.
I’m addicted to a crappy TV show
It’s called Eastenders, and it’s a soap opera about a fictional part of East London. I think it started when I was living on my own in Glasgow, and the cast of the show became a kind of surrogate family. When I moved to London I got a kick out of the fact you could see the street I live on in the opening credits. Most of time I watch it on my iPad so my flatmates don’t find out.
I spent my life savings trying to save a relationship
When I had a breakdown in 2012 and quit my job to go travelling with my girlfriend at the time, I thought it would solve everything. That somewhere on our coast-to-coast trip across America, or when I got back, a spark would fly across my brain and I’d suddenly know what I wanted to do with my life. But by the time we got home there was no money left. Nothing. We had to move out of our apartment and put our stuff in storage. Then I moved in with my parents for a while to save money. And it’s taken me another couple of years to clear off my credit card debts since then. (Don’t quit your job...yet)
Why am I sharing all of this with you?
Because honesty matters to me.
Because I want to be myself, not a fake, blemish free, smoke-and-mirrors version.
Because exploring dark places leads you to the light.
And I’m trying to open myself up to the world after a lifetime of being the quiet guy.
I’m not sure what you’ll make of this list — but I’d love it if you could share something about yourself in the comments below.
Posted to life in 2014.