He’s Not Broken Excerpt

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An excerpt from my upcoming book, He’s Not Broken: A Mother’s Journey to Acceptance

I have a photo of my son Jacob in the pilot’s seat on his first flight. He was six-years-old. His hands are on the controls, with the pilot’s hat perched on his head. It’s one of my favorite pictures of him because you can see how happy he is. His face was alive with excitement, no trace of anxiety or sadness to be seen, no sign of Tourette’s, or OCD. In that frozen moment, he was just a regular kid having the time of his life. 


We got in on a Thursday and everything was going fine. By Thursday evening Jacob’s mood had darkened. As we were getting ready to go to dinner, he started crying.


“Momma, I can’t not love you and Daddy, right?” 
“What do you mean, Jacob?” Warner asked.
Jacob’s voice cracked and his eyes darted frantically from me to Warner.
“Right? Right? Tell me. I can’t, right?”


Warner and I exchanged a confused look. I walked around the bed to Jacob. Before I could reach out to him he dropped to the floor and buried his face in his hands. He began to rock back and forth and between sobs he repeated, “Right? Right? You know that, right?”
At that point it became pretty clear that he needed a definitive answer to put his mind to rest. He looked up at us, his face a sticky mix of snot and tears. Warner knelt down on one side of him, me on the other. He wiped Jacob’s face and assured him. “It’s okay, Jacob. Of course you love us. You have to.”


“And we love you too. So much.” I added as I wrapped my arms around him.
He wriggled out of my embrace, stepped around Warner and began to pace the floor.
“But my head is thinking things I don’t mean.” He began to hit the sides of his head. “AHHHH! I CAN’T MAKE IT STOP. THEY WON’T GO AWAY.” He fell to the floor once again. 


Warner and I stood over him, wiping away our own tears and searching for composure. We were lost. How do you explain to a six-year-old that his mind is screwing with him? I sat down on the floor and held him while he cried. Warner sat with us, his arms around me. And we sat there, the three of us in our buttoned up coats, locked in an embrace and an emotional battle we didn’t understand. 


After 30 minutes Jacob had calmed down enough for us to go to dinner where we sat trying to forget the scene that had just played out—trying to blend in with the other families that we saw—the families whose lives seemed so perfect. 


I had pretty much convinced myself that the excitement of the trip was just too much for him, and nothing else.

No Body Is Perfect

Something occurred to me the other day as I was watching a movie on Netflix. There was one particular scene that made me wish I could go back to my late teens, early 20’s. The girl was trying on some clothes and admiring herself in the mirror. And it was that comfort that she felt in looking at her reflection that gave me pause.

I cannot recall ever looking at myself with such confidence. Ever. To be honest, it’s still something I struggle with on a daily basis. Watching her made me sad. And I’ll tell you why.

If I go back and look at pictures of myself around the same age as her, I now see a young woman, that should have felt more confident, more at ease in her body. Not because I was all that, but because I would soon be past those days of youth, and regret that I didn’t embrace them, embrace myself more than I did. My low self-esteem held me back from so many things.

I hated how I looked and felt that if I looked different the world would open up for me. So, I became anorexic in high school. I didn’t set out with anorexia as my goal, but it seemed the smaller I became, the more people noticed me.

Now don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t being ignored prior to that, but I wasn’t exactly being “seen” either. Losing weight got me compliments. Losing weight made me feel better about myself.

The pictures from those days paint a different reality. I was sick. Not only mentally, but physically. There are so many things I would do differently if I could go back. I imagine that if I had projected more confidence (real, or imagined) I would have had the life that I so desperately wanted.

In some ways I feel like that girl now – just decades older.Wanting to fit in the pages of the magazines, but finding that I’m exhausted from decades of trying to fit a mold that was invented by an industry that constantly set me up for failure – then and now.

Over the years I’ve seen the standards being tested by different body types. But it still bothers me that women are being categorized by body type at all. Plus-sized, full-figured, skinny – all these define women by shape. We are bombarded with headlines about losing weight. Flooded with photos of beautiful, happy, people who just happen to have the perfect body.

I’ve been fed, and have been “eating” these images since I was in 7th grade. And even though I know there is no one size fits all, and that photos are altered, it has never stopped me from second-guessing how I look.

My body isn’t perfect in any way. It doesn’t look the way I wish it did. And I’m not sure that it ever will after a lifetime of being brainwashed.

But at the age of 51, what I’m trying to focus on is not what my body looks like, but what my body has done:

  1. brought two beautiful souls into this world
  2. survived heart surgery
  3. run a 1/2 marathon
  4. survived a suicide attempt
  5. overcome an eating disorder

I encourage all of you to give a shout-out to the body that has gotten them this far. After all, you wouldn’t be here without it. 🙂

Happy 2019

Another year already? Now the mother of a 13-year-old and nearly 21-year- old. My second go round with a teenager.

I’m a half a century plus one; and it seems like I just graduated high school last year. Funny how the mind never quite catches up with the mirror.

I’ve been told that I “don’t act my age”. I’m not sure how a person my age is supposed to act. Why are certain things relegated to the younger crowd? I refuse to take part in that system.

I wear clothes from Hot Topic and Forever 21 (when clearly that was a memo my body didn’t get). I watch shows like Riverdale and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina the Teenage Witch that are geared toward the more hormonal crowd – although as a middle-aged woman I can fully attest to the fact that hormonal fluxes are not ageist.

I read YA fiction, peppered with a good dose of apocalyptic horror and self-help books for good measure. And I like to draw cutesy girls and animals. I dress up at Halloween and I still believe in magic.

That’s who I am. I’m not the number 51, nor am I the ache in my knees when I kneel down in front of the John Green section at Barnes and Noble. I’m not the wild garden of silver that is sprouting from the depths of my scalp, no more than a person with depression is her disease.

I am deeper than a number. Wider than a name. Stronger than an idea.

I am a being of eternal possibility.

I am a being of eternal possibility.

I am a being of eternal possibility.

Say this slowly. Taste the words. Let them melt in your mouth.

Eddie’s Attic Reading

I just did my first poetry reading last night at Eddie’s Attic in Atlanta alongside the amazing Sabrina Benaim and Clementine vonRadics. How awesome is that?!

Just wanted to thank everyone who stopped me to say hi. I never expected my poems to touch so many people.

Stay tuned to this page. I plan on being more active here.

Thanks again. Last night was easily one of the best nights of my life.

 

Publishing My Memoir!

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(This is a very bad mock-up of the cover. Also, Michelle will be changed to Ginger because when you search for Michelle McGee on Google…well, just see for yourself.)

/Widgetflex.swf” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Help Me Publish!!!

1 in 360 (approximately 138,000 US children) have been diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome, based on parent report.

Run your fingers through my soul. For once, just once, feel exactly what I feel, believe what I believe, perceive as I perceive. Look, experience, examine, and for once, just once, understand.
-Author Unknown 

He’s Not Broken, is a 16 chapter 65,000 word, non-fiction, autobiographical book of a mother and son’s journey to healing and acceptance. An inspirational testimony of how a life filled with challenges – OCD, Tourette’s, Anxiety – can be used as a vehicle to engage in a proactive approach, rather than a life of silence and denial, it teaches us all that reaching out to others can make a difference.

I began writing He’s Not Broken 10 years ago. 10 years! I did have an agent express interest and request edits, but I’m almost embarrassed to say that those edits took me 5 years. Life happened. OCD happened. Anxiety happened. And every time I sat down to work on edits, I had to face the pain of all those years of struggle. Maybe I needed to take that long in order to have some time away from the story, so that I could make it even stronger in hindsight.

That said, since I have been carrying this book baby for 10 long years, I really need to bring it into the world now.

I believe in He’s Not Broken. I feel certain that it’s a book many will find helpful – caregivers, parents, family members – anyone who has a close connection to someone who requires special needs.

It’s the book I needed when Jake was first diagnosed. It’s the book that would have made me feel less alone. And, even though I certainly had support from family, it wasn’t the same. I needed a friend who could listen, but more than that I needed someone who had navigated the same waters, the same emotions. I want He’s Not Broken to be my stand-in since I can’t reach out personally to everyone. More than anything, I want my book to give others hope.

That’s where you guys come in. I hate asking for things, but He’s Not Broken needs to be available sooner rather than later.

If I’m going to self-publish, I’m going to do it right. That means lots of self-promotion, and a bit of an investment upfront.

I will need about $2500 to get this book out there. That will/should cover the following costs:

copyediting
cover and interior design
advertising
purchase of ISBN number
marketing and publicity
book trailer
promotional copies of book

AND THERE WILL BE CAKE! Ok, maybe not cake, but I have some incentives/rewards to offer as a thank you to all who donate!

And for everyone who donates I will be forever grateful for your support!  Please click this link: /Widgetflex.swf” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Help Me Publish!!!

Peace,
Ginger

 

 

 

New Year = New Old Me

 

IMG_2429Here we are again – a new year with possibilities waiting to unfold. For many, that means a complete makeover—mind, body, soul. The big three. The holy trinity of guaranteed happiness. An overhaul. And while some will be looking to buy a whole new computer, I’m looking to reboot the one I have back to its factory settings.

It really wasn’t that long ago that I used to know what I was doing. I was by no means perfect, but I had an idea of what I needed not just to survive, but to live. After all, that’s the point, right? I’d like to say this past year was that time, but I have to be honest with myself and admit that it’s been the past few years that I’ve lost sight of my own picture.

Last year was particularly bad. I was hit hard with one of the darkest depressive episodes I’ve ever had. And it lasted a very long time. A combination of life stuff and a full hysterectomy that unleashed a pretty horrific army of hormones or lack of, and I began a spiral that nearly ruined me. (But I did get some good poems out if it).

I won’t get into the particulars, but it was bad enough that I chose to admit myself into the hospital—a decision that would affect my whole family in a way that has caused many problems. 😦 It was a difficult decision for me to make considering the stigma attached to such places. And why is that? Shouldn’t we be applauded for recognizing that we need a break, that we need help?

I’ll write more about my experience in the hospital in another post because I think it’s an important post and doesn’t need to be lost in the middle of another.

Back to my reboot. For me it’s the simple stuff, that I’ve allowed to be swallowed up by the struggles I’m having in other areas of my life. And when I say simple, I mean just that simple, basic.

  1. Eating – it’s something I tend to forget when I’m stressed or depressed. And then when I do eat, it’s usually not the most nutritional. Think pickles and crackers. Honestly, food is never something I’ve really enjoyed like I feel like I’m supposed to. Remnants of my days courting an eating disorder, I’m sure. So even on the days when I would remember to eat, it would make me sick. Like my body wasn’t quite sure what was happening.
  2. Drinking –  let me clarify – drinking water. I had the other covered. I know I must be severely dehydrated. Sometimes I’d go the whole day having only had coffee in the morning, and wine in the evening. Other than water to brush my teeth, I really didn’t have any. Not good. No wonder I’m tired all the time. Oh yeah, you can add pickle juice to that list, because I love me some pickle juice. I’m surprised I haven’t dried up.
  3. Exercise – I always know I’ll feel better. Always. And yet….

So there it is—easy as pie. Right? So it would seem. I want it to be easy. But I know that I’m going to have to dig in and go all Nike on it, and soon. So why is it so hard for me?

I’d love to know if you struggle with some of the same issues. It’s in sharing that we learn. I’ve shared. Now it’s your turn!

Tag! You’re it.

Peace, Ginger

 

Debut book of poetry on Amazon!

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Click on this link to purchase your copy of Nothing & Everything – a chapbook of poems about depression. If you are so moved to purchase my book, and, after reading it, are moved even more, please post a review on Amazon. This is a dream come true for me and I want to continue to pursue my passion. Your comments will help me get there. Thanks in advance.

 

– On being there for you

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how can i be strong for you

when my bones have been crushed?

how can i comfort you

when i sleep in blankets of sadness?

how can i hold you

when my arms carry the weight of the world?

how can i listen to you

when the voices in my head are screaming?

how can i walk a mile in your shoes

when i can’t even get back on my feet?

how can i be part of your life

when my own life isn’t whole?

 

how can i be anything to you

when i’m nothing to myself?

                                — on being there for you