That title sounds quite funny, but really the subject for me is not particularly funny at all. You see, I have always felt different from other people, and I am not really sure why. But coupled with that has been this feeling for most of my adult life, and probably when I became a teenager that somehow I wasn’t worthy enough, or not good enough, or not worth bothering with. It’s akin to low self esteem, but its more than that. I never felt I was good enough for any woman I met, but I could look at another guy and no matter how unattractive he might be, I would think he had a better chance than me, and more going on for him. Next to people who were or appeared confident, no matter who they were, I would feel inferior and lacking in confidence. This actually went right to the core of my being. I never thought I was good enough for a normal life, never thought I had anything to offer, and I truly felt for a long time that I was ugly. People tell me often that I am not, in fact some women (and some men!) have told me I am handsome, but I still have issues here. I’m not sure why this is, I mean the whole thing of feeling worthless for so many reasons, but I can guess at why.
I grew up quite poor in an inner city part of a big Northern English city, and am most definitely from a working class background. My mum worked as a shop assistant and got a reasonably good education and my dad worked various jobs, including as a labourer, fixing street lights, a chef and cleaning buses, no doubt amongst other jobs I never knew about. I would not say we were poverty stricken by any measure, but we were poor as were most of the people around us. In fact, I had a pretty idyllic childhood even though the area was run down. It was the early 70s when most people had a job. The problems for me came as I started to become a teenager.
I know that when I was a kid, I had no pressure on me, no push to succeed, no future fears or stresses of any kind. I was hermetically sealed in my own little bubble and in my own happy little world, which was essentially a number of streets, a park which I went with my parents and a holiday to Wales each year and days out here and there on school holidays paid for by my Nan. What a small world it seems now, but it was happy. A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away... Anyway, back then I had peace, and now and since then I have felt for a long time that I am running from something, but what? The fact I am a loser? The fact I have wasted my life? The fact that so far I have been a failure with women? The fact that I am just making time till something else bad happens? The thing I am running all my life from, I think... is me.
Well, that’s a happy little tale all told, isn’t it?! I am a selfish person, naturally selfish, not even maliciously or purposely, just a naturally selfish person. Yet, it’s always been about other people, fearing them, walking on eggshells around them, making time for them when they couldn’t care less about me, chasing people, wanting them to like me, trying to find a woman to love me, trying to impress people, but somehow never seeming to get real friends. Essentially, I have been a people pleaser, and at times I have felt an extremely lonely person, too. I have bouts of self hatred and large doses of cynicism, as well. You wouldn’t think so to look at me though. I am generally very smart, and even when I dress in a hoodie and jeans and trainers (sneakers), I tend to look quite sharp, and I look very sharp in shirt and pants! Really. And I am an articulate and well educated kind of guy, too, and generally friendly and chatty. I like being out and about and making conversation with regular ordinary people, and having a laugh and a joke. But, still something eats away at me.
It’s all an act. But slowly and surely, through the pain and suffering I have endured, I see that God is forging my character. Who I am, intrinsically, the person who never saw anything in myself, that thing deep inside that has always felt uncomfortable meeting people and being around people and being any kind of focus of attention, that has felt empty, left out, crippled inside and left on the shelf... My social awkwardness, my unwanted uniqueness, my complex and complicated nature, I now see as a strength. God hasn’t told me that I should stop being me, He has actually told me to start being me, and to stop worrying. To stop trying to live my life, and just actually live it.
I am a ‘one off’ for Jesus, there is no one quite like me. I am glad of that. Just as well God only has to deal with one person like me! God hasn’t finished me with yet. That’s all I know, and all I need to know. All the rest is propaganda.