My book, DYING TO LIVE: Running backwards through cancer, Lupus and chronic illness won an award from Indies Unlimited, an organization that celebrates independent authors "whose body of work is not obligated to a single large publishing company." It was a wonderful surprise to open an email with the heading "Congratulations" and learning all the benefits of the award itself, including a reception and medal ceremony on May 28 at The Harvard Club in New York City, a one-hour book signing in a publisher's booth at Book Expo America May 29th to 31st and a 20-minute video chat produced by Shindig.com. Plus, over the four day period, I have the opportunity to meet and mingle with authors, agents, publishers and distributors and announcements of my award and work will be included in numerous publications and on several websites.
Funny thing is, I haven't made a dime from this book; nor did I or do I have any expectations that I ever will.
But it doesn't matter. Writing the book was a healing exercise for a chronically-ill person like me. It was my gift to the scads of others who are similarly struggling with acute disease, especially those who can tie it directly to maltreatment during childhood. The ACE Study proves that children who were neglected or abused are then biologically pre-disposed to getting sick as an adult.
A funny thing happened on the way to this forum - I've changed. Since publication of my book last June and the death of my brother last August, I've been re-traumatized and fumbling around trying to figure out who I am - again! My Statue, as described in my book, was my visualization for me, myself, and I and, most importantly, how I was doing that day or should take care of myself.
For example, if I woke up in the morning and visualized my Statue strong and tall, I went out confidently to face the world. If I woke up and saw a crack down the middle, an arm broken off, or it rocking back and forth on its foundation, I knew I needed to be kind to myself that day. Since my brother's death and just like when I was smacked down with Stage IVB cancer and Lupus, my Statue is not only dust, it is missing!
Where did it go? How could I get it back? Well, the answer finally revealed itself to me. I don't want it back. I am a living, breathing, growing organism who should not steel herself to the world as a block of stone. I should be open to healing and love and less guilt and worry. I am a newly planted bush, just rooting in the soft earth and sprouting baby leaves and tiny white flowers. It's my fourth 'new normal' in this life.
The lesson is that we can all remake ourselves, one tiny bud at a time. Change the self-image and you change the person. My life is no longer on hold. I have a lot of new things to explore.