I have a tendency to only show the happy, upbeat, positive side of my life. I don’t like to dwell on the bad stuff, because I am, generally, an optimistic, glass half full kind of person.
But I think it’s important to share the scars, the wounds and the pain we’ve been through to help others when they’re struggling and feeling alone.
And it’s time to share my story. Warts and all. The honest side of where I’ve been, what I’ve done and what I’ve come through to make me who I am and where I am today.
You’re probably used to seeing a happy, smiling, laughing Sophie, who loves life, grabs it by the hand and runs with it. And whilst that is my default setting, I am not and have not always been like that.
Today I live my dream life, on a tropical island, surrounded by my husband, our two kids and great friends, doing what I love. And since we moved to Mauritius, whenever anyone asks me how I am, I get a huge grin on my face, as it is a dream come true.
But it hasn’t always been this way for me and it’s taken A LOT to get me here…
I’m on the cusp of 42 and I’ve spent more time than I would like being unhappy, in situations I don’t like, in jobs I hate, with people who make me unhappy, counting down the hours.
As a student I spent a year in an emotionally abusive relationship where I nearly lost myself completely. Looking back I don’t recognise myself. I went from being a strong, independent woman to being a shadow of myself and living in fear. Having been through this experience I will never question why women who are physically abused by partners choose to stay. It is a mind game and it’s incredibly easy to get into but so hard to get out of.
My saving grace came in the form of my third year at university which was spent in France and Spain. This gave me the necessary distance to be able to break free, and for this I am eternally grateful.
I have had pretty much every job under the sun, not to mention my various roles of stay-at-home-mum, working mum and work-at-home mum in the 10+ years I’ve been parenting.
I have been hit on at work more times than I care to count. I have worked for someone involved in the Russian mafia and a self-confessed witch. I quickly learnt to shut up and smile and be grateful for the money at the end of the week / month. But I wouldn’t wish even a quarter of these experiences on anyone else, and hope beyond hope that my girls won’t ever go through any of this.
I have gone through the high of a positive pregnancy test, followed by the low of a miscarriage, the high of a new baby, followed by the low of post-natal depression. They were the best and the worst times. Please don’t suffer in silence like I did. Talk to somebody, even if you’re not sure you’re depressed. It was only with hindsight that I realised just how low I’d got.
I am naturally a happy, high vibe kind of person, but that hasn’t stopped me from hitting rock bottom. I just don’t talk about it or share it. As well as baby-related low times I have gone through a couple of very dark periods, which sometimes I wondered if I’d ever manage to pull myself out of. Again, I tried to do it on my own, without talking to anyone. Please, please find someone to confide in – a friend, neighbour, colleague, professional – it doesn’t matter who, just don’t keep it all in.
I have suffered from self-doubt over and over again. Why would that fun person want to be friends with me? Why would that gorgeous man want to be in a relationship with me? Why would that incredible company want to employ me? Why would that dream client want to work with me? Doubting and questioning myself to distraction.
It took me around 40 years to be comfortable in the body, skin, face and hair I’m in. For nearly 18 years of my life I had an out-of-control afro which I literally couldn’t bear, and I’ve had a love-hate relationship with my hair for most of the years since then.
By the age of 13 I had bigger boobs than most girls or women I knew, and I was all boobs and bum. Despite growing up in a house where weight and body shape weren’t issues, I spent years feeling uncomfortable or chubby in my body.
Fast forward a few decades, a couple of pregnancies, age and gravity have led my body to being so far from what the media shows me I “should” look. So I used to avoid looking in the mirror, or I would never leave the house.
Fortunately something to do with turning 40 or moving to Mauritius has made me shake off my body issues, and embrace what I’ve got and what it’s capable of.
In my mid-twenties I was broke, single, in a foreign country, distanced from my friends, with a mortgage to pay, ashamed and embarrassed of the failure that was my life, and wondering if this thing called life was actually worth it.
I have taken the risk of setting up a business, only to be forced to close it down and sell up my forever home in the process.
I have moved back in with my parents, into my childhood home, with my husband and kids, twice, as a grown woman.
I have seen my relationship go to the brink several times and I have caught my breath as it got saved just in time.
In the past 20-something years I’ve lived in 4 different countries (communicating in 3 different languages). I’ve sold 90% of my belongings and started over in a new country, twice, both times as a parent of young kids. I’ve had a fire, a gas leak and a flood in my home, two of these times in foreign countries.
This is just a snapshot of the harder side of things that I don’t normally share. Because you know, life isn’t Pinterest-perfect. It’s messy, it’s not photo-worthy, it’s crying ugly tears and wondering if it will ever get better. It’s feeling despair, hurt, rejection, fear and asking yourself if there is a way out.
Life is highs, but it is also lows. And just because we don’t share the bad times on Facebook doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
In 2012 I started a parenting blog where I opened up and shared my life to complete strangers across the world. Since then I’ve been helping, inspiring, motivating and guiding women all over the globe in their lives, relationships, parenting and careers, via private messages and on my blog and social media.
Now I’m ready to take that a step further as nothing makes me happier than helping women live their very best, happiest and most fulfilled lives.
So next month I will be launching my Life Reboot Camp – a 6 module self-study programme to take you to whatever kind of life makes your heart sing.
In Life Reboot Camp I will share with you what got me to where I am, and what works for me to keep me on this incredible path of life. Find out more about the course and see if it’s for you here.
Whether you join me for this life-changing programme or not, please remember you are not alone during the shit times. Those are just the bits that people don’t share online. And if you are going through a tough time, for whatever reason please do talk to someone and ask for help.
So much love,
FREE Kill Overwhelm Cheat Sheet
Discover the 6 ways to kill overwhelm, get you off the hamster wheel and embracing life again. Today.