X Factor Five Day Challenge with Maya Comerota

Updated: Mar 6

I believe I am here to make a difference. I believe I am here to change things. I believe we create our own universe and everything else is kind of just like the weather. I feel it, I see it, I can prepare for it but it doesn't REALLY matter. What does matter is that I am in control, What does matter is that I choose myself, What does matter is I have no doubt that if I can speak my truth, show up just as I am authentic, raw and true then my message will help other women just like me. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ The day had come; it was a Friday afternoon - the graveyard shift.

I carried all my bags up the three flights of stairs - my palms were sweaty - it was my turn to share my idea. I felt a lot braver 6 weeks ago when I sent the email - I was full of all the confidence back then safe at home in my own little office. The time was now - the fear inside was my power turning up - right on time. No one wanted to be there - except for me - there was a lot riding on this, it wasn't an interview or an opportunity for funding - it was The Drug and Alcohol Strategic Quarterly Meeting at my local authority.

15 professionals sat around an enormous conference table I had ever seen, they wanted to clock off and get on with the weekend. My imposter syndrome told me very clearly they do NOT want to listen to ME. They had been discussing interventions and criminals who get passed around the system they have no time to listen to me going on about too much prosecco and Gin and Tonic flavoured yoghurts - which was my pet hate at that time. They were dealing with proper problems and real issues, not me and my too much too often wine habit.

Who did I think I was????

The toughest audience was waiting patiently for my wise words of wisdom about all my shiny new ideas I had come to share like the new kid on the block here I was all enthusiastic and ready to help. As well as the professional women and the men in suits, all the emergency

services were present, so I knew I would be ok if I did keel over. I stood up, I cleared my throat... "Hi, I am Claire and I have come today to tell you how I plan to change things. I am going to make a big difference" I stuttered.

Liz, the head of drugs and alcohol Northumberland, had invited me. She had the curliest hair and the sweetest smile, we hit it off straight away and I could see the pride in her eyes as I stood there full of hope and conviction.

I was scared but the feeling I felt the strongest was pride - I felt lucky to be there because I knew I had made it happen. I had put myself forward for this - it was Friday afternoon. I could be halfway into a bottle of Rose with lashings of ice and a touch of lemonade, but instead, I had chosen to do this.

Here I was with the bones of my new idea; they were waiting to hear what I had to say. I got through it. Three long minutes of me stuttering and sharing my truth, revealing to these strangers who I had been when no one was watching - putting myself on the line to be judged.

I got to the good bit - I said "I could have continued on that path drinking more year on year until I was referred to your services by a Dr or a kind police officer but I chose a different path and now I want to help others just like me". The lady from the NHS approached me later in the car park, a complete stranger she stopped me and put her arms around me and thanked me. She hoped I would create my vision. She explained that most days she holds the hand of a liver patient as she is in charge of the nurses who offer end of life care. She looked me in the eye and thanked me. Keep going she begged me...

What you have to say needs to be heard.