Finding The Confidence To Be Myself
It is hard to believe that there was once a time that I was shy boy who was controlled by his social anxieties. Still to this day, I don’t like to think about high-school. I went through school literally being afraid of my own voice, so worried that someone would torment me for it. It’s so strange but I can remember very clearly pretending to yawn every time I spoke, as a way to try and disguise my voice somehow. High-school for me was permanently walking on egg-shells. There were many years where I silently tortured myself, hence why it took quite a while for me to climb up to the confident person I am today.
Part of that journey happened between the time I was seventeen and twenty one years old, I gathered courage through college and slowly began putting myself together small pieces at a time. However, there is a single moment in my life when I was twenty-two, where I really felt myself change.
I was working as an entertainer in Egypt, and things were going horribly wrong. Pressure from work was surmounting, amongst this I was dealing with the breakdown of my first relationship. My first heartbreak. It felt like my whole world was spinning out of control. There were decisions to be made, and I didn’t want to let people down. My friends, my work colleagues, my ex, my family. One night everything came to a head, the drama exploded and I ended up walking out of work.
After making myself sick with the pressure from everything, a friend got me in a taxi and we drove sixty or so miles to a nearby fishing village, just outside of Sharm-El-Sheik. We arrived at the hotel, and feeling so vulnerable, I took myself off for a walk around the hotel grounds. The hotel sat on the very edge of the sea. It was beautifully quiet and still. The sky was the clearest I had ever seen it, the stars lighting up the night. I sat myself on a cosy sun lounger on the crust of the red sea. I stared out to the water and allowed the silence to ground me. I thought about things, the decisions I made, the decisions other people made. I realised that I had so little control on any part of my life, no matter what I was doing or which way I turned, someone was going to be disappointed in me.
Just like school, I felt lost. I was trying so hard to fit in, trying to please everybody else so much, that I forgot about me. That is when something inside me changed. You have seen the movies, it’s a Disney classic. A ninety minute film and you are eighty minutes in, finally the hero of the story has the epiphany they needed. Who knew these moments could really happen? I asked myself one simple question: What do I want? It was as straightforward as that. You might ask, how did I never think of this question before? The truth is I did, but up until this point I had been asking it through everyone else’s perception, I suppose the real question I was previously asking was “What does everyone expect of me” ?
What do I want? With that one question I had forced myself to look inward and take back control. Take ownership of who I am and choose who I wanted to be. I realised I have a choice. After a liberating cry, and a hug from my friend. I stood up from that sun lounger a different person, and since that point, I have had a firm grip on who I am and what I want from life. No one can control everything about life, but you do always have choices and through these choices, you can take ownership of your own shit.
From this, I decided I wanted to go back to acting, I wanted to model and I want to work towards something bigger. Although I have to remind myself of this moment sometimes, I know I will never be the lost boy I once was. I see this now as a key moment of me growing up.