So much has changed in a year.
When I think about who I used to be and who I am now it feels like I’ve passed through something that’s changed me in so many ways.
Last year I could not have imagined speaking easily in front of a crowd of people. I was anxious, I doubted myself and was sure people would see – for unexplainable reasons – I didn’t belong there.
Now, I speak publicly and love it. A few weeks ago I was on a panel at the NSW Kids and YA Festival.
The questions we discussed: “How do authors deal with serious issues in YA literature? How do they create diverse YA voices? What are their challenges and joys?” On the panel with me where the lovely Megan Jacobson, Tamar Chnorhokian, James Bradley, and Will Kostakis (chair).
The audience were engaged and the conversation meaningful. I had people continue the conversation with me later both face-to-face and on social media.
And I realised THIS was the outcome of opening up about the past. The life I lived as a teen that I felt had to be kept a secret. I’ve always been so private about it. So ashamed. As if talking about what happened would mean I was unable to move forward. In fact it is the opposite. Accepting the past and its lessons, forgiving myself and others and writing a book that captures what that world looked like… I now fit into my skin better. It wasn’t easy to do but, in many ways, it has helped me find my voice.