Yes, it’s dark inside

Yes, it’s dark inside

I’m perfectly well aware that many of my Alex Conner stories have grit, darkness, and sadness within their pages. But, I also know I have made them heroic, full of humor, and for some of the characters and readers, life changing. Alex’s backstory was something I struggled with. As with most central characters, I wanted, no needed, her to have overcome incredible odds and intense circumstances. One night in 2000, after hours of dancing with friends in San Diego, one of my closest friends opened up to me about what a man did to her when she was a child. I was so completely heartbroken for her as I lay there watching her always smiling face fall into sadness, but then it came to me that I can share her story and give to her a powerful ending to that nightmare within my story. She was gracious in allowing me to merge parts of her into the Alex character, and I hope the ending of Trust gave her something in return, something for all who have been abused. She is a survivor and someone I truly look up to every day.

What I didn’t count on was the transformation I would have now two years later. Yes, I put pieces of myself, my experiences, and piece of the people I’ve met in my life into each part of the first book, but I wasn’t fully aware that I was also healing from my own past. Parts of Alex took on characteristics of a young me trying to claw my way out of toxic and abusive relationship that lasted over two years. These relationships, they don’t start out that way. It’s a slow process where love, or what feels like love, comes first. Then the first violent act is one disguised as protection or jealousy, and a young girl mistakes that for unbridled love- a prince charming fighting for her honor. For me, the ugly side of him reared its head most often in conjunction with his drinking. As we became closer, it was revealed that he was a victim of his own abuser, a continuation of a cycle he was dragged into, seemingly without a choice, a way out, or even understanding of what was happening to him, to us, and to our future relationships.

No one would understand, as even my friends and family could not fathom why I was with this boy. Even my grandfather was taken aback when he wore a hat to meet him for the first time. Maybe an insignificant thing to a teenage girl raised in a different time, but looking back I can now clearly see the disrespect that my grandfather immediately saw and felt. And yes, I stayed even though there were multiple times I was scared of him, when a blade danced along my back, when I was pushed so hard I fell down a flight of stairs, when he attacked my friends verbally and at one time physically, we he lied, cheated, swore, threw things, hit his own friends, and even fought his own abuser, his father, amongst delicately wrapped Christmas presents while his mother wailed in the background, her tears reflecting a rainbow of color amid the twinkling lights.

When you love someone, and see their own tortured past, would any of you stay and try to save them, as I did? Many of you would have walked away long before I did. I tried, many times. Our relationship was tumultuous. Broken off and pieced back together more times than I can count. A staff member saw an interaction he and I had in the hallway, how he was talking to me and the way I was holding myself. Soon after I was called into the guidance office. While speaking with my counselor for the first time someone used the words “abusive relationship”. Yes, friends and family warned me away from him, but those words were powerful coming from someone outside of my life. When she called him in so we could talk, and I have seen him furious, but I have never seen him talk to an adult aside from his father in that manner. I could almost see steam rising off his body; his eyes bore into mine only once, telling me I betrayed him that this should have been our life, our secret to bear. How dare I tell this stranger a thing? And yes, we broke up, again, but we did get back together, even trying this battered relationship as I went away to college, but my counselor’s words always stayed with me, a warning in the back of my mind. I saw another counselor at college; it felt good to speak to someone who wasn’t close to me, who would listen to my secrets, who would help me listen to myself. So much so that I longed to study the human mind, psychology, and part of me longed to help others like me; however, that didn’t come till much later in life.

I left that abusive relationship behind many years ago. But some of the scars followed me, just as they did Alex. Trust was hard to come by, especially when dating, and some of the ways he treated me impacted my behavior, as if tendrils of the monster he turned into left a mark upon my being. I became jealous easily, was less confident, sometimes quick to anger, but one thing that stuck with me, helping me through it all when I didn’t want anyone to know what I allowed to happen, was my love of writing. Throwing my thoughts on paper led to poem books, many of which reflected my struggles with relationships. A novel was what I really hoped to write, and even though he never came to mind when I cycled through plots and character development, it was there, that darkness that had left a mark inside my heart and mind.

When I finally decided that I really wanted to continue my education, my high school counselor’s memory came back to me. Someone had saved me once, and even though it took time for me to really listen, I finally did. I wanted to be that voice for some other boy or girl who just needed to see and hear the truth. As I went through my master’s program in counseling it really shined a light on my life. There were parts of me I wanted to improve. Since I was going to be a mentor and counselor for young lives, I wanted to make sure I was someone they would look up to as well as someone they could learn from.

When Trust was completed twelve years after I completed my counseling program, I didn’t think of him, or the painful part of my past, at least not consciously. But as the years have gone by since the novel was completed, I have read books and posts about survivors of abuse and something in me stirred. I re-read the passages of how Alex felt when she had no control over her own life—the helplessness. How the abuse she suffered impacted her even when she thought she had gotten rid of her abuser for good. But in the end, he is gone and that part of her life is over. She could move on. She could forgive herself. Trust allowed my psyche to beat back my own lingering demons, to heal from what the relationship had done to me and to stop being so angry at myself for what I thought was weakness so long ago. So yes, this book was for me in more ways then I had realized. It is for all survivors of abusive relationships, for my friend, for anyone who has been a victim, who has felt helpless, and who has suffered at the hands of someone who controlled their body, mind, and soul.

Last year I finally revisited to the place I lived during high school and college summers, the place where this relationship began, where I was reminded that it truly existed. I never wanted to return to the small town in Colorado, I felt a relentless resentment towards this place we had moved to during my seventh grade year and that I never went back to after the Christmas of 2000. This summer I returned to visit family who still remained in the desert town of Western Colorado and I realized I hated who I was during many of the years I was there, but it had nothing to do with the actual place- the beautiful Colorado desert. It was truly a heart opening experience. I had finally allowed myself to love this place and to forgive myself. Yes, the old me had stayed because he had been only a child when he was warped into someone who didn’t know anything other than that type of love-a raw angry, controlling, terrible love. I am thankful that I was strong enough so that my part in that cycle of abuse was forever broken. As I shift away from myself, as it is my nature to be empathic and caring, I hope he has also found the strength to break the cycle. That he has love in his life a, genuine and kind love, one that he didn’t have from someone who was supposed to care for him the most.

Thank you for reading this soul-bearing post, and I hope everyone had an amazing holiday season!

Parker

Parker Sinclair

Founder, Owner & Author

Rawlings Books, LLC

http://www.RawlingsBooks.com

Author of Trust: The Alex Conner Chronicles Book OneTruth: The Alex Conner Chronicles Book Two, & Forbidden: An Alex Conner Chronicle Novella adult contemporary fantasy novels and Eve of the Exceptionals (YA fantasy releasing January 2oth, 2016).

Eve of the Exceptionals

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Gratitude, Positive Thinking, & the Law of Attraction

Alex is my magnet.  I’ve been drawn to her character before the 1900’s were no more and the 2000’s stepped in.  I didn’t know what she was going to do, but what I did know is that I was going to write a book with a main character that would be powerful, damaged, skittish, funny, and sexy.  I remember waking from dreams that forced me to jot ideas down onto the closest scrap of paper my fingers could find.  The dam that I thought my life plan was beginning to chip away during that time, but the little cracks took fourteen years to burst open.

Some might question how in the world I held onto a goal for so long without giving up.  One thing that I know for sure is that my thoughts of the book never left me.  Some pages were completed, secure on a disk that moved with me from California to two different cities in Virginia, up to New York, and then back to Virginia.  Those years, the time ticking by, were dominated by thoughts of a family and of my school counselor job. Those were powerful thoughts at the time in my life.  They were stronger than the book that buzzed in the background of my mind.  The persistent thoughts stayed with me though, lingering in the abyss, not ready—not yet.

Now that I look back, I was part of the reason the books didn’t come to life till now.  I didn’t see my finished products as good enough, something people would enjoy, or to be taken seriously.  And the books I loved, the books I consumed, seemed to overshadow the words I had written. My thoughts of the how amazing J.K Rowling is, Patrick Rothfuss’ intensity, Terry Brooks’ magic, not measuring up pushed my confidence into the background.  When I felt I wasn’t good enough—I wasn’t.  The doubt attracted nothing to me but more doubt and gave me the life I feared—one where I wasn’t a writer.  I feared a life where I never prove to be good enough. Now, as I read The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne, I see exactly what I was doing and what part of me still sometimes does.

For most of my life I actually thought, and maybe this is the superstitious Irish parts of me, that if I thought something was going to be good, or that something was currently awesome, I was jinxing myself immensely.  I would actually stop my positive thoughts for fear of the opposite happening.  I shake my head now after learning about the Law of Attraction.  All that focus on my fears, on worry, doubt, thinking how much better other writers were than me, about how hard it will be to break into the book industry, all the negativity was giving me what I was worried about and not what I wanted.  George Lucas knew of this phenomenon as he wrote Anakin as his own personal antagonist and creator of his worst fears and nightmares.  Anakin’s dread brought about that which he feared the most.  George Lucas is a creative genius and it shows in his characters and his stories.  The universe is abundant with creative genius and I am allowing myself to envision joining as a writer.

Just like Alex, I am a magnet. We are all magnets actually and our thoughts attract other like thoughts.   The Secret asks the reader to organize and direct their thoughts by figuring out what they want and then believe they are receiving it already.  This task pushed me to type what I really wanted in my life.  This was something I hadn’t done and in some cases, I had been afraid to totally commit to. When I hashed things out with myself what happened next brought a rush through my body and invoked powerful feelings like I was sealing the deal. She tells the reader to change the wording from “I want” to “I am so grateful and happy that I am/have.”  It was a powerful task and soon dreams and visualizations of my desired future came to me with ease. My goals didn’t seem like pipe dreams any longer, instead they were happening right now.  Of course, some of this may sound easy enough, but it took and continues to take work and devotion.  I do a great deal of visualizing each day, sometimes multiple times a day, about my future and the future of those I love.  Mindfulness practices have nearly been a daily occurrence, and trust me, I still have my meh days. Scathing thoughts drip into my awareness every now and again. The negative thoughts that tell me I’m not a great writer, my grammar needs work, there were issues in the book I should have caught, my book isn’t selling, I don’t have enough reviews, I’m not writing enough, blogging enough, or marketing enough.  The good news is, the happy and positive thoughts are stronger and can easily tip the scales!  Once you put out into the world, into the universe, what you want you see it and believe it to be true.   Then, it will all come to fruition.

What’s been incredible about my practice and teachings through The Secret is that I catch these negative thoughts quicker and find it easier to refocus.  It’s not that I don’t allow myself to be tired, angry, sad, tired, or scared.  On the contrary, I am a firm believer that all emotions have a purpose and we need them to see and experience great joys.  No, I don’t push them away, instead, I focus on the good, the things that make me happy, the love for my children, the jokes with friends and my husband, and the hobbies and exercise I enjoy.  My friend, who is reading Rhonda’s second book, The Power, showed me a section where Rhonda explains the refocusing of feelings as an addition of happiness and not the removal of negative feelings.  She relates being in a bad mood to a glass of water.  This glass contains a small about of water that is our happiness and the negative feelings are the air in the glass that cannot be removed.  Instead, we fill the glass with more water, aka happiness, and we feel better.  We then continue to see the good, to be happy, and to move towards a future that has been put into motion by our own belief that we are already receiving what we really want.  Happiness comes from being grateful for what we have now and not dwelling on what we don’t, or what is not going our way, what someone did to us, or what others have and we don’t.  It’s recognizing the amazing things in your life loving yourself, believing in yourself, lightening up, loving others, and removing stress.

As I read through the pages of The Secret with my friend, one who is also smacking the “duh” hand upside her own head, I have found clarity for my goals and dreams.  I see visions of my future and I feel confident in the fact that I will get there.  My stress has reduced, I show love and affection to my loved ones even more than I thought possible, and I am grateful for what I have now and for all that I am working towards in the future.

So, yes I am a good writer, yes people enjoy my books, and more people will start to enjoy Alex and her band of misfits along with all of the other books and characters I breathe to life in my future novels. Once I believed all of this for myself, I realize that I will achieve my goals put into motion by positive feelings about myself, my vision for the future, hard work and dedication, and believing with unwavering faith that I am obtaining my goal right now.

Thank you for reading my blog, for supporting me, for caring about my words, and for being wonderful and amazing.

Parker