Being A 21 Year Old Memoir Author

I wrote a memoir.

And the first thing that people say is, “How can you write a memoir? You’re only twenty-one.”

If they don’t say it, their face usually does.

To which my response is, “You don’t have to be old to have had an interesting life. I have had plenty of life-changing events.

Why Did I Do It?

It’s true, perhaps I could have waited to write a memoir when I was older and had more experience to draw on. But I felt led by God to write about my childhood and if anything it’s better to write now while the memories aren’t so far away.

Writing a memoir when you aren’t famous or successful or well known may seem pointless. I mean let’s face it, most likely only my friends and family will read it. But then again, maybe not.

When I first started writing stories about my life it was in a virtual diary. When bad things happened, I would open this laptop (yes the one I’m still using – it’s old okay?) and I would write out everything that happened. The written (or typed) word has a way of making life seem less difficult. Seeing my life spelled out in front of me has always helped me to see things more objectively and to make better choices.

Then, later in life, I started college and took creative writing classes. And we, of course, had several assignments, including submitting our work to publishers. I even got one of my poems published in the college review. But that’s beside the point. The point is while I was in this creative writing class I wrote a short story about my childhood and growing up with the two other neighbor girls. It was heartfelt and intriguing and made me want to write more.

So I did.

Then one day, while sitting at home I just looked up at my husband and said, “I think God wants me to write a book. I think I have to tell my story.”

Since my desire to write a complete book, I have gone through several phases of feelings towards my motivation.

In the beginning, I was motivated by the thought I would have an opportunity to prove everyone wrong. I was teased and bullied relentlessly in school as being the good-two shoes and someone who had a “perfect life”. My classmates didn’t believe someone like me, who obey and values rules and sound decision making could have gone through any hardships. Because apparently, if you have a hard life then you have to make stupid decisions like getting drunk, having sex and doing drugs.

As time went on and I edited the book and added and subtracted different short stories, my motivation began to change. It went from satisfying my tooth for proving a point to a hopeful wish.

Now, it’s about helping others find solace in my story. I don’t care if any single one of those bullies read this book. I won’t have written it for them. I will have written it for the woman or young lady who struggled to face Post Traumatic Stress. Or the woman or young lady who felt responsible for keeping her family together and keeping the peace no matter how much it tore her apart. Or the woman or young lady who kept a closet full of secrets because she was afraid of how people might see her.

I’ve been working for over three years on this book and all of that heartache, trauma, long nights and hard work will be worth it if it changes just one life. My book will be successful as long as just one person reads it and finds hope.

Related: How I Healed From Childhood Trauma and PTSD

What’s It About?

It’s a memoir, so obviously it’s about me.

However, if you know writing, you know that books must have a central theme and that is true with memoirs. Memoirs are never just a collection of random memories, both good and bad. The memories written together are written with a purpose, with a meaning and a feeling to portray.

The theme of my memoir is overcoming trauma.

In my book, I go through my childhood into early adulthood. There are short stories that go through crucial moments in my life from as far back as four years old to as recent as a little over a year ago. I write about the moments that hung over me. The abuse and knowledge that shaped who I am and how I see the world. Fighting triggers from post-traumatic stress, even when I struggled to remember the trauma. You see what it was like to be in the middle of my parent’s divorce and trying to keep it a secret from my brothers.

I hope that readers not only pick up on the constant internal struggle I’ve carried with me my whole life, but also the immense amount of expectation I had of myself to protect my brothers. I often joke that I’ve been a mother since my brothers were born. It’s funny in a not so funny way. And while I grew up quickly, my life has prepared me for the things God has destined me to do. Like becoming a foster parent and a writer.

The book is written as a collection of short stories, which are ordered chronologically for the exception of a few. (But don’t worry, my age is listed underneath each chapter title). Each memory is punchy, attention holding, and come together, in the end, to paint a beautiful picture of reaping what we sow regardless of what cards we are dealt. There are foreshadowing and dramatic scenes. But there is also love and laughable moments, like hiding in a pantry from a boyfriend my mother let in the house against my wishes.

I truly believe that there is something every woman can relate to in this book.

Related: How To Find The Courage To Speak About Your Trauma

When Is It Coming?

My book, Behind The White Picket Fence, will be published by Amazon on November 20th, 2019. However, if you would like early access and a free copy of the book simply join my email list.

Sneak Peek

I won’t give away too much, because let’s be honest. I’d rather you just read the whole book. But I have a strong love for writing titles. I believe a title is a poetic tribute to the story it starts. So, I want to share with you the chapter list of Behind The White Picket Fence.

No, Don’t Do That!
Locked in the Bathroom
Kick Him While He’s Down
In the Oven
Pen Pal
Not Good Enough
The Backseat
Church Camp
No More
At the Altar
An Affair to Remember
Sh- Hit the Fan
Locked and Loaded
Apartment 205
Round Three
A Peace Offering
The Transition
Wedding Day

Alright, I’m sure that’s not very exciting for everyone. So if you would like to read excerpts from my book, find me on Facebook! I posted several excerpts in May and they are all still available for your reading!

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