Have you ever dreamt that you walk into work and everyone is staring at you? At first you smile at the on-looking faces, then you begin to wonder why you’re getting so much attention. Suddenly, your heart races as you anxiously look down to discover you aren’t wearing any trousers.
Everyone is staring because you’ve stepped outside in your underwear.
The dream analysts would suggest, that such a nightmare reflects a feeling of your personal beliefs being exposed. Well, I’ve had this feeling all week, except I didn’t wake up. My sense of vulnerability and exposure is because I really have gone out in public ‘in my underwear’.
By self-publishing my book, The Skies I’m Under, I feel as though I’m standing in public, exposed and vulnerable. I’ve poured out my heart and all that I’ve experienced since my son was born with severe brain damage. Without taking the time to workout or get ready for public scrutiny, I’m standing tall with my post-baby belly, in all its stretch mark glory, for everyone to see.
Today vulnerability isn’t trendy.
We live in a time when showing our best front is more popular than ever. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram give us the opportunity to let others see the life we want to be living. We portray the perfect family days, with the arguments conveniently blurred out of focus. We take selfies at a quirky angle, to make us look younger and more interesting. As a result, we are in a time when our lives are up for public scrutiny more than ever, yet being truthful isn’t always involved.
In my memoir, The Skies I’m Under, I let you read the juiciest parts of my diary from the past decade. In it, I share my darkest moments, including some of the feelings and times I most regret. In the book, I walk you through the time I became the mum of a beautiful little boy with cerebral palsy and give you my warts and all account.
Whilst writing the book, I paid for a professional editor to give me feedback and one comment she gave was whether I really wanted to be so open. I spent a long time thinking about why I was making some very personal times public and it’s really quite simple. I want to be authentic. I want to tell my story in a way that my younger self would be able to read and find reassurance. I want to give the sense of relief that only comes from someone holding your hand and taking the words right out of your mouth. I decided that my goal was only possible if I stood in my ‘underwear’.
My words need to be real and true in order to resonate with other mum’s who have also walked this transforming path. It has been an emotional journey, so it will be an emotional read, but there has been lots of sunlight and fun times too.
So, if you fancy seeing me in my ‘underwear’ (metaphorically speaking – there aren’t any revealing photos) then buy your copy of The Skies I’m Under from The Book Inn, Southend-on-sea, Southend Christian Bookshop or Amazon.
My hope is that mum’s like me will see a reflection of their own journey in its pages while those living around us will get a glimpse of our world and, therefore, a greater understanding of our lives.