I have been writing a book—a personal memoir—for the last two years.…ish. It might be three years now, or more… I'm not sure. The months of mad scribbling in notebooks and frantic typing on keyboards late at night and early in the morning have merged into two big words: KEEP GOING. The book sprouted from a blog I started a while back, where I spoke candidly about my steamy relationships and spiritual experiences. My tales of an unanchored lifestyle, the highs and lows and how I dealt with them were popular among other women searching for more meaning and more freedom.
Eventually I decided to turn the blog in to a book, which I soon realised was a mammoth project and I nearly lost my mind. Like everything though, with time, commitment, passion and self-belief, it started to come together. Focusing on a ten-year period of my life, I write about what led me to realise I was living in a mould that just didn’t fit. Then, how I fled to a small island and finally broke out of my shell once and for all. My memoir tells a true story of how I started doing things my own way, healing, pushing my boundaries to the edge, living out my dreams and fantasies and developing unshakable faith and magic—without any constricting rules.
Writing about the details of my (sometimes controversial) life leaves me vulnerable, but it also leaves me unashamedly free. Hopefully it will help do the same for others. I Must be a Mermaid is not quite finished and I have many gaps to fill, but I am going to be posting it from the beginning, page by page in the blog on this site. Completing each consecutive chapter is going to be my challenge. Knowing that even one person might be reading it will be my motivation.
This is me. Although the the home-dyed red hair has been toned down a touch now, I enjoyed the fiery copper locks which symbolised where I was at that point in time: 35 years old, transforming…evolving…growing...a phoenix rising. Both my parents were hairdressers so I grew up with perm solution in the air and instant access to new hair-dos. I suppose the excitement has always stayed with me—the opportunity and potential to keep re-inventing myself, inside and out. Renata Oliva, a wonderful female photographer, asked me to do a nearly-nude photoshoot for a body confidence project and I was like, "HELL YEAH!" I'm proud of how far I've come since years of eating disorders and hiding who I really was.
I've always been an artist and now I put my art on people's bodies. Tattooing is such an interesting job. Every 'canvas' is unique and every client means something to me. Everyday, I discover new things about the human condition through this intimate connection to so many different people.
I grew up in England, in the South East. London has a huge place in my heart, it excites and inspires me but I always knew I needed to be by the sea. I first visited Jersey (Channel Islands) in 2010. I came and left and came and left over and over again, unsure whether to drop anchor or not. I never really feel like just one place is home, but Jersey is where I found MYSELF, and subsequently, where I found my soulmate. Home is wherever the love is.
"There has always been a pining in my soul, a kind of beckoning, a distant song, a haunting chant, a continuous call…which only truly gets answered when I am by the sea".
— Charlene Hickey, I Must be a Mermaid.
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