Who are you?

Who are you sounds like a simple question upon first consideration. Actually, it’s anything but. You may think you are one thing but you may be entirely another. Many spend their entire lives as a walking, breathing dichotomy; never really knowing who they are. Or worse, they refuse or don’t have the courage to embrace it. To me, there is nothing more pathetic than the one that is many things to many people.

I am a walking testament to this. For decades I tried to be something I wasn’t. I cut myself a small break for this in hindsight because I truly didn’t know who I was. Then I discovered a bit about myself but came to realize that I wasn’t going to be allowed, by the confines of my job and life in general, to show who I was. Then came the day, finally, that I realized my true self and just embraced it. I’ve never been happier.

It took me actual decades to come to grips with the fact that I am a gentle, friendly, and nice guy. I was raised by a tough man. A man that showed his kind side sparingly and felt obligated, perhaps from the influence of his father, that manhood is a construct that requires a mask. This was not atypical of his generation. Thus I grew up with such outdated notions as “don’t ever let someone see weakness”, “nice guys finish last”, and “toughen up or I’ll give you something to cry about.” The list sadly goes on. My older cousins and uncles gave me dating advice of “women want jerks”, that dating is a “numbers game”, and that women were “notches on the ol’ belt”.
At 18 I was 6 foot, weighed 195 pounds, had a fair amount of muscle, a confident walk, a high tolerance for alcohol, an outwardly tough demeanor, and a decent record of getting consistent sex. It only made sense that I forge an identity consistent with my appearance. So I tried to act like a tough, hard-partying ladies man. So that’s what I put out.
But it wasn’t me. But I thought that’s what people wanted and I was too immature to recognize it. The only true part of that identity was the hard-drinking part. That remained true for some time. Otherwise, I was a ludicrous and senseless combination of confident and insecure.
Eventually, I had to embrace that I hate fighting and I’ve only had a few. But my posture and strong chin ensure that no one ever starts with me. So I’m not a tough guy.
I’ve tried to be a womanizer but I actually hate casual sex and am a fairly romantic, loving and loyal guy (If I ever let anyone have my heart again). So I’m not a player.
I tried to be a party animal for many years but the truth is I’m much more comfortable with a small circle at a house than with hordes of strangers at a club. I don’t think I’m shy, if there’s a thing called an extroverted introvert then that’s me. I can talk to a room of 1000 people but at a party, I often find myself standing by myself people-watching. So I’m not a party animal.
So who the fuck am I?
I’m me. I finally, after all these years know that I’m awkward but competent. I know that I love the ladies but I only want one to love. I know that I can handle myself but I have no interest in violence. I can be serious and I can be woefully silly. I have a huge heart and I don’t care who knows it. I’m me, take me or leave me.
That’s who I am.

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