When I am greatful, I think of the wonderful things that life gives me. Beach BBQs, estuary bike rides, sunrises on the moors, paddle boarding on the sea (can you tell that I love the outdoors!). Stunning vistas and family fun. Friends with shared hearts and interests.
When I honour my pain, I know that every cloud has a shadow and every picture a back story. The out-takes before the picture-perfect instagram shot. The beach BBQ where we juggled tube feeding. The estuary bike ride that was a fun way to get to hospital appointment. The sunrise over the moors where our toddler cried for two hours. That was a once, never again kind of experiment! The paddleborading that we could only do because we have respite provision, and we only have this because a social worker, a stranger really, called Ed, could see I was at breaking point.
For every adventure and glorious picture, there are ten that never happened or were aborted before they took off. The logistics just overwhelmed me - too complex, too many issues, just too - much - stuff to pack.
When I see with fresh eyes, I realise that I want to tell those stories - the behind the scenes, never told, never shared tales - because a problem shared is a problem halved. In doing so, I choose to expose the story and dispel the shame (see: Brené Brown). In my commitment to choosing joy and positivity, I sometimes fear that I have created the illusion of some kind of perfect life. I want to lift the veil, to show the world the real and daily struggle to choose joy. I want you to celebrate with me the back story, in order to more fully celebrate and appreciate the front picture.
As I step forth into this new journey of creativity, vulnerability and openness, I embrace mistake making and false starts. I anticipate being judged, pitied and misunderstood - as well as getting it wrong a lot of the time. And yet, I choose to dare greatly because I have been given a gift of life - My life on the other side of normal - and now is the time to share with you some of my tales.