Who Am I? (What’s My Name) Finale Pt.2
Hi, I’m James, welcome to Jackass.
Hello, my name is James and this is my first AA meeting.
Hellooooo and welcome to another episode of Lonely Boiz Meets World, my name is James...
I’ve been writing stuff every day for three years, six months and five days, that’s 1,284 consecutive days because I’m pretty sure there was a leap year in there somewhere, and today I struggle with how to start it?! I mean the whole thing may as well be thrown out and started over.
That is not going to happen. No, yesterday I imparted what little wisdom I felt I could and today I figured I would be a bit more self indulgent. It is my birthday after all.
It doesn’t feel it. I’m working tonight and while I am really looking forward to seeing some friends on Saturday this is still the second birthday I’ve had in the midst of a pandemic.
The last time I went out on my birthday was 2019, before that my thirtieth was the last time I actually did anything big for my birthday. That was four years ago and I hadn’t even thought about starting this website yet.
A lot has happened in the time I’ve been writing this thing. If you had asked me where I thought my life would be today when I started it wouldn’t look much like it does now. But thinking about alternate realities as anything more than works of fiction is stupid.
I am here, now. I live in the same house I did then, I’ve been here for longer than I’ve lived anywhere before and I love my home. I think I have gone through one of the most significant periods of growth as a person I ever have or will and while it is still an on going process with plenty of ups and downs, I really like who I am and I am happy, mostly.
Let’s dial it back though and look at some of the big changes in my life in the past three and a half years. Much like a Yelp review it’s easy to forget the really good stuff because that’s what you always hope for. It’s the bad stuff that stands out and sticks in your memory. That’s also the stuff that helps you grow the most though, not so much the stuff itself but how you deal with it afterwards.
When this first started off I had been married for a year and a bit. Everything was fine, we were cool, happy and it didn’t seem, at the time, like anything was wrong. That was obviously not the case and it was a very unbalanced life that ended pretty shittily.
I may have been able to spot the signs sooner if a lot of my mental energy at the time wasn’t taken up by the deteriorating relationship with my brother.
That was a prolonged breakdown that, frankly still rears it’s head every six months or so, but I am able to deal with it so much better now. At the time it was fresh and new and exhausted a lot of the emotional energy I had to give.
We may not talk any more but I love my brother completely and cherish the memories I have of the fun we used to have.
The same isn’t really true for my ex-wife. We did have some awesome times together and two of the best vacations of my life were with her, as well as a couple of other good ones. But when I think about those trips I don’t really think about us, I think about the places. I don’t think about her at all to be honest. If and when the subject does come up I don’t hold any resentment or ill will, just apathy, a blankness. I’m good with it that way.
That wasn’t always the case though. When my marriage first fell apart and we were going through the motions of getting divorced I was in a deep depression. I’ve slipped back into that funk a few times since for unrelated reasons but I can recognise it now more than I did then.
I was high functioning depressed; just before everything went down was when I started exercising daily and taking better care of myself physically. This helped massively as it gave me somewhere to focus my energy and kept me from the downward spiral. I was going out more than I had in years, saying yes to every opportunity.
It didn’t feel like it at the time but I started dating and seeing people pretty quickly, absolutely as a reaction. It had been about a decade since I was last single for longer than a month and before that I was DJing and it was the ultimate ice breaker. The world changed in that time and I was playing catch up, having to learn the new norms of tinder and actually going on dates. And, the times you skip the dates and never speak to them again after that one night.
It was the Wild West and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it for a while. I really think that as long as everyone is honest with themselves and each other then crack on, do what you want to do with whoever you want to do it with.
It took a while and I was definitely going through a period of figuring out who I am and what I’m all about. I regained a lot of the confidence that had been blown out the back of my chest during this time and developed a whole lot of new positive attributes that I have never had in the first place.
I did meet someone who had a profound effect on me during this time and showed me that I wasn’t as dead inside as I was beginning to believe. She’s an amazing person and an invaluable friend.
She wasn’t the only friend at that time though. My social circle tweaked and changed a few times before settling into a core group.
Much as my relationship with my brother deteriorated, so did some friendships, though this time in a much more subdued way.
Through everything I’d been through it became more apparent to me who was really there and I could truly count on and who was more situational or fair weather.
I did some trimming of the fat and now, while it’s not the most robust, I adore the close friends I have. Quality over quantity.
I got myself into the best physical shape of my life, I feel really good about who I am and am happy to admit when I’m struggling and enjoy when I’m doing well. That self awareness of my own well being has helped me see the highs and lows in the people I care about and I hope it has meant I have become a better friend to them in the process too.
I’m still me though and make self deprecating joke at any opportunity but when friends tell me that something I have done has inspired them to make improvements to their life, I am immeasurably proud of myself and them. There are few better feelings than that.
Then we were hit with a pandemic. A truly monumental time that will be recorded, taught and talked about in the same way world wars, the bible and 9/11 are. And we’re still living in it at the time of writing this so who knows what else may happen in the coming months.
That threw everything for a loop. I went from being really social for the first time in years to barely seeing anyone. I was furloughed for three months and then when I did go back there was the looming possibility of redundancy. At the time I was relived to keep my job but in hindsight I would have benefitted more from being laid off as they instead transferred me and seemingly did everything they could to push me out the door.
After six years in that job I finished very unceremoniously on xmas eve and at the start of this year started my new position working night security less than five minutes from home. It suits me perfectly.
There were positives that have come from the year of near constant lockdown though. I started learning Spanish and am loving it more than anything I ever learned at school. The world learnt how to video conference and I hung out and had tons of fun with friends from far and wide, making many new ones in the process.
After many days and nights spent playing games together online but mostly chatting and goofing around, The Lonely Boiz; myself, Ed and Mitchell, got out collective shit together and started the first of hopefully many creative projects together. I talked about that yesterday so I won’t go into it again but it reignited a passion in me and I can’t wait to do more.
That kind of brings us up to date, but it hasn’t answered the question, who am I?
I could tell you about the external things that make me, me; Star Wars is beyond a franchise for me, it has been with me for my entire life and has bought me endless amounts of joy. For a property so large it has always felt so small and personal to me. Sharing that with people is always a highlight.
I could talk about my enjoyment of reading books and comics and getting engrossed in a fictional world such as The Expanse.
Avatar The Last Airbender may have started as just a kids cartoon but upon near constant rewatching has solidified itself as my favourite tv series of all time.
I’ve gathered a lot of the creative influence and inspiration I have, as well as a deep routed love for the city of Austin, from the production company Rooster Teeth and the community that surrounds them continues to be an incredibly bright beacon in my life.
Despite never being into sports growing up I have been following the NFL and the Indianapolis Colts for over fifteen years now and the friendships I have they have formed around football are amazing, our annual fantasy football draft parties, and when we can, get togethers at live games are some of the highlights of any given year.
I also have a small group of friends I love going to watch indie wrestling with. It’s the closest thing I have to watching a soap but following the rise of AEW has been a lot of fun and talking with them about it is great.
While I don’t get to play many at the moment, possibly my favourite type of social gathering is a board game night. I have so many games I am dying to play as soon as we can.
I’ve also leaned heavily into the ageing hipster stereotype of buying fancy pop culture art and recently vinyl too. I love that walking through my house has an almost nerdy art gallery feel to it and if that’s soundtracked by the crackle of a needle on a record, even better.
Those are just things I like though. They’re a part of who I am, but they’re not everything.
I don’t think any of us can be summed up the things we like. That would be a very superficial life.
So what about attributes? That’s where it gets tough for me. I often joke about being self loathing, but I don’t necessarily see that as a negative. It feels like a contradiction but I think you can like who you are and be self loathing at the same time. For me it just means I’m constantly striving to improve.
“Everyone leaves unfinished business. That’s what dying is.”
Well before I get there I want to continue to get better.
So what am I already pretty good at?
I’m levelheaded and rarely get riled up or angry.
I am loyal, sometimes to a fault, but if I’m in your corner it takes a hell of a lot to get me out of it. I’ve often said that I may not like many people but those I do I would do anything for.
I’m adaptable. I’ve been through a lot of dramatic shifts in my life and have always rolled with the tide and adjusted my course as necessary.
I think my greatest attribute though is my judgement of character. I can pretty quickly spot the good ones from the bad and the ones in between that just aren’t worth my time. I’m not infallible and people do change over time which sometimes skewers it, but I think in my life I’ve been about 95% accurate with my assessments of people. It’s hard work keeping that internalised sometimes but everyone has to make their own judgments.
So I guess that’s it. There’s nothing else I have to say.
I’m sure I’ll be back writing about something on here before too long but I am going to enjoy a break for a little while and work on some other stuff. You can always find me on Twitter or Instagram @jhewlett and I would encourage everyone to subscribe to Lonely Boiz Meets World and Invincipod on your podcast platforms of choice.
Thank you for reading, wether you’ve been on the journey from the start or this was the first post you ever read. I appreciate it. I would say that’s the reason I did it, but it’s not. I did it for me. It was a wholly selfish endeavour, but I can genuinely say it saved my life at least a couple of times so, hey, that’s got to count for something.
As I was writing this I decided to see if anyone wanted to say anything about me. These are some of the responses I got...
I can safely say that James and his words get me through life some times, hell, a lot of times.
Clever, caring, honest
It is a bit wanky. But I’d probably do it.
Does words good
Gentle, cautious, smart, funny and generous
You’re still blogging?!
How will I know what’s going on with James when 365 project ends???
Soon to be 34 James will always be my baby boy and I’m such a proud Mum!!
James has been a great friend to me for the last 10 years, through good times, sad times and lockdown times, and even though I've been distant the last year (I’m not special, it's been a weird year) he's always included me in everything and I genuinely appreciate it.
Where do you even start with James? I’ve known him for less than ten years and it’s been a hell of a ride. I’ve seen him on fire, we’ve broken out of jail together, we’ve been both good and bad influences on each other, we’ve danced until I hurt, he’s made at least four good jokes, we’ve stopped an army of demons raiding a city, and I think I made pancakes at some point. He has honestly saved my life more than once. But even through all that he still manages to surprise me, and most of all inspire me. Its seriously annoying. I wish he was garbage like the rest of us.