For the last year, I have only shared half of my story. Today I write the blog I have attempted to write many times before but not found the words or the courage to publish.
As scary as it is to expose the half that has been kept under covers, I have faith that by finding a way to write about it, by exposing that which I am afraid of, will be instrumental in unlocking the pathway to the next step forward.
I want nothing more than to be a source of positivity and strength for people who want it from me, but this year has tested me.
I’ve had more tears and heartbreak than I thought I could cope with, and I’ve found out that it takes a great deal of energy to glue back together the deep cracks in my heart.
I’ve never had to carry with me pain, darkness and sadness like I have since I split up with my husband Charley last summer. I’ve never had to manage the deep inner conflict of being torn from someone I so loved, needed and relied on, but at the same time knowing it’s the right thing. Of rebuilding my life from the rubble that was left behind when our trains crashed and derailed, and coming to terms with the idea that our trains would never run alongside each other again.
This is the first time I’ve written about my separation and divorce on my blog. I am writing about it because not doing so has been holding me back. It’s felt like a life of two halves. I thought that was what I was supposed to do, but it doesn’t feel right anymore. I live whole-heartedly and believe in daring greatly, so here I am.
Every moment of happiness and sense of achievement, has been shadowed with the weight of the loss I feel. The loss of sharing my life with Charley, the man I adored, loved and cherished like no other I have met in my years on this planet. The loss, and failure, of the commitments and promises we made to each other. The projection of the future we laid out for ourselves. The dreams we shared and the support we offered each other on the path to making those dreams come true.
Delivering my 'Achieve Your Extraordinary' talk at TedX Liverpool was one of the greatest achievements of my life, but this shadow was there. As soon as I saw my Mum after my talk she hugged me as the tears rolled from my eyes and I said "I can't believe he's not here".
It hits me so hard some days I feel like I could keep falling and there is nothing that will catch me.
Yet the show must go on. So I move through my days pulling myself together and throwing myself into my work and passion. I quit my job three years ago to follow my dreams and drive positive change in this world, so I make the most of the freedom and opportunity I have at my fingertips.
“Do you ever stop?” people ask me. Yes, of course I do.
But in the right space and support environment so that I can protect myself and try to keep at bay the sadness that can turn my world upside without warning.
As unwelcome as it is in my camp, I know the storm will return and it’s all part of my journey, to summon the strength and weather it once more.
So here it is, the part of my story that people don’t ask me to tell at after dinner talks or corporate events. The part of my story that’s not seen the light of day on my blog or social media. The part of my story that has the ability to crush me and pull me under.
Most importantly, the part of my story that is defining me every single day.
I thought I knew who I was, but I can now see how lost I have been in the past. I’m gaining a whole new understanding of life, personal growth, and ultimately of what strength, courage and love mean.
On my good days, and today is a good day, I look to the future and the promise it holds. I’ve faced my deepest fears, and failures, and looked straight into the eye of the storm. The darkness changes me every time it falls, and I feel strong in the person I’m growing into. It’s a never-ending process.
I’m not writing about this because I’ve come out the other side and can share what I’ve learnt, but because I live with this everyday and I know I’m not alone in living with feelings like this.
The wounds I’m trying to heal underpin every decision I make. I try to make sense of my life, and redefine my purpose. Some days I feel no connection to the world and my life. My job doesn’t give me something to do each day, if I stop everything stops. Yet, we are conditioned to keep moving forward and survive whatever life throws at us.
So that’s what I do. I make decisions that fall in line with who I am, what I love and what I stand for. I set myself goals that give me something to work towards and keep me busy. That’s why you see me all over the world, because it helps. I make choices that make me feel alive and remind me of everything I love. When I’m working towards a goal I feel connected and it gives me purpose. I want to plan more long-term, but I know that will come when I am ready for it.
Sometimes I make the wrong decisions and some days I feel like nothing makes sense and I am unsure of my purpose. But I focus on what I do know and that is this: