Day 5:  Lauren McMenemy – Tuesday 15 October 2019

Lauren McMenemy

“Better remain silent, better not even think, if you are not prepared to act.” 
-Annie Besant, Victorian-era women’s rights campaigner.

The leap. That moment when you make the decision. Think yes, I’m going to do it. Nothing can stop me. This world has nothing for me anymore; I’ll go discover a new one. Create a new one. Create a new me.

Onto planes and into trains and over seas and across borders. Walk, run, fly. Stumble, then get back up. A life so far packed in a suitcase, a backpack, a pocket. So many have come already, even more are yet to come. We built this city. We can tear it down and start again. Nothing is permanent. Everything is to live for.

With us we bring identities. Cultures. Folktales and tall tales and truths. We assimilate, or we don’t. We take a bit of this and a bit of that and make it our own, add something to the menagerie and slightly alter its DNA. We march to our own beat. We congregate with the like-minded – but we also don’t want anything to do with them. We rail against the place that threw us out, that didn’t have anything for us anymore, that held no further magic nor mystery. We embrace the new, we hold onto the old. Each of us different, unique stars in the vast and twinkling night sky.

The leap. We shut our eyes and we take the leap into the unknown as we search for more, for better. But leaps aren’t just across oceans and borders; leaps are made within minds, too. The pioneers and the revolutionaries, the agitators and the difference-makers. They too dream of more, of better. They too have “brave” tattooed on their foreheads as they invite criticism, ridicule, judgement, dishonour in their search for justice. They take new mediums to spread new messages of a different way – that it doesn’t have to be like this, that we don’t have to just sit down and take it. They cry #MeToo, Black Lives Matter, beware the coming extinction.

When the revolution comes, we’ll all need the leap.

And this all plays out, day in, year gone, under the same darkened skies. The rain that drops on me in Bloomsbury was formed by clouds at home in Australia. The same moon watches over me as it does my family, my friends, those I left behind when I took the leap almost 14 years ago. When I became one of many, another immigrant searching for more in London.

The life of the expat is defined by the leaps we’ve taken, the lives we’ve picked up and moved and restarted and fled from. We feel the isolation, the loneliness, the fear, and we know we must persist. That there was a reason for the leap. That something drove us here, and something drives us on – the better, the more, the anything-but-that. We slip into another existence, create another persona, act the part. Fake it until we make it, because we feel empowered by the leap. We push through the judgement, the criticism, the racism, the arguments, the beatings, the go back to where you came froms, because We Want Better. We dare to dream. We search for inspiration. We take the leap. We live on.


About the author

By profession, Lauren is a business storyteller, journalist and content strategist with more than 20 years’ experience. By passion, she writes fiction and plays with words. A senior content strategist in the B2B sphere, Lauren has established and led global content teams and editorial strategies, including setting up content newsrooms for some of the world’s biggest brands. She is as adept at long-form as she is short, taking pride in finding creative angles and writing engaging, shareable pieces. You’ll find her outside of these words tackling the worlds of gothic and horror, beavering away on short stories and trying to get that darn novel into shape.

Find her on Twitter @TheContentType

> Return to 26 Writers in Residence

Day 5: Lauren McMenemy – Tuesday 15 October 2019