I was recently asked to speak about my book for a Women’s Network group and though I’m passionate about the book itself, I really found it hard to know what to say.
I wrote and rewrote my speech several times, practiced it over and over and then finally came up with the version I finally gave. Though as I spoke, I realised it was more about getting a message across, than promoting the book itself.
My book, Seven Signs is fictional, and yet, I wrote the book because like all authors, I wanted to tell a story.
So, as I spoke, I talked about a journey, one that many women could relate to. One of courage, of love, hurt and eventually being at peace. It’s a story we have read over and over in various forms. Eat, Pray, Love could be one of these stories, yet this one had a particular theme; bullying.
The novel itself is based around one particular character, Eve who is bullied, in school, by her brother, and then in the workplace. Eve finds she leaves each with less self-esteem because it was too hard to face up to her antagonists and yet, though she doesn’t realise it at first, she is supported through each battle, by another woman.
As any author will tell you, there is always a part of them in any story they write. Whether it’s through the characters they portray, the emotions they describe, or the places they have been, so there is a little of me in there too.
When I tried to create the character, I wanted a name that was simple.
Eve, a single syllable word, and yet, it says so much.
Eve and Adam were the first humans. Eve is derived from the Hebrew word meaning "to breathe" or the related word meaning "to live".
And maybe, at a subconscious level, it really relates to who Eve is in the book.
You see, Eve could be any one of us at any age. Someone non-descript, doesn’t stand out from the crowd, gets on with life, hard worker, though like Eve, we often have complicated lives and keep on working, ignoring our feelings, emotions and health. We are busy and push through trying to reach that target or be a better version of ourselves.
And yet, things happen don’t they that put us in a place where we are challenged, or a place where we have to make decisions about who we are, what we are going to do or where we want to be. Sometimes our decisions are good and sometimes not so good. But that’s life isn’t it? There is no book to read on how we should live our life. Just like there’s no book on how to really bring up our children. There might be some guidance, but it’s all trial and error.
So, getting back to Eve, on her journey through her life, Eve writes blogs and poems and at the end of the book, she says
Well, it’s been an amazing journey both physically. I hope to be on the road one day soon and encourage anyone to do the same. It will change you from the inside out.
Eves road, was not just the road she travelled on, but the road of life. It was her journey, from beginning to end, of ups and downs. But she survived. She encounters events and people that make her think. She ponders on each obstacle and the lessons she is learning along the way.
And she writes poems.
I live on the edge of the river bed And wait all my life just to feel Some water come into the river In order for me to live well.
But lately the rivers not working And my roots have been finding it hard And my leaves, well they wilter and fall off In order that I can stay fast.
And my roots they stretch further and further Just to find something wet and so sweet But Im finding it harder and harder And soon might be swept of my feet.
So I sit here and ask that the rain clouds Might feel just some pity and give And relent all that water they hold there In order that I may still live.
What do you think? Relate? Body not working? Finding it hard
Leaves wiltering and falling off? Stretching yourself further and further, finding it harder and harder? Feeling like you soon might be swept off your feet?
Just as many will survive the catastrophic occurrences which have recently happened during the bush fires, people pick themselves up and keep going.
Don’t get me wrong, trauma hurts. But That’s what life is about isn’t it?
Like the poem, its about Living for just one more year.
One more year to get that raise at work
One more year to earn that little bit extra
One more year to have that dream holiday
One more to ….. well what do we keep striving for one more year for?
So getting back to one main point of the book, for my speech, I did some research on bullying in the workplace which I found alarming. I would encourage you to google these yourself, though I was shocked they are still as high as they are.
I also read some of the book about one of these instances with Eve.
“As the time approached, she took each step to Virginia’s office tentatively and felt she was climbing the stairs to the gallows, to herald her death sentence.
Stopping at the door, Eve closed her eyes, and her mind flashed back to that day when they’d flushed her head in the toilet.
They said she was fat and stinky and needed a wash.
In the end, Eve avoided going to the bathroom, preferring to convince her bladder to hold on until home-time.
Anyone have that experience at school? Bullying?
As she screeched in her usual derogatory manner, Virginia began her outburst.
“You’re useless, and I don’t know why we even hired you!
Virginia continued until Eve shut down and felt as though she was having an “out of body” experience, looking down as the dragon’s fire destroyed the pathetic creature.
Eve stood without speaking and left, completing the walk of shame to the company door, like a frightened mouse, trying to inch their way through the maze of cats.
Again, when something awful happens, we often feel like we have a déjà vu moment don’t we? Or we liken it to something we have seen on a movie.
“Wasn’t it only lazy people who lost their jobs? Wow, how wrong I’ve been,” she thought.
Eve placed the blame totally on herself.
How often do we tell ourselves that it’s our fault? How often do we feel we are wrong.
It is while Eve is on the train that she finally realises the cycle she has been in and finds her journey leads her in a better direction.
But the poem she writes on that train ride home, is the beginning of her finding who she is.
I travel on my journey home I see the cliffs and rocks And as I travel through the tunnel I see it as my block.
You see I've travelled on this track So many times before But none have shown me before today What it was really for.
You see this track is like my life I've travelled yet again It goes around the countryside And then back down the plain.
It winds and twists around the hills Between the cliffs and trees Its beauty is so rare to find And yet I didn't see.
You see this track is like my life That's journeyed many times Along the tracks and round the cliffs Yet I have been so blind.
I've travelled on the ups and downs And through the forest glen And yet I find I'm here again It's really just the same.
And yet along this journey here I've come to see the view I've come to realise that life Is really something new.
You see although I've aged in mind My thoughts they all have changed Where once I just went round and round I now see more.. It's so strange.
I take in every rock and bush
That lives along this line I see them for what they really are As part of life's own mind.
Cause life is just a journey That you travel every time And life is just one lesson That takes us time to find.
So next I'm on this train again I think I'll stop and see Cause this journey has taught me so much About how life is real.
As I read this poem, it choked me because I felt so attached to the words. Life is such a journey and we get caught in the cycle of life.
So how many of you are caught in the cycle of life?
How many are on that train just travelling along without really noticing until something happens?
You see it’s on that train journey that Eve really sees her life and what it has been like.
How many of us go through life wondering where we have gone wrong?
How many times do you hear people say “Why does that always happen to me?”
Eve also finds hope. She tries to take control – several times in fact, though its not until another almost tragic occurrence that she finally does so.. with the help, of Katherine.
You see Katherine is someone we all know. We may not realise it, but there is a Katherine in our life, somewhere, waiting to help you.
So, Katherine is there from the beginning to the end.
She is there at the coffee shop each week catching up on what her friend, Eve is doing.
And yet, it is her best friend Katherine that is the real hero in the story.
You see Katherine is always there, in the background.
She’s at the end of the phone when Eve needs her in her darkest hour.
And she’s there when Eve nearly doesn’t make it through.
I know many tell me they relate to Eve, and yet, it is Katherine you may know.
And so it’s here, I would like to ask you.
What do you want in life?
Are you trapped in a cycle?
Do you have someone to help you?
And if you’re not sure, then just look around you.
You see, I see a bunch of people, ready to help. A bunch of business owners and people like you, growing and going through life themselves.
Some, like me, may be further along in life and some may be just starting on their journey.
So, as I finish this, I challenge you, to tell someone where you are on your journey. Let them know what you need help with, but in turn, be like Katherine and ask them how you can help.
You see it’s only when we look and ask for help, that we find support.
I also found this quote from Forbes
I always say a woman alone has power; collectively we have impact. Traditionally we have been taught to be competitive with one another, because there was such a scarcity of jobs at the top. It’s so clear that strategy doesn’t work.
The truth is that raising each other up and channelling the power of collaboration is truly how we’ll change the equation—and have a lot more fun along the way.
There is a boys’ club where women never felt comfortable, so create a Girls’ Lounge where everyone feels like they belong.
There is power in the pack.
Realize your strengths make the table better.