Many times I am invited to come along and take part in seminars or talks and occasionally to observe other people talk about their experiences and share in that, which I find fascinating. The whole world of "celebrity" is one that I get asked about a lot and I can only tell you about my life and how it has all happened for me so to learn how it is for others is quite an eye opener.
I went along to meet the very interesting Gail Porter last week, she was talking about her life so far and her experiences in the world of show business. I found her very brave, she discussed not only her career but also her very personal battle since being diagnosed as bipolar. I look forward to reading more.
My own autobiography comes out later this year and although I am so excited to release it, of course it creates a mixed bag of emotions. It also made me question why I wanted, or needed, to write about my life?
Christopher Hitchens said: "Everyone has a book in them and that, in most cases, is where it should stay."
When I began writing the book I thought it would be easy. Who knows more about me than me right?
What I found out is that looking back on your life is quite a tough thing to do. We all have ideals about our life, that we have always done what we thought was best and how life was just something that happened while we were busy planning other things. In actual fact, looking back and analysing the choices we have made, both good and bad, is difficult.
For most of us, those choices remain private, remain hidden and we can overlook those which don't make us feel proud or good about ourselves. When your life is in the public domain to a certain extent and you choose to write an autobiography you open those decisions up to the world, to be judged, to be potentially ridiculed or on the flipside to be admired. Verbalising the most intimate, personal and self-critical moments is, I believe, quite a cathartic thing to do. So why do we do it?
Is it all about money?
I don't believe so. To someone in the media, your day to day life can be completely driven by the ego. The need to be accepted, liked, elevated, is all very real. I guess it is to all of us. We all want to be liked, we all want to be accepted for who we are. By putting your life, literally in the hands of strangers is scary. Why would we do that just for financial gain?
For me it is about honesty. I could glamorise it, I could leave out anything negative that I may have experienced, in order to make myself look the best I can be. But that would not be fair to those who have supported me all of this time. We, none of us, are perfect and by exposing the ups and downs, warts and all, of my life proves that I am a real person. A real man who knows what it is to fail as well as to achieve some incredible feats. There is so much hype about the world of celebrity and along with that, a lot of lies and dishonesty. I felt that by writing about every side of me, it gives people a chance to judge me based on fact, not fiction or someone else's opinion of me. Then you, the reader has a choice. Like me or loathe me but know the real me on which to base that choice.
My decision to write my autobiography was initially through the interest of others. I was always being asked the same questions in the press, in interviews so I thought I would write it all down once and for all. It would also be a chance to put straight some of the misnomers that have been reported in the press or in other people's own autobiographies! It wasn't a difficult decision but the process itself has been far more emotional than I expected it to be.
I have been very blessed to have an amazing, supportive network around me for most of my life and I know that I continue to have the guidance and acceptance of the real me from those who love me and work with me on a daily basis. I know that whichever path my life takes from here, I am secure in that love and support.
This year I have been through many emotional battles, ones that have changed me and how I view life and who I choose to have in it. I know that there will be many more changes to come but looking back on my life up to know I can see how much I have already transitioned and how I deal so very differently with my day to day issues than I did even up to very recently.
Its incredible how much simply taking stock of everything that has happened up to now can show you just how far you have come and how you have evolved as a person in your own right.
My autobiography may well be read by a few people, it may lead to a greater understanding of me as a person, even if that person isn't to everyone's taste. It has helped me define my life, the people in it, the almost self-destructive behaviour I have subjected myself to and given me a clearer definition of how I choose to go forward.
I would advise everyone to do the same, to some extent. Write your own story, layout your own life with honesty and learn from the decisions you made, good and bad. Embrace the times which made you feel good, vow to do more of the same. Revisit the pain of the past, you can learn either from what it taught you or how it made you grow as a person and vow to never allow that behaviour again.
Its hard, it's real and trust me, it is something that will give you the knowledge that the person you are now is not the same person you were and is will not define the person you will be come.