Legal Alien: A Scotsman in Montreal

It's not a meme, it's a Monkey

May's monkey - slightly delayed and now brought to you in association with June.

"When we are not ourselves: describe a time when you were "out of character."

I don't think I am, or have been, myself that often. After being a geek at high school with low self-esteem and low self-confidence, I developed quite a 'weak' personality. By that I mean, I would adjust who I was and how I'd act depending on who I was with, it never felt like the true me was coming out, i was too busy straining to fit in. It took me several years of university before I felt more rounded and sure of myself - this was as much to do with gaining life experience and learning how I reacted in the face of new challenges or situations (eg exam pressure, break-ups and so on).

I think the pivotal moment for me came after I moved to Montreal, in essence to be with my girlfriend with whom I saw a long-term future. Disastrously, we split up after about 6 weeks of me being over there, leaving me isolated with no friends, very little French, and a job for which I was probably under-qualified. However, I stuck to my guns, saw out the depression which ensued (though I never realised it at the time, looking back it was fairly obvious), found a new bunch of friends and established a life for myself. I thought to myself that life had taken its best shot, and I'd come through, and for doing that, I felt all the stronger. And so it's probably only been in the last 1-2 years, I have had the confidence to be me, and happy about the me that I am. (Of course, being a Scot in Canada helps, as everyone loves a Scotsman abroad and that can't help but massage the ego).

Nowadays the only time I'm not really myself is when I meet other people in my highly-specialised, highly-technical industry and I find myself in awe so I tend to stay quiet and introspective hoping they don't notice me (believing firmly in the Abe Lincoln adage: 'better to be thought a fool, than open your mouth and remove all doubt'). This will pass in time I'm sure as they've all be doing my job for decades, and I've yet to see a project through to completion (due to my moving jobs) to gain confidence in my skills and abilities.