My Thoughts Exactly
Lily Allen has been off the radar for a while now, but she will never stray far from my heart.
That may seem like an overly dramatic and unnecessarily poetic statement, but I absolutely adore the woman. Her song Fuck You that absolutely tore George Bush to shreds; It’s Not Fair that rather wonderfully sums up that feeling of when you like someone but they aren’t great in bed and you don’t know what to do because they are a nice person etc.; The Fear that perfectly illustrates social conditioning and consumerism and nails it in one perfect line, “Now everything is cool as long as I’m getting thinner”. But the song that probably got me all hot and bothered over Lily Allen was He Wasn’t There which is about her dad, “You might have thought you didn’t teach me much but you taught me right from wrong. And it was when you didn’t keep in touch well, it taught me to be strong.”
I am all about Lily Allen.
She has come back onto the media scene ahead of the release of her autobiography My Thoughts Exactly, which I didn’t even know was a thing but of which I am desperately excited for. Allen posted the following image on instagram the other day, revealing that while her marriage was in the process of completely breaking down, she slept with female escorts. As I mentioned already, I had no idea that she was releasing a book, and although she has come to be known for her ‘partying’ ways I also didn’t know how much she has been through, lived through and experienced.
After I read the initial article (which actually made me swoon for her even more) (also don’t judge me that it is a news.com article), I did some more reading about the book and about her and I realised how much experience and life shapes her music and her words. Without going into everything that I read about, as you can just as easily read it for yourself, I want to focus on how even just this single instagram post made me feel incredibly powerful and far less alone. I can’t empathise with the specifics of the article, having never slept with a female escort, but what I can completely identify with is the desire to unveil one’s entire truth. How powerful, if not completely hideously scary it would be to bare everything to the masses, but also how liberating. Truly. I have done things and experienced things and made decisions and made mistakes that not even the people closest to me know about, and I am sure that many – if not all of you – could say the very same thing.
Far too often we hear of only the ‘shiny’ parts of people, mainly because that is all we choose to show others, only the parts of us that are deemed acceptable. When we do hear of someone’s actions that are perhaps a bit taboo or not in line with what is ‘morally acceptable’ to us, these admissions are followed by shame and ridicule and judgement and people asking, “What is wrong with you?”. When really these so-called flaws are what we should be celebrating most. If someone has worked up the courage to share with you elements of their darker person and have let you into a space that up until then was only reserved for themselves, I feel that respect should be given (and probably a hug). The term ‘demon’ is thrown around a lot, “Oh, you know, she had her demons.” Yeah, don’t we all? Even the term has negative connotations that we should surely be aiming to abolish.
People have often asked me why I like writing, or what it is about writing that draws me to it. The answer is is that it allows me to explain. Writing allows me to allow others in. Writing gives me the gift of not only sharing the ‘what’ but also the ‘why’. I have not lived my life in all of its chaos and wonder to be ashamed of it, and I take pride in how comfortable I am in being open and vulnerable to others. Reading and learning more about Lily Allen, even if it was sparked from a instagram post and a news.com story, made me realise that I still have a lot more to unveil and a lot more fear to shed if I am to follow in her footsteps. I have always wanted to ‘write my story’ and I think that it is a very human thing to do to want to share one’s own stories – more human than we give it credit for. It isn’t often that an autobiography is released where the subject is then ridiculed for what is in it. Audiences may be shocked, sure, but on the whole, most of the time these people are applauded for being so honest. Russell Brand with My Booky Wook, Anthony Kiedis with Scar Tissue, Kirstie Alley with The Art of Men, Piper Kerman’s Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison that has gone on to be one of the most well-known, loved and poignant TV series of our time. All of these stories, each of these lives, every single one of these people have been acknowledged for what they shared. Fuck, I was working at Angus & Robertson when Scar Tissue came out and to date it is probably the most talked about and requested book that I have experienced in its time. People went bloody mental for it; and what that was was a man owning up, unapologetically, to the decisions and experiences of his life.
What else struck me about Lily Allen and the brief details that I was able to garner from a search on the internet is that she is a woman who is prepared to talk about things that women are often stigmatised and HEINOUSLY judged for. Sexuality, substance abuse, Allen was also extremely open about the devastating effects of her miscarriage and stillbirth – something which is seldom spoken about no matter its universal reach. By simply sharing her own experiences, Lily Allen has opened up a dialogue that has previously been closed, she is starting a dialogue. With one single post she has backed up and reinforced everything that I wish to do with my writing, which is to make people feel safe in their own selves, choices, past and present.
There is so much that I want to share with you here and now as a result of Lily Allen’s ‘confession’ about female escorts, there is so much more that I wish to say and so much more gratitude that I want to bestow on her. But this is simply me starting my own dialogue, and this is only the beginning.
“When women share their stories, loudly and clearly and honestly, things begin to change – for the better.” This quote from Allen, taken from My Thoughts Exactly is everything that I stand for, everything that I, as a writer stand for, and everything that this business stands for.