I’ve been thinking about something a lot and it’s been bothering me.
Why don’t we tell people how we feel about them more?
You meet millions (I don’t know if it’s millions actually, that might be a bit over the top) of people in your lifetime and so many people have an impact in different ways so why don’t we tell them? I’m talking really about positive feedback opposed to telling people you hate them, and they suck. Although to be honest there are a few people in my life I wish I had shared with them exactly how I felt in that way. You know who you are… Although, I would be amazed if you were actually reading this. You probably can’t read anyway.
I’m not talking about close family or best friends or anything either. I’m guessing most people tell their close family and friends how they feel about them most days either through words or actions. I mean just friends or even acquaintances or colleagues. Bear with me I think I know what I’m on about…
I first started thinking about this when my friend Vicky died in 2014. She died so suddenly and so young and I never got the chance to tell her how important she was to me. We had been good friends at school and had had many an up and a down together. I still have letters from her (that’s what girls did in those days, we didn’t have the WhatsApp or phones you know) following blazing rows or talking about our innermost feelings about certain Reading Boys.
Not that they were that inner, it was more like “I really fancy X but he’s going out with that evil Abbey Girl, Y”, there wasn’t anything much deeper than that! We went to school together, we danced together, we went to The After Dark together, we were good friends and she was always there for me if I needed her. Then school ended and our lives went separate ways, but we always kept in touch and still saw each other from time to time for a while. Vicky was the trailblazer when it came to social media and it was through her I got into Friends Reunited (yes, I am that old) and then Facebook and proper social media when it started. I think she was my first “friend” on everything you get friends on.
I admired Vicky so much. She had had some real sadness in her earlier life, but she didn’t let it hold her back at all. She was so full of life and energy and put everything into every single thing she did. It was like she didn’t waste a single second of life… although I’m sure even she had those days where she sat on the sofa eating her body weight in ice cream binge watching trash TV too.
Why didn’t I tell her any of these things though? Why didn’t I tell her how much I loved seeing her posts on Facebook and reading her crafty blog? Why didn’t I tell her how important she was to me? I took it for granted that she would just always be there.
Then Maryanne died. Maryanne was in my class at Kendrick from 1D onwards and although we weren’t best friends and didn’t move in exactly the same circles there was a bit of cross over (imagine a Venn diagram of Kendrick girls… I love a Venn Diagram, I do).
Maryanne was a bit cooler (not hard) and definitely naughtier than me. She was one of those people who was always there. She was there in 9β any time we ever had a flasher in the school, she was there on the German Exchange, she was there on nights out, she was there at Reading Festival, she was just always there.
She was such a little person with such a giant personality and made a real impact on everyone she met. I can’t believe that anyone ever met Maryanne and forgot about it. We kept in touch via the Facebook and she, like me, was a prolific poster about her son (and rightly so, he is marvellous) and other random but entertaining nonsense. Sometimes we would bump into each other around the East Reading Massive too and always had a lovely chat. Maryanne was like Vicky in that she made the most of her life and was always doing something. Her things were slightly more off the wall than Vicky’s, but she was a busy bee all the same.
An example of one of Maryanne’s finest but slightly bizarre moments was her decision to eat 50 boiled eggs in 2 hours to raise money for Sue Ryder and the Duchess of Kent Hospice. She did an amazing job and managed 31.25 in the time and raised £1296 which was incredible but that was nuts. She had drummed some impressive support online in the run-up by posting updates on her intentions and then live streamed most of the event… Apart from the bits where she vommed of course. It was a classic Maryanne moment that I don’t think anyone will forget.
Again she had had some difficult times and I’m sure she had her moments that weren’t on social media (and some that were, she loved a check in at the Royal Berks) that were less than positive but for me she was such a happy presence and in the most random way. I genuinely miss her and it wasn’t until she had gone that I realised how much she made me laugh and how happy/mental (I mean that in the nicest way) she came across and in turn made me feel… The happy bit I mean, not so much the mental. But did she know that? Did she know that she really touched people? I wish I had told her.
I don’t know if I feel like this because I’m getting older and have become horribly aware of my own mortality or whether I’m just obsessing over two amazing women that the world lost way too quickly and way too young like some kind of annoying grief tourist.
I don’t know.
I do know that there are people in my life who have made a massive difference and are really important to me, but they might not know it. So, I should tell them, shouldn’t I? But will they think I’m a bit odd? Does it matter? Would it not be better to make people smile and think you’re a bit odd than them never know that they made a difference?
Someone very lovely that I used to work with sent me a inspirational quote meme thing the other week which said: “I love people that have no idea how wonderful they are and just wander around making the world a better place” and said that was me (humble brag alert!). I’m not sure it is but it means so much to me that she thinks that, and it made me little fluffy heart happy to know it. I love people like that too and maybe I need to be sending other people that inspirational quote asap. Check your inboxes boys and girls (or just have a look below)!
Then there are other people I have met like the agency lady who talked me into going for an interview back in 2005 for a role I didn’t think I wanted. She changed my work life. She took a girl who had been ground right down by a high street bank over a period of 7 years. A girl who had been made to feel like she couldn’t do her job but wouldn’t be able to do anything else either, talked her into going for an interview with a mortgage lender and boom, turned that girl into a KFI loving mortgage consultant. Should I get in touch with her and tell her, 15 years later, how grateful I am (and see if she can get me a job again!)? That may be taking it too far, I guess. I was probably just a placement to her, and I might actually look insane if I call her to say thank you for helping me get a job in 2005.
So, I don’t really know where I’m going with this, but I feel like life is really short and sometimes a bit miserable so maybe we need to be a bit freer with the positive reinforcement and feedback. I think it is just so easy to take people for granted and expect them to always be there when we know that actually there will come a time when none of us will be here anymore. But then if we thought about the fact that we all only have a finite amount of time too much it would send us crazy, wouldn’t it?
What a minefield.
Basically what I’m saying is, I love you all, you are all special in your own little ways (apart from you… yes, you… you suck) and I think I need to stop writing about deep stuff because it’s making my head hurt. Normal service will resume in the next post with something much more superficial, I am sure!