The Gifts of a Memoir, Untangled’s First Birthday!

A year ago today, I anxiously waited for my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph to go live on Amazon. What a wonderful, unexpected and humbling year it has been.

I took a huge risk by writing and publishing my memoir. My entire life was focused on keeping quiet, not telling, protecting those I loved, or who loved me. It took me a long time to understand that by keeping quiet, I was actually protecting the people who hurt me in my life. Writing Untangled was a way to announce in a really big way, that I will not keep quiet any longer.

I literally went from telling no one but my therapist about my past, to throwing my arms up, and saying, okay….what the f**k, let’s go for it, and tell everyone at once. My husband and children read the book before it was released to the public, but close friends, acquaintances, and long-lost friends learned the truth of my past when they read the book.  Were there big reactions? You bet there were! Of course, they reacted. The biggest reaction was sadness that they didn’t know what was happening at the time and that feeling that if they knew, they could have helped. I get that reaction, I probably would have felt the same way upon hearing of a friend’s brutal past. But, they couldn’t have helped and it was imperative to my safety that I kept quiet. I used to feel guilty that I somehow hurt my friend’s feelings that I didn’t share my past, but I’ve learned to let go of that.

In the book, I talk about my life and some of the trauma I experienced.  I write about how I repressed my memories and how I managed to raise a family and live a life where I mistakenly convinced myself, that my hidden past had no effect or impact on my life. The last part of the book is my healing journey. Untangled isn’t about naming names or the horrific specifics of what happened to me. I don’t feel people, especially those of us who have been through trauma need to read and be triggered by another’s specific tales of horror.

I do, however, explain in detail the feelings that went along with being hurt, traumatized, abandoned, neglected. I don’t shy away from feeling words such as  fear, emptiness, loneliness, embarrassment, shame, etc.  One of the most humbling gifts of Untangled is that when people read the book, they find it is relatable. The events that happened to me may not be relatable, but the effects, the feelings, the sense of no-self is something that a lot of people experience, or they know and love someone who has experienced those things.

We all have feelings, but we may not all be able to articulate them, we may doubt or judge our feelings, or that terrible feeling that no one else could possibly understand this kind of emotional pain. I lived with that terrible alone feeling until a year ago. Now from the feedback of the readers of Untangled, I know that I am not alone. Admittedly, the validation is a bit of a paradox…I’m so relieved to be validated by relatability and so sad to be validated by relatability.

One of the questions I get asked the most is why did I write my memoir?  At first, I was writing as a way to incorporate another healing tool. For me, using the keyboard as a way to write, instead of using paper and pencil, provided a way to get down my feelings, thoughts and emotions without becoming overwhelmed. I was taught that for some people, using the keyboard was a way to incorporate bi-lateral stimulation. This method provided a way to create a bit of distance from the subject matter I was writing about. The first gift was while writing, I began to discern the difference between the truth vs my truth. For some, they are the same, but for me, being able to say My truth had a profound and healing impact on me.

Writing gave me the courage I needed to address the pain I was feeling. I would write even when I thought I had nothing to write about. I began to notice that I was able to write down what I couldn’t say aloud.  It provided distance from having to use my voice. What I discovered was that writing actually gave me a voice.  When I still couldn’t speak a truth, I found, if I read what I wrote out loud to my therapist, that I WAS speaking the truth. The bonus for me as that He didn’t freak out or go away. The gift of Untangled is that people also don’t freak out and run away. The book has been a tool for conversation.

It took me about ten months after I wrote the first real draft to publish Untangled. I was terrified going through the editing process, and finding people I trusted to be beta readers. I was purposeful of who I chose to do the initial reading. I asked one person who had known me since I was a teenager, so she could help me with some historical life information. I chose one person because she would be able to give me feedback on the tolerability of reading the book, and a third person was someone who did not really know me at all. A person with no vested interest in whether or not my feelings were hurt from her feedback. Then there were the meetings with the editor, As most authors know, I had to develop a really thick skin going through this whole process.

I am frequently asked if I was afraid for my safety when I released the book?  To be honest, I felt a lot of fear for my safety, and took as many precautions as I could, but in the end, I just really wanted to share my story. I wanted to share what it looks like to live through unimaginable circumstances for 20 plus years, with continued threats to stay silent and still be determined to be live not just survive.  I knew that this was my truth, and by publishing my story and continue to talk about the effects of trauma and the resulting PTSD that no one could ever take my past, my truth away from me again.

There are so many gifts from Untangled. The gift of writing, the gift of remembering, the gift of a congruent past, the gift of trying to remove the stigma of living with an illness. I wouldn’t have started writing a blog if I hadn’t written my memoir. I was told that I had to start a blog in order to market a book. I never, in my wildest dreams knew the world of connection that awaited me last October when I wrote my first post. Not only have I connected with survivors and mental health professionals, but I also have connected with poets, authors, thinkers, travelers, photographers, fun-loving lets blog for the heck of it people all over the world. I’m a better person because of all these connections. There are some people I’ve met that have changed my life. I’m grateful every day for my blog.

I’m not ready to leave Untangled behind. I’m excited every time someone purchases the book, I wish I could personally thank every person. I don’t ever take it for granted. I love getting reviews on Amazon, I love hearing the feedback. I hope that the readership grows each month.

 

I’ve been hurt, I’ve been threatened, I’ve been abandoned, but I wasn’t going to let the effects of what happened to me keep me from trying to have the life I wanted. I know what my goals are…to live with my past, live in the truth, and recognize and relish in the feelings of internal contentment. I didn’t realize that my sharing my story with so many people would propel the trajectory of my healing in such a profound and sometimes ineffable way.

Happy birthday Untangled. And by the way, Happy Birthday to me, because I published my memoir on my birthday last year. A day that I always felt sad because I was born, became the day that I told my truth, I day that I was re-born.

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Thank you for reading my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph

 

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58 thoughts on “The Gifts of a Memoir, Untangled’s First Birthday!

  1. Alexis Rose October 28, 2016 / 6:39 pm

    Awe, thank you Annie! 💕

    Like

  2. Rebel Recovery October 28, 2016 / 6:15 pm

    Congratulations, Alexis. On one year for Untangled. On moving forward towards more and more freedom, every day. Thank you for the inspiration 🙂 Annie.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Alexis Rose August 29, 2016 / 2:25 pm

    Thank You Wanda. I had no idea that I was going to publish when I started writing. I was just using it as a healing tool. I have taken the stance that Im never going to name my perpetraters. Some have died, lots of others are still on the planet. Everyones name is changed to protect the innocent and not so innocent. I know the day will come when you are able to write your story too. And you are correct to release it only when you feel comfortable. When that day comes, Im reading your book!! 😃 Alexis

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wanda Luthman August 29, 2016 / 2:16 pm

    I have yet to write my memoirs because I am keeping quiet until the person is no longer alive. I’m not afraid of my personal safety, but there will be fall out. I don’t want to deal with that. But, I can hear the empowerment that writing and publishing your memoirs has on you. I think it’s very appropriate that you published it on your birthday so you could re-claim that day too and it could be one of celebration. Thank you for being willing to share. You have encouraged me to start writing. I haven’t even started that process, but I believe I will. At the least, it will give a voice to the past.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Alexis Rose August 23, 2016 / 2:03 am

    Thank You so much for your comment and your support. It has been a blessing to be able to both give and receive encouragment, support and hope. I love the connection with all the bloggers I follow and who follow me, its an amazingly connected world. Have a wonderful evening! Alexis

    Liked by 1 person

  6. dfolstad58 August 23, 2016 / 12:23 am

    I’ liked reading your comments because it reminded that by being vulnerable we can actually become stronger. Likely you’ve encouraged others to be vulnerable and gain strength. I will share your link and your book information with others. bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Bonsai August 15, 2016 / 12:38 pm

    That encourages me to do likewise. I may need that control anyway with our situation. I bought your book!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Alexis Rose August 15, 2016 / 11:58 am

    Thank You for your comment Bonsai. Untangled is self published. It was important for me to keep the rights to my book, and these days you are responsible for your own marketing so having a publisher never appealed to me. I use create space, which is Amazons publishing platform. That would be wonderful if you read Untangled. I look forward to your feedback. Have a great day! Alexis

    Like

  9. Bonsai August 15, 2016 / 7:46 am

    Hello Alexis Rose! Your story sounds quite inspiring! I have also written a memoir about my life as a Japanese wife and worked with two different editors along the way. While I’ve tried to go the traditional publishing route it is quite taxing. Tangled appears to be self-published and I’m wondering what made you decide to take that path and how it has been for you. Would you mind posting something on that topic? I’d be so greatful! By the way, my daughter most certainly suffers from PTSD by her father’s abuse and molestation and I also have a tinge which I recognize most around my son who tends to treat me as his father did which causes me to go to dark places. I will be buying your book to read on my next trip to the cabin. Oh yeah . . .and I’m from Michigan as well! Same generation perhaps!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Alexis Rose August 13, 2016 / 6:28 pm

    Thank You so SO much for reading Untangled and your feedback. Im sitting here and wish I had the words to go with the emotions I feel from your comment. You have made my day, and probably many days to come. Thank You! 💜 Alexis

    Like

  11. wonderdaze August 13, 2016 / 6:16 pm

    I read your book in two days, I couldn’t put it down. I am so glad you were able to share your story with us and that you are stronger for it. Very relatable in terms of loss of a sense of self. It is very hard to get those pieces back, but you’ve been brave and not backed down. Big Congrats on the the one year anniversary of you book!!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. kameamoonmaiden August 9, 2016 / 6:37 pm

    Congratulations, and a belated Happy Birthday! I’m so glad you survived, and that you made the brave decision to publish your story!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Alexis Rose August 9, 2016 / 6:29 pm

    I’m smiling and blushing and doing a happy dance at the same time. Thank You for that. I needed that right now! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Rayne August 9, 2016 / 6:25 pm

    I’ll definitely send you feedback. I’m sure it’s going to be brilliant. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Alexis Rose August 9, 2016 / 6:23 pm

    Thank You Rayne, I appreciate that so, so much! I can’t wait to hear your feedback after you read Untangled. Have a great day today. 🙂 Alexis

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Rayne August 9, 2016 / 5:43 pm

    Hi Alexis. I’ll be buying the Kindle version of this book as soon as I get my salary. Can’t wait!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Alexis Rose August 9, 2016 / 5:32 pm

    Thank You Linda, both for your comment and for buying my book. I look forward to your feedback. 🙂 Alexis

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote August 9, 2016 / 3:46 pm

    Wow oh wow…. this post is so compelling! I found this post through Lynette Davis’s reblog. I haven’t read your memoir yet but after reading this, I am buying it today.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Alexis Rose August 8, 2016 / 8:04 pm

    Thank You so Much!!! 🙂 I’m excited to hear you want to read my book. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Courage Coaching August 8, 2016 / 7:11 pm

    Happy birthday you courageous lady! I hope to buy your book very soon 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  21. K E Garland August 8, 2016 / 3:28 pm

    Happy Birthday! Congrats to you and your continued healing.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Alexis Rose August 8, 2016 / 3:25 pm

    Nancy, Thank You so much! Your feedback and kind words mean a lot to me. I think the same way about you, your book, your continuing journey and your posts. You are an inspiration to me. 💜

    Like

  23. Nancy J August 8, 2016 / 2:55 pm

    Happy Birthday! ❤ Writing my memoir was a catharsis, like yours. Cleansing, healing, transparent, and honest. You are touching many lives, even saving lives. You'll may never know, but I know for you and others it was and is worth it. Not to mention how your blog posts open minds, and help others as well. ❤ you

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Alexis Rose August 8, 2016 / 11:49 am

    Thank You! That is wonderful that you are about to publish your book. Its a wonderful feeling when someone buys your book and reads about your life. Have a great day! Alexis

    Liked by 1 person

  25. watchingthedaisies August 8, 2016 / 9:58 am

    Happy Birthday. I congratulate you on writing your truth. I am about to self publish my memoir after four years of writing and healing my Past, Present and Future. It has opened up new doors I never expected and continues to surprise me…

    Liked by 1 person

  26. EttaD August 8, 2016 / 9:21 am

    Happy Birthday and Congratulations!! ❤ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  27. jacquelineobyikocha August 8, 2016 / 7:58 am

    Happy birthday untangled. It’s just great you had the courage to write it. Can I have your email address?

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Alexis Rose August 8, 2016 / 12:53 am

    Terry, you have the abulity to bring tears to my eyes and a smile to my face at the same time. Im so grateful we have connected and get to cheer each other on, on our journeys. 💜 Alexis

    Liked by 1 person

  29. spearfruit August 7, 2016 / 10:59 pm

    Happy birthday Untangled – Happy birthday Alexis! What a process you went through to get your book published, I never knew of what it takes to do this – well done my friend! Appreciate your story and especially appreciate you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Alexis Rose August 7, 2016 / 10:39 pm

    I totally get that. people can be dissmissive especially if its something that is incomprehensible to them. So when your book comes out, surround yourself with supportive people who have your back. And thank all the Gods for the delete button if someone does take a swipe. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Alexis Rose August 7, 2016 / 10:27 pm

    Thank You! That was one of my fears, and Im grateful that hasnt happened. At least not to my face (or through the internet). 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  32. LionAroundWriting August 7, 2016 / 7:52 pm

    Congratulations on the book and being courageous enough to release it.
    Honesty knows no limits.
    I wondered if you have had any people complaining about the book, questioning events in it and trying to belittle it at all? I know some previous memoirs have had a backlash like that.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Blooming Lily August 7, 2016 / 7:09 pm

    This is so powerful! Happy birthday to you and Untangled ❤ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Alexis Rose August 7, 2016 / 6:33 pm

    Thank You and Keep writing! Im definitely in line when your book comes out!

    Like

  35. lynettedavis August 7, 2016 / 6:33 pm

    You are most welcome! It’ll show up tomorrow for Memoir Monday. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  36. lynettedavis August 7, 2016 / 6:30 pm

    Happy Birthday!!! And thank you so much for such an encouraging posts to keep trudging along on my memoir.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Alexis Rose August 7, 2016 / 6:29 pm

    Thank You Lynette. I really appreciate you reblogging my post. 🙂 Alexis

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Alexis Rose August 7, 2016 / 1:51 pm

    Thank You Brooke! I appreciate the nomination. I will go to your blog now and have a look. I’m really, really bad at following up on awards, but I will try to do it this week. BUT, I am grateful for you thinking of me. I’m pushing send and heading over now. 🙂 Alexis

    Liked by 1 person

  39. theutopiauniverse August 7, 2016 / 1:46 pm

    Happy Birthday, and as a special little gift I have nominated you today for a lovely award, no hard work I promise, please pop over to my blog and take a look ! Have a great day
    Brooke

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Alexis Rose August 7, 2016 / 1:21 pm

    Thank You! That produced a big smile on this face of mine! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Buddhist Tarot Chick August 7, 2016 / 1:15 pm

    Wow, thank you for this post. I really admire your honesty and willingness to share. It helps us all! And Happy Birthday!

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Shari Rose August 7, 2016 / 1:09 pm

    Happy Birthday Untangled! Happy Birthday Alexis Rose! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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