What you’re about to read is a post that was made earlier this year, in June, on my old website.
– originally posted on wordpress.org site –
Today, I canceled my appearance at the Cleveland Author Event that’s happening next weekend (you should still go tho, it’s gonna be fabulous!). This is the second event this month I’ve canceled. This isn’t something I take lightly. Readers shell out hard-earned cash and the organizers bust their asses to make each event amazing. I always try to be as honest as possible while still being slightly vague when I have to cancel an event or change a release date. As I’ve addressed on this blog, I can’t always trust my brain to adult like it’s supposed to. And lately, my heart has been acting up as well. In the past, I’ve asked my amazing publicist what to say and how to say it. It’s her job to protect me and she does an fantastic job of it.
But this time, I’m not asking for guidance because I know what needs to be said. I need to be honest without bleeding all over the place, which I’m not really sure how to do. How do I break down years of trauma and abuse, so that it’s palatable enough for you to read? How do I tell you that I’m struggling (in everything) without giving you my life story? How do I not turn people away from me in the process? A year ago, the answer was to ignore it. I was still too angry to realize how much hurt lies just beneath the surface. Six months ago, the answer was to use my depression and anxiety as a scapegoat. Not that they’re not real, or not issues. More like, they’re symptomatic of deeper wounds I’m still dressing. Three months ago, it was the second job I picked up to allow for more time between releases. I know how to deal with my depression. I know how to cope with my anxiety. But, as I write this, I’m still barely just scratching the surface of unpacking all the damage I had hidden away from living with an abusive parent. I’m still learning how to identify the abuse and sort through the lies and pain.
I resolved to myself that I would stop hiding behind my anger, to let myself feel the pain. That I would look at where I am and be grateful for this career– even on days when I feel like I’m losing it. I resolved to work smarter, be kinder, and to try and convince myself to stop expecting miracles just because it’s Sunday. Most people don’t care about any of this, and that’s fair. But there’s a few who will read and remember this. Maybe it’ll resonate with them. Maybe they’ll give themselves grace even if they don’t think they deserve it. Maybe, for just a minute, they’ll be kind to themselves instead of being critical.
The thing about saying you’re being honest about a situation is that it indirectly implies there’s a way to have been dishonest. But the reality is that I’m an author. In a very small, mostly insignificant way, a public figure. I don’t have the same rights as a private citizen anymore, and because of that, I’m very careful with what I put on display. As all authors should be. I weigh the benefit of being honest with the privacy that comes with being vague. There’s a time for both. Many authors are very open about their personal struggles, while others keep a professional image no matter what. There is no right way or wrong way to be a person.
So while you’re at the end here, and still wondering why I had to cancel Cleveland– because I never did give an exact reason– please understand that it’s not just one thing. It’s everything I’ve touched on, in some way, big or small, that’s lead to me needing to take a time-out this summer. When we plan events, accept invites, and pay table fees, we do so months in advance, if not years. We don’t know what will be going on in our personal lives at the time. We all have a lot on our plates– even and especially the authors who never have to cancel an event or delay a release. I don’t pretend to know what their lives are like, just like I hope they don’t pretend to know mine. All I can say is that I’m just… hanging in there and doing my best even when it’s not quite good enough. And I’m working hard at getting back to where I was two years ago.
I just hope you’ll hang in there long enough to see me do it.
Ps: If you know anyone who needs help, or if you’re suffering yourself, there’s help out there. And there’s help right here. If you need help, or feel like helping, here are some amazing organizations for you.