A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.
– John Lennon
Paddington walked through the doors into my office and sat beside me as I explained the concept for the videos we needed to film. We bickered, laughed and shared several months’ worth of experiences. His latest (and successful) project required him to stay in the office for days and when he met me, he’d already gone without sleep for 3 days. In the midst of our laughter, I looked at him and said, ‘Hey, it’s good to have you back.’
We first worked together in 2009 on a series of videos; most of it were wonderful experiences but the last one made him walk away, feeling as though he didn’t want to return. It had drained him too much and he wasn’t ready to give again. Until today.
Having him back on the team somehow made me feel safe and although I didn’t tell him, he gave me strength to move forward into the unknown and unexplored dimensions of what we could do.
Partnership. Can we exist alone? Or are we made real with the sharing of dreams and the conquests of mountains?
“We’ll be there Harry,” said Ron
“At your Aunt’s and Uncle’s house,” said Ron, “And then we’ll go with you wherever you’re going.”
“No,” said Harry quickly; he hadn’t counted on this, he had meant them to understand that he was undertaking the most dangerous journey alone.
“You said it once before,” said Hermione quickly, “that there was time to turn back if we wanted to. We’ve had time, haven’t we? We’re with you whatever happens.”
– J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince)
I once thought that I needed to face life’s battles alone. I deeply believed that there was no one around who could take me as I was – faults and weaknesses – and I resisted anyone’s extension of friendship towards me. I was fine with being their friend. Hell, they could call on me in the middle of the night and I would be there. But when I desperately needed support, I never wanted help. I willed myself to stand alone. I was fiercely independent.
When I was four, one of the first songs I learnt to perform whilst standing on my parent’s headboard was by Melissa Manchester. ‘Don’t cry out loud. Just keep it inside, learn how to hide your feelings. Fly high and proud! And if you should fall, remember you almost had it all…’
I’d sing proudly, daily even, never realizing what a cage I was building around me.
When the day came that I could no longer stand on my own, I found a hand stretched out toward me. It was the Amazonian. She too, had been raised as a fiercely independent child. Her family was severely dysfunctional and when her brother committed suicide, I decided to stay by her side. With no appropriate words to say, I sat with her through the midnight vigil. Quiet. And when it was all over, walked away.
When she turned up by my side at my most broken moment, I was… hesitant. If I held the hand she extended, would it mean I was weak? Was it even okay to be weak? I decided to take her hand to let her support me. And life changed.
I began to learn to open up, be vulnerable and let myself be loved. It was very thoroughly weird. And at the same time, beautiful.
Today, I stand on the brink of the unknown, perched on the eve of yet another mad few weeks. The event that’s coming up is probably going to be the biggest I’ve ever done and the waves of tension are slowly building up within. Being the Producer doesn’t help one bit…
‘But that’s where you’re graced!’ Paddington exclaimed. ‘It’s one of the most obvious things I see in you. You have the amazing ability to pull people from all walks of life, to come together with one vision and one purpose, to join as one team toward a goal. I’ve never seen anyone do this, ever! This is where you are meant to be. And this is you.’
An advocate of partnerships? Me?
All I know is, the future is brighter because of these people.
These people I call… my friends.