On the 12th August I had a party to celebrate Dreaming of a Life Unlived turning one. I can’t believe that it’s been a year since my baby arrived and what a journey it has been. There have been tears, laughter, pain, more tears, joy, more tears, laughter and even more tears and through it all I now stand strong before you all.
The event was hosted by radio presenter, Ibe Otah with entertainment provided by Patrick Anthony from Joyful Soundz (the Voice 2015) and spoken word artist Veronica E. I sat back and scanned the room filled with guests from Streatham, Putney, Ilford, Barking, Aylesbury, Birmingham (Marcia M. Spence) and Luton (to name but a few) and as I wiped away the tears I was amazed at how much people believed in me and who wanted to hear my story. It was overwhelming to realise how much love and support was in the room. I remember how scared I was at the start of my journey, I was so worried about what people would think of me, I was so scared of hearing the words “You didn’t deserve to be a mum” when people heard my story and knew about my past. There were times when this fear was so crippling that I nearly stepped off the train but I can now say that the fear and pain are now by strength as I embrace all of me with love and compassion. Being true to me has empowered me to speak out and sing my song.
I’d like to share a lovely message from Tina who attended the event, as her words sums up what the evening meant to her… “After an intro, live music, poetry, and food Yvonne took centre stage and talked about her journey and her book. She is such a good speaker. So eloquent, clearly emotionally intelligent and in tune with her own wellbeing, but always saying exactly the right thing to concisely bring the message to the audience, in a way that connects them to her, even if they have no experience of the challenges we live with. Yvonne was told that as a speaker people make up their mind in 20 seconds whether they want to listen to you. Yvonne staged her book being her baby, wrapped in a blanket yelling its head off as she brought him in! I did the trick, she had everyone’s attention. But I have to say Yvonne has such a presence that she naturally has the audience’s attention anyway. I said she had an obligation to continue her work because she is so good at what she does… Yvonne has made contact with me a few times and she knows I’m going through some tough life changing decisions right now. I was quite envious that Yvonne got the opportunity to be mentored by Jody but actually I’ve realised that I have a Yvonne instead, and I’m very grateful to her for this. I witnessed something that reassured me, that I wanted to share. There were women there who had been on the journey with Gateway Women for a couple of years, and they are much more accepting of their situation and appear to have more direction and understanding of what their Plan B is. I think some of them have had a good deal of contact with groups and some through writing the book with Yvonne, but it gave me strength seeing the place they have got to. It has made me think that for me, I do want to connect more with Gateway events…”