In the Fall of 2016, I created a file titled ‘Untitled Self-Help/Memoire Hybrid’ with the goal of using writing to figure out why I thought and felt the way I did. Looking back, it seemed such a simple of an idea but in reality, it became so much more. What I didn’t know then was that I would go into the deepest, darkest, and most painful parts of my mind to answer my questions. I would go into the storage unit of my mind as I call it and open boxes of memories, thoughts, and feelings I hadn’t dealt with.
I don’t regret what I’ve done at all because it was necessary to bring me to the point I’m at in my life now. I’m much more calm and focused in my mind and my emotions don’t run away with me in an out of control spiral. I’ve learned to trust myself, to trust my instincts, and know that I don’t have all the answers and neither does anyone else.
The title ‘Breaking Radio Silence’ came to me in the Spring of 2018 and has stayed with me since. But what followed after that was the deepest dive into my mind, and one of the most painful times in my life. I felt like I was just functioning enough just to stay afloat, like I’d reach an island and find shelter when another storm would toss me back into the waves. Each realization as I call them brought me clarity and lifted weights of shame and guilt off my shoulders, but they didn’t bring me happiness and joy.
In March of this year, I created an outline for this book that I’ve kept. It’s pretty basic but I was finally able to create the map for this book. I tried writing this book like I do my fiction by just writing and editing as I go but that didn’t work for this project. It turns out with non-fiction I need structure to go off of.
Early on in this book’s life, the phrase ‘peeling back layers’ came to me. What I mean by ‘peeling back the layers’ is that I placed layers of silence, denial, shame, and guilt over so many thoughts and feelings that I had buried the truth about them. One big layer I peeled back was denial that I had made certain decisions in my life though in the past I had denied that with every ounce of strength I had. But now I realize I stayed silent about making those decisions at all because I didn’t want to deal with anyone’s bullshit attitude about them.
Not wanting to deal with anyone’s bullshit attitude is a big reason why I stayed silent so much throughout my life. Because all my life I’ve been told ‘no’ more often than ‘yes’ and I internalized that to where I thought I was weak and fragile, and to where I thought I had no right to my thoughts and feelings at all, even inside my own mind.
Because another thing I had to overcome in writing this book is learning how deal with someone who will mouth off and say I’m doing this for revenge, or to get even, or to prove a point, or win an argument. I have had to learn how to come up with a strategy to deal with someone mouthing off at me saying I’m just looking to profit from my misery. To both arguments I just have one response now: fuck off.
This project may have started out as what I called a ‘therapy book’ but it’s turned into so much more. I know there are people in this world who have thought and felt like I have, and have been through things similar to what I’ve been through. And because of that, I know they’re hurting like hell. My wounds will never completely heal nor will they will just disappear. And though I’ve been broken by a lot of things, I’ve forged my broken pieces back together with the shiniest of metals to show my wounds and what I’ve healed from. That’s the reason I’m writing this book: to help others. Because if anything that I write gives hope to someone, gives them something to hold on to, or helps them work through their own pain, then all the storms I went through will be more than worth it.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting excerpts in progress (I hope to have a complete working draft finished by the end of this year). I don’t want to work on this 24/7 because I think I’d drive myself nuts if I did. But in the last four years, this book has never left me though there were times I would have loved to have walked away from it.
But I’m not one to walk away from the hard stuff past a certain point, especially if the world is crashing down around me. I’m just breaking my silence about that with this book now.