Certain character traits define ‘me’. I know them of myself and they've always been present.
I was thinking about this before, during and after my trip last week – I mentioned my earliest memory being of Findochty. Here it is:
I was sat at a long table in a kitchen/dining room with my family. I think my mother was to my left. The entrance to the house was at the far end of the room, and I believe the external door was blue, with a pane of glass, but I could be wrong about that.
On the table was a bowl of fruit and I vividly remember looking at it, wanting an apple, but not being sure whether it was real or plastic. I remember being too shy and nervous to ask, or to take it and find out for myself, so I just sat there, looking at it, trying to figure it out.
The interesting thing to me is, even though I was only two-and-a-bit years old, it is so very like me, even now.
My whole life I’ve been plagued by a lack of confidence, afraid of approaching shop assistants (as a teenager I’d get clothes ordered from catalogues so I didn’t have to go into shops!), or of going places people might notice me, or of making phone calls ... anything really, through fear of being laughed at, making a fool of myself, or just not fitting in. (When I think about it, it’s pretty amazing I can walk into a bar and play music to a bunch of people watching me! But that’s probably another blog post...)
I think the reason I remember this episode – and with such clarity – rather than, for example, the trip to Ibiza only three months earlier, is because of the strength and depth of my fear of embarrassment. To my two year old self, it was obviously a very big deal.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve naturally learned to deal with these feelings, to hide them and compensate to some extent. But they’re still there, and I find it really fascinating that they have been from as early as I can remember, as though this insecurity is at the very core of my being. It’s a central part of who I am*.
And that’s okay, it’s good to know.
*It’s probably the central cause of many of the Depression-issues I’ve had but, again, that’s probably another post!