This story seems familiar and comfortable because it is the stuff of delicious fairytales; the dream of humans the world over as we strive for a flawless and idyllic existence. It's the life that we see dancing across our television screens and splashed vividly through social media. It's about beautiful people with beautiful families living happy and successful lives in dream careers, in showcase homes, with all the trappings of material success. They have it all! And that's what we're told we deserve; nothing but the best.
But Rowe has dismissed the role of author of the happily-ever-after fairytale. She has instead, dared to share the gaps and silences; the true essence of life that we so rarely see. Rowe bravely shares the space between perfection and reality; the struggle of life as it really is; a distinct mix of pleasure and pain, sweet and sour, high and low, ebb and flow. There's pain and anguish, desperation, humiliation, anger, denial, fear and anxiety. And through Rowe's honesty we see life as it is; messy and uncomfortable. We see the triumphs and the tears, the wins and the losses, the pleasure and the pain.
Rowe's honesty allows us to see her raw, vulnerable and alone, mocked and humiliated, scared and desperate. It tells of the pain and anguish of mental illness. But it also sees her euphoric, elated, proud, resourceful, powerful and courageous. And in reading the words that explain the gaps and silences; the deepest of chasms, we see the chrysalis; the unravelling of the cocoon and the emergence of the butterfly; still damp and crumpled but ready to emerge brighter and more beautiful than yesterday.
We may not be authors of the published memoir but everyday we share our story. How courageous is our sharing? How vulnerable and open can we be? Does our story help others realise they are not alone?
It is through our courage to reveal our true identities that we recognise that life is not truly lived through perfection, but in the realities of both joy and pain, tragedy and triumph, the mundane and the exquisite. The sharing of our innermost thoughts and feelings, challenges and successes allows greater understanding, empathy and compassion for others and for ourselves. And this sharing allows growth of self and of others.
Let's applaud Rowe for the courage to share the trickling of rain, the crash of thunder, the devastation in the eye of the storm and the joy of the rainbow. Her example is the beginning of greater authenticity in a world that appears to revere perfection.
Can you share the names of other authors and celebrities whose sharing is allowing us to recognise that life is messy? In particular, who else is providing examples of the challenge of living with mental illness? Actor, Gary McDonald and Footballer, Mitch Clark are two that come to mind.