I get nervous in big crowds. Never quite sure how to stand or where to put my hands. I enjoy company and small groups – even the focus of their attention – but more than that and I am a wreck.
Presented to strangers I am uneasy but anonymous amongst them I am at peace.
The importance of situations bears down on me like a truck with a snip where it’s break cables once lay. Adrenalin braces my body and closes my synapses at a moment when brain carries more weight than brawn.
I feel at home in traffic on my bike. Sandwiched neatly between black cab and concrete curb on Euston Road, movement as mindless as my thoughts are effortless. Physically, the progress may be halting but my consciousness flows uninterrupted. The mind leaving the body in its wake.
I feel at home, too, on the rhythmic, churning ascent of a steep sided hill or, better still, the hurtling descent on its opposite side. Although, in this instance it’s a home with no windows or doors, where a cleansing gale blows rapidly from room to room sending curtains flying and piles of boring papers fluttering chaotically out into the world.
On astro turf I find my zen. When the ball moves quickly but legs move quicker and my stick quicker still. Yes, when things go right, I am at one on the hockey pitch. But I just as soon feel the burning gaze of floodlights and twenty pairs of trained eyes when my own feet betray me and my arms move with the clumsy inaccuracy of a fist thrown underwater. At these times I cannot escape the oppressive green rectangle quickly enough.
I hide behind my guitar. Placing it literally between me and the world. I feel its absence like the hollow in bedsheets where a lover recently lay, cotton still warm to the touch. I can feel the coarse strings rubbing lightly against the fingertip calouses of my left hand. I miss the gentle press of its body against my upper right thigh, its edges on the inside crooks of each arm and the soft indentation it makes in my ribcage.
The cold solace of a mountainside threatens to overpower me. The soft crunch of snow broken by heavy soles and a silent vacuum filled wantonly with determined breaths. The ascent narrows a complex world to a simple task but turn around and reality catches you sharply with an upward gust that threatens to rock you from your perch.
On a Mackintosh I am lost but in Windows I am found. Alone outside my tent I am scared but inside it I am safe. I am calm in water as I am on land (but in transition I’m not so sure). The man that lives inside me draws his confidence from singing yet loses it from scrutiny. My body asks for rest but really wants exercise. I like Earl Grey but I drink it with soya. I dance but I don’t know how. I write but I don’t know why. That is who I am.
Now, who are you?