May 1, 2023
In my last post I told about writing a book on my life when I was a young, senseless, lost, girl (50 years ago) and what it took to wake me up. What it took for me to change.
Most people think I wanted to write this book to chronicle a journey out of addiction. There was some of that, of course, but that wasn’t what propelled me to expose myself in such a dramatic and awful way. There are plenty of stories of recovery from addiction and abuse. Lots of them. Literally hundreds, maybe thousands. I didn’t think the world needed another “recovery” story.
My initial motives were quite different!
In the first 10 years or so of my being a “nice person,” I was often invited to speak to youth groups, school assemblies, and some adult retreats of one sort or another. It was embarrassing to share my story. It was much more difficult to field responses from people who were intrigued by stories of crimes committed, arrests endured, jail, prison, and all those sorts of things.
“How many police cars drove up onto your lawn?”
“Did they use handcuffs on you?”
“Weren’t you scared in jail or prison? How bad was it?”
Really? That’s what you got out of this talk? That’s all you got? Not that you’d never go down my path? Not that you’d avoid the stupid decisions I made? None of that? Only curious about the stuff movies are made of? Really!
Over the years, as I listened to people young and old, I caught a tiny glimpse of what I came to call “the glamorization of evil.” How movies like The Godfather and a host of others have made us root for the criminal. That criminals and bad people have power and respect.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I love those movies if they are not too graphic and there is still something I love about The Godfather and its famous one-liners. And of course, there’s Marlon Brando!
But underneath it all, I kept thinking somebody needs to write a book about the underbelly of street and criminal life. The dirty, stinking carpets that reek of beer. The throwing up in gas station bathrooms. The hopelessness of poverty in the days before food stamps, day care, and government vouchers. Somebody needs to tell about the ugly side.
Somebody needs to tell about being manipulated – and then becoming the manipulator. About being used – and then becoming a selfish user of good intentioned. Somebody needs to tell about that!
So after so many years I decided that maybe that should be me. I could do it.
That’s why I wrote the book. Not to tell the story of how great I am to have turned my life around. Not that at all, because I think the greatest stories are of those of you who have lived a good and respectful life. Those of you who have made good decisions all of your lives, good decisions in the face of all the stuff out there enticing you into cheap and quick “deals”. You are the heroes. Not me.
I wrote the book to tell the REAL story, the story that I am embarrassed and ashamed about still now, 50 years later.
This is what it’s really like underneath the TV and movie stories. This is what it’s really like. I wrote the book to tell the horribleness of it, hoping others will run the other way.
And I wrote the book to tell what it’s like to come out alive on the other side whole and happy, hoping it will challenge others to also run the other way.
That’s why I wrote a book.
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