You have to be clear about things. Being that I’m not the most sensitive or intuitive individual in the world, I know what it’s like when you’re expected to just pick up on something, or get a hint. Generally, I miss those hints. Subtlety is not my strong suit. Mostly, you need to be very clear with me. And I truly appreciate people who are. If I’ve annoyed you, upset you, you need me, tell me and I’ll move mountains to be there or resolve it. But please don’t sit silently and hope that I’ll figure out what you need with my incredible extra sensory perception. I wont. Not matter how hard I try. In fact, many a time, I’ve fallen all over myself trying to help, and ended up doing the opposite.
It was for reasons of clarity that I took up the “Ta-da”. It was about 6 or 7 years ago now, and I’d just finished a conversation with my dearest friends. We’d been saying that the responsibility of friendship is, in part, about showing someone else how to care for you. I realised that there were a lot of moments that left me wanting in terms of attention or praise (I am a hog of these two things). If for example, I had just mixed drinks for some guests, and there was no “thank you” or “Mmm, yum!” … I would quietly feel unloved and unappreciated. The truth is that I was neither of things. More likely, my guests were distracted in conversation. But most importantly, they didn’t know that I needed a “thank you” in order to not have my drink-making turn into proof of my deepest fear that I am worthless. The guests didn’t even have to mean it. After all it wasn’t really about what they felt – it was about what I felt. Like a child, swinging, unwatched, on the swings … Why aren’t they looking? Mum, watch me swing?!! … You see, it may be that I have failed to emotionally mature, but I still often feel like a kid. I need Mum to watch me on the swings damn it. The only thing that has changed really, is my ability to hold that need in, and use it as secret ammunition against myself and others. Not nice. So I began to use the “Ta-da” as a way of signaling to others the part where their involvement was required. “Please love me now” if you like.
Like a child who’s just performed a double somersault, or a magician that has just pulled a rabbit from a hat: “Ta-da!” … If I place a nice meal on the table and there’s been no appreciative comment, I can just “Ta-da!” and sure enough, people will take their cue and either compliment me, or better still, clap! If I stumble on a broken footpath, but catch myself just in time and you fail to notice, “Ta-da!”. If I’ve got a new party dress … “Ta-da!”
Some days, when I’m finding it particularly challenging to just be me, I’ll sidle up to a friend and, without saying or doing anything else, I’ll “Ta-da!” … And because they’re the best and most patient friends in the world, they’ll “oooh!” and “ahhh!” and applaud… And then I feel better. Because sometimes you just need a little applause. Sometimes, even though it looks like it’s not taking any effort on your part, it really really is. And we all want to appreciate each other and be appreciated – it’s just a matter of when and how. Well, with me, you can rest assured that you’ll always know when and how: After the “Ta-da” and with applause. Simple.