I would say that I hear those words on average about twice a day. I have done so for about ten or more years – definitely as long as I can remember! It was started and been predominantly continued through the years by the same person. However, since others around me have heard her say it, other family members, friends and even work colleagues have jumped on this phrase.
Don’t think that these words have dented my confidence over the years. On the contrary, it has worked to improve it. You see, those words are said by my sister. And she is my Chief Cheerleader (I gave her that title, good innit?) She says them with such love and warmth that there is no way I am ever offended.
Just to put things into perspective, below are some examples (from the abundant catalogue of examples I had) of what has happened which has caused her to proclaim this.
1. When I am bored – and it is more often than you think – I sing current pop songs but in the style and accent of a Cockney pub singer. Honestly, you haven’t heard Robbie Williams’ ‘Angels’ until you’ve heard my version.
2. Whilst working in a call centre, I got pulled up by management because I was mimicking the accents of the callers. I genuinely love people’s accents, the different linguistics of people has always fascinated me and I am in no way mocking them. I was talking back to them in their own accent because I wanted to be able to copy how they speak. Also, on a side note I did find that I got a lot less rude callers when they thought that the person on the end was from their own home towns!
3. I struggle to read and acknowledge the various “PUSH” and “PULL” signs that are emblazoned on doors. I see them, but they don’t sink in, to the point that I will be pushing on a door for a few seconds whilst staring at the PULL sign clearly marked on the door. I struggled with a door so much during my University days that the Library assistant used to get up and open the door for me when she saw me coming so that I didn’t struggle….the shame – but funny nonetheless.
4. I will gladly tell friends and colleagues stories of my past which she knows are complete lies. I’m sure that they all do too; but I say the tales from my life with such conviction and passion that it almost becomes believable. Some examples of this would be that I toured with comedy duo Hale and Pace, I was once married to the rap singer Coolio; (but creative differences in the end pushed us apart) and I helped Bob Dylan compose some of his lyrics during an impromptu jamming session we had in 1971. Please bear in mind that the fact that I was born in 1985 does not make it difficult for me to retell these stories.
5. I tell her that we are not sisters and in fact I am her mother. I even pull rank on her and tell her to go to her room when we disagree about something. I believe that by invoking my “parental rights” I win the disagreement but it never works…. She just looks at me.
I don’t know why I do all of the above (and considerably more!) I just always have. I dream these things up and they make me laugh. So, I share it with others in the hope that it’ll make them laugh too. And actually, that sums it all up for me. That is what life should be about. There are not so many things that we can all share so readily than humour and laughter. If it makes someone’s day a bit better, if it helps someone forget (just for a little while anyway) than I shall continue my stories.
My sister encourages me to be silly. I make her laugh, I make her feel embarrassed, I let her into my head every single day whether she likes it or not. But you know what? I wouldn’t be what I am without her. I wouldn’t be able to laugh as much, or be as silly as I am allowed (damn my age!) without her getting me through the serious bits.
In my novel, one of the characters, Hana is going through an emotional crisis which has knocked her sideways and will change her entire life forever. Everything in her life was going at a very steady pace until she got pushed off her “train” and found herself lost and abandoned in an unknown place. Nothing but fear and anxiety was rushing to her aid. Then a hand reached down and attempts to pull her out…it’s the hand of her best friend and he works tirelessly to get to the bottom of this crisis and help her through it.
My sister is my hand, when I can’t figure out how to get out of the hole I have found myself in – she leans down and pulls me out. But also, she is my comedy partner. So you see, whenever she says to me “You’re an idiot!” I only hear what she’s really saying which is “I love you….you bloody idiot!”