READER BEWARE: THERE'S A BIT OF SELF-LOATHING GOING ON IN THIS BLOG!
I've had a huge *BOOM* moment in my head recently. My family were out for a meal and my gorgeously, beautiful other half said "You're always so lovely when you're with just us." And I replied "I save the best version of myself for you guys." That one response was like a bomb going off in my brain. Not only does my partner see me as some sort of duel personality....but apparently I do as well. And I'm OK with this? Erm...no.
We love a good rom-com in our household. And one of our (many) favourites is the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan classic "YOU'VE GOT MAIL". There's a particular scene where, having just been particularly horrible to Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks types the following....
"Do you ever feel like you've become the worst version of yourself? That a Pandora's Box of all the secret, hateful parts - your arrogance, your spite, your condescension - has sprung open? Someone provokes you and instead of just smiling and moving on you 'zing' them. Hello, it's Mr Nasty!..."
Recently I'm having to face up to this rather hideous side of myself...which is bubbling to the surface more and more. It needs to be stopped.
I spend quite a lot of time tip-toeing between Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and, I'm very ashamed to say, Mr Hyde has been winning a lot more than he should.
I've ALWAYS been someone who stews on things. I've always lived far too much inside my own head: mulling things over to the point where I can get myself into rather a dark place. It's a failing that I recognize in myself. How to change this behaviour? If only I knew how.
I run the whole gamut of being ridiculously gregarious to being downright horrible. Often in one day. I will see groups of people and literally feel my brain switch to 'life-and-soul-Steve' and then the mere sight of specific people will make me shut down. And I can't explain it. I see my own family members - people who I have known for my whole life - acting friendly and amenable in every situation and I can't understand how they do that.
It's come to a bit of a head.
This morning I got out of bed at 330am.....Yep, you read that right....330am! Why? Because I was stewing on stuff. Isn't that ridiculous?!
And it's all my own fault.
More and more over the last 18 months or so I've found myself in situations where I've come home from a family get together, night out, meal...anything really, and my other half is more than a little grumpy at me. Which in turn leads me to be grumpy with my other half....and then EVERYONE!!
Why is my other half grumpy with me to begin with? Because I've acted like the worst version of myself. Just like Tom Hanks states above: instead of saying or doing something nice, I've said or done something....not nasty: that's the wrong way of putting it. But certainly acted in a way that would make people think I was being awkward, unapproachable and annoying. And it's all for nothing.
I don't mean I've had a big falling out with someone or had a punch up, but I've just gotten impatient or surly with people and said something a bit snippy or acted in a way that, if I was watching someone else act like that I'd say "that was a bit of a twattish thing to do!"
At the risk of opening myself up to being judged as 'a twat' I'll give you a little example. Actually, I don't much mind being judged as 'a twat' because I am freely admitting in this blog that I've acted like one and so am in complete agreement with you!
We were at a small gathering recently. Outside. And, the British Summer Time being how it is, as soon as the sun went down it got chilly. As our house was within walking distance of said gathering I mentioned that "I'm just going to pop home and put a jumper on" and stood up. As I was walking away our host called out "I've got a jumper you can put on." Now isn't that a lovely thing to say to your guest? To offer them a jumper when they're feeling cold. Did I respond? No. I merely gave them a bolshie 'look' and carried on walking out. Twat.
Later on as it was getting colder I announced that I was thinking about going to fetch some blankets to keep myself warm and, again in a lovely display of largesse, our host said "Would you like me to fetch you a blanket." And I, again acting like a gigantic arsehole, said "No thanks, if I want a blanket I'll get my own." I mean, what the actual....?!
I'm incredibly ashamed to say it gets worse....The host then disappeared into the kitchen and, after a few minutes, reappeared with a hot water bottle just for me. Isn't that lovely? What a gesture. Especially to someone who has already been a bit of a prick.
And all I could think was "Why can't they leave me alone?"
It's awful. I'm saddened, ashamed, tearful, angry....every negative emotion that you can ascribed to oneself about it. Just typing that and re-reading it back makes me feel utterly appalled at my own behaviour.
I've often been fond of the saying "If you can look around the room and see the twat then you know it's not you...." Well, I saw the twat. And it was me.
And so, of course, my other half was more than a little bit prickly with me when we got home. Can you blame them? I can't.
The thing that makes it worse is I did what I always do in that scenario: I retreated into my own head. Big mistake. I then begin to blame everyone in the world for my mood and behaviour....except for myself. I'll literally regress from a mature(?) 40+ adult into a petulant teenager and be full of "Why can't people just leave me alone." "What's wrong with wanting my own blanket." "It's not my fault that I was cold...."
It's truly, absolutely, completely and totally pathetic.
And I couldn't be more ashamed of myself.
And do you know what? I don't know why!! There's no need. I adore and love the host of this particular party. I've known them for more than half of my life and couldn't love them more if they were my own flesh and blood. And if they're reading this, yeah you read that right.
But did I act like it? Definitely not. And what makes it worse it that there is absolutely no reason for it. It makes me very sad.
Why am I putting all this down into a Blog? Why risk putting this 'out there' for anyone to read and think "Jesus, Steve is a total jerk isn't he?!" Well, firstly it serves me right. As much as I don't want to be thought of in that light the simple fact is that I acted like a total jerk and deserve your judgement. I suppose putting it 'out there' acts as a reminder to me to try and not act like that in the future.
To keep Mr Hyde in his box and be Dr Jekyll.
To face the light and not the dark.
To simply treat people like I would want to be treated myself.
To be the best version of myself as much as I possibly can be.
I'll fail in this regard. But I will try.