Happy Friday, lovely reader! Got any nice plans for your weekend?
Last night I watched the season finale of My Mad Fat Diary on that absolute blessing of a website, 4oD. For those of you who don’t watch it, don’t worry: I’m not going to go into any massive amount of detail about it (although it’s well-worth watching just for Nico Mirallegro, who is beautiful, as you can see). For those of you who do watch the show but haven’t seen the finale yet, also don’t worry: I won’t spoil it for you.
The reason that I brought it up at all is because one of the key messages that came out of the episode is that you really never know how things are going to change. You might think that you know how you feel about something, and then find that your opinion is entirely turned around. (For example, I live in hope that one day I will wake up and discover that I like olives.) You can think that you know how you feel about a person, and that can change without you even noticing. That’s how old friends fall in love and old couples fall apart; sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s terrible, but it does happen. You never know how you might change.
I’ve just typed the word “change” so many times that I’ve now got Bowie’s Changes stuck in my head. (Weird fact about that song: when it was released as a single in 1972 it never reached the Top 40 in America or the UK, but it got great reviews and has since been listed as #127 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 2004 list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.)
Lots of us think that things happen to us, and that we are forced to adjust to them. Sometimes this is true, but a lot of the time we actually have more of a say in how we feel than we realise. If something changes that you genuinely can’t help, you can always find a way to adapt to it. For example, when I lost my job a month or so ago I could have sat around feeling sorry for myself, but I didn’t. (My friends and loved ones would never have let me do that, because they’re brilliant.) I have registered as self-employed, I’m writing this blog and articles on other websites, and I’m finally giving my theatre company some much needed attention. I have time to see my friends, and I can appreciate living in London for what it is: a bizarre adventure. Sometimes it can be confusing or a bit lonely, but mostly it’s bloody good fun.
I decided to take that course of action. I chose not to accept “Episode 7: The One Where Vicki Loses Her Job” as the season finale. Think about times when something’s gone wrong for you in the past. Did you sit around and feel sorry for yourself? Maybe for a while. But where are you now? Are you still sulking? Of course not. You’re a wonderful human being with a lot of brilliant stuff to do. You chose to respond to that situation by getting the flip on with your life. You, my friend, have been commissioned for an additional twelve seasons at least. (I don’t know why I picked twelve. I have no idea how the television industry works.)
Most of this week (as you may have noticed from previous posts) I have been in a bit of a strop on behalf of myself and my friends, because we think that having feelings for people makes us vulnerable, and we don’t like that at all. No siree. But I had a truly enlightening conversation with a friend the other day, who told me that loving someone (in any way, not just romantically) is not just something that happens to you; it’s something that you decide to do. You can fight your feelings and you can hide them, but they’ll still be there. Isn’t it better to use them for something positive, even if you don’t know what will happen? You don’t necessarily have to make massive declarations of eternal devotion or (God help us all) some kind of huge gesture worthy of a Hollywood rom-com. You just have to be brave. You have to admit to yourself how you feel, and then see where it takes you. I suppose that’s an example of instigating change rather than being a victim of it, which can only be a positive step.
I think that that’s a big ask (especially on a Friday, for crying out loud), and I think it takes most people a while to be able to do that. To be perfectly honest, I’m not quite there yet. Although surely if I can master that bit, the olives thing will just happen automatically?
Have the Friday to end all Fridays.