Well, it’s been quite a long time since I posted. Or at least I feel like it has been purely because of how much has happened over the past two months. I wanted to share with you the snippets of my own life and healing journey because that’s what I do – and I do this because I know that writing about my own experiences helps other people make sense of theirs and hopefully feel less alone on their path.
These past few months have brought a lot to me. Some of it good, some of it not so good, and some of it gruelling. One thing that has been apparent is how channelling my own experiences and writing about them to help other people make sense of their own journeys is what I was born to do. I will start from the top so I can explain and I’ll try my best to make it easy for you to follow along. And just on another note before we begin, the experiences I write about lie heavily within spirituality and the journey that I’ve found myself on. That being said, let’s begin…
As some of you who have followed me for a while may know, it took me a good year or so to write Nothing to Hide. It was a completely new ball game to me writing a book, I’d never done it before. But with the help of some author coaching and a brilliant editor I managed it. Nothing to Hide will always be my baby. It’s the first (hopefully of many) book I wrote, so in a way it’s the first stepping stone. The stone that showed me I could do it. Not only was it difficult in terms of – quite frankly – not having a clue what I was doing, it was also very emotionally strenuous. There is a lot of content within Nothing to Hide that I held very close to me and didn’t open up to anybody about. There was a lot still unprocessed and I was absolutely terrified of how the whole story would be received. But I knew I had to write it. So if I rewind to the early days of writing Nothing to Hide, I will tell you how I knew that this was the path for me.
I had spent some time being a stay-at-home mum pondering what I wanted to do with my life. I had always been career driven – I know the SAHM thing doesn’t exactly shout career but I really was, and I knew that achievement and ambition was a part of me that I had neglected for a long time. I knew that when the time was right to go back to work (this was supposed to be when my youngest started primary school but I’ve jumped the gun a bit) I didn’t want to go back to working set hours for a set pay on set days in the week whilst paying somebody else to spend time with my children. I wanted to be able to have full say over my life. I knew I wanted to help people make sense of their experiences. I knew I wanted to help people heal. I knew I wanted to be the voice that told people “it is OK” because that’s the voice I craved to hear so many times and I knew all-too-well how invalidating traumatic experiences can become if nobody ever tells you that it’s OK. So I started to write.
I wrote about all of the horrible, abusive memories of incidents I had endured with my ex boyfriend. I wrote these to not only get them off my chest, but to also start to find my voice as an author. It was exhilarating. And scary. And liberating. And terrifying. But I did it. And before long I had 22 short stories that I could put into a timeline and later have it become Nothing to Hide. As soon as I was ready to send it to an editor, I dropped the ball. I caught a case of cold feet so badly that they could well have been victim to frost bite. I just had a voice inside my mind saying “you’re not good enough” and “what do you know about being an author?” and “nobody will read your book”. I felt awful. It was months and months of hard work, emotional work, that I was ready to put to one side and hide away from the world. That was until, my first – I will call it – spiritual experience.
I used to think a spiritual experience would involve sacrificing my first son and a burning bush a la the bible I was raised with as a child. But it was so much more subtle than that, and once I understood the meaning and opened myself up to receiving the message I knew I was trying to hide away something that other people needed. A lot of people have opinions on spirituality that range from the experiences are just coincidences right through to anybody deep on their own spiritual journey come across as crazy and need locking up. In all honesty, I think I was always somewhere in between. For the sake of being open, as I always try to be when I write, I will describe exactly what my spiritual journey looked like when it started.
I had a very vivid dream about my great-uncle Bernard. This particular uncle of mine passed away in January 2007. His wife, my great auntie Pat, passed away around February 2013. I loved these people so much. Bernard was a very gentle man who took pride in his work. He was one of the most intelligent men I’d ever met, even being a member of Mensa. Every time he spoke it was always with wisdom. Pat was a very petite lady. Truly the definition of a lady at that, but sure knew how to stand her ground. She was the one that would always tell me to do what was good for me. To do what I needed to do for me. She had a fierceness about her that only ever came out for the people she cared about. Back to the dream, I was in their bungalow where they lived when I was growing up. Everything was exactly how they had it. It was so real and it felt so surreal to be there after so many years. Bernard was sat in his armchair in the living room. He was reciting a poem. I know the poem well because they actually had it framed on their wall behind his arm chair in the living room and every time I would visit I would read it. It was Desiderata by Max Ehrmann (If you haven’t read it I suggest you give it a Google it is a beautiful poem). Bernard spoke slowly and it was as if his eyes didn’t even need to glance over the words because he knew it by heart. He finished the poem, looked up and smiled at me, then I woke up. And when I did wake up it was the most peaceful I’d felt in a very long time. It was as if the world and all of my anxiety had just melted away into nothing. I’ll never forget that dream, even if it isn’t a part of my spiritual journey, it was still a face I needed to see at a time when I needed some faith.
Around a week after I had that dream, one morning during the summer of 2020 my husband, myself and our three children planned to go out for our daily walk. As we were leaving the house, on our back door step I found a dead baby magpie. I didn’t think twice of it to be honest I just thought maybe a cat had got hold of it which was unfortunate. Until we were on our drive going to the canal path we walk along and I just had this gut feeling that wouldn’t let me forget about the magpie. During that walk we spoke about how much better I was doing since I’d come off antidepressants which was a HUGE step in my own progress (I hadn’t been doing well mentally since around 2014 but that’s a whole other blog post). This is where I ‘fessed up to him about being terrified of putting my book out there for everyone to see. Now, bearing in mind that my husband has seen how much has gone into writing this book. He saw the sleepless nights and the struggle for me to find time to write it during lockdown whilst home-schooling two children with a toddler in tow. He saw the emotion that has gone into it. Every last bit. So he was devastated when I told him. But he knew he couldn’t push me too, so I promised him I would think about it. Within around ten minutes a family passed us on a boat, just a small boat and they waved at our children as they went passed. It was only on them passing that I read the name of the boat. “The Lady Patricia”. My legs gave way. As I fell to the floor I started to sob uncontrollably. To say I felt like the most over dramatic whinge bag is an understatement. But I wasn’t sad. I was relieved. All I could feel was this huge wave of relief wash over me and I can’t to this day even explain why. It makes me laugh to think how embarrassed my husband must have been at the sight of me doing that and people staring at us.
In the car going home my mind flipped back to the magpie. I just couldn’t shake that I was supposed to find that bird. So I got onto Google to see if I could make ANY sense of what I was experiencing. Oddly enough, there is a meaning behind finding or seeing a dead bird and the meaning is that pain or suffering is coming to an end. As I mentioned before I had struggled with poor mental health since 2014 so to gain this kind of faith changed everything for me. This was my beginning. The beginning of the journey that I would later start to recognise as my spiritual awakening. I came to recognise that things were about to get easier and get better. I knew that I had people there for me, whether that be in this physical world or beyond.
Most importantly, I feel like this was my message that Nothing to Hide was supposed to be out there, so that’s when I decided to carry on writing it and get it out there. I wanted to help other people and that’s what I needed to focus on, how much it was going to help other people. How much it still is and will continue to help other people. I know I said at the beginning of this post that these past two months have been super turbulent. They have been, but I feel like explaining my spiritual journey has gone into a bit of a tangent so the past two months will be published in a part 2. For now though, stay safe, keep following my socials as I will be taking on a bit of a different theme and I will be posting soon.