Broken by guest @Nikki_Blue1

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Four years ago, my life was picture perfect. I was a suburban housewife with two beautiful children who wanted for nothing. The house was perfect, the cars were perfect. Hell, even the dog was perfect. It seemed as if I had it all, but on the inside, I was unraveling.

When I was just fifteen, I fell wildly in love with a boy who eventually hurt me in ways I’d never imagined possible. But I loved him and believed every promise he made it would never happen again, knowing inevitably that it would. I rode the addictive highs and lows of our volatile relationship for over three years before breaking up with him one last time. That decision nearly ended my life.

I flailed through the years that followed, never sharing with anyone the horrific details of what I’d run from. I used alcohol to numb the pain and my sexuality to replenish the control that had been taken from me time and again. The satisfaction from each conquest was fleeting and I was left unfulfilled.

Eventually, I met and married a man who I knew would never approve of the things I’d done, so again, I hid away vital parts of my life. By doing so, I lost a little more of myself every day, but as I grew unhappy in my marriage, fragments of the person I’d fought to conceal clawed their way to the surface from the depths of my subconscious. With her came chilling memories of the life I’d buried long ago. I guess you could say my painful past had come home to roost, demanding to be acknowledged, and how I did it would become the catalyst that blew my life apart.

In a roundabout way, I tried to include my husband in my awakening, but he forbade me to write BROKEN, the tale about the rebellious, teenage girl who had been physically and emotionally abused by her high school boyfriend. He scoffed at me, saying it was a terrible idea for a book. According to him, things like that didn’t happen, especially not in upper middle class society. I rolled my eyes when he left the room, wondering if there were also unicorns and cotton candy clouds in the sugarcoated world where he’d been raised. I may have even flipped him off when he turned his back. What he didn’t know when he closed the discussion was I’d begun days earlier, saving the word document I’d named Raspberry Chocolate Mousse among the plethora of dessert recipe files where I knew it would never be found.

The moment the garage door closed in the mornings when my husband left for work, I sat down to write, always listening for it to open again. I wrote until the children woke and after they left for school. Every spare minute I could find I wrote, ripping scabs from the wounds only I could see. I sank into a very dark place as they bled into words across the screen. The pain was excruciating and there were times where I wondered if I would survive it, collapsing to the floor with my knees to my chest as I prayed again to God to relieve my anguish. So many times I wanted to throw in the towel, but something inside pushed me to hold on as the memories threatened to hack me to pieces. After nearly a year, I was able to stand again. I stood taller, stronger, but good as I felt, I didn’t realize my newfound strength had yet to reach full throttle. It was just warming up.

By reliving every moment in vivid detail– the bad and the good –I gained clarity. I’d called out my demons by name, associating my fear of the dark with the car trunk my high school boyfriend had locked me inside of that rainy night, and I related my anxiety during storms to the thunder clapping around me while I lay in the gloomy space. The dread once brought on by rumbling skies waned to a slight jump every now and then, but to this day I fear what I cannot see in the shadows. Still, though, the reasons for my sexual behavior had not been found. I continued to wonder why promiscuity had felt so natural from a young age, and why I’d had a penchant for rough sex. Still, I felt defective.

With a finished manuscript, I took to social media to connect with other writers while I waited for the rejections from literary agents to roll in, and soon after, they did. I received a few requests for the full manuscript, but they were all returned with a common theme– the violence and sex between the two teenagers was too closely related; it fetished it. They asked if I was willing to change the tone of the story, but I refused to pretty it up for mainstream media’s acceptance. Doing so would have meant changing what happened to me and that was impossible. That was when I decided self-publishing was the route I would take, all the while, keeping my life secret from my husband, again. Dishonesty in my marriage was a dance I’d mastered.

While learning the business of self-publishing, I stumbled into a group of small press and self-pubbed BDSM erotica writers. I was drawn to their wicked humor and frank discussions regarding sex. They were like-minded and for the first time in my life I felt like I fit somewhere. At that point, I had little understanding of BDSM and definitely didn’t consider myself a player, so when their snarky conversations switched to kink related stuff, I retreated to the sidelines. As I did, “fetish” moved to the forefront of my brain. I asked myself, and many others, why the rejections included that particular word, and what I learned answered every question I’d ever had. I won’t go as far to say trumpets sounded as angels sang from the heavens above, but my self-revelation was nearly as glorious. I knew I wasn’t defective– I was kinky, and had been from a young age. It was then my life made sense. All of it. Even certain aspects of the physical abuse I’d suffered through long ago fell into place; why I was drawn to the type of men I had been in the past.

More empowered than I had ever been, I took back the last bit of control I’d been drained of by divorcing my husband. He still doesn’t know about my past or who I truly am, but he briefly met the strong woman I’d begun to evolve into as our marriage fell apart, and as expected, he didn’t like me.

When I set out to write BROKEN, I had no idea it would turn my life upside down, making it right again in so many ways. The first draft helped me face wounds I thought would never heal, but they have. The second draft– written with all of the missing pieces– made me whole.

About the Author:
Profile PhotoNikki Blue is the sex-positive co-founder of Vagina Antics, a 2013 Top Sex Blog and has written for SexIs Magazine. Thanks to her project ADD, Nikki is currently working on the second book in her memoir-fiction-Women’s Fiction-memoir-BDSM erotica-memoir-New Adult-memoir-BDSM-New Adult, erm, memoir series, and cataloging her shoes by heel height. She is a southern social media whore who still refuses to admit she watches The Real Housewives of Anywhere. She is known to have big hair, a filthy mouth, and horrible taste in movies.

BROKEN: A Memoir of Sorts | Website | Facebook | Twitter

The Worth of Self by guest @DelSheree

Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Being open to sharing our stories connects us to so many others and creates a bond we didn’t know existed before. Today I’m grateful to be sharing this post by author DelSheree Gladden as she opens up about her story.

I think there is a moment many of us have in life where we wonder what we are worth. It could be wondering what we are worth to the company we work for, to our friends, to our families, to our self. Everyone worries about how others see them. It’s hard not to. We are creatures who need social interaction, validation, and acknowledgement.

Worth can be determined in many ways. To an employer, it is spoken of in the terms of money. Is an employee efficient, or are they costing the company money? It’s a little harder to define worth when it comes to family and friends. Many factors come into play like reliability, support, friendship, and so much more. One of the most difficult to define it self-worth. How do you judge your own worth without letting others opinions and judgments affect your reasoning?

This is a topic that is very important to me, because I know exactly how much your own view of yourself can impact your life. When you grow up in a home with a parent who consciously tries to break you down, it doesn’t take long for you to internalize their words and actions. As I child, trying to uncover who you are is difficult enough without someone else there constantly telling you the opposite of what you want to believe.

When I was away from my mom’s influence, it was confusing, because I felt like I had things I was good at, like I was a nice person overall, like I tried to be good and kind. Of course, I made mistakes and fought with my siblings and got into trouble here and there, but overall, I felt like I should be someone she cared about. It didn’t make sense to me that she honestly didn’t seem to like me. No matter what I did, I never felt accepted by her. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong and I had no idea how to make it better.

As I got older, I started to understand that my mom suffered from severe bouts of depression. Her own mother had done many of the same things to her that she was doing to my siblings and me. Her own self-image was severely warped, and she projected her anger and frustration at the way she had been treated onto us. For reasons I don’t fully understand, I bore the brunt of her contempt.

It affected me deeply to constantly feel like I wasn’t worth her time. It really wasn’t until high school that I made a few new friends who seemed to know that I needed their help. They began helping me see myself more clearly. It isn’t an easy process, shedding an identity you’ve come to believe and stopped questioning. Even as an adult, I fear being rejected by the people in my life. I constantly worry about making mistakes and making them see me as someone not worth their time.

I’ve come a long way, with the support of family and friends and writing, to see myself more clearly, but it has taken me years and years to rebuild my self-confidence, and I know I still have years of work left to do. The worth a person sees in themselves is so important, more important than how anyone else in this world sees them. The advice to “think before you speak” has more merit than some might realize. The way you treat another human being affects them, for good or bad. You can either be responsible for building someone up, or tearing them down. Either one only takes a few minutes, a few words, but rebuilding what has been broken can take a lifetime.

About the Author:

DelSheree GladdenDelSheree Gladden was one of those shy, quiet kids who spent more time reading than talking. Literally. She didn’t speak a single word for the first three months of preschool, but she had already taught herself to read. Her fascination with reading led to many hours spent in the library and bookstores, and eventually to writing. She wrote her first novel when she was sixteen years old, but spent ten years rewriting and perfecting it before having it published.

Native to New Mexico, DelSheree and her husband spent several years in Colorado for college and work before moving back home to be near family again. Their two children love having their seventeen cousins close by. When not writing, you can find DelSheree reading, painting, sewing and trying not to get bitten by small children in her work as a dental hygienist.

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Announcing The #NoMoreShame Project

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In January 2014 bestselling author Rachel Thompson and therapist Bobbi Parish started a Twitter Chat for survivors of sexual abuse called #SexAbuseChat. As survivors themselves, Rachel and Bobbi wanted to create a forum for all survivors to share … [Continue reading]

#MondayBlogs Giveaway July 2014

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Since I created #MondayBlogs in late 2012, even I'm shocked at what an amazing success it has become! Thousands participate each week, generating more than 5,000 tweets! And it is because of all of you that we can say that with a lot of pride … [Continue reading]

Writing Our Pain by guest Kathleen Valentine (@Kathleen01930)

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Writing is its own sort of therapy. Writing the hard stuff is one of the best things a writer can do. Today please welcome Kathleen to the blog as she shares her story of writing out the pain.  Throughout my career as a writer I've dealt with some … [Continue reading]

Taking Out The Twitter Trash

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One of the many benefits of having written Broken Pieces is the support I've received from other CSA (Child Sex Abuse) survivors. So much so that I created a private, secret Facebook group (up to 50 mostly female members now). It's our private place … [Continue reading]

Goodreads Giveaway, Baby!

Broken Pieces paperback

In December of 2013 my first print book was published. Now you can win a copy of the Broken Pieces paperback on Goodreads! Goodreads Book Giveaway Broken Pieces by Rachel Thompson Giveaway ends June 30, 2014. See the giveaway … [Continue reading]

#MondayBlogs Giveaway June 2014

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Since I created #MondayBlogs in late 2012, even I'm shocked at what an amazing success it has become! Thousands participate each week, generating more than 5,000 tweets! And it is because of all of you that we can say that with a lot of pride … [Continue reading]

Rape Made Me a Feminist by guest @SbethCaplin

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Please welcome author and blogger Sarahbeth to the blog today as she shares her story of rape culture and feminists.  I was raised by a strong woman: a mother of two who was also a full-time nurse, and later a full-time college professor. She … [Continue reading]

3 Types Of Messages To Ignore On Social Media

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If you're going to be on social media, hopefully you've learned that it's about connection and interaction, sharing interesting content, networking (hate that word), and building a fan base. What about when it's not, though? What about when it's … [Continue reading]

#MondayBlogs Giveaway May 2014

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Since being created in 2012 by Rachel Thompson, #MondayBlogs has become amazing success and it is because of all of you that we can say that with a lot of pride and a big ol’ smile! As a thank you to all you wonderful #MondayBlog tweeps, we launched … [Continue reading]

Fly Away Girl by guest @TruthisHers

Image courtesy of Vlado / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Please help me welcome author and fellow cohost of #SexAbuseChat, Bobbi Parish to the blog as she shares her experience with sexual abuse and how this fly away girl overcame.  When I was a little girl I used to draw. A lot. My sister and I had … [Continue reading]

Writing is Love by guest @LorenKleinman

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Originally posted on BG Bowers blog > http://bit.ly/1eZw5xd. Reposted with permission. Please welcome author Loren Kleinman as she shares her story and two beautiful poems from her latest book.  I'm happy at 32. In fact I'm at the happiest … [Continue reading]

The Scarapist by guest @JeanneSpicuzza Part Two

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I’m happy to welcome back writer and producer Jeanne Marie Spicuzza with the second part of her experience with a scarapist, a scary therapist.  If you missed part one you can see it here. The next session, she led me to the bedroom fashioned as her … [Continue reading]