An article about understanding and embracing oneself.
It was during a work social function, of all things, that I was reminded of something from my past that gave me great joy. That thing was skateboarding. I spent more time watching a handful of guys practice their moves in the nearby skatepark, than I did paying any attention to what was going on in the social function.
I spent much of my teenage years as a skateboarder, and I’m sure I was seen as quite the nuisance, if not a menace, by many in my neighborhood. I got into arguments with business owners, church pastors, and rent-a-cops about using my transportation of choice in a given area. I’ve had the police called on myself and my skateboarding compatriots at the time. But despite some of those low lows, skateboarding was a blessing to my life, and is an element that I didn’t realize I was missing.
I still have my last board, and it still works, decently at least. But I haven’t used it properly in years. When I entered the workforce for the first time in my late teenage years, skateboarding was thrown to the wayside in the pursuit of moneymaking. I still made time for video games, movies, and my other “geek” passions. Anyone who has read my articles on The Uncommon Geek knows that my geek nature is something that I have fully embraced, and that it is not something I am willing to do without. But what about this “punk” label, eh?
Punk is a term that I prefer to use in a very specific aspect of its definition. I don’t like punk rock, I don’t have a single tattoo or piercing to my name, and I don’t dye my hair at all. But I do see myself as a punk in the respect that I, more often than not, buck social norms. I have a defiant streak that began before I was even a teenager, and my need to question and second guess anything is an intrinsic part of my nature. Though I am very much my parents’ child, in that I inherited a great many of their traits and characteristics, one aspect which did not pass from my father to myself was a want and desire to be prim and proper.
“Total slob” is not a term I would use on myself, but I am definitely more lackadaisical in my dress and my upkeep than my father. Dressing up for work and for social events is an extreme irritant to me, because it feels like I am lying to everyone around me through my appearance. I would rather be that guy in athletic gear, hiking and climbing his way through a forest and over a mountain. I’d rather be the skateboarding punk in my jeans and my band t-shirt, soaked in sweat after trying to land that damn trick for the 100th straight time. I want to be that guy up on stage, playing music, letting my craft and my expression take precedence over my appearance.
What I took away from the whole experience was that I need to embrace my “punk” nature as much as my geek nature, and this fellow has realized that a certain activity needs to be re-introduced into his life. Skateboarding put me into the best physical shape I’ve ever been in, and gave me a sense of freedom and expression that is difficult to describe.
Happiness is sometimes as simple as the thing that is right under your nose. In my case, a slice of happiness has been stowed away in my trunk for the last few years. Maybe all it takes is to stop and ask yourself if you are being surrounded by what you enjoy.