Wednesday, 8 August 2012
Before my book was published, one of my best mates said, “I hope fame won’t change you.” I think we both thought I might get too big for my boots. What neither of us had anticipated was that it has actually taken a crowbar to my confidence. I’m having to pick up the tumbled ego bricks and replace them, one by one. Fill in the cracks with cement that I thought would withstand harder knocks. And then it occurred to me that this isn’t about Discover Cornwall, which I am very proud of - especially after Emma's fabulous review, see right.
This is about my mum, whose body has, over the last few months, disintegrated. She is in constant pain and admitted that, without us (offspring), she would have given up. She is no longer my mum, but a frightened, frail old lady who’s lost her confidence.
I’m fortunate in having two brothers who have been fabulous, and Mum’s illness has at least brought us closer together. But it’s that much more difficult being on my own. I confess I’ve felt emotionally drained recently, even sorry for myself, which is something I try never to do. I’ve cried more in the last few weeks than I have done for years, and my sense of humour has gone on strike.
I watched Victoria Pendleton’s last race yesterday, bawling my eyes out. She is someone I admire immensely – she has worked so hard to get where she is, risking her own career when she fell in love with her coach, and his. But she followed her heart, listened to her instincts, and can now retire – at the top - with an amazing career behind her. And a new life ahead of her.
I looked at her and my heart swelled. What courage, and what an inspiration. She made me think that yes, life is tough, but there are the good bits and they always counterbalance the really difficult bits.
Yesterday I remembered how I felt when I first became a journalist. I couldn’t sleep, and lost weight, worrying about my workload, whether my writing was good enough – all that stuff. My dear husband said, “It’s only work for god’s sake,” – he couldn’t understand my anxieties which made me feel even more alone and useless.
But after a while it settled down. My sense of humour re-emerged, like a myopic mole from a tunnel, blinking and saying, “thank god that’s over.” We all go through times in our life that are incredibly stressful and it takes a while to work out how to deal with it. If nothing else, it’s teaching me that we are all more fragile than we think. And at the same time, stronger.
In my case, I need to grab my courage by the scruff of its neck, entice my sense of humour out of hiding. Yesterday I wrote a ridiculous invoice to a friend which cheered me no end. I went and wept all over another friend and then listened to her problems. Which reminded me how important love and laughter is.
And on that note, think of me in Falmouth Carnival on Saturday, marching along dressed as the Fat Controller (or Thin Controller in my case) with two floats – Thomas the Tank Engine and the Titanic. A little silliness is essential in life. A lot of silliness is even better.