|This is me now. (From Buttersafe. One of the best.)|
At a certain point though, it just came time to take that trite piece of advice: Be yourself. You know what 'trite' means?
Trite - adj. Lacking in effectiveness due to constant use or excessive repetition.
We've heard it in every feel-good movie, every romantic comedy, most coming-of-age films. But that doesn't mean I took it to heart. Didn't give it much thought because it was easier to just go on the way I'd been going up to that point.
Up until 3rd year of high school I didn't have any one who you could really call a friend. I had people who enjoyed my company or were at least a slight bit more positive than indifferent to it. But to call them friends would cheapen the word. Beyond the superficial traits, e.g. quiet, smart, Asian, they didn't really know much about me and I did nothing to change this.
It took me two years of high school, half way through, before I decided to change. I remember exactly when. It was during Spanish period. Nothing significant happened on that particular day during that particular class, but I spontaneously determined to participate in some casual conversation going on whilst we waited for the bell. I remember feeling perfectly natural doing so. There wasn't any moment of awkward "Whoa did he just talk?!". A few days later one of my classmates did remark that I was talking more. And that was that.
Nevertheless, that was still a transitional period at best. I remained fairly taciturn and reserved. I don't know what it is with me. I went half-way through uni before taking the final turn. That means another two years in. By then I'd met a lot of people I truly thought were 'awesome'. People I thought I'd really like to know better and whom I'd like to get to know me better. While I must admit I didn't immediately throw off all the fetters of social conventions (I still wore shirts indoors! Imagine that.) I finally, at long last, settled into my own body.
I remember the day I knew I'd succeeded, as it were, truly revealed my 'True Form', though it was only in retrospect. It was one of our Japan Club food events, Curry Night. I got there early and sat with a friend folding origami. She had a sketchbook with her and some of her friends were looking through it. Another guy came in at some point. I didn't know it at the time but he'd go on to become one of my favorite people and possibly the one for whom I have the most admiration. He shall henceforth be known as A-boy.
Fast-forward one year. We'd gotten to know each other better over the course of that year through a varied batch of encounters through different social circles. One day I asked him what his first impression of me was. He said something along the lines of "Someone who presented himself as who he was, without pretense." Not his exact words I think but something like that. From this I knew that I'd done it right.
This is one of the reasons I harbor such disdain for P-boy. (Yeah, there's no 'u' in that 'harbor'. I dunno why, k?) He isn't comfortable with himself and it shows. He's kind of a wimp but he tries to put up a manly man front sometimes. This doesn't work because he shows his true self too often. It's different from the change that I went through. To use a metaphor, he isn't rearranging the furniture, he's just putting up different curtains. The irony, as I see it, is that the ability to fly would be perfectly suited to his true personality. The ability to take off and go somewhere whenever he had the desire, that fits fine on him. But it doesn't suit the person he wants to be. He doesn't want to go alone. He wants to be surrounded by friends.
You'd know I had an arrogant streak pretty soon after you met me. I don't hide it. And that's also where that arrogance comes from. I like myself so much hahaha. I won't apologize for that.