Four things I learned when I showed my true colours.

You know when you commit to something, it all seems exciting and then there comes a moment when you wonder what on earth you’ve just done?

This happened to me recently.

BBC Radio 4 discovered a blog I wrote ago about how the words to the song True Colours resonate with me. As a result I was interviewed for their programme Soul Music which was broadcast last week. Each episode focuses on a particular piece of music, and a range of people talk about what it means to them.

The interview was lovely. For 35 mins the producer and I sat in (what seemed like) a cupboard in Old Broadcasting House and I explained that I always assumed I’d be a mother, how I felt when it didn’t happen and how I’ve got to where I am today.

And despite that I was nervous as to how she would condense the 35 mins into 5 and what my voice would sound like on the radio.

My worry was unnecessary; it was an extremely powerful 30 minutes of radio. And I say that not because I was on it, but because of the sheer strength of the different stories. Radio 4 thought so too as they selected it for their pick of the week.

You can listen here.

What happened next.

As I listened I shed a few years, and that was before it got to my story (around 11 minutes), and I know a few of my friends cried too.

Shortly after it finished, the messages started flooding in. First there were congratulations from friends and colleagues, then a number of emails from strangers who contacted me through my website, telling me that I’d made a difference to them today. Which was absolutely lovely.

And the biggest delight were the messages I received from choir members, the majority of whom have children and perhaps grandchildren. Including:

So emotive, I’m proud to know you.

I cried throughout, it’s a joy to know you.

OMG, I’ve just spent the last few minutes in tears. Well done for showing your True Colors on the radio.

What a brave lady you are Lesley, I cried all through your part.

A beautiful interview. I admire your courage in showing us your true colours.

Wow! that was an emotive programme and very powerful messages from all. Well done Lesley it definitely takes courage to speak publicly about a deeply personal subject and no doubt you will be helping a lot of people too.

Thank you for sharing your true colours with us. All the interviews were moving and will make me listen to this song in a completely different way in the future. It must have taken so much courage to share your heartache.

Wow !! Lesley all power to you , such moving and powerful messages from all of the participants. Thank you so much for sharing something so deeply private and personal with us.

Four things I’ve learned

Since the broadcast I’ve been reflecting on my experience and here are three things I’ve learned.

1. The importance of the story you tell yourself.

For many years I believed I could never be happy. Then I realised this was just a story I was telling myself and I could change it. So I did.

Now, if you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know that it took more than writing those three words. It’s taken a lot of work, but I did change it and now I’m telling a powerful story of finding joy and fulfilment despite my biggest dream not coming true.

2. Sharing stories connects us to others.

The feedback I received, both above and in person deepened the connection I have with a number of people. Many women now have a greater understanding of what it’s like to be childless and perhaps will approach their friends who don’t have children in a different way.

3. The more you tell your story, the easier it becomes.

The more often you tell your story, the easier it becomes, and the more your healing continues as you clarify those parts you weren’t sure about. I know this to be true from experience, and from the different interviews and podcasts I’m doing for ‘Finding Joy Beyond Childlessness: Inspiring Stories to Guide You to a Fulfilling Life.

4. Once you’ve done the work showing your true colours is easy.

Several of the comments suggested that I was brave and it took courage to share my story. It doesn’t feel like that to me.  As a result of doing my grief work, going back to those dark times feels like I’m standing outside the story looking back at a completely different Lesley.  The Lesley who did her best at the time and is now shining brightly as a childless woman in the world.

You can have this life too.

You CAN have this too.

I am the same as you. So when I say you can find your joy, and share your true colours with the world I absolutely mean it. I’ve got here by knowing I’d had enough of staying stuck and taking one step at a time. And you can absolutely do this too.

I’d love to know what you thought about Soul Music. Also what’s the one thing you could do today/this week to show your true colours?

If you sign up below you can download Chapter one of ‘ Finding Joy Beyond Childlessness: Inspiring Stories to Guide You to a Fulfilling Life’  now.

You can pre-order it on Kindle now, paperback will follow soon. It will be published on 18th June.


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