Updated: Mar 27, 2021
Road Safety Week in November 2013 was an unforgettable day for me. My life is certainly unpredictable, and this event was given proof, but this time for the better.
2013 had been a nightmare for me from the start. I’d split with my partner of 4 years, been through unsuccessful brain surgery, felt overprotected and controlled by people around me, and nothing was happening in my life. I wasn’t interested in life anymore. Remembering how I had only survived a hemorrhage the year before because I told the nurse I was in pain, to be honest, I was starting to wish I had just suffered in silence.
I had moved back in with my parents and was spending every day in my room dreaming of a ‘better life’. One day, when browsing online, I came across Brake - a road safety charity. As road safety was a subject I felt strongly about, having been in a hit and run in 1996, I called to see if I could help with fundraising or campaigning. I instantly had a request to share my story for Road Safety Week and I agreed.
I was not expecting the day of fame that followed. The thought of an interview with the BBC worried me slightly, especially with my habit of using strong language, but I wasn’t going to refuse the opportunity to support safe roads.
My first interview of the day on BBC radio 5 live went perfectly. The public calling in to say how touched they had been by my speaking made me feel so rewarded with purpose and confidence. Throughout the day I did non-stop interviews for newspapers, Sky News, and various radio and tv channels. I did at least 15 interviews and every one made an impact. I received dozens of good speaking compliments from both the media and public and Brake reported an increase in donations. I felt incredible, and I felt a reason to be alive.
The greatest moment of the day was when I got home and read an article I featured in. It began ‘Imogen Cauthery, a woman…’ and I felt a teardrop come down my cheek. I always wanted to be seen as an adult no different to others my age. Regardless of what that article went on to say, just being called a woman was life changing and the memory still makes me cry happy tears to this day.
The following day, I woke a different person - a woman. Overnight I had developed confidence, assertiveness and I had a reason and purpose for being alive. From then, I began the adolescence I had missed out on and I spent 2014 finding my identity. It was the greatest year of my life since 1995.
Ever since road safety week I have loved speaking up for my passions and I’m now a media volunteer for a number of charities. I find expressing my thoughts very empowering and the assertiveness it has helped me to develop is very important for safety too.
My advice to anyone feeling as if life is lacking in purpose is to find the things you are passionate about, and find your voice.