“Do, or do not – there is no try” Yoda.
I recently made a new friend. Yes, you read that right.. I made a new friend and she is blinkin fab! When she signed up to the task however, I don’t think either of us realised that she was to become my life guru, my therapist, my career coach and T.M.I recipient, earning herself the nickname of My Yoda.
We met in my local spa changing rooms, not normally a place where complete strangers would admit to making friends. I was in my nudies, except for a towel, and stood at the spin drier thingy that you shove your costume into and it wrings all the water out. Yoda was visiting the facilities to decide whether or not to join as a member. As she walked past me, I held the lid down on the drier thing and the sudden noise, like a baby rattle in a cyclone, made her jump out of her skin. She looked at me confused for a second and then turned away. “It’s the costume spinny thing” I told her. She turned back and smiled at me “oh”. I grinned and said “You thought I had a eaten a dodgy lunch didn’t you” She roared with laughter.
That’s when I knew she was my kind of woman, someone who can laugh at a fart joke from a naked stranger and not look remotely embarrassed. We chatted about the spa and gym facilities for a few minutes and then she told me that she works from home and so wanted a place she could relax in and work at the same time. I also work from home and asked her what she does for a living. “I’m a writer” she said. “No way, me too” I replied. I then stopped in stunned surprise. At that time, I hadn’t referred to myself as a writer in almost three years. Why did that response fall out of my face?
We talked about Yoda’s writing and the books she has had published, and I was seriously impressed! Then I told her about my blog, and admitted that I hadn’t written it in years. I felt foolish referring to myself as a writer to someone as accomplished as she is, despite my blog winning a national award and the screenwriting I had done, which has yet to gain any credits. Would she think me nothing more than a wishful thinker and tut at me wasting her time?
Did she heck. A flurry of genuine, supportive advice flew in my direction. She gave me her contact details and we agreed to meet up for a chat sometime. I went away from the Spa feeling inspired, extremely motivated and determined that I was going to make my dream of being a writer again happen. I tried to suppress the insecure side of me that was saying that she was just being polite and no way would she meet for a brew and chat. I got straight to my laptop, downloaded WordPress and imported all my old blogs from the Blogger platform across. I spent the next few evenings and weekends preparing to relaunch my blog with a fab new site, branding, photos and content. If Yoda did ever want to catch up with me, I wanted her to know that I was serious and worth her taking the time out to inspire!
Since then, we have met up a few times and each time, we spend hours roaring with laughter, motivating each other, exchanging ideas and sharing shocking, seriously TMI confessions. I have been warned that I am going to be a character in her next book and considering she writes horror fiction, I am majorly curious as to what scary shit will befall my ‘me’.
The most precious thing to me about this new friendship is this – I am not ‘the Yoda’.
I have come to realise that in every other area of my life, I am a people pleaser. I am the person who takes care of everyone else (even if they don’t want me to). I am the person that will spend my last pound to buy whatever someone else needs, will never intentionally let anyone down, will risk my own health and happiness as long as I am doing the right thing by someone else, and this is not a noble thing! It used to be something that I was so proud of myself for and enabled me to like myself. The thought that someone out there hated me or worse, thought me irrelevant, would torture me.
Now I know that putting everyone and his dog before my own happiness did not make me a better person – it made me a bitter person. I realised one day that I was resentful of people accepting my support but avoiding me whenever I struggled myself, and this made me so angry, yet of course, people pleasers would never upset someone else by saying this aloud. When I dug a bit deeper however, it dawned on me that, perhaps it wasn’t that people didn’t care enough to help me, it was that I never asked for help or accepted it if anyone did offer. Other people’s happiness is my comfort place, as I could avoid my own problems, or lack of dream chasing, by immersing myself in the problems and dreams of others. That my dears, is what’s know as being an absolute pillock!!
Yoda has never let me be a pillock. She stole my comfort zone and forced me to talk about my dreams, my ambitions, my needs and my fears. She has taken my therapist / career coach / Netflix commentator shoes and placed them firmly on her own feet. Its a revelation and one I am so grateful for. Yoda is as mad as a hatter but I wouldn’t change her and I hope that one day, I can give her just as enlightening messages from the dark side in return.
*Yoda image from http://www.animationinsider.com/2012/09/chris-palmer/yoda/