Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Meeting Gayle Forman

On Saturday 7th March 2015 I met Gayle Forman. I’ve met so many amazing authors over the past year but this was a particularly special event for me. Just One Day was one of those rare and special books that went beyond simply being what I’d consider a favourite book. Reading it literally changed my life.

When I was diagnosed with Anxiety my world became very small. It was easier to not go out and do things because then I wouldn’t have to deal with the sickening fear that occurs even when I do the most basic things like, walking to the top of my street, for example. For a long time my house became my safe place and even leaving my house was a big deal that would make my heart race with panic. Even though Just One Day isn’t a book about mental health it is about doing what scares you and the good that can come out of it. It made me realise that life waits for no one, that it is happening now. I closed the book feeling braver. I started saying “yes” to life even though I was terrified of it. Just One Day is so much more than a favourite book. It gave me my life back. It opened up the world to me.

“It's funny the things you think you're scared of until they're upon you, and then you're not.” ― Gayle Forman, Just One Day

Being able to meet Gayle Forman felt like my journey with Just One Day had come full circle. Here I was, a girl who was too afraid to even leave her house, going out into the world to meet the person who made life feel like a possibility again. I’m usually quite relaxed when meeting authors these days (although there is excitement there, of course) but I felt very nervous during her talk to the point where I’m not sure exactly how much I took in! Whilst I was waiting in line to meet her I kept running over and over in my head what I wanted to say to her. How do you explain the momentum somebody has had on your life in a few short minutes?

When it was my turn to meet Gayle I sat down and kind of blurted out the outline of my story all at once. I told her about how my life used to be controlled by Anxiety and how Just One Day changed my outlook on how I view the things that make me scared. It made me realise that just because you’re afraid of something, even terrified, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. That life waits for no one and if you’re not out there living it, you miss it.

“Or maybe it's not a miracle. Maybe this is just life. When you open yourself up to it. When you put yourself in the path of it. When you say yes.” ― Gayle Forman, Just One Day

Gayle was so lovely and even got emotional and teary eyed as I told her what Just One Day has given me. We high fived and hugged and she took a selfie of us together on her phone. In a few minutes I got to thank someone I’ve never met before who has had a massive impact on my life and being able to do that was so cathartic. Meeting Gayle Forman was more than another author event to me. It was a hugely important moment that I’ll cherish forever. It’s not every day that we get to thank the people who, without realising it, shaped our life in some way and I’m thankful that I got the opportunity.
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