On Friday evening I found myself taking my shoes off and running as fast as I could.
It reminded me of my younger days when some nights out used to end with me doing just that.
Don’t ask me exactly why I used to run barefoot. The taking off my shoes bit was because my feet would usually be in agony by that time. I think the running bit was just an added bonus because I’ve always loved running and preferred it to walking.
Last Friday there were two differences though:
1. There was Dermot by my side.
2. This time we had a good reason to run.
We ran because we had stayed on a bit too long at the launch of my father’s first book “Where’s my brother? & other confessions” because we were both having so much fun.
And because the taxi driver who was taking us straight from the book launch to our dear niece Elise’s christening had arrived and we still had a 10 minute walk (or 3 minute run) to get to where he would be waiting.
I had been really upset when I found out both events were on the same night. Dermot’s brother and our sister-in-law did all they could to change the date of the christening but unfortunately it was the only date available in October.
But as Dermot and I ran side by side – Dermot in his suit and me in my dress and carrying my shoes – none of that mattered any more.
All I could do was laugh and feel happy about how much I had enjoyed being at the book launch and look forward to what was going to be another very special event that evening.
Why the book launch was so special
The book launch was so special for three reasons:
1. I’m really proud to say that my father is a published author.
You might be thinking that my father has been writing for a long time. But the truth is he actually only moved from the world of marketing to that of writing a few years ago.
So to be able to say that he is now a published author is really incredible.
2. Being there in a crowded room with so many special people meant a real lot to me.
A year ago I was housebound and unable to meet anyone unless they used all my chemical free cosmetics and laundry powder.
So just getting to be at the book launch and getting to hug so many special people was amazing. Without even having to worry for a second about their perfumes or other cosmetics.
And getting to finally meet the first person I know of who started DNRS after reading my story was the cherry on the cake (more details of my story and how I recovered from my chronic illness through DNRS here).
3. It reminded me of all the times when reading a chapter of the book while I was at my weakest would cheer me up no end.
Many people couldn’t hold back their laughter as Thomas Camilleri, a really talented Maltese actor who I was lucky enough to watch in a musical in London’s West End a few years ago, read snippets from the book.
And hearing these snippets reminded me of all the times when reading the most recently written chapter of the book would really cheer me up while I was chronically ill.
Chronic fatigue syndrome, extreme food sensitivities and multiple chemical sensitivity had taken a lot of things away from me. But I really believe that laughter is the best medicine, no matter what you’re going through in life.
A bit about the book
So yes I’m definitely biased: he’s my father after all. But many people who aren’t related to him in any way – and who have read the book or bits of it – also loved it.
In fact the book is described as a “flighty but constantly entertaining romp of a book” and “a fascinating insight into the life of an ordinary man told in an extraordinary way”. The book is said to “capture his deeds, misdeeds and all sorts of incidents, poking fun at anything from funerals to weddings to trips, tipping and tripping in the heart of Sicily and the green hills of England. His fiendish humour includes confessions about his children, wife, family, friends and complete strangers.”
So the book also gives a glimpse into some funny episodes of my life and an explanation of why just saying the words “tlaqt jien!” (“I left!” in English) sends me, Christa and Luke (my sister and brother) into uncontrollable fits of laughter.
The benefits of laughter
The benefits of laughter are actually more than I ever realised. Apparently “by seeking out more opportunities for humour and laughter you can improve your emotional health, strengthen your relationships, find greater happiness – and even add years to your life.” (read more here).
This is one of my favourite quotes of all time:
And I would encourage anyone reading this to try to find ways to laugh every day no matter what you’re going through: be it by spending time with people you love, laughter yoga, watching videos of laughing babies or even should you wish by reading my father’s book (which is now available here).
(Photos at the launch courtesy of Kite Group)