In 2015 l read a book by Jim Kukral entitled Attention which had an effect on my life. I was reading it prior to the launch of Classic Eggshell Moments, for some heads up of garnering marketing to the proposed brand. In the contents were a few chapters designated towards the term “That Guy” and this new feature works loosely on that concept. It is to be an interview of people who ‘go a little bit further’ with what they do, that are in essence That Gal, That Guy.
Questions in a light hearted fashion asking how they crossed the border or entered the arena to what they do. Why they do it, how they started and so you get the idea. What makes them different to the next person along, what are they trying to achieve by doing so? Is it for personal, emotional, financial gain? Is it to be different, to stand out, to be memorable and be recorded into the history of our time here now, our very moments?
You see getting attention to your idea, your concept, your writing, your designs, your photography, your poetry, your blog or even just you, that’s easy – everyone can do that if they put their minds to it – the hardship and as such the true secret to success is sustaining it. Anyone can become that gal, that guy if that’s what they wish to be.
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When l was younger, l struggled with understanding certain things, no in truth many things – in my yesterday’s l was not the wise and mature worldly person l am today and of course why would l be? It stands to reason that l wouldn’t be.
By fifteen, l had already done a lot with my life, or rather to be correct, my parents had ensured that l had done many things with my life – or should l say they ensured my life had seen many things through their eyes and desires? I had already travelled the world twice due to my Father’s career, his soaring ambition to be ‘That Guy’, my Mother as his wife had no choice but to tag along with their kids – myself and my Sister. By that time l had lived in many houses, and equally had attended more schools than most kids of my age would have seen in the first twenty years of their life.
As a young teenager living in the UK l had already spent most of my life in Australia, so knew very little to the English way of life, but also l had spent years living in Malaysia and because of my certain way of life was already very aware to different cultures and their people.
I never had the opportunity presented to me to be anyone except my parents’ Son. It was not that l wasn’t my own person, but let’s be honest – usually we are not our own people, we are our parents’ people. Already at that moment in my life, l was seen by others as slightly off beat, perhaps even out of sync, a little on the wild and quirky side and most assuredly through my Father’s eyes – simply odd!
Growing up in my household wasn’t an easy task, l can assure you, l simply wanted to be left alone, didn’t want to draw any attention to myself, just wanted to be me – but finding me at times was almost an impossible task. I didn’t crave popularity like my Father, or attention like my Mother who in truth simply wanted to be shown affection by my Father, but because of his own self-importance agenda and being greater than any of us, that was below him.
We all know people that are the life and soul of the party, the social animals and the very essence of everything that is sometimes only ever about them, don’t we?
And yet, we all, or many of us do strive to be remembered for something and not just nothing. We want to feel like we are doing something of value, that our lives mean something and that we are giving our community something back which in turn makes us feel worthy.
When at school, l used to watch the guys in my class who were so super so self-assured, that life was theirs for the taking, they oozed confidence, they were popular, they had a magnetizing charisma to them, and they were just cool.
Two guys l remember clearly were the most popular guys in my entire school! They had girls swoon at their feet, they just could waltz in and within seconds, would have a girl on each arm listening to their every word. Or another guy l knew who just seemed to know what he wanted from life, or that gal who just knew how to be with people, she even, in school uniform looked right, she wore it in such a way that she stood out from everyone else, not precociously but naturally. I used to look at these people in absolute awe and fascination – how did they do that, how did they do what they did and more importantly how did they carry it all off so well?
I didn’t want popularity when l was at school, l knew l was a geek, l was a book worm, l was shy, l had a small stutter, l got embarrassed easily, l always just wanted to fit in, l wanted to be like everyone else and l never thought once about just being me – because l wasn’t good enough.
I lacked confidence, l was laughed at, bullied both at home and school and made to feel inferior albeit mostly at home, so l wasn’t part of the ‘That’ Culture, l was part of The Geeky Freak Culture.
There were girls l liked at school, l had crushes on them, but l could never aspire to being anything around them, going red at the drop of a sneeze, stuttering almost on command and saying the most inappropriate of things was not an endearing feature! I wanted to be part of That Culture, l wanted to be one of the That Guy scene … but that seemed really far away!
I discovered that making people laugh with me, was actually the best way to stop many from laughing at me – of course there were still the die hards that continued to snarl and snigger in my direction, but by widening my audience or community of followers if you wish with my humour, l found that l had unwittingly developed a wider circle of friendship. The best way for me to make people laugh was to do funny things, perform funny actions – make myself more of the court jester – which is why l used it as the cover to my book, so l started to act up. I became the rebel with a cause, which was to try and fit in more with my peers!
It worked, but it made those at home, mostly my Father become very agitated with my desire to be different! Being a strict disciplinarian as he was, he would punish me, but it was worth it because l was now part of my tribe!
Covering the girls toilets with Clingfilm, pretending to hold up the dinner ladies for their lunch tokens with a plastic gun, using 3lb of German herbal tea and pretending it was hashish, blowing myself up in science lab, falling over things, making a fool of myself was great for fitting in, but was not winning me any Brownie points with the school authorities or those at home, so there were pitfalls!
One day, towards the end of school for ever, the two cool guys, let’s call them Bill and Ted approached me in the halls and pulling me to one side gave me some remarkably sound advice. These guys ever since l had started making people laugh, had become friends of mine, if they saw me being bullied, they were always there in my defence.
“You know Rory, whether you know this or not, you are quite the guy! You can make people laugh which is a gift, now if you can cultivate that to overcome your shyness with the girls – because trust us when we say that all girls love a guy that can make them laugh and smile, then you are onto a winner!”
I was dumbfounded; the two most popular guys in my school were talking to me like l was one of them! I had suddenly gone from being a geeky freak to being quite a guy?
Over the years, l have received advice from many people, and awarded many people with advice, but that advice stuck with me. When l got to college, l put that advice into practice and whilst even then l was still a novice as far as the opposite sex was concerned, l fared better. I was still a court jester, but no one laughed at me any more – people listened to me, joined in with me and l started to fit into a new tribe of people. I had become That Guy to many others, for different reasons.
Today l tell people all the time to not be afraid of being different, to think differently, to not think the same as everyone else, to be that gal, to be that guy. Because so many people, want – That’ be it the status of just being noticed, to being listened to, to being different and being okay with it.
This new feature is to celebrate those people, those gals and guys that stand out from the crowd, even if behind the scenes, that aren’t afraid of being different or of having themselves, watched and read, of being able to offer something back.
We can all be that gal, that guy all of us, we just have to believe in ourselves more, have the courage to make a difference, stand out and up, let your voice be heard and be confident that you are in fact already making a difference, for already we are that gal, that guy.
Later this week, l will write up another post, displaying the questions. If you are interested drop me a line, or who knows l may send you the questionnaire anyway, because you have caught my attention.
Once it’s completed, l will write a post-up using your answers and making a small feature of it.
Thanks for Reading, and l hope to hear from some of you soon.
Rory Matier – The Tee Shirt Blogger