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One Year Ago

One year ago today, I was at LAX waiting for a red-eye flight home to New Hampshire.

A year ago today, my sister and I were guests on Dr. Phil.

A year ago today I learned how manipulative Hollywood is.

A year ago today, I faced demons in front of millions of people.

A year ago today, I was call Schizophrenic on television by my alleged abuser.

A year ago today, the trust I gave in hopes to help others was crushed under dollar signs and ratings.

A year ago today, the band-aid I had applied, and reapplied was ripped completely off.

A year ago today, my abuser fell into my lap, and in a split second decision, I chose to catch him, and not let him fall.

A year ago today, I was stripped naked in front of a live studio audience.

A year ago today, I was lied to, and cheated out of a promise.

A year ago today, my belief that good outweighed money was put to rest.

A year ago today, false promises filled a stage to gain followers.

A year ago, I learned I do not have what it takes to be like them.

#ReadersFavoriteMiami2018, #TeamKimandJessica, Child abuse, Onsite, Resoluntions, Uncategorized

2018 In Review

When 2017 slid into the finish line, I was nervous that 2018 would have a hard time living up to all the greatness from the year before. On January 1st, my apprehension was confirmed when I received a call that an important man in my life had passed away. The knowledge of this loss took the wind out of my sales. There was no way 2018 was going to be a good year.

There is no doubt in my mind that this mindset helped pave the way to disappointment throughout the year. How could positive thoughts come, when grief was so close? One more loss, added to the sea of those gone before. After so much loss, you would think that it would take the sting away a little…but it didn’t.

Depression shadowed a lot of the previous twelve months. A lot took place the last 365 days, things I had never imagined possible. Here is a condensed recap:

January: I reached out to The Dr. Phil show, hoping to share my book with more people. A week after the first contact, my sister and I were in the air to Los Angeles. In the few days leading up to the trip, it was a whirlwind of emotion, and false hope. We had to dig through photographs, and documents that had been put to rest for some time. It opened wounds that had been hidden for years. In the midst of the pain, there was hope. Hope that my goal of getting my book into the hands of people who needed it most would come from this. Hope that needed healing would take place for my sister, myself, and even my sister’s father.

By the end of the trip to California, the familiar feelings of rejection had taken up space in every ounce of my being. The broken promise of talking about my book helped the inadequate feelings to creep back in. Depression lingered, as the internal voice mocked me with the reminder that I was not good enough. The memories, and truth of my childhood swarmed around me, beating me lower and lower, until the thought of getting back up became too overwhelming. To read more about this adventure: A Peek Into The Monster That Ate My Mommy    and   #TeamKimandJessica

February: The show aired in February, and our secrets were exposed to the whole world. Yes, they were in my book, but so far, the audience was not very large. There was no turning back. There was no hiding. Shame. Fear. Guilt. All the emotions circled me as I sat to watch the trauma from January take over the screen.

Through the trauma came healing. After seeing my step-father on TV, I was able to see the real him. For so long, even after all the hurt he had caused me, and my family, I was able to understand the depths of the damage he caused. I no longer looked at him and felt sorry for him, for what he had become. For the first time, I was able to see him for who he was, and look past the why. He hurt me. He hurt my sister. He hurt my mom. He did not deserve my pity. He had my forgiveness, but I did not owe him anything else. February brought freedom.

April: The Dr. Phil show had said they were going to offer my sister and I the treatment we needed to heal. This is where Onsite comes in. The offer of healing was only as deep as Onsite could provide. A week long, intensive therapeutic retreat, to work on a year’s worth of healing in seven days. Looking into this, I was skeptical of what could really be done in seven days, but I was willing to give it a try. What could it hurt?

Onsite is still an experience I am trying to process. I physically detoxed trauma while I was there. Deep healing, and even deeper connections came from the week there. I let go of some deep seeded thoughts and beliefs. I went in to the week, ready to give it all I had. A chance of a lifetime would not be wasted.

To read about this adventure find the four part post, beginning here: An Adventure Awaits

June: Only weeks until my 37th birthday, and depression circled around me like vultures on a carcass. I could not shake it, no matter how hard I tried. The 26th anniversary of my dad’s death took center stage. He was 37 when he died. How could it be possible that I was going to be the age he was when I lost him? Time was a funny thing, and I was not ready to laugh.

To Read more about this go to: 37 Days Until 37 Years

July: Depression continued to hold tight as my birthday came and went. Through the fog, I was offered a job, where for the first time in many years, matched my heart. This was the job that I had held out for. Director of the local Senior Center. Without Onsite, I do not believe I would have felt worthy of such a position. I had just enough confidence to say yes to the job offer.

September: On the first day of September, I found out that my memoir, The Monster That Ate My Mommy, received honorable mention in the Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards. This was also the month when my new job began to feel like home. There were so many great things happening, and for the first time in a while, the depression lifted.

November: Leading up to November, I was unsure if should attend the award ceremony for Readers’ Favorite. I was hung up on the idea that it was a pity award…negative self-talk had a tight grip on me. When I was able to shake it off, I knew I had to go. This was not just any book…this was my story. These words went deep. It was a lifelong dream, that I had accomplished. I had to go. To Go Or Not To Go? goes into much more detail about that adventure!

December:  The last month of the year brought much reflection with it. A buried secret became unearthed, and threatened to take away the progress that has been made in the lives of my children and myself. For a split second, anger took over my thoughts, revenge was all I could taste. I wanted to hurt them like they had hurt us. I went to bed full of rage, and guilt, and woke up full of peace. I am not sure why the change happened, but it reminded me that I hold the power. It is up to me to react, or not. It is up to me how I allow others to affect me. It is up to me.

I take this lesson, and all the others from the past 365 days, into 2019. I have big plans to better myself in many areas of my life, but the most important, the most productive thing I can do is to allow success, allow good things to come. Think positive, and dream big. I am ready for what the next year has to offer.

Never forget to find your joy.
Hope, Resoluntions, resolutions, Uncategorized

2018 New Years Resolution Completed!

In the last few days of 2017, I made a resolution to write one blog a week. In the years past, I never even came close…not even to writing a post a month. This was a long shot, but it was something I said I would do, so I knew had to. Fifty-two posts. I hadn’t really thought about what that meant, or what it would do to me.

I started off 2018 with lofty dreams of what this would look like. The first few posts had impressive word counts. I found myself on Sunday nights struggling to get a post done. What do I write about? I don’t feel like writing anything. I don’t feel like doing anything. Who wants to read what I am writing anyway? The struggle became increasingly consistent. By mid January, I was regretting my decision to make this my resolution.

As life kept happening, the posts took the backseat, leaving guilt in their place. After a couple of weeks of not writing, I wrote a few smaller posts to make up the difference. My goal to post weekly slowly became to write fifty-two posts throughout the year. I googled what number week are we in multiple times, then counted the posts that had been written.

The amount of stress this brought me became crippling at times. As the waves of depression took hold of me, writing became nonexistent. When depression let go long enough for me to make the count again, it held on tighter. Why did I set myself up for failure?

Failure was not an option. I said I would write fifty-two posts, so that was what I was going to do.

Depression, life, kids, work, travel, Dr. Phil, a week at trauma camp…it all took its toll. It would not get in the way of my goal. I pushed through the obstacles, and I wrote, and wrote, and wrote. Some posts had more of my attention than others, some longer than others, but they all came from my heart. My goal to do better–to be better outweighed everything else.

What I learned from this was:

  1. The more posts, the more followers
  2. Consistent writing brings more views

3. Hard work and dedication pays off

4. Nothing is able to keep me from reaching my goals and dreams.

If I take nothing else away from this past year, number 4 is something I will do my best to remember. We must all remember, dreams are worth reaching for. They may not always look the way you imagine, but as long as you try, you are winning.

Make the most of 2019. You are the only one that can. 

Christmas, Grief and Loss, healing, Hope, Love, Uncategorized

Christmas Memories Between Mother and Daughter

In 2011, five years before my mom died, she wrote on my Facebook wall her Christmas memories. I don’t remember what inspired her to do this, but I am grateful to have this. It helps me remember the good times, and gives me insight into what was in her heart. We have a lot of similar memories…but that is what makes us family.

This is a memory of tradition of my childhood Christmas, around age ten. I am leaving out the bad stuff, it isn’t welcome here. After Thanksgiving and my birthday the local stores would deck out their windows, the lighted trees would bedeck the light poles and the crown of lights all of blue. 
Our front porch had a five foot electric candle on both sides of the door. The door was decked out with a huge wreath. 
Out front atop the snow was a lighted Santa riding in his sleigh with his reindeer. The side porch….which everyone used had a medium sized wreath and a tree decked out with lights, honking big lights, no mini lights because they were not sold yet.
In the parlor of the house was a sixteen-foot tree somebody had set up, and my Dad put the lights on it. As a family we decorated the tree with mostly hand-blown ornaments, many given to the family by friends. The lights were three inches across, and covered with colored plastic granules.
Tinsel was applied and I got the job of watering the tree.
Mom and Dad didn’t mind if we got up about an hour before them to open our stockings and this Christmas (I was about ten years old) I went in to my brother’s room and jumped on his bed to wake him up. He wasn’t keen to wake up, so I jumped and bounced, and made a nuisance of myself until he woke up.
I don’t remember exactly what happened after that, but I do remember going back to my own bedroom and getting back into bed until 9am until somebody came to get me out of bed.
Our stockings were red felt with white trim and hung up on the fireplace (the fire wasn’t lit or Santa would have been scorched!). I could always count on a navel orange from my grandmother, and a book with “Lifesavers” candy in! The rest of the presents varied, but of course, there were never enough. I was also allowed to pick out one present to open before our grandparents and Aunt Marge arrived for Christmas Dinner and to open the rest of our presents.
Before the relatives got here we always had a good breakfast and got dressed. When Grampy, Granny and Aunt Marge came I got hugged and kissed way too much! They brought their presents into the parlor and placed them around the tree then Grampy would go off with my father and the women would try to help my Mom (which made her crazy) and Gram always made the gravy. She was always the last to sit down to dinner (and the last one to get up from the table). She liked to talk and Grampy would yell “Shut UP Avis!” but she never seemed to hear him.
We opened presents, except for my grandfather who said he wanted to keep his for later. Go figure!
After opening the presents we sat down to the table in the dining room and we always had cranberry juice with lemon sherbet to drink after Grace.
Then my father would cut the turkey and people would pass their plates to him and he would put the meat on, then the rest of the food would be passed around. No-one got up until everyone was more-or-less done, then Gram and Aunt Marge and my mother would take care of the left overs, clean the kitchen and do the dishes (mostly loading up the dishwasher).
Dad and Grampy kind of hung out and then as the sun began to set my grandparents and Aunt Marge would set off back to my grandparents house and we would pick up the parlor. By now we had a fire, so we threw the paper in the fireplace, gathered up our presents and took them happily to our rooms.”

A few days later, I responded with my memories of Christmas with her.

My Christmas memories are almost like the ones you posted. I remember going to bed and listening as you did your last minute things while I peered out the window hoping that I would hear or see Santa. I would run back to bed when I heard you on your way to bed and stayed there until I couldn’t stand it any longer. I don’t remember seeping….but when I knew that it was close to morning I would wake Peter up and beg him to look down stairs with me…he usually would give in after a while but we got sent back to bed until a normal time. When it was late enough to wake up (6am rings a bell), we would all go downstairs and open our stockings. I don’t remember breakfast, but I remember that you let us each open one gift before we went to Bill’s family’s and had Christmas there. Then we would go home and wait for Gram to come and open presents with her and have our dinner with her. I have lots of different memories from all of the places we lived, but these are the main ones. I remember the orange and thinking “what that heck is this,” and I also remember the Lifesaver books.
I remember the Christmas in Waterford where it was thundering and lightening and being scared for Santa that he might not be safe out delivering his gifts. As a kid it was awful waiting for Gram to come, but I am glad that we did because it was more than worth it to share it with her. Thank you for all that you did for us over the years and giving us things that were special and for giving us memories to keep. I do not remember any of the gifts (except for a few…TV with no remote!, Pamela doll, and the Bulls jacket) but that shows me that the gifts are not what the kids will remember, it is the time that we share together as a family.”

Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmasperhapsmeans a little bit more.”

~Dr. Seuss

Hold your memories close, some day, they will be the only thing you have left.

Take time to love yourself in the days to come. Be easy on yourself. There is no such thing as perfect. Let go of that desire, and just be.

Be present.

Be free.

Be you.

And remember, you are amazing.

Hope, Love, Uncategorized

The Year That Made Me A Believer

Five years ago, I was a newly single mom of three.  A five, eight and ten year old depended on me for everything. This was not something new, but the circumstances had changed. When I lost my childcare, I also lost my job. In between the fear that I was going to be murdered by my ex-husband, and trying to find enough money to just feed my children, I was blessed to find a job that fit into my children’s schedules. 

The job was part-time, and I had full-time bills. Each week I was a little more behind, but I figured out how to make it work. Until Christmas came. I knew it was coming, but I didn’t have time to focus on it, or what it meant. There was no way I had any extra money to even buy one gift. My kids had already lost so much with the divorce and fire a couple years before, I could not take Santa away from them. I didn’t know what I was going to do. 

The stress of the whole situation ate at me. I felt like a failure, and times like this was why I had stayed in a toxic, abusive relationship for so long. I stayed awake nights as I thought about how I could make it work. I did not have anyone in my life that had money to help. I had already sold my gram’s coin collection to my brother, so I could buy groceries and gas until my first pay check came in.

That was when it hit me. I might not have had anything of extreme value, but I had gathered enough stuff after the fire, to replace my belongings, that were worth something. I got out of bed, and started going through my things. All my hopes and dreams of free time, and hobbies turned into dollar sings. I took pictures of the items and placed them on Facebook marketplaces, and Craigslist. 

Soon, I was getting emails, and things started selling. As my pockets became full with money, I was able to fill stockings. That was one of my biggest concerns. I didn’t want to be the reason the magic of Christmas was stolen from my children. After I had enough money to ensure they were full, I started my search for the perfect gift from Santa. One by one, I was able to find a gift suitable for each child. Some of my shopping took place at thrift stores, to make the money last longer. 

A friend knew of my struggles, and placed us on the list for the Santa’s fund. This was not something I had ever had to do before, and I hated taking the help, but I had to. Not for me, but for them. A neighbor was the one to deliver it, and as he handed me the basket, shame heated my body. This was not the life I had planned for my children. 

The ladies I worked with handed me a card before we closed for the Holidays. Inside the card was about $200. I could not keep the tears inside. This gesture of kindness and love meant more than I could express. A little while later, I received a call from my children’s school. When I arrived there I was taken into the principal’s office and handed a card and a gift. The principal told me, each year the teachers put money together and give it to a deserving family. 

When did we become a deserving family? I could not stop the shame from coming over me. This was not the life I wanted for my children, but neither was living in abuse and turmoil. This was going to be the price of our freedom and safety. 

Inside the card was a gift certificate to Walmart. I don’t remember how much it was, but I know it was enough to fill in some gifts, and make sure the kids had the warm clothes they needed for winter. Everything was falling into place, and I realized, there was a Santa Claus after all.  On Christmas Eve, I helped Santa put things into place, filled the stockings, and waited until morning for the kids to wake up. The magic in their hearts poured out through their eyes, when they saw that Santa had come. 

Their excitement, and the feeling of community that this situation had brought to us made me believe. It made me believe in better things. It made me believe there is always a way. It made me believe the impossible is always possible. It made me believe in love, and magic. It helped me see that Santa is never far away. 

When things get hard, remember to believe. In better days. In love. In yourself. And of course, Santa. 

#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.

Depression, Hope, poetry, Uncategorized

Falling Down

Sometimes I fall down, inside of myself.

Unable to get up, or out of the way.

I don’t know what I will trip on,

or what will cause the fall.

But I know I will land, in a hard, loud thump.

My body rejects any efforts of comfort,

and pushes away love and concern.

I am not sure what makes the light fade away,

and allows the darkness to creep in.

I know the pain of trying all too well.

The empty spaces growing,

while the numbness tingles places unknown.

Staying down, too long is not an option.

Pushing my way through the darkness, 

helps me live again.

Each fall is followed by my rise,

through the darkness, into the light.

With each fall,

I know one thing,

Nothing remains the same.