The Gift of a New Perspective


 

I hope all of you that celebrated Thanksgiving, had a wonderful day. We did. It was full of lots of laughter and way too much food. Best of all, I heard from a family member and friend that I hadn’t heard from in a long time, that I thought were lost to me, and I’m very thankful for that.

Last week I found that I did a lot of service work. Not unusual around this time of year. The holidays can be difficult for many people. The common theme was anger and questions of why. Why did the addict betray me by looking at pictures of other women or having online affairs or worse?

I remember the anger, the rage, I felt. I also remember the relentless questions that circled around my brain. The insecurities that they brought to the surface of my brain. They seemed endless. They also seemed unanswerable.

Then a few days after disclosure we were going over a spreadsheet I’d dubbed “The List,” I had an epiphany. As I was entering each person’s name, what happened between them and Devin, and other information I thought I needed to know (trust me, I didn't); Devin said he couldn’t remember a woman even though they’d exchanged emails back and forth for months. Lengthy, detailed, emails that I had imprinted in my brain. It wasn’t until I read her screen name to him that he recalled who she was.

That was a profound moment for me. I finally understood what he’d been trying to explain in the preceding days: he had no emotional connection to these women. No attachment to them whatsoever. She was simply an address to him. Nothing more. An email for his mailbox. It was more about filling an emotional void within him, an emptiness, than it was anything else. It really did have nothing to do with me.

There was nothing I could’ve done to change the outcome. And I had tried just about everything from trying to control him to changing my personality to something I thought would catch his attention...and it never would. And there is nothing that I can do now to change what he does. He is his own person responsible for his own actions.

While the words I had read in those emails crushed my heart and his actions felt like something I’d never heal from, that understanding provided me with a new way of looking at the whys.

It helped me begin to stop taking the addiction so personally. That didn’t mean the hurt went away overnight. It didn’t. Neither did the anger. It did, however give me the gift of a new perspective. And because I’m also a recovering addict, I was able to empathize with his addiction too. I understood the complexities of not being able to “just say no” or “if you loved me you’d stop” because those guilt tactics don’t work, not nearly as well as detaching with love.

The anger took longer for me to resolve. I was angry with a lot of things. It took help from my counselor to see that I was angry with myself and needed to forgive myself before I could even think about forgiving Devin so those feelings of resentment and anger would stop rearing their ugly heads. What I found after those feelings of anger went away was my self-esteem.

Than I found inner-peace and while I want nothing more than to tell people that these things happened quickly, for me they didn’t. For me it took a few years. I was bullheaded, stubborn, and refused to reach out for the help that was out there. My hope is that people I talk to or people who read my book, Steps Along My Shore, won’t make the same the mistakes I did.

How was your Thanksgiving? Do you hold on to anger or do let things slide off your back?


I Can't Stop Myself! - An IWSG Post


My first Insecure Writer’s Support Group post in almost a year. Wow! I can’t believe how much I’ve missed everyone. It’s good to be back and with my self-help book, Steps Along My Shore, recently published too.

And boy has this book consumed me. I thought once it was published that was it. I’d be done. Ready to move on. I mean I should be done with it, right? Right. 

I decided not to do a blog tour because the book is targeted to a very specific audience: those affected by Relational Trauma caused by sex addiction, so why tour Blogger? I have my book being recommended by someone at Candeo Behavior Change. I’d say that’s good marketing, right? Right. Why would I be giving my book more than a thought here or there?

But.

There’s always a but isn’t there?

I can’t seem to help myself from looking up the stats. Every. Single. Day. Sure the first few days I was busy fixing my screw ups. I didn’t have time. But now? Now I’m checking.

How many free downloads did I give away? 51. Is that good? I don’t know. I guess. I didn’t think to give them away on Blogger until a day after my original post went up. Hello learning curve.

I’m looking to see if I’ve made any sales. One day I’ll sell nothing. Another I’ll sell one. Then, I’ll go a string of days with zero sales again only to be surprised that two books sold. That leaves me wondering how they found me. Was it Candeo? Blogger? Another reader?

Then there’s the wonderful world of KENP. I pretend like I understand it completely, but I don’t. Not yet. Yes, I know it’s people who borrow the book from the lending library or who have Kindle Unlimited.

However, what I really want to know is what they're thinking as they’re making progress through the book. And then I don’t. Because if they think it sucks, then perhaps ignorance is bliss. So maybe too much information isn’t all that great. 

Why do I keep checking? Is it because I’m an addict and that’s my compulsive side coming out stemming from my low self-esteem? Or is it normal morbid curiosity? 

And why do I keep looking for reviews when I’m petrified I may find one that says the book was a total disappointment and didn’t help the person at all? Maybe it’s because I enjoy reading the three already there that say the book was good. It gives my fragile ego the boost it needs to write my next self-help book.

So, yeah. That’s where I’m at this month. Insecure. Curious. But also proud. I know this will pass. The need to constantly check on my baby to make sure she’s doing all right without me. Sure, I’ll still stop by, offer words of encouragement, (free promos and such), but now it’s time to move on to the next baby that needs me. Because lemme tell ya, that project needs some major work! My next self-help book is turning out to be a big undertaking.

And, to answer the question of the month, the best thing someone said about my writing regarding the book: "It's like sitting beside a family member while you read it. I felt that comfortable." That was awesome to hear.

How about you? Were you this obsessive about checking on your treasured release? If you haven’t released your baby out into the world yet, do you think you’ll be the same as me?

  

This has been a post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. It's a time to talk about our fears and doubts, or inspire others by sharing our success and happiness.  We’ve got a great bunch of people in this group and we’d love to have you join in on the fun too.  A big thank you to it's creator, Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Don’t forget to stop by and say hello to our fantastic co-hosts:  Yolanda Renee, Tyrean Martinson, Madeline Mora-Summonte , LK Hill, Rachna Chhabria, and JA Scott! 


To The Beach!

It’s the middle of June and I’m finally able to say I spent quality time at the beach. Not, “Hey, let’s run up to the beach for a minute before the next Nor’easter hits and it’s too freakin’ cold!” or “Let’s see if we can manage twenty minutes before the next rainstorm hits.” The weather here has just been terrible. And that makes this beach bum quite unhappy.

Or it did until this week. Finally, I got some time in the sun! The best part is that I’ve found this cool little spot that not too many of the locals know about so if you get there early, you can find not only a primo spot on the sand, but excellent parking too. Bonus!

The only downfall this visit were the flies. It was something I’ve never encountered to this extreme. Very bizarre. As we pulled in there people leaving and complaining about how many flies were buzzing around. I thought they were exaggerating. Nope.  If you stood still for too long, they landed. In the tens. Then they bit. So, we played in the water to keep them off. Win-win. We stayed cool and insect-free.

These guys did too. Smart puppies (they aren’t mine):

Neither are any of these homes:
 
This guy was chilling by our blanket:

 


On a side note: A big thank you to all of you bought and downloaded my book, Steps Along My Shore, last week. I apologize to those of you who ran into any glitches along the way. I’m definitely still learning the ropes.


I appreciate all of you and your reviews are most definitely welcome!

Steps Along My Shore - Book Release


Fear.

It can be immobilizing. Crippling. It can make my heart pound so hard I can feel it thud against my chest. It can make my mind fill with so much doubt I begin to second-guess my decisions.

Then the questions start to come:

Am I a good writer?

Can I handle the critiques?

Will people discover our true identities?

Is it worth the risk?

Can I truly help anyone?

After the butterflies that took flight in my stomach finally calmed down enough for me to think rationally again, I remember the whys of my journey down this path:

I’m not out to become a best-selling author.

I’m not seeking rave reviews and have tough-ish skin.

I did the best I could to remain anonymous.

It is absolutely worth the risk and Devin agrees with me.

I feel I can help not just one person but maybe even two…or ten…or more!

And so, I face my fears. I will not run.

I finally stopped editing my book. I stopped procrastinating. 

I accepted that there may be typos, dropped words, and goodness knows what other mistakes I made, but I know I did my best, my heart is in the right place, and Steps Along My Shore is finally ready to be released out into the world.

My baby is ready to walk on her own.
Steps Along My Shore on Kindle is for sale!
But, wait, you want paperback? CLICK HERE
OR
FREE on Kindle June 11-15, 2016

I couldn’t have done this without the help of my mentor, Bryan. My apologies to you now, Bryan…those typos that are in the final copy were not there when you read it. Those pages were added in long after you read it. Don’t blame him, folks.

Another round of thank you’s to Robyn and Donna. Your honest feedback helped me shape this final release into much better shape than when you first laid your eyes on it and for that I’m eternally grateful. I couldn’t have done it without you. Good critique partners are hard to find. I’m glad I had you both. I may need you next year for the sequel…keep your calendars open!

That’s it, folks. No tour. You won’t see me blog-hopping or see the book in your feed. I figure those who need the book will find it. As the saying goes, If God brings you to it, He’ll lead you through it.

Have you ever been so fearful you almost didn’t do something? How did you overcome it?



Kintsugi and Cover Reveal for Steps Along My Shore




Kintsugi is a Japanese word meaning to repair with gold. Rather than throw away a broken piece of ceramic, it's mended together with a golden lacquer making it more valuable in the process.

Kintsugi is also a Japanese philosophy about embracing life’s changes and one’s flaws, rather than hide them away in shame and embarrassment. They understand that our experiences, even the bad ones, make up who we are as individuals. We should not cower from them, but wear them as badges of honor. Those flaws can make us more valuable people too.

I agree with this philosophy. Almost. I understand I am who I am today because of all I went through in my life and I would not be that person today without the triumphs and without the traumas. However, I don’t know that I’m able to display that golden badge proudly on my chest for the world to see just yet. Being anonymous is one thing. Being not-so-anonymous is another.

Imagine what our world would be like if we didn’t have to hide our past, or even our present? How cool would it be to talk freely about the things we’ve experienced as we’ve grown into own unique selves? As we've become so valuable to those around us.

It’s a shame it took me thirty years to tell my closest friend that I was sexually abused as a child. Something she experienced too. All that time we could’ve helped each other through it. Instead, we hid in our own shame and embarrassment.

Just as we did about our shared drug addictions. We each knew the other had “problems” with drugs but never to what degree, or when or if the other stopped using. She recently entered the program, and had I said something earlier about my experience, maybe she would’ve done something for herself sooner. Maybe. But I said nothing. Because I was too afraid of being judged…even by my best friend, who was in the same spot as I had been.

Perhaps one day I’ll be able to embrace the Kintsugi philosophy completely and reveal to the world all of my flaws without the need to remain anonymous, but for now, I think I’ll embrace my gold-dusted flaws quietly and discreetly.

°°°°°°°°°°°°°°

Just like I'll reveal my cover quietly. No big parade or blog tour. Just little ol' me sharing my cover for Steps Along My Shore letting you know I'm stoked! Remember a couple of months ago when I mentioned I was putting the book on delay to get feedback on it from some fine folks who have "been there, done that"? 

Well, I've not only gotten some valuable feedback, I also got this fantastic cover too...which just happens to be my new profile picture. I love it that much! A big thank you to it's creator who requested anonymity...at least for now. You'll know who he is soon enough one day.

pardon the poor picture taking skills -  that's all me!

My target release date for Steps Along My Shore is June 30, 2016 if not sooner. I'm doing my final read through, and then it'll be ready for release to the masses. I'm scared to death, but I'm excited too.

Do you like the philosophy of Kintsugi? Have you heard of it before today? Any words of advice before I release my book?