6 Things We Learnt From Bryony Gordon


We recently had the pleasure of a front row seat to hear Bryony Gordon speak at the Guernsey Literary Festival. From the second that Bryony took to the stage it was clear that the topics of conversation would not be limited to the planned Q&A on her latest book, Mad Woman.

With warmth and humour, she spoke passionately about 'how to survive in a world that thinks you're the problem', telling it as it is and giving a refreshingly honest take on her life, warts and all. Nothing was off limits and with a healthy dose of self deprecation and a whole lot of laughter, her talk was both empowering and inspirational. 

Now we're not suggesting that you have to run a marathon in your underwear like Bryony (unless you want to, of course!) but if even just one of the things we learnt from Bryony resonates with you, we're sure you'll find yourself in a more confident place in your life. 


Image credit: Guernsey Literary Festival/Chris George

1.  We Are All Miracles.

Before you criticise or judge your body, take a moment to appreciate just how much of a miracle it is that you were actually born at all. Bryony reminded us, in explicit and surprisingly scientific detail, that on the day we were conceived, one single sperm beat millions of other sperm cells in what she describes as a 'sperm Ironman challenge' to fertilise a single egg. So many factors could have changed the course of that one moment and that one sperm, but against all of the odds it managed to fertilise an egg. That fertilised egg survived, again against the odds, and it went on to become you. And you have gone on to survive every day since. As Bryony reminded us, we are all absolute miracles.

In her words: 'The universe really, really wants you here, and it wants you here exactly as you are. Not looking like a fitness influencer or a Kardashian or a Hadid, but as yourself.' Yes to that!


2.  What Other People Think Of Us Is None Of Our Business.

If Bryony was concerned with everybody else's concerns for her physical and mental welfare in the comment sections of the internet then she would have a lot on her hands. Fortunately, she points out that other people’s opinions are none of her business. And the more she reminds herself of that, the less she cares what people might say when she puts herself out there again. This is something that many of us struggle with. People pleaser or not, it's hard to not be somewhat concerned by what others think of us, so it's nice to be reminded that actually - you can't control what they think, but only how you react (or not...). 


3.  We Can Do Hard Things.

Bryony has been to the brink with her previous addictions. She has woken up with no memory of the day before. She has sought professional help. She has put herself out there on the world's stage, standing next to royals no less, for people to hear her story. She has faced those challenges and lives to tell the tale, and it has given her an incredible sense of perspective. She lost people along the way but she gained a whole lot more too. So now, things like running a marathon, or speaking on stage to a live audience, or writing a tell-all memoir, do not scare her. She isn't risking her life to open up about her own experiences in the hope that just one person may resonate with her. So she is going to keep doing it. And a marvellous job she is doing too!


4.  Every Body Is A Beach Body.

It's a body on the beach. Whilst on Guernsey, Bryony had a delightful dip in Cobo Bay and enlisted fellow visiting author Louise Minchin’s expert camera skills to show a woman with a body on a beach and to remind us that ALL bodies belong on the beach. Life is for living, and you should not be afraid to head down to the beach because people might look at you or laugh at you. Nobody is judging you - and even if they were, it says more about them than it does about you. (also please refer back to points 1 and 2 and see if you still care.)


5.  Everybody Can Do Exercise

Bryony has run multiple marathons and races, including the London Marathon, which she ran in her underwear to overtly prove this point. She recently took on the challenge of running 3 marathons in 3 weeks, hampered only and unfortunately by injury. Bryony says she does these things to show that anyone can do them, no matter your body size or type. She doesn’t consider her platform or purpose to be solely focused on that, but she does document her journey in the hope that she can inspire some people to not care and give it a go. And, in what may have been a world exclusive, she did reveal she was planning to repeat her underwear running feat in the autumn at the New York Marathon. Brilliant.



6.  Opening Up Helps Others.

Bryony’s life and career changed remarkably when she wrote her first memoir Mad Girl about her mental health and addiction story. She lifted back the curtain on what it looks like to be a successful writer, wife, mother and public persona with mental health struggles. She has found that being honest and open, in her own irrevocably humorous style, has not only given her freedom to stop hiding but also a new relationship with her audience and a platform from which she can create change. Something we felt incredibly inspired by. It's not easy to be open when you have a platform, but with Bryony's attitude to life, we're glad that she did - and continues to do so.


We were proud to support the Guernsey Literary Festival's event with Bryony Gordon alongside Guernsey Mind. The event was hosted and sponsored by St Pierre Park. This is not a paid article - we just wrote it cos we bloody love us some Bryony Gordon!

About Bryony.

Bryony Gordon is the bestselling author of 8 books, a podcaster and the founder of Mental Health Mates. Until recently she was a regular columnist for The Telegraph where her loyal following read her observations on life and society, honest personal stories and more. Follow Bryony on Instagram to find out what the next chapter of writing career looks like. 

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