Reactions to my books have been and continue to be overwhelmingly supportive. I am very touched that my story has reached so many readers, some of whom have contacted me with messages of love and support and to share their own stories.

I’m glad if my experiences can help to inform and console: in navigating our way through life, I find there are few more toxic experiences than being lonely.

Many whom I would count as good friends express surprise, saying, I had no idea. They are astonished that so much can have happened of which they have been unaware, though of course, since I have been introverted, depressed and solitary for so many years, it is unsurprising to me that, until now, the best way I knew to maintain my dignity was with silence: I’m less ashamed of how things were then, and can talk about them. And my shame has a different quality – less, how embarrassing; more how could I tolerate that? which makes me want to advocate, not hide.

Which must be one reason why I started writing. I feared being swallowed up completely by my tendency to silence. So I gave up the unequal struggle to hold it all in, knowing, even as I wrote, that eventually, when I had smoothed it out a bit and found a way to come to terms, I would go public, despite an intense desire to chuck it all in and run away: my reactions to my books are still mixed.

I still think it matters to maintain peaceful dignity. But often that is a way of staying away from the helping arms that others willingly extend towards us. We do need to show our weaknesses, our frailty, and allow others to understand. I’m sorry that, for so long, I have been unable to share intimacies, or to trust that the reactions of friends and family would be supportive. I regret the missed opportunities to share more fully, because, at the very least, sharing would have helped me to notice that we all have stuff to deal with, we all struggle and suffer together in this melting pot called “Life”. Seeing that more clearly would have given me the courage to make more mistakes, be more outspoken, to take more risks so that I might move more freely and enjoy life more.

Thanks for listening.

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