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Posts Tagged ‘childhood’

Final Girl is Out!

Cover of Final Girl.

Today, Valentine’s Day of all days, is the day that my super secret project finally is no longer a secret. I can finally let the cat out of the bag, though I wasn’t great at keeping the cat in the bag anyway. (Oh, well.)

My super secret project was another book, and it was published today!

It’s from Snowraven Books, and it’s called Final Girl: And Other Essays on Grief, Trauma, and Mental Illness.

I am proud of this book, and I hope you’ll consider reading it. Here’s the book description:

When the people who are supposed to nurture you hurt you the most, how do you reckon with the story of your own survival? Final Girl shows that you can grow stronger from circumstances that could break anyone.

This striking essay collection is not about brokenness, but rather about the slow realization of what the author survived and how she grew stronger from a place of vulnerability. Kelly J. Baker writes, “Survival was the story that I kept writing toward; it was the story that I kept trying to tell. It was the story I had to tell, often without quite noticing. It was story about abuse, brokenness, and what it might mean to mend.” 

These stark, haunting essays reckon with what it means to be shattered by those you love and trust and what it takes to pick up the pieces in the aftermath. Baker tackles family trauma, parental abuse, grief and her own mental illness. By facing the things she would like to forget, she shows us how some trauma sticks with us no matter how we try to move past it. What does it take to learn to live with the trauma we experience? You survive it, and you mend yourself, and you surround yourself with love.

If you want to see what the collection is like, check out the excerpt, Failing Perfection, over at Disability Acts.

Fairy Tales

Once upon a time, there was a girl who loved fairy tales. Her skin was freckled and unevenly tanned. Her legs always had bruises because she was easily distracted and clumsy. Her hair was not golden like the sun, but that shade of blonde-almost-brown that the adults around her described as dirty or dishwater blonde. When she started squinting at things far in the distance, she had to get glasses. She was a reader with her nose perpetually stuck in a book. She was a daydreamer who imagined different possible worlds than the one she inhabited. Worlds, in which parents didn’t divorce, fathers loved their children unconditionally, people were kinder, she was a princess, and anything was possible with magic.

She imagined a world of enchantment and predictable narratives. She called on these worlds when life around her became too much. If she was being unflinchingly honest with herself, she would have to admit that she was more comfortable inside her head than out. Her imaginings followed certain storylines, the characters were reliable and trustworthy, and evil never triumphed over good. The real world made little sense. People, adults and other children, were mercurial and unpredictable. There were no clear storylines to follow, no patterns that made engaging with others easy or manageable. Kindness quickly transformed into cruelty with little warning. Some days, reality was too much to decipher, so instead of playing with her friends on the playground, she would turn inward to the safe confines of her imagination and create her own fairy tales. Princes rescued princesses. Evil witches were defeated. And often, the heroine would figure out how to save herself. All while, she swung higher and higher on the swing. Her body tethered by reality and gravity, but her mind was gloriously free.

Moreover, fantasy offered up endless happy endings. Real life, on the other hand, had few happy endings. And when the endings were happy, the happiness was conditional and fleeting. Happiness never tried to linger. She often wondered why.

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