04 September 2014

How Joan Rivers gave me confidence

I've never written a blog post about a person before and their role in my life. But tonight as I sit on my sofa, drinking a Lemsip with a throat that feels like glass, I've been reflecting on the life of Joan Rivers and how her life made an impact on me.

The phenomenon of celebrity is strange. The fact someone can touch your life without ever meeting them is odd. I never got to see Joan Rivers live. I was once in Vegas and missed her performing by a day. I was also too young to see her when she came to the Ulster Hall here in Belfast. If any of my blog readers have met me in life they will know I have a really big, larger than life personality. My friend recently described me as a walking, talking cabaret act. And that I am. All hand gestures and "darling" and "fabulous". 

There is a big bit of my personality that has definitely come from watching Joan Rivers whilst growing up. Even as I child I recognised how exuberant and over-the-top she was. I just thought she was divine. As I got older, I understood and laughed at her dirty jokes. Her humour was often controversial but she said she made fun of things so people could make sense of them and deal with issues. Her own sad times- her issues with her body image, her husband's suicide became part of her act and a coping mechanism. 

My personality, although huge, isn't all truly 'me'. And I suppose that's a huge part of me being a blogger. I am hugely showbiz. I've sang since I was five- what do you expect? When we were teenagers my best friend frequently couldn't cope with the two sides of my personality- this hilarious, smiley girl in front of her friends but quieter, more thoughtful and emotional when I was alone with her. My blog has hugely repaired my relationship with her. I get to be the big personality at events and in meetings. It is that confident girl that my blog is built on. It was that big personality that allowed me to stand at Stormont and speak in front of crowds about what is was like to have depression. Then I came home, got into my PJ's and I was the normal, emotional girl making a cup of tea and crying about what I had just told hundreds of people. 

Joan Rivers taught me not to have fear. To be ballsy. To swear when it's required. But ultimately, she taught me to have confidence in myself. The old saying "Fake it till you make it" is so true. As I sit here tonight in a week where my anxiety has literally had me in convulsions, I remember Joan and that sometimes, a girl just has to pick themselves up and keep on going.