The Dark Side

No I am not quoting Star Wars but everyone has a dark side to their character and I am no exception. Most people think I am quite a laid back character and that nothing bothers me but sometimes the whole world bothers me and I transform into my Dark self. On the outside looking in I always seem up beat and happy but this is not so, I paint a smile on my face and perform to the crowds like a clown does at the Circus. When I was young I developed a stutter I knew what I wanted to say but had a hard time speaking and the harder I tried the more I would stutter leading to developing a lifelong problem, this had a knock on effect to my reading, every reading test I did at school showed I was below average for my age. The problem was I loved reading but every time I got asked to read in the class my nerves would bring out my stutter leading to terrible reading marks and this cycle remained for many years. I love reading, it is one of my great passions, I love reading about real people and real lives and how people became the people they are and how they lived their lives. I also love to learn how to do things so reading was the best way to do it long before the age of the internet. You would find me in the library, checking 6 books out at a time ranging from samurai history or books about guns to how someone became a millionaire. As I grew older I was quick witted combined with my teenage years lead to be called cheeky by the opposite sex and also I developed lightening fast reflexes to escape the onslaught for slaps and chases (catchy kissy but with slaps instead of a kiss). This lead nicely to door work in my 20’s and 30’s, the cheeky backchat I would give to the punters and the development of verbal tennis I use in my switched on self-protection courses. The dark side of this is sarcasm sometimes I would step over the line between fun and light banter to more vicious attacks on people scathing comments that would hurt people and make them feel bad being a victim of my verbal attack sometimes my mouth would run away with me and would have to apologize for my outburst at a later date. This I always regretted but I still did it and sometimes still do it to the ones I love the most Kerry Molly Erin and my best friend Donna. This always leads to me taking a huff with myself (I still do) I hate myself for doing it and then sit and fester in a strop, then Kerry will ask me if I am out of my huff yet, In the history of man when someone asks you this you tend to go into a bigger huff just like when people ask if you have calmed down yet when you are angry, this seems to make me worse. When I was younger I would have things on my mind and would be mulling it over in my head and seem to not communicate with anyone for days, I was consumed in my own thoughts and rarely let anyone in to help, because I felt I had no-one to talk to or I felt stupid talking about it. When I look back I tended to let things build up until I exploded , then people would say it is out of character for me , “John does not get angry and shout” , the secret is I am always angry I just mask it well ( sometimes) I have been told I don’t take criticism well, on the whole this is true, if someone is teaching me techniques I except it with open arms but if I am doing DIY and Kerry says why did you do it that way and not the other way I always try to justify the reason why I did it the way I did it, then this leads to a discussion and the feeling Kerry is just having a go at me! I know it sounds like I am a little kid getting told off but sometimes in my head that is what I feel like! I hate reacting like this and I am trying to change but sometimes it just creeps back in and I am at square one again, like when an alcoholic falls off the wagon and I go back to zero without incidents (just like the Hulk) This has strained our relationship sometimes and I sometimes feel I take one step forward and then two steps backward but honestly Kerry I am trying (as you say I am very trying). Concentration can be a bad thing for me sometimes I just switch off when should be listening or taking things, the weird thing is at the gym I have to concentrate 100% when teaching and I see everything in the classes and I can multitask so I can teach everyone in a safe environment and also so I don’t get my head knocked off while teaching pads due to the wrong shot being thrown in the direction of my head rather than the pad. So when I don’t have to concentrate I tend to zone out and switch off, like when I nip to the shops. To give a example we were on holiday in Lanzarote, Kerry and the girls had given me a note to get things for them from the local shop, I wandered down with the note and Euros in my pocket enjoying the stroll, not unlike when I was a child and your mam sends you to the shop and you can only remember that she said get sweets with the change but not the things she sent you to the shops for in the first place. So I went into the shop and started getting the things I remember off the top of my head and then realized I had lost the note given to me! I made up a plan to tell them that the shop had ran out of the items rather than face the firing squad for losing the note, so as I walked out of the shop I noticed my note was on a small garage roof , the wind must have blown it up there. So I put my shopping on the ground and climbed up on the roof to recue my long lost note then proceeded to pop back in to the shop to get the rest of my list and Kerry and the girls would welcome me home like a conquering hero rather than the flaky individual I sometimes can be! On the subject of multitasking at the gym as I have mentioned I will do a lot of things at the same time but there is an order in my day, I know what class I will be teaching and when and the who so there is a logical pattern, but when I am not at the gym I will have in my head the pattern I should do things in, hovering, steaming the floors then popping out shopping. I am a very methodical person so I always want to finish one thing before I start on another, if I work through my list I feel that I can get everything done but the problem arises when I have to stop one mid way through and move on to the next one than stop another one and move onto the next one I feel that everything is unfinished or half finished, so I begin to get flustered and irritated, I need to finish things (sometimes this blog) I put pressure on myself and time limits which I make up in my own head and when I don’t finish the thing I had started it drives me insane, a bit like when you cut one side of your grass before it rains and then it seems to rain for days so every time you look out of the window you can see that you need to finish the grass but you can’t. I don’t mean to be like this and in some aspects in my life I am improving but as you can see in some I am failing miserably. I would like to wake up one morning and be free from my dark side of my character but I will have to work on myself to improve my shortfalls. It is not going to be easy because I can slip into sarcastic, huffy John faster than a clown puts on a smile, but I will improve I promise. Tears of a clown John Atkin

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