Author Interview - Claire Beesley | Beth Linton
This blog features an interview with Clare Beesley. If you are a woman or a mother who is metaphorically spinning plates to keep those around us happy, have a look below at what Claire has to say about her own struggles and why she writes women's fiction.
Claire is an author, editor and choreographer, based in Cambridgeshire in the UK. She has a passion for creativity and the arts, and champions women to create the space they need in their lives to freely express their identity. Check out her website to read more about her work.
Finding Balance Through Self-Expression - Claire Beesley
I’m two people, two distinct halves of a whole. I’m either in happy, quiet solitude: writing, reading, drawing. Or, I’m dancing or teaching dance. Alone-time is where I re-charge. The dance studio is where I come alive. They’re two sides of the same coin: self-expression.
It’s no wonder then, that I’ve never fitted in. I’m two different people who need two different environments to thrive. But both aspects fill my creative cup. If one is stifled, I become depressed, if one is overflowing, I get overwhelmed. Balance is everything with me.
In 2021, the year that was meant to bring hope and recovery from the pandemic, just after turning 42, I was diagnosed as autistic and ADHD.
It was devastating and I went into mourning for many months. I didn't want to accept this about myself and felt sad for the girl and woman I could have/should have been, if I'd only known earlier. But it answered so many unanswerable questions I had about myself.
After a lifetime of searching, trying to work out why I didn’t fit into the world, baulking against conformity and societal norms, trying desperately to do things the “right” way, I had an answer. I wasn’t mental. Or difficult, unreliable, selfish, stupid, or unfocused. I am neuro-divergent, and my innate skill is creating.
Finally getting this understanding about myself has been life-changing. It's transformed my relationships with the people closest to me and it has enabled me to focus on the activities that give me energy. I still get burnt out, because I'm still struggling to manage my moments of hyper-focus. I still have meltdowns when I am overwhelmed, but I am learning to accept this aspect of myself and manage it better.
Women are at particular risk to the pressures of fulfilling many ‘roles’ in society – wife, mother, neurotypical, conforming, career-seeker, housekeeper. When people’s needs are ignored by society, their families, the strictures we live in, the results can be catastrophic.
When self-expression is curtailed, stifled or removed completely, our very essence is threatened. We lose our sense of self, our identity, our very humanity. Depression, self-harm, coercive control, abuse, mental health decline and at the very extremes, suicide, are the result.
I am finally reaching a point in my life where I know who I am. I recognise myself. And with that recognition and understanding, I accept myself, and am content.
This topic of self-expression and living authentically is what I explore in all of my novels. It's a never ending journey of discovery and a source of fascinating topics that need more air time. In a small way, I am trying to open up these conversations to more of us, so we can stop denying ourselves access to the things that make us content.
If you are an aspiring author, here are a few useful free resources to help you on your way: