When I began writing one of my books, Curative Magic the foundation of it was incredibly personal. The manuscript writing took me on a very emotional inner journey and dug up a lot of memories, some good, some not so much. Most of the personal details didn't make the final cut for the book, but they did provide a very strong base for me to write it. I thought I would share some of that information here on my blog. It isn't easy for me, I don't usually put 'personal stuff' out there, but I decided it may shed some light on who I am really, what makes me tick and what has helped shape me into the person I am today.
Written in 2019:
I am a witch, a working wife and mother to teenage children. Last year I also turned 50. My life is pretty darn good all things considered but it hasn’t always been easy. I am also quite a private person, preferring to keep my personal life behind closed doors. Most people outside of my family will probably believe me to be a strong and confident person who leads a blessed life. And I do have a wonderful life generally, but it takes work and has most definitely been earnt. What people see on the outside isn’t always how I feel inside. Giving talks to large groups of people I can do; in fact, I enjoy it. However, on a bad day I have struggled to step outside my own front door just to pop to the shop for milk.
At the age of 16 I became very poorly and after many hospital visits, I was diagnosed with a bowel disease, Ulcerative Colitis. Very invasive tests (particularly embarrassing when you are a young 16 year old girl) followed by years of taking strong steroids did a lot of damage. To my confidence, always needing to know where the nearest toilet was and despising long car journeys. But also, to my body. Steroids have so many side effects, one such is depression. At one point I was taking anti-depressants and after the birth of my first child I also fell into a bout of extremely bad post-natal depression.
At the age of 17 I left home to live on a farm (with a boy…shock!) and then moved onto another relationship three years later that resulted in marriage…that lasted less than a year before we divorced.
Then I met my husband and 27 years later we are still together (I send thanks for that every day). But all relationships take work, time and effort and we have had our issues over the years. However, through communication and on occasion a lot of patience and effort we get through whatever it is and come out the other side stronger and better than before.
We have amazing children, but the first pregnancy was awful, and my body struggled throughout, followed by eighteen hours of labour and an emergency C section. If we had not been in hospital to give birth and receive immediate medical attention both myself and my daughter would have died. In between my daughter and son, I also miscarried a child at 14 weeks.
More recently Mother Nature has decided to throw the menopause at me, well the peri menopause in fact, which has thus far lasted four years, with no end in sight. It started with a year long period, which I can tell you was no fun at all. Hot flushes and brain fog are also such a joy. Add to that menopausal acne and you have a complete nightmare. But the worst part for me are the hormones, sheesh! Waking up each day not knowing what mood you will be in, whether you will spend the day in floods of tears for no reason or a feeling of complete detachment from everyone and everything. It really does make your head spin and is seriously not fun for those around you either.
There really isn’t much that I haven’t had to deal with, like most people. I have seen it, done it (thank goodness there wasn’t any social media in my teenage years!), read the book, watched the film and bought the t shirt. And survived.
I am an organised control freak and have struggled with a lot of issues over the years. Learning to accept that not everyone will act or react how you expect or want them to has been extremely difficult. Learning to take a step back and not knee jerk react to situations has also been a challenge. I am that person that wants everything done their way…
Having a husband who plays in a local band regularly also has its own challenges. He is a larger than life character and most weekends goes out in the evening spending time on stage and has a ‘following’ that includes quite a lot of ‘da ladies’. A lot of whom believe he is public property and don’t seem to have any idea about boundaries. That can be a challenge for a wife with jealous Scorpio tendencies let me tell you! Thank goodness for trust, without that any relationship is doomed.
Any parent will probably also question how good they are. Have we made the right decisions? How do we deal with this situation? Did we do that as we should have? And all the other 50 million queries about parenting that appear on a daily basis. We are extremely proud of our children but sometimes we have struggled and wondered if we made the right choices. Parenting comes with a lot of self-doubt. And when a house is full of teenagers who are seriously untidy it is sometimes a struggle to even think, let alone get a minute of peace and quiet.
Having skipped out on college and a promising university stint, I started work in an office at 16 and for the next, nearly thirty years I was a secretary in various forms. Rising to the level of Personal Assistant 26 years ago. I still work for the same CEO but have been blessed to be able to work from home part time for the past ten of those years.
My first discovery was in my mid-twenties when I stumbled (literally) upon a holistic therapy, reflexology. It promised to help with digestive issues, so I went along to see. Six weeks later after weekly treatments I was weaned from the anti-depressants. Six months later I was taking less and less steroid medication. A year later I was off the medication almost completely, only taking it on the odd occasion when I had a flare up. Now nearly twenty-five years later I have been UC free for several years, only having a mild flare up on the rare occasion. Usually when I have run myself down and gotten into a bit of a stressful cycle. Even then the flare ups are miniscule in comparison to the original ones.
And of course, most importantly I found witchcraft and paganism. Probably somewhere around thirty years ago now. Although being born on Samhain I guess my fate was sealed at birth! This pathway has changed me…for the better. It has helped me learn about who I am and to embrace and encourage my good qualities and to recognise and acknowledge my bad ones. And even to work with them to ‘adjust’ how I react. Witchcraft has also given me the tools to help myself. I don’t want to use the term ‘cure’ because personality traits and characteristics are not ailments. But we all suffer from stress, anxiety, panic and any amount of other negative emotions at times. Having a magical first aid kit to hand really does make a huge difference.
Then in 2013 my first book was published. I had never had any desire to write a book and it all happened quite by accident. It led me on a completely new and undiscovered journey that continues with quite a number of published books later. But by starting that pathway I put myself out in the firing line. Although I have been extremely lucky to have had a huge positive response, I opened myself up to criticism and comment from the general public which is never easy. You will never be able to please everyone all the time, it is impossible. And of course, with that came self-doubt…in truck loads.
I don’t promise to have all the answers. I can’t promise that this is a quick fix (because it isn’t). What I can do is offer up my own experiences and the solutions I have come up with. To present to you different options and ways of working to overcome some of the issues that most people have to deal with at some point. It probably won’t be easy, and it will definitely take some time and effort on your part, but it really will be worth it.