Rachel Thompson on RachelintheOC

About Rachel Thompson

Rachel Thompson is the author of newly released Broken Places and the award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. Rachel is published and represented by Booktrope. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. For affordable group sessions check out Author Social Media Boot Camp, monthly sessions to help all authors! Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, bitrebels.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly.

Not just an advocate for sexual abuse suvivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenom #MondayBlogs and the live Twitter chat, #SexAbuseChat, cohosted with certified therapist/survivor, Bobbi Parish.

She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.

Inside Schizophrenia: ‘I Could Be AWOL Right Now’ by @allieburkebooks

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Please welcome my amazing friend and talented best selling novelist, Allie Burke! Allie is quite open with the fact that she is schizophrenic (she was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 2011) works two full-time jobs, and has a thriving literary career (she just finished her eighth book). Allie is signed with Booktrope. More here:

Allie is an American novelist, book critic, and magazine editor from Burbank, California, Allie Burke writes books she can’t find in the bookstore. Having been recognized as writing a “kickass book that defies the genre it’s in”, Allie writes with a prose that has been labeled poetic and ethereal.

Her life is a beautiful disaster, flowered with the harrowing existence of inherited eccentricity, a murderous family history, a faithful literature addiction, and the intricate darkness of true love. These are the enchanting experiences that inspire Allie’s fairytales.papersoulscover

From some coffee shop in Los Angeles, she is working on her next novel.
Visit Allie at http://wordsbyallieburke.com and look for her outstanding latest, Paper Souls, on Amazon. 

I Could Be AWOL Right Now

I think a lot about that one time I outsmarted the mental health industry and used the intellect I didn’t even know I had to break free from one white walled prison we call a hospital.

The very act of it epitomizes the ideal that we must be crazy enough to tell the whole world to fuck off if we’re ever going to survive.

Excuse me. She smiled sweetly, knocking on the station window.

A large man with a shaved head emerged, dressed in white. Yes?

I would like my purse, please.

I’m sorry?

My purse. You confiscated it when I arrived here. I would like it before I leave.

You can’t leave.

Excuse me? Emily asked incredulously, her eyes bulging out of her head. I’m sorry, am I…a prisoner? Have I committed some sort of crime and am being held against my will now?

The nurse stammered. I…I…

If I walk out that door right now, past that red line, Emily pointed to the two-inch-thick red line painted on the floor six feet from the door, are you going to chase me?

No, but if you don’t sign out, with pre-approval from Dr. Talen, then you will be considered AWOL.

Do I look like fucking Rambo to you?

The nurse didn’t answer.

I haven’t seen the doctor yet. Let me speak to him, please.

He’s not here yet.

Emily’s stare at the nurse was intense, but in reality, she wasn’t staring at him but the stupidity his body reeked of.

Call him. Now.

-Paper Souls

I didn’t ask him for my purse, even though I wanted to. I had never been as appalled as I had been in the moment six hours earlier when they had confiscated my cell phone. Though I was thinking all of this, and it would actually make for a really good story, I never referenced Rambo. My mental age was so much younger than it is now; I was so scared. I would have welcomed a thousand years of psychosis in that moment and took it like a boss if it meant I could walk out that door unscathed by the disgusting reality that is our mental health system today.

What I had done, though, was spend six hours in a mental institution without any means to communicate anything to the outside world and without actually seeing a doctor.

The presence of my now ex-husband in that tiny visiting room with another nurse watching our every move, his tears, the fear bleeding from his pores, struck something in me. He wasn’t working and I was the only one paying bills. Clearly I hadn’t thought this through the moment suicide crossed my mind and convinced me that I wasn’t getting any better. My life would be in shambles if I didn’t get my ass out of there and get it to work on Monday morning. If I had a second chance at that afternoon, I would not have checked myself into a fucking mental institution. I would not have told them that I was hallucinating and afraid of harming myself and that I was off my medication.

So I told them that. That was after they nearly had me sedated and straitjacketed for stepping too far into their nursebox. But I did tell them the truth. I told them that this place was going to do nothing for me but ruin my life, and I needed out. They told me that I should stay because they could help me. That they would recommend it. It was such a passive-aggressive fucking way to control my life. You are mentally ill and therefore we cannot trust you to function properly in society, but here, have a cookie.

There really was a red line on the floor. That wasn’t something I made up for the book. I’ve never liked the color red, and maybe this is why. The ideal that a color can instill the fear of imprisonment is pretty psychotic in itself, but I am psychotic. Technically. According to the State of California.

So I asked them. Are you going to arrest me if I just walk out?

I still don’t know what they meant by AWOL. Like is that a real thing? What does it mean if you are AWOL and not in the military? Do they take away your driver’s license? Refuse to hire you at a job? Call the credit reporting agency? I can’t even with this shit.

Either I am really smart or the doctor was in a good mood that day. He just got a blow job by his assistant, I don’t know. They let me go. Like, legally. Without the AWOL part. It was really fucking weird, but every day I thank whatever higher power we are thanking for this kind of stuff now. Regardless of the number of times I did go back, I really do believe that that experience of questioning authority as the prisoner and not the jailer set the tone for the healing process that I would force on myself in the years after. It was my fuck off to the people bigger than me. And I’ve been telling people bigger than me to fuck off ever since.

It works for me. Me specifically. Paranoid Schizophrenic or not, I’m still a real person.allieburkehs

“The only difference between the sane and the insane is the sane have the power to lock up the insane.”

–Hunter S. Thompson

Exciting news: Broken Places is FINALLY out (via Booktrope)! Pick up a copy today (eBook or print) on Amazon or your favorite retailer, Broken Pieces is still going strong, and my two humor books, A Walk in the Snark and Mancode: Exposed have wonderful new covers and are now available in print!
Sign up for my newsletter and never miss a post again! I will never share your email and that’s a promise. Follow me on Twitter @RachelintheOC or @BadRedheadMedia for social media, branding, or marketing help. Increase your blog traffic by participating in #MondayBlogs (a Twitter meme I created to share posts on Mondays — no book promo) and entering my free feature giveaway.
Don’t miss Author Social Media Boot Camp! Take a look: group sessions for authors on a budget. Now you too can get affordable, effective help FAST! Follow @ASMBootCamp on Twitter and sign up today here!  
All content copyrighted unless otherwise specified. © 2015 by Rachel Thompson, author. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to use short quotes provided a link back to this page and proper attribution is given to me as the original author. 
Picture courtesy of Pixabay via CCA Public Domain license

Speaking Up About Rape: Brave or Foolish? by Guest @SbethCaplin

 

snowy trainPlease welcome author and blogger Beth Caplin to the blog today as she shares her brave story about speaking up.

*Trigger Warning*

The lyrics to “Brave” by Sara Bareilles hit me hard and personally:

Your history of silence won’t do you any good/Did you think it would?/Let your words be anything but empty/Why don’t you tell them the truth?

That’s exactly what I’m ready to do.

Tell the truth.

But first, here’s the back story:

THE BACK STORY

When I was seventeen, the summer before my senior year of high school, I met an outgoing, attractive, and charismatic twenty-one-year-old man about to enter his senior year of college. It was the kind of relationship where I dove in headfirst, as only a headstrong teenager can.

Fast forward two years, when I am nineteen and visiting him at his college over spring break. We’d been having the “Should we or shouldn’t we?” talk about sex for some time, but ultimately it was decided that we couldn’t go all the way, as that would be a violation of both our religious beliefs. But somehow, for him, that conviction did not rule out everything we could do before that final step. When I refused to even go that far, he raped me (I’ll spare you the details).

I didn’t know it was rape at the time. For years afterward, I became easily preyed upon by the words “You know you want it,” “I thought you loved me,” “You owe me this,” and similar sentiments. It didn’t take long for force to become unnecessary: I was damaged goods, and this relationship was as good as I could hope to get.

PRESENT DAY

Fast forward another seven years to present day, when I am married to the love of my life: a man who treats me better than I ever thought I deserved. It truly stunned me that he respected my concerns about boundaries, when that should be a normal expectation of any healthy relationship. In many ways, his kindness continues to surprise me.

Clearly, this is not okay. Only now, seven years later, am I considering the ramifications of speaking up, because fear held me captive for so long. Problem is, the option of speaking up in a court of law has long passed due to the statute of limitations (not to mention a complete lack of physical evidence).

What choices am I left with? If I can’t have a lawyer speak on my behalf, I’ll have to use my own voice. And instead of a jury, my audience will have to be the people who know me personally. People who know us both.

And yet I hesitate. For many people, contacting their abusers or raising any kind of hell could have serious ramifications on their safety. Now that we are several states away, my physical safety is not a concern. Instead, there is my public image to think about. I think it’s extremely admirable to not care what others think, but as an aspiring writer with a growing audience, I cannot afford to completely embrace that mindset. I am building a reputation, and few words that are projected into the cyber world can ever be taken back.

TO TELL OR NOT TO TELL?

In my most lucid moments, I tell myself this is about justice. Who cares about the consequences, if telling people is the right thing to do? This concerns the safety of all the women in his life. But there is a part of me that desires vengeance, and it’s unclear how much of that desire is righteous or vindictive. I cannot deny that, as a human who has been deeply hurt, part of me desires to witness a public humiliation, a virtual flogging, if you will.

Sorting through these conflicting feelings also requires evaluating the person I want to be. In the novels that shaped me growing up, the heroines who faced adversity always took the high road. Even Jesus, the center of my religious faith, advocated turning the other cheek. I want to be remembered as someone noble, righteous, and compassionate. At what point does my pursuit of justice conflict with that sort of character?

Perhaps you or someone you know has been in a similar situation. I was fortunate to move away from the place where the abuse occurred, but some people have to see their assailants on a regular basis; perhaps because they share custody of children, work together, or are related. There are so many complicated factors that influence the way justice will be enacted, if it is to be enacted at all.

So long as one’s pursuit of justice does not involve harmful behaviors – stalking, further violence, harassment – perhaps there are no right or wrong answers. Ultimately, the question of self-care should be the most important. Ask yourself, and be willing to be honest: How will this affect me? What are the potential consequences? Am I willing to sacrifice a few relationships in the process? How critical is justice to my journey of healing, and am I willing to accept that not even justice will erase the damage that has already been done?

Regardless of whether justice is served, I won’t let that stop me from moving forward and reclaiming my life. At the same time, I am left wondering if speaking up about what happened to me is brave or foolish.

SarahbethBeth Caplin is a Denver-based author and blogger. Her first novel, Someone You Already Know, follows two teenage girls on their journey to heal from rape culture. Find her on her website, sbethcaplin.com, or engage on Twitter @SbethCaplin


someonecoverTwo teenage girls, two experiences with sexual assault: one committed by a stranger, the other by a relationship partner. Neither girl quite believes the other when she shares her story: wasn’t she ‘asking for it’ by walking home alone so late at night? Why didn’t she just end the relationship if he really treated her that way?

Someone You Already Know is a raw, emotional book that explores the impact of rape culture on modern society. Told in alternating perspectives from two survivors, it unpacks the common myths of sexual assault, revealing important truths that every woman needs to know.

Sign up for my newsletter and never miss a post again! I will never share your email and that’s a promise. Follow me on Twitter @RachelintheOC or @BadRedheadMedia for social media, branding, or marketing help. Increase your blog traffic by participating in #MondayBlogs (a Twitter meme I created to share posts on Mondays — no book promo) and entering my free feature giveaway.
Broken Pieces is still going strong, #1 on Amazon’s Women’s (paid) Poetry list. Broken Places will be out after New Year’s from Booktrope.
Don’t miss Author Social Media Boot Camp! Take a look: group sessions for authors on a budget. Now you too can get affordable, effective help FAST! Follow @ASMBootCamp on Twitter and sign up today here!  
All content copyrighted unless otherwise specified. © 2015 by Rachel Thompson, author. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to use short quotes provided a link back to this page and proper attribution is given to me as the original author. 
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.com

#MondayBlogs Giveaway January 2015

MB-FINAL-LOGO-KLM

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 and a big ol’ smile! As a thank you to all you wonderful #MondayBlogs tweeps, we launched an ongoing, monthly giveaway contest in April and we couldn’t be happier with the response!

The Featured Monday Blogger giveaway is our way to say thank you for participating in #MondayBlogs by giving you more exposure for you and your blog. Each Monday for one month, you could have a different tweet sent out by @MondayBlogs to all our followers and be featured on IndieBookPromo.com! But wait, there’s more! Following you, the lucky winner, on Twitter would enter others into the next month’s contest!

Who doesn’t want more blog traffic and a free feature? #MondayBlogs

Nice bit of exposure, don’t ya think?

That sound like something you’d be interested in?

If so, enter now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Featured Blogger December 2014
Leetah Begallie

Happy Sharing,
Rachel, Will, and Kate

Please note that due to the popularity of Indie Book Promo guest posts will be scheduled according to availability. If you cannot wait for your post to be up you may decline the prize.

Sign up for my newsletter and never miss a post again! I will never share your email and that’s a promise. Follow me on Twitter @RachelintheOC or @BadRedheadMedia for social media, branding, or marketing help. Increase your blog traffic by participating in #MondayBlogs (a Twitter meme I created to share posts on Mondays — no book promo) and entering my free feature giveaway.

Don’t miss Author Social Media Boot Camp! Take a look: group sessions for authors on a budget. Now you too can get affordable, effective help FAST! Follow @ASMBootCamp on Twitter and sign up today

Top 3 Writing and Marketing Tips For Any Author

As we head into 2015, I thought I’d share some thoughts on writing and marketing books. Many authors tell me they just don’t have time to do both, that they think marketing is stupid, or that social media and author platform seem like options they’re not convinced are worth learning about or spending time on.color salad

I’m not here to convince anyone otherwise, though I find those questions ludicrous because being an author is no different than being a small business. Think of it this way: if you opened a restaurant and did no advertising — told nobody about it, did no social media, ran zero ads, didn’t even put up a sign — would you be in business for very long? No way. So how is releasing a book any different?

Let’s deconstruct.

MAKE TIME FOR BOTH — here’s how

It is difficult to find time to write and market. I totally understand that. As a busy working mother of two demanding kids, I empathize completely. I not only have (almost) four books out, I’m also under contract now with Booktrope to write more. I also own BadRedhead Media, helping authors and small businesses with social media, branding, and marketing. Fitting in time to write and market my own work is challenging, to say the least.

But not impossible. I use social media management tools like Hootsuite and ManageFlitter (some people prefer Buffer or Pluggio) to schedule and grow my accounts. They cost money, but not exorbitant amounts. What they cost in money I more than make up in time spent on other things.

I schedule in some content (mostly articles or blog posts) across my various social media channels, and live interact when I can. I grow my account every few days using targeted keywords, unfollow people who don’t follow back (I give people thirty days — that’s plenty of time), and block fakes. It’s easy and effective.

Scheduling allows me to work on my next books, as well as work on client accounts, and be a mom or do laundry or you know, burn a meal. We all have real lives to lead — there are plenty of tools out there to make it work. You have to spend a little bit of time to set them up, and time to find and schedule in content, but it takes only minutes. Surely, you have minutes.

SOCIAL MEDIA/MARKETING IS STUPID — notold typewriter

Get with the program, folks. Marketing has been around forever, and social media has made it easier than ever to connect with readers. Even without marketing experience, you too can learn without paying a dime by doing what writers do best: research. Google stuff, read my biz blog, check out BookPromotion.com for great suggestions and tips, or look at top blogs like CopyBlogger or Social Media Examiner to find tidbits. Is there a writer you like? See what they do to market their work and copy their methods.

Regardless of whether you think Twitter is for your teen girl or what you ate for lunch (please, that’s so 2005), your readers don’t think that. They are there, interacting with thousands of writers daily. You are missing out on opportunities!

Check this: Some 73% of online adults now use a social networking site of some kind (Source: Pew Research, December, 2013). Facebook is still the dominant social network of choice, but Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest have risen in popularity within many demographics, particularly women. Keep on thinking it’s stupid. The rest of us will be over there developing relationships with readers.

AUTHOR PLATFORM — what it is and what it’s not

What is an author platform anyway? Many writers are so confused by this seemingly nebulous concept that they cower in fear at the very mention, or make derisive comments to hide their ignorance. I get it. When I started in 2009, I had no clue what a platform was. My background was in selling, advertising, and marketing Big Pharma, not books! But instead of making fun of it, I researched, asked questions, and learned.

I really like Jane Friedman’s definition of author platform, because it has four key components of what a platform is and also what it’s not. What a platform contains:

  • Visibility
  • Authority
  • Proven Reach
  • Target Audience

What it’s not:

  • It is not about self-promotion.
  • It is not about hard selling.
  • It is not about annoying people.
  • It is not about being an extrovert.

‘Platform is not about bringing attention to yourself, or by screaming to everyone you can find online or offline, “Look at me! Look at me!” Platform isn’t about who yells the loudest or who markets the best.’

Here’s a simple breakdown of what any author needs for their platform:

  • an optimized website
  • a blog with fresh content (minimum once weekly)
  • social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Facebook page, Google+, Goodreads, and either Instagram or Pinterest)
  • reviews when your book is released
  • a newsletter
  • advertising
  • most important of all: a spectacular, professionally edited, designed, and formatted, book!

You can’t create your platform overnight, and it’s not a race. If you don’t know how to do all these things (I didn’t. Most people don’t.), hire people to help you, or trade services with pros. If you can’t afford it, don’t just throw up your hands and say, “I can’t afford it, so I’ll just copy and past my book into a Word doc, upload it, and see what happens,” because that’s not a book; that’s a school project. That’s what gives self-published authors a bad name.

Raise the funds. Go to Pubslush.com, start a crowdfunding campaign (anything you raise, you keep except their small cut), even if you don’t fulfill your goal.spark

FINAL WORDS

Social media will not sell books. Get off the “Buy my book!” link dump if that’s how you use it. Instead, spend time interacting with people. Why? Because social media leads to relationships with readers, which then leads to selling books. And start early, at least three to six months before you release your book. Develop relationships with readers as well as book bloggers and reviewers. Create electricity, some buzz, so when you do release it people are interested.

This is why you have to write and market. Remember, change your expectations: it’s not about one-way broadcasting or link-dumping. That’s lazy and ineffective. Think like a businessperson, set goals, and be smart.

Sign up for my newsletter and never miss a post again! I will never share your email and that’s a promise. Follow me on Twitter @RachelintheOC or @BadRedheadMedia for social media, branding, or marketing help. Increase your blog traffic by participating in #MondayBlogs (a Twitter meme I created to share posts on Mondays — no book promo) and entering my free feature giveaway.
Broken Pieces is still going strong, #1 on Amazon’s Women’s (paid) Poetry list. Pick up a copy today, on sale for just 99cents, or one for a friend. Broken Places will be out after New Year’s from Booktrope.
Don’t miss Author Social Media Boot Camp! Take a look: group sessions for authors on a budget. Now you too can get affordable, effective help FAST! Follow @ASMBootCamp on Twitter and sign up today here!  
All content copyrighted unless otherwise specified. © 2014 by Rachel Thompson, author. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to use short quotes provided a link back to this page and proper attribution is given to me as the original author.
Photos courtesy of Unsplash.com

Insider Story: Living with Complex #PTSD by guest @A_K_Taylor

unsplash lone girl

Hi everyone, I am glad to be here even though I am going to be talking about very dreadful subjects. I felt empowered to share some info about Complex PTSD (CPTSD) and Continuous Traumatic Stress Disorder (CTSD).

CTSD and CPTSD are very closely related to each other and they can evolve between one another like the swinging of a pendulum–this is something I know because I have experienced it first-hand. To keep things simple, both are repeated exposures to trauma over time. They are considerably more harmful and detrimental to a person than PTSD (not that I am trivializing it at all). It’s basically developing PTSD over and over again. The more it happens, the worse things become.

Of course, any source of trauma that one suffers repeatedly can lead to CTSD/CPTSD.

My source of trauma was long term bullying of over 20 of my 34 years I have been alive. I have a couple instances that are unrelated to bullying that also developed PTSD: a natural disaster (tornado) and a very bad visit to a gynecologist.

The Dirty Laundry List of Symptoms

In addition to the related symptoms that CPTSD has with PTSD, it also has:

  • interpersonal and social problems, emotional deregulation, loss of faith, inability to experience joy or happiness, increased hostility and anger management issues, highly volatile explosive anger and rage, increased despair, more extreme isolation, apathy, avoidance, feelings of vengeance, the need for a cause to help others not experience the trauma, need of a rescuer, and attachment issues (especially insecure attachment).
  • In some scenarios, a person can feel persecuted, unwanted, hated, despised, and that they are different from other human beings (“Why me?”).
  • Sense of self, self image, and self esteem is down the toilet. There is even further anxiety problems including what is called anticipatory anxiety where a person “anticipates” or expects trauma. To make things even worse, a person with CPTSD becomes desensitized or numb to trauma without realizing it. In addition to the emotional, mental, and psychological issues, a lot of physiological issues can develop from these: migraines, chronic fatigue, PMDD (women only), joint and muscle pain, issues with weight, burn-out, insomnia, and hypersomnia.
  • To complete the set, a learned helplessness develops. People with CPTSD are very prone to re-victimization.

When CTSD comes out to play, the entire laundry list of PTSD and CPTSD swells to the extreme and becomes hard-wired. It can also cause:

  • loss of faith in the good of humanity and the world, loss of sense of safety and security, extreme fears of conspiracy, the near or complete inability to trust, and even more extreme social and interpersonal anxiety and fear.
  • To make this even worse, trauma seems to become the norm to the sufferer (this is my lot in life; it’s never going to get better or change).

CPTSD that has evolved from CTSD is even more damaging. As I mentioned before, things can easily swing the other way, so there is an extreme risk of relapse or re-victimization {Ed. note: this is a legal term, as definite by the criminal justice system}.

For further reading you can put these terms into your search engine of choice: Continuous Traumatic Stress Disorder, Complex PTSD. There are tons of great material to be found!

A Life of Dark and Gray

Bullying, betrayal, and being ostracized became commonplace for me, and after a time, I felt like the rest of my life was going to be this way, slugging it out in a dog-eat-dog world for even a meager existence.

I wondered why everybody hated me so much or what it was about me that they found so offensive. Just existing and breathing the air seemed to be enough. I couldn’t be myself without suffering consequences. I had to hide who I was and guard it well. People just waited to knife me in the back, if they had the chance. I walked through life with a target on my back. Just saying hello would end in imminent attack and ridicule.

girl alone

Why could some people be themselves without consequences? Why was just one true friend forever in the world too much to ask?

At times, I felt like I was an alien. Was there something wrong with me? Why were people so mean and cruel to me? Why was everyone against me? I got to where I didn’t want to come to school anymore and wanted to do my learning at home. It’s not like anyone would have noticed if I never came back. Actually, they would probably throw a party.

There were times I would reach total breakdown. I had unimaginable pain on the inside that would ache worse than a broken bone. I felt crushed by a torrent of loneliness, but I was reminded that I was unwanted and unloved by everyone outside of my family, and there was nothing I could do. I became so angry and volatile, but I didn’t know why. Sometimes, I felt about as stable as nitroglycerine, just ready to go off without warning. I indiscriminately hated and resented everyone, the entire world, because they hated me for no reason. I didn’t know why I didn’t seem to belong among the human race.

The waterworks would turn on by themselves no matter how hard I fought them, and I would weep in the middle of the woods. Nobody should see me like this, so I better get over it fast. If I played the part of a baby at school, the bullies would tear me apart.

There were times I seemed so numb I didn’t feel anything at all. I wasn’t happy, or was I sad? I was tightly closed off from the world like a box turtle. Since it happened almost all the time, I expected disaster, failure, or attack. Everything I would ever do or not do was going to be hard since the world is against me. I tried to excel in tasks and gain merit, but when popularity was involved, I was out of the race. Then I just wouldn’t bother.

Then it was just about surviving–clawing my way through. For what? Why? This is what my life is going to be like until I die? My life seemed to lose meaning. I began to lose sight of who I was, what my purpose was, or if I even had one. Purpose, as well as my hopes and dreams, seemed impossible. Finding friends or even someone to love is far too risky and dangerous to me since I felt so fragile that I would shatter at any moment, and my world would implode.

So then I became afraid to believe in anything. I was afraid to trust anyone. I was afraid to get too happy about anything. I got tired of being let down or being thrown to the wolves or left to drown. There is only so much disappointment I can take. After a short amount of time, I would be quickly reminded of why this was so, and I would scold myself for opening myself up to it again. When would I just stop?

I had a hunger deep inside of me that wouldn’t go away. Isolation and withdrawal just made it hurt even more. If I had a positive interaction with a person, I was reminded of it more, and it seemed to be what I longed for. It just didn’t come often enough. Everything would be like it was tomorrow, and it may be another long while before someone would be nice to me again.

Once in a while, I would attend a social gathering, but it seemed as if I was on high alert the whole time. I wouldn’t approach anyone; I waited until they approached me–apprehensively. Afterwards, I would go home and sleep for two hours since I was so exhausted. I didn’t really know why. Before the gathering, I would be excited but stressed out at the same time, even for a week before. Sometimes, I contemplated on chickening out, but then it may be a year before I was invited to another.

Survival and Recovery

During the years, I never really had a normal life and it was a struggle to make it through the day before I had to do it again tomorrow. As a child, I created imaginary friends, had animal friends, connected with my Creator, and created elaborate fantasy worlds where I had many, many adventures. The only problem with my animal friends was that they didn’t live forever, and when they died, I lost my best friend. That was hard. I had to leave almost everything I had at home before I went to face the world that waited to pummel me.

When I became a teenager, I had to find different ways to enter into my fantasy worlds. I was at the age where I couldn’t play anymore, but I tried to stick it out as long as possible.

Then, I discovered writing.

I would write myself back in to my realms and discovered new ones. I taught myself how to write novels, and flourished. I never intended to publish, but that’s another story. I also shared this with a younger cousin and we had some awesome adventures too. No one else at school knew about my “Top Secret Novel” that later became novels. The only reason why my parents knew was because the computer was in their room and I kept them up all hours of the night to write, or we would fuss over who was on the computer next. The writing carried on into my adulthood and hasn’t stopped since.

My family was the other bright spot in this dark, gray world. They loved me and provided a safe haven for me after being battered daily by the world. Only to them, and my Creator, was I not worthless, and that my thoughts and feelings mattered. I was wanted and loved. They would also take me fishing, hunting, and all that kind of stuff. They let me go on hikes in the woods and gave me things for some backyard fun.

woods

Recovering from CPTSD of any kind is difficult, long, and takes work. After losing my job in January of 2010 due to the recession, a long tenure of isolation that wasn’t self imposed, began. I tried to regain my footing, but it seemed as society didn’t want me, and I was left to wallow in my pain and isolation. I began writing full time and learning a lot of other things, but I became a complete social recluse, a total hermit. My computer was my only window to the outside world and writing was my preferred method of communication. This is not common knowledge until now.

My family became extremely concerned about me, and little did I realize that I was in the middle of a stark breakdown and depression. I was, more or less, a dead person walking. I thought that depression looked differently than what I felt, so I didn’t believe I was depressed. I thought depression was sadness and crying all the time. I was mad at the world and wanted to be left alone. I didn’t really trust anyone. I had bad migraine headaches a lot, joint and muscle pain, felt tired all the time, and some days, I didn’t feel like doing anything but laying in bed and sleeping.

In the later part of 2011, I met people who would become my best friends. They were the first real friends after a fifteen year wait when I had none. Having people outside of family who really love and care about me, are happy to see me, and who want to give me a hug has been the biggest key to my recovery. Just having a friend I can call and talk to if I need it is something so many people take for granted. It means the world to someone who was hated as much I had been. I had to go on the radical notion to try to trust one more time; maybe it was because I didn’t really have anything to lose and all to gain if it worked out.

bar

Over the next three years, I connected with these people and fixed the many parts of me that were broken, and the deep, painful scars were finally able to heal–there was a lot of me that was broken that barely worked, if at all. I began to read material about leadership and social skills–things I never learned due to my tormented childhood.

I am a Survivor!

On November 8, 2014, I declared myself survivor and not a victim. I want to start a new life with a clean slate and only share this and help others–which will also be helpful in my continuing recovery.

I had to bandage up my inner child and fight free from the grips of the past. It has taken quite a process. Nearly every day, I continue to tell myself that my past doesn’t dictate my future. There are still days where it doesn’t feel like it, but I have to muscle through.

I have never taken any medications since I had serious fears about it altering my brain chemistry and the side effects, especially with increased risk of suicide. I had an aunt, stricken with CPTSD due to a long history of domestic violence who took antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and Ambien, who later killed herself. No one ever thought she would do this. I have been taking vitamin supplements and natural alternatives to meds. They help with a lot of the physical and chemical symptoms related to CPTSD, minus the risks and side effects. Meds only help with the anxiety; they don’t do so much with the stuff that causes that anxiety so much.

Some periods of healthy isolation is good for me since I am an introvert by nature, but too much of it is bad. Connecting with nature, meditation, prayer, and reflective thinking also help, but this may not work so well with extroverts. Finding solitude, a place to be at peace, helps with the nightmares, intrusive emotions, and triggers. Avoiding environments that are stressful and full of the triggers, unless necessary, also help.

Talking with my parents and my new friends about what really happened to me for the first time has been another big key. I couldn’t talk about it years ago due to the pain of reliving it, but I should have. Only do this with people you really trust. Talking about it when you are ready, despite the pain, is part of release and recovery. Some of my stories have been hard for people to hear or believe.

I am slowly and systematically trying to reconnect with people as I come out of “hermithood.” In case you are wondering, becoming a hermit for the rest of one’s life isn’t necessarily a good thing, nor will it help with overcoming CPTSD. It’s actually extremely harmful. Extended isolation over a long period of time hurts more than it helps, so don’t do it to yourself, if you can help it. Even introverts and shy people need positive human contact–even if it’s just a little when they need it.

I feel empowered and compelled to take back something I have been deprived of. I now feel more apt to chase after the dreams that I once felt were unreachable. I never went to see a therapist or a psychologist. One reason was that I felt I was paying for someone to be my friend or to care about me until the money ran out. To me, it’s almost as bad as having to pay for sex, because I don’t have a prayer for getting laid. My insecure attachment and history with betrayal had a lot to do with that notion. There were some other reasons as well.

I have not recovered 100% yet, and I am still on my way. I just have to take one day at a time and resist frustration since it is a slow process considering the damage and the length of time.

Have questions or comments? Please share!

If you want to connect with me you can find me on my website or on Twitter: @A_K_Taylor. All my other links are on my website. After a long and still-ongoing recovery, I have a new WIP: Overcoming and Combating Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.

 

 

Sign up for my newsletter and never miss a post again! I will never share your email and that’s a promise. Follow me on Twitter @RachelintheOC or @BadRedheadMedia for social media, branding, or marketing help. Increase your blog traffic by participating in #MondayBlogs (a Twitter meme I created to share posts on Mondays — no book promo) and entering my free feature giveaway.
Broken Pieces is still going strong, #1 on Amazon’s Women’s (paid) Poetry list. Pick up a copy today, or one for a friend. Broken Places will be out by Christmas from Booktrope.
Don’t miss Author Social Media Boot Camp! Take a look: group sessions for authors on a budget. Now you too can get affordable, effective help FAST! Follow @ASMBootCamp on Twitter and sign up today here!  
All content copyrighted unless otherwise specified. © 2014 by Rachel Thompson, author. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to use short quotes provided a link back to this page and proper attribution is given to me as the original author.
Images courtesy of unsplash.com

Where To Find Content When You Just Don’t Care

fall benches

 

Shocking news out this week: we are not perfect beings. I know. What the fuck? I want to speak to the manager.

We have meltdowns, some more publicly than others (see my latest Huffington Post article on NYTimes bestselling author Ayelet Waldman’s most unfortunate Twitter rant because they failed to choose her for their 100 Most Notable Books of 2014), and hopefully some of us learn, or at least learn to move the hell on. Want to know what helps me focus when I just don’t care? Let’s deconstruct.

THE FOUR AGREEMENTS

In working with authors and clients, I recommend reading The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz — it’s a short little book full of practical wisdom. For writers (or any kind of artist-person or well, person-person), the most important agreement is this: don’t take anything personally. People think I have a third eye when I say that. Crazy woman! How can we not take it personally when someone calls us stupid or says our book is awful?

But I don’t. Because it says so much more about that person and their perceptions and life experience than it does about me. Maybe it’s a way to fool ourselves, but so what? It works. Maybe it’s the same as Madonna’s blunt lyric in Human Nature: “I’m not your bitch, don’t hang your shit on me.” All I know is, it’s a way to cope with the sting and move on, and maybe that’s not a bad thing.

four agreements

QUOTES AND SHIT 

I avoided sharing quotes for THE longest time, because I felt that inspirational BS was just that — a bunch of rainbows and unicorns that amounted to jack. And for what it’s worth, I still think that. However, I now share poetry quotes and the occasional empowerment or feminism quote that resonate with me. Quotes that you don’t see very often (I hope). I also share quotes from my own work, or from other writes that I enjoy. Call it ‘soft marketing’ or whatever — mostly it’s about sharing my work and the work of others — quotes that makes us think.

I’ve found the best quotes on Pinterest and Goodreads — Pinterest is easy because many quotes are already in a visual format. Simply pin and share, or schedule them in using Hootsuite or Buffer. However, you do have to be careful. Sometimes, a quote is mis-attributed or not attributed at all which, as a writer, is a total no-no. I only pick quotes that are given attribution, and heads up, if it sounds too modern for say, Einstein or Darwin to have said ‘hustle,’ it is. Skip it.

VIDEOS 

Facebook and Twitter love videos. You’ll get more shares from those than just about anything else. But what to share beyond a cat video?

I don’t like sharing what everyone else is sharing. Everyone loves Buzzfeed and Upworthy and they are great sites, no doubt. But I want cool stuff, things that 50K other people haven’t already seen. Where to go?

Here are some cool alternative sites with neat stuff (I especially like aplus.com):

http://www.tubesurfers.com/

http://www.viralnova.com/

http://news.distractify.com/

http://aplus.com/

So on those days when you’re not feeling perfect, visit a few of these sites and feel good, get tingly, and share something that makes you focus on something besides that zit the size of Mount Rushmore on your chin or the fact that your boss is a jerk. None of that will matter next week, right?

Keep moving forward and stuff.

 

Sign up for my newsletter and never miss a post again! I will never share your email and that’s a promise. Follow me on Twitter @RachelintheOC or @BadRedheadMedia for social media, branding, or marketing help. Increase your blog traffic by participating in #MondayBlogs (a Twitter meme I created to share posts on Mondays — no book promo) and entering my free feature giveaway.
Broken Pieces is still going strong, #1 on Amazon’s Women’s (paid) Poetry list. Pick up a copy today, or one for a friend. Broken Places will be out by Christmas from Booktrope.
Don’t miss Author Social Media Boot Camp! Take a look: group sessions for authors on a budget. Now you too can get affordable, effective help FAST! Follow @ASMBootCamp on Twitter and sign up today here!  And don’t miss it: special ‘CRASH COURSE’ Webinar with Rachel on Thursday, 12/11 at 6pm PST. Get your book ready to sell for the holiday. Sign up here now! Just $57.
All content copyrighted unless otherwise specified. © 2014 by Rachel Thompson, author. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to use short quotes provided a link back to this page and proper attribution is given to me as the original author.
Image: Unsplash.com

#MondayBlogs Giveaway December 2014

MB-FINAL-LOGO-KLM

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 and a big ol’ smile! As a thank you to all you wonderful #MondayBlogs tweeps, we launched an ongoing, monthly giveaway contest in April and we couldn’t be happier with the response!

The Featured Monday Blogger giveaway is our way to say thank you for participating in #MondayBlogs by giving you more exposure for you and your blog. Each Monday for one month, you could have a different tweet sent out by @MondayBlogs to all our followers and be featured on IndieBookPromo.com! But wait, there’s more! Following you, the lucky winner, on Twitter would enter others into the next month’s contest!

Who doesn’t want more blog traffic and a free feature? #MondayBlogs

Nice bit of exposure, don’t ya think?

That sound like something you’d be interested in?

If so, enter now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Featured Blogger November 2014
Kathy Sharp

Happy Sharing,
Rachel, Will, and Kate

Please note that due to the popularity of Indie Book Promo guest posts will be scheduled according to availability. If you cannot wait for your post to be up you may decline the prize.

Sign up for my newsletter and never miss a post again! I will never share your email and that’s a promise. Follow me on Twitter @RachelintheOC or @BadRedheadMedia for social media, branding, or marketing help. Increase your blog traffic by participating in #MondayBlogs (a Twitter meme I created to share posts on Mondays — no book promo) and entering my free feature giveaway.

Don’t miss Author Social Media Boot Camp! Take a look: group sessions for authors on a budget. Now you too can get affordable, effective help FAST! Follow @ASMBootCamp on Twitter and sign up today

Giving Back

We take a lot from each other throughout the year:raspberries

  • Can you buy my book?
  • Review my book?
  • Tweet this for me?
  • Share this post?

It’s all part of ‘selling’ in this new virtual world. Well, now I’m turning all that upside down and giving something back. How? Let’s deconstruct.

#MondayBlogs 

If you don’t already participate, #MondayBlogs is a blog sharing meme I started back in 2012. It’s free to participate — just share a blog post on Mondays, retweet others, and don’t share any kind of book promotion or ewwww, porn cause, ick. That’s really it. If it’s Monday where you are, share a tweet with the #MondayBlogs hashtag.

Easy.

If you want, you can follow the @MondayBlogs Twitter stream, but it’s not required. We don’t guarantee we will retweet you, but we do try. With thousands playing, we can’t get to every single tweet, but we certainly do our best! The whole point is to increase traffic to your site, meet fellow tweeps, and increase connections while building relationships.

I also have a #MondayBlogs monthly free feature giveaway — feel free to enter and share the love!

#SexAbuseChat and #NoMoreShame 

With the release of Broken Pieces in December of 2012, I was overwhelmed by how many people contacted me with their own stories of surviving childhood sexual abuse, and I knew I had to DO something, anything, to give them some kind of platform to share their own stories. I connected with the amazing Bobbi Parish (@TruthIsHers) and we started a weekly Twitter chat, #SexAbuseChat, every Tuesday at 6pm PST/9pm EST, where we discuss publicly, with whomever wants to participate, topics to help survivors learn about subjects like PTSD, the abuse cycle, forgiveness, and more. Our group grows weekly and I’m amazed by the courage and love of this chat.

Taking it further, Bobbi and I connected with survivor Athena Moberg to create the #NoMoreShame Project, and our first anthology volume, Discovering True, released last week! This volume focuses on stories and poetry by survivors about surviving and we encourage you to purchase a copy for the strong survivors in your life — 10% of the proceeds goes to survivor charities. Please visit the site also — chock full of resources, FAQs, and amazing articles pulled together by Bobbi and Athena. They’ve worked so incredibly hard on this site — I hope you will visit soon.Discovering True-HIGH-RES

Author Social Media Boot Camp 

As the owner of BadRedhead Media, I consult one-on-one with all kinds of authors and small businesses, and I realize that many people cannot afford my normal $150/hour rate, so I created group sessions, aka, boot camp (four group sessions for $400) to appeal to every budget.

With the holidays getting close, time is of the essence. Is your book marketing ready for the holidaze? :) Let’s do this thingy. While I can’t offer the course totally free of charge (damn rent), I’m offering a one-hour social media crash course for a ridiculously cheap price: $57 for a one-hour crash course on Thursday, December 11, 6pm PST. When you leave, you will be ready to sell books! Book here now. Tell a friend! timex watch

This is how I give back. How about you? Please share below.

 

Sign up for my newsletter and never miss a post again! I will never share your email and that’s a promise. Follow me on Twitter @RachelintheOC or @BadRedheadMedia for social media, branding, or marketing help. Increase your blog traffic by participating in #MondayBlogs (a Twitter meme I created to share posts on Mondays — no book promo) and entering my free feature giveaway.
Broken Pieces is still going strong, #1 on Amazon’s Women’s (paid) Poetry list. Pick up a copy today, one for a friend. Broken Places will be out by Christmas from Booktrope.
 Author Social Media Boot Camp! Take a look: group sessions for authors on a budget. Now you too can get affordable, effective help FAST! Follow @ASMBootCamp on Twitter and sign up today here!  (It’s not to late to sign up for the November sessions, currently 20% off!) 
All content copyrighted unless otherwise specified. © 2014 by Rachel Thompson, author. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to use short quotes provided a link back to this page and proper attribution is given to me as the original author.

 

#MondayBlogs Giveaway November 2014

MB-FINAL-LOGO-KLM

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 and a big ol’ smile! As a thank you to all you wonderful #MondayBlogs tweeps, we launched an ongoing, monthly giveaway contest in April and we couldn’t be happier with the response!

The Featured Monday Blogger giveaway is our way to say thank you for participating in #MondayBlogs by giving you more exposure for you and your blog. Each Monday for one month, you could have a different tweet sent out by @MondayBlogs to all our followers and be featured on IndieBookPromo.com! But wait, there’s more! Following you, the lucky winner, on Twitter would enter others into the next month’s contest!

Who doesn’t want more blog traffic and a free feature? #MondayBlogs

Nice bit of exposure, don’t ya think?

That sound like something you’d be interested in?

If so, enter now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Featured Blogger October 2014
Gina Stoneheart at Walking in the Write Direction, One Story at a Time

Happy Sharing,
Rachel, Will, and Kate

Please note that due to the popularity of Indie Book Promo guest posts will be scheduled according to availability. If you cannot wait for your post to be up you may decline the prize.

Sign up for my newsletter and never miss a post again! I will never share your email and that’s a promise. Follow me on Twitter @RachelintheOC or @BadRedheadMedia for social media, branding, or marketing help. Increase your blog traffic by participating in #MondayBlogs (a Twitter meme I created to share posts on Mondays — no book promo) and entering my free feature giveaway.

Don’t miss Author Social Media Boot Camp! Take a look: group sessions for authors on a budget. Now you too can get affordable, effective help FAST! Follow @ASMBootCamp on Twitter and sign up today

I’m Not Broken! I’m More Than a Survivor, I’m a Lifer! by guest @aleishagore

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Please welcome to the blog director and producer of Chocolate is Not Better than Sex and author Aleisha Gore as she shares her story. Aleisha has a powerful message that I hope will encourage and empower other survivors. *Trigger Warning* 

A couple months before my thirteenth birthday, I was raped at a Monsters of Rock concert. I remember it was during Metallica, my favorite band. I was dressed in a white-tiger striped mini skirt and had bought a M.O.R T-shirt. I was with my brother. Some fans crashed the gate below us and a hundred people or more moved forward into the lawn area. My brother had some friends in front, so he left. I stayed where I was. I met a guy named Eric, that’s his name, I don’t see any reason to protect it or him. We chatted a bit and then he asked me to come sit with him in seats behind the stage where it wasn’t as loud. I didn’t know or didn’t think at the time, it was also where no one could hear us. I went with him and it was there that he forced himself on me while I called out, “I’m only twelve! Stop!”

He walked me to the bathroom where I saw my skirt was bloody and I told a girl in the bathroom that I had just been raped. She ignored me. I don’t know if she just didn’t care, was on something or didn’t hear me. But, I washed my skirt and tied my shirt around me. When I came out, he smiled and made it seem like it was such a great thing. He hugged me, kissed me and even took my shirt. I was so confused. Was this man who took my virginity and treated me like now I was his girlfriend thinking that I was ok with it all? I didn’t know what to do. I must have been in shock. I did everything he asked. I let him have my shirt and my phone number and I left to go find my brother.

When I found my brother I started shouting at him and throwing the discarded beer bottles at him. He didn’t know what had happened. I hid the words from him even though I did not hide the anger and pain.

The next morning, our babysitter found my bloody pantyhose in the trash and told my parents. I had to admit to them that I had been raped.

This was the first time, but not the last that I would be assaulted.

When I was seventeen, I babysat for a young couple. They were rockers and lived in Hollywood. When I arrived, I took their daughter into my arms and started playing with her on the floor. The husband walked out fresh from the shower in just a towel and sat on a chair spread eagle in direct eye-line from me. I averted my eyes.

When they returned from the party they had attended, the husband took me home but instead of dropping me off, drove me past my house and parked and wouldn’t let me out. Instead he opened his pants and took my hand and placed it on him. He told me he could teach me things and that he wasn’t happy in his marriage. I was utterly mortified and felt powerless, I froze. I refused to do anything with him. I took my hand away and after begging him to drive me to my home, I jumped out of the car. I thought about calling the wife and telling her, but I never called them again. The next day when I met up with my boyfriend, I told him what happened. He wanted to take a baseball bat to that guy. But, I wouldn’t let him do anything. He wanted to be a police officer when he got older and I wouldn’t let him hurt his chances to defend my honor.

Finally, when I was thirty years old, I auditioned for the part of vampires in a vampire film.   The producer gave me an “eh, you could be sexier,” and asked me to come back for another audition.  I was naive to say the least, when I went alone and at night and it was only him at the apartment serving as his casting office.  I was fondled and humiliated.  He said if I couldn’t take this how was I to take it when an actor did it to me on camera.  There was some logic to it, I thought, but at the same time, shame and more humiliation.  I cried and called my friend as I drove home.  The next day this same producer asked me on a date.  Again, humiliation crept in.

You may be thinking that I sound like a victim. But in my 39 years (14,235 days) on this green earth, I’ve had three bad experiences like this but thousands more empowering experiences.

  • I stood up to gang-bangers in my Junior high school who threatened me and got them to stay away from me.
  • I joined a Tae Kwon Do Studio and excelled to Orange Belt (and I plan on taking that back up!)
  • I worked two jobs while maintaining an A-B average in High School and earned enough money, plus a scholarship to go to Germany on a student exchange program TWICE!
  • IMG_19800107_132603I visited France, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Germany, Denmark and Norway all before I turned 18.
  • I fell in love, got married and although I almost died, I had a beautiful baby girl, a preemie at 31 weeks. She weighed 3 pounds 14 ounces. But not only did she and I survive, she grew very well and caught up!
  • I was, myself, a hard labor, I was breech, had the cord wrapped around my neck and when I was born, I weighed 9 ½ pounds and was very long.
  • When I was 13 I wrote over 300 pages of song lyrics and poetry
  • When I was in the 5th grade I wrote a children’s book and even drew all the pictures.
  • When I was 15, I wrote another children’s book and submitted it to an agent.
  • In Junior High, I received one of the highest awards from the State Department for an essay I wrote.
  • I was digging through my storage and I found a screenplay I wrote when I was just 13.
  • I went to India for three weeks, two I spent in the jungle!

These twelve experiences show I will not be put down. I will not be stomped on or brushed aside. I have value. I am worth something. I am powerful. I am loveable and can love.

unnamedThere is so much more to tell, but I will end with this: I have written over 300 pages of poetry and lyrics, 2 novels, 4 screenplays (working on 5 & 6), several short stories and 17 shorts. I produced 47 episodes of an SNL spoof on YouTube called Saturday Night YouTube where I wrote, produced, acted and edited every Saturday for 6 months straight. I got my degree in film production. I have produced music videos, PSAs, Industrial videos, sketches, short films and live shows. I am currently working on my first feature film, a heart-warming romantic comedy called Chocolate is Not Better than Sex. It is live on my website right now. I intend to direct it in December, come hell or high-water, because I do believe in myself. I know I can do it.

I like to go back to the film Shakespeare in Love, where the theatres are all closed and the debt collectors are threatening to put the producers feet to the flames, the producer says, “Strangely enough, it all turns out well.”

“How?” asks the collector.

The producer responds, “I don’t know, it’s a mystery.”

What I do know is, it’s happening. No matter what, we’re doing it. I hope you will all join us as supporters on our website and share with everyone you know. Life is a funny thing, time is relative and if a cell can appear from nothing, so can we.

Much love and much success to you!

About Aleisha Gore:

Aleisha GoreAleisha Gore is the director and producer of Chocolate is Not Better than Sex.

Join us for all the fun on our website! http://www.chocolateisnotbetterthansex.com

Music Videos I produced and directed http://espritfilms.com/musicvideos.html

PSAs I produced and directed for Help for Orphans, Int. http://espritfilms.com/psas.html

Short Films I worked on or wrote, produced and directed http://espritfilms.com/watch.html

My blog www.aleishag.blogspot.com

Teaser Trailer and movie site for Chocolate is Not Better than Sex www.chocolateisnotbetterthansex.com

More about me: www.aleishagore.com

My books: www.marneyandme.com and http://girlinahouse.com/adventure.html

 

Sign up for my newsletter and never miss a post again! I will never share your email and that’s a promise. Follow me on Twitter @RachelintheOC or @BadRedheadMedia for social media, branding, or marketing help. Increase your blog traffic by participating in #MondayBlogs (a Twitter meme I created to share posts on Mondays — no book promo) and entering my free feature giveaway.
Broken Pieces is still going strong, #1 on Amazon’s Women’s (paid) Poetry list. Pick up a copy today, one for a friend. Broken Places will be out by Christmas from Booktrope.
Don’t miss Author Social Media Boot Camp! Take a look: group sessions for authors on a budget. Now you too can get affordable, effective help FAST! Follow @ASMBootCamp on Twitter and sign up today here
All content copyrighted unless otherwise specified. © 2014 by Rachel Thompson, author. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to use short quotes provided a link back to this page and proper attribution is given to me as the original author.
Image courtesy of Toa55 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

The Other Side of Words — An Excerpt from ‘Broken Places’

I’m sooooo close to finishing my latest book of essays and poetry Broken Places (set for release before Christmas from Booktrope). Yay! Today I’m sharing an excerpt about … well, you tell me. I’d love your thoughts.

Pick up Broken Pieces today — 99c sale (for one more day) on Amazon (eBook). No Kindle required.

unsplash lone girl

THE OTHER SIDE OF WORDS

by Rachel Thompson

I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t tell him. The gravity pushing me down so that I became a micro version of myself, voice tiny, movements small.

“You need to go. I can’t do this anymore,” I say in a rushed, pained whisper, pushing it out before I can breathe it back in, before it can beat me down anymore. 

He hangs his head. It was coming. He knew it was coming. How could he not? We hadn’t fucked in years, hadn’t touched in months. My desire for him ceased the day he lost my faith.

Such a complicated swirl comes to down to this, a simple haiku of randomly plucked words. It’s over. It has been. Echoes of what we had torture us, but those are only ghosts, memories that taunt us with promises of what we once had. Happy pictures don’t capture the resentful sadness behind our brightly lit eyes.

You convince me that I need you, but I’m better alone. I have been for so long now. If being alone means depending on myself, on my quiet determination, on peace and gratitude, then I’ll be making my way now.

I’ve learned that this is not my place. I’m not really who you think I am. I need more than you can give. I asked, you denied. I needed, you laughed. I gave, you took.

It’s not all you. I can’t give you what you need anymore. I’m not an actor. I can’t fall at your feet and eat your words as if they are the best I’ve ever tasted. I’m a writer and words matter.

And maybe that is my elemental, as crucial to me as water. I accept that words aren’t the same ethereal, beautiful creatures to you. You used words, discarding them meaninglessly, without thinking, whereas I thought they held meaning.

I found what you will never see: that my love resides on the other side of words.

Sign up for my newsletter and never miss a post again! I will never share your email and that’s a promise. Follow me on Twitter @RachelintheOC or @BadRedheadMedia for social media, branding, or marketing help. Increase your blog traffic by participating in #MondayBlogs (a Twitter meme I created to share posts on Mondays — no book promo) and entering my free feature giveaway.
Broken Pieces is still going strong, #1 on Amazon’s Women’s (paid) Poetry list. Pick up a copy today, one for a friend. Broken Places will be out by Christmas from Booktrope.
Starting NOVEMBER 3: Author Social Media Boot Camp! Take a look: group sessions for authors on a budget. Now you too can get affordable, effective help FAST! Follow @ASMBootCamp on Twitter and sign up today here
All content copyrighted unless otherwise specified. © 2014 by Rachel Thompson, author. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to use short quotes provided a link back to this page and proper attribution is given to me as the original author.
Image courtesy of Rachel Thompson and unsplash.com

Why I Chose the Title “Feminist” by 14yo guest Makena McElroy

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Today we have a very special guest, 14-year-old Makena McElroy has me speechless. What a brain! Please welcome her to the blog and be sure to check out her article “Young Voices | A 14-Year-Old’s Look at Rape Culture” on Sweatpants & Coffee. Comments are welcome. Trolls are not. 

I call myself a feminist. I could choose the word “egalitarian.” I mean, I do believe in equal rights for all people. Why not just label myself that and call it a day?

But I choose to call myself a feminist, because feminism means that you believe in the equality of the sexes. And I do.

People have a skewed definition of feminism.

Isn’t that dismissive of men? – People ask me. If you call yourself egalitarian, no one will think you don’t care about men. But I choose the word feminist because I want to acknowledge that in every single country in the world, men are held in higher regard than women. In some countries, this means that women can’t drive, can’t vote, can’t leave the house without a man’s permission, oversight, and approval. In the US, it means something different. It means a few years from now, I will be able to get my driver’s license, vote, and own property. And maybe I should be happy enough with that. But I’m not; I believe in the equality of the sexes, and there is much more to equality than these few things.

I believe that little girls should see their gender reflected on TV, in books, and in movies as whole, developed characters, not as accessories for guys. I think that no little girl should have to hear her brother being told to “stop being such a girl.” I think that little girls should be able to look at a list of presidents and feel proud to see women on that list. I think that what I’m saying should apply to every little girl no matter where they live.

Women make up 51% of the United States population, and 0% of US Presidents.red nails camera

I call myself a feminist out of respect for the women who came before me, the women who rallied and protested and fought until they won the right to vote. I call myself a feminist because I want to be like them. They, too, were bombarded with anti-feminist propaganda. They, too, were called crazy for wanting equal rights. I stand with their memory.

I’ve been called a “crazy feminist,” by boys and girls alike. I know that being a feminist is a “turn off” for some guys. But feminism is way too important to me for me to back down just because other people think I’m crazy. In a way, their criticism solidifies my beliefs. If caring about women’s rights is a turn off for guys, something needs to change.

Emma Watson’s speech at the UN was powerful. Important. And true. She talked about how feminism, in our society, is perceived mainly as man-hating misandry. But she knows, and I know, that that is nowhere near the message of feminism.

Feminism is women’s right to vote. Feminism is saying it can’t end there.

Feminism is ending the wage gap between genders. Women make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. That can’t be true, you say. Actually, you’re right; that’s 77 cents for white women. For black women it’s 69 cents and for Latina women it’s 59 cents to a man’s dollar.

Feminism means wanting another role model in the media for girls besides “the love interest.” Feminism means wanting another physical role model other than the stick thin supermodel. Feminism is not wanting girls to be defined by their weight, their looks, or how much skin they do or do not show. Feminism is being able to wear that dress, that skirt that makes you feel like the goddess you are without having to worry that you will be stared at, whispered about, cat called, judged for what you wear when there is nothing wrong with showing skin and it shouldn’t mean anything about who you did or did not sleep with. Feminism is being able to cover your entire body and be given the same respect.

Feminism is wanting the words “slut” and “whore” to never be used by anyone again. Ever.

Feminism is saying that 1 in 4 women are raped in their lifetime and we need to do something other than blame the victims for how they dressed, or say the solution is to not go out alone. There will always be a woman in a dress in a parking lot alone. We need to change our attitudes toward this problem.

Feminism means never using the argument “men get raped too” as an excuse or a way to stop people talking. Because “men get raped” should be its own sentence, not something tacked on to the end of an argument against women’s rights.

Feminism is acknowledging that while women in America have come so far, the battle for gender equality is far from over.

I will fight for that equality. For me, for the people who come after me, and for the ones who came before me, the people who created the word “feminist.”

 

About Makena McElroy:
Makena McElroy is a 14-year-old sophomore who is fond of all things nerd. If she is not at the theater, she can be found catching up on the latest episode of Doctor Who. Makena writes for Sweatpants and Coffee’s Young Voices column. She lives in California with her family and her computer.


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All content copyrighted unless otherwise specified. © 2014 by Rachel Thompson, author. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to use short quotes provided a link back to this page and proper attribution is given to me as the original author.
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The Day I Became Anne Frank by Guest Sarah Fader (@osnsmom)

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Please welcome Huffington Post blogger and Stigma Fighters leader Sarah Fader to the blog today as she shares her story of battling depression. 

When I was a teenager, I began struggling with anxiety and depression. I would wake up to my heart racing uncontrollably. My mental health issues were like an annoying person that insisted on tagging along with me everywhere I went. As much as I told the person to go away, she insisted on staying with me. So I learned to live with her, as irritating as she was. She was a nuisance at first, until I began to use her. I learned that the pain that depression caused made me a better artist.

As an adolescent I attended the “Fame” high school in New York City. I was studying theater there. During my sophomore year I played the role of Anne Frank. Also during this time, I was suffering a great deal with clinical depression. I was having trouble eating, showering and functioning. I was in a tremendous amount of emotional pain.

I knew the pain was going to be there no matter what. It was an unwelcome guest, a tagalong and an annoyance. So I used it. As I played the role of Anne Frank, I thought about my emotional agony and I used it to convey how Anne felt. She was trapped. She was in love with Peter, but there was no future for the two of them. Her death was imminent. Her pain was my pain. I became Anne.

I’ll never forget that day. I held my scene partner, Nick’s, hands and looked into his eyes searching for something. Earnestly I thought, maybe he has the answer to my pain.

It was the best scene I ever performed during my time at Performing Arts high school. My classmates came up after the scene and congratulated me on my work. Little did they know that the reason that scene was so poignant, the reason that it was emotionally cathartic was that I was experiencing emotional turmoil. I wasn’t myself. I was consumed by a black hole otherwise known as clinical depression.

After graduating high school, I stopped pursuing theater for some time. Unfortunately, that left me with no outlet to express my intense emotions, so I developed an ulcer. I knew that I needed to find an alternative outlet for my emotions that wouldn’t reap havoc on my body. I went in search of what that might be.

Since that time, There have been moments when I’ve felt hopeless, moments where I’ve felt my heart pounding so hard I thought my rib cage would explode. There have been times that my entire body was tingling because I’d forgotten to breathe for an indeterminate amount of time. During these moments I’ve found a way to release these intense emotions.

Instead of using them to create a theatrical performance, I’ve transmitted these overpowering emotions into writing. I refuse to let my emotions stay inside of myself. Instead they will pour out of my heart and onto a page where they belong.

Writing provides me with a much needed release from clinical depression. When I write my feelings on paper I see what they are. They are no longer overwhelming. They are tangible. I can touch the words. I can read them aloud. I can see that they are just a series of words forming together to become coherent thoughts.

When I feel: I write.
When I write: I release.
When I release: I heal.

 

About Sarah Fader:

Sarah FaderSarah Fader is the creator of the popular parent-life blog Old School /New School Mom. Her work can been found on The Huffington Post. Sarah is a native New Yorker who enjoys naps, talking to strangers, and caring for her two small humans and two average-sized cats. Additionally, like about six million other American adults, Sarah lives with panic disorder. She writes a column for Psychology Today called Panic Life. She is currently leading the Stigma Fighters campaign, which gives individuals with mental illness a platform to share their personal stories. Through Stigma Fighters, Sarah hopes to show the world that there is a diverse array of real everyday people behind mental illness labels.

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Saturated by guest Sarafina Bianco (@FinaBianco)

Please welcome author and domestic violence survivor Sarafina Bianco to the blog as she shares her story of abuse, suffering, and finally rebuilding. 

*Trigger Warning*

It’s been five years since I left the house on Sunset, but it seems like it happened last week. Time escaping me like morning dew as the sun rises. I still remember that hot July morning, limping out of a sociopath’s playground toward freedom. The week before he held a gun to my head. The morning I left, he threw me down a flight of stairs.

Leaving meant I would live, but life didn’t begin again once I escaped. Instead, I suffered the aftermath of my abuser, something my family and friends tried to understand. I should’ve been happier without him, they said. And I believed them. There we sat, thinking the year and a half I lost with him was all that would be taken.

But that’s not what happened.

My abuse was sexual, physical, emotional and financial. The aftermath of each haunted me. I lost my job because he was my boss. Three days later, a man and his wife chained my Beetle to their tow truck and stripped me of transportation and, more than that, the tiny shreds of dignity I was still holding onto. Then, a month later my house went into foreclosure proceedings. Jobless, carless and homeless at the age of twenty six. All because I loved with the wrong guy.

Standing in the yard of the house I was losing, I stared back at black shutters, wondering when they would fall like I had. My mums were dead. And in many ways, so was I.

In another sense, I was more alive than I’d been. He couldn’t rape me in the shower or beat me before breakfast. I didn’t have to hold my breath before speaking. And normal bumps and scrapes looked plunging shades of eggplant and red-violet, each a saturated and deep reminder that physical injuries disappear faster than emotional ones.

Sometimes, when my head was noisy, I’d inflict my own wounds, throwing myself against sharp edges of furniture or cutting my legs with razors to watch myself bleed, to remember I was alive. My life was reduced to this. Too much to handle, I made myself suffer the same injuries he did. To ease the excruciating depression, anxiety and panic, I battered myself, hoping physical pain would mask the emotional: my own personal form of bloodletting. In the interim, I showed signs of PTSD and body dysmorphic disorder. This was my life now. Unrecognizable. Unforgiving. Unbelievably broken.

I begrudgingly accepted help from people who, just a year before, looked up to me. And I was embarrassed about it. Survival, after all, is the commonality among us all: our abuse and abusers may differ, but we each face the unfair, unfiltered aftermath. It’s the place where we lose ourselves before we relearn how to live.

Certain I couldn’t afford therapy, I knew it was time to quit holding so many secrets. So I started a tiny blog, sharing details as excruciating as the ones I’ve shared here.

Eight months after I left, strangers were reading my story. And one of them, a childhood survivor of abuse, reached out to me.

“There are free services,” he said. “My dad abused my mom while I watched. Non-profits offer therapy, if you’re lucky.” An hour later, I found one in St. Louis.

The wait list was long, six months until I could be registered. But knowing I would receive help pulled me out of some moments of sadness, and I kept writing my journey, hopeful my honesty would also be my release.

I started intense trauma therapy for survivors a year after I left.

It took a long time for me to trust anyone, including my therapist, but I kept non-violently fighting. If I didn’t, suffering wouldn’t stop. I had no choice but to keep trying, to push through the discomfort and depression. A year later, I started seeing noticeable changes. I’d stopped hurting myself physically. And my blog was being nominated for awards I didn’t know existed.

Life reminded me it was worth living just in time to rebuild.

After three years of therapy and five years of surviving, I changed career paths, making a life as a writer and advocate. I wrote my blog into a book, detailing the remnants of a broken life in hopes society might, someday, better understanding the inner workings of abuse. And I will stand beside any woman who wants to share her horrors, because we all deserve to be heard.

My life is – once again – moving faster than I’m ready for. The House on Sunset was released on September 22nd, a baby of a book waiting for people to judge it. Old fears surface and threatened permanence. What if it sucks? What if my message is lost in the sadness?

Then I remind myself I’ve lived through worse than someone telling me they don’t like my writing. Bad reviews and infrequent sales are nothing. If I can survive at the hands of a man who tried to murder me, I can certainly rebound from something as small as an opinion.

There’s no denying life gets ugly. We all face adversity. It’s what we do in the aftermath, the choices we make and the beliefs we hold about them that define us. Nobody else controls that. Nobody else determines our worth.

I know I’m stronger than the naysayers and critics now, because I’m sharing my story anyway.

Image courtesy of  marcolm at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About Sarafina Bianco:

Fina_400x400Sarafina Bianco is the author of The House on Sunset, a memoir released on Amazon. She is a domestic violence survivor, blogger, columnist and activist. She is starting the Twitter campaign #domesticviolencechat, set to begin on October 1st: the first day of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. You can find her on her blog, Twitter and Facebook. She also writes for The Flounce and The Good Men Project weekly.

Sarafina lives with her husband and three dogs in St. Louis, Missouri.

Sign up for my newsletter and never miss a post again! I will never share your email and that’s a promise. Follow me on Twitter @RachelintheOC or @BadRedheadMedia for social media, branding, or marketing help. Increase your blog traffic by participating in #MondayBlogs (a Twitter meme I created to share posts on Mondays — no book promo) and entering my free feature giveaway.

Starting OCTOBER 27: Author Social Media Boot Camp! Take a look: group sessions for authors on a budget. Now you too can get affordable, effective help FAST! Follow @ASMBootCamp on Twitter and sign up today here

All content copyrighted unless otherwise specified. © 2014 by Rachel Thompson, author. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to use short quotes provided a link back to this page and proper attribution is given to me as the original author.

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