By Tom Flynn
Crying In the Toilet.
My girlfriend was over to visit this weekend. We had a really wonderful time, but sadly she doesn’t live in London and had to go back to New York today. We’ve had to leave each other a few times at this stage, but it never get easier to say goodbye to someone you love.
I cried at the train station as she left, I didn’t particularly care who saw, although I did my best to get back to the toilets in SCA before getting properly sobbing for a few minutes.
After I’d calmed down I went down stairs and got cracking on this thank you card brief. The scamps I kept cranking out were dark and maliciously funny. And they got progressively darker too after I’d had some coffee. None of them particularly struck me as authentic or clever or
worthwhile in anyway and I was beginning to get terribly frustrated.
This wheel spinning was pissing me off, so I went and annoyed Pete for some advice. He liked some stuff, hated most of it and pushed me in a certain direction.
Before he left he said;
“fuckin’ John use’ to say to me, what the fuck did he use’ to say to me, fuckin’, and I’m going to fuckin’ impart this to you. I was always frownin’ kinda like you do, always fuckin’ frownin’ Tom, and he said he wanted to grab my fuckin’ frown and like rip my fuckin’ face up. Just like that. (Pete proceeded to grab his eyebrows over his head and pull backwards so that he wasn’t frowning anymore.) You’re not fuckin’ all angry and dark Tom. You’re a fuckin’ nice guy, you’re a fuckin’ relaxed guy, calm the fuck down. You will be good at this, you are fuckin’ good at this, just fuckin’ relax”
Pete was right, I’ve said it before, but that dark humour that I usually spew to begin with is a defence mechanism. Wanting people to laugh at something like that is searching for validation. It’s something to hide behind because you’re scared of a more vulnerable statement falling flat. I do it because I’m afraid of putting myself out there. Properly emotionally out there in terms of creativity for fear of falling flat. It’s not funny it’s cowardice. When I think about work I’ve done in the past that elicited the most positive responses, it was always that personal emotional work. Work I left a little piece of myself in. And despite that, despite knowing that it works, and that it’s ok, and that for a communication to really work you to be able to feel something of the person who made it, I still cower from that kind of work and default to darkness for the sake of saving myself the pain of rejection.
It’s strange, I can cry in public and not give a donkeys bollox, but if you gave me all Ireland I couldn’t sit down and just write
“Thank you so much for your time, it means the world you chose to share it me”
What the fuck is so hard about that?
Sweet fuck all, so thanks for taking the time Pete, that advice really hit home and means the world you chose to share it with me.