Turning an I into an E

I don’t recognise myself any more.

What happened to the guy who was quieter, shy and unnecessarily complicated?

In the past few months, I’ve really transformed myself. Gone is the Damocles who would be unsure of what to say in a conversation, is social media shy and wouldn’t take a lot of risks.

Instead, I’ve become an entirely different person. I’m friendlier, my smile is easier to wear, I’m out more often, gathering energy from crowds, friends and meeting new people.

I’m generally looser. This is a new version of myself that I’ve always wanted to have, to experience and to generally live life.

I’ve also learnt very quickly, how dangerous this all is. Because …

Loose is relaxed.

And relaxed is fundamentally wrong, in my paranoid mind.

It’s strange this whole shift in personality.

I’ve eaten like a King off of it.

I’ve charmed everyone that I’ve met and cared about. I’m more energetic, charismatic and just a whole lot more attractive. Women have been noticing me more, in ways that they never used to. I can show people a good time, leave them with a great impression of me. Perhaps the strangest element is that I actually find myself enjoying myself, without any reservations.

I’ve never felt more confident and self-assured about my looks, my demeanour and my personality.

Looking back at these recent experiences, I’m reminded of a scene from Goldfinger by Ian Fleming, in which Bond asks for a slice of the easy high life, and coincidence immediately provides him with such an opportunity, eating a luxurious crab meal at the expense of a rich American who played poker against him in Casino Royale.

“I asked for the easy life, the rich life…How do I like it? Eating like a pig and hearing remarks like that?” thought Bond after entertaining the smug American,.

So …. how do I like this? Being popular, a good person to go on dates with, an attractive, cocky male completely at ease with himself?

Ironically, I find myself longing for some of the old Damocles back, the quiet, serious Damocles that hardly smiled, and rarely ever showed any vulnerabilities.

The ever focused sentinel that hardly let anyone in.

The more damaged version of myself.

In all honesty though, that is a very silly approach to life. The environment which has shaped this new version of me has turned a quiet introvert into a charming extrovert.

I also should have been more aware of the effects of the B30 challenge on my body. It is normal for me to express sheer confidence when I am feeling like I am at the peak of my physical health. Mirrors, which I used to dread looking at, are now positive reinforcement that I am on track to staying and being healthy. Scales are now used as benchmarks to see what I can fix or adjust today.

The original purpose of the B30 challenge was to be the best version of myself by the time I am 30.

I actually reached that point earlier this year and am now at this comfortable space where I can just improve on myself at a leisurely pace, setting a new benchmark every time.

It’s an incredible loop, because now I only compound positive sentiments, with even more glowing reviews of myself. There hasn’t really been a real moment where I’m not feeling good about myself.

Even now, as I vaguely long for something of the old me back, I can’t really bring myself to cave in to that nostalgia, because the new version of me, really is the culmination of all the work I’ve put in myself for at least 3 years.

This version of me is the result of 4 main factors:

  • A new attitude to my dreary retail work.
  • New experiences in the events industry.
  • The B30 Challenge
  • Constant self-reflection.

Whilst the B30 Challenge has been a fundamentally slow process, of losing weight, getting healthier and overall enjoying the new experience of pushing my physical limits, the same cannot be said for a new outlook to retail work.

It literally took me overnight to really transform my attitude to work, that was once incredibly draining and boring. I actually started giving a shit. I tried to smile more genuinely, greet people and actually start small conversations. I learned to employ my smile more strategically, how to crinkle my eyes and really just work on being more superficially charming.

It sounds disingenuous, but throughout the entire learning process, I know that I am still firmly in control of myself. I haven’t truly fallen that far in that respect. I can still sense the genuine nature of my smiles, the improved enthusiasm for life and chasing targets and going home knowing that I tried my best, regardless of the result.

With this new-found attitude to customer service and my own job, I’ve learned that wallowing in misery really is as counter-productive as it looks. I don’t need to be sad and angry all the time. Instead, my focus is on being as positive and cheerful as I can be. Appreciative of the things that are good about the job and working hard on fixing the negative aspects, such as my own performance.

I can’t control the number of people that walk in and out, but I can change how I approach them, greet them and improve their experience. With each smile, I can feel my confidence grow in my job and I like knowing that I was partly responsible for improving something about their day.

I have to credit my manager for telling me the truth, and really seeing through my poor attitude to work. Without her blunt assessment and critical feedback, I wouldn’t be a changed man. I would have remained the same sour-puss that ruined moods and provided lacklustre service.

So, it should come as no surprise, that the moment work improved, I also found myself more energetic after work. I could hang out longer, be more at ease with people I didn’t know so well and just be more at ease with myself, because I was satisfied with my work and that inner positivity radiated outwards to others.

Add to this, more regular event work every week, with new environments, challenges and people to meet, I have never experienced such an incredible lifestyle that is always allowing me to see something new every 7 days.

It really is the event work that I have been doing that has really turbo-charged the change in me. I love the energy I get from crowds, from talking to new people, joking with strangers and sharing random moments with hard-chargers. I am in awe of the patrons who will dance and party and drink for 12 hours straight, whereas I can barely move after an 11 hour shift of tossing crowd control barriers around, setting up umbrellas and patrolling the venue.

Which I suppose is where the biggest downside of this new version of me.

Because I have drunk more Red Bulls this year than the entirety of my adult life before.

I need more energy, more self care and just a whole lot more of giving a damn about everything.

It’s been a wonderful coincidence that my new-found fitness has now become an absolutely necessity to prepare for more insanely long hours and hard physical labour. I am actually astonished that I haven’t gotten sick at all this entire year, considering how much harder I have pushed myself to attend all sorts of events and friendly outings. I mean last week alone, I never got home before midnight and I was working 8 hour days, with some days even extending to 11 hour shifts and still going out with friends.

Yet I never really felt the exhaustion that I expected to hit me, especially for a guy approaching his 30s. Is it my mentality? My new-found health? In all honesty, it’s likely a combination of the two. It probably also has a lot to do with my new-found positivity.

Extroversion has also created a series of complications in my life that I didn’t anticipate and was unprepared for.

It has made me a focal point of drama, an occurrence that I have never really been used to nor experienced properly. This drama has created a lot of puzzlingly new headaches and problems, that I secretly enjoy trying to solve. They’ve ranged from complicated relationship issues with new and old friends to discovering new information about organisations that I’ve worked with before.

Being the centre-point of anything is a completely bizarre sensation to me. All my life, I’ve purposefully dampened and smothered my brash and loud personality. I’ve tried to avoid the spotlight, but anyone who has ever met me, knows that, that is an impossibility.

My persona is just too dominant to hide.

Which is where my extroverted side comes in, the side I’ve labelled as the “American” side of me.

Whereas once, I got the fire extinguisher out and sprayed out the flames of the inner American, now I let it rage. I’m so comfortable and at ease with who I am … what I am and the effects I have on people, that I no longer hide my true nature.

I just let the inner American come out, enjoy himself and just have a good time being me.

And it feels damn good, believing like you’re on top of the world.

Finally, you might be wondering why do I call my extroverted side the American?

Because he’s brash, a little bit loud, unbearably cocky and warm and friendly.

All the traits that are associated with Americans who know they’re lucky and are willing to flaunt it.

I know I have a lot of luck, and I’m done trying to be ashamed about it.

It’s time to live it up a bit.

~ Damocles.

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