Hey you MonsteRiser,
Now that you know I’m a psycho (If you don’t, read: How to Tap Into Your Freddie Krueger and Love What You Do!), let me share the story behind the story. A girl ain’t just psycho for the sake of being psycho. There is merit to my madness.
So where do I start?
Aahhh. I know. With my eight-year old self.
As a little girl, I used to fantasize about being Wonder Woman. I’d close my eyes and twirl around to transform from a scrawny, puny, terrified of her own shadow into a superhero who could use her lasso, indestructible bracelet and supernatural strength to resist any attack. Oh, how powerful I felt when I slipped into my scanty magical leotard and tiara.
I was Fearless. Invincible. Even cute.
Who cared that my legs looked like toothpicks, my teeth were crooked and my pigtails wouldn’t behave. When I put on that cape, I knew who I was. I was different!
And I liked being different.
That is until life got bigger (a baby, marriage, mortgages). Gone was my invincible, heroic eight-year old self. Replaced by this conforming shell of a woman who didn’t make a move or decision or even take a bath without planning for it. I’d soon learn:
I was not so invincible after all.
I juggled an intense school schedule, raised my daughter, nursed a marriage that was in need of some serious antibiotics and excelled in my career all the while trying to squeeze in a little “work/life balance” when work and life together had not yet found its way into the Webster’s Dictionary, let alone our culture. I was convinced that I would not only shatter the glass ceiling but reinvent it.
Reinventing it came with a penalty.
For years, I’d worked myself into a stupor until one morning I lay huddled in my shower so weak and weary because the pace, persistence, and stress were literally killing me.
Change your life or change your life expectancy.
Those were the first words out of my doctor’s mouth. I was lost.
What did he mean, “Change your life?” That was one of the dumbest things I’d ever heard someone say to me. I’d spent my whole life building this life. How dare he! He just needed to fix me so I could get back to my insanity.
That’s what flashed through my mind for a nano second.
Because wasn’t there supposed to be more to life than just work, pay the bills, take care of my family, live for the weekends. Work, pay more bills, take care of my family, live for the weekends. Work!
I know… I was supposed to have this fabulous, fearless life. And in many ways I did! After all, I was from Wilson Park Projects, the first in my family to go to college. For heaven’s sake, I lived in a four thousand square foot home, drove a Lexus, had money in the bank!
I had a formula.
Work hard, keep my credit score above 700, own a home, build my career and have enough money in the bank for a rainy day. I had life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I was the American Dream.
But screw all that sobby life, liberty, happiness crap! When your doctor tells you to get your shit together. You get your shit together!
I thought I had life all figured out. But those words hobbled me like Paul Sheldon when Annie Wilkes severed his feet in Stephen King’s movie, Misery.
Now there I was a hobbling fool who, according to my doctor, wouldn’t have The American Dream if I didn’t change.
So I went home that weekend and got real still. For the first time in my life, I tapped back into that eight-year old and thought about all the times I’d twirled around feeling fearless, invincible. I wanted her back. I needed her back.
By Monday morning, I marched into my boss’s office and stepped down from a highly coveted position to do something I had always been passionate about: writing.
I wrote my first book, Color Me Butterfly—a story about four generations of women in my family (my grandmother, my mother, myself and my daughter) who suffered and survived more than sixty years of domestic violence. The same year that the book was released, my daughter’s six-month-old little girl named Promise became the fifth generation. It is her story that led me to eventually walk away from a lucrative corporate career to launch Saving Promise, a national domestic violence prevention nonprofit.
Soon after, the monsters showed up.
What are monsters?
In short, all the things that pop up in your life, scare the hell out of you and manifests in Fear, Worry, Doubt and countless other monsters.
We know these monsters all too well. They live with us, breathe with us, take up space in our head, heart and home.
There is a tribe of monsters! 13 to start.
Then together, we’re going to get to know each one, discover some more and kick some monster tail!
But first I’d love to hear from you! What monster(s) do you most identify with and why?
Anything I’ve ever done that ultimately was worthwhile… initially
scared me to death.
— Betty Bender
XO… Stay inspired!