WONDER WOMAN TIARA – AMANDA BROWNIE, MANCHESTER AUTUMN 2010
My present from Amanda, like superheroes themselves, was imaginary! That’s because she hadn’t read her invitation properly and had forgotten to bring anything. But that’s OK. She redeemed herself with her ‘what I would have got you’ which was very valid and from the heart.
Amanda was my newest friend at my hen weekend. But what she lacked in longevity, she made up for in volume. When the beautiful Mrs Brown enters the room – you do tend to notice her. She’s probably the only person I know who can actually pull off orange.
I’ve known Amanda for three years. We met when she joined the charity I was working for. A bundle of energy, straight talking, bright as a button and strikingly beautiful – I hated her immediately! Not really – I’m too nice for that! From the very moment I met her, I had her marked out as someone with a really good spirit. Spunky and full of ideas, a bit like a bull in a china shop sometimes, but annoyingly her strong opinions were usually right. Amanda’s glass is always half full – high five!
Amanda and I share something in common. We both resemble the traditional dish of our birth places. Unfortunately, while I look like a Yorkshire Pudding, Amanda is from Malta, and is quite literally a Malteser in human form. With her long dark glossy hair and naturally tanned skin, she is luxuriously dark and chocolatey on the outside, but light and bubbly on the inside. Bite me - I could have probably eaten her!
Not long after I became ill, Amanda became pregnant and while I was off work going through my treatment, she texted me, phoned me and came to visit me. I really valued the shear life force she generated for me at a time when mine was ebbing. She gave birth to Ella Nixie Brown not long after I came out of hospital and immediately took to motherhood like a duck to water. A proper yummy Malteser mummy
Last October, two weeks before I was due to go back to work, and while Amanda was still on maternity leave, we were told that our jobs were disappearing in a re-structure. It was an extremely difficult time. Going straight into a consultation and redundancy situation after 14 months off seriously sick, was very distressing.
It soon became clear that no amount of reasoning or arguing was going to change the situation, so we reviewed our desired outcomes and settled ourselves in for a rocky six months. It was particularly hard for Amanda as she was still on maternity leave and somewhat disconnected and at a distance from the changes that were taking place.
We both felt very powerless.
I don’t normally shop at Primark, but for some reason on the way back from visiting Amanda in her city centre apartment, I was drawn into Primani for a rummage. We’d spent the afternoon talking about what was going on at work, and decided ‘Fuck it – we’ll do our own thing together and it will be ‘Wonderful’. We threw some ideas around about starting our own fundraising agency and whether it happened or not, it felt great to be taking a bit of control again.
As I crossed the hallowed threshold of bargain shopping, directly ahead of me was a mannequin modelling the most fantastic Wonder Woman t-shirt. It was scarlet with a giant gold ‘W’ emblazoned across the front, it was just what we needed. While the situation at work had made us feel powerless, I had found something to give us our superpowers back. We could wear it like armour under our work suits for difficult redundancy meetings. It would be our secret and we would be united in our quest to fight the force of evil! I bought three immediately, one for me, one for Amanda and one for our boss who was also losing her job in the re-structure. We would be sisters in arms with golden amulets which we could use to protect ourselves from verbal bullets.
I don’t know whether the other two actually ever wore their t-shirts, but I think that the gesture and sentiment came at a time when we all really needed a boost and a bit of camaraderie. For myself, I wear it whenever I feel like I need a bit of extra umph and it helps me to shift up a gear.
‘Wonderful’ has become a bit of catchphrase between me and Amanda and it’s been instrumental in my decision to strive for a ‘Wonderful Life’ (hence the name of this blog).
Where is Amanda now? Well she has taken her good spirit, sharp mind and bright ideas to another charity who do recognised the value of her skills and experience. They shouted ‘yippee’ and snapped her up as soon as she came back on the job market. I have every confidence that she will achieve wonderful things.
I'VE NEVER SEEN YOU LOOKING SO LOVELY AS YOU DID TONIGHT. I'VE NEVER SEEN YOU SHINE SO BRIGHT. YOU WERE AMAZING ............
This time it’s a BLUE NECKLACE WITH BUTTERFLIES ........................