Patricia Bright is one of the sunniest aspects of life in the U.K., in my opinion. This week on her YouTube vlog, she gives 5 tips on how to overcome loneliness. That’s a great topic, especially for people who live in big cities. You might think that in bustling metropolises like London or New York people run into each other all the time, and that no one would want for companionship or friendship, ever. But it can be very hard to connect with others in places like that, to establish reliable and close friendships to share the highs and lows of life. Patricia takes that subject on with her usual charm and aplomb.
I just wish a “Patricia Bright” had been around for my rather tough re-entry into ths country. My mother had brought me back from Jamaica when I was six, and she sent me to the local public school. I was really struggling to make friends among these American kids. They seemed so rough, loud and unforgiving. They didn’t like my accent, clothes or religion. And I was naturally shy, prim and conservative, so I got a lot of “Oreo” and “house negro,” with the name calling, and I got into a lot of fist fights on the schoolyard and in the neighborhood. On one really depressing day, I remember sitting in the kitchen crying about how I didn’t have friends. There was no pep talk for me! Instead my mother gave me a scornful lecture for being soft. But I eventually learned from her how to make a fist and throw a punch, so the physical bullying faded by the 4th or 5th grades, once the tormentors realized that I wasn’t going quietly.
I eventually grew out of feeling sorry for myself. I always treated others with fairness and respect, and I figured if someone didn’t like me, I would have to fight them and just move on. By fifth grade, I had friends, some of whom I keep in touch with to this day.
Patricia Bright doesn’t advocate that we box our way out of uncomfortable social situations, but she did lead us off in singing with a new attitude — “Encourage Yourself,” from Donald Lawrence and the Tri-City Singers.