Shed Another Shell

In our free periods during sixth form, Will and I would often find ourselves scouring the aisles of Co-op (other supermarkets are available) for stress-relieving snacks that would give us both the best possible reason to procrastinate. It was never that hard to convince Will to down tools and put that work off for a little bit longer. The immortal question “Co-op?” would usually be rebuffed with the insistence that “I need to finish this essay, it’s due in an hour”, but in the end the temptation of a bag of Doritos or a bottle of Coke was always too much, and off we would go. The shop itself is relatively narrow for all customers, let alone those in wheelchairs, and from these experiences came the realisation that wherever I stop my chair, I will always be in someone’s way. It’s completely unintended, of course, but I often find that it’s the same everywhere I go. In middle school, I was sternly told that for health and safety reasons I could not drive at my top speed, but this was an instruction I disobeyed from the start. It therefore fell to a boy in my class to scream “MODE 5!” whenever I was spied at a forbidden speed, the highest being the fifth. I took great pleasure in going everywhere as fast as I could, but it’s memories like those that would cause me to believe the mass of metal underneath me could make me a nuisance.

I’ve glossed over this already, as it was one of things on my mind whilst I was buying stamps recently, but in Years 9, 10 and 11 it did have a big impact on my mindset at times. I remember my friend Emily, who was in my mentor group during those years, telling me that she used to notice how quiet I could be. She was definitely right – there were plenty of occasions where I felt like I dare not open my mouth, at least partly due to my physical presence. I always felt incredibly conspicuous. In classrooms I tried to park as tightly as possible so as to minimise the obstruction I would cause, and in the few PE lessons I did – which did little to get me exercise anyway – I’d be a little bit embarrassed by the rattling of my chair over the bumps in the playing field. During break and lunch, even though I had friends, I still felt the need to keep a low profile and this resulted in me often taking the same route through the quad over and over again to make it look as though I was doing something. Finally, at our Year 11 prom – which I had to be persuaded to go to in the first place – I crashed into a table in front of everyone whilst collecting the “Prom King” crown, cementing the idea that I really was a lumbering wally firmly in my mind. Don’t worry, though, because the rest of the night was great, and for various reasons I was able to come out of my shell in sixth form, which I had initially dreaded because of the shyness my situation had placed on me.

Among the few things I still feel reservations about is my writing, my creative ambitions. It can take me so long to finally set the ball rolling on an idea, and this can lead to frequent ribbing from my family, who always ask why they’ve never seen any of the writing I’ve done prior to starting this blog. I sometimes argue that it’s because I believe you absolutely cannot rush a piece of writing if you want it to be good. That’s why there can be a gap of several days between each post, but even when this is the case the need to write can be all-consuming. I always want to find the perfect thing to write, so that I can satisfy myself and get my fix, so to speak. Not long ago I was lying in bed, shrouded in total darkness, when I suddenly noticed the trickling of water into the gutter outside. As it was raining, this obviously wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, but it swiftly set my brain racing, and I was therefore reassured that I wouldn’t be getting to sleep anytime soon. I simply had to write about it in some way, eerie as it was, but ultimately I didn’t. I was convinced, before a single word had had the chance to appear on screen, that it wouldn’t be adequate. It simply became one of many drafts that will never see the light of day. With that in mind, then, perhaps I could treat this blog like I do my keyboard playing. Whether it is published or not, I’ll keep sentences or titles, more of the ideas I like to hoard, in the hope of raising my self-confidence further and coming out of another shell.

Mason

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