Tag Archives: confidence

“Twenty seconds of insane courage”

Back in 2015 I wrote this piece on exploring the concept of courage and bravery in a culture of fear.  It was strange reading it as I was becoming a different person back then.  I’ve grown since and become a lot more sure of myself.

I had taken the title quote so inspirational that it has actually become part of my being.  Back in that year, I was so sick of being scared that I leapt at every chance I was presented with, sometimes the courage paid off, other times…. I hurt people.  

Courage alone is of no use unless it is reflexive to do something in that moment.  Where there and then you can make a difference.  Courage sprung from lying to yourself and impatience is stupid; it ends up with other people being hurt and you being a dick! 

However, courage born from something to make a difference or to put right a situation where inaction and silence will lead to something worse is worth those twenty seconds of crazy! 

Very recently, I dared to ask a complete stranger out for a date. 

I was looking at a food menu through the glass window of a sandwich shop when, in my peripheral vision, a customer walked in then a few moments later stuck her head out of the door telling me to “Come in, it’s lovely!” Invitation by a cute blonde wearing hipster glasses? How could I resist? So I went in and placed my order.  Blonde Hipster Girl turned around and flashed me a smile (she was very cute) and I started conversation by asking if this was her regular place to go.  She told me she used to come here all the time until she got fat.  She wasn’t fat at all, curvy, sure- I love curves on a woman! And so I laughed along with her, thanked her for her advice, collected my order (hers was taking longer to prepare) and went for the bus to get me to work.  It wasn’t until I reached the bus stop and was halfway through eating my sandwich I thought to myself: “You idiot! You should have said ‘Fat? No way, you’re as cute as hell and I want to ask you out for dinner.’  So I kicked myself over that Friday morning encounter as a missed opportunity. 

Over the weekend, I made a plan. 

On Monday I went back. 

With a letter in an envelope labelled “To The Cute Blonde With Glasses.” In it, I explained that I was thankful for her giving me the push to go into the shop, that I wanted to ask her out for a date and that her next meal at the shop was on me (I paid for it in advance) and signed it with my name and mobile number.  This I passed on to the ladies behind the counter.  Job done, and like a spell once cast….. I let it be.  It’ll either work or it won’t. 

She replied the next day! 

Through the medium of Whatsapp, I received a message from the ‘Cute Blonde With Glasses’ kindly explaining she had just started seeing someone.  She also told me the letter was cute and that things like this only ever happened in movies, and I should keep doing what I do as it made her year.  Oh, and that she gave the money back for the lunch I bought her as she felt guilty. 

And you know what?  I was fine with that.  Totally and truly.  It wasn’t the outcome I was hoping, but I knew it would be one of the few that came to mind.  I’m still glad I took the chance and feel the better for it.  What happens now?  Simple, I let it go and should I come across another opportunity, you can be damn sure I’ll give in to those crazy 20 seconds.  It all comes down to the fact if you don’t ask, you don’t know.  Would I rather have left it and wondered what would have happened if I never did something about it?  I’ve wasted far too much of my life making that mistake.

Go out there step out of your comfort zone and do something amazing and even if it doesn’t work out, you’ll feel great for daring to take a shot! 

Image from pinterest.com
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Love yourself!

I’ve deleted drafts of posts that never saw the light of the internet day, but never have I deleted an actual post…. Especially the morning after a night of drinking with friends and finding I wrote an entire post whilst being drunk! 

I had even given it the phrase “Will regret this in the morning.”  Boy, was I right. I was not proud of it at all, embarrassed would be more accurate.

It wasn’t an insightful piece, it was one of those drunken rants you get that only makes sense when you are surrounded by other drunks ranting in a similar fashion.

Basically, a friend of mine told me I was ‘distrustful of women’ and the whole flavour of the post was about how this was THE TRUTH and went on about broken hearts, gathering pieces of that heart and other self wallowing crap my inebriated mind came up with.  To my credit, I built my self up in the post and argued my case about how actually awesome and amazing I am. 

One reader even commented in prose about how we all get knocked, so let’s get up and have fun.  Thanks LittleWolf! And yes, my head was sore! And guess what, I don’t distrust women at all.  

So, this got me thinking: 

We punish ourselves a lot, don’t we?  At least, I do anyway.  We are quick to saying how we can’t do this, that or the other.  How easy is it for us to rail against the world instead of doing something about it? 

Yes, we do get knocked, yes, bad things happen, yes we get our hearts broken.  But if we let these things consume us, we become bitter, angry and resentful.  I don’t know about you, but I think life is too short for that shit.  However, it is long enough for us to enjoy, to share and to love, whatever the form takes. 

When you are next feeling down, or in a situation where you feel powerless, I have some suggestions which may help: 

  1. As Xena Warrior Princess once said: Act don’t react. 
  2. If you are in a situation that gets you down, what can you do to change it? 
  3. Remember all your victories, however grand or small, you’ve come this far.
  4. Learn from your mistakes and use them to bring out more of your best self. 
  5. Accept responsibility for your actions, you make and made your choices, own them, don’t let them own you!*
  6. Love yourself, do something just for you, you do indeed deserve it. 
  7. Keep being awesome. 
  8. Trust your gut, if it feels bad, stay the hell away. 
  9. Use the powers of “Yes” and “No” respectively. 
  10. See number 7.  Always number 7. 
  11. Don’t lose your cool.  Don’t let those assholes let you lose your shit.

    And my new lesson:  when drunk stay AWAY from using your WordPress account! 

    *And yet, by deleting the drunken post I am contradicting this with the suggestion of number 2…… Not sure how I feel about that. 


     

    What makes a ‘Man’?

    Today’s blog was actually inspired by a dream from last night:

    I’m in a two-storey cafe, sitting at the head of a table, Pipes is sitting next to me.  The room is full of actors as we’re filming something in the area and we have all invaded this cafe run by my In laws.
      Sitting at the table beyond ours is a man, he is short and stocky, in his late 40s and has short black hair that is going white at the roots.  He is wearing a white sports top and blue shorts.  He looks a little like Mr Toad.
      In between actors walking between our tables, Pipes is trying to explain to this man why it is wrong for him to have loaned some tables to my In Laws and demanding them back despite the fact her Mum and Dad bought them off him.  In short, he wanted both the money and the tables.  Looking into his newspaper, he states out aloud: “I don’t understand this, why isn’t he arguing for you? He is less a man than he is a warrior!”
      Everyone stops and gasps… he was talking about me! Gob smacked, I just sit there in silence as the man gets up, looks at me then leaves…

    I’d quite forgotten all about it until I followed a memory trail that revealed the dream I had.

    I told Pipes as I remembered it and she asked if I knew why I dreamt of that.

    Thinking on this has revealed something that I actually keep secret, even from myself…

    I feel I have failed.

    The man in the dream was obviously my Shadow (for those unfamiliar with Jungian archetypes, a subconscious manifestation of the bits of our identity we don’t want to acknowledge, often parts of ourselves we’re afraid of).    This time, the Shadow has personified itself in the things negative about Men in general: he was arrogant, sexist, greedy, selfish, single-minded and uncompromising.  In the dream I also got a sense of what he was like in his life: wealthy, the top of his game, runs his own company, a success, whence the arrogance… all the things I’m not.  Besides our sex and gender we had one thing in common: honesty. In the dream I didn’t defend my Wife, she, as my feminine side was speaking for me, this was a masculine Shadow directly challenging my own masculine self.  In the dream I simply let him walk away because I couldn’t argue back.  In my dreaming mind he was right.

    This for me, presented a mind-fuck.

    This morning I flipped between sadness, anger and then conviction.

    I present a friendly, witty and laid back demeanor, yet underneath hide my own issues which is to do with the fact I feel I have failed.  How so? Let’s look at the stereotypical image of what we in the early 21st Century take a ‘Man’ to be:
    Muscular, strong, stoic, rich, handsome, successful, determined, authoritive.

    Once ‘Man’ and ‘male’ were synonymously linked.  Nowadays its a concept when you consider transgender or transsexual people.

    Looking at the above list: I’m no pussy, but I’m no beefcake either.  I have strength in my beliefs, but not always in myself.  Stoic? No. I’m definitely not rich, both me and Pipes live on my wage in a job I am, at the minute undergoing confidence issues with (I kept fucking things up in September and now doubt myself there).  However, I have a wealth of Celtic History and the old tales.  I have Pipes, my cat and our rented home.  Handsome? I don’t like to brag. ;D determined? Not as much as I’d like.  I’ve been happy to follow and let others take charge, especially where I’m not an expert.  Authoritive? Sometimes, I know I can be in certain situations, but not all of them (work for example, I’m not an industrial person, I just pretend to be).

    So, on to the biggie: Successful.  Here’s the crux.  We assume that to be successful we must be rich and have plenty of money to be happy.  That’s not really my problem, I know a couple who have the money, two cars a house and its driving them insane.  So I know and understand that money isn’t everything.  So why do I feel I have failed?  Because, in my mind, a Man has focus in his life be it his trade, his calling, his beliefs.  I feel I have failed because I have not attained “success”.  By that, I mean a contribution to Humanity.  To be able to turn around and say “Yeah, I did good there, I’m proud of that.”  I feel that in sacrificing my acting career (before it really begun) I squandered the ‘gift’ I was given, therefore creating a hole within myself of confusion and fear. 
      On the other hand, If it wasn’t for my sacrifice, my Wife would never have been able to get Pagan Pride up and running or begin her music career.

      This writing has been very cathartic for me and if you’ve read it this far, thank you.  I’ve even answered my own question “How do I be a man?”

    Y’see, Druidic tradition teaches us the Shadow is represented by the wolf in the Druid Animal Oracle.  Wolf teaches that the Shadow is not to be feared or attacked, it is to be learned from.  Once that is done we can work on ourselves and transcend the barriers we place on ourselves.  The modern ‘Man’ is material in his ‘wealth’ and distractions, however he has no honour and no courage.

    The answer to my question is: I can be a ‘Man’ by having the courage to do that what I am afraid of and stop whining about feeling lost and confused… especially when I actually know what must be done.  There are too many people who think they aren’t worth it in this world… I’m one of them and I don’t want to be anymore.
    As Dian Cecht told me: “Love Yourself” and I’ll only start doing that by doing what really makes a man: Bravery.

    image

    Photo by locksley2010

    Here’s me, a man with long hair enjoying a glass of wine, cheers!