I've decided I'm going to use this blog a little different from what I was previously utilising it for, shamelessly plugging myself and every facet of my awesome being. I'm instead going to use it as a time capsule, as I'm sure as hell that when WW3 wipes out the majority of the population, Gamespot will somehow still be standing.
That's your old man to the left of the above photo, taken literally last night. You may be wondering why I was dressed in attire which seemed put together randomly, and perhaps why I'm standing next to a guy dressed up as an African Tribesman. His name is Richard, you'll probably never meet him, but you'll almost certainly hear about him on the news in some form, if he's not Prime Minister of England or CEO of a bank in 20 years time I promise I'll eat a hat. Oh, the dodgy attire? We were at this crazy thing called a fancy dress party. You won't know what parties are, as being the tyrant of a Father I so long to be, I'm going to make sure you never go to one. (I Kid, I Kid)
You see, your old man was once young and hip. Well, maybe not hip, I think even using that word shows how out of touch I really am, but I was certainly young, and like you, this was a time when I was discovering myself. Things were going pretty well in life at this point too. My studies were fine, my social life was reasonable, I was enjoying a fledgling career as a Shakespearian thespian (I was rehearsing to be a walk on in Macbeth) and I was getting offers from Universities. It was nice. That's not to say that life is easy around now. Life is the toughest damn thing you can ever try and get right. Everyone will give you terrible advice, because it worked for them, but that doesn't necessarily means it'll work for you. Hopefully I've not scarred you in any way or caused any long term neurosis, because the lesson I'm about to teach you, and one that I'll still be learning to deal with 40 years down the line, can be neatly surmised like this.
There are just too many god damn people on this planet for you to care too much about people thinking negatively of you.
There are four kinds of people in this world. There are those that like you for the wrong reasons, those that dislike you for the wrong reasons, those that like you for the right reasons, and those that dislike you for the right reasons. The last two are incredibly important, and to show you I'm not just talking out of my ass, I'll let you in on a little secret. For the formative years of your life, you will care about the the first two a whole lot more than the latter two. Let me give you some examples.
I had a friend called Peter who liked to come around and play on my Playstation 2. It was pretty much the only thing we had in common, but being the dweeb of an 11 year old that I was, I didn't complain that there was one extra friend in my life. Sure, I couldn't chat deeply with him about relationship troubles or the fact your grandad favoured my sibling over me, but at that age, who the hell cares? The issue was when we got to 14 and we couldn't do anything else. We completed games and he only spoke to me when he wanted something games related. You're probably shaking your head right now in embarassment, but at that age, you are happy to be friends with whoever, you don't realise the wealth of boys and girls out there who will like you right down to your annoyingly nasal laugh, just for being yourself. I actually sold my PS2 late september and I ended up never speaking to Peter again. I've never seen him around, and I occasionally pause and wonder if he was a fictional construct of my imagination.
You'll also get people who dislike you for the wrong reasons. These kids are the ones you'll probably try desperately hard to please as well. I promise you kiddo, it's not worth your effort. They'll dislike you for being too "ugly" or "skinny" or ridiculous reasons like that. You're beautiful, I promise you that. I'm not just saying that because I'm your dad, but because you damn well are. If I was 15 and/or the opposite sex, I'd probably have a crush on you.
You'll make friends as you get older that like you for every little quirk that you have, for your confidence, shyness, they'll learnt to love every little oddity about you. Eventually, you'll meet someone who loves just watching you sleep, and believe me, while those old films we watch and laugh at such as "Twilight" have made it seem creepy, it's actually kinda sweet. These are the friends you need to keep. Make time for them, you never know when you'll need them the most.
Finally, you'll get the guys and girls that dislike you for the right reasons. Like I said, these are the most important people to pay attention to. They can accurately describe facets of your being which they don't like, and it's not petty or unfair, it's simply something you need to work on. You may even end up with your old man's short temper. It's something you need to learn to control, and I promise you, it's a learning experience, with time you'll become more and more patient, and your desire to punch people in the crotch for asking you how to move a file from a hard drive to a memory stick will be a thing of the past. Not least because those terms will probably be antiquated by the time you arrive into this world a little gross bundle of joy that you are.
So why am I telling you this? Because for all your faults and issues, and with me as your dad, there will almost certainly be a lot and my bad on that one, I'm hoping that you'll read this and realise, you're awesome! You magical bastard!. I know that you're going to have to deal with a lot of **** motivational speeches from your peers at school, and advice from your mum and I such as "Be Yourself" and "Never give up", is going to be of little comfort in what is probably the most difficult time of your life. I know for a fact older me will forget how difficult growing up can be, as our minds have this terrible propensity to remember the good and forget the bad, and I know there is a lot of bad trying to discover who "you" are.
But never forget, that when your parents forcefeed your cliche's and you just want to shut the world out because of how difficult things are, there is more than a grain of truth in them. You need to be yourself if you're going to find those friends which you'll come to fall back on when things get too difficult and we aren't around.
Also, Protip? You're never going to be the strongest of dancers naturally, either beg your old man for lessons, or be doomed to do the raving lunatic for most of your life, and trust me. That **** isn't attractive.