Publishing for a Change, LLC presents Gail Dickert, author of #RecoveryInRealTime as she shares her final blog post about her "Anti-workbook" for surviving multiple traumas.
For me, trauma started sometime between being born and turning 9 years old - Now, 30 years removed from the first identifiable awareness of recovery, I carry with me the scars of being a survivor of multiple traumas.
To be honest, I don't know life without a sense of doom, loss, unimaginable trust broken, and confusion about what might be to come...
Yet I wrote a book - and not just any book, but an ANTI-WORKBOOK, about how to recover from trauma, on the daily.
I wrote it two years ago, published it last year (2016), and then spent this summer marketing and making connections about the scope and purpose of the book.
Now that I'm here, with my last blog post, I ask myself one big question: Was it worth it?
It isn't the first time I have written about trauma or spoken about it. (Or the first time I've asked if it is worth it!) I've been doing this #IndieAuthorLife shit for some time now (2003, to be exact). Before there was Facebook, before social media, before I could actually watch rejection happen through lack of shares, lack of likes... before I could watch acceptance happen through going viral for 15 seconds with comments and views.
But this round of advocacy was more difficult than other rounds. I realized that I am always going to have an ebb and flow when it comes to engaging publicly about trauma. I feel now, similar to how I felt after appearing on Our America with Lisa Ling (Where my intention was to energetically kick Exodus International in the nuts P.S. #MissionAccomplished).
I am exhausted...
I am not designed to submit my process to the masses LONG-TERM. I cannot live like this...
It is especially painful because people who know me in real life - people who have been in my home, worked with me, or knew me OUTSIDE of my survivor status, have changed the way they talk to me... some have stopped talking to me or checking in altogether.
It is uncomfortable, isn't it?
Knowing someone brave enough to write about their recovery process is uncomfortable - it would be so much more comfortable if I never said that I was molested for over 5 years during junior high and high school by a neighbor that everyone thought was harmless.
It is not comfortable to know that I was sexually assaulted on a date and honestly, the only person who was there for me that night was... the above-mentioned neighbor...
It is not comfortable to hear stories about my life as a closeted Christian and how every part of my sexual identity that wasn't hacked away at by the person who molested me was nearly drowned by the church leaders, youth ministers, and conversion therapy counselors.
It is not comfortable to know I watched a man die by suicide and had to wrap my head around why, after years of trauma, "the universe" would place me at that tree, on that day, during that hour...
It is not comfortable to understand that my mind will always be influenced by formative years of emotional abuse, as I witnessed physical abuse in a home with a father who struggled with addiction.
It will never be comfortable to do this and doing it makes a lot of other people uncomfortable too.
So... how could all of this be "worth it?"
The truth is that I do not know - and neither do you.
Some of us don't put our stories out there to sell the book, or gain the audience.
Some of us won't know if it was worth it even if the book sells or the shit we say goes "viral" for that coveted 15 seconds...
Some of us create like our lives depend upon it - we nurture these projects into realities because they keep us alive...
Some of us don't know if it's "worth it" in conventional terms, or if it's only worth it because at the core, it helped us feel heard or understood.
It's been an excruciating process to write, publish and then market #RecoveryInRealTime.
Here's what I would say, to anyone who is asking themselves if it is worth it to share their recovery process in public.
I would remind you: You will never have to be a full-time advocate. It is safe to speak your mind and put truth out there and then proceed with your recovery... without an audience.
I would remind you: The day you stop explaining yourself is the day you stop being you. Maybe you actually enjoy explaining what you've been through because it helps others and it helps you feel seen after decades of oppression. But that doesn't mean you have to do it every fucking day.
I would say that to you, so I say it to myself...
Yes, it was worth it for me, but only if I walk gracefully and gently with myself through the grief cycle - making nice with Denial, allowing Bargaining, welcoming Anger, enduring Depression, and celebrating Acceptance... for as many iterations and lifetimes that it takes.
Thank you to the people who showed me how limited our connections really are - I needed to do a little cleaning/clearing of where I put my energy. And more, of course, thank you to the friends who showed just how real our connections are...
Most of all, thank you to the newest readers who have invested in this process for yourselves and with me as well. We mirror the hope that we will find #RecoveryInRealTime - brave survivors - reach out via email/social media anytime, if you need a reminder that we are not alone.
I'll be back around for another season of advocacy, I'm sure... but until then, I'm recovering, in real time, for the rest of my life.
Namaste, my friends.