Four years ago today, I sat in the park with my new girlfriend (now my wife), kissed her for the first time and then walked over to C4CC to pick up the suitcase, laptop bag and ukulele that would be my items of stability over the next year while I experimented with living with friends, colleagues and strangers.
I used this blog to tell you what I’d been doing but also to say “Hi, I’m here, but I’m ready to be somewhere else, do you have some work I could do?” It was a great exercise, a stretch for me. I gained humility and confidence in the value of my work. I learned how to ask for what I needed and I learned about what happens when you present yourself as in need. Throughout the year, people assumed that openly asking for help like this equated to helplessness. And then I experienced three basic forms of reaction:
- Identification: “Yes, I feel helpless about this too.”
- Rescue: “Oh you poor thing, let me sort you out.”
- Attack: “You lazy bastard, get a job like everyone else.”
It’s a well-recognised and strong dynamic. But the year, in the end, turned out to be a daily practice to step out of the whole drama triangle dynamic, to let go of being helpless and with it let go of being bashed or rescued.