Everyone likes a “rags to riches”, “success against all odds”, “swept off her feet by a prince” story. Most people want to be associated with that. Most would feel proud to know such a person and be sure to name drop whenever they can. And for those who don’t know them, but meet them, a photo op for a selfie, a signature or random unofficial paparazzi style captured snap, will do just fine too.
It’s easy to celebrate success once it’s been achieved. It’s even easier for people to appear to be supportive once the goal has been reached. There will always be smiles at the finish line if you’re number 1, 2 or 3. The metaphorical confetti blends in with the popping champagne cork as everyone is now your friend, pearly whites flashing, sparkly eyes and flute glasses are filled to the brim, it’s good times all around!
Hitting Easy Street seems breezy for a reason. Suddenly things move faster, it rains freebies & comps, opportunities and people appear when before it was you on the hunt. As you stride down Easy street to the mark of your own beat it’s equally impossible to forget where you once dragged those feet through, and how at times you were so low down you could barely put one in front of the other.
That’s when you realise that those dancing with you, though they may have been in your life before, are not the same ones that simply walked with you. Those that at rock bottom moments stayed by you, made the phone calls, baked a cake. Those who through their speech reminded you of your light, of your purpose, of your value and did not let you fall, unless they fell right with you, confident they could catch you.
In it’s cynical scheme of “fairness” life yo-yo’s us with ups and sometimes as many if not more downs, yet it’s in those down times that if you take a good look around you, you will see the people who genuinely care. They don’t have to be many, but these angels in our time of misfortune or low motivation, are the ones truly worth dancing with, once the good times pick up. These are the real deal in what can become a sea of fakes.
When I was in first year at uni, a guy, John Safran, pestered me for a date for about 4 months straight. I was overwhelmed by the intentions of boys so I tended to avoid them and instead focussed on my studies. I’m sure my parents were pleased about that. However I gave in to him, because in his last attempt to ask me out, he suggested that the main reason for my lack of interest, was the same he always got from others, that he wasn’t attractive enough. With that guilt inducing line, he got me, and we went out until the end of uni, 2. 5 years later. In that time I noticed girls’ reactions to him, (generally not too favourable) and among other guys.. well, he had a small, small circle of friends. I was constantly being told I could do better. But we cherished each others company so I was deaf and blind to any nay sayers.
Yet once out of university, relationship over, John received a lucky break on tv and became very well known. It was interesting to see that suddenly all the reasons why people said they liked him, were the ones that had kept others away before he was well known. Now when we catch up, his female fans all have the sparkly eyes telling him how wonderful he is and the guys sycophantically tell him how cool he is. He can’t take a wrong step. The total polar opposite of how things were before this lucky break. Very interesting indeed.
I see this phenomenon replicated on so many levels in various social spheres. It’s a phenomenon that on the one hand forces people to always appear positive, optimistic and happy to save face. And inevitably it attracts the sort of people that should they see the slightest shadow to your persona, are instantly repelled, leaving you to wander in bewilderment when all they had to do was simply walk with you, not only through the good times but also through the hell.
Sometimes all it takes is a change. A change in relationship status, change in career, change in location, change in any situation or even illness for the fickle to f*k off. They are unable to integrate any change, or new development, an upcoming struggle, a challenge to the metal of their character now mottled by their superficiality, and conditionality of what they had convinced you was friendship. Yeah, its’ a blow.
But no one stays down forever. It’s the human nature of our instinct for survival, to fight and rise up again. Whilst I love it when things are flowing, and all is rainbows and sunshine, in a masochistic way I take pleasure when times are tough, when I’ve been down… it’s given me a chance to scan my surroundings, and take note of those who were there for me when I didn’t dare reach out, and those who were not. Alert to those who’s steadfastness and loyalty to my future, never let me down… these people are the ones I’ll never forget and to whom I’ll always be indebted.
There is no glamour in patiently standing by someone until they’ve reached their goal, which may even take years. At some point doubts may arise as to whether they’re wasting their time.
However, there are few things more powerful than the bond between you and the person who believes in the madness of your dreams, who encourages you toward them, never letting you give up hope, whether you succeed, or not, and simply walks with you.