Stand or Fall – An Origin Story

The idea for this book came to me after the US Presidential Election in 2016, a time when I simply asked, “What the hell happened?”

I’ve been a flaming-liberal progressive Democrat all my life and have voted that way since 1992. I’d gone from the high of the first Clinton administration to the low of the second one. I’d gone through eight years of war-mongering and rising right-wing bullshit of the Bush, Jr. years. I fought to maintain hope through the Obama years and thought it would be Hillary’s time after that. But my gut was also telling me it wasn’t her time and hadn’t been since 1992 when she became the right-wing’s favorite villain.

But in the six years since that fateful election in 1992, I’ve seen just how bad things can get. They make the nuclear scares of my 1980’s childhood look tame because in addition to those nuclear fears (which have never gone away), I also fear the slow and painful destruction of our world through environmental destruction, pandemics we won’t be able to respond to, and genocidal violence from far-right groups around the world who want to finish what the Nazi’s started over seventy years ago.

I have struggled hard to even start writing this book because I was watching history happen before my eyes that would culminate with millions dead around the word from an pandemic that may have been contained if the right leadership had been in place worldwide. But most of all, I struggled to write this book after being told all my life that I have no ability to talk about politics or political and social issues. And all from people who honestly didn’t give two shits about me or what I think and feel about the issues of our time. I’ve been an avid follower of political and social issues since my age was in single-digits and though I’m not an expert by any means, I feel I have a perspective that’s not dry, too scholarly, or inaccessible.

I was born in May 1974, three months before Richard Nixon resigned from the Presidency. My late father was an avowed Nixon hater and at times I thought it was mostly just his raving paranoid lunacy. But as I learn more about Nixon and the rise of the modern right-wing conservative movement from the early 1970’s onward, I’ve begun to realize my father was right when he used to go on about Nixon and company wanting to bring back the Fourth Reich as he called it.

For me in the 1980’s, I felt like conservative Republican were just like the bullies I dealt with in school. These bullies singled me out for abuse simply because I was ‘different’ though I was only different because I was fat, shy, and clumsy. I’m a straight, white, heterosexual female but add in the ugly appearance, creativity, and compassion and you can see why I was targeted. So yes, my feelings towards conservative Republicans are personal. To me, any argument that politics isn’t personal is total fucking bullshit perpetuated by people who only want to silence anyone who isn’t falling into lock-step, jack-booted, Nazi-red MAGA hat wearing perfection.

But don’t worry, I won’t leave the left out on this one either. I don’t like left-wing purity culture that’s only minus the fucked-up sexual purity of right-wing purity culture. I also don’t like the doom-and-gloom of the left-wing sometimes, so much that I would love to bitch-slap anyone who jams their head up their ass instead of taking names and kicking ass by voting and giving a genuine shit about the world we live in.

What really prompted this book is the right-wing desire I see to destroy this entire world and everyone in it if they can’t have it all for themselves. In the 80’s and 90’s I thought right-wing Republicans were mostly harmless. Since the 2000’s, they’re deadly. They started two wars, one on false pretenses, and let an epidemic kill a million people in this country. And worst of all, they’ve openly embraced fascism, neo-Nazism, and attempted a coup on January 6, 2021 they still haven’t answered for in a court of law.

I have fought like hell to maintain hope that we’ll put this one out but sometimes I’m fond of saying, “I’ve seen this movie before and I know how it ends.” I grew up on dystopian science-fiction and it always gets worse before it gets better. Just how much worse, I don’t know. Before my generation got bogged down and gave in to the latchkey-pessimism we were raised on, I had hope. Or at least I did in 1992. By 2000, that hope had been broken and I’ve been trying to pick up the pieces ever since then. This book is the story of hope found, lost, and hopefully found again.

Breaking Radio Silence – An Origin Story

In the Fall of 2016, I set out on what I thought would be a straightforward journey: to use writing to try and figure out why I thought and felt the way I did. At that time, I knew there were things I needed to deal with and I thought writing them out would help me see exactly what they were and what I could do about them. I titled this project, “Untitled Self-Help/Memoire Hybrid” as I felt this project would be a combination of self-help and memoire used to illustrate the things I was working through. But in the Spring of 2018, that began to change when the title, “Breaking Radio Silence” came to me.

In the Summer of 2018, I felt like I was going through a Category Five hurricane of emotional storms every single day. I was physically exhausted by this and just barely holding on. In time I realized I was breaking the silence I had imprisoned so many thoughts, feelings, and memories not just to try and get away from the pain, but to keep them from coming out of me and being used against me as a weapon. I felt like I was having a conversation with myself like I never had before, felt like I was allowed to.

In the last months of 2018, I reached what I call the ‘storage unit’ of my mind. This is where I put my most-painful thoughts, feelings, and memories. In those last months of 2018, I went through that storage unit and opened some very painful boxes and sorted the contents out. Most of all, I put those contents into words in my mind and by doing that, I lifted weights of shame and guilt I never should have carried around in the first place.

But I still had a very long way to go to get to the point I’m at now. From 2019 till now, 2022, I had to keep asking questions to figure out why I couldn’t write this book. The big question that got answered over the last six months was this: why have I never followed through on anything I ever wanted to do? The answer to this one was one of the most painful realizations about myself because it was full of regrets and anger, a very volatile mix I had to work through.

The emotional storms are nowhere near as intense as they have been in the past. There is a calm and focus inside me because I’ve come to the most important conclusion about myself and the answer I didn’t know I was looking for. And that answer is at the end of the day, I am worthy and capable of love, and being loved in return. I have also realized that I can try my best to truly connect with people in any way I can, including through writing.

I will tell you right here and now that “Breaking Radio Silence” will not be an easy read, but it will be a hopeful one. And I hope that readers will get something out of it that will help them deal with their own thoughts, feelings, and memories.

The ultimate purpose of writing this book is to help other people, people like myself who have been through things like I have and are trying to deal with the wounds and find healing, and for people who are going through things like I have and need something to hold on to.  

In the end, healing can be had. It’s a long, hard road that never really ends. But it begins with one thing: breaking radio silence. And it continues with a conversation that wasn’t had before.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting excerpts from the book in progress along with related pieces to the theme of breaking radio silence. I feel this is going to be an ongoing project for me even after the book is finished and published.

Breaking My Silence – A Manifesto and a Conversation

I call this blog ‘Conversations from the Road’ because I view my writing as a conversation between me and the world, and from the road because I feel life is a road we’re all on. This will be a daily blog and this week I’ll be showcasing what each day will be dedicated to for the foreseeable future (or until some book projects are finished).

Today I’m starting with a manifesto and a brief explanation behind it. This has been very hard for me to post because I’ve never really said anything like this out loud. But I know I have every right to say what I want to say, and respond in the way I want to even if someone doesn’t agree with it. The piece below is razor-sharp and is about as plain and straightforward as I can make it. But it’s all about me and no one else.

My Personal and Writing Manifesto

  • My writing and how I live my life are not an act of defiance, or an act of revenge. My writing and my life are not about getting even, settling scores, winning an argument, making a point, or any bullshit like that.
  • I will not apologize for anything I don’t have to apologize for, or just for being myself. I will not defend myself or my words and actions when I don’t have to.
  • I will not bend or break for anyone, and I will not go silent for anyone.
  • I will always have hope for a better future and I will always work towards that.
  • I will always believe in myself and my abilities, and that I am so much stronger than I will ever know.
  • I will always remember that everyone is just as full of shit as I am somethings but that doesn’t make me a bad person. No one has all the answers or knows what the future will be even if they say they do.
  • Most of all, I will always believe in love, and that I am worthy and capable of love and being loved in return.

I wrote this on January 9, 2022 by hand and told myself I could not throw it out under any circumstances and that I had to publish it. Why? Because these are my core beliefs that I live and work by, and I know I’m going to piss someone off with what I say or do so I might as well go all-in. That fear of pissing someone off and having to deal with their bullshit has held me back more than anything in my life. I’ve always backed down and gone silent even though the people who have mouthed off at me or bullied me forgot what they said ten minutes after they walked away from me. People have the right to say whatever they want to me, and I have just as much right to respond to them in whatever way I choose, even if it’s in a way they don’t like. People say they can agree to disagree but that’s not the case most of the time. They can agree to disagree if the other person shuts up and runs and hides like I always did but will not do anymore.

The story behind all this is very long and complicated and will be told over time here through blog entries and my non-fiction triumvirate of books as I call them (Breaking Radio Silence, Stand or Fall, and The Written Road). But I’m not all doom-and-gloom and writing-therapy here. I’m also about having fun, finding joy and peace in this world, and sharing knowledge. So let me give you the low-down on the tag line under my headline banner: Writer, Creator, Explorer.

Writer

I have wanted to be a full-time working writer since I was twelve years old. I’ll be forty-eight this May so you can see how long that’s been in the making. A lot has happened and the world has changed a lot, too. But the dream has always been there and has refused to die. And my goal in life is to live simply out of an old shuttle-bus I want to convert into a house-on-wheels so I can live and work on the road and see as much of the world as I can. To get that started will be this blog, my three non-fiction books, my Uber book (Uber Tales), my fiction-writing (novels and short stories), and extra writing features like Deep Dive Friday. This week I’ll go into more detail on each one.

Creator

Since I need to earn money I need to create stuff to sell or monetize. I will be putting out fun merchandise to help me develop graphic design, branding, and marketing skills. I’m also going to be putting out YouTube videos and working on developing a podcast.

Explorer

I’ll be starting out locally here in San Antonio, Texas (my hometown) but I will venture out into the world using writing and photography to show everyone here how lovely our planet was before it’s nuked or poisoned to death (hopefully I’m wrong on that but I’m a Generation X pessimist sometimes).

Now, a bit about me.

I’m single, never married or had kids. I’ll be forty-eight in May of this year (2022). I have a dog and a cat. My dog is Darcy, a ten-year old rescue mix who I think look like the result of a blind date between a border collie and a golden retriever. She loves people, cats, but hates other dogs (long story there). My cat is Ronan, an eleven-year old black-and-white chonky boy who isn’t the sharpest claw in the paw sometimes but very sweet.

I’m a flaming-liberal progressive Democrat and have been all my life and always will be.

My tastes in entertainment and culture are all over the place though I do have a very special love for 80’s music and the bygone era that was MTV and cable television. I love all kinds of music in addition to rock ‘n’ roll: jazz, soul, r&b, rap/hip hop, country, blues.

My favorite foods are tacos (I’m from San Antonio so tacos are life down here) though I will try anything new. I drink my two cups of coffee a day and the world should be forever grateful for that. I am trying to eat healthier and exercise more for a woman entering middle-age that’s a good thing (it could keep me from becoming a hunchbacked old crone).

I currently work full-time as an Uber driver because I fell in love with the freedom to make my own schedule and not have a human boss to deal with. Prior to driving, I worked in call centers for seventeen years, also known as call-center Hell. I don’t miss my former life and have decided of all the bosses I’ve ever had I’m my absolute favorite.

I hope you enjoy what you see here and will come along with me on this conversation from the road of my life going forward now.

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