top of page


After writing ‘Other World’, I thought, okay, my mental health issues and writing are significant parts of who I am, but not all I am. And that got me thinking, what else makes me, me? Apart from my name, the most obvious thing is my physical appearance. So, here we go.

I am a woman, thirty-five years old, about five-foot eight, with long dark hair, fire in my blue eyes, and my battle-toned body is clad in leather armour.

Okay, reality check.

I am a slightly dumpy, sixty-four-year-old grandmother, about four-foot ten, with long untameable auburn hair, deep-blue eyes, and my wardrobe has a hippy-Goth fusion thing going on. Yet, despite my physique, and having no martial arts or fighting skills whatsoever, in my heart, I am a life-honed warrior.

To be clear, I don’t wear leather armour, far too impractical for modern life. Although, if we lived in Brighton, I doubt too many would take much notice if I did. During our trips to this wonderful city, we have seen a Jedi knight, a giant white rabbit with a large pocket watch, a dalek, and Sherlock Holmes riding a Segway. Brighton’s diversity of art and alternative culture is incredible. Whenever my husband and I go there, we dust off our Goth gear.

I think most of us have an alter ego, an inner self that can empower us, help us overcome our fears, give us a temporary escape from reality. Gamers become wizards, necromancers, orcs, barbarians and the like, and set off on quests and campaigns in search of fame and glory. LARP enthusiasts dress up in all manner of science fiction, fantasy or historical costumes, then run across fields and through forests brandishing foam and latex weapons. And twice a year, the town of Whitby steps back in time, and welcomes subcultures such as Goths and Steampunk folk for Whitby Gothic Weekend. Through my writing, I can be someone else, in another time, another place. I can even be a kick-ass warrior. Fully embracing our alter egos, inner lives, or other worlds, can be a positive thing. So long as the difference between real and imagined stays clear and present.

Warriors fight harder if they believe in what they are fighting for. I believe in many things. I believe we can never know all there is to know. I am fascinated by multiverse theory, and believe that out there, somewhere among the stars, there is scientific evidence for everything we can ever imagine. I love my family unconditionally, care passionately about people, animals and the environment. I can be slow to stand up for myself, but hurt someone I love or care about, speak words of hate, prejudice or discrimination, and I will not stay silent. I do not understand what makes one human being deliberately inflict physical or mental pain on another, simply because of difference. Or the cruelty some humans can inflict on animals, just because they can. Or that some people snap the slender trunks of newly planted sapling trees, just for a laugh. I believe the greed of a few, causes much need and suffering for the many. I believe a random act of kindness can mean so much more to someone than we can ever know. I am spiritual but no longer religious.

Gandhi said, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’ When I read those words, I knew I had found my life’s mantra. My love of reading and life experience has helped shape my personal ethics and spiritual beliefs. They are my inner compass, guiding me on this journey of my life. It is by engaging with the opposing views of others, that I think about what I believe, decide if my inner compass needs adjusting. And with every step I take, lighting my way, is love.

Over the years, I have had some of my beliefs and things I care about challenged, not always kindly. Until now, defending my position, standing my ground, has involved talking. A lot of talking. Anyone who knows me will testify that I am a chatterbox, although I think of myself as a communicator. More recently, I have started life writing to talk about the things I care deeply about. My husband is grateful for this, as it gives his ears a rest. Whether writing a poem, a short story or piece of life writing, there is always music playing through my headphones.

Sometimes music stirs my soul. It is a physical feeling, of connection, belonging, of being in a moment of perfect peace, and the feeling takes my breath away. Music can draw alongside us and say, I know how you feel, you are not alone. At other times it can say, you can do this. I love singing, although in private, it is not something others should be subjected to. I may not be a singer, but as an ex-gymnast, I can dance, and because I work from home, will bust out my dance moves randomly throughout the day. It helps with the joint and muscle pain and makes me feel good. It is not unusual for me to go into the garden and dance in the rain.

Rain has a music all its own. The sound of it, the feel of it on my face, evokes a feeling of stillness in me. I love autumn, winter, forests, mountains, waterfalls and the sea. The raw beauty of nature makes my spirit fly, and the Highlands of Scotland pull gently on my soul. Yet the sun rises and sets, the moon waxes and wanes, and stars shine in all skies. There is a large sycamore outside the house, and its weave of branches fan across my bedroom window. Sometimes, as the sun passes behind leafy boughs, its light kisses a hanging crystal, and little pools of rainbow light are cast into the room. And, when I wake up at night, I often see the moon, haunting a lace of silhouetted twigs and branches.

Rain-jewelled spiders webs and frosted leaves, always have me reaching for my camera. When I am walking in the local nature reserve, and sunlight is flickering behind tree branches, if I catch the angle just right, the image often has shafts of rainbow light, and colourful lens flares. I know the science behind it all, but to me, they are little bits of magic.

Perhaps it is because of my mental health struggles, that when these moments come, and I feel truly alive, they appear more vivid, are felt more intensely, and are perhaps, more precious. Maybe, this is why I find joy in the smallest of things.

Anyway, this is a fuller sense of who I am. If you are reading this you may be thinking, yes, I get that. Or you might be thinking of a box of frogs or lost marbles. Not everyone ‘gets’ me, but finally, I do, and that is all that really matters.

bottom of page