Broadcaster Vick Hope explains why she's ready to spring into the new decade with the same energy that inspired the couple to trade in their royal duties for a blissful new life in Canada
"We are taking a leap of faith," said Harry of his and Meghan's decision to step back from royal life, in his first public speech since the announcement, "there really was no other option."
I've never paid much attention to what the monarchy get up to, but finding oneself 17 stories deep into any given newspaper last week without word of much else, I think we can all agree HashtagMegxit (or, my preferred #Harryvederci, say it out loud, who's with me?) has been unavoidable. The tabloid backlash was stratospheric, stoking some often pretty venomous debate online, as twitter erupted with wildly oscillating opinions about how this man, woman and their little baby should want to live their lives.
Regardless of where you stand on how they went about delivering the news, the relentless hostility, racism, vilification and hounding they've put up with over the last few years is undeniable, right down to the 'Megxit' headlines, a hashtag originally hatched by trolls who have long used it as a rallying cry for a campaign of hate against the duchess. Not to labour the point, but #Harryvederci was an underrated, more aurally satisfying and far less...well...troll-y option and I'm frankly gutted it didn't catch on.
However you hashtag it, the royals formerly known as Sussex have left the building. There's only so far you can be pushed before the only option to save yourself is to jump: to take a "leap of faith", as Harry put it. And it is this choice of words that's had me, for the first time ever, fully invested in and even inspired by Team HRH.
Past tense: Meghan Markled
to Meghan Markle - to value yourself and mental health enough to up and leave a room / situation / environment in which your authentic self is not welcomed or wanted.
Person A : Where's Ryan?
Person B : Oh, he Meghan Markled
Inspired to cut ties that I've come to rely on even though they hurt me, seek adventures even if they scare me, walk away from toxic relationships and environments, go it alone in the knowledge that I am strong enough, challenge myself with new work, take the plunge into the unknown, and risk belief 'outside of the boundaries of reason' (thank you Collins English Dictionary). Because it's true, the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward. And if you find a path with no obstacles, spoiler alert: it probably doesn't lead anywhere.
Of course, risk-taking is generally discouraged, and so many of us -particularly, women- feel pressure to do 'the done thing'. Society tells us that stability, security and settling down should be our goals, which is brilliant if it's what you want and it's on your terms. But who else has stuck out a relationship that we knew in our gut wasn't right for fear of being 'the single one'? Who else has felt under-stimulated or disrespected in the workplace, trapped in a job with no growth for fear of not finding a new one? Who else has found themselves in an unhealthy or just plain shit situation, even something as seemingly trivial as a night out that you can't leave for fear of what people might say, yet making you bristle with resentment? Who else feels they've compromised themselves, their integrity, dreams, desires, freedom, mental health and personal happiness, to fit in or feel validated by others?
What struck me about how #Megxit/#Harryvederci was reported was that journalists framed Harry and Meghan's actions through the prism of their own values: "they can't expect hand-outs anymore" (financial), "simply another tarnished celebrity couple...they'll lose their allure and appeal, people could tire of them both" (popularity), "freedom...at a price" (security). Looking back at 2019, I realised I'd become a slave to these values, worrying too much about the past and the future, and what others think of me, rather than living in the present, remembering who I am and rejoicing in the people, places and passions that stimulate and exhilarate.
So let's attack 2020 with all the energy of a former duke & duchess moving to Canada. Certain personal events last year reminded me that life is fleeting. We are not guaranteed tomorrow, so today, I'm asking you to be kind to yourself. And if you're itching to change careers, head off travelling solo, or get out of unhealthy relationships, go ahead and 'Meghan Markle' (a brand new, actual verb) for yourself, without feeling ashamed or embarrassed about taking a pay drop or being alone. Do not regret what you didn't do, and don't let resentment fester. Taking risks doesn't mean shirking responsibility, but embracing possibilities. Goodbyes do not need to be negative, as you're saying hello to something new. Let's reframe risk-taking. Let's reframe goodbyes. Let's grab life by the balls and take a leap of faith, admitting: 'I don't know what the fuck I'm doing here, but I know who the fuck I am.'
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