Breaking out of my shell! The struggle

Working towards a life change I decided to move to San Diego. While here I have had my fair share of new experiences, breath taking views (especially some of the men! Wowza!) And interesting events unfold before my eyes. Yet in all of this there is something that hadn’t happened yet. An event that doesn’t depend on location, or livelihood, but a deeper introspective view of one’s self. The good thing is, I was once there; the trouble now is getting back to it.

Everyday, usually at the end of the day after five beers, rendering the thought pattern too late, I have this thought. Let’s get back to where you once were. Great thought right? I’m recognizing where I want to be mentally, physically, and emotionally, so what’s getting in my way?

I believe there are signs everywhere. Mine started a while back when a friend in my circle surrendered the opinion that he felt I was “awkward.” I became offended and it’s still stuck with me today, but why? He didn’t mean anything other than socially awkward as in difficult to talk to me sometimes. Then some guy comes up to me at the lounge, rather handsome, in the coast guard, and stuck talking to my friend because I’m too busy being uninterested and scanning the room. Finally after a while he looks at me to ask, “why are you afraid of me?”

AFRAID? I’m really starting not to like those A-words. He later said I had to come out of my shell. “What shell?” I asked.

Then comes Pride weekend. I have all Saturday off, finally chose an outfit (a bright blue button down from express, blue Abercrombie faded jeans, and my white Giraldi dress shoes…aka, classy bitch!), and was up in time to get a good spot along the parade route. Sunny and 80 degrees, I walk past hundreds of people who might have some sun-block for the silly lil queer that forgot to bring some. I finally asked the guys in front of me when I realized how burnt I already was.

Later, at the beer tent (my first stop) there is an abundance of awesome people all over the place, where am I? Anxiously dodging the sun while waiting for my beer, quiet as a mouse. The day wasn’t a bust by any means, I did talk to a girl which then led to many other people.

“What shell?” The one that keeps me introverted when I have an extrovert personality. The shell that’s busy repressing my fears, and poor self image.

Today I pressed the snooze button too many times (as usual), got up to check facebook, went outside to smoke a cigarette and thought about tanning. Then I went inside, did a few jumping jacks and decided to do laundry, not a bad start. But then as I was brushing my teeth to prepare for work the light above me (I thought to have been burned out) flickered on. I laughed, with the joke in my head someone had a good idea. It was in that moment I looked at myself then stopped laughing to scold myself for being,
“so stupid,” I said aloud.


I will never get back to where I was with negativity like that. Scolding myself with negative inner dialogue won’t supply the positive change I need to make in my life. Are these the words I needed to hear myself say? Possibly, and yet with that, there are many obstacles.

Self Image one of the first things I think about. So much ties into the belief of what we are. Physical appearance (especially to a gay man) is not something to be taken lightly. So, while I may appear to be “skinny” there are several factors I don’t like about my body.

With a list of things I need to do while here in San Diego posted against my door, reminded of them every time I walk out, I realize I have to have a positive self image to accomplish these things. So while I’ve known for a while what needs to be done, a change in the way I talk to myself may just be the right move. Instead of berating my lack of effort I will be cheering myself on. Instead of uninterested attempts at waking up, I will push myself. With a positive attitude about everything, there are more opportunities that will rise up and present themselves.

Negative Self-talk has been something I’ve been developing for roughly five years now. I was quite proficient at it in my younger years, then eighteen came along and I found a wild spark inside that helped to purge through this. I made friends that saw me for the beauty I held within and they never wanted to stop saying it. Me, not wanting to disappoint them, began ensuring I was the way they saw me or better.

I always had a “favorite” song I would wake up and jam out to. It helped, I believed, get my blood going and the surge of life to purge my veins. This then led to uplifting thoughts, and opportunities to say “yes” rather than “I’m not sure” or worse, “no.” Eventually I became a morning person chock full of energy bubbling leading to more physical activity and the slimmed figure I have, but can still improve.

Lack of Drive (and/or confusion) was another interesting task I had to conquer. A great step in the correct direction was making lists. Though, I often strayed from it, at least I had a plan. Anything worthwhile I hadn’t accomplished for the day made it to the next days list. With the energy flowing I’d stop and dance in front of the mirror rather than folding laundry, but that was okay at least I was doing something. The laundry always got done.

The light that magically came on over my head could have been a good idea, realization, or a necessary culmination of facts I have to face. I am in San Diego; there is no time for poor self image, negative self-talk, or lack of drive to keep me within a restricted area. Though the physical appearance part of the obstacles will take some time I can change the drive and self-talk immediately. Positivity will abound to help further me, develop me, and break me out of this shell. There is always an amazing experience out there waiting for us to discover it, I have just gotten one step closer!

Thank you for reading! And if you liked this check out The Better Man Project.

Caleb A. Mertz


Posted on July 25, 2012, in Rants, thoughts and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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