I hugged my trembling shadow tight and said to her calmly ‘You’re ok. You’re more than ok. In fact, you’re amazing.” And then I believed her.
I know I‘m lucky to have been given this opportunity. But it didn’t fall in my lap, nor did it happen overnight. In fact, I nurtured the hell out of every inch of this wild and wondrous journey.
Making any tv show, as it turns out, is no small feat. It’s a combination of exact science, and going with the flow at a level that just kind of makes your ‘I wish I could control this’ mind do a head spin. It’s not for the faint of heart, or those of us with say, unresolved anxiety and shame issues.
In addition to learning all the ‘tv presenter stuff’ like eye contact with the camera and tapping into a thousand percent enthusiasm, the process of becoming a tv show host myself, has also been a deeply personal journey of stepping up, stepping out, and being seen.
Being in front of the camera, was not long ago, the scariest thing I could think of. And, in being very honest with myself, I knew I needed to do it to become more me.
Ever since I was quite young, I preferred to be in the background. I didn’t like any attention on me, and feared speaking in front of anyone. In fact, I would tremble uncontrollably when asking questions or speaking in front of the class. When I was put in a special class for ‘smart’ kids, I kept quiet and let everyone else talk and be clever. I dreaded the spotlight. The anxiety I felt got worse in my teens and I left high school in year 10. I was on the Principal’s Honour Roll, academically doing very well, but my anxiety became too much. I just wanted to hide from the world, and hide I did. I left school, left town, and moved to an island community with only 30 people.
Then becoming a very young parent at 17 challenged this retraction. Being responsible for another human I had no choice but to re-join the world, and learn to deal with it. Somehow.
My daughter was an immense blessing and having her in my life pushed me to show up. I went to school to learn hairdressing, and in time found that side of myself that loves to connect to others. The process of becoming a professional at something really helped bring me out of my shell. Eventually I married a lovely Australian boy, and was able to go back to school again. I studied the immensely interesting world of nutrition, reconnected to my academic side. And well, that brings us to today.
My daughter is now 24, and over the past few years I’ve had the first chance ever, in my whole life, to focus on myself. And I’ve discovered a lot. I discovered that I used to ‘hide’ and put everyone else first. I played it safe by removing myself from the ‘danger’ of failing or being judged. I didn’t take risks of exposure. I hid my own talents, my own voice, and my true self out of fear of not being loved for the real me, of being rejected.
Despite career success, a few years ago my old fears came to the surface when I tried to make a video of myself talking about helping people with adrenal fatigue. It was debilitating. All the fear came back and hit me like a sledge hammer. I just couldn’t do it. I cried about failing. I asked a few friends to help. I still couldn’t do it. I closed down. I contracted. My soul hurt.
Then instead of staying safe in the familiarity of darkness, I decided to leap.
I practised being with the discomfort, and I kept putting my hand up to speak in public. I worked with my demons, learning to soothe that scared part of myself. I made that little girl feel safe again. I learned to trust myself, and be seen fully. I used my meditation practise to anchor myself and tune in, and I worked through the years of pain I’d repressed. I went for the opportunities to be in front of camera, despite my fears, and it payed off. I met amazing people who supported me to go further.
Every time I step out into the spotlight it takes conscious work. There’s a shadow to embrace, not ignore. With appreciation and compassion, I remember that girl who was once so scared of the world she left school. I remember feeling not good enough to be seen, even ashamed. I felt unworthy and I carried that for years. It affected my relationship choices, led me to burnout professionally, and infected my feelings of self-worth. I hold space for her, gently, lovingly and without judgment.
Judgment I’ve learned, is the opposite of love.
Putting my hand up to say ‘look at me! pick me!” has been the scariest thing I’ve ever done. And in doing so I can proudly say I’m finally backing myself. I’m saying yes girl, you are enough. You are not less than anyone else. You are not less talented. You are not going to hide who you are. What I’ve learned is that it hurts more to be in opposition to your true nature than it does to embrace the fear. This whole process, every dark and light side of it, has nurtured my soul, has opened my heart, and has ultimately healed me.
Now guess who can’t wait to be seen? Watch me in Eat in Love