What am I for?

calendar 5 Nov 2008

I've had a couple of chats recently, both online and face-to-face in which I'd discussed my place within certain circles. I'd suggested that there existed some sort of cabal or clique that I was unable to penetrate, and tonight have realised that this is not the case, and that any feelings of estrangement I might have are down to me, and the simple honest fact that I am, unlike almost everyone else I know, thoroughly mediocre.

There are things I can do. I can play the piano to a grade 6 level (by Trinity College standards which are purportedly quite low) and I can sing OK (although when I hear anything back it almost always sounds like it's sung by a public school boy). I got a fairly standard 2-1 in my degree and have held down decent jobs, although for never longer than 2 years at a time. I'm scared of everything and have an unfeasibly nervous disposition, and my only major achievement career-wise is developing in the world 's most unpopular platform. I love music but most of what I enjoy would be considered either mainstream or vanilla. I enjoy reading but name an important or interesting book and I promise you I haven't read it.

So I'm forced to ask myself, not out of self-pity but more out of self-preservation, "what do I bring to the party?" Most of the people within the circles I move (certainly all of the people whose company I enjoy most) bring something, whether it's deep technical knowledge, supreme philosophical understanding, a labyrinthine music knowledge, a superb sense of humour or in some sickening cases all of the above! So when I think about the circles within which I move and wonder why I feel like I can never truly fit in, I realise that's because I'm a square peg trying to fit into a hole whose shape is more complex.

Please don't confuse this with some sort of mental breakdown or a Howard Beale-esque rant; I know I've got good qualities: I'm basically a good person, not necessarily nice (but is that not overrated?) but with a good moral grounding and sensible political views. I'm quite good with money, keep a tidy house and look after my pets. I visit my family and love spending time with them, and am not afraid of the occasional thrill-seeking mission, but that doesn't stop me being awkward, insecure and frightened of every sudden movement.

Every now and again I have some sort of mini crisis where I wonder what I'm actually doing in life, as I guess a lot of people do, but it's only been tonight that I've started to ask the right questions. Unfortunately there's no cure for mediocrity…one can't suddenly become interesting until one finds a skill, talent or viewpoint buried which can eventually be unearthed. So pending such a discovery I'm led to wonder what I should do with my life outside of work. Should I give up and get fatter in front of Coronation Street or Hollyoaks? Maybe I can rewrite news stories I get from RSS feeds and pass them off as my own findings? Or should I just take my work home with me and let that fill up my time? All of these present a massive problem which is, although I feel like I can never fit in with company, I can't do without it. I need people, and I'm no good at being alone (not the best quality for a bloke who's been single since the age at which you started labelling yourself in that way).

By the way I'm writing this for me more than anyone else, and I'm not expecting a torrent of "there there's" or "stop it Mark, you're lovely" hence why I've disallowed comments. This isn't a cry for help. Well it is: it's a cry for self help really. Maybe by throwing all this shit out front and centre and embarrassing myself (as I almost certainly will when I wake up tomorrow morning and remember what I've done) I can reach some sort of catharsis…who knows?

Right, well I think that's about it. There's a slight Gerry Maguire feel to this post, but without the incredible sense of relief Cruise's character feels after writing it. Anyway with any luck this'll get published and, since it's not tagged will go largely unnoticed.

Thanks for reading this far!

(btw I'm absolutely fine)