My #BeReal guest today is Rachel Thompson.
She is powerful. She is passionate. She is a survivor. She is empowering.
I read her book, Broken Pieces, in one sitting this week. I couldn’t put it down. It is a book full of emotions that hurt, and yet there is power behind each word imparting strength. There is a link you can click below to get it for free today and tomorrow.
So many of us live with shame. Rachel creates communities where the hope is to leave shame behind. She constantly inspires me with her bravery, her dedication, and her will to help others not only survive but to thrive.
She is a shame fighter.
#BeReal – RACHEL THOMPSON
She tears at her scars the way an addict picks at his scabs … constantly, peeling layer after layer away, watching with detached fascination at how the healing process can start and stop, changing in size and color, yet she never allows the cycle to complete.
Her tearing not visible, but no less intense.
Moving through the fog, she screams out in the night. “It’s okay, Mama,” her little boy tells her as he strokes her arm with tentative sighs, woken by her screams…soothing her back into a fitful sleep of large men, gulps of air, pressing pressing pressing her down. Her small protector, he knows not the terrors of her mind.
I write passionately for her, because she is me.
She is we.
We are the survivors who have stories to tell. Stories that make people fidget in their seats, wondering what that must feel like, glad that it’s not them.
We are glad it’s not you, too. We are happy that you remember a childhood filled with innocent, normal fears of imaginary creatures who live in the dark, instead of the terrifying monsters we know are real.
Broken Pieces and Broken Places (free today and tomorrow on Amazon) are mixes of poetry and prose that give you glimpses into both my brutal dark and moments of sweet light. As opposed to explicit descriptions of the abuse (which I feel would be too much for some readers), I focus instead on the roiling emotions as well as how abuse affected my various relationship experiences.
I didn’t write my books for any other reason than to purge my truths; connecting with other survivors has been my honor and what compels me to continue to passionately vocalize not only my story, but highlight and create community for others.
I started the public #SexAbuseChat on Twitter (every Tuesday 6pm pst/9pm est) for that reason – we’ve carried shame around long enough. I’ve made friends with her – after all, she’s been with me longer than anyone and she has a lot to say. (All survivors are welcome to join simply by typing in the hashtag.)
I started a private ‘secret’ group on Facebook for sexual abuse survivors as well (mostly women, a few men), for group support – not therapy – where we are safe and can discuss anything.
I’ve connected with the amazing Bobbi Parish (incest survivor and now certified therapist who works with sex abuse survivors) and Athena Moberg (childhood sexual abuse and domestic abuse survivor, now certified lifecoach and beautiful soul) to create the #NoMoreShame Anthology, published by my publisher Booktrope.
Finally, Booktrope asked me to utilize this platform I’ve built to create a publishing imprint for them, focusing on stories of trauma and recovery. I’m honored beyond belief to direct the Gravity Imprint, so named by me for the tremendous courage and gravity of sharing these amazing stories (fiction and nonfiction stories of rape, childhood sexual abuse, post-partum depression, domestic abuse, mental health, neurological disorders, sexual slavery, wellness, and so much more). We’ve released six books so far, I’ve signed about twenty authors, and are accepting submissions here.
People see my image and think, oh, attractive person, whatever. I get hit on (mostly on Facebook and Twitter) by men who tell me that my eyes are pretty, or they think redheads are freaks. Frankly, it’s insulting. I’m on social media as part of my author platform, and social media/marketing consulting business, BadRedhead Media. My bio is professional: I’m a sexual abuse survivor, writer, business person. Mostly I don’t reply, or, if my back is up, I’ll refer them to my bio to read who I am and what I do.
As women, we’re raised to take a compliment, yet so many of these guys attempt to shame me into accepting their lewd, pathetic attempts at a pick-up line. Women, too, sometimes will question why I’m offended – why aren’t I flattered? It’s sad, really. As I said previously, I already know shame quite well, and no person has a right to attempt place that burden back on me.
I do understand that we are visual animals, and we make snap judgments within about two to three seconds. As a smart businessperson, I capitalize on that by using my coloring to advantage. Why should I not? I own me. It’s my right to do whatever I want with me. (It’s like telling a woman it’s her own fault she was raped because she wore that short, red dress. Please.)
There’s no shame in sharing who we are, as well as who we’ve become. The people in our lives who can’t handle it don’t deserve our awesome.
Rachel Thompson is the author of the award-winning Broken Pieces, the newly released Broken Places, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. Rachel is published and represented by Booktrope. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. For affordable group sessions check out Author Social Media Boot Camp, monthly sessions to help all authors! Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, bitrebels.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly. Rachel is the creator and founder of #MondayBlogs and #SexAbuseChat and an advocate for sexual abuse survivors. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.
Author Contact Information:
Booktrope submissions: http://booktrope.com/submission-status/
Facebook Broken Pieces Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/BrokenPiecesByRachelThompson
Facebook (Business): https://www.facebook.com/BadRedheadMedia
Author Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/j9oaH
BadRedhead Media Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/koN8r
Full-size Author Photo Link: http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o158/Froze8/RachelThompson_zps88bd401e.jpg