I have the unerring ability to attract a certain type of person. Like flies to a cowpat. Okay, that’s not very savoury. Like bees to honey. Well, that’s just ridiculous. Bees are attracted to pollen in order to make honey. Like moths to a flame. Well, that’s a bit derivative. Like goats to a cabbage. Better, but it’s a bit early for Chinese New Year. Like…
You know what? Forget the analogy. Just trust me that it happens.
There is, within my psyche, a need to draw to myself Button Pushers, Gauntlet Throwers, Challengers, Comfort Zone Destroyers…. you get the picture.
These are the ones who say “You should run a half-marathon”, “Come along to this songwriting circle and write and perform your own songs”, “I want you to play a part in this play and you’ll need a Yorkshire accent”, “You’re a great writer, you should start a blog”.
In response, every shy and insecure cell in my body (which is, let’s face it, most of them) starts screaming, “NOOOOOOOO!”
But the reckless, unthinking, adrenaline junkie who lurks in my dark corners, always gets her way.
“OKAY!” she says while I try and work out how that happened.
One of the Button Pushers had her way with me a couple of weeks ago. We were due to catch up and in response to the question of what we should do, having been stuck at home with three teenage boys for a very long, long summer holidays, I said, “Something girly. And creative.” More fool me.
A plan was hatched and I was not to know what it was, only that I was to dress respectably but with comfortable walking shoes. That’s the other thing they do, you know. Spring it on you so you don’t have time to back out.
Setting off together, all was revealed. I was handed a small knapsack that contained a selection of art supplies – paints, pencils, pens, sketch paper. We were going on an urban art excursion.
“You’re gonna make me draw…. in public??!”
Well, I did ask for something creative.
You know those teen horror flicks where the friend dares the other friend to walk in the creepy forest or sleep in the haunted house? This was like that, only more cultured.
The first stop was our State Library, a grand old building with a breathtaking domed reading room. I don’t know if it was the permeation of decades of higher learning but I found the experience intimidating and I was depressed by my efforts.
The next stop was beside the river. Maybe it was the open air, or the gently flowing water, or maybe it was the boathouses across the river and the scullers going past that made me feel more in my element. I was happier but still not convinced.
There was to have been a nature element to our excursion with a visit to the extensive Botanic Gardens but by then the temperature was into the 30s and tea and cake sounded more appealing. This was the girly part. Tea in china pots and teeny cakes served on white tablecloths at the swishy little café attached to the Art Gallery.
The table had white paper overlaid on the linen tablecloth. And this was an art excursion. (I like to carry a purple pen. I feel like Harold and his crayon.)
It has taken days to prepare this post and quite some measure of nerve to bring myself to make my art pieces public. I am yet to be convinced I possess any real artistic ability.
But that is what the Button Pushers are for, aren’t they? To believe in you more than you believe in yourself. To push you out beyond the view you hold of yourself.
And so, despite my fears, I am truly grateful for the friends that scare me because I would achieve nothing without them.
But I’m not sleeping in a haunted house.