I have just had one of the most extraordinary few days in my life. I say this not in a flippant way but with great sincerity and with a sense of purpose that I haven't really felt for what seems like an eternity.
On Saturday I had the great pleasure to stand in front of about 20 people, not all strangers, but a good proportion of them and tell them my story. The story that has shaped the last ten years of my life. I warned them in advance that recent experiences had lead me to be a little raw right now and so I wanted them to be prepared for some tears if they came. I took a deep breath and then I started.
Before I knew it 30 minutes had passed and I had found myself sharing some of the more intimate details of my life but I had managed to hold it all together. A further 20 minutes on and I was nearly at the end of my allotted time and wondering how I had managed to speak for so long, what's more I wondered why these lovely people were still in the room, surely they had other, much better, stories to hear than mine.
When I finished I took questions and offered my answers as honestly and as candidly as I had spoken. Everyone present was so warm and generous with their applause and their kind words and my heart was filled with a confidence and pride that I took sometime to come back to earth.
What this weekend has taught me is that I am an author - I introduced myself as that and it felt so good to know that I was there on that basis. I have also learned that I not only like to write but I like to speak as well. I really got so much from sharing my story in such a positive way. I also believe I was quite good at it. I want to share more of my story and the stories of others that I am about to write, I want to celebrate the extraordinary resilience of people, both young and older people and encourage others to be resilient too.
The next twelve months is going to be amazing.... I think I've found my place, it's taken ten years but I can see a life after this "event" and I hope I'm ready to grab with both hands.