A CHANGING MAN: Guest Post From Brett

Writing is cathartic.  Without further adieu, I'm honored to share yet another blog post from Brett, who is on fire lately. The response to his posts has been incredible - and I'm so excited to share another one here: 

 

A CHANGING MAN

If you have never listened to Paul Wellers, Changing Man, you really should. To be honest the whole Stanley Road album is amazing but that song in particular always seemed to resonate:

I'm the changing man,
Built on shifting sand,
I'm changing man,
Waiting for the bang,
As I light a bitter fuse.

My love of music started with Prince, When Doves Cry. Before then I enjoyed the melodies but never the lyrics. In the lyrics I clearly found something I couldn’t outwardly express. Sometimes they made me laugh, sometimes they were a vehicle for my anger and sometimes they highlighted the utter stupidity of certain situations, situations that I knew were about as fake as they can get but for some reason seemed to perpetuate. The Beautiful South, Song For Whoever, pretty much says it all.

I knew I was, like the lyrics that seemed to resonate, living a life that seemed somewhat ghost like and transient. I was on shifting sands. However, the realisation that has hit me lately is that my own situation was in many ways extended and perhaps fuelled by those unwilling to let me change; my ‘friends’ lived vicariously through my antics and often projecting their own misgivings onto the blank canvass that was me. When I started to push back looked utterly bewildered and in some cases became objectionable.

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Allow me to elaborate. I’m back in Manchester where I lived for over a decade, a place where I managed to hide my anxiety in the ever changing city. I hop from relationship to relationship, I hold down each job for a couple of years. I have a group of friends. We enjoy each other’s company, however I can’t help but feeling that their friendship comes at a price.

Every time I meet somebody new, or decide to try something different, something or someone that could be part of something better, they push back. They reject the notion that, outside of the world they have created, outside of the control they exercise, there is something.... else. With hindsight now, of course, I realise I have allowed them to do this. I simply didn’t have the necessary arsenal or resilience to break through the boundaries. We go back now, many, many years – as is often the case – to my mother, a caring lady, but in many ways a smothering one, subtle in her control, perhaps even totally unaware of her actions. ‘You’re just like me’ she tells me. ‘I don’t like parties either. Far too busy’. ‘Oh I don’t like confrontation, can’t you and your brother just get on, for me’. The projection is now painfully obvious and of course, as a young boy it’s only natural to trust your mother.

Even now, in a recent conversation the attempt of control is still evident. This time it’s emotional. I called my mother this week to discuss an impending visit. I mentioned Christmas cards that were addressed to Brett Hutchins. Six years ago, soon after getting married, I changed my name to Brett Hutchins Anderson. I mentioned the postman had been confused by the name on the card. ‘When did you change your name?' she asks, claiming none of the family knew. She is, of course wrong, they all knew. They knew at the wedding. They’ve been reminded ever since.  

Change and control are inexorably linked. In the process of change there is an inevitability that things, ideals, people, places, jobs all get left behind. That once comfortable glove no longer fits. Of course change is rarely allowed to happen unchallenged and as I have learnt the challenge can take many guises.

Of course when it’s just me and the road, the change can happen in total freedom. Why do I run? Because that beautiful time for reflection, that moment when the penny drops and the next step to change happens is every, single, step.

I'm the changing man,
Built on shifting sand,
I'm changing man,
Waiting for the bang,
As I light a bitter fuse.

The bang happened.

 

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ABOUT BRETT: Brett is a father, a teacher, a runner. He completed his first triathlon at the tender age of 17 and has gone on to run every distance from sprint mile to marathon and aims to complete his first ultra marathon in 2018 at the not so tender age of 47. 

He is open about his battle with mental health and since hitting rock bottom 8 years ago has been on what he would describe as being a life changing journey ever since. He is a firm believer that through sharing and support anything is possible and that above all else we must strive to de-stigmatise mental health. 
You can follow Brett on Twitter HERE.

 

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