When I was a college a small group of us decided to give each other nicknames. I was given the name Crazy, which was shortened to Craz which was then transformed into Taz. Henceforth (or for as long as anything is interesting to thirteen year olds) I was called Taz. I proudly proclaimed this to my family and so received Taz themed gifts for a few years after (Taz keyring, Taz beach bag, Taz stuffed toy dressed as a gladiator…).
Sometime later the name Taz took on a new dimension: she became a professional wrestler. I’ve already written about my affair with the world of professional wrestling, so this development shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. Back in the day, before Playstation needed a number after it to distinguish the different breeds, me and my brother used to play WWF Smackdown! 2: Know Your Role. The best bit about that game was creating your own wrestler, including your own wrestling alter ego (of course). My alter ego was named Taz and she was everything I wasn’t as a teenager: strong, confident and fearless. She was based heavily on Chyna – in my previous wrestling inspired post I gave some of the reason why I was such a big fan of Chyna in the ring. Physically she was like nothing I had seen before, she certainly wasn’t one of those Barbie-esque type creations that’s forced upon girls as something to aspire to and judge oneself against. I never liked the Barbie-esque, I couldn’t relate to it – but Chyna I could relate to. Chyna didn’t fit the cookie cutter and she didn’t let that stop her and that was rather inspiring. I’m not saying that Taz was Chyna and that by extension I was like Chyna because that’s just total bollocks, I’m not like Chyna at all, she was just the inspiration I needed at that particular time.
Anyways, Taz evolved. She became that alter ego that I reckon most people imagine they have – even if they don’t want to admit it. As if imagining yourself as someone stronger, braver and who makes better decisions than you do in real life is something to be ashamed of – well it’s not. Taz was confident, Taz stood up for herself, Taz didn’t let bad experiences in her life knock her self esteem – and she certainly didn’t hold onto that low self esteem like a drowning man claws at the edge of the up-turned boat. In short she was nothing like I was as a teenager but nearly everything I wanted to be as an adult.
I am most certainly not the same creature I was as a teenager. Though events in the last year or so (the particulars of which are neither interesting nor particularly important any more) have demonstrated that yes, I can still hold onto low self esteem when my self esteem is knocked. However, I don’t hold on as tightly anymore and I now know how to let go of the aforementioned up-turned boat and use the experience as a reason to learn to swim. Regardless of knowing this, sometimes I need someone to point it out to me because one can’t always see the woods from the trees. In a recent conversation with my brother he gave me the best advice possible:
you’re still holding onto that low self esteem, you need to become……..Taz!
Too right, now that I’m an adult (well, I’m older than the current Dr Who so I guess this makes me an adult) I need to reclaim Taz because if I don’t do it now, when will I? This got me thinking, who is Taz now? She certainly isn’t a wrestler. The more I thought about it, the more I realised that Taz and Lizzie have morphed into the same person. That person is me, writing these words that you are now reading. In all those years between being a teenager and now I’ve finally managed to become comfortable in this skin, with who I am, both the good bits and not so good bits. Somewhere along the line I reclaimed Taz and without knowing it I absorbed her so she was just a part of me and all it took for me to realise this was a baker’s dozen words made by my brother.
This got me thinking some more (I didn’t sleep much last night), would my teenage self like my adult self? On the whole, right at this particular moment, I would think so. Grade: Pass with the comment ‘Room to improve’ scrawled along the margin. All of which leaves me wondering, what would your teenage self think of your adult self? I would be interest in hearing your thoughts!