I have a confession to make. A confession - perhaps also a realisation. A discovery. But first I will set the scene.
A bookish exterior...
On the surface, I’m composed and intelligent. People commend me for being articulate; I have a minimal, almost preppy style, read classics and mainly watch news and documentaries. People who are now close friends have confessed than on first meeting me, they thought I was boring/too cool/snobbish/classy/a try-hard/ insert your own adjective here. (Has this ever happened to you?)
I don’t actively encourage this perception – not that I’m aware of! But sometimes I let it slide, worried that if people knew I’m not the person they think I am they’ll be somehow disappointed, or even embarrassed for me.
I don’t want to do that anymore.
My confession is this: I love – no, I adore, YouTube videos of underdogs triumphing in talent-quest TV shows. In the secrecy of my own bedroom I have spent many hours adding to my favourites list of such gems: the homeless man from China whose singing moves the judges to tears, the young German girl with the voice of a trained opera-singer, the group of British labourers who sing like concert tenors. Without fail I will be transfixed by their unassuming manner and inevitable success, a huge, dopey grin on my face and tears running down my cheeks. When I’m not YouTubing the next singing sensation, I will be dancing to Jason Derulo. I will – I confess it – rap. Or at least attempt to. I will make faces at myself in the mirror. I will sit inside a cardboard box and pretend it’s a car.
Inner energy and delight
People say life is short. It feels kind of long to me. Either way, the most important thing is happiness. Nothing else – the prestigious job, the ‘classy’ exterior, who you’re wearing or what guest list you’re on – really matters. Happiness comes first.
I have found things that make me happy. Reading TS Eliot may be one of them, but so is a silly face in the mirror, youtube singing triumphs, my overactive imagination, playing childish games, and throwing shapes to sick beats. And I’m no longer going to apologise for that. Because I'm happy with my life - and that's worth everything to me.
What do you not normally admit to, that brings you joy?