FROM NICKY SLATER TO NICKSTIR - A QUESTION OF IDENTITY -
Today, once again, I am in the loop of the question of my identity. I've been here for most of my life. Now, at 62! I know, stop, give up, retire (thank you for your input you 'Scallywag on my shoulder') but no... I'm just starting out again. A new challenge in a new continent.
Anyway this question of What's My Name and Who Am I? has been a great stop to action and freedom for me.
What's my name? Sounds crackers I imagine - your name is your name but...it's an issue for me. As is 'I will upset someone." I always upset people. I stopped going out so that I didn't do that. I was agoraphobic ( the fear of going out) and had depression (heavy, couldn't get out of my chair) years back. We all have our journeys and still, for me to go to events is sometimes a stretch. Apart from skating events I didn't do that when growing up so never learnt the norm of 'socialising and the benefit thereof.'
I am stepping into processing this enquiry in a way that I hope can be a contribution to others. It may also provoke comedy along the way and laughter is always good.
In the process - real pictures - without the make up darling. Yes I am a showman will show up. Below I'm in the garden capturing a song that's coming on the guitar. It was last summer. One of the many songs that sit waiting to be birthed on the iPad.
My background includes being particularly interested in brands. I've got a Masters in Marketing which sounds good and has given some insight. But I've learnt much more outside the academic construct. I've also been a Celebrity - as a name. Which can complicate matters as that creates a recognisable BRAND NAME. It had value, and to a degree to certain folk it still has. It also has associations - an Ice Dancer/ a Celebrity TV Special Judge / a skating commentator. I'm also a Doctor for goodness sake - but only an Honorary Doctor. So is that a Doctor or not?
If you want to re-invent yourself do you change your name and loose that potential linkage to people who knew you? Will people accept a new you? Madness to jettison a brand name that's been built up over time - unless you are P Diddy of course. Maybe there's a model. Aha - as I edit this I see there is a branding issue here. Doh - of course and looking at it as such gives a different perspective.
That brand name is Nicky Slater. And, it's not a big deal. Unless you are Nicky Slater and a procrastinator and fearful of what might happen! (Aha - there's the FEAR word.) So you end up doing nothing. Years pass, people forget. And you're lower than a C level celebrity rating in the current popular opinion in the British Market and a total unknown in the rest of the world.
However Nicky Slater is also my name in 'real life.' So 'Who is Nicky Slater?' The person who has been on the TV, the different roles he plays, or the friend? All of the preceeding of course. And does it matter - well - for some reason - it matters as an enquiry to me.
So...it's a waste of time. Just Do It. Stop fannying around - the pragmatist, my mother, would cry. "You know too much," she would say. And - maybe we are all different. And I'm the fannying around, searcher for meaning, rebel, eagle on the edge of society trying to find my place yet enjoying standing apart to a degree and looking in...it's a prompt for writing.
So Mr Slater lie down on my chair and stare at the wall for a while. I'm listening...
So this will be a journey. A journey into identity. Multiple Identities. It is Multiple Personalities Re-Ordered. We will have fun gazing at our navel and exploring the contracts of who we are and what we can become. I am also interested in looking at how 'taking on roles' can empower or disempower us.
I can sense a book coming out of these posts. It will be random in its structure. For - if I plan rather than free form write - it will never see the light of day. It will, at the very least inform and inspire me 'as therapy and external processing' in my development of LID OFF THE BOX. My newest venture (this is finally it).
This morning the prompt for writing has been my angst about how to position my voice in LID OFF THE BOX if at all.
LID OFF THE BOX has, as its Holy Grail, the freeing of NICKSTIR. Ahh yes - there is NICKSTIR that's the real me - flying... It's become a metaphor for that character inside of all of us that wants to fly. Our inner NICKSTIR. Here then is a part of that process.
So it's complicated for me this morning. How do I integrate NICKY SLATER into LID OFF THE BOX? In some ways it's simpler to not be there at all and let my characters lead the way and develop in the story. In other ways me being there, as the author, might work? So, separate or integrate? On the edge or no. And... Arghh... it's a circle of questioning.
"I thought you didn't want to be Nicky Slater," says Christiane my wife, who has witnessed this angst for many years. "I'm not sure," my reply. "I'm taking the dog for a walk," her response. She knows better than to give input...
STARTING THE JOURNEY
For as long as I can remember I have not been 'easy' with Nicky Slater as a name. I read a book by Donny Osmond, a pop singer, who has recently - under the Donny And Marie brand - been performing in Las Vegas. He was not comfortable - as a man - with the name 'Donny.' I relate to that.
The name on my British passport (can't wait to get an old fashioned blue one again) is Nicholas Mark Slater. My mother and father gave me that name. Nicky was the name used as a term of endearment from that. Why should I have my hang ups?
I used to compete on ice as an ice dancer trained by my mother - who died a week ago now. How's that going...processing. My father-in-law said "forget the bad times they're not worth remembering." Helpful. The good times speak louder. There is a sadness though that I did not enjoy a richer relationship with my Mum. I am heartened that she was a surrogate mum to so many and respected for what she achieved. There was not time to be a 'traditional' mother for me of course. Which influenced my identity and scripts as to how I have acted. In many ways, crazy though it may sound, experiencing and living a 'normal life' is a constant revelation and learning process for me. I never ever saw nor experienced nine to five until I saw someone close his desk and leave an office I was running for my only period of 'proper work' on the dot of five pm. I would stay to 10 pm or later. I was taught to 'live your work.'
--- As I read to edit this and Christiane (my wife has said "It repeats a bit, you might like to review it." I'm starting to get in need of 'refreshment' here.
---- I think it's a Chapter break... Perhaps go get a coffee. Ok moving on.
As my friends retire and my pension plan is - keep working. For me, after a life of searching and so often hiding out or hiding in the five year 'project of the moment.' I daily see different.
I appreciate so much of what I would call a more 'normal' way of living. It is different to my construct and upbringing of Bothe my parents being an Ice Skating teachers.
I have avoided with a passion this career path because:
my mother could claim an "I gave you that," controlling moment
I wanted to avoid someone phoning me at 5:45 am to say they are cancelling their fifteen minute lesson at 6:00
because I never saw the model that some British coaches adopted moving to America and becoming millionaires doing coaching (it might have changed my perspective!)
because I sought something different, something that had the potential to pay better or fulfil me more
because I once went to Bracknell Ice Rink and my friend said I could charge the same as everyone else... and no more. Issues of worth here then?
because - I love to perform, to be the front man and that is what really lights me up
because I had the childish dream of being that performer on stage and - even though I was told I was too old (over twenty years ago) it doesn't leave
because there is something more than commentating on others, there is something to create, invent for me to do
because a girl at the BBC asked £1,000 from me for the rights to show a four minute clip of me and my then ice dance partner Karen Barber skating during my show presentation on a Cruise Ship. Remind me. Did I assign you the Rights to our choreography and performance to be exploited on all media worldwide in perpetuity? The Rights to take and use my image for commercial gain? I did sign any disclaimer or assignment of rights and made no verbal contract so to do. A class action from every sports and music performer who was exploited and never received financial recompense beckons. A class action of magnitude that would be. So perhaps just let me show the clip? For the record I used the clip anyway. I was out of integrity with the construct you created and agreed. If 'Auntie Beeb' you wish to sue me I will seek to enrol as many other performers who were likewise exploited and see what we can do to create that Class Action. Beware the Rebel who gets a cause they believe is righteous. Golly, see how I get stirred up when I feel injustice! Maybe I shouldn't say 'golly?' Maybe in today's society that might upset someone who associates it with a racial slur akin to the Gollywog on Jam I grew up with. For the record it is not spoken as such. (Socities constructs change over time... Indeed.)
because Felix Dennis, an English businessman gave advice including - own the IPR
because I have gifts in areas that were not my upbringing, that I didn't see modelled, that I had no idea could be 'work.'
because I don't want my mother's life - I want my own
because I don't want to have to pay to stay qualified for a job that I think myself qualified at and I rebel at Administrators that invent constructs to pay their wages that are not honourable to those who teach on the front line.
because I am a Maverick, a Rebel, a stubborn and - a special one...
because I need love like everyone else
because my heart still yearns for the audience
because - the romantic in me still clings to a beautiful dance on ice that personifies love and freedom... But you are now an old guy give it up, contributes Scardy Cat on mob shoulder... Ah -no. Sometime I feel 100 years old yet often I don't 'feel' old and I compete against folk in the gym in their twenties still... So I'll hold onto the dream...
because ... I don't want your life (the life I saw modelled) - I want mine
more... yes but we are all bored now!
WHAT A LIST
If you are still reading you are hearing / seeing the result of an edit that is taking flight within this post. I'm in the garden, dog at my feet with his stick. As I review the list above I see areas where - if I had seen then differently back then - it would have made a difference.
I could have moved to America, taught Ice Dancing and done choreography in Los Angeles for example and lived on a boat in the harbour. That might have worked.
And - I think it's alright to have the angst. My Mum's funeral was 3am this morning Canadian time. In England it was 11am.. More on that in another post.
Back to IDENTITY - which of course is to a degree influenced by our parents and environment in our upbringing.
A MAN CALLED NICKY?
I have emigrated to Canada. Here, a man called Nicky is akin to 'A Man Named Sue' in the song. So I introduce myself as Nick. Like Tom, or Jake or Mack. Nick. Nick is a man's moniker in this land of four by fours. A firm handshake, look you in the eye, and say "I'm Nick." But that doesn't feel quite right sometimes either? Although my friend Corey says Nick in a way that's cool. But my six foot five friend Kurt says 'Nicky Slater' in a deep powerful voice that makes that sound cool to! Doh.
Canadian guys have said 'Nicky' might be the name friends give you when they know you playing Football or Ice Hockey. Like a Don to a Donny a John to a Johnny, etc. Helpful. The ladies in the gym said - Nicky is a girls name in Canada. Nick is much better. Or maybe Nicholas - one of my gym teachers prefers that, it fits me for him.
But then as one friend at Eurosport said about Nicky Slater. "It's your name." What he didn't say, because his spirit was kind was, "So get over it."
And if you have enough time to consider this you have too much time on your hands. Indeed. - I have written a lyric on this.
And I have just resurrected communication with the world on this Blog site linked to Facebook. So I risk being' told off.' Because I am not the norm here. I am open to the mocker, the straightforward adviser, bully. I think I'm more able to cope with that than I was. My self worth is outside of my name. And I am sure there is 'meat' from a psychological perspective in the construct I address and benefit for someone out there searching too.
Ands it earns me no wage and I need to be earning a wage so this is done at huge risk, taking the time to sit... writing, interacting the same problem, deepening insight, seeking freedom.
Perhaps I was born to be a desert father but, having a mortgage to pay, school and soccer fees, etc etc as of normal life... The demands of the world are pressing. And I have very limited time. So I could/should be going out and getting a job. But I am here with you seeking something deeper for us.
So I'll dare to continue with the enquiry and if looks madness to you you're in the wrong place - you are sorted and confident in your name and identity. Excellent. Bless you as you go. And if you have a part of you that seeks freedom, seeks release from what you were made to be I hope you promoted to be processing. We are not made we are merely working on an issue personal to us and freedom is coming.
COMPLICATION & BRAND?
The problem/challenge of identity that I experience has been exasperated by my creating many characters and alter egos. This is in the story I have been writing to frame - my coming out - in a different guise to the world. Yes, it's akin to being born again - which I've been and that's another factor running here. How does that work? Who am I now in God as a new creation in Jesus... Hmmm.
And on the subject of rejection, what does the Bible say about that. I need to study.
My coming out, in part involves comedy and in part involves music and songwriting. The two merge at times as I write mini four minute stories of life and love and write the surround story to the characters involved.
My MULTIPLE PERSONALITIES REORDERED concept was originally commercial. I think it still has validity although no one makes money from music these days? Discuss.
My simple construct was designed to enable me to harness songs I write across different genres. So I thought I'd invent different characters to deliver these songs. Some of these characters have been with me for over fifteen years now and not yet said hello to the world. They have their voices and and they enable me to step into and then communicate from a different perspective. They give me freedom to write, arrange in different genres and create laughter. They suddenly appear in an accent and voice and become a complete persona in an instant as the record producer leans over his desk laughing uncontrollably at their words to the song.
I am - ofd course - being writer, actor, conceptualist, brand designer and laughter/love maker as these characters develop. I love them and the depth they have that continually reveals new facets.
As I am in Canada - the response "I love your accent" holds true here.
So my being in a different culture is an interesting prompt to the writing and delivery process of these characters. It is oxygen. And I can do accents.
My characters are my allies and relate to each other - they are all in my mind. Funny farm it is at times as I love comedy. Their Back Stories provoke their songs, their aspirations and expectations are different - yet a part of me.
They are players and characters in the epic battle of behind the scenes good against evil. This is the battle for the mind and the search for identity, purpose and freedom that I have been pursuing.
I can play different roles. I become different characters, and this seems to give me freedom. I see from a different perspective. Their perspective and life cycle stage. Rather like a double agent I imagine or the actor living in a role to deepen authenticity of performance.
I am the actor. When we have people over or I'm in a room of folk, I am performing. A comedian called Eric Morecambe could never turn off. he was always funny. I have a part of that. I practise my character roles on them. At dinner at few months ago I became one of them at the table and the people around the table related to me - as that persona. It was cool, fuelled by red wine - maybe that's what I need to do! Or perhaps to be to generate that freedom without the wine would be better?
ROLES AND NAMES
Daddy - has its connotations, responsibilities and a modelling I saw and experienced. It is also something I observe with other parents. Some are super competitive and imbue this into their children. I was forced to continue skating. My parents were ice dance coaches. So I never chose skating. It defined me, I rebelled against it, I haven't had skates on for at least eighteen months as I write. It's a process of coming to terms with - still! Anyway - I'll come back to roles - it's an interesting area to explore.
I am sat writing at the table in our Edwardian style house in Kelowna, Canada. It is breakfast time. One of my goals in life is to have breakfast with my boy and dinner with him every day. He is twelve - going on sixteen!
He is press ganged to sit and eat his breakfast at the table with me rather than go and sit at his computer. "But daddy is on his computer," he observes. So I'm not with him. And I'm writing this! So I park the computer put the scone before me and get present. At one moment I reach to the side to edit a word on this screen. His eyes look up at me sideways and an evaluation and smirk appears.
I love my boy and he mentions - when asked to do his teeth, that Daddy made him do his teeth before he had an apple juice box once. I failed. I asked if he would now rebel against that and never make his son in the future do his teeth before drinking a fruit juice box. "You should do your teeth after drinking," he rightly said. I am hopeful that these discussions may give him some insight into the challenges of being a daddy - when - God willing - he is one!
OK - a focus of this search is NICKY SLATER. So who is this NICKY SLATER character?
NICKY SLATER - THE CHARACTER?
He's a little bit Dudley Moore. Who I stood almost next to at Thames Television's cafeteria in a former life waiting to get some food. Wish I'd said hello. He was, and is, a hero of mine.
Nicky Slater was the fall guy. The charmer. The, boy rather than man, the comedian, the insecure yet competitive rebel, the devil may care to be loved and mothered, the rebel. The self sabotaging, survive alone single child. Five feet seven - not feeling 'short' but definitely not tall. But with this desire to be the best in the world as a drive inside.
Nicky Slater was lost and to a degree still is. Searching for identity, meaning, purpose and freedom outside of the construct of his environment, upbringing and learnt behaviour.
What he definitely wasn't was a husband, daddy, dog owner, house owning, Christian, emigrant to another land. These were not part of that character.
Well in the search for identity I am going to let my blog range on this subject. In the processing and research perhaps it will be of benefit to someone - somewhere searching for identity. And a name - a brand - is a key part of that identity. I think.
I am a creative, I am a complicator, a researcher. For me - the way it works is that I amass data and climb the complexity curve until overwhelmed by the constructs and relationships. I spent a year in a room of our house with mind maps on every wall and the table before me. It was very restful and productive. This process might fry other people - linear thinkers - brains I imagine.
I once re-choreograhed parts of a four minute Free Dance on a plane returning from a competition as I sat reflecting in my seat. Two days later our coach arrived in Germany, watched it through and said in wonder "When did you do that?" Referring to the changes.
I only just realised that my skating partner of the time, let's call her Karen (as that is her name) learnt the steps I had in my head in an instant and remembered them. I knew them so it wasn't a problem for me. Many years later Karen and Jason were teaching me a few simple dance steps for a Live Arena show we were in. I could not get them imbued into my head. Some kind of different learning is needed for me? Learning specialists - please contribute. I think I am a kinetic, experiential learner. Or maybe I'm just slow at some things. Because I can be fast at other things. Once I've got everything I can move the blocks around and re-order fast. Like the re-choreographing of a programme the re-structuing of website architecture. I just need to know 'the whole thing' first!
OK we've made a start. I set up for another stage of moving into the therapy of writing I undertake here.
EXTERNAL PROCESSING WITH A PURPOSE
I can see this as a book. And I gave my word to Christiane as she sat on the floor speaking with me on that. It will be an imperfect book. It will not be re-edited in a traditional sense. It will live whether it fits the agreement of others. In that publishing to come will come another step to freedom and a learning for going through the process. That is my word. SMART goal. Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic and Timely. By when? I never commit. Ahh there's a weakness. How about 70,000 words as Volume One of The Breakthrough Diaries?
Now I like that as a goal. It's a finish point on the race. It's different too. Write it, restructure it, get feedback. React to that feedback - my REBEL hates that...unless it's from experts around specific construction and professional writing issues.
OK 70,000 words to Book One. I'll post this to Scrivenir and be able to keep a track on the words.
I shall get to my job of creating an offering of different personalities at LID OFF THE BOX. A job that is confused and always hindered by 'Who is Nicky Slater?'
Perhaps that's a better title for this?
Have a great day where ever you are on your life's journey. Bottom line we are all amazing, you can't give without getting and daring to give love and contribute to the world makes a difference.
Here is my contribution for today...
And - if you struggle with the question of : Who am I? What should I do with my life? Why am I not feeling fulfilled? This is the place for you. You are not alone.
Maybe to step to your dream is too gorgeous, too crazy, too against what everyone around you will say. Too outside of their background and your background and yet...you feel some kind of affinity, a calling to do something. It's in your soul. I totally understand.
It takes - for some of us - a monumental amount of courage, stubbornness, stickability, risk and learning to break free of the past and re-invent ourselves. Particularly if our circumstances, our age, our surroundings play against it.
I once read a book 'Finding Your Perfect Work' along with 'What Colour's Your Parachute' because I did not know the options of what I could do and what I could be. Yet my heart always said 'be an entertainer' from the age of sixteen it was clear.
If I had heard that sixteen year old now I would have advised them to go to theatre school or music school or go work with comedians or...
I have - at times entertained. But I have never ongoingly earnt from this nor had the courage, nor the understanding of the business to put myself forward and make a financial success.
But at moments I've had some big moments - for me.
So wherever you are on your journey this is a place to know you have a friend on this quest for freedom. This quest for finding and flying in our gifting to support ourselves, those around us and give a blessing to the world.
I am on this journey - and for two hours I write this morning processing and learning how to get over these questions - in real time.
It's about freedom. Onwards...
PS: As I write this morning I am gaining a different view on how to produce. This writing exists and the target of 70,000 to publish is fun.
Christiane comments: "You have the right to publish, to speak out." She knows my 'fear of being told off.' Which is a big deal for me. "I don't want to hurt others, because I don't want to be hurt," I respond at one point. But maybe, just maybe it's because the little boy inside is being protected, maybe he never grew to be the man - yet. What is going on here? Therapy this is.