It’s that special day again, folks. The Escapologist’s Daughter is two years old today!
*cue marching band, over order flowers and drinks, weep drunkenly about how fast they grow up*
This time last year, I was reflecting on my recovery from a pretty blue period of my life, which had inspired me to start a blog. In its first year, my blog encouraged me to stop being ashamed of who I am and how I’m doing. In its second year, my blog encouraged me to positively shout it from the rooftops.
The second year of my blog saw me ask myself “Well, why the hell not?” over and over again. And if the answer was “Because I’m scared to”, for the most part, I went ahead and did the thing.
I went viral after accidentally creating the perfect storm of feminist rage and a funny idea. Dealing with going viral made me want to hide under my duvet and never come out or try to do anything ever again. Instead of doing that, with the help of my nearest and dearest, I rallied. I went on breakfast time TV. I organised an event to share the love I was feeling around. I spoke at a feminist conference. I started writing for one of my favourite online magazines. Why the hell not? Why the hell not? Why the hell not?
As my blog gained a little more traction, I was invited to speak at a couple of blogging events. I felt like the world’s biggest fraud. I felt like they had somehow invited me by accident and when they realised their mistake, I’d be shunned forever by the Grand High Blogging Police. I took a deep breath, put on my big girl pants, painted my lisptick extra bright and went for it. People told me I was inspiring. Why. The hell. Not?
I decided to throw my own blogger event. I had no experience. I had no budget. I had no idea what I was doing. I threw it anyway. It was a tiny little event. It lacked any kind of finesse or elegance. But you know what? It was brilliant. Everyone had a great time. There were sweary doughnuts. People stuck transfer tattoos all over their faces. Everyone drank slightly too much and we raised over £200 for Cancer Research. Why the hell not?
I wrote a book. Something I’ve always wanted to do. For my entire life, I’ve been hiding behind the excuse “I’m too busy”, when in reality, I was just afraid that I wouldn’t be able to do it. How do you face up to the reality that you actually might not be talented enough to achieve a lifelong dream? I didn’t want to. So I just didn’t try. Then, in November, I sat myself down, gave myself a stern talking to and started to write. 28 days later, I had a draft. I’m not saying that you guys should be putting the Man Booker prize on hold just yet. In fact, it might never even see the light of day. But I wrote it, and I am world endingly proud of it. And I was able to do it for one reason: because I got out of my own damn way.
Of course, I haven’t done this on my own. I’m lucky enough to have the most entirely brilliant boy by my side, who will no doubt be livid that I’ve even mentioned him.
Back yourself, baby, he tells me every day. No fear.
From buying the leather jacket I don’t think I can pull off or dying my hair purple, to putting myself out there and taking the big chances when they come, he’s the world’s greatest cheerleader.
But no amount of cheerleading makes a difference unless you’re willing to actually make the jump and do the thing.
Back yourself, Fiona, I’m learning to tell myself. No fear. Do the damn thing.
For the most part, the scariest thing about all of the things I did this year was the first step. The there’s-no-going-back-now moment. Putting the bikini photo on Twitter. Answering the phone when the BBC called. Stepping onto the stage, in every sense. Everything that followed was terrifying, but I was never more terrified than I had been in those few seconds where I had to decide between following through and backing out. A deep breath, a few seconds of crazy, unthinking courage, that’s all it took. To quote a great philosopher, bravery isn’t about not being scared. It’s about being scared and doing what you have to do anyway.
If you recognised that quote from the Mary Kate and Ashley film, Double Double Toil and Trouble, hit me up. We’ll get on just fine.
This year, I’m going to be brave. I’m going to back myself. And I am going to kick some arse.