I don’t receive many emails. Well actually, that’s not strictly true; I usually have about 5 million every morning from various stores offering me their latest deals. So when my phone toots to indicate a new one I’m not always that quick to respond. However, I just happened to be browsing my Inbox when I received a ‘Welcome’ email from Friesenpress – my publisher. As I was waiting to pick up my youngest from school at the time I just quickly glanced at it. The content made me smile, a huge happy ‘OMG!’ sort of smile – you know the kind. It wasn’t just from the company, welcoming me onboard; it was from my very own ‘Author Account Manager’. It was the strangest feeling that suddenly confirmed that this is really really going to happen.
It was essentially an introduction to the person who will be guiding me through the publishing process; she will coordinate everything from ISBNs and copyrights to the final print. She will be my liaison for anything and everything I need to know about this crazy and exciting project that I never, in a million years, thought I would EVER be embarking on. We spoke on the phone, something I think we forget we can still do in this day and age; again it was essentially about introducing ourselves to each other. In the brief conversation we had, I had a good feeling about working with her. I also had to be up front and honest with her – she needed to know that my life is not just school runs and grocery shopping; I am more complicated than the average mum of two.
There are many situations in which I manage to get away with being ‘normal’. I look so ‘normal’ that, until I tell them, people don’t know there is anything wrong with me. This works well in most situations, and, of course, on the phone, but I’m about to begin a process that may require me to dedicate a significant amount of time and effort, so I feel it’s only fair to let the other party know why I may not be quite as capable as others. It’s like my kids’ teachers; I always let them know my situation, for two reasons. The first being obvious – this is what is wrong with me, I do what I can, when I can, the boys know no different. The second is a bit more serious. I inject my biologic every 3 weeks, my boys often see me do this, and I don’t hide it. However, I don’t want any innocent comments my children may make about ‘mummy doing her injection’ to lead to their teachers thinking I’m some raging junkie shooting up – so better to pre-empt and clarify.
It is part of who I am now; no point in hiding it and pretending it doesn’t exist. It and other life experiences have made me a much stronger character. I don’t want to be ‘the poor woman who has a crippling disease, and wrote a book’. I want to be ‘the woman who wrote a book in spite of having a chronic disease’. I am a person first, a mum, a wife, a friend, a nurse, a cook, a housekeeper, a taxi service… I am many things, in spite of what I have, and honestly I’m really just me!!