As I've said before, motherhood is the best hood of all. It's a wonderful adventure, which prizes your very soul open. It rips at your heart and brings a glorious fear and pain that actually makes you glad to be alive every day. The joy it brings is immeasurable and you can't even remember life before your gorgeous child arrived. Who were you before you became a mum? Who were you before you had to be an example, before you had to be responsible, before you got the name mum?
I have been many different people...
I've been a contortionist, a dancer, an actress, a kids tv presenter, a comedy actress.
In my past I've been a victim of abuse, an addict and too nice and easily led for my own good.
I am a fiance, a daughter, a sister, an aunt. I'm trying to be a blogger. I'll always be an animal lover.
I've been hated on mumsnet, I've disgraced myself and the good name of Cbeebies, I've been a horror movie actress, I'm uncontrollably honest, even to my own determent and I've lost myself more times than I care to remember.
I have got an awful lot wrong in life and I think that makes me, what I would call, a mum with a dirty face. I'm not a 'Stepford wife' type goddess, I am a fuck up and I think at this stage in my life, it's safe to say, I always will be a roller coaster. If you go headlong with your heart and soul in to things, you tend to get things wrong, you get hurt and you get judged. The saving grace to being naturally like this, is that at least you live!
One of the only things I have got right in my life, is becoming a mum and I feel blessed that I was able to do that. In doing that though, I'm not entirely sure who I am now but I think I have a better idea than I have ever had. I know that sounds silly, but I think the role of mum is so physically and emotionally all consuming that you lose site of you as an independent woman. Yet I know I have never been more 'me' or as strong as I am right now.
It's important to me, now I am a mum, that I don't lose me, I want Phoenix to see I have an identity as well as being his mum. I want him to know who I am, dirty face and all.
Before I embarked on the journey towards motherhood, my identity was on shaky ground anyway.
I was 'sacked' from Cbeebies for a raunchy picture that a friend took of me, pouring diet coke on a bra-less me, in a very cold room (need I say more). I'd also been in trouble for admitting I was addicted to Prozac.
Cbeebies decided they would no longer employ me for any new work. They still showed repeats of Tikkabilla, HIggledy House and Zingzilla's but it was clear and stated in a news paper that I, "No longer worked at Cbeebies".
I was finally taken off air though when I was forced to reveal that 16 years ago, well before my time at Cbeebies, I had been a cocaine addict. Ironically the picture of the diet coke, that got me into trouble in the first place was an 'artistic' representation of my addiction. As an A level art graduate, I was gutted no one made that connection, when my naughty past came out. I was more gutted I lost my job at Cbeebies though because I do love kids and I'm passionate about them having a great and happy start to life and also about being listened to and accepted, dirty faces and all.
As you see from the clip from Cbeebies, I was one of the main faces there, alongside the now immense Cbeebies star, Justin, aka Mr Tumble. Being so successful there has made it incredibly hard for casting directors to see me as an actress again. However, as I had murdered my own Kids TV identity, I was going to have to start again. So I did...
I did a few short movies for zero money, just to prove to casting directors that I can still act and that kids TV doesn't define me. As you see they were quite the contrast to my role at Cbeebies...
It takes time to build a new brand though. A women hitting 40 in show business has a lot of hurdles to overcome anyway...
One identity already killed off, I then found, having lived at my home in London for 20 years, where I had friends that were more like my family, because of my spiteful ex, I was going to have to move away from there too. So another piece of my identity was suddenly taken.
Luckily my knight in shining armour was there to rescue me and I moved in with my fiance in Liverpool.
So, there I was, career, gone. Home, gone. Friends, gone. Identity gone.... I think I walked around like a headless chicken for a while. I have a wonderful man, who takes care of me in every way but everything I had known had disappeared. Suddenly and for the first time in my life, I was dependant on a man. A loving, generous, kind man - but I found it so hard to take money from him!
What I didn't realise at the time - but I do now, was that, I had been given a heaven sent gift of freedom. A career and a home do not represent your identity and I had a very sorry life before, to make me think that they did. My friends are always there for me, however far away they are because they are brilliant people. I have also made new friends, just adding to my wonderful support network of joy. In losing everything but gaining a supportive partner, I have found out my true identity, the soul that has always been my true self, right from birth. My own DNA requested I release another soul in to this world, we are life bound creatures, my DNA wanted to carry on in another. So along came Phoenix.
Through him I have found truly great friends. I have found blogging, that gives me a creative outlet and gives me the chance to actually be me, no frills, no censoring, no bullshit. I have found a the greatest home of my life, which is anywhere that he and his father are and I have an identity that is a mum. I am more passionate and caring than I ever knew. I am braver than I ever knew. I am an actress, that I has lived a full life, so I will always have many identities. I'll try to keep being fearless, even if sometimes I am foolish with it too. I will keep making, mistakes, so that Phoenix knows it's OK to truly live. I will keep trying to write a successful honest blog and I will be the best mum I can be. I will also be my new identity, my favourite identity and my strongest one yet. - I am a mum, with a dirty face.