I was beyond excited to begin my day on 3rd May, 2022. It was the official launch of my
memoir, ‘When a Soulmate Says No’ and I had fifty of my closest friends, relatives and clients joining me in celebration at Gleebooks in Sydney. My publisher, Pepper Press (a subsidiary of Fairplay Publishing) had organised for me to be interviewed by Stephanie Brantz and I was looking forward to the opportunity to have a chat about my book which was many years, and many tears, in the writing.
My PR firm, DMCPR, had contacted a few book critics, and the reviews trickling in were positive – ‘the book is raw, honest and authentic’, ‘the memoir is brave and open and should be mandatory reading for those going through a life changing event’, ‘an inspirational story of love found and lost, then found again’ they wrote…. I was excited.
I decided to take a walk along the beach on the beautiful autumn day to prepare my thoughts and ready myself for the evening – it’s not every day you launch a book! I opened Instagram and immediately knew something was ‘off’. There were a few disparaging and judgemental comments on my last few posts… but I couldn’t understand where the vitriol was coming from.
I spoke to my publisher, and she told me that overnight my 1,000-word edited extract that had been published in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age’s ‘Sunday Life’ magazine had ‘gone viral’ and had been ‘trending’ on Twitter. These phrases were quite unfamiliar to me – I wasn’t even on Twitter. In fact, the only social media I had was Facebook and Instagram set up only six months prior.
Without thinking too much about it, I jumped on to see what she meant. I went white. I
found it difficult to breathe. My stomach churned and I felt like throwing up. ‘Get off social media today, we’ll deal with it tomorrow’ was the advice immediately dispatched from the PR firm. But the damage had already been done. I was distraught… and now I had to turn up and put on my happy, smiling face to launch the book that was quickly gaining global traction in a negative way.
I felt like I was living in an alternate reality…
Was this really happening?
Was my little book causing waves around the world?
Were people criticising me based on an edited extract?
I started to wonder - how was I going to turn up that evening and be interviewed when it seemed the world was criticising and judging me on 1,000 words of a 58,000-word memoir? (Or more accurately, judging me on a nasty quip from a twitter user - I’m sure just for laughs .... or clicks????) I didn’t know, but I had to find a way. So I gathered a few close friends and we did our best to forget about the online world and focus on our physical reality - the world in which we actually live and breathe.
It was a success. The evening was wonderful, and I felt so blessed that so many of my family, friends and clients made the effort to help me celebrate what had been a challenging few years. I started to breathe again.
I woke the following morning to thousands and thousands of hateful, judgemental, critical, abusive, disrespectful, and derogatory comments that had expanded across multiple media outlets across the globe – both physical and online publications. I threw up. Again, I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t speak. My close friends who were with me did their best to keep me fed and watered, but I couldn’t hold anything down.
What the hell was going on? Why had my story caused such a stir? What did I trigger in
people that made them so angry with me, when my life didn't affect their life what-so-ever? Why had so many random strangers decided that it was completely ok to ridicule and judge a person they had never met, when they hadn’t read the book, or even attempted to understand my story?
My friends, these are questions I may never have the answers too. I am dumbfounded at
the lack of respect, integrity and compassion shown by people towards their fellow humans.
It is completely ok to disagree with me, my choices and my actions – absolutely. It is
completely NOT ok to hurl abuse, negative energy, vitriol and attack me as a woman, a
mother and a professional. IT IS NOT OK.
I won’t continue my rant (believe me, I could) as I don’t want to feed any additional negative energy. What I do want to say is this: I really fear for the younger generation who are living and breathing in this environment of toxicity and abuse, and don’t have the fortitude and self-worth to endure it.
I really, really, really worry about this … for my girls, for your children, for your friends who aren’t as strong as you, for your family who have to see you suffer.... for you.
So today, on the six-month anniversary of the launch of ‘When a Soulmate Says No’, I
implore you to recognise that words have power and can bring another human to their knees.
Do exactly what you want to do with your life - live it, embrace it, enjoy it… but don’t bring others down in your quest to fulfil your life.
As for me, well, I'm in a great place.
My girls are terrific and loving their life, my ex-husband and I continue to enjoy an excellent relationship, my career is thriving, and I am (still) happy with all of my choices. Oh, and Jason's fine too, and can't believe the press I have had to endure.
I wish good fortune and success for you and your loved ones.
Onwards and Upwards!!!
Author of 'When a Soulmate Says No'
Note: I'd like to offer a special thank you to a few incredible women who read my story and couldn't quite believe the animosity ... souls who through their platforms allowed me the opportunity to tell my side of the story, in my words. Sophie Aubrey of The Age, Emily Costello of The Morning Show, Lise & Sarah (Those Two Girls) from the Forty podcast (can't wait for our next lunch together!), Leanne the Barefoot Medium, and the incomparable Mia Freedman of MamaMia who graciously hosted me on No Filter - it was such an honour to meet you. When women support each other, they are unstoppable, and I am blessed to have so many wonderful women in my corner.
A heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you!