Just A Different Sort Of Twat

I’ve got a half-marathon coming up in a couple of weeks, my third ‘official’ half marathon where you get a medal and a t-shirt and a bag of wanky snacks at the end. It means I’ve had to put a bit of effort in to training but it’s no biggie these days. Whether it’s pissing down, or blowing a gale, I’ll be out there. 10 kilometers, three times a week, forever and ever and ever until I DIE.

The thing is, though – much as I hate to admit it – this is the person I am nowadays. I’m like the person that I used to be 3 years ago; blonde, blue eyes, shortarse – but with the circuitry ripped out and replaced with that of a different person. A kale-eating, smoothie-making, charity-giving person with a working moral compass. All the badness has gone too, and that’s the scary thing. Where’s my rawkus, wanking-on-stage, partying-all-weekend-without-a-change-of-pants fun side fucked off to?

I already knew that stopping drinking had changed me – I wrote a bit about it here – but it occurred to me a few days ago, whilst out on one of my freezing cold jaunts up and down Milton Keynes’s redways, that the change in me since November 2015 has been MASSIVE. I’m not just the same person with less slurring – the sobriety has deeply affected just about every single thing about me.

For example:

2015 Jon: Loves getting into drunken arguments, even if I secretly agree with your point. It’s just fun to make people upset.

2017 Jon: Likes to learn about people’s different points of view. Exercises empathy. States balanced and considered points (unless I’m driving, in which case you’re automatically WRONG and A PRICK.)

***

2015 Jon: Eats lots of pizzas, burgers, curries, and meat pies. Does crazy shits.

2017 Jon: Almost veggie by proxy (wife), has special-needs health shakes for lunch, snacks on protein balls (heh balls), has pizza as an occasional treat, eats fucking loads of kale and spinach. Lays dainty cables.

***

2015 Jon: Not interested whatsoever in sports. All sports is shit and so are sports fans.

2017 Jon: YAY SPORTS!

***

2015 Jon: Won’t wear anything with fashion logos or labels. Just band t-shirts and hoodies, basically. Same pair of trainers for 2 years, replace upon death. Jeans.

2017 Jon: Superdry warrior. 8 pairs of shoes. Jeans.

***

2015 Jon: I don’t read books. Books are for pretentious idiots with beards.

2017 Jon: Reads books, is pretentious, has beard.

***

2015 Jon: Coldplay are FUCKING SHITE and I just wish they’d FUCK OFF!

2017 Jon: Coldplay are FUCKING SHITE and I just wish they’d FUCK OFF!

Okay, maybe not everything has changed then eh.

freshly harvested  kale cabbage stems on a white background

Some lovely tasty fucking kale

So anyway, this whole train of thought got me thinking about identity. I used to really care about having an identity that outwardly stated who I was, and what I was about. It didn’t necessarily need to be the way you dressed or how you did your hair, but also the way you acted – and the reputation you had. It was cool to be known as somebody; a guy in a cool band, a party animal, a purveyor of violent movies, a guy who never said NO to another shot of Jager. These might not have been the way other people actually thought of me, but it was definitely the way I thought of myself – and it was the identity I tried to portray.

These days however, 2+ years sober, I genuinely couldn’t give even the littlest of fucks how people see me. It’s not something I consciously changed about the way I view life – it sort of just happened gradually. Life has stopped being about other people’s opinions, and started being about ME and MY HAPPINESS.

As an example; I remember once, yeeeears ago, my girlfriend at the time suddenly came on with a really heavy period. She had no sanitary towels or anything with her and asked me to pop to the local Co-Op, about 2 mins away, to get her some. I was so conscious and embarrassed at the idea of me, a young mosher in a Nine Inch Nails top, buying sanitary towels on his own, that I said NO! I refused to do it, and she ended up going on her own. I remember how bad it was seeing the blood coming through her green combats. My misguided pride had caused me to be an absolute ringpiece, and I can honestly say that even now, when I think about it, I die a little bit inside. That guy, fat Jon, is just a million miles away from who I am these days. I buy sanitary towels all the time nowadays. Just for no reason. My car boot is full of them, and my desk drawer at work. I just fucking love buying sanitary towels.

I know for a fact that a lot of the changes in me have been brought about by going sober. That’s an absolute fact. Especially stuff like getting into sports (GO SPORTS!), or writing blogs. This is the stuff that fills my time now that I’m no longer spending my evenings and weekends in a bubble of Strongbow and shots. Some of the changes, though, may have been brought about by age – I am pushing up towards 40 after all – or maybe brought about by my change of surroundings (relocation down south 2 years ago) or even the fact I’m now married. Whatever the catalyst, I can tell you with absolute belief that QUITTING BOOZE MADE MOST THINGS BETTER, AND NOTHING WORSE.

So here’s my final point on this whole identity thing, as I’m rambling and I’m not even sure where this is going.

SoberPunks. What does punk mean? To some people it means conformity to the punk lifestyle as portrayed by the punk movements of the 70s and 80s. The mohawks and the leather jackets. The cheap strong cider and the red Doc Martens. The ripped tights and the squatting (living in squats, not the other type where you squat down, or do squats in the gym. doesn’t matter…). To me it means the total opposite. It means non-conformity to any ideals except for your own. It means only doing what you want to do, because you want to do it. And so under this definition, the definition I’ve always believed to carry the true spirit of punk, I think the new me – the spinach-eating, perfume-wearing, sober-blogging, car-cleaning me – is actually 100% more punk than the old me. You can be in a noisy band, and wear a Sex Pistols t-shirt, and dye your hair green, but if you’re only doing it to ‘fit in’ then it’s just conformity, and conformity isn’t punk.

This is the reason for calling this blog SoberPunks. It’s about doing sobriety FOR YOU.  There’s nowt more punk than that.

I remember one Xmas when my granny sat and farted at the dinner table, and didn’t even care. She instantly out-punked about 95% of Blink-182’s fan base.

And so finally, when I look back at who I used to be, and then I look at who I am now – I see two distinctly different people. But one thing definitely hasn’t changed. It’s a constant in my life, and no amount of pine nuts or Superdry jackets will take this one thing away from me…

After all is said and done, and the alcohol has gone, and the weight falls away, and life becomes more and more manageable as each day passes…

I’m still a twat.

Just… a different sort of twat.

 

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3 thoughts on “Just A Different Sort Of Twat

  1. Martin Taylor says:

    Jeez this is like reading a diary of my own life …. sober for 21 months and having done 2 marathons and some halves … being a couple of years older ie 47 i really was a young punk !. And i relish every time someone asks me incredulously why i dont drink cos i just love the way i have transformed as a person. I also love being part of the sober revolution thats gathering pace.

    Liked by 1 person

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