Friday, 24 March 2017

Embrace who you are

A few years ago, actually more than 15 years ago, I was sitting in my apartment on a cold Sunday afternoon when my phone rang. These were the days (that makes me sound ancient) that we still had something called a landline phone. (For younger readers, I'll put a picture of one below so you know what I am talking about.)

Anyway, the phone rang and it was a friend of mine who was living in the neighbouring city. I think he was a little bit bored and wanted a chat or go for a beer or something similar.

At the time I was watching the movie Annie.

Now, let me give you a little bit of background, I grew up enjoying musicals. I still do. My grandmother says that she used to play The Sound of Music soundtrack while I was sitting in my cot as a baby. Maybe that is why I am high on the hill.

My friend called me at the time Annie was singing Tomorrow, which I believe is the most famous song from the movie.

He immediately recognised the song as I hadn't muted the television and he started laughing.

"Are you watching Annie?" he said in his strong American accent.

I immediately recognised what he was thinking. He was going to make fun of me for watching this kind of movie.

I said, "No. I was just flicking through the channels when you called." I told a big Pork pie. (A Pork pie is Cockney for lie)

When I think about it, why did I have to lie to him? Why did I have to hide the fact that yes, I quite enjoy watching these kinds of movies?

Well, that answer to this is I don't know. I suppose at the time I must have thought that it is not a manly thing to like these kinds of movies so I told a lie.

Telling a lie, not watching musicals would have to be least manly thing you can do, so I wasn't very proud of myself.

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about the alpha male. In the animal kingdom, it is the biggest, loudest animal of the pack. Think Simba from The Lion King.

In the human kingdom it isn't necessarily the guy in the centre of the room holding court, talking with a loud voice, telling joke after joke.

The alpha male is the one who knows himself and has self awareness. You don't have to wear any particular clothes or listen to any particular music or play any particular sport.

You need to embrace who you are and also, most importantly, accept that there are people out there who like different things to you.

For example, most men of my generation like Star Wars and can usually recite a few lines here and there. But if they don't like Star Wars, does that mean that they are weird and strange?

No, not at all, it just means that they don't like Star Wars.

The fact that I like musicals, does that make me feminine and ladylike and god forbid, gay? Not at all, I'm just a guy who likes musicals. I know that. I accept that. You can accept it too if you like. I don't care if you don't. Your reaction says more about you than me.

Here are two things that you can do:

1. Embrace who you are. Embrace the things that you enjoy as those things are what makes you uniquely you.

2. Educate yourself. Hit the books. Education doesn't finish when you leave school or university, it is a never-ending journey of seeking knowledge. When you arm yourself with this knowledge, I assure you that you will become the most compelling man in the room because the people around you will be interested in what you are saying.

Half the battle is understanding who you are and when you figure that it, embrace it, be proud of it and get going. It is all downhill from there.

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