Hello There Stranger

Hello there stranger!

Assuming you are one or were not one. Either/Or. That is certainly an odd way to start an article! Though it has been an odd few weeks and a few weeks since I’ve posted. I’d love to have a grand reason as to the why of it. Hmmm… Normally figuring out stuff, myself included, is something I love to do and I’m reasonably efficient at it! This time, not so much. What I did just realize is that being consistently inconsistent is a pattern of mine and one I do not love! However, sharing and being connected is something I very much value. Expressing the full spectrum of my feelings is what I believe to be true authenticity. Another big value.

Being truly authentic can be a scary prospect when we value one part of ourselves more than another. The hiding of the less desirable traits or behaviours can take up so much energy, though there must be some payoff in the denial. People like it more when we smile or we’re friendly, our jobs require us to maintain a certain amount of professionalism and we have forged an identity for ourselves over the years and we can believe others wish to see us behave in certain ways. What happens if we change? When we change…

Before the social restrictions and economic upheaval of COVID19 I was already having a little metamorphosis moment. Change was upon me. I stopped drinking alcohol. It has now been 72 days without any booze. Why stop? I was committed to finding myself. I felt as though I kept running away from me. The amount of alcohol I consumed numbed me and allowed me to avoid dealing with a lot of emotions I was afraid of feeling. There was a lot of pain and fear inside. It was scary to delve into that, to even consider looking at. Though with the help of some awesome coaches and mental health practitioners I was able to face it. And I have. I have come face to face with a stranger.

Who is this man? He looks a lot like me, sounds like me, wears pretty much the same clothes and my cat seems to meow at him around dinner time for his kangaroo and tuna pâté… Weird. On so many levels, I’m sure.

So, the person I’m now becoming aware of is obviously myself and I feel pretty similar to how I did before. Similar and vastly different. Similar – in that I like a lot of the same stuff as I did before-hand. I still have the same fundamental values and beliefs, I still love my kids, family and friends. I still love music. More so. It calls to me as an expressive and creative outlet now. Very much so and it is something I am exploring again.

What I am also finding out is just how much I struggle to do some normal things. I am struggling to make it into work. Work needs me currently, maybe more so than ever, and I and really struggling with it. I think for two reasons. One being, that I am very much loving writing music and want to do that. The other is that my work is a brewery and I’m not drinking alcohol. And there is probably some other family dynamics at play. In fact, there is a lot going on. My main point is, I am very, very hard to motivate when it comes to doing things that I am not 100% into. In fact, I fucking hate the idea of it. And its not just hate, it actually makes me physically ill. This is something I am very much aware of now. How anxious, stressed out and depressed I get, very quickly, if I am not following my heart and soul. (I’m not having a whinge here – well, maybe a little – this is an outward comparison to how I perceive myself next to other people. I could be completely wrong – though my research on my condition, which I’ll share shortly, suggests that I’m probably prone to this sort of thinking and emotional reactions. That is – I’ll do what I want).

For years I thought that everyone was the same around work and everyone hated working for other people doing things that they didn’t really find any meaning in. Why would they not just do exactly as they wanted and find a way to make shit happen? Some older thoughts perhaps… I think perhaps I was so blinded by my passions and driven by my fears (fear really motivates me sometimes, whether of missing out, looking silly or being judged) that I never stopped to think that other people might just be happy doing what they are doing. I often felt so sick in my stomach going to work (I recall now having an ultra-sound in my mid-twenties for stomach pain – I was just stressed out), that I knew I must do my own thing. Do things my way. If I could somehow control what was occurring in my external environment and create one where I could focus on the things that mattered to me I’d feel fine. Or perhaps I could avoid the feelings of sadness, anxiety and anger that were bubbling below the surface. Why avoid them in the first place? Why is there so much fear of these feelings? Shame comes to mind. A lot of shame around feeling and expressing them. A great fear around to showing of such emotions. That if I showed them I’d be so paralysed with doom that I’d just die. As though fear is feared itself. Fun times!

So I created a brewery. A place to be me, do the things that I loved and felt passionate about. And I guess to be safe, feel connected and be creative. I’m not sure I had all these insights when I began my journey, though starting it seemed like something I needed to do. Brewing had allowed me to get my mad scientist on and also craft a product that gave me lots of happy vibes and feedback from my friends. Well, after the first 50 or so home brew attempts. I also just loved beer and probably more so enjoyed the experiences I had whilst drinking.

These days the brewery is in full tilt and growing quickly (people are certainly drinking beer still!) However, I’m finding myself dissociated from it in many ways. I still love the creative process of making new beers and all the people involved in it. We have a wonderful lot of staff, customers, business partners, investors, family and friends who make up the passionate environment of the brewery. Though, my heart and mind has wandered as it so often does. This wandering off-course, chasing shiny things and impulsive behaviour has been with me for a long time. I used it think it was just because I was a bit rebellious and maybe a bit of a child in an adults body, though I really had to start looking more closely at my actions when I could see them hurting others and fucking up my life. Something wasn’t quite right…

The abstinence from booze has cleared up a few things. I can see how creative I can be. Musically and lyrically, I seem to have an ability to generate, write and compose from seemingly nothing. Being creative or realizing that I can be is a new thing for me. Finding out that I am extremely sensitive and that I take on other peoples problems, worries and issues is also a new understanding of myself. I have also noted how emotionally erratic I am. It seems that I am up and down most days. This could be a sign of the times, though I have a much wider spectrum of feelings than I’ve ever noticed and honestly I am struggling with them. I think the biggest thing is still feeling a lot of shame around sadness. If I feel I am going to be sad, then I want to hideaway. Anger is another one. Again, shame springs up and I want to run. I can honestly say I’m not really that thrilled in coming face to face with some of my biggest shortcomings in my expectations of who I should be… I worded that sentence carefully… Take note of “expectations” and how we generally make decisions to reinforce our perceived “identity” of ourselves. This line of thinking can be quite limiting, frustrating and depressing! Boo!

Who I really am – or perhaps how I feel… Is different from how I have viewed myself in the past. Though is the view that I have of myself real or how I feel? Or is it the higher consciousness that can observe both thoughts and feelings? Interesting idea – thank you Eckhardt… For me now, the feeling parts have a lot more validity than they ever did. What is the point in thinking that I need to be a certain way or have certain material belongings if I feel like shit? Indeed it is the feeling we associate with buying a new car or going on holidays or buying a new corduroy sweater that is real. The feeling is what we are after. And fuck, man, I have been feeling like shit. So am I a shit? Well, maybe – depends on who you ask. Though why the shit feeling? Why do I feel so fucking dark that I can’t get out of bed or walk through the front door of my workplace? I’m going to hazard a guess here. I’m not being my true self, I’m not really doing what I want to do in life and I’ve really just started to get a clearer picture of this now. AND it scares the shit out of me to consider what I may need to do next to take on the stranger that is myself.

The End…

No happy ending? Well, not yet. Fuck that. I’m sad. I’m just going to go cry over in the corner for a bit, write some depressing music and drink a non-alcoholic beer in my tracksuit pants. Ahhhh, feels good to be my true self 😊 And as I re-read this article a day later, I did do all that, it did feel good. Though a much bigger part of me wants to contribute to society and to help people feel awesome about being themselves. And I will do that too. It will require change. There is comfort and safety in continuing to be the same. Though as we grow over our lives, we inevitably view things differently. Our perspectives change and to live in alignment with them we must also change if we are to be authentic. This is my mission now. To live the change and embrace the fear of uncertainty. To let go of the identity I think people want to see and to just be me…

Until next time!

 

Dan

 

P.S.

One last note that may be important in understanding some of my erraticism… I realised that it was roughly the same time ago as when I stopped drinking, that I was diagnosed with Adult ADHD. Reading up on this and knowing a little about it has explained quite a bit of my behaviour. Being very emotionally sensitive, finding it hard to focus or care about anything that I don’t love, being impulsive, having a mind that works 1 zillion miles a minute, stress, anxiety, moodiness, trouble concentrating or standing still and troubled (well, fucked) relationships are all part of it. Part of me. I am starting to some peace in that, even though I know some of those traits can greatly impact others. I’m working on how to manage it/me and I guess I find some comfort in knowing there is an explanation for some of my madness. I am starting to feel OK being me. And fuck, some days it is shit. I want to curl up in a ball and roll down a hill into a cave and go to sleep forever. Then I’m fine. Then I’m not. Guess that is just me and I can either choose to accept it or not. Or create a new me… Exciting! Or tiring? God, I’m going now… Over here somewhere. Bye 😊

 

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