Finally Hearing My Own Voice (A Memoir)

One Page Synopsis.

Gary Thomas was born with a flat nose and cleft palate (a hole in the roof of his mouth). This meant that he couldn’t talk properly and his looks would blight his early childhood, leading to bullying and severely affecting social interaction and relationships for years.

His problems were exacerbated by the realization at an early age that he was gay, but UK laws and attitudes in the 1980s inhibited his ability to ‘come out’. His mother did not fully appreciate the effect of her son’s physical disabilities and mental health issues, and his relationship with his father was distant at best. Following his parents divorce in 1986 he had to adjust to a new step-father.

He found solace, as well as inspiration in the movies, and the first three films he saw were The Jungle Book, Return of the Jedi, and Back To The Future, with the immortal line, ‘If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything’. Gary somehow heard this loud and clear.

During his teenage years Gary underwent various surgical procedures on his face that eventually led to achieving a ‘usual’ looking face and speaking ability, enabling him to live his life without people making fun of how he looked.

Once Gary left high school, he was sent to a clinic for people with mental health issues. Using ‘mirror experiments’ Gary got used to his new look, and throughout the 1990s found inspiration in the writings of Louise Hay, as well as watching The Orpah Winfrey show, where he was introduced to many teachers including Gary Zukav,  Iyanla Van Sant, John Gray & Suzie Orman, who all helped Gary to believe in himself and the possibilities ahead.
After seeing Suzie Orman talk about money, Gary, who was on state welfare, handed his welfare book in, meaning he had to find a job.

Gradually overcoming his issues, he discovered a passion and ability for creative writing and film-making, securing a variety of media-related work and funding, going back into education and attaining a degree in digital imaging.

However, internal demons were never far away. Gary had several lapses into deep depression, and a random stop-and-search encounter with the police tipped him into paranoid psychosis and almost over the edge. And led to a corrosive suspicion of the police that was to last for the next ten years. In an effort to do anything he could think of to help, he took up boxing and wrestling.

With the support of his mother, and various psychiatrists – and gay friends he made once he had taken the decision to come out – he achieved a positive mental state and began to build a career in the film industry.

He went to LA and pitched his projects to various companies, receiving positive responses.

As the Paralympics came to London, 2012 marked a transformational year for Gary, as he worked hard every day in writing and film-making, making his films in the same location as the Oscar winning film The King’s Speech – A film about King George VI speech impediment.

The highs continue for Gary as he confronts his fears and finally accepts he can be happy with himself and, like Marty McFly says, ‘If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.