The 2012 Advent Calender: For the 25 days of Christmas, I will be blogging each day about a miscellaneous thing I love. Not necessarily a big thing, not necessarily a small thing and not in any order.
Well, my word, I’ve set myself a challenge today. What on earth do I say about Kat? I’ve been asked to describe her before—usually by friends about to meet her—and I’m never capable of giving a proper answer.
Kat is many things, and half of them exist in total contradiction to each other. She’s terrified of ninety per cent of things in the world, but is one of the bravest people I know. She’s unashamedly geeky (we’re talking cosplay at Comicon here) and more unafraid to be herself than anyone I’ve ever met, and yet has panic attacks at the idea of meeting new people because she doesn’t know what they’ll think of her. Her style and personality icons are mainly the Riddler and the Joker, but in the past they’ve cycled through whatever her latest obsession is—Ghostbusters, Doctor Who, Discworld… She is also one of the kindest, most generous spirited people I’ve ever met. And then, you know, on the flipside, fearsome when angry and capable of tantrums to rival the terrible twos.
Above all of these things what Kat is is a born creative. We became friends in our school years mainly because we both loved to create things. We both wrote and drew, and each was always better at one than the other. She wrote story after story which I read and edited—sometimes to her dismay, and sometimes she loved it. Every day she dreams up entire new fantasy worlds and characters, and fills sketch-pad after sketch-pad with drawings and paintings that have gotten better and better. These days I am in genuine awe and jealousy of her artistic ability that is only deepened by having had the chance to see the origins of her talent in her younger days. She is the one who created one of my absolute most treasured possessions, a painting of myself, John, Marika and her dressed in costume at Whitby which hangs above my bed.
We’ve come along way from our first meeting—me the awkward gay geek pushed to ‘find a girlfriend’ who picked the most unthreatening girl he could find, who was too embarrassed to do anything other than write ‘yes’ on her pencil case in response to being asked out. (It was in French class.) I’m not sure we ever got much past hugging, ever, full stop, and that seems to have suited both of us just fine. Her family are amazing—mad gothic parents who took their children to goth weekend every year and painted the inside of their house like a castle. They hosted the greatest Halloween parties, and although I was only ever allowed to go to one, it’s always been one of my most enduring memories. There’s a whole host of other memories I have with Kat: shooting the opening scenes of an epic sci-fi movie in the woods in Alkborough, telling her I was gay (only the second person I told), being dressed up in zombie make-up and photographed in the woods, cheerfully waving to passers-by, rescuing her from a panic attack in a windy tent and locking her in my car to keep her safe…
I could not wish more good things to Kat: an amazing person, an amazing artist and a friend that I will keep for the rest of my life.
And mad as a bag of spanners. Don’t forget that bit.