Hi guys: sorry I don’t write much these days, but even though I’ve got things I want to say, I somehow never seem to find the enthusiasm to set them down, or else I start and then stop. Fear of losing readership that compelled me to get on with writing this blog entry, and that’s appropriate because it’s fear as a driving force for positive change that I want to talk about tonight.
Oh, I could talk about how fear of other people using my cookware and cutlery for meat-based things prompts me to do my washing-up as soon as I’ve finished cooking, or how the thought that the bins haven’t been put out makes me leap out of bed on Friday mornings when I hear the first set of bin men outside (whether they’re emptying the grey or the blue bin is irrelevant, as they both need emptying), or how fear of going back into the terrible unemployment market means I’m trying my best to make myself useful at work (at least I’m finally arranging my Server 2008 exam, though it looks like I won’t be scheduled until July, which at least gives me yet more time to study, yay). All these things are indeed true, but they’re not why I’m writing this.
First of all, I had an encounter this week which made me think that I’m more confident than before: when trying to get onto the northbound Northern Line platform at King’s Cross, apparently I pushed a woman (I don’t remember doing so but it must have happened because no-one ever tells lies), and the first thing I knew was a bloke claiming to be her significant other in my face telling me off for this heinous crime, and vowing to push me on my posterior (not his exact choice of term). However, I just stood there glaring at him, not reacting at all, and it actually felt a bit like he was somehow “bouncing off” me, getting close and then backing away again!
Truth be told, I’d had a miserable day over girls (yes, sadly it still happens to me), and wasn’t in the mood to be bullied; in any case I was too afraid to say anything to him, but once I pushed him out the way (so yeah, I did push someone, sorry!) and walked down the platform, I felt annoyed that he wasn’t coming after me so I could think up some choice words (e.g. “you’re welcome”, since he clearly wanted the excuse to give out to someone and I’d fulfilled his desire). I think I was afraid to back down in front of a thug, or had frozen in fear, but the effect was that he effectively backed down and didn’t strike me at all!
Mind you, that wasn’t as strange as the following day, when I got a bus to the Castle to see my personal trainer, and a couple of stops before I got off, someone came right to the back of the bus, past a number of empty aisle seats, and expected me to move my bag so he could sit next to me. I hate being trapped in window seats by blokes, and in this situation I invariably get up and leave — but I must have gotten up with some confidence, as he actually flinched and took a step back! Thus I turned my fear and loathing of male contact into a form of aggression.
(Obligatory Gwar reference: I was listening to Lust in Space, which may have helped me feel a bit more aggressive than usual…)
And personal training is another area where fear drives me forward: it’s not solely an attempt to hunkify myself so that girls will like me (although I’d say on that score it’s more that I want the one girl who finally gives me a chance to be pleasantly surprised when I take my shirt off). Rather, it’s the thought that if I have to go into my next decade still single, I want to be more like Pierce Brosnan (who was in his forties when he started playing Bond) and not turn into one of those out-of-shape disgusting blobs I see buying beer at Tesco, still dressing in jeans and leather jackets despite having wrinkles like old men.
Yeah, I know, I shouldn’t have a go at blokes who haven’t done me any harm, and who are in all probability suffering from singularity just like me (assuming they’re not actually married and just let themselves go), but I am becoming increasingly intolerant of them, and it’s the fear of becoming like them that makes me want to keep fit and practice better personal hygiene. I’ve been lucky to keep my hair so far (I’d rather go grey than bald, because dye is less obvious than a rug), but I don’t want to look in the mirror one morning and see one of those miserable, depressed specimens looking back — it’s bad enough having to look at them on the Tube, or at yoga!
And it’s at my near-weekly yoga classes where I’ve really noticed my confidence rising: it’s one kind of fear overcoming another kind of fear. Much as I plucked up the courage to kiss that girl in 1998 because I was more afraid not to kiss her, I’m so grossed out at having to do partner exercises with sweaty middle-aged blokes (sometimes with more hair on their shoulders than their heads) that I’ll go right up to women in the class and grab their attention when it comes time to buddy-up. It’s not even a sexual thing, as I’ll happily partner with a woman I don’t fancy and be perfectly happy. Hell, when it comes down to it, I’ll even partner with a young bloke (especially if it’s one of the friends I’ve made in these classes) — at least that way I have some kind of control over the situation.
(It could be fear that if I do end up partnering with an older man and show less than total enthusiasm for physical contact with him, he might have a massive go at me in front of the class and reveal to everyone that I’m not the nice guy I’ve always pretended to be…)
What I’ve described above may not be the best or most positive way of living, but it’s better than giving into anxiety, or suppressing it with drugs. If I can continue to turn my fear into confidence — sharpening the stones life pelts me with into arrowheads — perhaps I can one day go up to a girl I’ve never met before and chat her up, balancing fear of rejection against fear of dying alone. Yeah, I’ve got another blog entry planned about what kind of woman I’m looking for, and I might have it done within two weeks of this one as well… maybe I should remind myself of how terrified I am of not writing in this blog?