Earlier this week, Emily asked me another question I thought fit to answer in a blog post, because I had realised just how useful questions are as inspiration when I need it. Come September, I will have known her for seven years, and whilst we were discussing our shock at how that time has flown by so quickly, she asked me how I think I’ve changed since then. I’ll be honest, I don’t think there’s been a straightforward linear change, for better or for worse. Instead, as the title of this post suggests, I would say I’ve come full circle.
I should probably provide some background at this point so you know exactly what I mean. When Emily and I came into the same mentor group at the start of Year 9, I was – as she points out – incredibly shy. According to her, I would only really speak when I put my hand up to answer a question in class, which really doesn’t surprise me at all. As I may have mentioned before, my mentality for many years was that it was probably better if I simply said nothing and stayed out of everyone’s way, because what did I have to offer to them? Why would anyone legitimately want to talk to me? It probably sounds a little like I’m fishing for sympathy here, but that’s what I thought and it remained that way until the start of sixth form, when someone very special unknowingly helped me to come out of my shell more than I could ever have dreamed of. Whilst this person understood they had made this contribution to my life, I don’t know if they could grasp how or why it was important, but nevertheless their decision to come and talk to me as I waited in line one day changed everything. For the best part of two years, I was more confident and happier than I’ve been before or since.
Sadly, the special person and I eventually fell out – through no fault of theirs, I should add – and subsequently I went through quite a dark period without them, when everything they had given me in terms of strength and confidence evaporated. There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t regret what happened, but unfortunately it did, and I caused it so I must bear the consequences. Nowadays, I come into contact with a lot of new people at work, so I guess it’s not as bad as it was, but I still can’t say that I feel like the man I became thanks to that person in sixth form – and that’s why I see myself as being like I was when I met Emily. As it happens, I wondered today if I’d lost motivation to do anything or go anywhere, and if that was because I thought of myself as lame in the eyes of everyone else. After all, who would want to be troubled by someone like me?