Hello! Before we get stuck into 2015, I thought I’d do a kind of sum up of last year, just for kicks. I realise that I can be very negative, so I’m going to BIG MYSELF UP and focus on the VERY COOL stuff that happened as well as well as acknowledging the moments where I kind of lost it…
So are you ready? Here goes:
January – Started with me chatting up strangers on the tube, getting naked in public, doing stand-up comedy (terrifying, awful, amazing!! I’m a hero!) and jumping out of a plane (never, ever, ever again) in a Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway extravaganza. Susan Jeffers self help classic advises doing one scary thing a day. I do. With bells on. A triumphant – if nerve shattering – start. The Daily Mail ran a big feature about my project which led to interview requests from BBC Berkshire and er, China. Hurrah! This is amazing and exciting!
February – Nothing feels amazing and exciting. I am £12,000 in debt! This is awful! How did I not realise this before? I am a terrible person. But Money A Love Story by Kate Northrup suggests that it’s because I think I’m a terrible person that I’m broke, if you don’t value yourself, the world won’t value you either. Kate suggests weekly money dates with your bank statements, complete with lipstick and high heels. Really. But good news! After the Daily Mail article I get a real life literary agent! This blog is going to be a book! I’m going to be rich and famous! Drinks on me!
March – The Secret! Do I believe that you really can have anything you want in life? Do I not believe? Rhonda Byrne’s controversial book still has me confused but I did sit in a flash Mercedes and do a Vision Board:
April/May – Rejection Therapy – awful and brilliant in equal measure…. I found it so hard to get rejected every day (the idea is that you realise rejection doesn’t kill you and that you don’t get rejected half as much as you think) that I pretty much stayed in bed for April and made myself try again in May. I chat up the Greek in the coffee shop (it took me 4 hours to get the courage to talk to him), played tennis with strangers and got refused free coffee at Starbucks… I learn that nine times out of ten rejection is in my head and that people are LOVELY.
June – Praise be for F**K It, my favourite book so far! John C Parkin reckons that F**K it ‘Is the Western Expression of the Eastern Philosophy of accepting and letting go.’ Yup. Swearing is deep and fun. I got to Italy and say F**K It to worrying about work, about money, about my figure. I also say F**K It to a UK book deal… I know, weird. It just didn’t feel right. I trust my gut but then fall into a spiral of self- doubt about it (obvs).
July – I try to talk to angels and fail. I start drinking. I absolutely hate angel therapy. Hate it. But amazing news! I might have passed on the UK deal but I have a Brazilian book deal! Who’d have thunk it?! Rio here we come..
August – I may be on the brink of international authordom but I’m in financial meltdown. The reality of my overdrafts and credit cards can no longer be ignored. I spend August taking on all the freelance work I can. No self-help. Just self-loathing. But I do get asked to go on ITV’s This Morning television in the middle of all this – exciting!! My mother tells me my mouth seemed dry (?!) but I loved it! I could have stayed on the sofa all day.The day after my television debut I go back to hating myself. Ridiculous.
September – Attempt to get back on the self-help wagon with Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. It’s about being vulnerable and intimate. I find the ideas so horrible I promptly get sick. I take to my bed for two weeks. More self-loathing about why I get sick and about how much I’m messing up this project and how behind schedule I am. I lie in bed thinking about everything I’ve done wrong in my life. Fun.
October – Continue with Brene Brown. Sort of. Write posts in which I probably share too much and I feel quite embarrassed and exposed. But the Huffington Posts asks me to blog for them – hurrah! My first post is one how self-help is driving me crazy. And it is. Nobody should think about themselves this much. It’s just not good.
November – I try to slap myself into action with the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People! Politicians have read it and it contains venn diagrams. This is serious! There’s only one problem, I struggle to get through one paragraph. My head is fried from self-help. Wonderful stuff is happening – The Irish Independent newspaper runs a big write up of my story and I go on Irish radio but the cracks are showing… I’m not a Highly Effective person, I’m a mess. My thoughts won’t switch off – and they’re all bad. I get as far as Habit Two before I finally admit defeat. Cue five weeks off.
December – Stay in Ireland, eating, sleeping and watching The Big Bang Theory. I eat a lot of scones and have a lot of baths. More good news, The Irish Independent ask me to do a regular weekly column on happiness and Good Housekeeping magazine runs a piece on my Top 10 self-help books. This is all fabulous stuff but I’m too crazed to celebrate the success. I come home for Christmas and slowly, slowly become semi-normal again.
And so here we are now.
When I look back on last year, it’s clear to me how much AMAZING, AMAZING STUFF HAPPENED. Before last year I had never been on television or radio! I had never received emails from China asking if I was free to do an interview! I had never had a hot shot literary agent and international book deals! I jumped out of a plane and did stand-up comedy for God’s sake! I got naked. In public! I did stuff that most people run a mile from!
This is all UTTERLY BRILLIANT and I feel sick about how little I let myself enjoy it. Despite all the self-help and the achievements, the voice inside my heads still told me ‘I’m crap, I’m messing up, People think you’re stupid, I’m not doing enough…’. This voice is so strong it can ruin almost anything.
THIS HAS TO STOP. If it doesn’t, I can read the wisest words in the world and make all sorts of changes to my life, but it’s not going to make a difference. Which is why, for now, I’m pressing pause on the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
All weekend I kept trying to pick it back up but my head just didn’t want to take it in. Instead I found myself picking up the Power of Now instead. I had tried to read this book by Eckhart Tolle last Easter and I thought it was impenetrable waffle. This weekend it read like pure truth, it seemed to articulate everything that’s been going on in my head over the last few months… It is exactly what I need right now, so on Thursday I’ll do an introduction to it and then off we got to live and enjoy THE NOW.
LOVE TO YOU ALL.
PS – I think that it’s very easy for all of us to focus on what we’re lacking rather than what we’ve achieved… I read a piece in January’s Red magazine that was brilliant. It was all about celebrating the little things – like sorting out your music, sorting out your cupboards, signing up for online dating… I thought it was lovely and true. It’s so so so draining to keep thinking of what hasn’t been done, so much more energising to celebrate the small (and big) victories. Onwards. x