The Day After
I find myself writing this blog a few days prior to the book launch for Songs from an Imperfect Life. It was necessary to do so for it to be uploaded in time to be published. However, it will not be available until the day after the launch thereby making it difficult to talk about the event.
So here we are, the day after the launch of my second book – my very personal account of childhood abuse and the risky behavior that followed. I am hopeful that I had a good turnout of friends to hear me speak and that what I had to say was meaningful and sincere.
At this point, I’m aware that there may be those that went home and immediately began reading. There may even be some that have already finished reading my confessions and now know more about me than they ever wanted to. I know that there is no turning back now as my dark past, that I had worked hard at concealing, is now known. And I’m hopeful that the world is still turning and that life goes on.
My goal, besides unburdening myself, has always been to help others. My first book, Kept in the Dark, brought people into my life that I may never have met if not for my writing. People that identified with my story and were now ready to share stories of their own. As with any controversy, a few friends chose to distance themselves but other friendships became stronger – and new friendships were made.
You are reading this after my talk, after my book is out there and maybe after you’ve begun to read about me. Do you now see me differently? Once you know intimate details of one’s life, are you able to look at them in the same way? Or do you find something familiar in my tales and think you know more to the story that what has been told. Or in some cases, do you recognize that you are a part of my story? Only time will tell. And yet, I don’t have any reservations about what I have written. I have been truthful, which is all that I can be now. Maybe I should have censored myself and not revealed things that make me look bad. Maybe I should not have admitted some of the low points in my life but I think you would have known if I was dishonest or withheld things just because they were not flattering.
I have now had time to think through the various scenarios. Will someone be offended? Will someone confront me and be upset by something that I’ve written although I’ve given them the courtesy of not using their name? Again, only time will tell.
Two week’s before the book’s release, one of the unnamed in my book passed away. It left me with confused emotions – and while I am truly sorry for the family’s loss, I’m not sure how I personally feel. Did I want to confront them or remind them of what they did and how it made me feel? I can honestly say “No.” I had made peace with that long ago. Nor do I want to bring misery to the ex-wife of a past abuser, or the son of one or the daughter of another. Although these connections are still out there, I don’t feel the need to exploit them. I can’t imagine how telling them about the impact their husband or their father’s actions had on me would benefit any of us.
A friend who knew my past with the recently deceased offered this comment. She said: “It’s another door closed.” True. That chapter of my life is done and it’s time to turn the page.
So, on this day after my book launch, I hope that I left those in attendance knowing that in spite of a life filled with secrets and pain, I came out stronger.
I feel that I have a better understanding of what others may have endured and I’m ready to help.
J. Ronald M. York, author of Kept in the Dark, is also an accomplished musician and founder of York & Friends Fine Art Gallery.
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