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Book Review: What Happened by HRC


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Get the Message: Not the Messenger: Clean the Mess!!!

I was excited to get a copy of this book because yes I am a woman, an admirer of HRC but above all a global citizen interested in political science and curious to know ‘what happens’. By virtue of my profession as a lawyer, and all other work I do for human, women and mental health rights, I will proceed to review this book which was a cathartic read to be honest. Not being an American (nor involved in any gerrymandering or etc) gives me the audacity to title my review as I do. I have therefore divided my review into three sections respectively and I will conclude with a probably more audacious stance. Spoiler: Message not in any EMAILS!!!

1) Get the Message

I would have been disappointed if the only message I got from this book was about what happened during the 2016 sagacious presidential election in the USA. I am therefore appreciative of the fact that the book is about what happened before, during and after not only the elections but also what happened and happens to HRC – and well the USA. The book is not titled say ‘what happened that I lost in 2016’ …

The message or should I say messages HRC share in her book are therefore about her, the campaign and elections saga, and the country as a whole. I keep likening what I think of the US now to a person who has fallen from such Grace to Grass. HRC in her usual candour which I have appreciated all along reading her various books, sounds the clarion call, pointing fingers to all including herself. Putin may not like her, Trump may not (obviously), ‘Little Rocket Man’ too, the Republicans without doubt, even some Democrats presumably, but the message has to be given and just like other great messengers in the world (Start maybe from Jesus, Mahatma Ghandi, MLK, Malcom X, Mandela, you name them I mean even Barack Obama), HRC ( a brave woman for a change) had no choice but to follow that inner nudge and deliver the message (s) in this book.

2) Not the Messenger

I think the world or to be more honest the US, has held HRC to an unreasonably terrifying standard while at the same time expecting her to just ‘disappear’. No doubt HRC was the candidate and should, and in my candid opinion does take a lot of responsibility, she is not the reason the country is in such chaos. She is a messenger sent bearing a torch under a scorching scrutiny, and facing immense challenges and sabotage from different angles it could only take Amazing Grace to see her through it all (had she ended up in an asylum or in Jail maybe there would have been more ‘celebration’?).

Yet truth be told, the records she has set not only as the first female presidential nominee of one of the great parties in that country, but also in her long and impact full public service to the country and the world at large, will in another country probably grant her immunity from whatever, for life, period. It is therefore shameful and dare say embarrassing that several other reviews I have read, and some media outlets take pleasure in trying further ‘character or emotional assassination’ of HRC. Hold up USA, you seem not to know the gem you have in HRC the messenger. She is just a human being for crying out loud but the choices she has made and the message she delivering in this book should not be overlooked because someone in the Oval office or somewhere doesn’t like her face, voice, shape, sight etc.

3) Clean the Mess

In this book, I gather and undeniably think that the country is in a mess. I mean blame it on HRC and the Clintons if you want, blame on Barrack and the Obamas, on the democrats maybe, blame it on Russia if you are bold enough to follow through with your investigations – that is if it is already obvious blaming the Republicans too right?, I can even blame my US Buddy who keeps putting up those blogs posts with such alien like updates! The bottom line is: The great Super Duper US of A is currently in a mess and I recently said they had become a global embarrassment and case study”. Seriously some real cleaning has to be done because it ain’t wrong to fall, but it’s appalling to stay down when you know how to get up!!!

In conclusion

Read this book and think about the solutions HRC proposes, take it or leave she has painfully and graciously delivered the message. Take it or leave she deserves a medal (the highest honour that exists in your country). Take it or leave HRC is your modern day Eleanor Rooselvelt (No doubt she finds such inspiration from this exceptional icon). I am glad that HRC did not choose to FOLD IT ALL AND RUN but to FACE IT ALL AND RISE after she lost the presidential elections (that may have deprived Charlotte and Aidan of their awesome grandma just too soon), and that she has pulled herself back together and is continuing to do all the good she can as seen in the creation of ‘Onward Together’.

Hillary 2016

Thank you so much HRC you have inspired so many young girls and women the world over you can’t imagine. I was hoping you’ll be the Ellen Sirleaf of the US but I think the country wasn’t ready for you. You were not angry enough, resentful enough, nasty enough, persistent enough, bashful enough, elite enough, middle class enough, poor enough; you were over educated, over composed, dreamt too much, nodded too much, spoke too much, spoke too little, smiled too much, wore blank suits all the time, had friends from Kindergarten and couldn’t even fire a single campaign manager… I can go on and on and on…

In the meantime, I cling on to the T-Shirt of Madame President which I bought and had dhl-ed to me. One day hopefully before my time here below is up, I’ll clap when that utmost glass ceiling is shattered once and for all. HRC didn’t let me down, she showed me the way and she keeps striving with humility, persistence, modesty and love. Americans do yourself some service and read this book – I give it a 5 star without reservation!!!

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Advocating for my son and students all the way …


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My special friend and deputy CEO of In Our Home Inc

Hello World, that is my first son Alain (for those just hopping on my blog). He turned 14 years last october 8th and we went to a Chinese Buffet for a first time – they  (all 3 boys I have) had a great time.

Now, Alain is in form 3, I guess middle high in the US or so. Recently, when writing about experiences I had in his brother’s school with two teachers, I also mentionned some I had in his own school over some grade scores he had been removed for some reason I couldn’t understand. He is a very hardworking student, has always been on honour’s roll since primary school and takes a lot of pride in his performance – of course I do too although I try to make him not put so much pressure on himself. One of his teachers gave him a 2/8 in a question because he forgot an element, and yet his friend who gave same illustration forgetting same element got a 6/8. When he went up to ask the teacher showing his friend’s paper, his two marks were substracted and added to this friend’s.

Of course I marched to that school the next day and spoke with the proprietor and dean of studies. I was assured the grades will be reviewed. Ha same afternoon, he comes back home with another paper taught by the same teacher where he gets 3 answers marked wrong which I know are correct. I am getting itchy and go back to the school the next day. The teacher whom I don’t see, had told the dean the previous day Alain was rude in his approach to asking about his paper, and he left out some words (critical to a complete answer it sems) and actually …… I left the new paper and requested for a meeting with this teacher and the dean.

The meeting was arranged for last friday at 7.30 am and I was there of course 15 minutes ahead. I explained the situation again, said my concern was in teacher/student relationship which appeared to still be one of ‘teacher knows it all’ (Alain told me he was adviced by the dean to stop ‘challenging’ his teachers). I said at home I didn’t know it all and we ran the home as a team and I told them I was sorry when at fault. The teacher gave his own explanations; and well all is well that ends well.

Some relationship dynamics have changed over the past century and one of these is students/lectuers or teacher etc. Back home, it may still be a big challenge finding a balance and even letting parents in (in his school PTA’s are once a year only – imagine that) and hmm some parents simply don’t even want to know or be involved anyway.

I therefore advocate that students/pupils be let to express themselves and taught from a young age how to do so politely  (I however doubt Alain was rude – teacher may just have been embarassed he even came up to him in class and brought along a friend’s paper and well in our schools you may not see a teacher after class hours because they teach and go unless they have another class after a while and you are also out of class you know). Students also get a bost by their parents’ involvment and their teachers taking them as human beings and not just people to be taught sort of.

Finally, Alain got his marks reinstated and got good grades overall for this first sequence (he feels slighted he was second in class -but that’s ok by me).

Sharing to inspire parents and advocates, it ain’t easy but often it is worth it.

Have a nice week us all

 

Questions for an Author P2 – Birth of a new Brain Healing From Postpartum Bipolar Disorder by Dyane Harwood


 

Yesterday, Dyane was telling us about the most difficult chapter she wrote. We continue from here:

  1. How did you deal with that?

I had to take plenty of breaks from writing the “One Pill Can Kill” chapter, which helped a lot.

  1. Did you learn anything from writing your memoir and what was it? I learned that I was stronger and more disciplined than I thought I ever could be, and I found those things out relatively late in life (my mid 40’s) which goes to show that late blooming (in terms of achieving our lifelong dreams) is possible!

  1. How long did it take you to ‘give birth’ to the memoir we would very soon be seeing on the shelves? Ten years! And they seemed like dog years!

4) The Message

  1. Do you have any advice for other memoir writers especially those living with a mental illness? Surround yourself with those who believe in you and your writing. Find a writing mentor if you can! One thing I wish I had done years ago was join the National Association for Memoir Writers (NAMW) because they have a ton of support and advice for memoir writers – really incredible resources! They also have membership sales twice a year and you can email them to find out when they are. You may also be able to work out a payment plan with them I believe – I paid less than $100 to join, which was still a big deal for my budget, but it was completely worth it. In terms of mental health, if you’re going through a rough path, allow yourself to take weeks, months, even years off if you need to. I took lengthy breaks – I had to – and that’s why it took me so long to get the book done. But what comes first is mental stability.

  1. Was it easy to get a book deal and how did you fare in the negotiations if we may pry? I wish I could say I had an agent because many people don’t think you’re a “real” writer unless you have an agent. That is no longer the case. There are many more publishers nowadays that accept manuscripts directly from the authors, which is wonderful. But what I did have was a generous friend who knew one of the publishers at Post Hill Press. She enthusiastically recommended my proposal to him; he reviewed it and ultimately he offered me a contract. Before he worked at Post Hill Press, he worked at “Big Five” publishers for many years in high positions, so I felt pretty great that he believed in my proposal.

Any other writing projects, blogging, support groups, etc? For now I’m promoting the book and giving talks to perinatal mental health and bipolar groups in the Bay Area. I’m also getting into the world of podcasting, as you know! I really enjoy it! To hear my first podcast please go to Dr. Katayune Kaeni’s “Mom and Mind” website – and find that right here:

My second podcast is on Podcast One’s “Mind Full” program with mental health advocates Alisha Perkins and Colleen Lindstrom. I let myself loose on that episode, so kindly check it out here:

3. Where will your memoir be found, and any book tours already scheduled? You can buy my memoir on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, R Kobo and iBooks. Thank you so much, Marie, for giving me this opportunity to share my experience with your followers, I will definitely update you with any book tours I have.

Thank you very much Lady Dyane my heroine for answering our questions. We hope to stay informed of different updates with your projects.

Please visit Dyane’s blog and her website for more on her writings and mental health advocacy.

If you dear gentle readers and followers have any questions for Dyane, you could leave them in the comments too.

 

Book Review: High Tide Low Tide The Caring Friend’s Guide to Bipolar Disorder


High Tide Low Tide

Unconditional Friendship tested in dire times of need and deed

This memoir is like none I have ever read before in the sense that it literally took me through high tides and low tides before I found a balance again. I am not the first reviewer of this book to say it is not a read for the faint of heart. The authors when I interviewed them told me it was merely their intention to share their complex friendship between one ‘well’ person and one ‘unwell’ person, made all the more intriguing by the over 3000 miles seperating them. Indeed, they have physically met only once and yet, Martin Baker (the well friend), is from every indication Fran Houston’s (the unwell friend) main carer. How wouldn’t he be when we know (and I know from personal experience) how easy it is to lose relationships with both friends and family when you live with a mental illness.

This memoir will challenge you and your beliefs especially about mental illness, inform you, soothe you and yes challenge you again to be and do better, be you well or unwell. One thing I find interesting is how the friendship is not only so open, but how both friends are candidly so honest with each other. They have some mantras I am already copying and loving such as Care but not Control;  Give me what I need and not what you think I need; and many more al so soul searching. It is simply awesome to read all this. The way they virtually go on trips, navigate their days and engagements and plan joint projects like writing this book together you know.

Talking about style; the way this book is written makes it a very comfy read once you make peace with the soul search, because hardly any technical jargons are used. The book shows some indepth research, one which Martin also admits to carry out to learn how to better take care of his best friend. Indeed, Martin admits to have read far and wide, joined some associations and talked with lots of people both on and offline. Their book may be a guide no doubt but a very soulful and invaluable one. Fran Houston could have a Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis but she is every other friend too. Unconditional Friendship tested both in times of need and deed could not have been better demonstrated. I can’t but give this book a raving 5 star while recommending same without the least reservation to others be you well or unwell.

P.S:  Kindly Check out some previous posts about this memoir and its impact on me below

  1. Stabbed Soul…
  2. Five Reasons why I’ll finish reading…
  3. From Apprehension 2 Anticipation & Appreciation…
  4. Martin Baker My Model & Hero
  5. Interview of Co-Authors of HTLT P1 & P2

My poetry clip of This Little Light of Mine, to inspire someone like myself


Ha, the internet connection has been terrible since morning. Only the phone can manage to find any network. I mean I have almost become a social media addict since morning. And then I remembered my poem which my Dearest Donna turned my recitation into a clip. May it inspire someone to let their line shine wherever they are or whatever is up. I have on my part expanded my networks on WhatsApp and LinkedIn and learnt how to prepare docs, concert to PDF and share same via WhatsApp etc. 

It can always be better, even my swollen eye is getting better. I just decided not to dwell on it and to apply whatever it takes to get it going.

Happy Tuesday all

An official BBB 4 me at this point


Hiya my gentle readers and followers,

I have decided to take a BBB… OHh a brief blogging break.

My last few posts have surely revealed some about my current state of mind and matter, and so a break is highly needed. I wish I could travel for some much needed me moments. But Nada, not especially for a single mom of 3 boys with one of them not going on any Easter break because well he is in an ‘examination’ class.

Am just taking a BBB from writing, not reading and commenting. I think something like 7 or 10 days you know. I plan to blog daily in May which is Mental Health Awareness Month and so yes I need to get my grove back sooner than later.

So, see you over at your blogs…

Have a great week aheas