‘Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?’
That’s a quote by Danielle LaPorte and it’s one of my favourites.
You know why? Because it resonates with me.
There are times I think as women (and possibly men too, but since I’m not one, I can’t judge!) that our true selves get lost. Not intentionally. But we become busy being ‘someone’s daughter, someone’s girlfriend, someone’s wife and someone’s mother.’
How often have you been introduced as ‘so and so’s mum?’ not by your name? Does it make you feel like you were invisible as a person?
It never used to bother me until the kids were older. There was a time I actually really enjoyed being known as Rochelle and Hayden’s mum. What I did object to was being known as ‘just’ somebody’s wife. I didn’t feel like the real me was being seen and within time I got lost inside the mum and wife haze.
Of course my good friends always could see me clearly. They knew that I liked Taylor Swift music; that I loved to read murder mysteries and to sit on the beach at sunset. They saw past the vomit stain down my back from my projectile vomiting son, the daughter I was trying to teach to talk and the tiredness. But, to be very honest, I think I’d forgotten who I was, even if my friends hadn’t.
It was until I started to write and people were reading my books, that I became ‘Fleur McDonald’ to the rest of Australia and I had to look up and say: ‘Oh, hey, I’m actually a person.’ Interviewers began asking questions I didn’t know the answers to.
‘How do you write? Where do you find the time? What’s your favourite food/drink? Simple questions that should be easily answered. However, when you’re making purees for babies, or cook spaghetti bolognaise three times in one week, because that’s all the kids will eat, it’s easy to forget what you like. To get caught up in the ‘normality’ of what your life has become.
Suddenly I had to remember. It took a lot of soul searching.
A very good friend said to me once: ‘You don’t have to look too far. Go back and re-read your books.’ I thought this was quite bizarre. After all, I was writing about fictional characters – sure they were people I would have liked to be my friends if they were real. But they weren’t me.
What I found intriguing was how all my friends – the ones who knew me best – saw me. As pieces of all those main characters I’ve written about. There have been a few changes in my life in the past twelve months. In fact I think it’s safe to say I’ll never forget the year I turned forty. These changes have made me do even more soul searching.
Now I know that I’m no longer ‘just a mum’. I’m Fleur. I’m getting stronger. I’m becoming more confident. Less self-conscious.
I’ve remembered that I like soft eggs – not just the white because my daughter only eats the yolk. I like my wine with ice in it and I love sitting on the patio laughing loudly with friends. I have great friends; ones with strong hands, ones that close in around me when I need them to. They’re the ones who see me clearly and can remind me who I was and who I am now. They gently push me to get outside of my comfort zone and are there to pick me up when I fall. Or drink wine when something needs celebrating.
I’m still a work in progress as we all are.
It’s been through my writing, having to overcome a few trials and tribulations and great friends, that I’m becoming who I really should be.
Fleur McDonald has also been touted as one of Australia’s favourite storytellers. Her stories are set in rural Australia and feature strong female characters and solid, no nonsense, countrymen. Fleur’s characters are inspired by the tough, complex and genuine people she’s met during a lifetime living in remote Australia. With sales well over 130,000 copies she is one of the highest-selling authors in Australia’s ever-popular rural romance genre. Fleur is the author of the bestselling novels Red Dust, Crimson Dawn, Silver Clouds, Blue Skies and Purple Roads.
by Fleur McDonald
Order Emerald Springs before April 30th to go in the draw to win one of three Fleur McDonald backlist packs worth $99 each.
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When suspicions are wrongly aimed at Amelia following the theft of proceeds from the local rodeo after a crash and grab, she must work with a skeptical rural detective to clear her name – and that of the man she loves. Mystery and romance abound in the new novel from the bestselling author of Crimson Dawn. After finishing university, Amelia Bennett returns to Jervois and promptly falls in love with the wonderful – if broke and slightly stubborn – Paul Barnes. Now she’s more…