Tuesday, 22 November 2011

On-wards and Upwards

My story has been one of repeated triumph and failure. Each has been as prominent in my life as the other, serving to produce a concoction of highs and lows, laughter and tears and the scariest roller-coaster ride that has spanned these last four years. In four years, I have gone from being a high-achiever, who was well liked and had everything going for her to a depressed, suicidal and seemingly hopeless bulimic. From there, my life became all work in the form of university studies, my personal development and writing a memoir. This was my personal hibernation. And now that I am here – published, happy and pushing on towards the future – I realise that I have come full circle. If you are one of those lucky people in the world who fortune has graced, perhaps you have arrived to this place without much turmoil. In this case, I am so thoroughly happy for you. But if, like me, you have done loops and turns over and over again just to get here, let’s congratulate ourselves on simply surviving it all. I am not writing to boost my own ego or that of anyone else; I write now instead merely to mark a new phase in the chronology of my life and my ongoing story. I am alive and what’s more, I’m actually living.

The launch of my book, My Secret Life: A Memoir of Bulimia took place on Tuesday last, November 1st 2011 in the Dublin Book shop on Grafton Street. For me, to say it was a success was an understatement. The night was a pleasant array of old faces and new. I was more nervous than I can say. When the time came to say a few words to all who attended, my knees were clattering off one another and a lump formed in my throat at the sight of their ever-supporting eyes. That is to say, I was moved beyond all recognition. My life – and in particular, my life of the last four years – had always been leading to that point (no matter how many diversions I seemed to take!). And I can only say how extraordinarily happy I was to be able to share it with people who have graced my very existence with their mere presence.

I am a lucky person in a great many ways, more than I could ever express. And as I move on-wards and upwards in my professional and personal pursuits, I do so with the utmost humility, humbleness and irrevocable gratitude. I have taken a leave of absence from my studies and have routed myself on a highway of what I hope is full of creativity and growth. I have begun my first fiction novel and already – as with all things we undertake in life – my perceptions of this complicated world are changing yet again. Good Lord, I don’t think the learning curb is ever meant to stop. Let’s hope not.

The issue of destiny is a complicated one, like everything else apparently. Whether it is something set out for us or something we create and build ourselves is completely yours to decide. It makes no difference to me either way, because regardless of whether I chose this path or it was given to me, I’m just happy to be on it. And what’s more, I can see it now clearer than ever before. My path is set. And while I begin the closing down process of this chapter in my life, naturally I start a new one with full hope, ambition, determination and unrestrained gusto! I can only see so far ahead and to be honest, I don’t think I’d like to see much more. For now, I am happy and that’s enough.

Huge thank you to Maverick House Publishers, John Mooney, Fiona Lacey, my family, my friends, everyone who has bought my memoir, everyone who has inspired me over the years and of course, to all the media outlets who have taken heed of my story and sought to spread its message. And to all still suffering, you’re always in my prayers. I have one message to you: hope.

~ Leanne

My Secret Life: A Memoir of Bulimia is now available to buy in all leading bookshops in Ireland. It is also available on Ebook all around the world or to order from Amazon.