So, anyone who knows me knows I am a talker. Some might say I talk too much, others, just about enough. One thing I do know is that a lot of the time I talk without really listening to what I am actually saying. I can be blunt, tactless and, sometimes unintentionally offensive. Fortunately I have friends around me who are quite happy to tell me when I am being a dick. None more than my wonderful friend the Bear.
Through a combination of years of friendship, many years of not speaking to each other, love, loss, missed chances and parenthood I have learnt to listen to her instincts. Or, more importantly, listen to her her facial expressions when I am talking about some, generally, pointless shit or other. Consequently, time spent with the Bear usually results in at least one moment of clarity, sometimes more. This weekend was no different.
There was a time when I would have said something huge about how much I admire Bear, how strong she is and how much I rely on her as my moral compass. I’m not saying she isn’t all of those things, she is, but that’s not the point. She is also a human being who has been through the proverbial fire, who gets things wrong sometimes and who feels the weight of failure and self doubt as much as the next person. That is the point. When Bear looks at me like I’m being a nob head she’s usually right. I have learnt, at that point, to stop and listen to what I have been saying, while she’s been wondering what exactly my problem is or why I’m making everything so much harder for myself. More often than not that’s when I realise I’ve been bellyaching about something unimportant or overthinking something that should be so much smaller or talking myself out of something I really should be doing. Like the half marathon I have now signed up for, or that book cover I went and commissioned, or the time I ditched Facebook and never looked back.
Some people are lucky enough to have brains that don’t work overtime, who can make decisions and see things simply and clearly. I don’t, instead I have the Bear. Not a silly old bear at all.