#ReadersFavoriteMiami2018, Uncategorized

Seven Similarities Between My Trip to Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards and My Memoir, The Monster That Ate My Mommy

1. Never Being Good Enough

Receiving Honorable Mention for The Monster That Ate My Mommy, left me feeling like I wasn’t able to meet the mark. At first, I felt that the award was proof that my book wasn’t good enough, that this was a pity award. Maybe they give everyone who enters an award. Was it really even an award?

After talking with others, I was able to see it was an honor, for my first book, to receive this award. I was not ungrateful for receiving the award, it was more that I was unable to accept the praise, much like many other times in my life.

This helped me see there may have been other times in my life that the opportunity to shine has been there, and I quickly pushed it away. I didn’t feel worthy enough to accept the praise. I did not allow others to share in these moments with me. Pushing people away in these moments allowed me to never feel good enough. Winning this award helped me accept the praise. Like many times in my life, I decided against comfort, and pushed myself outside of my comfort zone, and decided to go to Miami to receive the award.

2. Alone in the World

From the moment I decided to go to the Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards in Miami, Florida, I had a gut feeling it was going to be challenging. When I tried to find someone to go with me, I was reminded just how small my circle is. I thought of the people I would want to share this experience with, and knew most would not be able to go. Much like other events in my life, this was going to be an one I would have to celebrate alone. This realization made me feel alone in the world. When the dark cloud this cast over me was lifted, I was able to see I was mistaken. I do have people who wanted to go with me, but they were unable to for various reasons. I may not have a large group of people to turn to, but the people I do have, are genuine. This is another time in life where quality is more important than quantity.

3. Nothing Ever Goes Right

The week leading up to my trip to Miami, the forecast was clear. There was no snow or rain in sight. I felt confident if I remained positive, everything would work out. I would make it to my destination safe, and on time. An uneasy feeling sat in my gut. I tried to push it out, and replace it with positivity, but it wouldn’t budge. I was not sure what was going to happen, but I felt as though, something was. I wrapped all the Christmas gifts I had already purchased, with the morbid thought that at least the kids would have gifts from me…if I was to…not make it. The more that thought crept in, the more I tried to talk myself out of it. Nothing was going to happen.

The days leading up to my flight brought snow into the forecast. Not just a little snow, but a nor’easter. Maybe this was a sign that I shouldn’t go. I still, was unwilling to give up. I had made up my mind that I was going to make it, there was no other option at that point.

I tried very hard to keep my thoughts positive as I woke up on Friday morning to see the plane was on time. Sitting in my seat, the uneasy feeling remained. I knew it was too soon to think everything was going to work out as planned. As we sat on the tarmac for an hour, my forty-five minute layover continued to evaporate. Still, I held on to positivity. I knew I would get to my destination, I just knew it would not go as planned.

When I missed my connecting flight, I felt defeated. As I looked around, I noticed there were many others who had missed their flight as well. As with learning I was not alone in living with trauma, I saw that I was not alone in this. I was alive, and well. Stressed beyond belief, but I was well enough to run to the needed gates, and be on this adventure in the first place. My creativity and quick thinking got me to where I needed to be. I may have taken the long way, but isn’t that the most memorable anyway?

4. Never Give Up

A theme from my memoir is never giving up. When things get bad, some part of me always believes they will get better. Stress, chaos, inconveniences, pain—the list goes on, all manifest with your reaction. I take time to feel the angst. I let the darkness swallow me for a while. I let the ground crumble beneath my feet. But, I always manage to find strength to keep on going. From simple things, to horrendous acts of abuse, I keep looking for the light. This situation was just one more to add to the list of things that kept me fighting. Giving up has never been an option.

5. Finding One Person

Another theme from The Monster That Ate My Mommy is the importance of having one person. I was fortunate enough to be greeted by another author when I arrived. She was gracious enough to let me sit with her during the presentations, and then we kept running in to each other. She was always welcoming. Talking with her felt like we had known each
other for years.

Before meeting her, I felt very isolated, and alone at the event. Since I had arrived late, I didn’t have the chance that others had to mingle and get to know others. As I walked into the room full of other authors, and their guests, I felt so out of place. Until Naomi. With her friendship, I no longer had to pretend to fit in, or feel like I didn’t belong. She helped make the event comfortable and enjoyable.

6. Influenced By Fear

After the weekend I had, I was more than ready to go home. After the awards ceremony, I went back to my room to pack, so I would be ready first thing in the morning to leave. When I was finished, and finally settled down enough to get some sleep, I heard a noise. A scurrying sound came from my bed. When I looked over, I saw a black lizard running down the wall…right next to my bed. It was 11:16pm. I knew the last shuttle to the airport was at midnight. I changed as quickly as I could, threw the last of my belongings into my suitcase, and hurried to the lobby. By 11:42, I was at the airport.

My plan was to go through security, where I figured I would be safe, and try to get some sleep. As I entered the airport, the desks were all empty. There were no lines, and all the security check points were closed. I found a security guard to ask him how I could get checked in, he told me they opened back up at 4:00am. That was more than four hours away. My heart sank as I looked around. There was no way I would be sleeping in the lobby of the airport.

My anxiety increased as I walked around the airport. There were people sleeping in chairs, and on the floor. I found a place to charge my phone next to a man charging his. As I plugged in my phone, I immediately felt uncomfortable, and unsafe. I was not sure if I was tired, or if I had a reason to feel unsettled. After a few minutes of the feeling not passing, I got up and walked down the hall. I passed more people, and more seats, until I found a place that felt safe. The more people present, the better I felt.

As the hours passed slowly by, I regretted my decision to leave the hotel so quickly. I had not taken the time to think things through. A small, harmless lizard had chased me away, into a potentially dangerous situation. As with my life, there were many times I acted before thinking, and was left in harm’s way. I ran from one fear, only to encounter many more. My impulsivity has served me well in many situations, but it also sent me in directions I should not have gone in. Some times in life, there should not be hesitation…just action. While other times require thought and planning.

To jump…or not to jump? I never know, until I land.

7. The Rising Phoenix

A review I recently received said, I struck her as a Phoenix.  Despite the horrific physical, emotional, and sexual abuse I survived as a child, with each negative I still rose again, like the fabled bird determined to rise above the circumstances. These words helped me see, that no matter what, I always persist. I am not able to give up, and find strength when I need it most. This is because I believe. I still struggle with believing in myself, and that is why it was so hard to see the magnitude behind the award. I earned it. With every bruise, and tear. With every loss and love. With every single thing that happened, and every word I wrote, erased, and wrote again, I earned the recognition. The hope I hold is what keeps me going. A Phoenix
rising from the ashes is the perfect symbol for my life, because I will not let anything keep me from reaching my dreams. Not even my own self doubt.

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