To my children,
I don’t know about you but I’m a sucker for words. I believe almost anything anyone tells me, especially if it’s nice. For years I believed that those little windmill things you see in fields in the country were to keep the cows cool (nope, they’re for bore water). Ok, I was only ten.
I believe – if a man says so – that I’m the most beautiful woman in the room, that he would walk a thousand miles just to spend an hour in my company, and that he is really sorry and will never do it again. I also believe – if I say so myself – that I’ll write a thousand words a day, become well organised, and never lose my temper.
Words, words, words, as Hamlet said. Sometimes I think it would be an advantage to be deaf and dyslexic – on the same principle as Odysseus tying himself up to the mast and sticking plugs in his ears when he sailed past the Sirens. What I’ve learnt, is that it’s feet, not lips, that tell the real story.
Metaphorically, that is. I’ve learned that it’s best to believe what people do, not what people say. Say that man who said he’d walk a thousand miles for me – turned out he wouldn’t even go down the shops for a packet of panadol (‘what…walk?’). Plenty of people will tell you they love you (because you’re beautiful and brilliant) but you can pick the ones who really do. They’re the ones who make you dinner when you’re sick, and drive all night to rescue you from a highway breakdown, and make nice with your cat and your kid and your mother because they know how much YOU love them, even if they don’t.
The person you’ve got to watch the most is you. You are always trying to bullshit yourself. I tell myself I’m a writer – but whenever I get the chance, I don’t rush to the computer to write. Instead, I potter. So actually, I’m not a writer – I’m a potterer. I tell myself that I’m going to start eating salad and fruit every day and going for long walks, just as soon as I move to the country – and whaddya know? Here I am in the country and I STILL don’t like salad, fruit and long walks.
Some body language guru claimed you can tell if people at a party want to be stuck with you by looking at the direction their feet are pointed in. If their feet are headed for the fridge but their face is pointed in your direction – pretty soon they’re going to come out with that age-old line ‘well, nice to have met you….I think I’ll get myself another drink’. Same goes for life. We are what we do, not what we say. You aren’t a lead guitarist stuck in the body of a truck driver. You’re a truck driver.
Until you get up on that stage with your guitar, that is.