With all the challenges I set myself last year, it was inevitable I’d have people asking “what are you doing for 2020?” and “what’s your next big challenge going to be?” left, right and centre! As I outlined in my previous post, a challenge has become something redefined for me. The year I spent questioning and examining feelings and sources of fear and vulnerability in 2019 has been the beginnings of my ‘life less fear full’.  Reviewing my calendar for 2020 it would seem I’ve accidentally made it as, if not more, action-packed than the last year-however this coming year holds extreme excitement for what’s ahead as opposed to fear and trepidation.  Obviously, I still experience fear, self-doubt, shame and all the other natural emotions on the spectrum, but I’ve become much better at re-framing my experiences of fear of judgement and failure in particular.

One major challenge for 2020 I am currently working through-navigating the fears and feelings associated with the release of “The Silent Scream Anthology”, and my contributions now being out there for public consumption.  The main concern for me personally is the reception of my close friends and family. There are some old self-doubt stories creeping in around my writing abilities and worthiness, quite naturally for me.  A lot of the material in the book is also very sensitive, and the topics of my pieces are quite emotive.  There’s also a sneaking sense of shame at having “put so much out there”, and fears around how people will judge my experiences, not just the writing itself.  There are so many what if’s now that it’s out there and although I know the intentions behind the writing, it’s reception is now totally beyond my control.  It is quite a vulnerable place to be sitting.

Also, these contributions speak of a time in my life almost 2 years ago and beyond, and although it’s absolutely important to me that they are out there and available to help people who are in the same space, they are no longer current for me.  I submitted them at a time where I was in a completely different space, and it might be difficult and emotional even for me to look back on. I haven’t yet even sat down to read the contributions myself.  I picked up the book 2 days ago, and other than a cursory glance (which alerted me to the fact that there was a contribution in there I had completely forgotten about!)  I haven’t had a proper read through.  I know I am going to find it exceptionally difficult to read some of the stories which have been submitted by my fellow contributors as well.  Some I have come to know as friends and it will be quite emotional to hear their stories in their own words and detail.

I’m ultimately very proud to have been a contributor to the project.  Although some of the background stories contain upsetting details and experiences, ultimately ours is a message of hope.  By speaking our truths and refusing to stay silenced in shame and stigma,  we help pave the way to making it safe for others to do the same.  People will be able to relate to the material in various ways, as there are numerous collaborators and entries on a variety of subjects.  This will be the ‘hold in the hand companion’ Maria always hoped it would be, spreading the message of hope and light in the darkness- there is no normal and you are NOT alone.

The Silent Scream Anthology is now available to order online here:

Waterstones hardback

Waterstones paperback