Most people strive to display the most favourable representation of themselves; it’s only later that their other side, or sides, are revealed.
I’m fortunate in that nowadays, I don’t have to waste time conjuring a scintillating guise to impress the masses – I have accepted that even my so called ‘good side’ is pretty poor so as a rule, I just go with it.
As usual though, there is an exception to the rule.
The truth is I am hopelessly compassionate. I always have been. Reckon I get it from my mother, which is never good. Females passing down attributes to developing males will only ever result in the recipient’s hardship. You see, among the greater chauvinistic population compassion is considered a largely effeminate attribute; excesses of such, moreover.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been a 16-year-old male but the pressure to be ‘one of the guys’, is rather intense. Turns out I was able to fit in with this clique well enough and I don’t know quite how it happened, but I seem to have also picked up a great many female friends along the way. Not girlfriends – never girlfriends – these were simply female friends. I now realise this co-ed magnetism was on account of my innate excess of compassion; in fact at the time I left school, I had more female than male friends…
Then shit happened.
In the years immediately following shit happening, this excess of compassion caused me a great deal of anxiety. Never having been one to worry much about image, at that time, nursing severe brain trauma and an incipient post traumatic rubral tremor, compassion took over and suddenly it became of paramount importance to not place any more stress on the minds of those who cared about, and indeed who had spent so many months supporting, me.
As the tremor became increasingly dominant, my task became that much more difficult. I made it my duty to go about my new life and still do whatever had to be done while, for the benefit of onlookers, disguising my inherent issues. If ever I was unable to do this and perhaps let loose a thrashing left arm or frantically jiggling head, the typical onlooker reaction would comprise a reflexive, almost micro-expression, look of horror, followed quickly by confusion giving way to surprise which usually tapered off as they realised that they were making this medley of facial expressions and realised furthermore that for the benefit of the clearly broken lad before them they would do well to be portraying a more lachrymose gaze of sorrow, melancholy or better yet, pity.
It was this look of pity that tore me up inside. It afforded me the knowledge that I had been the cause of somebody else’s discomfort; here it is – I felt bad for them for making them feel bad for me, despite the cause of the discomfort being something over which I had no, or at least limited, control.
Gosh, what a world. What a life.
Article by Tim Walker
Edited by Cam Posh-Yin
Photography by Lou Goob Brius