Have you ever put on a pair of clothes, only to quickly realize they no longer fit? That happened to me a few weeks ago. It caught me by surprise.
My pants felt like I needed to shove a lampshade down them just to make up for the extra space. My dress shirt was big in the shoulders and no matter how much I tried to tuck the extra fabric into my pants, it wasn’t working.
For the past few weeks I’ve struggled with whether or not I was going to share the following with all of you. I’ve decided that I am.
My grandfather passed away at the end of April. I don’t want to share the details with you, or go through the memories I have of him and I. I’d like to keep those to myself.
So there I was, trying to fit into clothes I was going to wear to his funeral and nothing fit anymore. I’ve lost weight over the last few years, but still, I was caught off guard.
Fortunately, I can walk into a store and pick out clothes within seconds. I’m not the type of person to hum and haw over a shirt or pants. When I see it, I’ll know it’s for me. If I don’t see it, I haven’t found it yet.
At the funeral home, a slideshow of photos played on loop. You never know how much something meant to you until you see a picture of yourself in an old photo where you’re smiling from ear to ear. Those moments are everything.
The tears couldn’t be controlled that day. Even right now, I’m struggling.
Life goes by so quick, and I’ve only been here for 25 years. My childhood feels like yesterday, but at the same time, it doesn’t. It feels like someone else lived that life, not me.
No matter how many memories I conjure up in my head – the good and the bad – I’m not that person anymore.
I’m not the kid who tripped over a hula hoop on the first day of kindergarten. I’m not the kid who loved playing floor hockey. I’m not the kid who was picked on for reasons I’m still not sure. I’m not the kid who was always told I had a good head on my shoulders.
I’m not any of those things anymore, and yet, I’m all of them. Whenever I see two people off laughing about something, I still worry they’re laughing at me. But they aren’t because I’m not that kid anymore.
I’m not a university student anymore, who at one time joked that he had too many friends. I’m not the first person people text anymore. I’m not the leader of a team. I’m not someone’s 2AM McDonald’s buddy. I’m not the guy in lecture who is dreaming about lunch. I’m not the guy who wears jeans once every four months.
I’m not any of those things anymore, and yet, I’m all of them.
I’m not a camp counsellor anymore. I don’t have a group of kids who are happy to see me. I don’t have co-workers who, seemingly, became my best friend overnight. I’m not a fresh out of university person, who people have patience for.
I’m not any of those things anymore, and yet, again, I’m all of them.
Life is so weird. Who I am is constantly changing from year to year, month to month, day to day. Who I was five years ago is not who I am today. And there are days when I hate that. When I wish I could just stay in one version of myself and live it out forever.
In 2012, I had more confidence and motivation than anyone. It was me against the world. Now, I look at that person and see a stranger. I don’t know who that was. I don’t know where he went. I don’t know how to get him back.
That’s just the truth.
I’m one of those people who doesn’t know how good I am at something until someone else points it out to me. Because in my head, it just feels natural. It doesn’t feel like it’s anything special.
I remember one of my first days on a job where I just so happened to be working the front desk. Someone came in for an interview and I dealt with them accordingly. When they started working there the following week, they were shocked to know that I was new as well.
They thought I had been there forever because I was so professional. Meanwhile, I was scared out of my mind. But they didn’t see that. Only I did. And the exact same thing happened at another job. I was told I was doing a really good job, but in my head I thought I was a disaster.
Maybe I need to look at myself the way other people look at me because they see something different. They see something better.
Maybe I’m still stuck in a childhood mindset where I think people are just laughing at the way I walk or talk, or the things I do.
And the internet is full of motivational and inspirational phrases and quotes and I’m so sick of seeing them. Because we can like and retweet things all we want but at the end of the day all we’re doing is hitting a button with our thumb. That’s it.
I want words to mean something, so when you say something and I say something, we both feel it. We’re not just going through the motions of exchanging generic phrases.
That is who I am now, or at least who I’m trying to be. Someone who is unapologetic for the things I like. Someone who will be who I want to be, regardless of anything else.
Throughout the different versions of myself, one thing remains. Me. I am still Paul.
I am still the pizza-loving, sports-watching, pun-making, leaf-raking, book-reading, never-had-a-nose-bleed, always-willing-to-help-someone-in-need, guy. That’s me. That will always be me. No matter how much I may change.
Man, all this because a shirt and pants didn’t fit.
A special shoutout to a few people who’ve been really good friends to me the last few weeks.
First off, Barb. You’re my blog mom. I don’t know what I’d do without your lengthy emails and attempts at using modern day terms. Thank you.
Meghan and Jess – Thank you for the music, laughs, and the nonsense we call “conversations”.
Chris – Man, you’re about 254 trillion tea and crumpets away (I was good at geography, trust that I’m right) but we’ve never felt closer. You’re the best. Use a comma every now and then, alright? Stay golden.
Neetu – No matter how far apart we get, I’m glad we always come right back around. Maybe one day I’ll like a song you send me. Until then, thank you for caring and thank you for your encouragement. Sorry my texts are always long. You love it, though. Right?
To the rest of you, don’t worry about me. Honestly. I just needed to get this off my chest in time for The Bachelorette Viewing Notes on Tuesday.
Follow me on Twitter: @CappyTalks