This is a companion piece to Michèle A’Court’s podcast
The fabulous thing about Brazen is that it creates a space for women to tell their stories (the tragedies and triumphs) honestly – and Susie is terrific at teasing out the truth. You will hear some stories I hardly ever tell – in part because some of them properly belong to other people, and in part because they’re not the things I want to define me. But like I say, Susie’s good at this.
Afterwards, I had one of those long drives home where you berate yourself for what you’ve just said, and also what you didn’t say. That is – trust me – normal post-interview pathology for lots of us and you know what? We’d had a terrific time. But there were some glaring omissions that bugged me, enough to make we want to turn around and drive back – or at least write them here.
The first is this: whatever dark and difficult times I’ve had, the thing that got me through was other women. I can name them easily from 25 years ago – Jo and Sue, Tanya, Mandy, Debs, Toni, Margaret… Women who turned up with food, took my kid swimming, listened to my stories and told me theirs. Once, there was an envelope of cash thrust into my hand just as two friends were leaving. No arguments allowed – they literally ran away.
Listening back to the interview, I am surprised (and intrigued) that the #MeToo moment I chose to recount was something that happened in 2014 – I could have reached back to 1980 but, hey, apparently I’m not ready to articulate those events and this one was easier. Even so, I sound like it hadn’t occurred to me to share that story at the time with the people who needed to hear it, but I checked my old emails and really, the right things got done.
I don’t ever mention my partner, Jeremy (it’s ok, he won’t mind) but maybe it’s useful to mention this one thing. When I told him 20 years ago that I might have some “baggage”, he literally said to me, in these exact words: “That’s cool – we can unpack it together and go through it”. Which is pretty much what we did.
And the last thing I didn’t say (lord knows how I missed this because it’s gobsmackingly clear) is that I rediscovered my voice in the early 2000s because I found myself in a community of people who invited me to speak. Fellow writers who offered me jobs, and fellow comedians and comedy producers who offered me gigs.
Which is a useful thing to say out loud here – that people find their voices when we make a space for them. Which is what Brazen is about.