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February 20, 2019

What I learned from sitting down and writing about my life.

In my computer sits fifty neatly typed, edited and formatted pages of what was supposed to be my debut memoir manuscript. I’ve spent countless hours planning, penning, and revising it. In writing each page I have been transported back to times and places that were simpler some in which I wish I still lived. I’ve also revisited places (and people) I wish I never saw to begin with.

The emotional labour of my recounting various stories has been taxing. However, the lessons therein have been rewarding (to say the least). The roller-coaster of feelings has been the most difficult part of my journey, both in life and the recounting of my story. Despite my best efforts and creative output in terms of content production I’ve decided that for the most part this arduous manuscript and its breadth of contents, will now go unpublished…

The greatest lesson I have learned of recent times is that my life is not only still being written with each day that passes, but that I am indeed the author. I am responsible for carving out my own destiny, page by page and chapter by chapter.

I, nor anyone else, can change the past, even in recreating it. However, what I can (and will) do is change the future and live it from a perspective of learning. There are many things in my life that have caused me both great joy and enormous sorrow. None can be changed, nor should they necessarily. But one of my greatest mistakes in life is not spending enough time in the present, enjoying each moment, simply for what it is.

Too many years of my life have been wasted feeling as though I am a victim of my circumstances. At times I have felt ass dragged by my own life experiences and often felt (sometimes irrationally) as though the blame for my woes lay externally. But now thanks to this manuscript the realisation is finally hitting home. I am more than a character in my own novel… I am the author.

There is absolutely no denying things have been rough in my life and I’m not shying away from that reality. But, I will not let misgivings from previous chapters dictate the outcomes of future versions of myself. As far as I am concerned life from here on is a choose-your-own-adventure book (sans imminent conclusion).

Therefore, while in part it may be true that I haven’t been dealt the easiest hand, I also need to take responsibility for the narrative that I am creating moving forward. Part of that involves living in the present and creating a new and brighter way for my future.

When writing my initial draft of what I thought would be my debut memoir ‘The Insanely Long Way Out to Bayswater’ I relived so much of the past – there were poignant moments, and some ever so melancholy as I came to terms with certain realities and a far greater sense of self- awareness.

I had some knowing smiles and good chuckles too. However in reading it back something has tugged at my heartstrings. I’ve felt a little whisper inside that indicates that my actual story is far from over. In fact, it may be just beginning….

I don’t for a single minute regret writing what I have. I I have poured years of my life into a concise word document. And the truth is of course, the arduous process has taught me many things. But, perhaps the most pertinent is this:

While we are living in the past, we will never be completely free of its torments.

Rather than moving forward weightlessly we will continue to battle the same issues we always have and be stuck on a virtual rotisserie marinating in our “same old, same old” dilemmas of days gone by.

How can we carve out a brighter future when are caught up in reliving previous perceived traumas?

The answer for me may not be the same as others, but I simply cannot. I have learned that I need to be careful how I expend my energy and how much thought I give to events that can’t be changed or altered. These can have direct ramifications on my wellbeing. And, what’s done is done- there’s no room for personal should haves, could haves or would haves either.

The past is just that and it’s time to start looking and moving forward. It’s up to me to create and dictate a new road- a way out, a far happier one with more inner contentment. I don’t need it to be perfect. I just want it to be better than it used to be. But for that I will need  to learn from the past and have both feet firmly cemented in the present with a view to creating that brighter path forward.

I honestly feel as though I have been “victimized” (as well as rescued) by other people and poor decisions enough for one lifetime. It’s time to take ownership and for me to be my own heroine. My life need not be a sinking ship of sorrow that amounted to little more than a good yarn. This is my only fleeting chance to dance between birth and death. I owe it to myself to make it a good one.

I’m ready to take back control of my destiny, as opposed to go out swinging in a blaze of self-destructive glory, tarnishing others in the wake. The responsibility lies with me, to author the rest of this tale. I plan to make the adventure great, not to close the cover. I cannot possibly publish this story in entirety when it’s one that’s so very far from over. And, I am still hopeful… that the very best is yet to come.

I had to come to the keyboard and start the process of writing and reliving to discover all this, of course. But now it’s time to step away from my manuscript clutching it’s lessons. It’s the right thing to do. I need to go out and bring the best bits of my story to life. That is, the bits where it’s not all about life happening to me and instead, the parts where I create my own path and become my own master.

I’ve been called to live beyond my current manuscript, blurb and cover. I’m going to spare myself once again reliving the unnecessary drama and conflict of the past that won’t help me heal. I’ve come to realise that the greatest gift I have got is simply, today.

Penning my life story has taught me to pause before you publish. It’s time for me to learn from past mistakes, shine and create the greatest parts of my yarn, yet! It’s time for my real- life living spree to commence… It’s time to start writing (and dictating) my own magical life and future, because I am it’s author.

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