Let's play the what if game. I should point out, there's a reason behind this, for once. I've started going to life coaching, a program put on by a local gay men's health organization. Normally, life coaching is meant to help clarify your goals and give you a few tools to achieve measurable, concrete goals. By sheer happenstance, my life coach has some psychology training and we seem to have delved off into actual therapy instead of just life coaching. Which is fine by me, apparently I need it.
Something we touched on last week was that I often don't feel comfortable advocating for myself and being assertive among groups. Those of you that see me interact on here are likely surprised by such an assessment, but it rings more true in my in person interactions. This has led me to miss out on a few things that I would have otherwise gone for, had I been more prepared to speak up in my own defense. So let's play, and have a relatively frustrating look at what might have been.
In primary school, I joined the volleyball team and wandered my way up to playing on the school's top team. This was back when no one could be cut, so the school had multiple teams, even though everyone knew which team was considered the top team for the school. I liked playing with the guys, they were pretty cool and we all had a bit of status from being sports stars for our school. I'd grown up with all of them, and we all agreed that we were going to try out for the high school team together, since we'd played against most of them already and felt that we all had a chance of making the team. In eighth grade when I got to high school, I suddenly dropped out from the tryouts without giving a reason why to either the coach or my former teammates. As it turned out, one of my former teammates ended up playing for the school team for the next five years, so it was definitely attainable for me to make the team if I'd stuck with it. I can only imagine that I would have been better known had I stuck with it and maintained that jock persona all through high school. It would have made coming out easier, because at least then people would know me and not have a confused look on their face when I did eventually come out. Better to be the gay jock than the absolute nothing I was in high school xD. No regrets about coming out to my baseball and curling teams, and there's some delightful stories I can tell about that.
I got into my first choice university, and I was surprised to see that UBC had a number of fraternities on campus. I thought it'd be a wonderful opportunity to join a fraternity. Meeting all those guys would have given me a social network right away that would have grounded me a bit more in my first year of university. I didn't join, because I was afraid of getting too busy and far away from home, but it's another instance of things that could have changed. First among the changes would have been a much better social life, since the frats are always busy with something or another, including a few charity activities a year. They wanted me, too! I got asked to join them for a sushi dinner and it was fun, and I should have stuck with them and gotten pledged.
Joining the frat might also have given me the push I needed to go try out for the UBC baseball team. At that point I'd been playing competitively for thirteen years, and while I wasn't the biggest or strongest person, I knew what I was doing and had some professional coaching over the previous few years that made me competitive, even against top competition. I backed off from trying out for that sports team as well. This time I gave some crappy excuse about how the tryouts were in the Winter and I wouldn't be ready. I saw a UBC baseball game a couple of months ago. I could have easily made the team, even back eight years ago when I took the coward's way out. Again, it would have given me a social network to rely on and hang out with instead of the mind-numbing boredom of my first couple years of university. It would have given me some extra confidence that I so desperately need in my professional life.
In each of these situations, I could have gotten what I wanted had I actually stood up for what I wanted instead of simply giving in to the expectations of the people around me. No one expected me to be good at volleyball, so I didn't try out even though I knew I could. My father didn't want me to join a fraternity because it would take me away from music, so I didn't join. I didn't try out because I didn't think I was good enough and again, my dad was annoyed by the winter tryout. So I didn't try out. Even if I hadn't made any of those teams or been accepted into the fraternity, at least then I'd know because it was entirely due to my own lack of ability or lack of what they wanted for their organization. I'll never know that for sure now, and that lack of knowing haunts me. Particularly because it was based on a lack of assertiveness on my own behalf.
Go figure, therapy actually accomplished something. These were all things that we sort of talked about in my session, and now that I've had a few days to expand on them I realize there's a lot more there to work with.
At least this will dispel the rumours that I have my **** together. Or who knows, no one believed the rumours that I was gay either, and I was the one who started them.