You have finally got that interview for your bucket list job. You have washed, cleaned your teeth, brushed your hair, iron your clothes, clipped your nails, you know, all the things you normally intend to do but never get the time in the morning, or just can not be bothered. You sit in the room, opposite the interviewer as they quietly scan your application form, you are fidgeting nervously, your palms sweaty, tongue dry, and then they smile sweetly at you and ask you the all-time, no 1, worst question….’tell us about yourself?’.
Suddenly the walls come crushing down on you, you struggle to breath, a hot flush seeps across your face and you look longingly at the window calculating your chance of escape! How many floors up are we? will I survive the fall? How is it possible to encapsulate ‘yourself’ into a 60 to 90 second reply? What even is ‘yourself?’, do I even know? And then when you have finally stopped dwelling in this Kafkaesque torment, you tend to ramble of list of professional accomplishments, or your favourite hobbies and hope this is enough to impress and deceive that you have started to doubt that you truly understand ‘yourself’, and that in their position would never dream of giving you the job!
Now that I’m really confused lets really think about this, if you asked me to ‘tell you about myself’, and if I wanted you to understand who I am and what is important to me, how would I answer? So, I’m thinking I’m going to write my obituary to see if we can work this out together.
‘Me’ – The man. The myth. The self proclaimed legend.
‘Me’ died today, a result of being too stubborn and doing things that he knew better than to do. ‘Me’ was killed when he rushed into a burning orphanage, tackled a troop of blood crazed tigers and saved a group of adorable children. Or maybe not. We all know how he liked to tell stories.
‘Me’ loved kebabs smothered in Burger sauce, Zombies, sleeping, toy soldiers, Supernatural, one beautiful woman, four amazing children, cooking and Diet Coke. He hated tuna, tying shoelaces, having his toenails cut, blue ink, injustice and hypocrites. ‘Me’ didn’t suffer fools and had a certain disdain for people. Individuals were OK, he would even go so far as to say that he liked a few of them, but people, a collective mass would have him running to the hills in terror. He didn’t understand them, and they didn’t understand him.
Peas were the food of the devil and Julia Roberts the Devils ambassador.
He was master of the remote control and ruled the television with a fair and equal hand, providing it was nothing medical or slushy. He excelled at never losing competitive illnesses and reading any history book he could find.
‘Me’ loved to tell stories, and you could be sure 50% of every story was true. You just never knew which 50%. Vin Diesel, The Rock and Jason Stratham were his movie heroes.
He adored and cherished his four children: Cuddle Bear, Baby Bear, Poppy Bear and Fourth Bear. Mummy Bear, he felt that at times he was more of a burden, but despite this he loved her with a furnace of passion, she was the ballast that kept him afloat and for which he was eternally grateful. She taught him the importance of laughter, generosity, compassion and never to put chilli in a salad dressing.
‘Me’ was a fashion trend setter, he took cues from no one. He exclusively wore his soft trousers with pride and often formed long lasting, deep and emotional relationships with them. He was also a champion for Crocs, who can forget the stoic look of ‘Me’ trudging through the snow in his Crocs and socks? But of course, given the choice, ‘Me’ would choose to be naked, bearing his buns to the sun.
‘Me’ lived his life to the mantra ‘Carpe Diem’, providing he could do it tomorrow, and if he couldn’t, the day after that would be fine. ‘Me’ lived with a shadow throughout his life, a fear that he could not find his original voice, that he was missing out, that his purpose would be lost, that he was without passion. ‘Me’ often felt misunderstood and unfairly judged by the world, and no matter how hard he tried he always felt it was never ‘just good enough’. But then in a lightning bolt from Zeus, he discovered that his original voice lay within his family of bears. His children are his passion. He just hopes that the realization hasn’t happened too late.
‘Me’ would like to feel, that despite the struggles he did a wonderful job at life. That he’ll be remembered for his smile, his warmth, his creativeness, his playfulness, and that he made a difference. Each day he would try to do at least one thing right. But most of all for his lifelong crusade to educate on the dangers of holding in your farts. He tried to find humour in every situation, whatever life throws at him, he tries to get through it by laughing. Unfortunately, not everyone had such a finely and uniquely attuned sense of humour so wouldn’t always get the joke, which just made ‘Me’ laugh even louder.
In accordance with his wishes, we have grafted his top half onto the bottom half of a horse, and hope as he does, that in future years when he is excavated by a Tony Robinson equivalent that he’ll cause a few bemused smiles and head scratching’s. Although his desire that the discovery of his centaur like corpse will cause recorded history to collapse and a new cult to emerge in worship of him, to be a little far fetched.
A few years after ‘Me’ passing, he discovered he was autistic. If you listen closely you can just hear him laughing from among the stars.
So that’s my attempt. Do you feel you understand me better now? I tried to be as honest as I dare, and it felt good. It was silly, because I am silly.
Or did it? Is good what I mean, it felt, well revealing and odd. Am I happy with it? Not really, I have no epic tales of daring too impart. I never climbed Everest without oxygen, in my underwear, walking backwards on my hands to reach the summit and take a selfie and call all back home. Amazingly you can get mobile coverage on the rooftop of the world, makes me wonder why I can’t get it in my home!!!!
In truth, I want my epic tale, or as the Beautiful South would lament, ‘I want my sun-drenched, wind-swept Ingrid Bergman kiss’. Naturally I don’t mean literally, that would be just plain wrong on any level, she’s dead folks. The great thing about writing your obituary while alive, is that you’re got time to change it…
And while admittedly I may not be the one to pen my own obituary when I’m gone, (which when you think about it, feels like an injustice, who knows what will be written?), I’ll at least, in some small hopeful way be the inspiration for it!
As much as this exercise has been about how well do I know myself, it’s also shown me that while I can’t change, erase, omit the past, the future me is a mystery, and more importantly a changeable me, and seriously, you never know what will happen. A year ago I would never have thought that I would be autistic, in truth, I had suspected, but for it to have actually been diagnosed, was so far off my radar. I do not have to be the same Me today as I was yesterday or will be tomorrow! I’ll have successes, I’ll have failures, probably, realistically more failures than success, but I would have tired.