An Evening with TWLOHA

twloha

Last night, I had the opportunity to attend An Evening With To Write Love on Her Arms. I’ve been following the organization for quite some time and even served as a guest blogger for TWLOHA a few years ago. I’m hoping to re-kindle that relationship and contribute more in the near future, too.

If you’re unfamiliar, TWLOHA is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery. Needless to say, they’re a badass mental health organization and one that I’m incredibly inspired by.

The event last night consisted of spoken word poetry by Sierra DeMulder which was
freaking incredible! She paints pictures with words, and her poetry is pure art.  I’d never heard of JP Saxe prior to the event, but he was amazing too. I actually had a chance to chat with him a bit after the sho

twloha event

w. In addition to being super talented with the voice of an angel, he was so fun to talk to. I told him a little about Hoola Monsters, along with the book I’m writing. I agreed to send him a copy of my book when it’s finally out in the world, too. I just love the way that events like this bring like-minded people together.

Hearing TWLOHA Founder Jamie Tworkowski speak was a definite highlight for me, and it was my primary reason for attending. The poetry and music were bonus. I’m so inspired by the work that Jamie is doing in the world. Not only is he the creator of TWLOHA, he’s also a NY Times best-selling author and speaker. I picked up his book If You Feel Too Much, and I can’t wait to read it.

At the risk of sounding like a total fan girl, I want to follow in his footsteps as I move into the next phase of my career. I’ll take the NY Times best seller, too. Speaking of, I’ve been busting my butt on the book. I logged more than 4,000 words yesterday and pitched two literary agents who’ve been on my radar for quite some time. I only have a couple more chapters to go until the first draft of my manuscript is complete, and that feels freaking awesome. I’m not going to do the happy dance just  yet, though. I realize that it could be another year before I can actually hold the book in my hands and share it with others. I still need to edit the heck out of it, secure an agent, land a publishing deal, edit some more, finalize the project, and market it like crazy. Then, I get to have the book launch party and do that happy dance. Until then, I’ll keep plugging away and laying the foundation for good things to come.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read my blog.
be joyful

crystals

Hiding Doesn’t Heal

I literally used to keep my writing under lock and key.

When I was in my deepest, darkest throws of depression, I wrote. This powerful outlet is one of the things that actually saved me from taking my own life.

In those days, one of my biggest fears was for someone to find and read my journal. I couldn’t bear the thought of my big secret being exposed. I knew that my thoughts weren’t healthy and that something was most definitely wrong, but I didn’t want anyone to know. I didn’t want to be told that I was damaged or broken in some way. I didn’t want to hurt my family even more after Brad’s death. They’d be worried sick if they knew I had suicidal tendencies too. A ‘depression’ or a ‘bi-polar’ diagnosis scared the hell out of me because then, it would be official. I thought, by hiding, I could trick myself into thinking that I was ok and that I could just deal with the pain on my own.

I hid for more than a decade. Only my journals knew… that is, until the fateful day when I made a teary-eyed, drunken confession to my sister. I told her that “I think the same way he did.” My sister and my mother dragged me into a psychiatrist’s office against my will shortly thereafter. I was so angry with them because of it. I was furious, in fact, because my worst fear happened: my secret was out, and I received the dreaded, ‘clinical depression’ diagnosis. But guess what? I didn’t die. And as mad as I may have been in that moment, what I didn’t realize at the time of my diagnosis was this: That was Day 1 of my healing journey. 

Now, here I am: paying a professional editor, a total stranger, to read the very same words that I so desperately wanted to hide. Last week, I dropped some cash to have a pro review my agent query packet. I’m determined to complete this book in excellence by Oct 1, secure an agent, land a publishing deal and have it out in the world by the time I turn 40 (a year from now).

I find it so ironic that, today, the desperation I once hid has completely transformed into a burning desire to be seen. I suffered in silence for a decade due to fear. I’m now speaking out because I know that there are kids hiding right now, in this very moment. I’m investing in my story because I need these kids to know that if I can heal, they can too. Teenage suicide is on the rise, and my mission is clear: I want to be a voice for the kids who can’t speak for themselves.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog today. If you believe in what I’m up to, I invite you to click the ‘share’ button below. The more people I can reach, the more kids I may be able to help.

P.S. – I’m currently reading “How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying To Kill Me” by Susan Rose Blauner. I highly recommend it.

Guest Blog for TWLOHA

To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide.  I’ve been following TWLOHA for almost five years, and I knew that I wanted to work with the organization somehow, someday.

When I was asked to be a guest blogger, I jumped at the opportunity.  I’m honored to share the published blog with you today…

The World Seems A Little Brighter