This week it’s a change of subject and a shorter post, because this week I am absolutely delighted to announce that my book “I’m Still Standing” will be published by Mainstream/Random House on 5th July! These are incredibly exciting times, and I am bursting with pride and anticipation that my story is being told. It’s a bit nerve-wracking as well, I must say, as I feel somewhat vulnerable putting my ‘whole self’ out there to the world.
It’s been a fascinating process getting to this stage, and I’m surprised by the number of times I’ve already been asked the question “How long did it take you to write?” Well, the simple response to that is over four decades. Yes, it’s taken a lifetime for the story to unfold – and now that the book is finally being born, I feel that I am starting a whole new lifetime. A life that’s filled with joy and optimism. A life where I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that love does exist even when it seems there is none, and that hope – no matter how frail – is a blessing that can provide strength when the going seems just too tough to continue.
It’s Within Us All
Through the process I’ve learned that all the good stuff in life is already within us. It always has been and it always will be, because it’s the essence of who we truly are. And I’m deeply grateful for the gifts that came from each and every battle I faced – the gifts may have been heavily disguised most of the time, but they were always there. Nudging me forward. Coaxing me on. Encouraging me to take just one more step forward, moving out of the darkness and in to the light.
I don’t know what the birth of the book is going to mean to me. I hope, though, that by sharing my story, not only will it help me to grow as a human being, but it will also encourage others who may be facing similar challenges in their life. It may reach many and it may reach just a few… but you know what? If somehow it manages to improve the life of just one other person, well, then it makes everything worthwhile.
We’ve just finished editing the book, and now we’re heading to the typesetting phase of the project. I am a publishing virgin, and I’m enthralled and fascinated by each step of the journey. I remember whooping for joy when I was shown the book cover, and leaping around my kitchen when my friend Matt phoned to alert me that it was already available for pre-order on Amazon. Each new endorsement would create a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye as I read the kind words people had written about my work. And each time I would pinch myself to check that this was real, that I wasn’t dreaming. Of course it was real – it IS real – and my dreams are just starting to come true.
As we get closer to the publication date, I find I’m still susceptible to thoughts of doubt and worry “I hope it’s written well enough. What if people don’t like it? What if they don’t like me?” but then the thoughts subside again as I gently remind myself what it took for me to get here in the first place. I remember the battles I’ve fought and won, and look fondly on each scar as I recall how each one served to let me know who I really am. And I realize that, even if people don’t like the way I write or the subject of my story, the fact is I’ve pushed through my fears and created the platform through which to speak out and share. In doing so I have exorcised my demons and learned the exquisite beauty of surrender.
Bottom line? It doesn’t actually matter what other people think of me. What matters is how I think of myself – and the more I learn to love and accept myself, well, it seems the more I am able to give love and acceptance to others. Whatever they may say, whatever they may think and whatever they may do. Because they cannot hurt me any more. I’m still standing, and now I’m free – and nothing and nobody can ever take that away from me.
Thank you to everyone here for supporting me in my journey. I don’t know where my path is leading me. But something I absolutely know for sure…. This is just the beginning.
With love and blessings to all my fellow travelers on this extraordinary voyage of discovery and healing.