#parentingmoments He loves words too it seems hurray. I watched a 6 mins video from the Obama Couple for their foundation about a library they are opening on the SS of Chigaco, and I got Gaby to watch the video too. He loved it and after that wrote this short poem. He then told me he has written a few poems in school. Why wasn’t he excited to show them to me I asked? He said he didn’t think they were great. Awwwwww, what is a great poem? My darling son, I hope he keeps his love of words and use there of up OOOOOO. His poem is actually so apt to wrap up this mental health awareness week themed KINDNESS Here is the link to that video, sure your kids would love it too: https://youtu.be/U-hTKWCX7hc
#mentalhealthawareness#breakthestigma#youarenotalone#community#mentalhealthawarenessweek#mentalhealthrecovery#livedexperiences “I have attended 3 of Katrina McIntosh’s webinar series on Mental health awareness week, I was even a guest speaker once.
I am simply put so inspired and motivated and ready to sign in to the last one in a few minutes. You don’t wake up at 1am your time to do this if there was nothing you were learning and sharing in such a community. Let’s go darling, am so so proud of your tenacity. You make #mentalillness less scary and that’s the whole idea of our relentless work using our lived experiences”. #mentalhealthawarwness #mentalhealthmatters #showkindness #shunstigma #selcarebestcare #communitylove #livelovelaughlearn #thereishope #bethehope
Hello World, happy midweek. I am writing today about one pretty little backbone of my support system, there was simply no way I could ever write about my support system without ‘Ma Miss Judy’ being among – and am planning a post on my super support system next week lol
When I moved back home from Belgium in August 2015, and decided to settle back once and for all, it was easier said than done. I hung out at mum’s for 6 months and then found a place of my own. I then knew I needed help keeping that place up and running before my head exploded. I put that into prayers and went about my business. A few days later at a shop, a friend of the sales assistant, boldly but politely told me she was looking for a job – just any job she quickly added. I called her 3 days later to offer her the house help job I was seeking to fill, and she quickly accepted the offer and told me she could start the very next day.
Judy (I quickly added Joli because she is pretty and loves to make “nyanga”), came and in no time became my first ever PA and ‘tata Judy’ to the boys. In short, I could write a pamphlet about ma miss Judy, ah God is good. Her youthful spirit and constant cheer, make her so ‘go to and wonderful’. I learned so much from her, and taught her all I could. She still calls me maman to this day lol. I was so happy our home was equally a safe haven for her and she even spent some weekends – just because. I visited her family and still do when there is an event. Her father is a carpenter and you can imagine all my wooden furniture are from him – and that is no joke…I love my bed above all lol
And so, when it was time to move on, I recommended her for her next job. Yet, we have stayed together. When my eye was going through what I call ‘it’s own hiatus’, Judy Joli showed up sometimes like an Angel – when most needed. When am to be on the go, just an sms or phone call to Judy’s dad and ma miss is at home for back up.
She is so full of life ma miss – seriously she is one of my natural anti depressants. when I asked her to send me some of her pictures for this post, she simply dumped an album on me hahaha
For all the above, all what Judy Joli is to the boys and I, I will forever be grateful. She is my heroine, and the best aunt her ‘new comer cute’ niece could ever ask for.
Quand tu va finalement lire ceci ma chère Judy Joli, sache que le monde entier sait maintenant quelle chérie tu est pour les garçons et moi. Je suis très reconnaissant, que Dieu te bénisse et protege pour toujours. Beaucoup de gros bisous, maman
Hello World, this is the first of what I hope to often do: Profile & Interview and help promote New memoir authors! Why Memoirs? Because that’s the genre I write and it’s still a ‘shy’ genre especially, in my corner of the globe – Africa. My first author to be interviewed and profiled happens to be a dear friend and sister in Christ. I fell in love with the first of her blog posts I stumbled across – yes on the very night I was fumbling around trying to start my own blog! Her post titled «Am I a blogger or a …?» almost made me give up before I even started; and to think she’d been into blogging a good while? But then, that post ended on a note of so much hope – yes she was – yes I could become one too if I wanted and kept at it with faith.
This is what I have also gathered from reading her maiden but oh so soul searching memoir: shared from deep within her soul and titled just that. Without much ado, I’ll interview her for your reading pleasure and let her tell us more about herself and her journey to become this published author today. It ain’t easy I can tell, been there and still go through there, but she will agree it’s worth ever step of the journey…
Note: The post is way longer than my usual posts, I didn’t want to leave any area out and didn’t want to do a P1 & P2… I think whoever reads through the end will love it.
1) The Profile
Let’s Start with a brief introduction of yourself – your background – and a tiny bit about your Childhood:
My name is June Whittle. I was born in Jamaica and relocated to the UK to join my parents when I was a teenager. It was tough leaving my grandmother (who raised me) and my sisters behind. I had to readjust to the climate – it was very cold – and the way of life. The culture in Jamaica was very different to that in the UK. Jamaicans are bubbly, carefree, happy-go-lucky people. I was used to sunshine, loud car horns, a variety of colours, fresh home grown food and other cultural activities. The day I arrived in the UK, it was grey, quiet and everyone looked moody. I was sad.
Anyway, I continued with my education in the UK, started relationships, (some were abusive) worked in various fields and gave birth to my daughters. I became a mature student in 2007 and went to university to complete a PGCE teacher training course to become a teacher. Afterwards, I taught in further education colleges and met some wonderful people along the way. In 2012 God told me to quit my teaching job and write books. I gave up teaching in 2013, stepped out in faith and started a freelance writing career.
About your Memoir, how did you come up with the title?
Well, I knew I wanted to write about my life, but coming up with a title was hard. Then one day “Deep Within my Soul” popped into my head. I knew straight away it was the right title for my book. You could call it divine inspiration.
2) The Soul Journey
I heard Oprah Winfrey say Love doesn’t hurt; what’s your take on that?
Love is a beautiful thing. It’s not meant to hurt, but it does hurt if you end up with the wrong person. I believe it depends on what we mean by love. Although my partners and I thought we loved each other, it was a dysfunctional kind of love because we didn’t love ourselves. Therefore, our love wasn’t whole. It’s hard to give 100% of what you haven’t got. So, instead of the joys of love, I mostly experienced the pains of love.
Did the love in your relationships hurt from the start or something happened down the road?
In the beginning, it was absolutely wonderful. When you first meet a man or woman you go through the honeymoon period where everything is beautiful. During that period, they can’t do anything wrong. In other words, you don’t see their faults because you’re on cloud nine and consumed by the love feelings. That’s how it was for me too. But, after a few months (when the honeymoon period wears off) he started to look at other women and became obsessed with them. That’s when he started cheating and our relationship changed. From then on problems crept in.
Can you tell who was to blame and what you felt about all this then?
I think he was to blame for the fact that he couldn’t keep himself away from other women. But I also blame myself because I was shy, naïve, insecure and didn’t know how to satisfy him. Looking back now, I see myself as very immature and I didn’t know anything about relationships. However, some people might say that’s no excuse for him to cheat on me. He took it far, and chatted up my friends in front of me. This led to verbal and physical abuse, plus lack of trust and many heartaches.
I read a lot of poems about Love in your memoir, and yet you were going through so much pain! So how did you find it writing about love while living pain?
Although I was hurting, the only way for me to find peace in my heart was to write about the love I yearned for. I wrote a lot of poems about my broken heart. Those poems came from deep within my soul. I suppose I was trying to touch their hearts with my words, although I didn’t show them the poems. It’s like I was living in a make-belief world. I knew what I wanted, I couldn’t get it so, I created my own world where I was safe to write what I wanted. Writing poems kept me sane. It was my lifeline as I poured out my painful feelings on the pages in my notepad.
Do you think there is an ideal time frame to wait before moving from one abusive relationship into another relationship we hope not to turn out as sour?
It’s extremely important to heal from an abusive relationship before going into another relationship. Otherwise, you will carry the toxic junk with you. The toxic junk is a combination of anger, bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness and sometimes hate. When you carry those negative things in your heart, sooner or later they will surface and mess up your new relationship.
Imagine buying an old car that hasn’t been serviced or taken care of. It’s got lots of faults but you can’t see them. Eventually, the car will start to give you problems. On the other hand, if you buy a well looked after serviced car, it’s less likely to break down on you. Plus, you will get a smooth drive and it will last you longer than the one that wasn’t maintained properly. Likewise, not servicing your heart, mind and soul after an abusive relationship will have disastrous consequences on a new relationship.
What’s forgiveness got to do with healing?
Forgiveness and healing go hand-in-hand. It’s difficult to heal properly if you hold unforgiveness in your heart. Unforgiveness is like a chain around your heart. It squeezes it tight and tighter till it drains your emotional and physical energy. As long as it’s living in you, real healing cannot take place. This includes healing of sicknesses as well as your mind.
A friend did a project with some primary school children recently about forgiveness. She gave them a heavy rucksack each, to carry on their backs. Some said they didn’t mind as the rucksacks were quite light. However, after carrying them on their backs for a while, they became heavy and weighted the children down, causing them to feel uncomfortable and unable to walk properly. That’s what unforgiveness does. It drags you down and affects all areas of your life. Nonetheless, when you forgive, you let go of all toxins and your body will feel light and live again. Painful memories may linger, but will no longer be a problem. That’s when you know that healing has taken place.
3) The Writing
Did any books/memoirs influence your writing (style, presentation, content)?
No. Although this is my first memoir, I didn’t base it on style, presentation or content of other writers. This is mostly because mine has poems so it’s different to other memoirs I read. I went with my gut feelings when writing. But, formatted it correctly to meet the requirements for uploading to Kindle for the eBook, and Create Space for the paperback. I followed their guidelines.
Did you have a writing mentor?
No, I’ve never had a writing mentor. I took two creative writing courses, many years ago and a copywriting course in 2012. That helped develop my writing skills, along with reading books about writing.
Which was the most difficult chapter to write in your memoir and why?
It was the first chapter where I summarized a little about my story. While writing, old painful memories came back and made me tearful and sad. I also felt negative emotions such as anger, resentment and unforgiveness. I was surprised because I thought I had dealt with those emotions. Clearly, they were still alive in my heart. I wrote about it in chapter 11 – “Finding Hope, my Testimony of Healing”. It’s amazing how we can fool ourselves into thinking we’ve done something, when we haven’t.
How did you deal with that?
Well, first I talked to God about it and asked Him to take away those feelings. I felt better afterwards. However, I still had more work to do in that area. So, I repented and prayed from my heart to forgive my abusers for deep healing to take place.
Which was your favourite poem and why?
It’s False Love. It was one of the hardest poems to write because it was written out of an extremely painful experience. Nevertheless, it was my favourite because that poem started off my writing experiences. From that poem, other poems followed which helped the healing process of writing to release toxic emotions.
I read two real life excerpts in your memoir, was this to add to the veracity of abuse as a phenomenon or to show the resilience of the human spirit?
Those real life excerpts were to demonstrate the power of forgiveness. The abuse these two women suffered were extreme, although diverse. The first example was a vicious form of domestic abuse. The second example was of a teenager being raped by her uncle plus other cruel types of abuse. However, both women decided to forgive their abusers for the sake of their mental health, peace in their lives and more.
Did you learn anything from writing your memoir and what was it?
While writing, I did research about forgiveness and discovered there is a connection between unforgiveness and sickness such as cancer, arthritis, heart problems and other stress related illness. I also learnt that extra healing was taking place for me as I was writing my memoir. By the time I finished the last chapter, I felt free of any excess burdens that may have been clinging to my heart.
How long did it take you to write and get the memoir published?
It took me nearly one year to write because I kept starting and stopping. I changed my mind a few times because I was nervous about telling my story to the world. But my daughters and close friends encouraged me to do it. Also, because God told me to write it in the first place, I didn’t want to disobey Him. The self-publishing process took me nearly a week. The technical formatting part of it was rather challenging.
4) The Message
Do you have any advice for other memoir writers?
Yes, I think if your story can help others from the lessons you learnt, you should share it. Life is full of pitfalls, some good and some good. There are many lessons along the way. However, not everyone learns from their experiences. But those who learn have gold nuggets to share with others in the form of memoirs. If you can help even a handful of people struggling with the issues you came out of, it’s worth writing your stories. Your story can change another person’s life for the better. Another word of advice, make sure you have supportive people around you. It’s important to get as much encouragement as possible to boost your confidence while you write.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I want to give you the information you need to add value to your lives. My blogs and memoir are not just about me. They are to inspire, encourage, educate and motivate you. I love when you contact me by email or leave comments on my blogs advising me what I can do for you in future blog posts. Or, how you take away something positive from my writing. This is always my aim. Feedback is extremely important to me. So, please, always tell me whether I’m providing value or not.
Any other writing projects, blogging etc?
I plan to open up my two blogs, Miraculous Ladies and Arise Single Christian Mummies for guest blogging in 2017. It’s time I share my platforms with other aspiring or professional writers out there. I also intend to hold workshops related to my memoir. I included writing prompts in the last chapter. I want to take it further and hold small groups or one-to-one workshops to help women write away toxic emotions that’s keeping them captive. In addition, “Deep Within my Soul” is book one of a series of inspirational memoirs based on exclusive and beneficial relationship life-lessons.
I just realized today I haven’t blogged for a few days now. It can happen, but when it’s a conscious decision, I am more at peace. Yet, since I had not decided to take a break from blogging, the realization hit me sort of hard.
Aha, is this blogger block? Yet, it’s not like I even sat down to blog and then couldn’t start typing. I just didn’t get that ‘zeal’ which pricks me to action. And so pals, mindful of the heat anyway, I am taking a blogging break. Don’t ask me how long it’ll last, it may be a few days or weeks. A lot on my plate now and seriously I just can’t wait for July 30 to go HOME.
In the meantime, some bright stuffs too. I mean such to cheer me up. Florah my massai heroine, probably sensed my whatever …, and did the above of my picture. She also put the following collage together:
And then, I got an awesome first official review of my last memoir from none other than Jill my blogging granny. I share it with you:
” The acknowledgements are stunning. You have covered so much material. Your description of the emotional abuse you suffered was shattering especially the part where it turned physical. I can’t begin to imagine how you remained in that relationship. Thank goodness for Jeff’s coaching program.
Your 36 points were most informative and I agree with you that when one is able to forgive, one is able to start the healing process. No forgiveness – difficult to heal.
Marie, your book gave me so much to think about.
I admire you for your honesty.
I admire you for the courage shown in writing this important book.
I admire you for your directness.
I admire you for your ability to pass on your message which will help other women. You are a mental health advocate, a feminist as well as a speaker. I wonder how you manage to do so much my dear? I am proud of you Marie Abanga and I recommend your book with all my heart. may we all find the strength that you have shown”. From the blogging grandma, Jill Sadowsky.
Dear gentle readers and followers, I’ll be back I promise, let me resource some before my big relocation home. Prepare your kindles for some free downloads coming soon by the way 🙂 Thank you very much for all 🙂
Now world, if you ever wondered how great world drummers like Steve Gadd started, watch my short drumming 101 video below:
Before the above, you may have to travel very far, far to Uncle Sam’s Vineyard. Once/ or if there, chart your way to Brattleboro VT, and hope to be invited to Pammy’s place. If you are lucky to meet her kind but shy neighbour, who fortunately lets you know loud and clear when he’s home, you may win him over enough to get a yes to your pleas for a drumming 101 crash course…
Mr M as I call him, means biz with his drumming – he is at them 4 good hours each day save for Wednesdays, and was at Steve Gadd’s show in New York on Friday. The wonderful Mr M welcomed Pammy a few months ago as a neighbour, and I already heard a lot about he and his drums. Pammy even already did a great potrait of that magic duo, to tell you how fascinated she herself was…
Great was my pleasure when he contacted me via my blog to give me info on Pammy when I almost thought I had lost track of her. Greater was my pleasure when Mr M accepted to come and pick me up from the ‘intrepid’ municipal airport in Lebanon New Hampshire.
And oh my, Mr J even agreed to take me out to check the country pub on my last night in Bratt;
before adding that I sure could come the next morning (the day of my departure itself) for the highly solicited druming 101 crash course…
I am so grateful to Mr M, he even told me I didn’t do badly for a first timer…
Dear gentle readers and followers, what do you think after watching that ‘me fiddle’?
I mean, I start writing this post on the train just so that Marcie too can take a break (gladly for me she has just dozed off as I continue writing). It’s my signal to her sort of, because although I am almost addicted to the ‘Marcie syndrome by now, we both do need some energy reserve. Marcie flies to Brazil tomorrow, while I am almost done…
Marcie comes on board
Marcie walks in majestically with some guy on her trails, carrying 4 or so smalbags. When he gives her a ‘wet kiss’, I connect him to her romantically if you get what I mean. Marcie sits down by me just as she finishes to inquire whether the seat is unoccupied. My answer isn’t really needed I guess…
Whereas, I was tired and just waking up from a nap. I had slept at midnight+ and was up at 5.30am. Some further stuffs to wrap up at Pam’s; & a last lunch to cook for her kind neighbour and I. Indeed, I actually wear one of Pam’s chapeaux to sort of deter conversation 🙂 but that don’t work with MM I see…
Merriest Marcie super MM &My Heroine
She is a proud and I add sweet 72. She is a great granny coming from Springfields MA and heading on a sister:sister vacation to Rio de Janerio. No men invited cause there is an abundance there. This has been ere long on her wish list she goes. Marcie knows them stories, you don’t need to ask or say anything. Even just nodding your head or blinking is fine for the motivation…
My merriest Marcie is now on a deserved retirement after working as a nurse for over 40 years. She has seen much I bet you, I just wasn’t take notes as she narrated. She has also toured this country, especially to attend Jazz festivals. She has a pocket album of some yesteryears moments and I don’t need to ask a single question…
I can’t help but fall in love
I am carried away and help finish off Marcie’s braids. She thinks the hairdresser did a rash job. And her damn new smart ass of a phone; she thinks she can eventually lose her nerves and trash it out. That is, unless I help her set up a google account, whatsapp and hmm picassa which I don’t even have. Marcie is sure she’ll need that for her pictures from Brazil. She talks on while she prepares and administers her insulin shot, taking her vitals along the line…
Only Marcie’s dog Cinamon can be so attractive enough to get her boyfriend risk the road to cross over and give her a kiss…
Am spoiled by Marcie
She tells me lots of women stuff, and offers me one delicacy after the other. I am even ashamed to bring out my lone sandwich from Bratt. From mixed nuts to an entire tray for dinner, hmm. Wow, I thought I had finished meeting thrilling folks on this US tour of mine. Marcie definitely gets the gold medal regardless of who I meet again. She’s full of life and the beau I saw her with, sure knows what is behind that deceptive age. Ain’t it just numbers anyway?
The little glitch
In our fumbling with stuffs, my purse dropped and I recall picking up my cards. Helas, once out of Union Station, I just realized I must have left my bank card on the floor of that train. No panick, am so so tired anyway. And to be candid, what’s there to steal from that account anyway 🙂
It’s been so much of a wow on this US Adventure
Dear gentle readers and followers, I had been contemplating stopping over in NYC to spend the night. Fortunately, I didn’t go for that when I bought my amtrack ticket. It was scheduled to be a long ride of 10 hours, and although I have my kindle and all, Marcie coming on board at Springfields and landing next to me, has turned out to be more gain… the rains were wild on NYC as we got in there and made a stop at Penn Station; making me prouder of my decision to go all the way to DC just like dear Marcie …
The list of those I have met on my tour, is now well over 2 scores – this is only those who were not on my list when I landed 15 days ago – this country is really one of opportunities I must admit …
I don’t know if the above law of physics works as well for human relations. What I know in my own life is that, I have been more attracted to people with whom I share something in common. Even if we don’t always see or feel this at first glance.
Feeling it at First glance with Marilyn
I didn’t know that an arrangement had been made by an initial host to be picked up from the airport by gracious Marilyn. Although that didn’t happen, she still found it to come by where I had ended up, and to drive me back to that host’s place. I fell in awe with her and could feel the awe some must have had around the one and only Marilyn Monroe.
Marilyn is merry to put it simply. I am merry too by self-baptism. She radiates positive energy and I was just sitting there that first night, listening to her with droping jaws. Men, she knows DC inside out. Needs no GPS. Then Marilyn offered to show me round some of DC’s hot em famous spots.
Sigthseeing and al with Marilyn
Yes Marilyn ain’t Richie and wouldn’t know about the deep south, but she sure knows the White House and Sidwell Friends where the Obama girls go to school. She picked me up from Union Station yesterday just as I came in from NC, and I was honoured. It was 2.30 pm and traffic knew no tolerance. She drove me around the DC mall, Mass Av, and you name the rest. Then we discovered we loved visiting the art museum.
The Great Gallery of Art
I love Art and I consider myself a word artist 🙂
We spent two hours in there and just had to leave so she doesn’t get a parking ticket. The pictures are still in my camera but here is one I took with my phone. It may not be gorgoeus, but the feeling is also part of the art 🙂 Wow, this indeed is one big US Adventure and am just on day 7 🙂
The pursuit of Happiness
I didn’t know I was going to learn so much from Marlilyn on this subject. I wrote about Who is Who in America before she picked me up. We were chatting like mum and daughter especially after Marilyn found out I was just a year older than her first girl. She told me that one of her daughters had refused to go to private school and works in a restaurant. She says she is happy at that level. Marilyn herself has given up her legal practice and has such a wonderful voice which moves people to tears in her church. She played one of her songs for me on her phone. She is happier doing community and outreach stuffs.
How do you say Thank you?
A friend of mine is almost tired of asking me Thank you for what this time around? I just think I can’t say thank you enough. I wish I could do some thank you time if that existed. There is so much in life to be grateful for. Among them is meeting people each day who impact you in such a tremendous was. Marilyn who has never met me, made the time to pick me up, thrice already, show me around yesterday, and drop me off at my host. I am an emotional person and tears are usually close around when I am this touched. Even when my sister bought me a dress, I supressed tears and really didn’t think she should have gone so out of her way.
And so dear gentle readers and followers, Thank you so much for reading and following my blog. I wish us all to meet people like Marilyn, Richie and al in life…
Richie looks at the Selfie and asks who is that cool guy there? He tells me he still thinks he’s got some looks and I add some style too. You see Richie’s necklace? And oh his Ray ban sunglasses? Richie says if I come to South Carolina he’s gonna buy me a pair. Oh, ok let’s start from the beginning right?
On a probably once in a life time opportunity, after testing of this infamous jetlag, and getting ready for Uncle Sam’s, I am hoping to zoom across at least 5 states. After MD and VA in three days, it was time to head south to NC. It was at the Megabus at the Union Station, that I met Richie. On the queue, Richie appeared somewhat nervous, and to some he could pass for a guy not worth befriending. Well, as it turned out, he landed in the seat right next to me. And to say I had first chosen a seat below, before changing my mind to seat on the top? And what to make of the fact that Richie had missed his morning bus and had had to pay a 5 usd fee to reschedule?
Well, I love people of his age, and Richie’s initial ‘stern’ look wasn’t going to deter me from striking a conversation. He carried a little box and my curiosity asked to see what was inside. ‘Oh my Clarinet he goes, it’s older than you are young lady…’ Richie says that clarinet bring him so much joy, it is simply his therapy and call to pursue to joy…
Richie the encyclopedia
Richie like most people his age, know way more than you can find in some text books. I love listening to them and I think they love having me pay them that attention. Even my boss’s mum often asked after that african miss! Richie told me where we were headed is known as the Deep South. He told me about his 3rd fore-generation who were slaves. Told me what ever he knew of the American Revolution, the Civil war and sure about life in general. ‘Oh Baby, I had a full one going he goes … ‘ ( He called me baby and I smiled in fond remebrance of some other pops I had met in Brugges Belgium). He told me his best hero was a man named John Brown, and this got me looking up this brave American Abolitionist I had never heard of. In short, Richie was good company and the bus ride was cool. I wish I were actually going all the way to deep south Carolina…
In Richmond, Richie bought me a coke and two walnut bars, and told me some story about the town. Richie made me laugh so hard when he told me his 100+ home in South Carolina, had been declared a historical site, but he hadn’t qualified for the grant to renovate the fast dilapidating bungalow. He said “Oh sure the house qualified, but not me…”. Richie is a hero to me, having lived in several states and held several various jobs…
Dear gentle readers and followers, I am glad to share some highlights of my US adventure. Another lesson here for me which I am confirming, is that some first looks may be deceiving or even revealing. Richie said I don’t talk like a lawyer, and could woo a tough guy. Wow, anyway I have worked in a prison for six months and I did woo Billy the Bully!