Blog, Videos

Stand By Me.

Bear with me please, for what I am about to do. Some of my longtime readers may know that when I was a single mum, living on delayed, suspended and cancelled benefits in this hellscape of a smashed-up welfare system that we have in the UK, I held an ‘open house sale’, like a yard sale without the yard, and I sold everything I owned. Everything. My sons bed. My own shoes. Almost all of my books, clothes, crockery, the light fittings, everything. And my beautiful, wooden, upright piano. I stopped singing that day. Poverty literally took my voice away, like Ursula with her manic grin, strangled it out of me. I have since learned that it is a relatively common response to trauma, but, eight years on, that brings me very little comfort.

 

I used to write my own songs – the last few I ever wrote were about living in that scenario – ‘Whistlestop Tour’, ‘Girl On The Radio’, ‘All Out’ and others. I don’t know where they are these days; probably buried in a box with my dismissal letters from the fire service and the late-night emails from a senior officer who was trying to save my job, and me.

 

This year I have decided to do brave things, partly as a sense of righting some wrongs, and partly to continue on this trajectory of gradually increasing self-confidence that has been slowly growing inside me, like a tiny seed stretching itself into the smallest and greenest of lives. I want to feed and water this seedling, and see what it becomes, with time, and nurture, and love, and light.

 

And so, alone in a hotel room last week on tour, I recorded this and uploaded it to my burgeoning YouTube account. I hope you like it, or at the very least, aren’t mean about it.

 

And I hope that – if you recognise what an incredibly difficult and raw thing this was to do – it maybe sparks off a tiny seed of your own. Don’t let the fear of not being perfect, prevent you from giving something a go. Especially if you suspect you may even enjoy it.

 

Jack x

 

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Filed under: Blog, Videos

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Jack Monroe is an award winning food writer and bestselling author. Books include A Girl Called Jack, A Year In 120 Recipes and Cooking On A Bootstrap. She has won the Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink award (ironically), the Observer Food Monthly Best Food Blog, Marie Claire 'Woman At The Top', Red Magazine's 'Red Hot Women', the YMCA Courage & Inspiration Award, the Woman Of The Year Entrepreneur award, the Women Of The Future media award and many more. She works with Oxfam, the Trussell Trust, Child Poverty Action Group, Plan Zheroes, the Food Chain and many food banks, schools and childrens centres to teach people to cook and eat well on a low income, and campaigns against the causes of poverty and austerity in Britain and abroad.