Book 26 of 2018
“I’m strong. I can be tough. I’ve been broken. I’m opinionated. I’m a people-pleaser. I’m spoilt. I’m needy. I contradict myself. I try to do good. I want to do good. I’m impassioned. I’m observant. Most importantly, I tell the truth. And this is my story.”
I have all the feels. Within a week, I finished Lily Allen’s self-read audiobook (the print version isn’t available in Canada yet, but you can preorder it here) and saw her perform at the Phoenix in Toronto. It was my fourth time seeing Lily Allen live, and she didn’t disappoint.
Lily, a British pop star (yet somewhat “indie” at the same time) who is smart, opinionated, charming, brash and funny, put on an amazing performance last night. (She let the audience know she was sick and it was impossible to tell; her voice sounded impeccable). Maybe I’m a bit biased: she’s my favorite songwriter, and over the years her often sarcastic, truthful and satirical lyrics have helped me to feel like an empowered feminist, and have gotten me through both times of challenging life transitions, and long walks down foreign streets when I needed some easy-listening, catchy tunes. But I don’t think my love of her beautifully flawed, candid nature skewed my outlook on her performance last night: Lily seemed happier and lighter, and seemed to be having more fun on stage than any of the previous times I had seen her.
I think writing her book, My Thoughts Exactly, must have been somewhat of a therapy session for Lily. And maybe her journey the last couple of years, writing the book included, is what got her to the state she was in while performing last night: weightless and free. Lily makes some poignant statements and self discoveries, and My Thoughts Exactly reads like a series of deep, sometimes humorous, sometimes sad, stories. In it, Lily writes about everything from her unique childhood, her issues with fame, her own #metoo movement experience, and her terrifying nightmare with a stalker, to her struggles with mental health, drugs and alcohol, her sexuality, her challenging family dynamics and the tragic death of her baby boy George. To say that Lily’s life has been full of highs and lows would be an understatement.
In My Thoughts Exactly, Lily admits defeat at times and owns up to many of her past ‘mistakes,’ showcasing a lot of self-reflection and introspection. She, like many of us, is a work in progress and is willing to admit it. And she’s working on herself, as a wife, as a mother, as an artist, and as a person in general.
I could go on and on about the raw, honest, relatable and sometimes fantastical prose in My Thoughts Exactly, but I want you to read it and digest her tales for yourself. (It’s also already a number one best seller on Amazon UK if that’s any indication of her popularity!). I think you’ll enjoy it, regardless if you have heard of Lily Allen or not. Her story is an interesting one, and she’s not finished telling it yet.
All this being said, I was already riding a Lily-high this week, and of course I never dreamt I would get to meet her. But, this just in: I DID meet her! Last night, Lily kindly appeared at her merchandise table after the concert, and sat signing merch and taking photos with every single person who lined up. My two friends, Jenn and Hayley, were as shocked and excited as I was when Lily announced what she would be doing after the show.
I don’t usually get “star struck” in the way that I did last night, but I am pretty sure I rambled to Lily about how great she was and thanked her for about 30 things. I don’t care though, because she was lovely, sweet and funny, and really seemed to be having fun. It’s an interesting thing to take a personal interest in a celebrity you’ll probably never meet, grow with them and their music, watching them fail and succeed in the spotlight, all while rooting for them along the way. As a consumer, I think when you grow alongside an artist, especially when they sing about (and speak out about!) such relatable, meaningful topics, you feel a kinship towards them, as weird as that may sound. I have enjoyed every stage of Lily’s career but it did feel cool to meet her at a time where she seems to be matured and happy, both professionally and personally.
If you ever read this Lil, please know that your music and your forthright public opinions have inspired me and helped me to be a stronger woman. I appreciate your tenacity, fearlessness and willingness to be accountable and admit your mistakes. Your book, My Thoughts Exactly, gave me insight into the real you. As human beings, we all have had traumatic experiences, ups and downs, highs and lows, experienced joy and pain… and we need to remind ourselves that while many of our experiences shape who we are, we aren’t done becoming who we are meant to be just yet. (<–This is what I would have articulated a bit better to you, had I not been so shocked and excited when I met you). Thanks for being unapologetically you!
Read My Thoughts Exactly. It’s a roller coaster ride of emotion that ends on a hopeful note, and will leave you wanting more.