No need to ask, just do

1be134f585694a1e922d7b285e58e17bYears ago, I did a course by the lovely Susannah called “Unravelling”. I loved that online course and I virtually met a bunch of people that I still count as my friends. One of the pieces of exploration we did lead to a discussion on how we all struggle to ask for help or other things we need and think others could give us.

Fast forward to today and I am not well and reading Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking. Crying a whole bunch while reading it. Now before anyone says anything terrible about Amanda Palmer, I am not interested. Unless she robbed your silver cabinet, stole your boyfriend or set fire to your house, I really do not care. This whole hearsay stuff about famous people is really annoying. I enjoy her book.

I can spoil the whole point of this blog entry by saying that yes, in fact, at the age of nearly 44, I have not yet mastered the art of asking. I cannot ask for help to save my life. I care too much what people think of me when I ask. Like I am incapable of sorting my life out and hell, I really do want to look capable. And if I do ask, I am always certain I get rejected. In fact, there has been one crucial time in my life when I did ask and no one had time. Which is fair enough. I often don’t have time either. However, I also know that very often when I have asked for help I have gotten it. Maybe not in the way, I originally thought the help should be and maybe not exactly to the extent it was required, but yes, often the burden has been lightened.

However, what strikes me most about the book – and I have a hunch is the reason why I cried quite so much – is that Amanda Palmer just does what she thinks is the right thing to do not caring what people think about her. Or rather, she does care what people feedback to her, but she hears the voices of love louder than the voices of hate.

Heck, I cannot even bring myself to share this silly little blog with my Facebook friends. When I started doing booktube videos, I felt so self-concious that I told only 1 person in real life apart from my husband. I have been accused of oversharing on the internet. That I have too much time on my hand for being online so much. (“You got nothing better to do?”). The judging is well and truly alive but that’s not the problem, the problem is me taking it so fucking personal.

So reading this book is a bit of a nudge. It says: “Don’t listen to those that tell you, you should not do that.” “So what if mums at school would think you mental for being on booktube.” “So what if your first novel will suck like hell, but just go and finish it anyway.”

I am a believer that some books just enter your life at the point in time when you need to read them. And I shall heed the signs from the universe. Today, I am setting myself a writing schedule to finish the last few chapters of the book edit. And then I shall go and have it printed for my husband to read. And then we shall see. I already got the idea for another story, but I know I cannot go on until I finished this one.

The health issues are still there, more so today than on other days. Too much thyroid hormone in your blood and it wipes you out. That’s your fun fact for the day.

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Echoes

This week has seen holiday preparations and health scares. I am ok. Waiting results and determined to go on holiday and enjoy myself.

Today in 2001, my best friend died. I would not get the call until the next morning and right now 16 years ago, she was still alive, she would not die until late that night. I remember that moment when the call came, seeing her sister’s name flash on the display, 2 weeks before the sister’s wedding, 1 week before the hen do we had silently planned. I had spoken to her less than 24 hours before, telling her how much I hated the TV industry I was part of, how much I hated being in Cannes. She sent me a text before she got in the car. “Next week we will be partying, it will all be fine.”

Only it wasn’t. The call came early in the morning, woke me and as I saw the name, I immediately knew something bad had happened. I picked up the phone and the words hit me with such force. I howled and screamed and my friend who I was sharing the appartment with during the TV festival came rushing in and held me, just held me, while I sobbed and sobbed. He then re-booked my flight, called a friend of mine back home to meet me at the airport, took me to the airport in Nice, delivered me as far as he could. The pre-flight time was awful, so many people I knew at that airport, none I wanted to talk to. I knew the sunglasses could not hide my swollen face and the tears were still running freely.

The next few weeks were awful. Some “highlights” etched in my soul forever. Arranging funeral music. Funeral. So many friends gathered, crying. One of my oldest friends nearly passing out with grief.

We became friends on the S-Bahn. We went to school in the same town, shared friends and kinda knew each other. And one day, we sat opposite each other on the same train into the main city close by. Turned out, we both liked escaping our small provincial town for a bit. We were both from outlying villages and as teenagers, all we wanted was to be in the city. The train journey took half an hour, when we emerged from the train we were best friends. Or as she put: I decided that I liked you and wanted to be your friend but knew I would have to convince you first to be mine, too.

She knew me better than anyone. She knew all of it, too. We were as different as two people can be. She liked Disney films, make-up, shrill clothes, musicals, listened to Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston on end. I liked books, The Smiths and The Cure, dark clothing. It did not matter, turns out that these superficial things don’t count for anything.

I once read that when someone close to you dies that a part of you dies with them. I never understood what that meant until it happened to me. She is no longer there to fill in the parts of the stories that I cannot remember, she is no longer there to remind me of the stupid things I did, tell me off when I give up on myself, cheerlead me on when I need it. There is no silent conversation. No dissolving into laughter because you look at something and it reminds you of something else and you both know it and it is so funny to the two of you that you just laugh until you cry. No voicemails that are delivered in sung form, mainly songs from Disney movies. No text messages. No more shared pizzas. No more calls in the middle of the night: I am stranded here, please rescue me. No more me calling her: I cannot cope with life right now.

I still know her phone number of by heart. So many times over the last 16 years have I wanted to call her. How she would have loved my daughter. How she would have been dismayed that my kid is not a Disney Princess kind of girl. She would have adapted though and learned how to play Minecraft. Every new Disney movie that comes out breaks my heart a little because she will never see it. When Whitney Houston died I was glad she did not get to see this because the downfall and decay of her hero, it would have broken her heart.

I know what she would say reading this post. “Ok, that’s enough wallowing now, I get it you miss me, I miss you too, but this is what it is. Put the coffee on and I will be there with you in spirit.” She really loved coffee. So do I.

Miss you my friend, you of generous spirit, joyful soul, thinker of deep thoughts, that no one thought you had, adventurous spirit and believer in possibilities.