There’s something magical about telling a story, and my dream has always been to write stories. Until recently, story writing was just that, a dream. But it’s a dream no longer; my book is finished and it’s being published soon.
My story is Breathing While Drowning, a memoir of my life so far. My heroine’s journey into despair, trials, tribulation and my quest for healing and return to living a vibrant and remarkable life, a life worthy of my attention.
And in so many ways it’s Jacqueline Bree’s story, written through the filter of her life, from birth to almost five. Without her, I would not be the woman I am: scarred, optimistic, visionary, resilient, impatient, passionate, creative, driven, selfish, mindful, curious and caring. Without her, I would not have learnt how to breathe while drowning in an unending ocean of grief.
Now it’s time to show up and share my story with the world.
I’m showing up for myself, to change my own story.
I wrote Breathing While Drowning so I could learn to feel again. To feel deeply, to truly heal and to reconnect to my own life. I wanted to reconnect to the young woman with impossible dreams, who wished for a remarkable life and got exactly what she wished for – just delivered in a way she could never have imagined; a whole new world of hurt, anger, loneliness, joy, triumph and love.
My Mum was a great story teller and could remember amazing detail about all sorts of things on her ancestors, relatives and each of her eight children. I didn’t see myself as a great storyteller, so, when I became a mother, I kept a separate journal for all my children with the intent to share the exciting moments milestones and stories of their youth. My intent was to pass the journal on to them when they were ready for their own children.
Gloria Steinem famously said,
We teach what we need to learn, and write what we need to know.
I laughed when I read that recently. I’m a life and leadership coach, teaching people how to find their confidence, to lead and live the life of their dreams. A kind of cosmic karma for the woman who kept her dreams in a back-drawer for 20 years!
And as for writing what I needed to know…
I wrote a journal to my daughter Jacqueline Bree throughout her short life and sporadically for several years after she died. Re-reading those moments with tears and smiles 20 years after writing them, I re-discovered a myriad of emotional, physical and spiritual experiences and choices that shaped me and directed my story.
Now, with hindsight – and the wisdom of years – I can look back on that young woman and see how far she’s come; what she and I learnt along the way. I can compassionately view the experiences of her birthing a child with a disability, her refusal to accept western medicine’s null prognosis, her search for answers, purpose and direction and how she and I fell into grief and for almost 20 years lived as if we could never feel whole again.
Grief is never gone; there are still days when I have to remind myself to breathe, when I can’t see the edge of the ocean and when that drowning feeling threatens to engulf me. But these days I’m better at recognising the signs; I know where the life buoys and dry land are, I know how to use them and I can ask for help; most of the time.
So I’m telling my story and showing up for me. At it’s simplest my transformation is about consciousness, the realisation that my life belongs to me, that I don’t have to be trapped in the stories I’ve told myself or that other people have told about me.
What I think, say, do and believe matters, and that’s what counts.
I believe if I can change my story, you can too.
Is it time to show up for yourself? To write your own story?
Your next chapter is waiting… It’s never too late to start fresh.
Pick up a pen right now, grab a journal, a piece of paper, an old receipt and make a list of your dreams and all the things that you really want to do.
Now pick one thing, and take one small action today that brings that one thing closer. Good luck.
Thanks for reading.
Breathing While Drowning – One Woman’s Quest for Wholeness is the story of a contemporary woman, outwardly successful, inwardly lost; searching for meaning, for feeling, for healing and for reconnection. My words, memories and experiences may offer you a way out of mediocrity, towards a life lived remarkably. Whether my story helps you change your own story is up to you.
If you’d like to read more about my transformation, then send me a note HERE to receive notification of the book launch. I’ll keep you updated semi-regularly on the publication progress.