This is Day 2 of the 30 Day #LinkYourLife Challenge
Day 2. A letter explaining the person I was
The person I was
Dear whomever it may concern,
Starting this I am thinking back to my previous job. When I began there was at least 14 of us there working as part of a team. I remember firstly getting to know them all when they were outwardly sharing all their stories of change with me. So amazing to hear them, and thankful. I used to call us all a group of walking miracles. Because that’s what we all were. A group of people that had defied extreme odds and faced their demons in life and overcame them. Against all odds. When the professionals tell us that we’ll end up dead. But we had all ended up kicking ass. This is me. This is me now. And I’ll take you through a journey of the person that I was.
I’ll start ten years ago. Perhaps six months before I started on a humongous journey of change. When I was inwardly clueless and blamed everything on everyone else.
I was a coward. That’s probably a fitting name for what I was back then. I was one of these people that would be around my friends when everything was going well but as soon as life started to show the slightest hint of becoming difficult I would be hiding under my bed. I hated conflict. I’m not entirely sure where that stemmed from but I did. I struggled to say no to people and I would always end up doing something that I really wasn’t interested in. All the while building up fetid anger towards that person. But I’d never show it, I’d get angry in secret. It was my shame. I’d sit and fantasise how I’d go out in a blazing shootout of wits the next time I’d see the person, but when I did eventually see them, I’d end up being nice as pie and half agreeing to get into something else that I didn’t want to do.
I hated that word “No”. I just couldn’t say it.
But I hated it being said to me too.
You see, I had a plan. A plan in life. I hadn’t realised what I was doing, because when I eventually did I stopped it. But my plan was to massage the ego of everyone that I met. Make friends with everyone. Be the person that everyone loves. Be the perfect example of what a person should be. And when people see you as that person they too struggle to say “No” to you. It works, but only to an extent, and what I didn’t realise that because people liked me anyway, they were more than happy to do things for me. Satisfy my needs. I couldn’t see that, though. I was a horribly disgusting shadow of a man that I needed to pretend to be nice to get what I want.
And to be honest there are parts of me that were horrible and disgusting back then. I was a borderline alcoholic. And nothing would stop me from getting my next fix. I would literally do anything to get my hands on a bottle of vodka or a night out on the beer. Luckily I had work, though. And that would keep me sufficiently financed to drink and live. But people with addictions are incredibly selfish. I was no exception to the rule. Probably the worst thing about myself back then, and perhaps now, still, is my selfishness. Raymond comes first. What Raymond wants, Raymond gets, and at the expense of others. It didn’t help that I was brought up an only child and was always the centre of attention. Throughout my life, I had worked out cleverly underhanded and manipulating techniques to get what I wanted. I usually got what I wanted. I sought out generous friends, I sought out giving people. These were my close friends.
Probably my absolute worst failing in life was my communication with women. I was a coward. And communicating with women, especially women that I had a bit of a fancy for would involve a certain amount of risk. And risks to cowards are like fire to a dry forest. I would always find a way to get out and run away. I had endless offers from pretty women as a young lad, I was very attractive back in the day. But internally I felt I was the worst person alive, and connecting with these women would have to leave me vulnerable to an extent. I couldn’t have that. I ran. And I didn’t stop. Alcohol helped on occasion, though!
Do you know the guy that turns beetroot red when a pretty woman sits next to him? That was me. Shy about myself. I had been vulnerable as a child and my Dad has clearly shown me that vulnerability is a weakness, and weakness leads to getting a hard slap in the face. I was between a rock and a hard place. I wanted to have a girlfriend but I couldn’t show vulnerability. PASS ME THE BEER!!
It wasn’t all bad, though. There are absolutely some things that I have kept to this day. For instance, the people pleasing. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with pleasing my friends and showing them gratitude for being there, or working to other people’s strengths. I’d probably say that from my 33 years of continually trying to please people to the detriment of myself has given me a strange knack of communicating with people on a better level. Lowering their boundaries, getting them to open up to me. It’s helped me become an excellent communicator, and also set boundaries and no cross lines for myself. Where I’m willing to go, and where I’m not, and how to non-verbally communicate that.
I’ve also learned to look at my life as a whole, where I’ve gone wrong previously and how to overcome these problems. I bet you I’ve made more mistakes than most. People mature and chill out in their early 20’s. Not me. I chilled out in my 30’s. Which is perhaps why I’ve made a lot more mistakes than most. And since I’ve learned to overcome them and exacted where I’ve gone wrong in the past has made me an excellent tool for helping others overcome their life problems. Which is why I spent 10 years in the Charity sector.
Yep. I was a regular fuckup. A big man-child that was destined for the gutter. Professionals (I use that word loosely) had written reports on me in the past, how I’d never see past 30, or at least they implied that in their way of writing. I know, because I ordered my doctors notes two years ago. I was very interested as to what they were saying about me. It came as a shock, to be honest, the things that were written. How, that we have come SO far in the last 20 years with Mental Health that these notes were still allowed to exist. My Psychiatric Consultant (someone that’s paid far more than you, or I) wrote that “Raymond is a strange young man” on a communication to my GP, and that can still exist as a professional opinion. The strange oddities of life! I hope he’s a better communicator now!
And yes, I’ve journeyed through several classes throughout my life. In my youth, I saw the wonders of a shady underworld type underclass. Where people skulk in the shadows and work unseen, in ways that we’re not even aware of. They exist hidden, amongst all the other faceless people you see in town. And the working class. I’ve stayed working class throughout most of my life, moving in and out of low skilled jobs and drinking my wages against the wall. Not really interested in anything else. Then I met my wife, she’s predominantly middle class from a strong middle-class background. She’s a teacher with a high level of education. One that I only wish that I had. And we see her sister from time to time, who moves in upper-middle circles, she’s a lawyer in the centre of London. I’ve yet to taste upper class, though. I doubt I’ll ever taste it because I feel that you have to be in the gentleman’s club from birth. Even if I earned a quadrillion pounds I’d still be viewed as beneath them.
So there we have it. The person I was.
Thank you for listening,