I fucking adore Kathy Burke.
Always have done. Always will.
I can trace my adoration for her all the way back to the nineties, when I first discovered the cult classic Gimme Gimme Gimme (bring it back, it’s what we deserve). Linda De La Hughes was everything.
I love Kathy’s no nonsense attitude. She is unapologetically herself. No airs and graces. If you asked me to think of someone who sticks their middle finger up to the idea of conformity, Kathy would be the name I give you. It’s refreshing. Especially in this modern era where our thirst for acceptance via the means of social media seems to be showing no signs of abating (of course, the irony is not lost on me).
She might not view herself as a role model. But I do. If I had a daughter and wanted to direct her to some strong women to look up to, I’d be directing her to Kathy. Although, that said, I have a love/hate relationship with the term ‘role model’ when it comes to celebrities and people in the public eye. But more on that another day.
Kathy’s recent 3 parter ‘All Woman’ was an incredibly interesting and thought provoking documentary. She was perfect to front a show of that kind. Kathy’s inability to understand the lengths young women go to today in their quest to be viewed as ‘beautiful’ was superb. It summed the whole thing up for me. She doesn’t judge, she just merely doesn’t understand why a certain look has to be or is deemed attractive. Because, if there’s something I think many of us need to heed at the moment; myself included, is the message that your looks do not define you. Beautiful isn’t aesthetic. Beautiful is just you.
I think, for me, the second episode of the series was the one I found most relatable. It was around relationships. Something that’s quite poignant for me at the moment as I navigate my way through a separation.
It got me thinking. As things often do.
Kathy spoke with a professional who is an expert in relationships. Probably someone I could do with seeking advice from at the moment, although I’d probably cause the poor woman a nervous breakdown.
The trail of thought I found myself wandering down was around short term and long term relationships (friendships included).
Personally, and this is something I seek comfort in, I think some people are meant to be in your life for a short period and others will be there for life. I’ve had friendships where we’ve lost touch, either through life getting in the way and it becoming difficult to maintain contact, or where there’s an unsalvageable issue and I no longer want them in my life.
And I’m ok with that.
I’m ok with the fact there are people I have shared some amazing times with, but I no longer know. I’m still able to remember those times fondly, without fear of evoking bad feeling.
A few years ago I had a falling out with one of my best friends. It was over the stupidest, most innocuous thing, that, if I’m honest, causes me a sense of shame when I think about it now. For three years we didn’t speak. Until one day, a year ago, we met up and it was like those previous years and the fall out hadn’t happened. It felt normal to be in her company. Today, she’s one of my most trusted confidantes and I couldn’t have got through the last 6 months without her.
I knew she needed to come back in my life and that we had to be friends. But I also know that there are people I don’t need in my life and no longer speaking to them is a good thing. It sounds bad in a way, but they served a purpose for a specific time and now it’s best if we don’t remain in touch.
Is this a healthy attitude to have? To some it might be, to others it might make no sense. And that’s fine. What’s good for me might be terrible for you. But to stay in a friendship or relationship that’s no longer making you feel good. That is what is unhealthy to me.
And believe me, I’m talking from experience. You make excuses for them or for you or just for your relationship. You think time will heal and wounds will mend. Until one day you wake up and you realise that effectively you’re living a lie and life, well, it’s just too damn short for that shit ain’t it?
I don’t fear walking away from a friendship or relationship. I know who I want in my life. I know who brings what to me and what I can do for them. I refuse to regret a friendship or a relationship because I like to think, with every person we meet and share something with, we can learn from.
Even if that lesson was painful or, at the time, felt an unnecessary lesson to learn.