If you can't take the whole of me, then choke.
This photo is the one used on the back cover of my debut novel. Yep, odd, I know, that a burgeoning author would hide their face. But I had to keep my identity a secret because no one, except my Aunt, knew that I was about to fulfill my lifelong dream of becoming an author.
Why Was It A Secret?
Well, to make a long story short, it was a surprise that had been years in the making. It was initiated as a way to surprise my Granny and our family's Fancy Hat Literary Luncheon's book club guests; however, she transitioned before I completed the book.
So, we switched gears... My Aunt, and co-conspirator, and I decided we would surprise the book club she is a founding member of instead. And so the plot to give U.S.G.I.R.L.S. the book reveal of a lifetime began. Did I mention my momma is also a member of the book club and she had NO IDEA I was the author of the book? None of them did, and many of those women had known me since I was a babe.
It Was An Amazing Day
I was so nervous! I had to listen to Meg and Beyonce's "Savage" the whole ride to the event space to get my head in the game. But what waited on the other side of 14 years of fighting with imposter syndrome, fear of not being good enough, and even more years of hiding myself was a moment I wish every single author could have. Those women laughed, cried, and celebrated Looking for Hope, never knowing the author was sitting amongst them taking every little piece of it in. They loved the book, and when my Aunt called the author to the podium, they all looked to the door. When they turned back to the front, confused that no one had appeared, they were shocked. I was given a standing ovation. It took everything in me to heed my Aunt's warning (read threat) that I better not cry. LOL!
But It's Time For Me To Stop Shrinking Myself
The thing is...I've realized over the last few years that though me hiding for the reveal of the book had it's place, I'd really been hiding for much longer than that. To quote my mentor and dear friend, Tina McElroy Ansa, "I didn't realize how tall you were until I stood right next to you. You were shrinking yourself."
The Universe sends me messages in threes. That was the third time I'd received the message that I'd been making myself small and it started an awakening for me. And 2023 sealed the deal. Being clairsentient and empathic, I'm pre-wired to try to make others around me okay. I hadn't realized that had somehow morphed into me shrinking, bending, twisting, and smushing myself into boxes so everyone else could shine. And for far too long, I've allowed others to recognize and take advantage of that.
So...It's time for me to stop shrinking myself. It's my time to shine, and if I'm too bright for you, I'd suggest you invest in some shades... or go blind. It's up to you, but this light is gonna burn bright!
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