Birthday Girls

Turn to the “thankyou” page in Grow Your Own Gorgeousness and you’ll see that it is dedicated to my mum and the Fosbury Goddess. And guess what?

TODAY is the Fosbury’s birthday. YESTERDAY it was my mum’s birthday.

Such a strange coincidence that two such profoundly influential women in my life sit next to each other on the birthday calendar. Both birthday girls have helped me go from an average person – to one fulfilling her dreams and helping me inspire one or two people to do the same along the way.

To mark their birthdays on de’ blog I thought I’d tell you a little bit about Gorgeousness. I thought I’d tell you how it all started up and how Mum and the Goddess Fosbury helped midwife the whole thing along … because frankly, other than being born, Gorgeousness was probably the most life changing thing that happened to me.

So, are you sitting comfortably?

Do you have tea?

Good.

Then I shall begin …

Travel back in time to late September 2008 and you’d have found me jibbing out. I was supposed to be going to Winchester Uni to start a Masters in writing for children, but instead found myself in Buenos Aires where my brother had been murdered in a street robbery. I felt raw and terrible, but overall I felt angry at every Latin American Juan, Dick and Hose on earth (it would appear that the mind tends to scape goat anyone and everyone when someone you love dies.)

NOTE: If you are Argentinian and reading this – you’re safe now. It’s okay. I’m not angry anymore and I know it wasn’t you. Well – it was one of you. But not all of you.

On my return from South America I realised that Uni wasn’t really going to happen. I was too wobbly. And I just couldn’t keep my mind on anything. So instead I decided to sit down and do a bit of a Life Stock Take. As I looked back and took stock I saw myself – a girl who loved to write, was passionate about the world and making a positive difference, wanted her life to be meaningful but who had wasted far too much time and ink chasing the rainbow of best seller chick-lit-dom.

Instead I decided to put two fingers up at the world (I’d now shifted the grumpiness away from the Latin Americans and to the world in general) and decided to make like Charles Wright in this cover by the Funk Federation.

I Expressed.

My Self.

On Paper.

With ink and water colour and handwritten words that rolled out of me like waves that have finally risen over the dam. I experienced this expression whilst sitting on the hallway floor outside my kid’s room whilst they slept.

When the last page was written I piled all of the higgledy piggledy pages on top of each other. Then I sat and hugged them. They were shabby. They were boho. They had captured like butterfly nets, a swarm of truth bees that were exactly what my Self wanted to Express. I was in Love.

So what had been expressed?

Well, the message was really very simple.

It said, “you are as Gorgeous as you believe yourself to be. If you want to be beautiful – really beautiful – stop chasing the Dangling Carrot Of Ideal Beauty sold by billion dollar industries and instead learn to express your unquantifiable Gorgeousness (the part of you that you can’t weight on the bathroom scales first thing in the morning with all your clothes off – AFTER you’ve done a wee and moved the scales around the bathroom to find the place where it says you weigh the least).”

That Christmas I created five hand bound copies of Grow Your Own Gorgeousness. They were gifted to five women – my mum and the Fosbury Godess included.

Fosbury declared, “this is amazing. You have to give it to the world.”

The moment she said it all of my dysfunctional publishing past flooded back to me. I knew the struggle. I knew the frustration. I knew it was the only way GYOG would ever be read and I instantly slumped.

When I say slumped, I actually really slumped. For days. Eventually my mum found me crying at the bottom of my garden. She strolled down, sat, then gently reminded me that doing anything – however impossible it seems – is possible One Step At A Time.

And she steered me to a shop and gently encouraged me to buy a book on book binding. She then steered me back to my house and softly crept away as I started to play with the idea that I could mass produce handmade copies of my book at the kitchen table.

Before long women of all ages were buying the handmade version of GYOG. They were gifting it to their sisters, aunties, friends and daughters. I was printing, binding, covering and handpainting every calico sleeve. Before long it was impossible to keep up with the demand.

And then I knew it was time.

To publish GYOG in paperback took guts and a sort of head-down-and-charge mentality. It meant exposing myself – my truth and ideas about a concept that was not run-of-the-mill. In doing that I knew I’d be opening myself to criticism and funny looks.

Could I handle it?

“Course you can handle it,” shrugged the Fosbury Goddess as if I was doubting my ability to make a cheese sandwich.

“The people who fell head over heels in love with Gorgeousness far outweigh the ones that think you are weird,” she added.

And then she said something – followed by doing something – which is a secret but showed so much Utter Belief In Me that suddenly I was like, “yeah, course I can handle it. Creating a Gorgeousness Movement is nothing. I could do it in seven days, sitting on my hallways floor!”

And then I was all …

And the rest was hisss-torrr-y.

Since the beginning of this journey four years ago, many of my ideas have grown. I’ve realised that Gorgeousness isn’t just about rejecting superficial messages spoon fed to us by the media about beauty and the body … it is also about letting go of the synthetic in every area of our lives; what we do, how we act, what we say, how we relate, the music we listen to and even what we eat.

I’ve also understood that it isn’t writing books that is so important now. The words – both written, drawn and spoken – are the vehicle and Gorgeousness is the message that they are designed to carry. Thanks to the book, I’ve recently been invited by Susie Orbach to join the Endangered Bodies group and help deliver a united message of self/body love to girls and women all over the world.

So, as you can see Gorgeousness has gone a long way and that’s all thanks to two very Gorgeous People. I want to end this post by sharing with you the Grow Your Own Gorgeousness dedication that I mentioned at the start of this post, because it is as true today as it was back then.

“I have been gifted with knowing some incredible women, all of whom have contributed – perhaps unknowingly – to my personal evolution. Some of these women roar out their Gorgeousness, some are shy, some recognise their worth, some are still working on it. I recognise in all of them a beautiful, unique set of incredible qualities and want to thank them all for teaching me about Gorgeousness – especially my mum and K. Fos. I love you.”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY YOU TWO! xxx

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6 thoughts on “Birthday Girls

    • Hey Carol! Lovely to hear from you – and yes, I do have a lovely mum. I’ve just been over to your website and seen your incredible art. I love it. The top images looked almost batiked but then I saw what looked like a canvas. Do you work in acrylic? x

    • Hi Carol! So glad that you liked the book. Once you/and your daughter have read it, it would be fab if you could put a review on Amazon for me. I know it wasn’t officially bought from Amazon, but I think you can still leave a review for other buyers. Thank you so much. xxx

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