Insecurities. We've all got them. They're told to us by that voice in our heads that sounds like us. No-one's without them which is really interesting in a time of online dating where it quite literally feels like people's barriers are unjumpable and their expectations are even higher.
God forbid we as men show any vulnerability - that would be so unattractive to others wouldn't it?
Ask any man and I bet you he can understand where I'm coming from... or maybe he won't. Maybe this is my mindset because this was my reality for so many years, and still is (for now).
Ya know, feeling judgement for how I was perceived, as a 'beautiful' boy with olive skin that liked art.
I said to my mate today 'did you know I'm a grade 8 ice skater?' he laughed out loud and said 'WHAT?' followed by 'I have been your friend for YEARS, how have I JUST found out you're like a professional ice staker?!'
We were howling.
I said I'm not a professional but yeah I did ice skating lessons in my teens, most kids went onto figure skating or ice hockey but I didn't carry on (no reason why).
I then said 'you know why you don't know don't you?' cos that would be 'gay' and he rolled his eyes and said 'oh yeah, of course'. We laughed.
There is truth in that but equally it's not something many people know because I've learned I actually have a good number of skill and talents that I don't shout off the roof tops about.
Anyway, I've digress.
I went on a date the other night and she told me that she finds a man that is sensitive and in touch with his emotions as a turn on.
I laughed and almost rolled my eyes (nearly not taking the compliment) and said 'Ugh. I'm the nice guy'.
She said she didn't see it as a bad thing at all.
I think I might actually believe her, ya know.
A female friend told me a few years ago 'don't let anyone tell you that being a nice guy is a bad thing' and it's really stuck with me.
For me, it's almost felt as though being a boy/man in touch with my emotions made/makes me less appealing to others, and here I am, still conditioned to think it's a bad thing.
I sometimes almost feel as though I have to wear a sign that says 'Nice guy... that can still throw you around the bedroom' jut incase they don't think that's the case. 😂
Truth is, it's who I am and it took me a long time in therapy to actually like this, so maybe I'm right to own it the way I do (or try to as the case may be)
Most people can relate to this - identifying parts of themselves that they'd like to like and love so if this is the case then why do I feel judgement for the content that I write and share?
My therapist and I are opening my eyes to how things have been turned into 'weaponry' for me in childhood.
My looks, my talent, my style, my kindness, the way I (proudly) carried myself, and the way I enjoyed being my unique self. Because I did, at one point or another.
All of these positive things were weaponised against me by bullies, and I didn't tell a soul, for years.
It's no wonder I don't initially believe these compliments or see in myself what others see in me, but it is my responsibility to work to change this and to quote my favourite quote 'be the change I want to see in the world' especially for setting an example for little ones like my godson and goddaughter.
I read an absolutely tragic story this week about a 12-year-old boy who had taken his life due to bullying -heartbreaking.
We need to do more to protect boys (and girls) from being bullied, particularly with the use of social media.
We all need to take an active stand to show people it's more than ok to 'be who you are' and this feeds into the dissertation I'm writing as part of my master's degree.