I got home late last night and glanced at what I’d written on yesterday’s blog. I do this now and again, after posting – I check back to see if my writing flowed and whether I said anything of interest or rambled a bit too much.
It’s not always helpful.
There was nothing particularly extraordinary about yesterday’s blog. My musings were as honest as ever. But as I read it back, I found myself feeling very exposed. I got to the paragraph about CBT and the unopened box of anti-depressants and then the bit about anxiety and my past history of overeating. Oh dear, I thought. Have I been too open? Have I shot myself in the foot?
After more than two years of blogging, there are very few skeletons left in my closet. And my openness about my personal battles doesn’t seem to have done me any harm to date. In fact, ever since I’ve started being me – in print, on television and wherever I get the chance – my career has flourished in a new direction and I’ve had lots of amazing opportunities to write and talk about what I truly care about. I tried incredibly hard to get into television as a news reporter but once I quit and started to write about things close to my heart, the doors to the TV studios opened without me having to knock them down.
And it’s not only my career that’s flourished. I’ve flourished too – no longer shackled by a 5-day-a-week, 10-hour-a-day, stressful job working to someone else’s schedule and writing according to a pre-set agenda. It’s great being able to work on projects I feel passionate about and to set my own pace, although that’s not always easy.
But, as I read that post, I suddenly thought, what if people judge me? Or more to the point, what if publishers judge me?
Because within minutes of me filing yesterday’s blog, my agent sent off my book proposal – The Baby Gap – to a collection of the country’s top publishers. I immediately imagined them reading my blog (do they really have time?) and judging my writing, my thought processes, my honest admissions of my failings and occasional mood swings and deciding I wasn’t fit for the task ahead. Of course, it hasn’t escaped me that many a writer has found success by sharing their struggles with the world. But I’m afraid it won’t work out that way for me.
But at this point, I guess I have a choice – and it’s a very familiar one. To trust that it’s OK to be me or to believe that it isn’t. To continue to be open or to find ways to hide. To share my truth or to censor myself. To have faith that the outcome of all this will be exactly as it’s meant to be or to try and manipulate things to turn out the way I think I want them to.
It’s about believing in myself holistically and embracing all of me – my creative abilities, my dedication to my work, my thoroughness and my passion, but also my struggles, my ups and downs, my peculiar (unique rather than odd) personality and my moments of self-doubt. It’s about staying true to myself and believing in my journey, including the detours and the bumps in the road.
If I do that, what can possibly go wrong?