(FYI writing this speech felt like writing my Oscar acceptance speech, except that I knew I’d won.)
(Prepare yourselves for some words about my ~feelings~.)
This time last year, I was sad. I felt like the saddest girl in the world, actually.
Now I know just how common depression is, but last March - when I finally got diagnosed with an illness I reckon I’d had probably six months before that - I was the most isolated, and empty, and lifeless I have ever been.
I didn’t want to die. But. I sort of... couldn’t see the point in living.
The lesson of my life is letting myself be loved. And being sad – having depression and anxiety – was the ultimate lesson in what it is to accept love. I wouldn’t survive, I knew, if I didn’t let myself be loved.
When I was in therapy (more affordable and less wanky than you’d think!), I said I felt like I’d been smashed open, somehow. Broken – but broken open.
I know now, on the other side of it, that I was absolutely right. I was smashed open by depression so that I could learn to let love in.
I wasn’t going to have a party to celebrate this book, because - and this is the biggest of humblebrags - ICE CREAM has happened so close to the first book. Having another party when I still go to bed thinking and dreaming about the last one seemed indulgent – like having a gift registry at my second wedding.
This is a room of people who love me. A room of people who taught me how to accept love. You are a room of my teachers, and that makes me the luckiest human alive.
I wanted to have this party so that I could say thank you.
However you reached out, however you held my hand when I needed it – thank you.
In my recovery – in the days and weeks and months I learned how to accept love and channel it into the strength it takes to get up, to stand, to keep on putting one foot in front of the other, I met three little girls in north London as I nannied them.
And because you loved me, I was able to put one foot in front of the other to their front door every morning at 7am, and the nine months I spent working with them was an honour, and a delight, and they were my teachers, too.
I learned forty little life lessons from them that helped me to step into this new version of myself, and that’s why this book – ICE CREAM FOR BREAKFAST – is dedicated to them. Because they taught me how to have adventures and be silly as a virtue and laugh loudly and dick about.
But I could never have been open those lessons if you hadn’t carried me so far.
This is a book about embracing what it is to be childlike so that we might rediscover our joy. And friends? It exists because of you.