My Secret to Happiness.

am a nobody; essentially I know nothing, every word I spew forth onto the keyboard is learned behaviour and mistakes made combined with my inherent need to look inwards to fathom out who I am and where I fit in.  The me of today is a far cry from the me of ten years ago, and the me of then so far removed from the girl I was in my twenties.  Life experience, challenges, introspective thought and time is required to evolve as a person.  The process of which is fascinating to me; exciting even!  I love the person I am today; my authentic-self, the woman I was born to be.  But bloody hell it’s taken a long time to get here!  I’m a slow-grower it seems; even my grown-up daughters had found their authentic selves before I did! 

I was a happy child, played the piano and went to dancing on a Saturday. I grew up wanting the fairytale; as many girls do.  At school I attempted to discover what I’m vocationally good at but quickly found out that what I enjoyed doing most didn’t really fit with a conventional job.  Unless I could have been paid for sly drinking, smoking and snogging boys.  Or else I enjoyed singing, making-up dances and playing ‘Jackie and Kathy’ with my good friend Jan; which predominantly consisted of us pretending to be more glamorous versions of ourselves and sly drinking and smoking in the adjoining field to her house.  I drifted into college with a ‘meh’ course then managed to secure the first job that came along after and it was here I met my first inspiration. 

I was fat and tired; having survived my year long course on 10 ‘Superkings’ and chips with gravy every single day, so it came to pass that on the first day in my new job I came face-to-face with ‘her’  She was everything I was not.  A light bulb moment; I had to be like her.  With her golden hair, sassy and short she’d shake it whilst charming all those within ear shot.  Her nails; ‘Sweet Jesus’; each had it’s own tiny half-moon delicately imprinted onto healthy, pink nail beds topped with a crescent of pure white.  Perfectly manicured and painted; in the 3.5 years I worked there I swear I never saw a chip in that varnish.  She was tall, slim with tanned limbs that were expressive and graceful.  I was short, chubby and very pale but for the blue hue about my legs.  Her smile was broad and easy, mine slightly forced and awkward.  She was in control, worldly-wise (except for the day she said “dead as a dildo”), full of fun and I was utterly in awe of her.  She had a boyfriend (of course) who adored her and I wanted all that she had and knew how to get it. 

I was to lose weight; everything would fall into place once I was thin.  Of course, it’s all so simple, thinness, thick hair, straight teeth, tanned skin and manicured nails this is the secret to a happy life. For with it male adoration, job progression, money, travel and precious experience.  Or in my case; just find my Prince Charming, get married and have babies.  That was it; marriage and kids, the only life ambition I could come up with in my later teens.  Am I disappointed in my younger self?  Yes, but no, but yes, but how can I be?  My aforementioned utterly savvy two daughters were created during this time therefore completely the best decision I could have made; but was it fate?  I’m still on the fence with regard to this, along with karma and ‘threading’; particularly of the eyebrows I mean seriously one slip and they could scoop out your whole eyeball?

So I got myself thin, grew my nails and met my Prince, married, had two wonderful girls and life progressed.  I continued playing the piano, did some writing and interior designed our home using stuff family members had thrown away because it was shite; I was extremely creative with it.  At one point I had this weird area my Mother described as a shrine; that was my first foray into the happy world of hippy. I became interested in crystals, alternative health, healing etc.  This was one of many, many forays into this, that and the other.  Like my ‘soya period’ where I forced my family to eat tofu, drink soya milk and was dropping ‘Quercetin’ and ‘Bromalaine’ like I was at a rave.  I generally explored most things within the constraints of my conventional life.  Nothing too radical; it’s not like I started weaving hemp clothing for us all and I certainly wasn’t doused in Petunia oil and head to toe in tie-dye.  No it was a tentative dip into the pool of ‘stuff that’s out there’.  The internet was not much heard of during this time so it was libraries for me and loitering about in ‘Waterstone’s’ cramming in what I could rather than actually shelling out for the book.  This is also indicative of my life to date; on a budget.

Eventually after a period of anxiety I was launched into ‘curing myself’; which culminated in my learning Reiki. During this time I also found out that I can only learn effectively through hearing or perhaps it was because I was genuinely interested!  No matter; I was ‘initiated’ and have practiced on and off ever since; think extreme relaxation rather than transcending earth as you know it or being rectally probed by green men.  From there I began singing; my sister and I were two halves of a duo known as ‘Enchant’!!  We did the pub/club circuit, gargled Bacardi and coke in the toilets and always had a celebratory fag at the end of the gig.  It was fun, an experience; another string to my bow.  Yet still I was seeking; always looking for the next thing which always seemed to appear by accident.  I became acquainted with the owner of the drama school that the girls attended and quickly became ensconced there which turned into many years of tutoring drama and singing.  This time culminated with ‘real’ writing; the story to a musical to be exact.  Oh yes; and the music, songs and co-directing.  Let us also not forget that this also coincided with the breakdown of my marriage to Prince Charming…

Next came really ‘finding myself’ because you see I was now alone, the girls going through their teenage years; debating which clique they fit in to, mastering Bebo and MySpace seeing just how much they could do covertly and creating a hobo’s boutique in their bedrooms.  I started walking; lost too much weight and felt lonely.  But I kept walking, thinking, planning and then found myself in Italy with the girls, just the three of us.  An extremely complex holiday consisting of several trains, planes and a shitload of pasta and gelato.  In short it was wonderful; challenging enough for the country bumpkin, helicopter parent that I am yet still I felt I’d achieved something huge and even managed a snippet of romance whilst there!  I returned to the house and felt weak at the knees; literally.  What now?  The next thing entered my life like a whirlwind and culminated in two more daughters, two house moves and possibly the largest personal transition to-date.

I’m now alone again; happily alone, free, independent and ready for the next thing.  A little stuck but a buyer with the right amount of cash could change that any day now; anyone?  My writing started in earnest towards the end of my marriage and with two books written and my blog started I’m finally being my authentic self.  Even writing this very personal blog and exposing myself to the potential judgment, ridicule or condemnation finally I am okay.  So what have I learned; I’ve learned ‘acceptance’ of myself and others; this one is very empowering, to fully accept your physical-self, your limitations, your flaws and to grant others the same acceptance.  Live with principles; honesty, loyalty and kindness.  Be ready to help others yet stay true to your own life agenda.  Use your time wisely; do not waste it.  Apportion yourself carefully, never be afraid to say ‘no’ but say it with respect.  Embrace change; there’s always a ‘silver lining’ if you look hard enough and your heart is open enough you’ll find it.  And my favourite; to be the best you can be; not her or that girl in the magazine or a stranger who appears to have more, be more, look better or be more successful.  Just be you.  In my case when I am slim, healthy, eating relatively well and not drinking too much and can stretch and move and dance and sing and write and love; that’s the best I can be and for me that is perfection.

I’m not fully evolved yet; still have to master ‘dream big’, ‘grit and determination’ and ‘to never give up’.  I’m not well travelled; I’d like to address that at some point.  I’ve not even began the successful career I’d like to  have.  But I am rich beyond measure; with a loving, honest, kind family, four incredible children and a perfect handful of real friends.  You see part three is underway and it’s full of women; amazing women overflowing with love and ‘guts on a plate’ anecdotes who are not afraid to be who they are, as we embrace and rejoice in our flaws together, sipping from the glass of reality and laughing till we cry and most likely wee just a little bit. So I hope you’ll read this account and compare it with yours; not to measure which is more successful, who’s achieved more or faired better.  Just to understand that we’re all doing our best; trying to be the best we can be, we have struggles, hopes, fears and disappointments but we are not defined by them they’re simply benchmarks to prod us onwards and upwards for as long as we’re privileged to be here.



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