When sitting down to write this, I started to think over my roller coaster of a life and thought, which part would “inspire” the most? There’s beating eating disorders, smacking depression in the face, kicking out a cheating abusive boyfriend then writing a book about it, finally learning to love myself as a women, and, most importantly, listening to my heart and following it. Above all of the ups and down in my life, the one thing that makes me feel the most proud, is simply staying true to myself. I can’t imagine being any other way. What would I do with my life? Where would be? I have no answer. So while the depression and bad relationships were shit, clearly, they were highly essential to my growth as a writer. But, without a burning desire to make something of myself, I don’t know how that negative energy would have transformed.
I always wanted to be someone, to stand out and be counted. And although I never heard the word “feminist” as a child, I was distinctly aware that I did not like the women I saw around me being solely dependent on a man’s income to live. I rejected it, determined to make my own way in the world, and without even knowing it I became a feminist for life. Regardless of the opinions of others, I have always marched to the beat of my own drum. So while being told I wasn’t good enough, attractive enough, or savvy enough, I simply used that as fuel to work harder and focus more on my goals. I partly accredit this to being a chubby unpopular child, as when you’re not in anyone’s clan you have nothing to lose; it’s just you, a Belgian bun and your dreams.
So my ultimate wisdom and advice has to be: be yourself. Not a version of you that as acceptable to others at any given time in order to fit in, but you. All the time. I’ve found myself pushing parts of me out of view at times, but it never leaves me satisfied- how could it? The times when I speak and act from my heart however, feel electric. The right people in my life get it, and those who don’t, don’t. Why be fake when you can be the real deal?
It takes guts to stay true to yourself, especially if you’re following a creative path because we all know– it’s not filled with financial riches. You can miss out on a lot of “normal” stuff that your friends will have like holidays, dining out and cash, but I find the pay off of standing firm on your dreams pretty much blows a two week break in Marbella out the water when your work is published, or your agent calls with great news, so I opt for physically poor but mentally rich every time. If you love what you do and focus every fibre of your being into it, you lack nothing and possess all the riches the world has to offer, then finally– that massive paycheck! But, the love and belief has to come first.
Now in my 30s having stuck to my guns, weathered a few storms and successfully popped out the other side whilst providing for myself entirely (who run the world?!), I find myself in the most wonderful position of playing a sort of “Cooler Older Aunt” to some of the talented and gifted women around me. With my stories of the past broken out into an honest light, for me that is the greatest gift: being able to engage and uplift via my experience, no matter how dire. Fabulous! During my dark days I lacked a guiding light to understand or offer comfort, I just struggled through with “I’m fine!” while crying into The Bell Jar. Through my writing I decided that I want to be that guide, but with humour and the odd swear word, because that’s how I roll. I find great joy in being brutally honest with my experience; I want to be the comfort others can read during dark times, as I know what it feels like to have no one there.
What a payback! I would never have guessed I would be writing about my most intimate and heartbreaking times for a living, but by following my creative steam freely it has lead me to you– and that just makes it all worth it. Love your downs, for they can become your biggest ups. Love it all, love you!
Here are a few Sadie Rules that I live by, and maybe you can too:
Quit worrying about what other people think of you!
This is my golden rule in life. I have seen so many people choose a path or mask certain parts of themselves in order to please others, and I’m here to say: that’s bullshit. Firstly, if someone loves you, they will love all of you so don’t twist parts of yourself to please others. Period. Secondly, no one really cares how successful you are, what car you drive, who you’re dating, or what dress you’re wearing. They’re all too worried about themselves, so quitting thinking about them and please yourself; you’ll feel so much better when you do. Liberate yourself!
Gain Financial Independence
You can chastise yourself about a life of cheap meals and no vacations, but I say rather that than be dependent on someone else. Your path may be harder, but at least it will be yours, and that’s way cooler than any man paying your rent.
Not in a paranoid, “Who the fuck are you?!” way, but in a way that keeps you aware of how you’re feeling at any given time, and also what you truly need to be happy. This is a one-to-one with yourself, so let it all out!
Whenever I come across negative people they always reference the past. “Oh this happened to me once, like, a decade ago, so I’m never going there again!” Wrong! Love your past choices and experience, use them as fuel for a more informed future, but leave them where they belong: in the past. Don’t worry about the future. You’re not there yet! Saturate yourself with today, this moment, this feeling, this version of yourself. That will determine your future.
Stay True but Fluid
If you close yourself off to possibilities, you risk missing out on something that could work to be amazingly good for you. Three years ago when I was pitching my first book and getting nowhere with agents, rather than get stuck on a downer I started writing an online journal which gained the attention of my current agent. Stay fixed on your overall goal, but be fluid and open on how you’ll get there!
Sadie Brown is a British writer & author in love with fashion & New York. Since starting her online journal in 2012, she has attracted thousands of readers from pretty much everywhere. Empowerment and self-acceptance are at the heart of her writing, however, she breaks down the barriers of serious topics with a dry open tone, and a very English humour that refuses to sugar coat anything.
Her first book “A Diary of Wrongness” is much anticipated by her supporters. Often compared to Caitlin Moran, Sadie pours her unsettling experiences of romance gone wrong into the book, in a powerfully graphic way that leaves the reader roaring with laughter one minute, and then collecting their jaws from disbelief the next; it is a pure roller coaster ride of a read.