This is a special treat for all of you and for one very lucky charity! I love it when authors come to me with an amazing idea. One that's selfless and impacting. When Jami (JM Dabney) contacted me about this idea I was so over the moon ecstatic! I'm not going to say a word I 'll leave that to her.
If you're not familiar with Jami she an author in the LGBTQ community. Aside from being an outstanding human she's an awesome writer. She has written many books. The Twirled World Ink series is positively wonderful. So be sure to check her out! Here's her website: JM Dabney's Website
Now, chill out and check this post out. It's touching and quite personal. She's sharing this with you for a reason. Hope is a crazy thing. It seems so fleeting these days. Help is always there but we never know where. I commend Jami for putting herself out there like this.
A Celebration of Life: There is Always a Tomorrow, but Tomorrow Isn’t Guaranteed
First, I want to thank Meredith for having me on Diverse Reader today.
Now, I find it difficult to be in the spotlight. I love the shadows and the places I can be invisible. Which makes the fact I picked being an Author as a goal more than a little weird, but I did, and the rest is, as they say, history.
I’ve spent decades attempting to disappear, opening your mouth or typing out words that ultimately put you right out there is hard. It’s especially difficult when what you have to say sometimes is personal. So, let me begin.
I turn 39 this month, and most days I didn’t want to be here, still don’t sometimes.
Suicide carries a stigma. It’s not an easy way out. It’s not a decision made lightly. Suicide is a way to end the pain. Many nights, people, me or you, we lay in bed crying in the dark because we’re not allowed to break. We all hide our suffering behind facades of smiles and normalcy. Going through our days like everything is fine, but it isn’t fine. We know it isn’t all right, but to make others more comfortable we pretend. We avoid disappointing friends, family, shit, some of us worry about disappointing strangers. Expectation is a bitch.
It’s those sometimes unrealistic expectations that make it so much harder to reach one more day.
A little background, I was diagnosed with depression in my teens. They prescribed meds. Prozac. I wasn’t monitored and wasn’t forced to take it, so I didn’t. What I did instead was use drugs and drink. Individuals with mental illness have a tendency to self-medicate. The quickness of a high a lot more satisfying than a pill that makes you feel less than yourself. For years it was my only course for survival and to keep the demons away.
Early I discovered another outlet. I wrote in tattered notebooks to release the demons. All the thoughts that people would consider fucked up and unseemly to utter aloud. Those voices in my head who scraeamed constantly for attention. They weren’t all bad voices. They became my imaginary friends I created to live the life I wasn’t allowed to or didn’t think I’d survive to have.
You see, I’m lesbian. I hid it behind a curtain of straightness. Believed something was wrong with me. There wasn’t. I was merely me without a representation of me to look up to; to see myself in another person and know I was normal. So there I was a depressed teen who didn’t see positive reflections of me.
Writing is an outlet and I still use it today. A lot of teens and adults don’t have that release. A way to get those dark thoughts out of their heads. They don’t have someone to talk to when they feel themselves beginning to break.
I’m sure there were charities and organizations when I was younger, but I didn’t have a resource to find them. I had gay friends back then, to be honest, we were all in the closet except for our safe spaces, our groups. I was just in the closet before I even knew what that meant. I denied it, swallowed the self-loathing until I almost choked on it.
I am Bipolar. I am an Alcoholic. I am an Addict. I wear those labels just as proudly as I wear Lesbian because they are what I am. As much as we don’t want to be defined, sometimes admitting the bad along with the good is our way of protesting and affirming that, yes, we survive and thrive. Someone can see us and understand there is hope beyond the pain.
Even though I am clean and sober, I don’t have any grand delusions that I will remain so, looking back at my past it’s possible for me to relapse, but I must remember that I will get up. Day One will start again, I truly believe we need to accept our failures as much as our successes.
There is always another opportunity to laugh. Crying isn’t a weakness. Feeling pain and sadness isn’t a character flaw. We are human, nothing less, nothing more. We can be angry about atrocities and speak, shout, and raise our fists in protest. I am a lot of things, good and bad.
I am human.
Owning the stumbles we make allows others to see that they may fall, but they can always get up, and there is a tomorrow, but for some, unfortunately, those tomorrows aren’t guaranteed.
Today, we have the resources to make sure that our LGBT Youth survive to be healthy, both mentally and physically, and happy. To understand they are loved and supported. That they have safe spaces to go to and people to talk to that will understand, offer nonjudgmental support and advice.
Regrettably, those resources cost money and time. This year, like the years before, I won’t celebrate my birthday but will start a new tradition. A Celebration of Life.
This is what I offer, it’s not much, but as this is my Celebration of Life I want to give something. I’ve survived and want to make sure this generation of LGBT Youth survive as well as the generations to come.
And since it’s my birthday I can do what I want.
I’m offering a $100 Amazon E-Gift Card, and I will make a matching donation of a $100 to the LGBT Charity of the winner’s choice in their name.
As I said, it’s not much, but every little bit counts. It’ll help keep the lines open at a Suicide Hotline where someone can find a reason to believe in tomorrow. It can contribute to keeping a shelter open so an LGBT youth can have a warm place to stay and a hot meal. It can give someone something as small as personal care items but could mean the world to them.
So, welcome to my new tradition.
Thank you for reading.
$100 Amazon E-Gift Card and a $100 dollar donation in your name to
a LGBTQ charity.
This contest will end on March 18th
A HUGE thank you to Jami for being outstanding!
a Rafflecopter giveaway